Lessons I Never Expected to Learn

There is a saying that goes something like: Out of darkness, magnificence grows. Sometimes I hold onto that thought like it’s my eternal flame, the source of my hope and the promise for the future. Lately, I realize more than ever how vulnerable I am. Immediately after D-Day I erected a wall around me—every part of me was protected in some way by this wall. But it also kept people I love out. Maybe the wall went up because there is only so much pain I could manage. Maybe it’s just my own defense mechanism. Regardless, the wall is crumbling and I feel exposed… vulnerable… scared. I also realize there are lessons I never expected to learn through this chapter in my life.

1. Make peace with your past so it won’t mess up your present.

The last few days I’ve been thinking a lot about life before and after the affair. I realize that it’s almost as though I need to discard everything that happened during the affair in our relationship. My husband was not himself at that time and I was avoiding dealing with the changes I saw in him. If I think too much about the “during” part of the affair I will just end up in a cycle of pain.

I feel like the hardest thing is letting go of the marriage we had before the affair. Maybe it’s me being nostalgic but I loved that feeling I used to have deep within me. That feeling I keep trying to define. Sometimes I feel like it characterized our marriage and my love for him. I know that’s not true—that’s the pain speaking. Hindsight tells me that if this “feeling” was so special we would have protected it more. Perhaps it’s still there it’s just buried underneath the scar tissue.

Mourning the end of our pre-affair marriage has taken more time than I expected. I think I had thought I already had finished this stage. Yet here I am still trudging through it all. My therapist says it’s because my life is naturally busy with three kids and a full-time job. She says I haven’t had time to mourn yet but I am in it now. I’ll trust her on this one.

2. People you love and respect may disappoint you. Good people can fail.

Even the people that love you the most can break promises, inflict pain upon you and hurt you. Sometimes it’s hard to separate my own expectations of myself from the people I love. Sometimes good people do bad things. Sometimes good-intentions turn into the regret. Hate the action, not the person. Although, I am okay with hating Bat-Shit.

3. Stop thinking too much, it’s alright not to know the answers. They will come to you when you least expect it.

I spent months trying to understand how and why my husband cheated. I spent months asking questions and finding answers. My thirst to know everything was not easily quenched because there always seemed to be one more question lurking. The truth is I will never be able to justify what he did because it was wrong.

Sometimes it’s hard to avoid filling my head with thoughts about the affair. Every so often a light clicks on and I realize something new. But mostly, I hate spending time thinking about my husband’s affair.

Accepting that there are things I may never understand or answers I may never know is difficult. It goes against my own nature to not figure out the answers. I can rationally understand how it happened but emotionally? No, I don’t think I ever will.

4. No one is in charge of your happiness, except you.

I invested my happiness in my husband and family. I was happy with my life but that happiness was wrapped up in them and the life we created. Who was in charge of my happiness? How was I pursuing my own happiness? I am the wife, the mother, the person who says: ‘when the kids are grown I’ll have time for that.’ You know my type. I put everyone else first. I take care of everyone else. I wanted my kids and husband to be happy even if it robbed me of my own happiness. I think this is also the reason it took me so long to figure out what was going on. I blamed myself when my husband was acting strangely. I could see there was something wrong within him but instead of asking him what was wrong, I stepped away. By the time I suspected anything was going on it was too late.

5. Good marriages can suffer colossal failure and it doesn’t it’s over.

I thought love (TRUE LOVE) was like an electric fence—it kept the intruders out and protected our valuable relationship. I was naïve. I was wrong. The only thing that can protect a relationship is honesty, communication, humility and courage.

For the most part, I love my life. While I’ve accepted the affair happened , I still haven’t forgiven my husband completely. I believe he has to forgive himself first before I will be able to forgive him. I am not sure when we will get to that point of resolution.

Sometimes my husband asks me if I have to convince myself to stay in our marriage. The answer is no, I have never had to talk myself into staying. I am here because I love him and feel he truly is remorseful and regrets his actions. I stay because I believe it’s possible to rebuild our marriage into something better than before (and that was a pretty f-ing amazing marriage). I stay because when I fall into bed each night, his arms wrap around me tightly and I’ve never felt anything better than that. I stay because we built this family of five. We promised these kids we would do this and I am not giving up because he did something stupid, really freaking stupid. I stay because I imagine someday I will be old and grey with my husband (older and greyer) by my side looking at our grandchildren and great-grandchildren in amazement. I stay because we do have a good marriage. I stay because my husband enhances my happiness. I stay because I believe in love and forgiveness.

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66 thoughts on “Lessons I Never Expected to Learn

  1. ive learned all these things also… and in complete honesty, i resent having had to! not entirely sure what to do with that one!

      • i think were around the same age tho yeah? thirties? im kinda glad we got to learn them now rather than later… not that theres ever a *good* time for it of course…

      • I’ve wondered this too. I would put a lot on it being the big 40 looming, a combination of bad luck, timing and concerns as to whether our husbands feel they have achieved everything they imagined they would by middle age. (not that 40 is middle aged any more). My husbands AP was in her late 20’s, she sought him out and fawned over him. I think he was flattered that someone younger considered him attractive; and in a vulnerable state he was unable to resist temptation. Classic midlife crisis, brought about by a series of crappy events and a unbalanced woman appearing at the wrong moment. Maybe that’s why this amazing group of women have been able to rescue their marriages, the affairs were never a means of escaping us (the wives) or even about being attracted to someone else, but a convenient means of escaping the failure our husband’s perceived in themselves?. There are many reasons for affairs, those that are about the marriage are generally insurmountable it appears. maybe a combination of age and circumstance make this group particularly vulnerable to low self esteem. As our therapist said ‘a vulnerable man is VERY attractive to a predatory woman’. I count myself lucky to be in a group where the affair was never about escaping me, I have a second chance of happiness that many never get. I am glad I will not end up one of the sad and bitter people. 🙂

  2. Don’t you love all the stories you hear about other people’s affairs? All the advice? Are there common threads? Are we really as unique as we think in our grieving and circumstances? How much of our struggles are relative and universal?

    Today was a good day. We, our fractured family since July 22, 2013, created a new tradition—cutting our own Christmas tree. No big deal for lots of folks, but, I had never done this . . . only dreamed about it. We had a horse drawn sleigh ride through the woods with trees heavy with new snow. It was surreal. I felt gratitude. Before this time, I was perfectly content with our frugal artificial . . . now, I’m ready to take on more, new adventures. Maybe, I’m starting to feel like my old self, the healthy one that had excellent adventures regularly.

    Although I expect ROCK STAR levels of romance & communication from my remorseful husband, I accept that he is who he is & there are parts of him that balance me in ways that (it appears thus far) no one else has been able to do.

    I like that you believe in love, forgiveness and second chances. At times, I not sure my husband realizes the work it takes to create a successful marriage after such an epic fail. So, then, there’s hope. Hope that he grows with me.

    I want to bottle my positive, hopeful feelings at the present moment and drink it when I’m feeling all things negative.

    Thank you, again for this blog.

  3. Your post brought tears to my eyes (not really an uncommon experience of late) I’m nine months into my journey with a major discovery found on Mother’s Day which really began it all over again. My husband seems to make progress accept my right to be hurt and angry and willing to do all it takes and then slips back into what the heck are you going on about attitude. It hurts beyond words. To make matters worse my daughter had a biopsy which came back with negative results so now needs more surgery. I just don’t know if our marriage is strong enough to cope with this. Or if I am I’m angry at my husband for stealing so much of my energy which my daughter needs and he seems angry saying he is hurting too. I so get your bit about grieving for the old marriage and that old feeling of feeling safe that there was one person in the world who would not hurt you. I know I will never get that feeling back and it hurts. My husbands impatience is so hard. I keep hold of those sayings about getting through things and I know I’m strong enough but some days all I want to do is cry. Thank you for your wisdom.

    • I have found that I am stronger than I ever imagined. The pain is horrid and will haunt me if I allow it. It’s an ongoing struggle to let go of the past. I find that as much as I understand how it happened it does not remove the pain. I have to remember that a momentary thought can become a downward spiral within seconds.

      Take care… I am wishing you and your family love, peace and health.

      • I want to thank you so much for your blog. I found it a couple of days after my d-day of Nov. 11, 2013. I have read several books but find the words from you and others that are going through this horrible situation to be more comforting.
        I found out when she called me at work. My husband was trying to break off the 4 month affair with her. She apparently had been threatening him that she would tell me.

        Anyway, the pain that I feel at times has been unbearable. I feel so out of control. He is doing everything that he needs to right now. He is also suffering with the guilt and we are in therapy. I just want the feeling of sadness to go away. I know it will take time. Please continue to write. You are probably helping many more than you know.

      • Hi,
        The beginning is so difficult. I think I spent hours scowering the internet reading stories from women and looking for some solace from the pain. The sadness does recede with time. Sometimes it creeps back in but eventually there will be more good days than bad.
        I know how you feel and how your husband feels too. I’m going to try to write more this year. We can get through this. Happy new year to you and your husband.

      • This resonates,completely with me. Knowing now how low my husband was, ironically I think our marriage is stronger than it ever was. But I have weak moments, especially in the last few days when Christmas has been such a strong reminder of what was nearly lost. One bas thought and if I’m not careful I begin questioning everything that still haunts the recesses of my mind. Mainly, what she meant to him. He says nothing, but that is so hard to believe.

      • I had one of those days yesterday. I had to make myself get out of the house or I was gonna start spiraling downward. I feel our relationship is actually getting stronger everyday and tbe sex is definitely better. Heck, just having sex would be better than what we were doing before.

        I’m still glad i found this blog. I feel much less alone.

      • I too find that our marriage is better than ever I thought possible…what a ironic way to find out just how much we truly love each other….my mind goes to the “dark side” a lot more than I like but I am learning to repeat “that was then and this is know” in my head when I feel the thoughts trying to force their way in…I know it won’t always work but I feel good when I can talk myself off that ledge!
        I also find the prayer of st. francis a very lovely form of meditation…
        now onto 2014…I don’t want to waste time looking back…

      • Recently I told my husband that he allowed the least important person in his life to make the most important decision. For the most part the APs do mean nothing. They fall from their lives quicker than they creeped into them because there is nothing for them to hold on to.
        It’s a new year–let’s hope that this year will bring us happiness and freedom from the past.

  4. Thank you for writing this post. I cant talk firsthand of such an experience but I wish and pray that my mother could take on board this advice. I wish I could help her. I see that she is lost and struggling to cope and it is horrible. X

  5. Thank you for sharing. I am not sure if, like me, you blog as somewhere to get your feelings out, to make more sense of them and whether or not anyone actually reads them is not really important; but your words bring hope to others and although each story is different the feelings quite often seem to be similar.
    I particularly agree with point 3. I am a methodical, controlled person and I seek the truth on everything. I am finding it very difficult to accept that there are questions I will never know the answers to; because, in truth, my husband just doesn’t ‘really’ know why he did what he did, he is asking the same questions of himself.
    Rationally I know that even if I did find the answer, what would I do with it? Would it change how I approach our road to recovery? No. But as you say emotionally it is hard to just accept that there are no answers.
    Thank you, and have a lovely Christmas.

    • You are so right! There will be no “ah ha, that’s it…that’s why!!” answer because there will never be one…ever…yes, that IS hard to accept for those of us who NEED answers…gotta just accept that I will never have that “answer” to my emotional satisfaction..ever…and go on and be happy.

    • Happy New Year. I am finally getting around to reading through comments from last month. I agree with what you wrote about would knowing the answer change where we are right now? No. We probably know as much as we need to know to get to the right place.

  6. Fantastic post, thank you. I can so relate to #1, I want to blot out the part of my marriage when my husband was being unfaithful, but it was 7 years. How do I let go of 7 years of my life, we were 7 months away from our 10 year wedding anniversary when I found out. I told my therapist that in my mind, so that I can cope, I tell myself that my husband is dead, the person I’m with now is someone else. I don’t know how else to get by.

    • It’s difficult to believe the men we love so much were living a double life. In hindsight, I can see that even though we were happy he was struggling and there were things that just didn’t seem right. But the love I had for my husband during his affair allowed me to ignore the red flags and beleive that things would be ok. They are different men–from their affair periods to who they are now. I love the husband today so much more than the one I married.

      • I have read this reply a few times now and it is soooo true…as sad as I am about this WHOLE situation, I feel for the first time in a very long time that we are truly in love…It maybe was an “ah-ha” moment…that we really might have lost EACH other…I have good days and bad days… I have a constant knot in my stomach…the images in my head are more than I can bear…but the love I feel is surprisingly REAL…

  7. I love to read your posts. I feel the same way about our marriage. We are closer now than we were before D-Day. It made us realize how much we mean to each other and the importance of Family.

    • I feel like this too, I think about how close I came to losing the person I love most in the world and it terrifies me. I will never allow him to feel unloved again. Even when I think he knows I love him, I have resolved to be SURE that he knows I love him.

  8. So glad I found your blog. I found out just three weeks before you did in September of 2012. We had been married for 11 years (in fact, we had just had our anniversary the week before) and together for 15. I went to a therapist when I first found out. After a couple of sessions she said I was “fine” and didn’t feel that we needed additional sessions.

    I am NOT fine. I am better than I was, but definitely not “fine”. A year after the affair I still felt poorly about the whole thing (I guess I was expecting to have been miraculously healed by then) and so I went searching for additional help, and that is how I found your blog.

    Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and feelings. I have had all of them! For a while I thought I was crazy, thought I had PTSD, thought I was OCD, because the affair was still an issue in my life. After reading your posts and seeing that you have had all the same thoughts and feelings, it has helped me to realize that I am not crazy but that I did experience something very traumatic and it takes time to heal.

    I love how you refer to her as “Bat Shit”. Before I found your blog, I found it too painful to say the name of my “her” when my husband and I would talk about things. I started calling her “The Plague Infested Flea Sucking Blood From the Anus of a Sewer Rat” or just “The Plague” for short. And I am trying desperately to forgive my husband and several other people that were involved in covering up his bad behavior, but I have not yet found the heart to have anything but sheer hatred for her.

    • Hi,
      I am finally just reading through all the comments from last month. Happy New Year. Thanks for writing me–it’s comforting to read the words of women like myself. Especially when our timelines are so similar and stories. I hope you find the same comfort here.
      Let’s hope that 2014 is a year of new beginnings, hopes and letting go of the past. While I know that this will never completely go away, I don’t have to live under the pain of his affair anymore. I can be okay and trust that I made the right decisions. I love your name for The Plague (the entire name)…

  9. Agree as ever with all points but your final paragraph about why you stay I agree with every one exactly.
    A quick one for you, do you still wear your wedding ring and do you still celebrate your wedding anniversary? I no longer wear my wedding ring, I can’t. That has died, as has my anniversary. But I have a sparkly new eternity ring which I liken to my sparkly new marriage.

    • Ukgirl40. I no longer wear my wedding ring either. I can not bring myself to put it back on and I don’t think I ever will. He has never even asked me where it is or why I don’t wear it. I gave him a new wedding ring a week after D Day which he wears.
      Sent via my BlackBerry from Vodacom – let your email find you!

    • Hi, I still wear my wedding and engagement rings. Aside from the fact I love them, they mean a lot to me. I took them off and handed them to my husband when I kicked him out. When I agreed to let him home he got down on one knee and asked to put them back on. If you’ve read my blog you’ll know what we were going through prior to the affair was tough on both of us. Unlike some others I don’t feel like my ‘old’ marriage has died, more that it idled for a while and needed a push start to get back on the right track. I still treasure our history together despite the current turmoil and although to start with I felt he had destroyed the promises he made when we were married, I don’t feel like that now. Take care.

    • Hi,
      I do still wear my wedding ring and my husband wears his too. The day I learned of the affair I took off my engagement ring and told him we were merely married now. I told him I didn’t know if I would ever wear it again and gave it back. My husband put it in my jewelry box and he cried. I love my rings… he designed them and had a jeweler make them for me. I put the ring back on a month later. We were having pictures taken and I wanted it on. I haven’t taken it off since. Although I told him I wanted a bigger diamond (but really I don’t care).
      The funny thing is he gave me a ring during the time he cheated on me and I haven’t worn that since I discovered the affair. I don’t want that ring anymore. I probably will never wear it again.
      Sometimes I hate that my husband wore his ring while he was with Bat Shit but then I think she probably hated it. So then I am okay again. That was one thing she couldn’t make disappear–our marriage.

      • I am so glad I read this comment. I too have hated that my husband wore his ring while he was with bunny boiler. He asks if I’d rather he hadn’t, was it wrong? (where do I start with what was wrong?!) but actually she had stopped wearing her rings in January when her separation was made official, when she made her move in March he said he never even considered taking his ring off, he never wanted to pretend I didn’t exist and he didn’t want bunny boiler to believe he was trying to escape me. I HATE the thought that the symbol of his marriage to me may have touched her in places I’d rather not consider, but he is adamant it didn’t and besides I bet she did hate it. It must have been like a constant reminder of what she was (a whore and a dirty little embarrassing secret) burning into her skin. Thank you for changing my perspective.

  10. I am new here but have belonged to this “club” since 11-11-12…
    as I am sure most of you have scoured the internet and spent endless hours and brain space reading…reading…reading I finally found a place where I feel comfortable enough to post my thoughts and gratitude….some of this is selfish gratitude…it feels nice to not be “alone”…I believe my “story” is classic textbook….married 33 yrs…last child off to school…last of our parents dies and then IT began and lasted 2years…when I found out, NEVER did I think well this is it… where is the lawyer… my first reaction to the email on the phone I found was …”oh God my marriage is over”…but I knew we’d never leave each other…too much history…too much WONDERFUL history… 3 beautiful “grown ups/children” I shared my “news” with only ONE friend who I knew would never judge either of us and have sworn to myself and my husband that I will take this to the grave…
    our NEW relationship is lovely and the “reconnection” has been a blessing and all because we are FIGHTING for each other…
    Thank you for listening…
    I would like to add one thing about the wedding ring issue….a few weeks before I discovered the truth I had taken my wedding rings and had them melted down and made into a “mothers” ring…the original stone had fallen out years ago…but the stones that were still there I kept and then added my children’s birthstones…this ring means more to me now thanever before

    • Hi, I too found comfort in not feeling ‘alone’. Being the cheated spouse can be a very confusing and lonely place to be. Keep fighting, it sounds like it’s worth it.

    • Thanks for sharing your story. Such positive energy exudes from your writing. Your reaction was similar to mine when you discovered the affair. I thought–is our marriage over? But in my heart I could never see us apart. Neither could he.

  11. Over the last few days my wife – the love of my life – has sent me to your blog a few times. The parallels are uncanny, if not hauntingly familiar. We have been married for twenty years. And, it is I who fucked up. In reading your posts, I can honestly say that I have empathy for all that you are experiencing.

    I feel compelled to do what I can to explain what things look like from the other side. As I have said above, you and my wife are running parallel lives. Your husband sounds like a good man and your perspective appears to be on point. From the lens of the betrayer I can tell you that this was never about you not being good enough, or the family not filling my/his cup, or anything remotely related to you. I suspect that as you are blossoming as a person who understands that taking care of yourself first is the greatest gift you can give your family, you may begin to understand what, at least for me, got in the way of being the person I want to be (and betrayer is not one of the accolades). All of us have egos that can dominate our lives. For my spouse, her ego told her “I’m not good enough” and, partially as a result, she put all of her effort, trust, and self into me. And, when you give wholly of yourself, you have everything to lose; leaving very little of you left to defend against an attack of this magnitude.

    For me, my ego told me I was not worthy of anything. I told myself that life was on the verge of seeing right through me and it was all I could do to stay ahead of the pain I didn’t even know I was experiencing. As a result, I was busy distracting myself with “things” to purchase, work, and activities – not to escape my family, but to escape my pain. Like all humans, I carry wounds from my childhood that got in the way of me loving me. And, as things in my life hit certain speed bumps, a chain reaction began that became the freight train of betrayal which we are now dealing with.

    But, before I go on, I must insert the moral of this post. The moral is, you ARE good enough. The moral is that while you are a player in this nightmare, you are not the star; but rather an innocent bystander swept up in a plot about the failing ego of a man, a temptress with a troubled life, and – like any Joseph Campbell story – a rebirth. Your awakening has made you a better person, more alive, more trusting of yourself and true to yourself and you are sharing your story and helping others. You have become an unexpected hero. As Campbell explains about the journey in The Hero With A Thousand Faces: A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man.

    That is the moral of your story. Mine (and I suspect your husband’s) is a different story, but it is our journey. For me, seeing the pain that I caused and awakening to the self-destructive behavior allowed me to break through the walls I had built up; Walls that got in the way of even liking myself, let alone loving myself. I have developed empathy and learned not to compartmentalize (a male trait that helps foster the bad choice of an affair). I have developed self compassion and compassion for others. I am trying – desperately – to deal with my shame of betraying the woman and children I adore. And, I am doing my best to live in the present; not letting the pains of the past or the worries of the future drive my behavior. For it is time – past and future – that are the fuel of the ego and the enemy of self.

    My wife caused none of this. She is only a victim. I am, however, grateful for the opportunity to break down the barrier to being the person I want to be. I am grateful for our ability to communicate and for reaching a level of love and appreciation that I did not know existed. This “journey” has been very painful. However, I would never trade it in. If I could do things over, I wish it would have taken a different path; one that didn’t hurt others. But, alas, it wouldn’t be this journey, then, would it?

    I often tell my wife that I hope that one day she develops compassion for the pain I was feeling – the depth of the darkness that allowed another person to pierce my vow to her. This affair was never about her and I suspect yours was not about you. I hope you forgive “bat-shit” and feel compassion for whatever brought her to her equally selfish behavior. I hope you forgive your husband’s past and love who he is today. But, most importantly, I hope your forgive yourself for anything that haunts you from not being true to yourself. To my wife (and everyone else who reads this) – you are enough. You are special. You are loved and loveable. And, you have helped me further along the path that I wanted to be on, despite my regrets about dragging you along.

    As my friend’s father used to say, “I wish for you what I wish for myself.”

    • Thank you. Your words are comforting and full of compassion. This journey is one I never planned to take in my life. Given the choice, I would never be here. But, what I have learned about myself, my husband, love and marriage is unmeasurable. I cherish what I have now, protect it and understand that these scars may diminish, possibly even disappear, with time.

      Merry Christmas. Wishing you and your wife peace and love.

    • Elvis, thank you for having the courage to post on here, it is helpful to hear your opinion. My husband claims there was no intimacy in his affair, no carressing, very little kissing etc, he describes it as how he imagines visiting a brothel would be. Although his AP seemed to have convinced herself he loved her (I think perhaps that is easier for her than to admit what she really is and that she had been blackmailing and stalking him), he is adamant that he is telling the truth about it literally being a few minutes of basic penetration with no attached emotion etc. He says,it was all about the opportunity for escaping how he felt about himself and concentrating on making himself feel better. That he was never interested in how she felt and that it had nothing to do with the person in front of him. I find this quite difficult to understand, I’m not sure I ever will. Does it make sense to you?

    • thank you for this post elvis…I appreciate hearing from the “wayward” side… it helps my healing process…my husband feels shame and extreme remorse and wishes he could turn back the clock and never make the choices he made…I know that he was in a very dark place and never imagined the pain it would cause…and in all honesty I never could imagine the pain that this has caused… I like soooo many of us always thought that this was absolutely one of those COMPLETE deal breakers…odd to find out how love takes over and your brain and heart fight for the right answer/solution…oh yes and pride enters in…in a HUGE way…there have been times in a very personal moment I will go to a dark place(or mind movies) and think did she have to KNOW this with him too??? When I shared this fear with my counselor she looked at me without missing a beat and said SHE DID NOT KNOW HIM….that statement has helped me immensely…I do not believe for a moment that my husband and his affair partner ( for 2yrs) did not KNOW each other…(although she was someone from high school that he knew socially but never dated)… that really the only thing they had in common was they were two broken people who made an extremely BAD CHOICE….now here is where the empathy for her comes into play… most of the time I feel sorry for her (mixed with jealousy) she divorced her husband during their affair…she has 3 adult children …she really thought there was some kind of future with my husband…as much as it hurts I am sure they “talked” about a possible future together if she had asked me I could have told her he won’t leave what he knows to be real…as I sat with my beautiful family this Christmas I looked at his face looking at his 3 adult children (and a son-in-law!) (none of our children know and i pray it always stays that way) and knew for a fact my husband is HOME and he is relieved and we are working very hard at putting PEACE back in our lives… I wish the same for you PEACE

    • Thank you for this. I realized recently that one of the huge obstacles standing in the way of my healing/forgiveness was the false belief that I was still in a competition with every girl in the world to keep my husband. My husband’s affair absolutely crushed my sense of self and my sense of worth–it is easy to blame yourself and believe that it is all your fault because of ___________ (insert whatever you think is wrong with yourself). It is easy to believe that the AP must have had something that you just didn’t have, and that you couldn’t match up.

      My husband describes things much like you do. There have been times when I have been able to feel his pain and have empathy for both the sad person he had become when this all started, and the person he is now who is desperately trying to be the best husband on earth. When I am at my best, I hope I can find it in my heart more often to focus on his pain and not so much on my own–I know that he hurts terribly and is full of regrets and shame. But it is very difficult to try and avoid the downward spiral that starts with hurt and pain and so often then erupts into anger. I have not given up though. I think this will be one of the greatest challenges of my life.

  12. Just want to let you know your balanced, thoughtful perspectives help get me though some hard days….few months behind you…Christmas time is hard…the first of the trickle truth came our at this time of the year one year ago….e nice not to cry for one day….so happy and positive…wonderful remorseful H but still sadness lurks…hard to have conflicting emotions…especially ones that were not there before knowledge of the As…..

  13. You wrote about the feeling you had deep inside you about the marriage…for me that feeling was “safe”….before the A’s I felt completely safe….after one year, I am not sure I feel that now……

  14. I never thought about leaving or asking him to leave….I am angry at myself for not fighting harder…I NEVER pictured my life without him … I am just soooo sad that he thought I might be worth losing….

    • I can never understand how my husband never thought that he might lose me while he was cheating. I’ll never forget the moment he realized he might lose everything…. Lately, I realized that he allowed the least important person in his life (Bat Shit/his AP) make the most important decision of his life. It’s crazy how falling into an affair requires so little thought, hiding the lies requires a web of lies and destruction…. And for what? I often wonder who is damaged more-me or my husband? I’m hurt by what he did but he has to live with the fact that he made those decisions so carelessly, so easily.

      I hope you can find peace…. It’s hard to let it go but we all must try in order to feel happiness again. Take care.

  15. It really hurts ,i can’t sleep ,eat ,i can’t forcuse at work i lock my self in the office and cry the whole day .i just found out that he is cheating with another man’s wife ,apparently she’s client with fraud case ,that’s he told me . I just don’t know how to stop feeling this way and fix my marriage .

    • I am so sorry….. I understand your pain. The pain can be paralyzing at times. Try to keep your mind focused on other things when you are at work. You need time away from the pain because it can feel like a vacuum at times pulling you in. Talk to your husband, try to find the truth because he may not even know why he really got involved with her. Take care…. If you can’t sleep go to the doctor or get some mild OTC medicine to help you. You need to sleep. Your appetite will come back with time but try to eat food that you can stomach and fuel your body. Sending you hugs….

  16. I love this post. It makes so much sense. Your reasons for staying, beautiful, your visions for the future, hopeful. I’m still at a point where I second guess quite often my reasons for staying…and then as fate would have it, each of these mentioned pop into my head, giving me the strength I need to press forward in this relationship. Some people are so great with their words…you are one of them. 🙂

  17. This is a very difficult time for me because it was about this time, a little over a year ago, that I discovered my husband’s affairs. We are working on our marriage through Retrouvaille (.org) but I will not ever be able to go back to the marriage I thought we had. I look behind me and find a bridge broken and uncrossable. I think an organization as large as Weight Watchers needs to be unified and get the message out there so we can fight all the avenues that give access that damage marriages and offer tools that can strengthen and protect marriages and families. My husband found his last known affair through putting out a Craigslist ad. My pain resurfaces and I am having difficulty with trusting though I have forgiven. Thank you for sharing!

  18. I know it now 6 months, 6 terrible months, and I had this feeling before he said it to me. I’m still at this question “why, what I have done? What did I made wrong? How could you do this to me? why did you hate me so much that you have done this to me?”. We are 15 years together and 8 years married, left our homecountry and came to America. I followed you because I trusted you mine and the kids life and now this?! Now it is Christmas time and soon new years eve and I look back at this year and see always his lies. They are still working together, it hurts …. I can not say look for another job because of our visa, but on the other side if he do it with her again, then he would do it in the future too. I’m scared, really scared, about my future and my family’s future …. I love him and then comes all this feelings back …. oh wow, why?

    • Hi Nicole,
      I know your questions weren’t directed at me but I want you to know you did nothing to deserve this. You did nothing wrong. He did this because of somehting wrong with him. More often than not–men cheat because of their own insecurities and self-hatred. Their affair partners are a superficial part of their lives and make them feel good about those insecurities or they just don’t know about them. The affair partners don’t live with them and don’t have any real relationship with them. It’s fake.
      It must be hard to have them work together but try to put up walls around your relationship that the AP cannot penetrate. Be open with each other and honest. Ask him how he feels when they have to interact at work. Tell him how it makes you feel.
      It’s amazing how the love doesn’t just disappear even with the deepest betrayal. You will get through this–step by step.

  19. merry xmas,all! i can see that you have all had children before your husbands cheating,what do you tell a 37year old,like me,married for 7years and no kids yet,whose husband’s cheating has produced a son,he got the lady pregnant barely 2months after i lost a 6months old pregnancy….we are africans

    • Hi Abby,

      What does your husband plan to do about the AP being pregnant? There is a blog http://rescuingmymarriage.com/ written by a woman in a similar situation. If your husband wants to make your marriage work–I would hope that he is willing to do whatever you need to heal. If you say no contact with his affair partner–then that is it. If you say no contact with the child–then that is the answer. While he may need to be responsible financially for the child he can decide how involved he will be in the child’s life.
      Your situation is complicated but not impossible. Your spirit is strong–I can see by the way you started your post here by saying Merry Christmas…. Take care. Keep praying and talking to your husband.

  20. I found out on Feb 4th this year my Husband had a year long affair,when I first found out I wanted to get back what was mine,I thought I may be able to forgive so I kept the affair to myself as I didn’t want to ruin what family and friends thought was a rock solid marriage,but when is it to much pain that
    forgiveness feel impossible,I’ve gave this man the

    best years of my life,I have been a tower of
    strength,he lost his Dad I held him up,he found out

    he couldn’t have children I said our love for one
    another is enough,and now I’m sitting here writing this to you at 41 and feeling the pain of never holding a child in my arms of never being called Mum and before he had the affair his love was enough,but now I have an ache to have a child like never before,I hate them both for robbing me of me,I hate him for letting another woman make me feel less than,so I have used this year to
    get Me back what do I want,I’ve put my energy into
    Finding me,I’ve never felt so good,I’ve lost weight and trained hard I wasn’t big before my body is the best it has ever looked my confidence is sky high,he
    made me feel ugly,I will never allow any man to rob me of my spirit again or my inspiration,I’ve decided I’m leaving on the anniversary of finding out and I’m not going to look back,my heart is happy even though it will be hard,I’m excited for a new adventure of finding that real love I yearn for,I’ve tried but I cannot forgive in time I will but for now I’m at peace knowing for the first time I’m putting me first.

  21. Your words are very comforting. D-day for me was August 5, 2013, eight days after my 50th birthday. I also found out he saw a divorce lawyer two days after my birthday. He told me he didn’t love me, didn’t want to be married anymore, but he couldn’t leave. Why, our four kids, the house, the business, finances. All the reasons he stays has nothing to do with me. I am devastated. Why stay if you don’t love me? I thought him having an affair would be the end of our marriage. Maybe it still will be I don’t know. I thought I was “getting over it” but I’m not. We are in marriage and individual counseling. I’ve lost 35 pounds because I couldn’t eat at first.

    He continued to tell me that he loved me. I finally confronted him in counseling because it didn’t ring true. He admitted he doesn’t. I told him then don’t tell me anymore I’m sick of the lies. Why do I stay? Because I love him but I don’t know how long I will stay with a man who doesn’t love me back. 34 years I’ve been with this man. Six months with her and 34 years go down the drain.

    • I am so sorry. Have you read the book: My Husband’s Affair was the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me? I know it’s a horrible title but the author’s husband acted similarly to how you describe your husband. It may not be the same thing but their experience in and what she writes about in the book was very helpful to me.
      Affairs are so complex and they are rarely what they appear to be. For my husband–it was his own low self-esteem that led him to his relationship with his AP. She let him believe he was her hero and he liked that feeling. It took me so long not to feel like saying: “he was willing to throw it all away to feel like her hero!” He wasn’t willing to throw it away… but still it’s hard to understand.
      You are not alone. Take each day one at a time.

    • My story is similar. My husband’s affair began the week of our anniversary. SIX DAYS later, out of nowhere, he tells me he wants a divorce. Apparently he and his AP had already talked about getting married 6 days after they met! The week after that she kicked her husband out of her house, my husband told me he was going camping, and he spent the entire weekend at her house. I lost 30 pounds in a month because I could not eat. My husband and I waited until we were married to have sex. Neither of us had been with anyone else before that time. That added to how aghast I was at the whole situation. How did a good Christian boy become so wreckless? Why was he willing to throw away 12 years of marriage and a child for someone he barely knew? He broke it off with her almost as quickly as it started and came home and told me the truth. But then he blamed me for the affair and constantly told me it was because he “didn’t love me anymore”. This was September of 2012. A year and a half later, it still hurts. My husband, remarkably, has done a complete 180. He says that he was mentally ill at the time, cannot understand why he did what he did, and doesn’t even have memory of most of it. It is so hard to understand. I feel your pain. I hope you can find peace, and I hope I can as well :).

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