Love and Fear

Fear & LoveThere are moments when I feel like Katniss standing on the metal circle before the [Hunger] Games begin. As if an invisible protective wall surrounds me but it does not control me. At any moment I could step off my metal circle and be blown to pieces. If I wait until the moment is right, I can step off but I still risk falling prey to my fears.

The other night I collapsed into my husband’s arms after we made love. He kissed my neck and whispered into my ear his love for me. His body relaxed as he sighed with sexual contentment, his arm increased in weight and I heard him breathe deeply and steadily until he fell asleep. I could feel his entire body embracing me, holding me tightly against his body. He holds me much closer these days. As I listened to my husband, somewhere between a deep breath and a light snore, my fears flooded into my mind.

I stepped off my metal circle and let my guard down completely when we made love. I exposed my raw needs and desires while giving myself to him completely. My invisible wall disappeared and I was standing in my version of Katniss’s Cornucopia. My hopes and dreams within my grasp, yet drowning in thoughts and  the reality of my husband’s affair too.

Why must moments of intense pleasure and happiness be followed by extreme anxiety? Evil thoughts and memories of his affair flood my mind. It’s like I am being tormented and harassed.  It’s ironic really. Following the moments I let my guard down and trust my husband I am tormented by the pain of his deception again.

I always find it amusing when an OW writes me a comment on my blog telling me I am naïve for trusting my husband after his affair. I was naïve before and during his affair. I believed that love prevented failure and disappointment. I believed that our love was so strong it created a bubble around us that was impenetrable. I am not naïve anymore. I spend every moment of my life (post D-Day) knowing that no marriage is immune from infidelity. I am more prepared now than ever before. I am armed with knowledge about my husband that no one else has—not his parents, siblings, friends and especially not his AP. I understand him on the most intimate level. That place where you fear to let even yourself inside. I not only know his failures but I also comprehend the profound depth of the damage done by his affair. He didn’t walk away unscathed and free from consequence.

The consequences are clear every day. We don’t walk around and ignore the affair or it’s aftermath. Paradoxically, when he was in the affair he believed his AP and the affair had no significance in his life. He consistently said after the affair that he believed his relationship with her would just run its course and end. I looked up what that meant because I hated the phrase: “Run its course.” According to the Free Dictionary online it means that something will continue its existence until it dies naturally, such as a disease. Yes, the affair was like a disease.

As I lay in my husband’s arms tonight, I start to wonder if this disease has a cure. In his arms I feel safe and secure. My memory has the ability to haunt me if I let it but his embrace reminds me that we have so many dreams together. As for the other night, when I was laying in bed and the nightmare began to replay in my mind… I whispered to my husband that I needed a distraction. He squeezed me and sleepily told me a story about his day until I fell asleep. Overcoming the disease of his affair is a fight we will have to conquer together. And if I am going to be Katniss, I choose to be the girl on fire. The girl that can overcome incredible hardships and survive.

MLK JR

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24 thoughts on “Love and Fear

  1. You write so beautifully. I felt the very same things you describe. Then one day, I realized that the only way for me not to have those flash backs,those images of my husband holding another woman, was to severe my emotional bond completely.

    My husband is not like your husband,although, he, too, said, he didn’t tell me because he felt the other relationship would just run its course. He also said he thought I’d find out and leave him. That last part–I find out and leave him…I have not reflected on that until just now as I write. He wanted out if our marriage then. That is not what he wanted after about 10 mos of marriage counseling, but he was also not doing what needed to be done to repair our marriage either.

    I will pray for you and your husband. I hope that one day you are no longer plagued by the affair after you have intimate moments with your husband. For me, I couldn’t tolerate those feelings–they ripped my brain apart and I had to make the choice to salvage a friendship with my husband and detach for my sanity, my emotional well being.

    It has been just over a year since my D-Day and I just moved into an 1890s era home with lots of work to be done. They say a house is like a person, and I figure I will work on this house as I continue to work on me. I deserve to be happy and in a loving respectful relationship free of anxiety. I am sure one day I will be. 🙂
    –Rebecca, NC

    • Hi Rebecca,

      Thanks for reading my thoughts as I go through all this. I like the idea of you working on this old home while you rebuild and create your life. It sounds like something you see in a movie. 🙂
      I hope that one day I will move past triggers but I know it will take time. But I also understand the need to keep myself sane and happy is more important.
      Thanks again.

    • Hi Rebecca,
      I too am in NC….I also feel that in spite of trying to save my marriage and rebuild, it has driven me insane and turned me into a person that is difficult to live with and be around. I feel like alot of times that I should have done what you did, but I am afraid of being alone…I am afraid that he will run to his AP. I am afraid of the pain of being without him. So, I stay and live with the nightmare everyday and live with his criticism of how I am too difficult to live with…it is a sad story of how I can’t win for losing.
      L

      • Lori, idk how long it has been for you. I felt the way you describe the way you feel now: afraid of being alone, afraid he will go,to,the other woman. I felt that way during the first few months. My husband ( I still cannot call him my ex) told me the same—I was difficult to live with etc. it took me about 9 mos of healing with the help,of my therapist and my faith to finally say, ok, Im all done. I need my sanity if I am going to take care of myself, keep my job, and finish raising my girls. The youngest is 6, I know it will be challenging and I hate being alone but that is a trade off for my emotional health. Since I have made my decision, I feel strong and found my friends are still standing by me—I am not as alone as I feared and welcome the challenge of honest hard work. 🙂
        I will pray for,your peace of mind as you recover from this horrendous ordeal. Hopefully, your husband will wake up and be as positive as thiswillnotdefineus’s husband seems to be. hang in there!
        –Rebecca, NC

  2. I have to thank you for this post! I am in South Africa and that post came through in the very early hours of this morning. It was just what i needed to start my day. I felt like it echo’s just what i felt last night, The safety yet always having those insecureties that arise. I am in the sad position of my husband not wanting to show any emotion with regards to his affair. I have taken it upon myself to fix my marriage through my faith and prayers.
    I have your post this morning was just what i needed.
    keeping the faith!!

    • Keep trying and keep trying to connect with your husband. I’ve always been a fairly confident person and understand my strengths and weaknesses… but this threw me for a loop. I guess it’s not my personal confidence that has been shaken–but my confidence in our relationship. I see progress, strength and growth but I also see holes where there used to be none. Figuring my way through all this has pushed me into places I never expected but I am still moving forward. So that must be a good thing, right?

  3. WOW! I am so blown away by this post! I could have written the exact same thing. It’s so amazing to me how people can be so different…different personalities, nationalities, religions, etc., yet this type of situation shows how much we are alike in our deepest innermost part! We ALL have a need to be solely loved and cared for, assured that we are okay, told that we are beautiful [handsome], etc. In reality we need these things regardless of what has happened!
    Thank you for this post!

  4. Thank you so much for your blog. I have a story of my own and find confort in your words. Has the blog helped you through the healing process? Expressing myself through my own blog may be the outlet to help me cope with this life experience. Do you get replies from the man’s view and the mistress’ view? I’m curious on their take on this.

    • Hi Peri,

      I think the blog has been extremely helpful for me in the healing process. Every time I write I have betrayed women writing to me and connecting with me on a highly personal level. When I read someone’s story I know I am not alone going through this. There is a network of betrayed women who blog and they brought me into their community and we seem to look out for each other. A few of them have stopped blogging and left for their own reasons.
      Some women who blog report getting too stuck on details that stifle their progress. So you have to be able to separate yourself from another person’s experience. Quite often I will ask my husband–did you feel the way this other blogger’s husband felt? It can open up discussions that are helpful but if you allow it, it can also open up more insecurities.
      I have a few wayward men write me but not too many. The few that have written me have been very thoughtful. Some men just write to tell me that my blog is helping their wife–and I find that amazing….
      I do have mistresses write me too and they are generally very judgemental and mean (for lack of a better word). They often justify their behavior and assume men will always cheat and never change–“stupid wives that forgive them–we are so naive.” I always delete their comments and move on. My blog isn’t for the other women–it’s for betrayed spouses and anyone else who believes in overcoming failure, pain or struggles.
      I would go for it if you think it will help you.

  5. I’m curious about the “run its course” comment. Your husband said he thought it would die on its own eventually and then…what? He would just carry around the secret of this huge act of betrayal and disrespect to you for the rest of his life. I realize most waywards can’t see past the end of their…noses…when in the middle of an affair, but seriously? He was okay with playing you for a fool for the rest of your lives together? That seems at least as cruel as the affair itself to me, and I don’t understand the mindset. I doubt I ever will. 😦

    • His thought process was–I f-ed up but I don’t “want” this affair so it will just die and go away. He didn’t plan on telling me because he was ashamed and didn’t want to admit to himself, much less me, what he had done. Yes, it’s screwed up and that’s why I’ve hated that phrase: Run it’s course. But that was his thought while he was in the affair. I believe I found out about the affair because of clues he was giving me–I knew there was something wrong with him. Once I discovered the affair he realized he couldn’t have lived the rest of our lives with this secret–it would have destroyed us or him until it came out.
      I’ve spent almost a year trying to understand the mindset of a wayward spouse. What I’ve been able to uncover is that a cheating partner is like an alcoholic or an addict of any kind. They turn to the affair because of insecurities and feelings of self-hate. Cheating is a form of self-destruction. The cheating partner is aware that they don’t want the affair partner or the affair but both the AP & the affair feed the vulnerabilities inside the person. The affair affirms their fears and pushes their self-esteem lower. The AP gives them a false sense of adoration (which most waywards claim they are aware the attention is not sincere). For my husband, he liked the feeling of being his AP’s “hero” but the longer they were together the more he realized he was lying to her too. He was telling her what she wanted to hear, not the way he felt. My husband beleived his AP was alone and coming out of an abusive marriage–so he felt like he couldn’t abandon her. He believed if he helped her she would move on and find another man (“runs its course”). By the time my husband realized what he was doing he just hoped his AP would stop contacting him and move on. She didn’t so he began to tell me things or leave hints that made me question her intentions. The affair fog doesn’t make sense to a healthy-minded person. And nothing I am saying excuses the behavior.
      I don’t believe this is true for all affair but it applies to the so-called “happily married man” that cheats.

      • I see what you mean. I think the “vicious-cycle” experience, where you make a bad choice, or a series of bad choices, and then feel trapped by them, is a universal one.

        I really am glad that you and your husband are healing together and on a better path.

      • Bravo, Bravo! I loved your entry Ms “thiswillnotdefineus”
        You are so on point, I see you’ve done your homework – hours of self study, introspection, paninful days and nights etc.
        I agree that most men are not unhappily married that simply think they are and allow themselves to be exploited by hollow whores. I found out about my hubby’s indiscretion nearly a decade after it occurred. Our marriage was a total mess in the meantime. I knew he had baggage from his family life when we married I didn’t realize how much it had his insides in a total self destructive mess. He now admits he wasn’t aware of it either. You were spot on when you compared a cheater to an alcoholic or a drug addict. Spiralling down on a road of self destruction due poor esteem …. yadayada. Your pearls of wisdom is spot on as to why they cheat. Unfortunately it doesn’t do a thing for the pain that the betrayed party feels. Our recovery has been very slow and painful my husband has had a very difficult time owning and living with his poor decisions. 13 mos. after the cat coming out of the bag my husband is just beginning to read and learn exactly what he did wrong and how he got there. He reads a chapter or two each night before bed I can tell the funky fog is lifting. Fog in the sense “how in the world did I get here.” Hang in there ladies! Its brutal, I know but your days of pain will become further and fewer in between.
        ~lexy

      • Thanks, Lexy. It’s good to hear your husband is reading and learning more about how he found himself in this mess. I think it’s important for other betrayed spouses to know that many husbands will not be ready to figure out the reasons in the beginning. I feel like my husband spent time hating himself and wanting to hate himself. He is now reading and trying to understand his behavior even more every day. Thanks again.

  6. This brought me to tears. I suffer the same moments of anxiety and fear of this happening again many of the same situations. I am trying not to allow my mind to control my recovery and remind me of the disappointment in this man. He did the wrong thing (for over 2 yrs) and he knows it and says it. Our communication is better than ever by far, our commitment to each other is strong and meeting each other’s needs is an important part of our new relationship and is demonstrated each day.
    Yet each day is a battle for me not to drift to the time he was unfaithful. His mood at home, relationship with his 3 sons, his selfish actions and “single man” type behaviour that was our life were so evident but his depression was blamed at the time.
    Through all our many hours of counselling both together and individually, he is now no longer depressed and off medication for the first time in 5 years. He does believe this state made him more vulnerable to the affair and her persistent indecent offers. I agree, but he still made that decision at a time to deceive me and was managing his job just fine, so it doesn’t justify it that simply to me.
    When we are together now, we are mindful of our words and actions, consequences good and bad and meeting each others needs. There has barely been a moment that has been anything but wonderful other than during our weekly communication hour where i talk of my pain and disillusion about his affair.
    I know my happiness is up to me, but my husband is doing all he can to build our new relationship and a better marriage and right now this makes me very happy.

    • Hi,
      Thanks for sharing your story and progress. I think to those of us who are wading through the mess it can seem like the pain will never completely leave us. Like you, I am trying to control my own happiness and understand how my emotions are tied to this time in our life. Some days are harder than others. Luckily, I am at a point where the good days outnumber the bad ones by far.
      Hold on to all the good things you just shared about your marriage. I wish you and your husband all the best as you move forward.

  7. Hi, I have been checking in on your blog over the last few weeks, catching up on your story and I just wanted to say thank you. On 11th August 2013 my husband came home and had a break down, told me he was’t sure he should be around me or our 5 year old daughter anymore and that he wasn’t sure he loved me, 12th – I found out about the OW who he had been sleeping with for 3 months up to mid July. 13th – he called her and told her he never wanted to see her again; she then did what she had been threatening to do since the beginning of June and contacted me. She sent messages through fb and then turned up at my house. Everything he has said relates to what you have described about him getting trapped and not being able to find a way out of something he did not intend to begin. Reading your words makes me feel less alone. Thank you

    • Hi,
      I am sorry you found yourself here but glad you are finding comfort. It’s hard to believe when you find yourself in this situation that it’s real. I found it difficult to think that my loving husband could be involved with anyone else at all. But yet, it happens and it happens even to the men with best intentions. I hope your husband can see that even through the guilt and shame that you can rebuild your marriage. It takes time and effort. Through the past year I have had some of the best and worst moments of my life. I hope that I will keep moving forward and learn from everything we did wrong before. There is so much good that can come out of this–try not to lose yourself in the pain and sorrow. You must go through it but you don’t have to drown in it. When you find you need help, don’t be afraid to ask for it.

      • Thank you so much for taking the time to reply. We are working hard and having weekly counseling, I feel we are making progress but there are days when I just can’t see past the pain and all feels helpless. I know it is very early days and I should not expect too much, the good days when the real man shows through the sadness keep me going. I am worried about him though, this comes after losing 8 babies through miscarriage in the last two years and we are both fragile. I hope that we are strong enough to support each other through this devastating time and come out stronger. Take care.

      • I think what you wrote says so much. You both went through eight miscarriages and the pain of each one is difficult. Sometimes men don’t process suffering the same way and they don’t understand their feelings of inadequacies are not how we (their wives) view them. My husband entered into his affair after being unemployed for over a year. He went back to work and found himself involved with his AP six months later. He doesn’t always think it’s parallel but I think losing his job and that stress played a huge role in damaging his self-esteem.
        Be a support for one another. Take time to enjoy each other and keep taking small steps forward.

    • The other woman contacted me as well, to let me know I had ‘won’. I won’t even go into the other things that were said, but it was so painful. I am not sure what these women think it will accomplish. I am sorry that you had to face her – face to face.

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