“I fell apart, and I survived”

c703fee12ef1a6dbf67106408e55054aWe all have days that mark different moments in our lives. Some of those days are remembered for joy and others for devastation. Today is a marker for me.

Six years ago I felt my world implode. I was utterly devastated, confused, and broken when I discovered my husband’s affair. As I type these words, my memory surges and the pain I haven’t felt all day is now lingering in the back of my mind… the back of my throat… like a dark shadow that can flood my being at any moment. But I’m okay. I’m really okay.

Six years later and my emotional attachment to my D-day is no longer a weight. Today could have gone the other direction completely. For starters, the exact day of the week aligns with my D-day in 2012. The other strange piece is that my husband is, once again, away on a camping trip just like he was six years ago. I spent a lot of time alone today just like I did six years ago. But I was okay. I haven’t cried. I haven’t been sad or melancholy.

I worry that an emotional detachment from my D-day is signifying something is wrong. Lately, it feels as though my marriage has slipped into that comfortable place it was before he cheated. Sometimes I worry that I am sharing everything with him – but is he sharing everything with me? I notice how much I talk and how much I feel the need to fill the silence. I also notice how much he doesn’t share with me and that I have to probe to find out what is going on during his day. I try not to be suspicious, but I am. I try to trust, but I don’t think I can give trust completely. I live in this space of uncertainty – can I trust him? Is he faithful? Were there other women before Bat Shit? I try not to dwell in this dark space. I find myself asking if I should even care if there are other women because he’s here with me.

That. Is. Fucked. Up. Or is it my reality?

During the last six years I’ve experienced the most rickety emotional roller coaster ride. Surviving an affair is no small feat. Every day I think about all the women out there that are on this ride with me – whether we know we are on it together or not. I think about how hard that first month was after my D-day. I didn’t know if I wanted to live. I just kept waking up each day and focusing on getting through each day. Survival mode.

I was naive once. I believed love equaled faithfulness. I believed marriage was pure. I believed my husband loved me more than I loved him, which meant he could never hurt me and never, ever cheat. I had chosen him time and again. Now I know he didn’t always chose me.

This post is feeling really glum and I that wasn’t my intention when I opened my laptop and started to write. The reality is that on this day, six years ago in the wee hours of the night… my heart stopped and it’s never truly beat to the same rhythm again.

Yes, I am happy.

Yes, my life is blessed.

But my heart beats differently now.

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88 thoughts on ““I fell apart, and I survived”

  1. Your words are so eloquent. I’m one year and 7 das away from my D-day. There is an overwhelming sadness knowing that years will pass, but the questions and insecurities won’t. Thank you for sharing your journey.

  2. Love to you. It is hard to hold all these emotions at the same time, knowing that each one is valid even if contradictory. We know what our spouses are capable of, both horrible and laudable. It’s hard to live with that. I don’t think trust will ever completely come back. I am five years out – to the day, same as yours! – and it’s only in the last six months that I feel he really gets it. He is putting in a great deal of effort and I am letting him. He wants to be transparent, I have passwords, he shows me emails when he is meeting a colleague after work. It must be a relief to not hide anymore. It makes him sad to know he’s lost my trust, and that is good, it used to make him angry, which meant there was more to hide. One thing that has helped is continuous marriage counseling – for six years now (one year before he confessed to the affair). The work he has now committed to do has been invaluable. I wish he would have done it earlier but maybe he wasn’t capable. That’s not an excuse, just an explanation. I’m not mad at him this year. I thought that would never happen.
    I’d be shocked and devastated to find he was cheating again, I truly think he’s grown – but I also wouldn’t be surprised, in a way, because it’s part of his character, isn’t it. I worry a little. I think we have to remain vigilant as a married couple. I hope your husband is vigilant and I hope he puts in a great deal of effort for you. You are worth it.

    • Jenny , my story is identical to yours. It truly helps to read people having the same thoughts. I sometimes think it’s all me, I’m mad not to have moved on when he tries so hard. Time does heal just not as quickly as I hoped. Wishing everyone a healing heart and mind.

  3. You write and think so like me. I’m one year right now, started crying. Not by choice about three weeks ago. Story is different but I stayed to fight through his destruction and it took forever, even today he struggles with empathy, he just slides back to his own grief at how he feels about himself. It maybe will never come, the day he is there to support me … but he wants to stay martied ( now) and like you said so well before- my 100% is gone, I’m so glad you came here. You are like, so relatable to me – and you know, it is needed. Seriously, thank you

  4. I am only 2 yrs out. The devastation was great just as you stated. Counseling is my saving grace together and alone. I still have a very suspicious mind. Before I made things very easy, but now he does many things daily to assure me we are much better than okay. Knowing the person and knowing all the times he lied to my face is hard to conquer. I will be okay with or without him. I am choosing to stay with him, and he makes choices now to account for his time. Only time can show if we’ve made the right choice to stay together. No one wants to in their right mind go through this process. It’s a learning process nevertheless with great highs and lows. I still tell myself on a regular basis being happy is a personal choice. I work hard to not be pulled down and be engulfed with discouraging feelings and what ifs. One day at a time. I have grown and so has he. Here’s to growth through discomfort.

  5. You describe it perfectly. Ian about 10 monthsbehind you on the same journey and I have always related to your words. My heart beats differently and I trust differently. Thank you for your blog. I have never commented before but you helped me enormously. Thank you

  6. I completely understand. Three and a half years for me and it is hard. At times, all is well, but then something happens (or nothing happens) and you remember. Small pieces, big pieces, the hurt comes flooding back. The insecurity. The fear. And the genuine loss. I don’t think it can ever be the same again.

    I feel like our marriage has completely fallen back into old routines as well. Sometimes I bring it up or go out of my way to do something to try to rekindle the spark. To show him I’m still here. Still invested. Other times it just pisses me off, quite frankly. Why is it my job to fix us, he’s the one that ripped us apart? I was trying to fix us, working hard at in fact, while he was having a relationship every chance he got with ‘her.’ Then I try to remember it’s a partnership. It takes work from both sides and has to start somewhere, so it should be me. Then I think, will this always fall on me? Maybe we can’t make each other completely happy? Maybe we should just move on?

    It’s a mess.

    I hope your heart and mind continue to heal. That your marriage strengthens and this becomes nothing more than a faint memory. I hope this for you, for me, for anyone that reads this that is hurting. ❤️

  7. I have never read something that was so unbelievably accurate. Thank you …. makes me feel less crazy on my “gone” (these are days I just turn off – I can’t participate in life) days.

    Sent from my iPhone

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  8. Your blog post today out into words things I feel in my heart ❤️ but could not articulate. I share, u always have. But have to dig to get past the surface if his day. There is trust, slowly rebuild over the past few years, but it is not the same. It will never be the same. I am still trying to determine if that is a good thing, a bad thing, or just a thing. We are little more than 4 years out.
    My case is a little different than yours. My d-day was just a crack in the of the surface. There had been others. Somehow the emotions I had been feeling leading up to d-day had some familiarity to me. I just knew this was not the first time there had been another woman. I pushed and pushed. I do believe I have full disclosure, but many days I struggle and wonder if it would have been better or easier to not know. It is a surreal place to be, I can’t I know.
    Through this recovery process I have been blessed to meet some amazing women, many that have had to overcome much, much more than I have.

    Most days I still remember that my husband cheated on me. Most days I am aware of the pain he can inflict on me , but I am also reminded that he strives everyday to make sure he never hurts me like that again.

    Our relationship is different. But we are different people. I am very different, pain does that, time does that, wisdom does that. And most days I am very content with all these things.

  9. I am still healing 2 years on and we weren’t strong enough to make it go on. I try and shed the memories from my new life but it will always be there. Having another woman rock up and destroy your world, you being completely oblivious to your husbands mistrust etc is a feeling that will never leave us who have been in this position 💕❤️💕

  10. What I would give to feel like you. I don’t want to bore you with the details but my husband had two affairs with the same woman. My first D-day was six and a half years ago, he was not totally honest about it all until the second D-day sixteen months ago. He didn’t deal with his problems properly after the first time and it took months of counselling to deal with the second time. I wont make excuses for his behaviour which, as with all affairs was underhand and hurtful, but I do now (kind of) understand where his head was both times. I really wanted to fight for what we had, which for 1w years was truly amazing. I wanted to be a strong person by staying, listening, trying to forgive, much of it against my families position in it all, but recently after amazing progress, I have felt lost and overwhelmed by it all. Do I stay because he has always been my world, the love of my life, or do I go it alone, which I feel totally capable of doing. I know from my extensive reading and counselling we can’t go back, but I guess what I’m asking is when, if ever, do you really learn to accept this new reality, this uncertainty, this shift in the universe. I know that’s impossible to answer, it’s just my thoughts, but I find this uncertainty totally exhausting. I just want to be happy again, to be (just a little) carefree, to feel whole. How do you do that? Can you ever do that?

  11. I feel just like you. Reading your words is like me writing them … only I don’t write them because If I do then I’m going back there again or it might ruin my day …. but in essence I’m going through your same emotions .. only my d-day was 2014. But I’m happy, we survived but I’ll never be the same and sometimes I feel like a lot goes unsaid and that bothers me. Thank you for this post I’ve been following for quite some time with you and it is a little uncanny how you wrote this now.
    Peace and love
    Melissa

  12. Once again you nailed exactly how I feel. I’m little over two years fro m discovery and hope to find happy again. I have recently acknowledged that I do love my husband by I’m not in love with him. The first months after I find out out he was cheating he pursued me and worked so hard to make things right but slowly lost momentum. Things are the same again just like before d-day. He wants to be that good guy that everyone looked to and liked. I get that….. but then here is me… changed , my heart has been altered, I’m not who I was two years ago. I feel lonely! So grateful you posted, grateful I do not walk this path without someone else not getting what this did to me!

    • Love to you. That is such a tough position to be in emotionally. I also hate that I was robbed of my ability to trust people as much as I did. Almost every other man in my life before him had betrayed me in one way or another, and he was the one who I truly believed for 6 years (until I found out about the affair) was my real friend. Yet I have also had to self-analyse a great deal and recognize some of my behaviours that may have hurt or confused him in the past because we simply were NOT COMMUNICATING the way was should have. Now, whenever we feel at odds, we push through to find out the real source of the conflict, instead of me saying sorry and he just telling me it’s all okay, which it was not in his mind for years because he was filling in the lack of communication with his own terrible assumptions about me based on his past experiences with women, from mother to ex-wife.
      I suggest you force the communication. Be raw. Be emotional. Yes, you will most likely raise voices and whatnot, but once you force him to get to the real root for the affair, and you (if you haven’t already) see your part in it (even it if is as simple as mine was with facial expressions he didn’t understand or the fact that he really didn’t get it that women have to go into “mom mode” at times, and no, life will not always be one long, happy date), I really think you may see a new person in him who you can be IN LOVE with, and not just love. It was hard work for these past 2 years, but we have never stopped walking, talking, and over analysing our conflicts/ feelings / expressions / etc..
      Take care and give yourself a huge hug!
      M

  13. Thank you for your words. As I am in the middle of my 3 year anniversary of D-month (it unfolded all month long), I am relieved to hear that the pain fades some. I, too, feel the silence at times and I, too, feel like we’re slipping back into old patterns. Each day I feel stronger and I value my worth enough to say “I won’t settle.” You are beautiful, you are strong, and you are loved!

  14. Beautiful reflection, I wish I could put into words like you do as I believe it must be very cathartic. I am 3 years post D Day this month as well, it has been a rough road. I recently have been telling myself that all the lies, hiding & deception is proof that my husband didn’t want to leave me, hurt me or lose what we have and also he truly didn’t care about the beast. He actually refers to her as a scumbag which really confuses me, but whatever. Thank you again I so look forward to each and every post as well as the comments from others. Stay strong xo.

      • Kathy, of course I wish I could leave my email or cell to text but I wish to remain anonymous on this forum. If you’d like to leave your email here I will email you and we can take it from there.

  15. I actually thought of you yesterday and wondered how you were doing. As we browse for support, those thoughts appear. We aren’t the same people anymore. My husband was gone overnight for his job for the first time since D-day over 2 years ago. I needed to do some reading, get some support later in the night. His trip was legit, I know that. I know he’s over it and focused on me, on us. Yet I still felt apprehension. I was snippy as the hours before he left counted down. Then I just stopped and breathed deep. Let it go. We will be fine. We stayed in pretty constant communication over that time, yet I was like, “let me be”. He came home and I felt like we survived.

    I am always asking the questions to see how he’s doing, what he’s thinking. But when I ask, he talks. He’s open and it seems natural, not forced. I think that’s growth for him. He’s naturally quiet and reserved with his thoughts and emotions, so I’m happy he’s open to sharing, even though I have to ask. My mind has to go through 700 iterations of how to ask how he’s doing before I actually ask. Why does it have to be this way? Our innocence of marriage is gone, but we survived. Maybe we are better for it.

    I pray there are brighter, more care-free days ahead for all of us.

  16. You said it perfectly. You always bring up and stir up the deep emotions I try to stuff. It will be 7 yrs Thanksgiving day since my d-day. He was gone on a business trip, he wore his wedding ring this time. But when he returned there was no appreciation for the many things I’d done so he could go, that slipping backward you described smacks me. I will never wholly trust. Yet we are together. I research forgiveness and trusting again on the web, seeking that one secret technique that might get us back to where we were. It has yet to be found.

    • I too am searching for those answers, 4 years past my d day. I am so acutely aware of the times we slip back to past behaviors. I find I easily pull back from my husband when we are not connecting, not consciously working on our relationship. I still need a date night, flowers, romance, or I pull away from him. I fear it would be too easy to stay there in that place, feels safe. I do know I don’t want to be without him, but it is so hard to be in it sometimes when all the hurt is still palpable. He went thru therapy for a year with a psychologist who helped him get to a healthy place. I went too but it really seemed more about him getting healthy. Now 4 years later I have been seeing another therapist but still not finding the easy answer. I think a labotomy would be perfect answer, just forget everything. I try to be in the present, let it go, but it is such a struggle, I keep fighting it.
      Your reply resonated with me. I hope you find your answers:)

      • I too feel a lobotomy might be the answer! I am over 3 years out from D day and while we are working on our relationship I think about his betrayal most waking hours. I don’t think you can fully trust again and that’s reasonable. The blind trust of before now seems stupid. However, the huge thing for me is that I can never feel the same about him. I love him but not in the same way. Were there other, other women in our situation? I don’t know but if I find out in the future that there were then that would have to be that; not because of the women but because of the lies which terrify me.
        My life is not what I thought it would be and I think in many ways I get more pessimistic as time goes on as it sinks in what he was capable of. I have to fight that feeling to have a future with him. I think I sadly have to admit that this is now very much part of the fabric of my life and probably always will be. Bring on the lobotomy!!
        Kate xx

  17. We are 3 years past D-Day. My brain broke so bad after I found out about the affair that my doctor put me on antidepressants or risk me killing myself. I’ve been on these damn pills ever since. They literally saved my life…so I love them. But they are my daily reminder of what my husband did to me…so I hate them. I want to be free of these pills that help me handle my emotions, but then what? Would I be treating the affair as if it never happened? Sweeping it under the rug and moving on? The idea of “letting go” of the affair terrifies me. Every year NYC remembers the events of 9-11. They do this so that they never forget what happened. So that it never happens again. In our society we do that a lot – we hold vigils on terrible days. Las Vegas became “Vegas Strong”. High schools across America rally for changes in gun laws. The Humboldt Broncos had the biggest go-fund-me ever. We mark these tragedies and remember them forever. But not without purpose: it’s so that we never go back to the way things were.
    So I’ll swallow my daily antidepressant and remember my pain. A daily reminder of how things will never be the same again. A reminder of how far we’ve come as a couple. And I’ll bow my head in a moment of silence this time, to remember my pain and suffering and remind myself that I survived.

  18. Your words ring true for me and so many others, no doubt. We have survived.
    I am 2 years 4 months since D day, and I question if I’ll ever really be happy again.
    I push forward each day with a smile on my face and I do try to be happy. I’ve lost so much through all of this, but clearly made that choice when I chose to stay with my husband. Sadly, I am not the same person. The carefree, fun loving gal is gone, and I mourn that loss. I am realistic about the fact that we have to find a new normal, but after 30 years of marriage it sucks – for us both. I won’t give up, at least not yet, nor easily. Waiting to get out from under that weight … does it ever happen???

  19. I’ve been having some dark thoughts lately. Specifically, how would I react if I run into her in the street. Sometimes I tell myself to bypass her and go above confronting her. Other times I fantasize about scaring the shit out of her and hold her neck in my hand. Other times I put myself in my husband’s shoes and imagine how he’d feel if we run into her or if he seems me confronting her. 3 years in, and she still tries to contact him. She’s absolutely in love with him it’s infuriating to me. All my hatred and bad energy lately is directed towards her and I know that can’t be healthy. But I also know it’s a phase that would go away soon just like everything else did.
    Thank you again for your blog. It gives me strength to go on.

  20. I am 15 months post D-Day. My husband had a one year affair with our next door neighbor. I knew something was wrong for months and confronted him almost on a weekly basis. I was very emotional each time, crying and showing my fear. Each time he denied having an affair and even went on to assure me that he could never cheat on me, that he loved our life and would never risk it. For 4 months he told me these lies and behind the scenes in his secret affair, did nothing to stop or end it. During those 4 months, he saw me cry, plead and beg for the truth. Each time I got the same lies as assurance.

    Because she lived less than 100 feet from us, we sold our home. The home we built, raised our children and created 18 years of memories within the walls. I loved my home and now I miss my home, my community, my life. I was and still am a good person. I don’t understand how he could do this to us.

    We’ve been in counseling since day 1 and to some extent it has helped. He ended his affair immediately and told me he was committed to fixing what he broke. I understand now that my husband has some pathological behaviors because of childhood issues. He also went into individual therapy to better understand and deal with his issues. However , the devastation I have suffered emotionally remains constant. This is a man that repeatedly told me I was the love of his life, that he admired me, that if he was a woman, he would be me. The he believe we have a connection that is beyond this life. Then how is it possible for him to do what he did to me ? To us ? To our children ?

    What I am struggling with is similar to what has been shared within others emails. I don’t like having this loom over my life. It is now apart of the architecture of my marriage and it exhausts me. I want to break free of this emotional nightmare and just close the door to him. I want to be free of the pain. I love him but I don’ t think that is enough, it wasn’t before, look what he did to us.

    I’m trying to lean on my faith, telling myself that I need to continue to work toward forgiveness but I don’t think I am capable. Am I putting too much on myself too soon ? Am I a fool to stay and try to fix this ? I can’t stand how I feel anymore.

    • Don’t feel you have to rush forgiveness. That is a burden I placed on myself, too – but why should we have to feel we are doing wrong when we are the ones suffering? We bear the brunt of the pain, we should not also feel guilty about not immediately forgiving. Work to heal yourself first, continue counseling and lean on your faith but don’t let anyone tell you you’re doing wrong by not forgiving yet! I don’t think you’re a fool for staying. It’s been 5 years for me and only in the last few months have I felt our marriage is really solid. I can forgive him for some things, others I can’t, but I can still love him and hold that. I can’t imagine forgiving her, but she’s not part of my life so as long as I don’t obsess over it I can live with that. I’m sorry your life was turned upside down. You didn’t deserve it.

      • Oh – I also thought I’d have to get a divorce just to stop the pain. Even a few months ago when my husband and I were doing well, getting along, seemingly healed, I still talked about that option with my therapist. I don’t think it’s bad to know you may have to do that in order to heal. You didn’t make the decision to tear apart your marriage, and it’s not your fault if the only way you can end the pain is to get distance from your husband. My therapist told me that it was something to consider but also that there was no hurry to make any decision – it could be on my timeline. Maybe that perspective might help you?

    • At 15 months, I was still an emotional wreck and certainly hadn’t forgiven my husband yet. But I turned to God like I had never done before. But somewhere in the last 6 months or so, I realized I have forgiven him. I understand there were deep down emotional issues from his childhood and even adulthood that he’d never shared with me. Now we talk about those issues, how he’s feeling, what he needs, etc. Amazingly, he does ask the same of me (once I open that door). Forgiveness can come with understanding. Sometimes, it’s just about the cheating and selfishness. Someone above wrote that “he stayed with me”. There is a lot of weight to that statement. Ask yourself Why and build on that. Our marriage will never be the way it was. In some ways, it is so much better. We talk more. We do more. I have confidence to know we will have a future together. I don’t think you are a fool to stay and try to fix it. It takes day by day self talks and keep building on what you have. Hang in there and don’t expect this to change overnight.

      I am still mad at times and hurt. Somedays, I want to tell everyone in our world what he did to us. I will never wholly understand why he did this, but that devil was involved. The good news is that we survived that storm and are better prepared to get through the rest in our lifetimes. Hopefully you can look back some day and say the same!

      • I too am leaning very heavily on my faith. Our counselor has told me that at some point, if I choose to stay married and want to rebuild, I need to make a leap of faith. Easily said, difficult to execute but I believe it is the only way forward….

    • Marybeth, you can stay in your marriage and rebuild without forgiveness just as you can forgive and walk away from your marriage with a clean heart. There are no rules to surviving infidelity and no hard timelines. Just…listen to you, your heart’s truth.

    • I’m so sorry you are going through this. You feel lost. I’ve been there. All you can do is what is best for you. You obviously love your husband to stay. Read books to gain insight on the why’s. That helped me tremendously. Don’t feel you have to get divorced just yet, but maybe separate for a while to see if being away from him is what you truly want. See if it makes you happy. I wish you peace during this difficult time.

    • I’m glad you are going to therapy as you are just several months behind me. Flat out, I wouldn’t be married without a therapist I can’t even imagine the strength to continue without this help

  21. I am almost 2 years post D day. Still struggle with trust issues. Is he going to do it again? Still feel the need to see his phone and social media access. When does this madness ever end?

    • There is a very good chance that it will never end. Once you have been burnt, you automatically have that response to protect yourself from being burnt again. Sad I know, but it’s true. If you can accept it, then you will survive, if you can’t, then you won’t. It really is that simple. It all comes down to what you will accept. What you will put up with.
      Survival is a pretty strong word, but many of us have made it. It’s not that we don’t understand, or that we have forgiven, or that we forget about it. We just live with it. Accept it. More often than daily it comes back to haunt me, but I am more than a survivor, I’m a winner.

      • Thank you for your reply! I appreciate your words that you say you don’t forget but you accept and survive! Thank makes me feel that it is me that is the strong one. One of the things that I wish I could get rid of is the fear that since he has done this twice that I have been able to find in our 24 years of marriage is that he is going to do it again! If I find it again, he is gone!

      • Candi, you not only have a chance to be a survivor of this, but a winner because you can now live life on YOUR terms.

        I found that I no longer compromise near as much, and I am now the dominator in our relationship. The second (?) time in our marriage, I was thirty years in and the therapist reminded me that we had a lot of history together, which was eventually instrumental in holding us together.

        The strength you can gain will let YOU make the decision with comfort and confidence if you have to make the decision to end your marriage.

        You will make the right decision.

  22. Hi there. I don’t feel like I can comment publicly but I find your blog very helpful because I’m the one who had an affair. And although I still make sure to open the floor for conversation about it between the two of us, I often read your words as if it might also be the things my husband is thinking. Sometimes I ask him. Usually I just assume there’s a very good chance that he does. And so thank you for your vulnerability and authenticity.

    On Sat, Sep 22, 2018 at 11:38 PM Healing After My Husband’s Affair wrote:

    > thiswillnotdefineus posted: “We all have days that mark different moments > in our lives. Some of those days are remembered for joy and others for > devastation. Today is a marker for me. Six years ago I felt my world > implode. I was utterly devastated, confused, and broken when I discov” >

    • Thank you. My hope is to make these conversations real and natural. Not so foreign. I always feel better after I ask my husband questions that are lingering on my mind, but I know there’s no way for him to know where my mind goes.

      • Wow, how uncanny my email blew up today with your blog. Tomorrow is my d-day anniversary-Thanksgiving Day. It always bums me as I’m trying to be thankful for everything and then this ball and chain pulls me down. It’s been 7 years.I still don’t understand this affair. I don’t think he even thinks about it anymore, but it’s still a daily thing. I’ll hear a song, some part of her name (still can’t say it out loud), and blam, like a slap in the face. I always read and appreciate you all for being there for me. It’s the only way I can share and feel supported as nobody knows the depth of the pain like you all do.

  23. You’re remarkable and your feelings mirror mine. It will be two years in February for me since D-day and we are slipping into comfort as well. And I panic and think to myself “is he getting bored again?” We haven’t gone to counseling in 8 months and a huge part of me wonders if we should make an appointment. I don’t want to be detached from my d-day feelings/emotions because I don’t ever want to be caught off guard again. It’s recovery, there is still a process. I still think about the affair at some point everyday. I get that pit feeling in my stomach at least once a day. I like not thinking about it, I feel so much better when I don’t, but I feel skittish – like an abused dog. Even though I’m in a better home, I can’t shake what has happened to me in the past and am constantly waiting for it. I wish I loved him like I used too. I wish we still had the marriage view of loving one another equals faithfulness. But it’s painful. I look forward to the day when I don’t think about it.

    Question for you though – did you ever have a revenge affair? If not, did you entertain the idea? I’m curious on your thoughts.

    • You nailed it here with your description of what it feels like on a daily basis — thanks for putting that into words.

      Personally, I never had a revenge affair because there would be no point in staying with my partner if I felt the need to do the same thing he did. He had an affair mostly because of deep psychological issues stemming from childhood and a controlling marriage (on his ex’s part) that had nothing to do with me. Mix that with his poor communication, terrible assumptions about me (including that I would react like his ex, when I wouldn’t, about certain issues), and depression, and voila: he reached for some old fantasy, behaving much like a sad teenager with little impulse control. I wanted to find out the reasons why, to get to the root, and to recover that best friend I knew was always in there but who was clouded by so many issues he lost track of us. So there is no place for a revenge affair. If I wanted to sleep with someone else, I would just leave my partner because that would mean I don’t want the relationship anymore.

      Thanks for your great insight — keep posting as it helps me sort my own thoughts!
      M

  24. I just wanted to say I’ve been reading this blog for quite a while but this entry and the replies has been one of the most helpful yet. Maybe it’s just the place I’m in at the moment but the content and responses seem to have hit home so deeply with me this time. For the first time in a while I have a clearer picture of what I’m feeling and going through, thank you all so very much.

  25. I am going to comment again to offer some guidance. Time does not heal the wound that betrayal causes. Many times it take a lot of resources to heal the damage. Ladies rather we want to admit it or not marital betrayal is one of the most damaging emotional trauma there is. I suggest people that are trained to deal with this type of thing. I have used Affairrecovery.com. I know several people that has used Dr Doug Wiess and another great resource is Gary Smalley institute. Also Redemptive living for women and beyond affair Anne Bercht. These are a few of the placed I know of personally.

  26. I am almost two years out. Some days are harder than others but we are doing it. Reading your blog hits home as I could have written these entries myself. To know that there are other people going through this same roller coaster ride (I never did like roller coasters) is comforting.

    I’ve yet to find…but wish there were support groups for survivors.

  27. —-“The reality is that on this day, six years ago in the wee hours of the night… my heart stopped and it’s never truly beat to the same rhythm again.”
    -Thiswillnotdefineus
    Absolutely.
    I now fully expect my husband to be with someone else; I now know he is not capable of the type of love I am wanting to share; never was, never will be. Very sad more for him than me. I simply know him better now and find him less attractive.

  28. Thanks for your honesty; when you describe what seems like a fear that things have slipped into the similar comfort of pre-D-Day, I completely understand that feeling. It is a catch-22: you want to move on and find that lovely ease you once had before the knowledge of betrayal, and yet there is comfort in that span of time in which you were breaking down and he was giving you copious amounts of love and attention to try to make amends. Time moves on, and of course you cannot remain on high alert, nor can he remain in a place where he is in apology mode 24/7. So life settles back into routine and one’s anxiety begins to increase because now you must deal increasingly alone with the strong triggers and feelings of doubt, low self-esteem, loss, anger, irrational anxiety bouts … for if you constantly bring these things up, you are not allowing him room to self-analyse, heal and see you once again as that person he wants to be with.
    I am lucky in that a) I have a partner who opened up to being scrutinized / questioned / psychologically broken down for understanding, and who owns what he did. He understands increasingly the importance of voluntary honesty, particularly with regards to his once-locked-away emotions. He admits without my asking that he feels pangs of guilt and remorse on a daily basis because he knows he had acted selfishly, taken what we had for granted, and hurt his best friend. Most important, he hugs me and looks me in the eye every day and often tells me that I truly am his best friend because I stayed, I fought to understand, and accepted that he has true faults just like me. He says that nobody before in his life has ever done that, nobody has ever shown him unconditional love (because love to him before me was all conditional, based on his performance as a husband, member of a suffocating community, as a son to demanding parents, etc.). I hold on to this last admission because to me it is the most real realization he could have. It is one that no amount of my monitoring of his phone, my questions, my eager yearnings to please, my abilities in bed, can match as a solid reassurance that I made the right decision to stay. Just last night in bed he told me he never forgets (for it is maddening at times the scary idea that with so much time passing without mention of the affair, he may forget and fall back to old routines of thought, emotional closure and disregard for our friendship) — he never forgets that I gave him a second chance, and that he recognizes how rare that is. I really hope you feel the same way with your partner.
    All the best,
    M

  29. Hey there. Thanks for writing this post. It is good to know you are doing well. So reassuring to everyone who followed your blog and looked for support and inspiration. For so many of us it was the first time (and hopefully the last!) to be in a situation like this. So many unknowns! Are my feelings normal? Am I crazy to feel and think like I do? These were the questions I was asking myself.
    Next week is the 4th anniversary of our D-day. We too are going strong after much soul searching, reading and praying too. It is possible to fall apart and survive!
    Love to those who are in the early stages of discovery. Stay strong and fight for your marriage.

  30. Your letter to yourself was the first thing I read when I went searching for real women and how they survived their husband’s affair. I decided to start in the beginning and continued reading for hours hoping to find confirmation that woman could survive this horrendous hell, that marriages could be restored, and that life would return to normal. As you and I both know – that just isn’t truly possible. Thank you for continuing to share your truth.

  31. Well I’m 11yrs on … Yep thats right 11…My husband and have been together for 25 yrs, since I was 15 yrs. Everything was great wed just got married 12 years ago now.. and become pregnant with our first child… Then I found out he had being having an affair.. While I was pregnant and just married only few moths earlier.. Now it was a shock as my husband is the last person on EARTH I would ever have thought to do this.. He is well liked,and had always been my rock.. He don’t smoke,drink and has a good job .. that’s the kicker he was working away at the time 2wks home 2 weeks away interstate at the time of the affair for 6 months……. How I found out.. hmm yep I found images.. sexual ones on our computer.. I knew it was him… Confronted him he denied it .. but the evidence was too strong.. I then found a online profile on a singles site.. My world fell apart.. We did relationship councelling and their advise was to us if you want this to work keep this between yourselves and deal together without other outside opinions and influences… that we did.. yes hard to say the least.. me keeping straight faces with friends when “That ” topic came up with other friends or people we know… I got used to it .. but inside it killed me….. he always said if i needed to talk or tell anyone that was fine with him he will take the backlash… only a year ago i told a girlfriend and my sister.. they where shocked.. but i can talk about it.. I fought it as he was doing everything to keep me assured it was a silly mistake and it will never happen again….. yes even I still check his emails, phone.. I cant seem to help it.. even though there hasnt been reason to think its happened again at all.. its always there… Over the years I thought we are strong.. but it was there… today it still is.. Ive just turned 40.. and again the wave of WHY, HOW and YOU DID THIS TO US ! come over me.. again to counceling but I honestly now I feel different .. I feel lost , lonely and my love is disapearing .. we now have 3 kids aged 11, 9 and 7 years. He is a great Dad our boys love him.. BUT I feel sad all the time.. I see others with true laughter, happiness 100% trust of their partners… yes 11 years I feel this week I’m back where I was… It still kills me.. We had everything ! on the outside we ARE that couple.. but I’m dying on the inside.. I have again had the conversation with him again.. I just feel lost and falling quickly down and out of love… I know no different.. life has always been with him… I only know him.. Ive never been with anyone else… This scares me.. I don’t want anyone else at all… I just want to be really happy and I’m back in the place of WHY… Yep 11 years on .. im here..just…

  32. With mixed emotions, sad and grateful, I thank you all for writing and sharing the post.
    I come across this blog from google search as my marriage counselor suggested me to read “closure after affair”.
    You called her the Bat Shit. I call her the ignorance, selfishness, shameless woman.
    My healing process and the feelings that I’m dealing with seems direct to my husband’s actions and not the Bat Shit. I try not to waste my time to even think about her, when I know she is a shameless woman that wants to be with a married man & break up people’s family.
    It has been 4 months since I found out, I have hard time to find “closure”.
    I thought I could find peace with myself or us after I know the 5 Ws-why, who, when, where, what and how. Well, I hope that I know most of it, but for sure not everything…
    The W that really bothers me is the “why”. My husband said “I thought I lost you”, “I never wanted to leave”…I don’t know what to take from that. He used “our relationship was not at a good place” as an explanation, but I truly feel that our relationship was not in a good place “after” he started the affair. While he was partying and honeymooning with Bat Shit, I was dealing with the responsibilities at home, how could we have a good relationship when he was not here to work on it? (yes, he lied about many business trips, interviews, trainings) I’m a devoted wife & mother, I take care of everybody else before myself. I gave him 20 years, and betrayal is what I received.
    I have lost trust in him like all of you did with your husbands, and I don’t think I can ever trust him again. I am still in shock, as I believED, like you said “he could never hurt me and never, ever cheat. I had chosen him time and again. Now I know he didn’t always choose me.”
    What made you decide to give your husband a 2nd chance? How do you know that he won’t do it again? Does “time” really help heal anything? I was naive, and that hurt me.

  33. I am approaching the 3 year mark since D-Day and I struggle on a daily basis to overcome my insecurities, lack of trust and respect, and overwhelming heartbreak. Some days I hate him and on other days I know I can’t live without him- which only makes me hate myself more. I search the internet for answers and quick fixes, but never find what I need to move forward. I feel like I live in a house of horrors- a kind-of smoke and mirrors hell. I am so ready to move on, but feel paralyzed and have no direction for my life. My lying husband has made a lot of self-improvement and I am thankful for the work that I know God is doing in his life. But, I am angry about the damage God allowed in my life. I feel like He saved one soul, but destroyed another. I struggle to accept that injustice. In fact, it makes me so mad when my husband is so happy to be free of his depression and fake life. However, it only reminds me of my own depression and it is so unfair. Just hoping that God is working in my life too and He just hasn’t revealed His plan for me yet.

  34. I love this blog. This is the first honest account I have ever read. I’m only months out so I can’t relate to a lot of the “healing” part, but it’s good to know I’m not alone in this. I’d love a support group (that didn’t cost a fortune) or just a friend who has been through this. Everyone I am friends with is disgustingly perfect 😞. Today I am of the feeling that I will never be able to forgive- at least without suppressing all this sadness- yesterday was different. I pray for anyone going through this- including myself! It’s soul crushing to believe infidelity is so common- I feel so nieve. Thanks for writing this blog- I can’t wait to start from the beginning- it’s the only thing making me feel a little less alone

    • Oh Ellie, You are not naive! How can a person possibly know what you don’t know? But I went through that too. My best advice is to talk and learn all you can, don’t hold back the questions, you need and deserve answers, but ask lovingly to keep the communication open. If you come across as a raging crazy, he will quit talking. I share this as you are searching for healing not more heartache. Healing isn’t going to be a quick easy fix, you’ll find yourself at a different place. The scar may always be there, at least it is for me anyway. The affair changed me. Like the Japanese do with a cracked pot, they add gold to the pot to make it stronger, so the cracked area is better and stronger. Such is this life after d-day. Each day, try to pour a little more gold in the gaps and cracks. You are in my prayers. We are in this together.

    • Hi Ellie,
      I wish I have some advice to give, but I am new in this too. I am going through emotional rollercoasters every day for 4 months now, it’s draining me. I really appreciate this blog and everyone’s post. Reading this blog gives me hope.

    • Ellie,
      Big hugs to you. It is life altering. It hurts. You will be different. I am so sorry for this. I walked arou d for a year feeling as though I had shards of glass in my heart if I even let my mind wander a bit from the fervent intent to heal with my partner. He was the selfish one. He was the one who had convinced me that after a shitty marriage I could find a best friend to truly trust. So some of it you will come to forget, some to accept due to psychological understanding, and some you will shove down deep i to an unknown pit in yourself until it rears itself in remembrance a year later and fill you with fresh pangs of horror. I am not tryi g to be negative, but rather honest about the process. You, my friend, are now part of a unique, unfortunate club. Yet you also need to hug yourself for taking the harder road to at least work at it and see if you can recover a good relationship with your partner. Just giving up and leaving would have been easy.
      I suggest you ask as many questiona as you can to understand the roots of his actions so that you can use those details as a mantra that it was about HIM and NOT you whenever the wraiths of the affair fly under your skin. Lots of love to you. Get some hugs from others to ground you.
      Take care,
      M

    • Ellie, I echo Bre’s comments. Learn all you can about affairs. Read as much as possible. I made so many ” mistakes” in the early months after DDay. I was so hurt, so bewildered, so blindsided. The more I cried and stormed the less forthcoming he was. I believe you need to have answers to your questions in order to truly move on but I now know I will not get complete honesty as my husband is scared he will hurt me more and is scared of my reaction. Honesty means everything to me but he still doesnt get that. Try to be calm when talking to him about the affair. I only know this from bitter experience. Try also to do practical things to take care of you. This is the hardest and saddest thing in my life and I would think in yours too. Moving on with some peace in your heart is for you so reach for it. In all honesty the marriage is secondary now. You come first. The thing I do know with certainty is that if there was a hint of anything else there would be no discussion- it would be over. I feel some strength in that knowledge. I wish you strength as you navigate this awful journey.
      Kate xx

  35. Please watch elizabeth Smart’s goalcast video” the girl who was kidnapped”. One of my daughters sent this to me yesterday….. such truthxoxox

  36. Thank you so much for continuing to post about your healing, recovery and continued struggles. I am 4 years 1 month and 2 days from my D-Day
    I read the original blog post and then the comments below. It makes me so sad to hear all of your stories, the hardship and brokeness that each of you are going thru is heartbreaking. And yes, we have been thrown into a club none of us ever wanted or thought we’d be a part of. Each and every thing I read I can relate to, I have either gone thru it or am still battling it. I feel less alone and isolated when reading about your stories, so thank you for sharing.
    My husband and I also seem to be falling into a place of comfort similar to before his affair. It scares me to death. I have come to realize my husband will never fully understand the damage he did, not only because he had an affair for over 2 years of our marriage, but because of the deceit and manipulative manner in which he carried himself during that time and was never fully honest about everything after the discovery. I will never fully trust again, I can’t. We still have battles we fight and there are day’s I think I should have made a different choice 4 years ago. Actually, looking back I would have made a lot of different choices 4 year’s ago! What I want from our marriage is to feel protected at all costs, even if it costs him his reputation and pride. I have forever changed. I feel vulnerable, scared, tired, insecure, suspicious and on guard about 30 to 40% of the time. How I know I am healing is because that number has slowly decreased from 100% of the time to now about 30% to 40%. But, I feel like I have hit a plateau, I can’t see myself ever being trusting enough to not be on guard 30 to 40% of the time. This as comfortable as I ever think I can let myself get.
    Choosing the road to stay is definitely the harder road. I love my husband very much, I pray everyday for God to heal my marriage, but above all, change my husband’s heart to an honest and transparent heart. Praying for each and everyone of you. Thank you for your sharing, it’s good for you to have somewhere safe to let it all out!!

  37. What great comments posted here- it truly warms my heart to know I’m not alone in this.
    Today I think what is the point of staying? It has everything to do with the kids and family unit. Yes I believe people are flawed and make mistakes, but I wouldn’t choose this person if I had to marry again- I believe I would choose better- someone with stronger moral character.
    I think I can live life in a fine way- I have good friends – but I don’t believe in that kind of love anymore …how sad. So it’s not about rebuilding a marriage now- more of just keeping a “family”. I’m so good at pretending, I can do it. It’s always the betrayed who have to make the final decision- they make the mistakes , we make the final decision to tear up a family or try to “forgive”.
    Kind of depressing outlook today- but that’s the new me!
    Keep your comments and thoughts coming- I enjoy reading everyone’s perspectives- some of you are so strong – it’s amazing!

    • We’d been married 20 years when d-day hit. That was almost 7 years ago. I couldn’t decide whether to stay or go, so I just took one day at a time. We are still together. I couldn’t forgive, just couldn’t move forward. So on our 25th anniversary we renewed our vows, I made it a new marriage on that day. It made a difference and helped me. I haven’t forgiven the old but I was able to start anew. There’s still bad days where I still hurt, I can remind myself that my first marriage died and this is a new day.

      • I too have felt that my marriage was over the day he started his affair, which lasted 3 years. So I continued with the thought that we are in a partnership not a marriage but have always wondered if I would feel different or if it would ease my pain if we had a ceremony and married again. Then I think, well, those vows meant nothing to him before, would they mean something different now? Would it help him to feel whole again, would it help me? How did your husband feel or change after you renewed your vows and did it make the pain, constant memory easier?

      • The ceremony was in a little country church, just the 2 of us. It was a sign to him that we were going to have a new start and a new commitment. So it was my way to release the past, a way for him to say it was a new start too. I think it was a way for him not to live under the guilt of the affair any more and a way for me to let go of the past. He has never said how this made him feel but I think it made a difference for the both of us. Sometimes I’d still like to express how the past hurt me but instead of going backward and wallowing in the past/pain, I tell myself that was in the past and this is a new day. It’s an internal feeling for me so kind of hard to explain here.

    • Thank you for sharing. Most of what you expressed is what I feel. Especially the part about the final decision being mine. If I left, I know I would feel like I was the one who ended up hurting our kids. Another unfair aspect of what he has done. Kind of depressing is right. But that’s the new me too.

  38. I have been following your blog for almost 3 years – it will be 3 years on 11/18/18 that MY life imploded and I discovered a 5 YEAR long-distance affair btw my husband and a co-worker. Everything you write resonates with me. We have worked through it with years of therapy (and I love some of your songs) and we are still together, but nothing will ever be pure or the same again. But I am a strong and logical woman. I am here because I know it’s best for all of us. I know we love each other and I know our kids need us. So we muddle though this odd world of post affair – things will never be the same as they were before but in ways they are actually better. Aside from bday and anniversary card buying excursions – these are the worst!! LOL. They don’t make a card that says “you ripped my heart out and squashed it but I’m still here for you.” Thank you for sharing your experience. It always resonates with me and has helped me immensely.

  39. Hi Ellie, I feel the same as you. I’ll never love my husband the same way ever. In fact, I don’t think I can ever forgive him for his multiple affairs. But 2 years after dday, I am getting better at pretending. Just for the kids and this family unit. I’m also getting better at living my own life and taking care of myself. Hugs.

  40. Bre, you are very understanding and a kind person to have let go of the hurt and to go through with a renewal of vows.
    We planned it all out.
    Then I got cold feet. I felt that as long as my spouse didn’t own up to it completely to my satisfaction, then I couldn’t do it again. Shortly before we were supposed to do it, I started thinking about all the broken promises, and couldn’t go through with it again. Broken promises told me just how cheap words and promises can be. Now years later, I have come to realize that it isn’t the talk that makes it work, it’s the walk that makes it work.
    We are still together but if I could go back to day one I am not sure what my choice would be the same.
    Once the trust is gone, it is hard to resurrect.

    • One can go through life being bitter and afraid to not trust again or one can take a risk and love as best we can. I don’t have a guarantee that he won’t have another affair but I can trust my own decision to move forward with the best love that I can. I don’t know if I could go through another of his affairs again, but I chose to try again and start anew. For myself, not him.The old marriage obviously wasn’t working, I thought it was just fine until I learned otherwise. Like all life lessons, what doesn’t work is an opportunity to ask what needs to change. Obviously I needed to change too. I don’t consider it “giving in”, but rather getting my eyes opened to see the marriage wasn’t working for him and I didn’t know it. There are no guarantees to anything, including marriage. But for today I can write all this and be at peace in knowing I’ve given our love a second chance with all I’ve got. Now when d-day anniversary comes Thanksgiving day, I may feel differently. But I hope that I can give thanks for a marriage with love. Guess we’ll see what happens. I’m stronger than I was back then in many ways but it doesn’t make it easier when I hear “her” name or think about it too much. I’m better off looking at how things are just for today.

      • I love this entire thread and how it’s bringing all of us out in the open to discuss something so personal, so horrible, and yet we all seem to agree to one huge thing, that we are part of that hidden society that will do whatever it takes to make this marriage work, that we believe in love.
        My husband and I chose (it was my decision and our therapist agreed to our rational) to keep our entire story private as much as possible. I had to tell my doctor to test for any diseases and then I told my sister in law who I thought was the best person to confide in. Turns out, the best people are those on this thread. “Society” doesn’t want to hear from us. They think we are crazy or head in the sand. I know this, we are a reminder that IT DOES happen. It could be happening in their lives (if statistics are true at 50% plus, so then it really is).

        Why should I have to throw it all away for some 10 second whore who lied and manipulated to feel what I receive on a daily basis for the last 30 years?

        I would love to hear from anyone that is seeing a Gottman trained therapist and sees them with their spouse? My husband and I have been seeing one 2 months after he exposed his affair. I know this more than anything, it we hadn’t started seeing this doctor, we both agree we wouldn’t have made it. We tried so many things in that 2 months time and actually did more damage than help as we were both is such states of shock. If I could do one thing over again, 10 seconds after I got the news that devastated me, I would have called our therapist. I’d give that advice to anyone and feel like I did ONE great thing that day.

      • I have just started reading this blog. Almost 5 months from d-day. I am trying to remember forgiveness is freedom for me. We are working hard on our marriage but I am still in so much pain. There are days when I want to trust him again because I love him but then I remember…. wishing for happiness someday.

    • Rather be me,
      I can sit next to you all day on what I’m reading about you and your feelings. I go through the cheap words, broken promise, lack of character, “it’s all BS” mantra almost daily. But the thing that has changed us is that I have to find out why exactly at moments I get those feelings and hands down it’s something my husband is doing to trigger that feeling. We have to work at it but the more we find “those trigger” moments, the more we can process through them. The last thing my husband wants to do is to cause me more pain but he also has to know what he’s doing that is causing it. Just like the affair, it has to stop so that “new positive” things can occur.

      I don’t believe in renewing my vows at all (I always have an uh-oh moment everytime I’ve heard someone doing this, they have always been divorced 5 years later) But I’m wrong about many things so perhaps it’s just some weird thing in me.

      I’ve been told trust takes a very long time. I’m only 20 months since D day after a 13 year affair to a “28 year marriage”. I am the couple no one would believe if they heard what my husband did. Even I still struggle….but 20 months later and I’m shocked by how much more light I see compared to some of those very very dark/black days of shock and trauma.

      I believe trust will return. He has to earn it as I have to be willing to give it.
      Don’t give up!

  41. I have been following this blog for about five years since a short time after my own “D-Day.” This post really resonated with me in that… I too feel that I’m ok. I have hope and I have found love again (my ex tried but in the end chose cheating/betraying behaviors repeatedly again with another person and I ultimately left after two years of trying to recover). Even though my heart also beats differently, even though I forever feel a seed of doubt and mistrust, that somehow overall I am OK, and overall I am learning to love and be loved again, and to not constantly be checking, and to not engage in obsessive and unhealthy behaviors, and to not punish my new love for “sins” of the old or blame myself for them either. My new love knows just enough to understand to a minor extent that I have “trust issues.” Boy, doesn’t that feel like too simple an understatement to explain the trauma and the consequences of betrayal? What I am also proud of myself for, too, is that I don’t remind him of this. I don’t try to pressure him to be the one that “heals” me. I can handle this. I am handling it. I am thankful for him. I love again. I am loved again. My heart beats differently, but it still beats.

  42. I just want to say thank you for everyone’s openness here. Knowing I am not alone means a LOT! The hardest part for me is how much I feel this betrayal has changed me. The changes are all negative too. It’s very hard to get past the feeling of not liking the person I’ve become. Not sure how to turn that around yet. I wish everyone here peace.

  43. So i stumbled upon this as a student and doing research on my favorite author. Only to find my favorite author experienced in the muck of infidelity. I learned about his affair in June. Each week, month or day a new revelation exposed. What was just a couple of times of casual sex turned into sex for a few months to a year then years—- to most recently being contacted by the other woman sharing and his admitting that this relationship has been going on for 12 years. 12 years out of the 19 years of our marriage. Where was i? It’s surreal.
    It’s awful. I’m still in shock. My husband shared this blog with me. Today. His message is hope. His message is that he can change. And really I’m not sure i care if he can change. I’m changed.

  44. Thank you all for sharing your stories! I am only 9 days out from my own D-Day, which occurred on October 21, 2018, and I know that October will never be the same for me ever again. My story is different from most of yours here in that the affair only lasted about 2 weeks (and he only knew her for about 2 weeks), but the hurt/anger/betrayal will be there (even if only subconsciously) for a lifetime. I am not sure what the future holds for us (its WAY too soon to tell), but I am leaning heavily on my faith and believe that I will be okay no matter the outcome.

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