How to cope

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-11-2009
How to cope
23
Tue, 08-18-2009 - 9:37am
I guess I am still in a state of shock. I was, what I thought to be, happily married to my best friend for over 20 years. We met in college, married and have a wonderful family. My H is a great dad and I thought a great husband. We did most everything together, as a family and as a couple. I would talk on the phone to him at work at least 4-5x a day. We even had a good sex life. I'm sure he would have liked to have more but I would consider what we had to be great. Three weeks ago, H asked to go get a drink after dinner. On the way in the car he announced that he had an affair with one of my best friends. This friend and her husband were in the process of getting divorced (just announced maybe 2 weeks earlier). She had been caught in an affair with another man (not my H). My H explained as we drove down the road, that he had also had "an indiscretion" with her as well. He said it happened a few years prior and that he ended it last summer. I was speechless! I told him to turn the car around and take me home. I think I was in shock! I didn't say anything. I walked in the house and went and started to work (I work out of my home). That night, I told him to think about how he was going to explain this to our children when they find out. We live in a small neighborhood that loves gossip. I told him that I need to try to keep their world from being smashed into a million of pieces. I asked that we try to make the appearance that all was ok in front of the kids. My oldest was about to leave for college and I wanted to make his last weeks the happiest memories for him, not crush his world. That is what we have been doing for almost a month now. I had to go see my dr that first week and get some meds to help me get through the day. At first, I couldn't function. I would spend hours up in my closest, physically shaking, crying... trying not to let anyone hear me. I spent a lot of time doing yard work so I could wear sun glasses and then nobody could tell that I had been crying. After I got some medication, I have been able to keep myself together without loosing it. I knew I needed help and it has tremendously. I can get through the day. My H and I did talk one time about the affair. I asked him to "go for a drink". We parked and I asked him only a few questions. Why, how long, where did it take place... Most of the answers I did not really want to know. They haunt my still, day and night. He said it started five years ago when he was going through a really tough time at work. We went through about 5 years of really struggling financially. I thought I was being supportive during that time but we didn't talk about it much. I didn't want to stress him out more than he already was. At that time, he turned to one of my best friends for "comfort". He said the affair was not frequent but lasted over 4 1/2 years. This is a woman that I had in my home a million times for dinner, to vacation with, to go out with.... It would have been so much easier I think if it was with a girl at the office, or someone he met at a bar... but one of our best friends!! I still can not believe it! Did either of them ever think of my or her H??? How could she walk in my house at Christmas and exchange gifts or sit in my back yard for a bbq.... it makes me sick. Physically sick to think about them. The thoughts won't leave my head. I haven't seen the OW since. I texted her and said that I never want to see her or hear from her, that if she tried to contact me, my h, or my family that I would call the police to have a restraining order put on her. I wish that I had told her what I was really feeling. The hate, disgust, hurt... but I couldn't even begin to explain how badly she has hurt me. I feel like my entire life has been a sham. How can I possibly believe anything my h says. He tells me that he loves me and that me and the kids are the most important thing to him. I just want to know how can that be if he did what he did... and for 4 1/2 years!!!! What do I do now... I do love him, the old him. I do love our family, what we used to have. But how do you begin to get over this... get past this... forget the images that are constantly in my mind... I would do anything for my kids. If that meant staying in a broken marriage... I would. He asked if there was any hope for "us". I told him that I am trying to protect the kids first, and then try to process what is left in our marriage. Since d day, he has been a model husband. Doing housework, going with me to walk the dog, calling me to wish me a good day.... but I feel like I am playing a part in a movie. Just going on like it never happened. But it did!!! Inside I feel crushed. I will never be the same person again. I can not imagine that I will ever be able to look at him without thinking about her. I know he is trying, or I think he is (obviously I must not know him like I thought I did). Tomorrow I have an appointment with a therapist. I don't know what to expect. I have never seen one before. I am not a "needy" kind of person. I would have described me as a very strong, loving person. Now I feel like an empty shell who can't tell anyone why the "who" I was is now dead. How do I go on... my family needs me... I just don't know how to do this... any help you can give would be greatly appreciated. I so desperately want my old life back but know that that is not possible.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 01-16-2008
Tue, 08-18-2009 - 12:37pm
omg your post is so articulate I had flashbacks myself
he is not the man you thought he was knowing this is hard but helpful for you
he is messed up and hid it well and intentionally
you can tell anyone you want to you have that right
i would bet you feel trapped, I know I would
do not put the children before your sanity and happiness
after I found out I wished there was someone I could pay to kick his azz
this is going to take a long time
not knowing is hell and knowing is just as bad or worse
keep coming here it will remind you that you are not alone and that there are some very good people out there
has the "integrity" (ha) to tell you but after the fact (my husband did this)
sounds like he is just expecting you to do nothing about it too
I am so sorry
he would have probably done this at any point and did not really mean his vow to be forever (this helped me to recognize too)
maybe you can get though this will alot of hard work on his part to make it up to you and be what you really deserved all along
rebuilding it so very hard - all of this is
Peace & Strength to you
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-02-2008
Tue, 08-18-2009 - 2:26pm

My H also had a long term A and I know how hard it is for you right now to realize that your H carried a horrible secret from you for so long. I cant even imagine the pain of also knowing that your were being a friend to OW all the while.


I hope your therapist will have the tools to help you cope and find your way through this trauma. If you do not "click" with the therapist, make sure to get a different one. When I went to IC, I felt the therapist had more troubles than I and I got nothing out of the sessions. You and H will most likely need MC also if you decide to stay in the marriage.


There is a plus side here believe it or not. Your H confessed even though you may have never found out. He also ended it on his own BEFORE there was a dday that MADE him end it. So many of us have gone through more than one dday because we discovered the A while it was still going on and the affair partners where still very addicted to each other. Did he tell you his motive for confessing?


Know that you are in the very early stages of all this. It will get better as time goes on. Keep posting here, you will see that there is lots of caring people here who understand what you are going through.

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-16-2008
Tue, 08-18-2009 - 2:43pm

beware
there may be no "plus side"
I sure never felt that way, there is a thing called "trickle truth"
a confession may lead to more confessions years later
a confession does not mean he is telling the truth now or from now on
my husband confessed to once then a year or so later to another woman before that dozens of times
he is now what i believe to be truthful
most of the posters here wish their husbands would have confessed instead of pulling the truth out like a detective which is understandable

what I would be worried about is that he is telling you now thinking that if you don't want him this woman will no longer be married

". On the way in the car he announced that he had an affair with one of my best friends. This friend and her husband were in the process of getting divorced (just announced maybe 2 weeks earlier). She had been caught in an affair with another man (not my H). My H explained as we drove down the road, that he had also had "an indiscretion" with her as well."

Avatar for pater_familia
iVillage Member
Registered: 09-12-2008
Tue, 08-18-2009 - 3:41pm

Lynn

“I still can not believe it! Did either of them ever think of me or her H???”

First of all, this is a very common reaction. Just so you know. ... There is a great deal of information that you could use that this message board can offer and this is a good example. The fact is that this is what we all say after we find out and the simple truth is that they were not thinking about you at all. Affairs happen in a bubble. People compartmentalize, or self medicate or whatever you want to call an affair and you were really not apart of the equation. He’s thinking of you now. And my guess is that if he’s worth his salt, it’s tearing him apart.

“how do you begin to get over this... get past this... forget the images that are constantly in my mind...”

Now you are asking the right question.

You just need to know that what you are going through is what millions of people have gone through before and there are some things you can do and some things you have to learn and process. This board can help you but it is going to take time and thought. And I’m sorry to say, there are no shortcuts. This is going to be painful. I’m soo sorry this is happening to you.

I used to time travel to the hotel and I would have figured out the affair and met them in the parking lot and stopped it back when they hadn’t done those things that I’m so upset about. I would have talked sense into both of them. Or sometimes I just beat the hell out of him. These images were in my head non stop for months. I’ve been there. Can I suggest a few things?

First find a way to eat. Eat good food, not junk food. I wasn't hungry for months. I had to shove a carrot stick or an apple wedge in my mouth and just chew and swallow. In just a few months, I lost almost 30 lbs.Eating right will give you the energy to deal with the problems that are in front of you and your children. This is really important!

Second, Find a constructive way to burn off the stress. Every day since that first week, I have done stomach crunches, leg lifts, pushups (often I chanted the mans name in my head for that extra anger to force myself to do those last few) and stretches. This simple 20 min. exercising has helped on a lot of levels including my wrecked self esteem (my self esteem was completely shredded!).

Find a way to sleep. This was very hard for me to do. Still is.

Get a therapist now! You can't figure this stuff out on your own. I sell books for a living and have to work with university professors all the time, I play competitive chess, I'm good at figuring things out, I'm a smart guy. Nope, looking back at this past year, I can say with authority that I didn't have a clue or the tools to cope with my wife's affairs by myself. It's important to educate yourself on what just happened to you. I read some ten books on this subject. May I suggest "Getting Past the Affair." I ordered it from amazon and had it sent next-day-air and read it several times. IT WAS WORTH EVERY DIME! It's time to invest in yourself. Everything you do now will pay off big later. Don't scrimp.

Consider getting a lawyer! You don't have to use him/her. But it's important to know your rights.
I'm sorry that you have to deal with the most important issue of your life at a time when you are probably at your all-time lowest.

You can do this. You can get through this. Don't do any shortcuts, this is not a time to shortchange yourself. It's time to get some work and reclaim your life.

Thomas

5 kids ages 16-10, D Day: August, 2008

What's I'm doing to rebuild: Therapy, Books, Exercise, Forgiveness.

Thomas

We have five kids. Our D-Day was in August, 2008.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Tue, 08-18-2009 - 4:35pm

I am glad you are seeing a therapist.

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-05-2006
Tue, 08-18-2009 - 11:15pm

wow!

well lynn - first of all i would like to say that i am not a defender of cheating husbands. quite the contrary - personally i would like to hang them all from a fence and hand a sign on their penis' "cheater here - kick me as you pass".

i am going to contrast your story to mine. hopefully it will help. hopefully it will allow you to consider a few things that have not come to mind yet.

my husband did NOT tell me. no, i intercepted a phone call and then i broke into his email. your husband had the where with all to be honest with you and tell you. while this may not mean much to you i will share that the majority of men who cheat DO NOT COME FORWARD AND TELL THEIR WIVES. no, instead their wives find out and then the men lie, and lie, and lie = did i mention that they lie. 'no, it never happened, i swear to you i do not even know her'. 'you are crazy, she means nothing'. 'where did you come up with such a ridiculous thought?' i believe that it does say something about how he feels about you and your marriage that he was willing to confess.

my husband was having many liasons with women he met on yahoo while posing as a widower, and on adultfriendfinder. while you think it would be easier if she was someone at work believe me the hurt is no less. how do i know, well one of the women my husband was involved with was my neighbor of 25 years. she use to refer to me as her little sister. did it hurt anymore than the women he met on sites, NO????? not one bit. betrayal, is betrayal it all hurts. could your husband have chosen someone not so close to home? yes, i am sure he could. but that might just be a clear sign that he was not looking to cheat. does that make any sense?

the pictures in your mind - boy do i know about them. i still have a hard time shaking them, but i keep trying. it is devastating when we as married persons find out that our spouses have shared something so special, something we thought was ours and ours alone with another. what does that say about 'how special it was?' we women, or most of us any ways, share our bodies, our secrets, our fantasys with those we consider kindred spirits. most women do not lay down with our friends husbands - but perhaps i am using the term women loosely here. they are not real women, they are trollips - looking to feed their own ego. please know that. truth be known in your husbands case the sex was probably not even that good, the special feeling - not there. what did they have a few stolen minutes/hours? you and he, your love goes much deeper. there is a saying 'often times a man will allow his 'other' head to do the thinking for them - only trouble, the other head has no brains, no morals, no character, no integrity'.

the foundation that you had is no more. those words are true. you MUST understand that if you love your husband and want it to work - want a future then you, the two of you will need to build on a new foundation - one built on faith, trust, honesty, integrity, laughter, open communication and yes love. and it can be done. the key here is IF your husband gets it = and based on what you have posted he does seem to.

this is going to be a long haul for you = and he needs to understand this RIGHT NOW. he, drove this into a ditch, and he is going to need to do whatever and i mean whatever it takes to prove to you that he does love you. he needs to get it - i can not even count how many times i have typed those words. he needs to understand, to be able to put himself in your shoes. can he even imagine how he would have felt, what it would have done to his ego, to his sense of self, if you would have shared that special part of you with another.

he also needs to be prepared for what you are going thru. the mood swings. the triggers. he needs to get it - you need to be able to openly communicate. i.e you know seeing you in that shirt triggered me, you use to wear that shirt when we bar b qued with her. just an example. it does not even take much to trigger us. he must understand, he must be prepared to listen and be sensitive to what you are going thru. at times like these he needs to be able to listen to really listen. to hold you IF THAT IS WHAT YOU WANT. to apologize for the millionith time.

regarding your kids - IF THERE IS ANY WAY YOU CAN KEEP THIS FROM THEM, please do so. when my h latest go around occurred our baby girl was 16. she came home early from a basketball tournament and overheard it all. it devastated her. it changed her. it changed them. for that i am most sorry. she told her dad 'you were like a God to me, now i don't even want to look at you, how could you do that to my mom?" it affects everything about them, shakes them to their core. it has affected has she feels about men, the potential of marriage - THEY ARE NOT THE SAME, WHILE THEY TALK SHE IS STILL VERY VERY HURT.

the older children - they are left with this - this is his legacy to them. they have all been affected, event the oldest who is 50. they have so many questions with no real answers as my h seems to believe that his life is his business and he owes his children no explanations.

you must take a look at you - love you, realize this in no way is a reflection of you. no, this is his demon - unfortunately though his demon has affected you.

if you love him, and want it to work i would recommend that you:

sit down and begin open dialogue - he must be willing to answer and all questions.

lay new groudrules for your marriage. begin building that new foundation. the old one is two broken to ever be repaired. the new one will be stronger healthier.

give yourself time. it is going to take time to process. this is more than honey i overcharged on my macys account - much more.

he broke your trust - now it is up to him to rebuild that trust. he must be an open book. no secrets , open access to all email accounts, phones etc. he must be willing to understand that you are going to need time to be able to feel comfortable with him going out for awhile.

i hope i have given you some good information to consider. i believe that the two of you can make it. in all honesty i really do. you are hurt, sad, feel all alone right now, you feel as though you have been run over with a mac truck - the driver then looked in the rear view mirror saw you were still breathing and put it in reverse. go with it, feel the pain - give yourself time to grieve. but do not prolong the feelings of pain. there is a saying 'there is a time to grieve and a time to live'

we are here for you, all of us.

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-11-2009
Wed, 08-19-2009 - 9:24am
Thank you so much for all of your time (I know my story was long...) and your thoughtful advise. It took me 3 weeks to post my story and I wish I had so much earlier! It helps so much to hear from kind people like you who have already been here. Today is a hard day... woke up crying and had terrible "dreams". I have to work and keep it together for the kids. I will keep on checking in. You have already helped me and for that I am so grateful. I keep wishing that I will wake up from this nightmare... I see the therapist tomorrow. I'm actually afraid because it is easier to pretend that everything is ok. I know that I will have to face it all... I have to pull myself together, the kids will be up soon. Thanks again for all of your kind words, they mean the world to me. Lynn
iVillage Member
Registered: 08-11-2009
Wed, 08-19-2009 - 9:33am
Thank you so much for your reply. I woke up this morning crying... seems like today is starting off bad. I logged on for the first time since posting my story. Thank you for taking the time to read it... I wish that I had posted earlier. It helps to hear the advice and the kind thoughts, and "real" talk... I need to hear both the good and the bad. I am seeing the therapist tomorrow. I hope she will be able to help me. I am afraid to face what I know I have to face... ask the questions that I am afraid I really don't want to know the answers to... I have always been like a rock for my friends. Nothing usually shakes me... I can always face things front on... fearless... but the me I see in the mirror is far from that. Even now I am a crying, shaking, pile of nothing. I do want to make things work but my biggest fear is that the pieces can't be put back into place. I wish I had more time but I have to pull myself together... the kids will be up soon. Thanks again and I will check in soon. Lynn
iVillage Member
Registered: 08-11-2009
Wed, 08-19-2009 - 9:42am
Hi bjean,
Thanks for your post... it has been so comforting to hear from kind people who offer thoughtful and kind advise. This is the first time that I have been able to log on since I posted. I will try to as often as I can because it does help to have someone to talk to who understands! I am still not positive why he confessed. I really believe that too many people were finding out from OW and he was afraid for me to hear it from someone else. I wish it was because he couldn't live with the secret anymore, that it was eating him alive, but I am afraid it was because he knew I was going to find out and he may have thought it would be better to come from him. Just more things to "dream" about, day and night. I have had better days... I think the upcoming apmt with the therapist is making me unravel. I'm hopeful and terrified at the same time. I have to cut this short because I have to get myself pulled together before all the kids wake up. Thanks again... it means a great deal to hear from you.
iVillage Member
Registered: 08-11-2009
Wed, 08-19-2009 - 9:54am
Morning goddess,
Thanks for your post... it is rather "funny" reading your warning. I took a bath last night before bed and I kept thinking about another close friend who suddenly became very distant. We stopped hearing from them and they moved away 2 months ago. It had me thinking... could he had had an A with this person too? (Another god parent to one of our children... same as the OW). But were they too ashamed, full of guilt to be around me? Sometimes your mind goes too far and dreams up ideas... or do I listen and look for possible clues for other A's. He insists that she was the only one, but it is hard to believe much of what he says. I am making myself crazy. I have my apmt with the therapist tomorrow... I am hopeful and terrified at the same time. A lot to talk about but I am not sure were to begin. I know it takes two to get into a mess but I am still trying to figure out what I did to push him into this situation. I thought I was being the model wife and mother. I tried to support him in everything he did, ups and downs. I tried to be there sexually, even though I was so tired from working all day... a lot of questions that need to be faced. I sometimes find myself wishing for a pile of sand to hide my head under... I will let you know how tomorrow goes. Thanks again!

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