Progress is hard work.

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

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

This begs the question: Am I happy?

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

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

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

I have to believe yes.

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

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

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

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

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“More balls than brains”

voltaireI did something risky yesterday and some of you may disagree with what I did and others may read this and be happy. I called the AP’s soon-to-be ex-husband. There have been so many questions in my head about his AP that I needed affirmation of what was true and not true. Honestly, I wanted to contact him for a while so that I could get answers to my questions but I was hesitant to draw him in at all.

Friday night I did a Google search for his name because I knew I could find his cell phone number on the web. Google’s number one search for his name was something different than I expected–it was a 5K race he ran in September of 2011. I went to the website curious to see which 5K he ran and imagine my surprise when I saw his wife (my husband’s AP) had run the same 5K. Now, my husband slept with her for the first time in the beginning of September 2011. According to my husband, she told her husband their marriage was over in July/August of 2011 and he had moved out of the house at that point. She then began pursuing my husband with great persistance–telling him he was going to have sex with her because it was meant to be. So why would she run a 5K with her husband if she just separated from him? Especially since she claimed he was emotionally abusive to her–why would you subject yourself to being near him? And then my mind started remembering that she had given us a Christmas card in 2011 that was signed from her and her husband and their girls. Why would you sign a holiday card from your husband if you are separated? Wouldn’t you just write: Love, The Smith Family? My head was spinning and I asked my husband if it would bother me to contact her ex. My husband said that he preferred I did not draw him into our lives but understood if I needed to talk to him.

To keep the rest of my story clear I will be referring to my husband’s AP as Bat-Shit and her husband as Larry.

So I arranged a conversation Larry for Saturday afternoon. I drove to Starbucks, bought my usual latte and sat in the parking lot and dialed his phone number. I was shaking but I knew there was really nothing he could tell me that would set me back. [If you haven’t read the rest of my story, I texted Larry three times post D-Day to tell him what was going on. At that time I believed they were still married and living together but my first text back from him revealed that they were separated.] So here I was sitting in my car, nervous and shaking when I heard him answer his phone. I knew that if I only asked him one question it was how did their marriage end and when did he move out. What I found out was so un-f-ing believable. I couldn’t even script this shit.

Larry began to tell me that his marriage had been over for years but he stayed for his children. He begged to go to therapy but Bat-Shit was never willing to go. She bought self-help books and then wouldn’t read them. Their marriage was unhappy from the beginning and during their engagement he tried to end things twice but Bat-Shit insisted they get married. He then told me he moved out the first week of July, which seemed to jive somewhat with what my husband was told. I then asked about how I had met them in July 2011 and were they already separated? He responded: “What? No, I moved out in July of 2012. Just this past summer.”

PINNNNNNNOCHWHAT?! She had told my husband that she had asked Larry to move out in late July/August of 2011 and that Larry had agreed to move out. I have emails from my husband to Bat-Shit asking how she was doing since Larry moved out; how was it for her to see him at parent-teacher night at their kids’ school since they were separated; she was so lonely during the holidays all alone. All lies. She told my husband she was separated from Larry to get my husband into bed.

Larry told me he suspected they were sleeping together (He never felt the need to tell me!?!) and confronted Bat-Shit continuously throughout the year of the affair. She denied, denied, denied. He had a vasectomy in 2008 and Bat-Shit went back on the pill during the affair. He questioned it and asked her if she was f-ing my husband. The affair took place at his home and in his bed 99% of the time. Not only was she lying to my husband to get his sympathy, she didn’t care if Larry caught them in bed together. Most of my husband’s interaction with her was trying to be her friend in a rough time where her mean-big-bad husband had left her. My husband stayed with her so long because he felt bad for her, he felt guilty walking away and thought it would be easier for her to move on first… essentially, my husband fell for her lies completely.

I also wanted to ask him about Bat-Shit’s former job because it didn’t jive with me. He revealed that she worked at her job until she had her first child in 2003 and then she took 6 1/2 years off. Her resume states very clearly that she worked at this company for fifteen years. If you subtract six years off of that she would have had to begin working at the job at 13 years old. Then he revealed that she only worked there part-time (averaging about 20-24 hours/week) from 2009-2012. She told my husband she worked full-time and made $90K/year. Her husband revealed that the most she ever made was $42K when she worked full-time. More lies. More lies she told to get my husband’s attention. Because her job was how she first established “common” interests with my husband.

Larry then told me about Bat-Shit’s personality history. How when she was in high school it is widely know that she began to dress like the popular girl, Jen, impersonating her and styling her hair to match. Then in college she admired her wealthy, spoiled roommate who happened to be about 30 pounds heavier than Bat-Shit. Bat-Shit put on 30 pounds in less than four months, began dressing like her roommate and acting like her. Larry then asked me if I was aware that Bat-Shit was stalking me on Pinterest. He told me that he saw her on my Pinterest account once and asked what she was doing. He noticed that her “new” persona began to resemble me–who she knew my husband loved.  And, to be honest, I was surprised that Larry even knew what Pinterest was. But he told me about Bat-Shit’s newfound interests and how she spent about $10,000 last year on new clothes, home decor, etc. I asked him if he was aware that she bought my husband a $300 iPod? He said he couldn’t keep up with the amount of money she was spending and wasn’t surprised. I guess I don’t live in a household where hundred-dollar gifts can be purchased without my knowledge. I just don’t approve of superfluous spending. I’m a saver and I always have been.

My last question to Larry was why did he think she did this? I have struggled with this because for me, there is some comfort in knowing a person’s intent. Larry said that he believes she wanted my husband and my life. She wanted him to leave me and create a life with her. Who knows if he’s right… but the shoe seems to fit. The thing is she always told my husband during the affair that she was okay with the fact that my husband told her that he would never leave me, never. She seemed to be okay with him telling her that he loved me.

I got off the phone with him almost two hours later. I drove straight to my husband’s business and told him everything. All the lies and more lies. I made him swear that she told him Larry had moved out in the summer of 2011 and he swore to me that he’s told me everything he knew. He said he doesn’t think he could have ever had sex with her or much less in that house if he knew that Larry still lived there. He looked at me and said “You shouldn’t be so surprised by this information. Everything you thought about her was true. You saw through her from the beginning. I just don’t know why I couldn’t see it.”  But I am surprised. I am surprised that she is sincerely and certifiable Bat-Shit Crazy. All this time there was a part of me that wondered if she was as pathetic and pitiful as she portrayed herself to my husband. Now I know that it was all a ploy to draw him in. But why? What about my husband made her want to destroy our marriage? And what was she going to do if he did leave me? What was she going to do if I did find out before her husband had moved out? What were all the lies intended to create for her? Here’s the thing. If my husband had left me for her–wasn’t she worried about him discovering the truth? Wasn’t she concerned about the fact that she lives in a small town that would not embrace the idea of two broken families? I don’t get it.

I guess, I hope she’s moved on to her next victim. I asked my husband if we could get a restraining order but he feels like we are seven months from D-Day and nothing has happened and nothing will. I suppose he could be right but I feel like she could be waiting me out or thinking that once the dust settles she can go back to walking into my husband’s business. Larry put it best yesterday when he said: “She has more balls than brains.”

Bat-Shit is a true sociopath.

Infidelity = A marriage forever changed

Easter weekend was like a breath of fresh air for me. I kept my mind stable and enjoyed the warmth of Spring that was teasing the Northeast. I randomly ran into an old friend last weekend. I hadn’t seen her in at least two years but our history goes back about sixteen years. In fact, we met about the same time I met my husband. So she has known us before we were married and pre-children. We now live in different parts of the state and keep up with each other on Facebook. She’s one of those friends you don’t need to see or talk to all the time, you just pick up wherever you are now in life.

Needlesstosay, she does not know about my husband’s affair. I imagine if she did know she would be matter-of-fact about it and just ask what I was doing about it. I didn’t tell her about the affair because it didn’t seem relevant and we were surrounded by eavesdropping ears. As she was about to walk away she said:

How are you and ____ [insert my husband’s name]? You two are the happiest married couple I know and if you tell me it’s a facade it’ll destroy me!

laughter… laughter…

Until that moment in our conversation I had forgotten about my husband’s affair but then there it was like a cartoon cloud that just appears and rains on only you. Luckily, enough time has passed since D-Day that I was able to offer a sarcastic comment and laugh with my friend. So the question is out there now.

Is our relationship a facade?

Woman Looking at ReflectionI mean, I love my husband and I am fighting for this marriage because I believe in our love and the amazing potential of our relationship. But the truth of the matter is that we are still living in a world of hurt and pain. Yes, the pain is in the background now, but it is still everpresent. It doesn’t control me as much or make me fall apart on a regular consistant basis. So will our relationship always be a facade or will it ever be real again?

At least one or two nights every week my husband and I lay in bed with me asking questions, probing for answers and looking for something to ease my pain. Sometimes I find it and sometimes I don’t. My husband struggles with me saying that we will never have our pre-affair relationship back. His choice to have a yearlong affair will never slip from my memory completely and he will always wish he could go back in time and make better decisions to protect our marriage. He is struggling to grasp that we can never go back–our relationship is now defined (as much as I said it wouldn’t) as pre-affair, affair and post-affair. I do believe that if we stay the course and continue to rebuild that we will have a better marriage than what we started with more than twelve years ago.

My husband wants us to have our old marriage back. Why? He believes the affair was 100% his doing and was not because of our marriage or me. So he continues to hope that I will love him like I did before he cheated. I don’t really know that I love him any differently but we need to reestablish trust and respect. Every time we have this discussion I ask him why he has such a hard time understanding that we can’t go back? I can’t ever love him without knowing that he cheated. I will never have a husband that was faithful. I will never have a husband who didn’t lie and deceive me for over a year. I will never trust any relationship he has and I will always question that he is hiding information from me about the people he spends time with and places he goes.

This is the result of his affair.

A marriage forever changed. Will I ever not feel pain? Will I ever trust him and my decision to stay and rebuild? Will I ever not feel like I deserved more? I really don’t know but I love him enough to fight for our marriage.

The Infidelity Dance: Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

I have come to hate the infidelity dance. Over the past fourteen days, I spent ten of them feeling great, happy, positive, no tears/sadness over the affair, just forward progression. ImageThen Tuesday night–SLAM! There’s that wall again. Right in my f-ing way. I didn’t even see the wall, in fact, I drove myself right into it all on my own. My husband and I settled into our bed on Tuesday night and I had some ideas and thoughts I wanted to share with him. After reading the posts about the Hoffman Institute program on the blog Fulfilled Entrepreneur, I felt like a light bulb went off in my head. The process of healing at the Hoffman Institute begins with determining where your negative behavior patterns originate (most likely from your parents–just like you positive attributes/behaviors are learned from your parents). Here was my A-HA! moment:

My in-laws are excellent parents and it’s difficult to be critical of them. They value family as the number one priority and are close with not just their children, but their children’s spouses too. I have a special bond with my mother-in-law and most people have heard me comment that I am very lucky to have them as a second set of parents. But, if I try to be critical of behavior patterns, I find that they have criticized my husband’s jobs and career for his entire adult life. They rarely brag about him or his business(es). His successes are met with criticism and almost a disdain for his career choice. What is even more disturbing is that my husband’s career is also his passion. He is one of the fortunate people in the world that gets paid for doing a craft he enjoys and loves. So how must it feel for your parents to criticize your passion? How must it feel for them to tell you on a regular basis that you should do something else with your life? I always thought my husband ignored these comments. I expressed to him on multiple occasions that it bothered me because I love the way my husband approaches his career and business(es). I love that his business doesn’t shut me out and I can be as involved as he needs or wants me to be.

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But maybe he doesn’t ignore these comments and disapproval as much as I thought? What if this disapproval was magnified when my husband was unemployed for the period before his affair? What if my husband couldn’t see reality because the perceived disappointment was overwhelming?

A few scenerios may be the result of this perceived and presumed disappointment. One, the advances and attention from his affair partner was appealing and felt good for his ego. Interestingly, he never revealed to his affair partner that he was unemployed for an extended period of time  before they met. Since she did not know the truth there was no question to his success and talent. Had she known his length of unemployment and the difficulty it imposed on his family, she may have found him less attractive. All she knew is that we live in a wealthy suburb and he drove a luxary car. He didn’t want her to know what could be considered “failures” in his career. In fact, he even hid them on his LinkedIn resume. Two, he wanted to revel in the feeling of disappointment. As his wife, I never faulted him for not finding a job. I actually expressed on multiple occasions that he should hold out for a position suiting his level of experience–don’t settle for a miserable job. We weren’t broke (although we went through quite a bit of our life savings). Disappointment has been a part of his life and nothing he was doing managed to deter my confidence in him. Nothing. He was still the best at everything in my mind. But it’s possible he wanted to disappoint himself and punish himself for not meeting his own expectations. Three, another part of this equation is that I began working again and I gained a sense of independence. There was a thought in his head that I no longer needed him to save me. I could save myself. I could even decide that I wanted someone else to save me. Fear sets in and he may have realized he was comfortable in the feeling of disappointment he evoked from his parents. Afterall, even in disappointment he gained their attention. Growing up in a big family with a bunch of siblings you have to steal your parents attention somehow and if disappointment is the solution–then you found what works. Maybe his wife [me ]might respond to real disappointment. Maybe I might give him the attention I was neglecting to give him if he actually disappointed me. I know he felt neglected. He felt like he had to fight for my affection and attention and he was at the bottom of my list.

And the truth is, he was last. 

The kids came first. My best friend was a huge focus in my life. The dog was competition. I was trying to impress people at work so I could earn more money, get a promotion, and feel needed. I loved my husband but I didn’t make our marriage my number one priority. Everyone and thing else seemed to come first because I was certain that our marriage was a rock and nothing could shake it. I was content and happy. I felt our lives needed to be centered upon the children because they are only living in our home for eighteen years and after that we had the rest of our lives together. I thought about how small of a fraction those eighteen years really are in the grand scheme of things… and I wanted to focus all my energy on loving and developing amazing kids. And they are amazing–so I must be doing it right. Right?

Wrong. 

I was so certain my marriage was indestructable, unbreakable, solid. Our love is admitedly like nonother and unique. The love we share with each other was perfect, fulfilling, inspiring and true. The love we share is like a fairytale romance and in many ways his affair hasn’t changed that feeling.

So the question begs: How did I hit a wall? Why did I feel like I was moving backwards in our progress on Tuesday night?

Because my husband sees his childhood as it was–good, happy and fun-filled. He sees his parents as the amazingly wonderful people they are and he does not want to blame his mistakes and failures on them. They did not fail–he did. I am not sure if he was offended at my suggestion that his choice to enter into an affair may be rooted in the lessons he learned from his parents, but he was going to defend them and continue to blame himself for being a “bad” person.

I couldn’t communicate with him that he’s not a bad person, he did a hurtful and wrong thing. But while we were talking Tuesday night he shut down. He wallowed in his shame and guilt. He got stuck in the hatred he has for his actions but he directs it at himself. He defines himself by this one mistake–cheating on me–instead of all the amazing things he’s done for me.

He had an affair and he didn’t want or go looking for one. He slept with another woman for a year and he didn’t even want to be with her. How do you continue to have sex with a woman that you don’t want to sleep with? Most men that have affairs admit to being caught up in a false reality where there were no consequences or responsibiliites. But I am struggling to find a man that relinquished his own desires and needs for the lustings of the affair partner. If you are out there–explain to me how you can’t end the affair when you don’t want to be there in the first place? Why even pretend to be interested in the other woman when you really feel nothing more than a mild friendship, if that. Why allow her to even continue to contact you? My husband’s most famous comment post D-Day is:

My relationship with her [the AP] was built to end.

That statement drives me f-ing crazy. Why would you build and invest time in something that you wanted or expected to end? Why would you spend one speck of time with something that was dead from the start?

So my wall was hit. I spent almost all of Wednesday pissed off and angry. I recovered by Thursday and now I am feeling good again.

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The only thing that makes sense to me is that he is comfortable feeling like a disappointment and as long as he was with her that is exactly what he was–a disappointment.

My husband’s AP might be a sociopath.

ImagePart of trying to heal from infidelity is therapy. Before my husband’s affair I had never been to a therapist but I do believe in good therapy. A friend of mine recommended her therapist to me and after we called multiple therapists listed on-line, I found her therapist was the only one who returned our phone call. Our first appointment was a week and a half after D-Day. We both felt like our therapist was easy to talk to and asked the right questions and said the what we both needed to hear. She gave us suggestions on ways rebuild our relationship and heal from his affair.

In my life I have always taken on the role of the friend who is everyone’s safe place to open up and let down their guard. So it only makes sense that after D-Day, once I had wrapped my head around the the fact that my amazing husband had cheated, I dove into the how, the why and the how to make sure this never happened again. I read books and blogs about infidelity–just like all of you. Like most of us, my story wasn’t quite the same as anyone else’s story. So through our therapist and my listening skills, we discovered some comments from my husband that were red flags. Here are the comments we’ve flagged:

  • The friendship progressed so quickly. I felt like we went from strangers to best friends in less than a month. I figured that meant something but I didn’t know what.
  • She was constantly showering me with flattery, affection, adoration and gifts. I felt like she was so attentive to me–she really listened to me.
  • I can’t tell you much about her–her hobbies, interests, birthday, her age–I don’t know any of it. Everything she told me were things she said we had in common.
  • She claimed her ex-husband abused her emotionally. Yelling at her all the time. The end of their marriage was all his fault. She was a good wife and mother, he was the horrible one. [Yet every encounter my husband had with her husband never revealed anything of the sort. In fact, her ex-husband recently stopped by to ask my husband to treat him and his kids like everyone else if they run into each other. Their conversation was almost amicable, if you can believe that.]
  • She told me over and over that God put us in each other’s lives for a reason. We were meant to be together. We were soul-mates. It was odd.
  • I wasn’t physically attracted to her. It was her charming and charismatic personality that drew me in. I’d never met someone who was so caring immediately–from the start. She cared about me so quickly and everything she said seemed so genuine. Who would give you that much attention if they didn’t truly care?
  • I felt like if I didn’t have sex with her I was going to lose the relationship. I told her sex would ruin our friendship but she insisted on our relationship becoming physical. I never felt inclined to have sex with her throughout the entire affair. I guess I did it because she offered it to me and I felt like I didn’t want her attention for me to end.

Now here are things I noticed:

  • In just one year she sent my husband 720 emails to his “secret” account. We are talking page-long, five & six paragraph essay style emails. She also sent daily emails to his account I have access to on a regular basis. When checking his cell phone bill she called him 145 times a month. Speaking to him for about 1000 minutes a month. Sending him 350 text messages a month. Constant contact. And, I will note that nearly all the communication was done DURING normal business hours. 
  • Two weeks before their relationship became sexual she told my husband in an email:

You are going to have an affair with me. Our story is like a Hallmark movie and this is meant to be. 

  • She wasn’t shy about telling him what he was going to do. Despite him telling her that he didn’t want to have a sexual relationship. 
  • When I discovered the “secret” email account I emailed her asking her if she really cared about my husband how could she do this? How could she ask him to risk his family and relationship with his children, parents, etc? I told her to tell her husband before I did [I was unaware of their separation/divorce]. My email was brief but came from a place of pain and that was clear. Her response to me was short and simple:

I am divorced–I’m not married anymore.

  • She had no remorse. I never got an apology–not that I expected one.
  • She emailed me a month after D-Day asking ME not to contact her ex-husband with details from the affair. [I had texted him the day after D-Day to tell him of the affair.] She told me to delete all the emails in the secret account because her ex was relentless and would find the emails. What’s funny? I deleted them that night. Not because of her ex–because I was done going through them and hurting.
  • Her resume/work history is impossible. She is 36 years old with over sixteen years of professional work on her resume plus four years off to have babies. She earned two bachelors degrees from a university in two years. One of her listed degrees is not offered by the University and the other one does not allow double majors.

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So was I surprised when it was suggested that my husband may have been a target? No. Was I surprised when our therapist suggested my husband read more about personality disorders, specifically, sociopaths? Yes.

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Last night I began reading a book online about sociopaths entitled, Red Flags of Love Fraud, and my husband was silently listening to me read to him. His affair partner fits the profile in 8 out of 10 categories. In fact, their relationship is a text book example of the way a sociopath creates a relationship with a victim. In fact, he recognized the patterns in other relationships in the OW’s life too. Her first husband told my husband they never should have married or had kids but she pushed for it, mandated it. They didn’t date long before they married each other either. The weren’t married long before she insisted on having children. He always knew that he shouldn’t have married her.

What does this really mean though? My husband still had the affair. He still had a choice and none of his actions are dismissed even if she has a personality disorder. In fact, it worries me that he let his guard down so easily. I thanked him for inviting a sociopath into our lives. Wtf.

Sh!t that bothers me.

frustrationDo you know what bothers me? Is that here we are… the betrayed spouses, the wayward spouses and even a few affair partners… on WordPress and roaming the internet together. We are doing the work. Trying to figure out how our seemingly perfect marriages now include stories of betrayal, lies and secrets. Here we sit checking our in-boxes or notifications wondering which anonymous WordPress friend has written us a message of hope or words of advice.

It bothers me that sharing my experience will probably never prevent a spouse from cheating.  In the end, my words may comfort another betrayed spouse but she won’t go looking  for them until her D-Day arrives. Who looks for advice on how to prevent an affair when they are in love with their spouse and happy. Who goes looking for advice before they choose to have an affair?  Maybe I shouldn’t worry or be bothered by the man out there who is playing with fire, befriending a female co-worker and hiding it from his wife. Maybe I shouldn’t be concerned about the wife who is trusting her husband so much that she never checks  his cell phone account for usage, or his email account on occasion or stops by his office on a whim. But I do worry. If an affair could happen in my marriage, it could happen to anyone.

It bothers me that I only learned after my husband’s affair that the biggest vulnerability was believing that infidelity would never happen to us. I thought if you love one another and enjoy each other, your spouse will never stray. I thought that true love meant there would never be deception. I believed my husband would never be involved sexually with another woman because he was so physically, emotionally and intellectually attracted to me. I believed that we shared the same values and morals and that meant lies, cheating and adultery did not exist in our lives.

It bothers me that I cannot escape the incessant conversation in my head about my husband’s affair. Remember before your D-Day and you could live in each moment of your day? I remember the happiness I felt and the way I loved my husband without thought. Now my brain is running 24/7 with questions, fears, anxieties, mistrust and loathing. All qualities I now hate about myself. Even if I feel a moment of happiness, I then start to think about my new normal–being aware of happiness despite my inner pain and struggle. The roller coaster conversation in my brain is exhausting. I hate driving in the car alone and talking to myself about the aftermath of his infidelity.

It bothers me that my husband’s character is marred and our marriage is scarred. No matter how we come out of this mess, the story remains in our lives. She becomes part of our marriage–the person who challenged us to love each other and strengthen our marriage? Or the person who destroyed it? At this point, I believe we will make it through. We love each other and my husband is doing the work and trying to live an honest life, true to his beliefs and values. He is exploring his weaknesses and how he ended up in a situation he did not want to be in with this woman. But regardless of what he learns, the story remains the same.

It bothers me that I have to talk about this shit every fucking day. Seriously. If I don’t talk about my feelings and fears with my husband then they take on a life of their own. It pisses me off that this Bat-Shit Crazy woman has one second of a thought in my brain. People I hate should not take up space in my mind. Why do I continue to brainstorm ideas of how I could screw up her life? Why am I such a good person that I will never carry them out. I believe in karma and I don’t want any bad karma in my life. I am hoping that some day it will end. This affair will not define me, my husband or our marriage. But right now, it feels like a shadow I cannot escape.

I could keep going but I am exhausted just thinking about my list of frustrations.

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Sometimes I forget he ever cheated and then I hit a wall.

loveyThe first half of my weekend was filled with a blizzard–kids home from school, I was preparing for a long weekend possibly without power, all while having some hot sex with my husband. In fact, we joked that if I wasn’t on birth control we would probably be pregnant by the end of the blizzard. We kept settling the kids to play video games or watch a movie and then we’d run off to the bedroom for some kinky, raw sex. Each time I felt his hands on my hips, thrusting harder into my body I was pushed beyond euphoria. At one point during the Friday evening I realized that I forgot he had an affair. Even when I reminded myself, I let it go and still felt calm and happy. I just read about the female orgasm and a study done in the Netherlands. Apparently, when the clitoris becomes stimulated the female begins to shut down the part of her brain that controls anxiety and fear and when she climaxes all emotional activity in the brain shuts down completely. Now it’s all making sense to me. My husband and I had sex six times between Friday morning and Saturday morning (a twenty-four hour period). I was elated, on top of the world. I was not only happy–I was super horny. I could not wait for him to touch me again. Tease me. Punish me. My mind was racing with fantasies and I was telling him all of them… .

But then on Saturday the daily chores kicked in and we had to shovel out of the ten feet of snow in our yard. We went outside to clear the driveway and un-bury our cars (we aren’t lucky enough to have a garage). The kids were playing in the neighborhood with their friends–sledding, trekking around, climbing the snow banks–enjoying the mountain of snow. When we finished shoveling, we headed back inside and I made some coffee and cocoa. I wanted to snuggle up together and watch a movie. My husband said he would sit with me but he had to do work while we watched the movie. It was now seven hours since the last time we had sex. Seven hours doesn’t seem like a long time but, remember, we were snowed in all weekend. We made dinner and ate with the kids enjoying each other’s stories from the day. So the night went on and my husband went back to his work with me laying at his side helping him go over some marketing materials. But he wasn’t making a move on me, he seemed content to work and make love later.

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When eleven o’clock arrived I was irritable and the fear began to set in. I started asking questions about the OW and him. And then I found something out that I didn’t know. He told me that before their relationship became physical and he believed it was a friendship they discussed her ending marriage. I may have already mentioned this but she asked him if he was happy in  his marriage. He told the OW that he was very happy but if he had one complaint it was that our sex life had decreased through the years. At this time, we were having sex only 2-3 times a month and while I admit this is not enough–I do believe it is completely normal to go through highs and lows in a marriage. I thought it was because we were both too busy and exhausted and needed to make more time. My husband believed this was how our sex life would be for the rest of our lives (he says he was okay with it but missed the days when I was friskier). Let me point out–he never told me any of this. But he told her. What I didn’t know that I found out last night is that she began to ask him every time she saw him:

Were you and your wife intimate this weekend?

It was a common question for her to ask him and he didn’t feel at all strange about telling her if we had sex or not. I felt violated finding out this piece of information. That some woman who was interested in my husband had full knowledge of when I was having sex with him. I don’t even tell my best friend this information–maybe I tell her a few times a year–but never do I reveal our calendar of sex to anyone. And if someone asked me–I don’t even know if I would tell the truth or if I would tell them to mind their own business. He told her the truth every time. He says he told her to make her realize that we were having sex. I told him that she was not going to be deterred by our sex life–she was now knowledgable about something highly personal in our lives. She had inserted herself into our bedroom. And without him even realizing it, it was now affecting our sex life in a negative manner. I don’t have a calendar of our sexual activity but I can tell you it began to diminish even more and throughout his sexual affair.

He also revealed that one of her conditions was him telling her if he had sex with me. He says that he never outright told her that we had sex but that she always figured it out. He claims that he would retreat from their relationship and be unresponsive to phone calls, text messages and emails and then she would ask him: “Did you have sex with your wife?” He maintained he only told her the truth to let her know that he was being intimate with me–because he claims he constantly told her that he loved me. He claimed he hoped that her knowing we were having sex would make her stop offering it to him.

I started crying. I looked my husband in the eye and told him that it’s amazing that her condition was knowing if or when we were intimate but he is married to me. My expectation in our marriage is that if he was ever intimate with another woman he would tell me. I deserved the knowledge of where his penis had been–NOT HER! I asked him if he ever thought that he didn’t need to answer her gd questions and he said he felt like if he was honest it would turn her off and she would leave.

I realize that men don’t understand women. I realize men are clueless. But when I explained to him that the knowledge of our sex life may at first be hurtful to her it became a tool for her to manipulate him too. If she knew when we were having sex then she could try to control that from not happening by offering him more sex. She knew he wanted more sex–that was his only complaint about our marriage, right? So if she offers him more sex than I do–she might win him, right?

Well, it was a good try Bat-Shit, but you didn’t steal my husband by offering him sex. He never wanted you and he still maintains you were a bore in the bedroom. That’s why he pictured me to orgasm–or faked one to get out of your house. And that’s why he couldn’t get an erection sometimes–even with your mouth sucking his cock he couldn’t get an erection. That has NEVER happened to us. 

I was angry and I felt violated. I am trying to move past the brick wall that was dropped on my head last night. I guess finding out these details isn’t a game-changer… I just wonder where my husband’s judgment was when he was involved with her–telling her when and if we were intimate.

Low Self-Esteem and Infidelity

ImageLast night I was googling about infidelity and hypnosis. I wanted to know if I could be hypnotized to deal with the triggers and lessen the pain. Not that I really planned to do it–I just wondered if such a thing existed. What I stumbled upon was not what I expected.

Low self-worth and poor self-image are at the root of most relationship problems, because the inability to place appropriate value on oneself determines how others treat us, how we treat ourselves and how we treat others. If we don’t feel a sense of value about ourselves, don’t feel safe or secure being who we are, we act and react in a way that reflects our perceptions of ourselves and our lives. Coping with negative emotional feelings is de-energizing and draining over the long haul and good emotional and physical wellbeing is not sustainable under such a burden.

Contrary to popular opinion, people with low self-esteem are always very sure of themselves. They are sure they are worthless or worth less than others in at least one area of their lives and usually in most areas of their lives – they are absolutely sure they are flawed or inadequate. Anything positive that happens to them is just good luck, chance or someone else’s generosity. Any negative that happens they feel they probably deserved.

Later that night after the kids were tucked in bed and asleep, our discussion began. I recited what the script says above about self-esteem and self-worth and my husband looked at me like a light bulb when on in his head.

See, I always thought that because my husband seemed so sure of himself and I equated that with great self-esteem. I did see when he didn’t value his accomplishments but thought he was being humble. And his affair with Bat-Shit Crazy puzzled me because he relinquished not only control to her but his self-respect. I have asked him over and over again:

How could you [someone who is so self-aware] be involved with someone who didn’t care about YOU as a person–the things you value, love and define your character?

My husband was searching for an answer but he kept thinking that it must be the typical infidelity answers: self-absorbtion, selfishness, or ego. These answers bothered me because it didn’t make sense by the way he felt while in the relationship.

He continuously broke off the affair over the course of the year telling her it wasn’t what he wanted. Although his attempts to end it were futile because she would pull him back in trying to pretend all she wanted was friendship. Then she would offer sex. He didn’t have to say yes (and he didn’t accept it every time it was offered). He did it because he thought he was helping her get over the end of her marriage–but he didn’t care if she decided to get back together with her husband either. He hoped she would mve on so their affair would end. He was waiting for her to end it. He never promised or gave her anything–in fact, he did the opposite. He says he felt worse about himself while he was involved with her and I noticed he gained weight last year too. He relinquished his choices to her–she was needy. He believed (and still does) that she had no other friends to lean on (big surprise that a homewrecking whore doesn’t have friends, right?). He wanted her to go away but he didn’t walk away either. Why?

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So I read these words and I start to think of my husband. Confident but yet always feeling he doesn’t deserve anything. I’ve always struggled to figure out how my husband is so successful and loved at his job but he’s not successful in a manner that promotes himself. In fact, if I look at him professionally, his position has been stagnant over the past 13 years. Different companies–same job, no salary increases. How is that possible? Maybe it’s his trade. Or maybe it’s him. Maybe he’s comfortable in this place of worthlessness.

I am not making or accepting excuses for his decisions. But it was an AHA! moment. I realize that if you have low self-esteem you attract leaches. People who will take advantage of you. I’ve seen it before in his past with a boss taking advantage of my husband’s skills for personal gains. But I hadn’t seen it like this before…. obviously. In fact, in our relationship I thought he was strong, confident and masculine. But he has always said to me since day one:

I love you more.

Sometimes I would try to argue (“No, I love you more”) but I never won. Sometimes I would smile and kiss him. Sometimes I would wonder why he felt this way. I threw it in his face in the wake of my discovery of his affair. I realize now he never thought he deserved me… he sits there and says: “you are gorgeous–look at you; you are intelligent; you are magnetic….” . Maybe what he’s really thinking is:

Why would someone like you be with me? I guess I got lucky.

So I must love you more because I am not worthy of you.

You could never feel about me the way I feel about you.

Well, he’s wrong. I love him. I love him so much I am willing to work through my pain and suffering to salvage what was once beautiful about us. I am trusting my love to guide me through this battle. I am trusting myself and my heart even through the pain and sorrow. I love him in spite of what he did. I don’t believe I deserve what he did but I believe in us.

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So this low self-esteem thing needs to be worked on. The hypnosis website says their treatment is proven to work. 😉  I don’t know if I am ready to go that route but I think we do need to delve into his subconcious more.