Just starting my journey

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-18-2013
Just starting my journey
17
Mon, 02-18-2013 - 5:10pm

I am thankful to find this board as I really have no one to discuss this with yet.  I found out three weeks ago that my husband of 23 years was having an affair.  When I found out, he quickly admitted to it and stopped it.  (I hope) We have been communicating very well and he takes complete blame although I learned a lot by myself and how men and women see things differently.  We have a good life, great kids, ect... and get along really well.  The lack of sex was not an issue for me, and I figured we were just hitting a lull.  Little did I understand that to him it meant I was no longer interested in him.  Why not just say something, that seems easier than having an affair.  Well, I guess my question is-will I ever get over the obessing about the details of the affair.  I think I am more jealous of the details than anything else.  He travels and when he was in her city, she would come stay the night at his hotel.  I can not imagine him waking up with someone other than me, or sharing breakfast or all the other little details.  Although he says she never expected him to leave me for her, I can not buy that- why would a woman leave her kids overnight to be with someone unless she had deep feelings for him.  We have done the get-away, talked endlessly, I believe he is committed to making this work and I am too but I am not sure how long I can deal with the demons in my head thinking of them together- any advice?

Pages

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-09-2008
Mon, 02-18-2013 - 5:35pm

They had an affair because they WANTED to.  It had nothing to do with you, that's what you need to know first.  You are right, if he was unhappy with some aspect of your relationship, he should have made sure you got help for that aspect - instead he CHOSE to have an affair to fix what was ailing him.  None of us can imagine our spouse waking up with someone else.  We (meaning me and our past therapist) do not really believe my DH got physical in either of his two EAs, but of that I will never be certain as long as I live.  I had nightmares of him doing unthinkable things with a faceless woman in our own bed, and she was faceless because I had no clue what she looked like, so I understand those "unthinkable" things all too well - it truly is horrid.  We've said on these boards many times men cheat when they get the urge AND find a willing partner, and it's no different if the tables are turned - women, too, do the very same thing and pursue willing although unavailable partners to screw around with.  I can't for the life of me understand how they make that okay in their heads, since innocent parties are going to get hurt and tormented for many years, not to mention the divorce potential and STD potential when exposing their life partners to God knows what.  It's hard to not end up feeling like a victim, as you said we end up with those #*(%&^^ demons stuck in our heads with super glue.  It's normal to feel like that, but since you asked for feedback - find yourself a good therapist NOW.  You will get an experienced and yet detached opinion of your current situation and he or she can help you start figuring out FOR YOURSELF what it is that you need to do from this minute on.  Trust us here, this crap sends tentacles out into your entire life, not just in your marriage, and I just think it's far too confusing to NOT get professional help.  The sooner, the better.  If your marriage has problems, you deal with the problems - what you don't do is go off and have yourself an affair.  Trust is his to fix - what's he really doing about it?  Has he suggested counseling or done it yet?  He has to do everything necessary to fix things now.  Bet he wishes he hadn't....

 

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-18-2013
Mon, 02-18-2013 - 6:56pm

I understand its not my fault, but his-but its so interesting how men think-or maybe they think what they want to in order to make their actions OK in their head.  I have started counseling and he has offered as well. What I am trying to wrap my head around is-will I ever stop chasing the demons or is it just part of the damage I have to deal with.  I am only 3 weeks deep and he has been supportive (wish that he was supportive BEFORE and just freaking said something).  I want to stick it out, but really, in the end does it ever go away or is it better tto cut your losses and move on- guess looking for experiences from both- those that stuck it out and those that moved on-

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-18-2013
Mon, 02-18-2013 - 6:56pm

I understand its not my fault, but his-but its so interesting how men think-or maybe they think what they want to in order to make their actions OK in their head.  I have started counseling and he has offered as well. What I am trying to wrap my head around is-will I ever stop chasing the demons or is it just part of the damage I have to deal with.  I am only 3 weeks deep and he has been supportive (wish that he was supportive BEFORE and just freaking said something).  I want to stick it out, but really, in the end does it ever go away or is it better tto cut your losses and move on- guess looking for experiences from both- those that stuck it out and those that moved on-

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-09-2008
Mon, 02-18-2013 - 10:22pm

How I wish there was a clear-cut answer to that.  I think only time and likely counseling will reveal how well you will be able to heal and move forward.  Geez, I'm over 5 years past my DH's 2nd EA (he blew it all over again about two years or so ago) and even now am finding myself feeling new things about it all!  And that's with solid counseling, I'm with a new therapist now and he'll be joining me soon.  If it's only 3 weeks in, good grief, you're still bleeding, so don't expect much AT ALL, it's just too raw, too soon, at 3 weeks you're still in shock.  My last therapist (I had to give her up since she never took our insurance, we just couldn't afford it anymore) told me once that cheaters clearly HAVE to see it all AND their affair partner "thru rose-colored glasses" - that's just what they need to do to continue doing what they're doing, and mine absolutely positively did that for a very long time.  Only in retrospect could he see this bimbo for what she was, a woman with no scruples whatsoever in her dealings with married men and with him in particular, and only when he could take OFF the rose-colored glasses could he also see what an SOB he had been risking our marriage.  Whether you can put it behind you is a very individual thing - maybe you can if you truly want that and get the help to understand it all and grasp how the devil he could do that at all, but if you find you cannot move on or stay with him - it's no crime if you find you can't, either.  We all likely share many emotions, incl. getting freakin' po'd and acting out in ways that we never ever did before.  Unless HE gets his OWN head on straight and understands fully what he's done and gets it that trust seems to take literally FOREVER to be restored, and unless he's patient enough to hang in with you "until" (as Dr. Phil puts it), you probably will just keep feeling exactly as you do.  You need to feel him making the effort to fix the damage, and that won't happen easily or quickly.  For the moment focus on yourself, for right now YOU are the one who should count in your own head, I mean that sincerely.  I've been dealing with this second EA for so long now that what's coming up with the brand new therapist - and in my very stuck head - are some totally NEW thoughts.  As for whether to stick it out or not, if you are not certain of that immediately, ask yourself what you're getting from this relationship.  We stay for a reason, we leave for a reason.  Try the simple old-time experiment, draw a line down the middle of a big piece of paper and on one side write down every piddly little good thing you can come up with about your marriage - now, past, whatever - and on the other side do exactly the same thing listing every piddly little negative thing you can come up with.  Don't think too hard, just write write write.  It can be eye opening.  It's just for starters.  Try reading After the Affair and I think the other one is called Not Just Friends.  It isn't just men who do this crap, it's women they cheat with.  Have you gotten good and ticked off with her yet?  Most of us would like to send them out skating on very thin ice.

 

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-26-2013
Tue, 02-19-2013 - 1:45am

ok first of all you may not want to pay attention to anything I say, becasue I am drunk.  I am drunk because my husband had a freaking affair and I needed to get away from my own mind for a gosh darned minute.  You are about a week behind me.  So I'm not ok... and you probably won't be ok in a week either.  I hear it gets easier, but so far it's only gotten harder since the shock and denial starts to wear off and you have to deal with the reality of "My dirty as*hole husband had an affair.*

The ONLY way i can see things working is if he is totally transparant about everything he says and does.  The best advice I've recieved is to wait.  You are in shock, and totally numb when it comes to love.  So wait.  Maybe 3 months- maybe 6.  It takes a hell of a long time to process this... a lot longer time than it took for them to skerew it all up.  I'm tollerating my husbandfor the next few months to see if the feelings I used to have for him come back. So far... totally numb.  How could they do this to us?!?!?!?!??!?!?  I'm sorry i am of no help at all because I'm new to the betrayal club, too.  Sucks you're here but let me know if you have any questions... efven though I'm only a week ahead of you.  At least my husband is doing everything he can to amke it up to me.

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-18-2013
Tue, 02-19-2013 - 8:12am

Its OK that you are drunk- I appreciate you ladies taking time to respond to me-it helps more than you know. I see both of you have stayed (so far) which gives me hope and helps me not feel like an idiot for not kicking him out.  He travels today back to her city, it eats at me-since its on business its the same hotel, etc...UGH! He has been great so far and honestly- one on one-day to day-things feel pretty good-but the nagging feeling and sense of betrayal wear me down.  I have a constant pit in my stomach and a terrible feeling I can not seem to shake.  I did get good and pissed at her BTW.  Even contacted her to let her know what her (and his) actions have done and how crappy I feel- how unfair it is to do this to someone and how awful of an act it.

Thanks for listening-it truly helps!

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-13-2013
Tue, 02-19-2013 - 10:07am

I have been at this for a while (see my post a few days ago).  My first piece of advice is to find a GOOD therapist (my first one did more damage than good, and I sensed this at the time but didn't listen to my instincts.)  And stay with your therapist for a long time.  This is a long process.  I have read that it takes on average 3 years to move on from the first betrayal (more for multiples).  Around 6 months, your husband will have probably jumped through all your hoops and you will do the little weekend getaways and you will find a connection again.  Don't stop going to therapy at this point.  It will, unfortunately, get worse before it gets better after that.

This is what I have finally figured out, and I hope this helps answer your question.  You are going to have to go through two very separate processes to recover from this - one is reconciliation, if you want to stay with your husband.  This involves couples therapy and communication.  It is difficult, but if you have two willing partners, it is achievable.  You can sense when your marriage has been repaired - that whatever was broke is fixed.  The first time, my husband went back to his affair partner after a year.  And I knew (again, the instincts thing) that things were still off between us even though we were trying to repair our relationship.  Not to sound contrite, but it was all him.  He wasn't fully committed to the process.  He missed her.  He hadn't put her to rest yet.  This second go around at repair has been quite different.  There has been change in his perception, his way of thinking about his actions.  Before, he refused to accept full responsibility by finding reasons he needed to look for companionship outside our marriage.  Now he feels remorse for having broken our vows.  It is a fundamental difference. 

The second process that you are going to suffer through is grief.  This is a process you will have to go through alone.  You have irretrievably lost something (don't kid yourself).  You are going to have to go through all five steps, and it is going to be very hard to come to terms with the fact that things will never be the same.  It sucks, I know.  Thats why you have to grieve. 

I lost my father in a car accident as a young adult.  Fifteen years late, my husband had an affair.  In the beginning, it is the same.  You want all the little details.  It is as though, if you can find out every last detail, you can somehow comprehend and conquer what went wrong.  You obsess over the details.  This is perfectly normal in the first stage of grief.

Just to warn you, the next stage is bargaining.  If I become the perfect wife, everything will be okay.  If he changes his job, everything will be okay.  If...If... if...  And even after you find all the boxes checked, you will realize that your loss remains.  I hate to tell you this, but want you to be aware because you will find yourself doing this.

Then comes the last stages:  sadness/depression, then acceptance.  I am stuck in depression right now, working toward acceptance with my therapist.

I just wanted to put this out there for you because I was confused for a long time.  I couldn't understand why, if my reconciliation was going well, I still felt so lousy.  Had I made a wrong choice in staying?  That's when I realized that it is okay to feel this way.  In fact, it is healthy because it means I am moving forward in my stages of grief.

So, in short (too late), the details will become less important over time as you move forward in your grief.  Still, any therapist will tell you that a trigger can take you back to the beginning stages of your grief at any point, so there will be days in your future when you will return to obsessing about the details.  They were really important to me in the beginning, but I focus less on them everyday as I move forward in this process.  You will too.

I am truly sorry that you have to go through this.  It is not fair and it should never have happened to you.  No matter what is going on in your marriage, a vow of monogamy was taken and this vow should never be broken as long as you both are married.  It doesn't matter what problems you two had within your marriage.  Whether you decide to stay or go, it is going to be a long road to recovery for you.  Don't deny yourself your feelings and emotions.  You are hurt, you should be hurt.  Letting out and wroking through your emotions will help you feel better.

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-18-2013
Tue, 02-19-2013 - 3:21pm
Thanks TMarie- that helps a lot actually- you know you hear the therapist say this and that but you wonder- what is it really like-am I actually able to do this-I am in the detail phase- for some reason I can not get enough of them- almost like I want all the hurt right now so I can get through it-I have become something I am not usually- a snoop- discovering little this and thats- my husband is being honest nearly to a fault because he promised to be honest so will answer every stupid detail question I ask-its almost like desensitizing myself to the pain- the other night we went on an overnight together and I just broke down sobbing-make it stop, make it stop, I just want this part to be over-and you know that about sums it up- I know it takes time-but crap-this really sucks-
iVillage Member
Registered: 01-26-2013
Wed, 02-20-2013 - 1:30pm

I'm in a similiar place.  I obsess over the details.  I have become the CIA.  I go through this manic phases where I hunt for old reciepts.  That's how I busted him- with a receipt- and now evertime I see one I go crazy.  I checked EVERYTHING in the house.  Every drawer, every pocket, that hat band in his hats, Hell I even caught myself checking my own pockets.  I think that comes for the need, for me anyway, to know "Is that really it?  Or is there more that he's not telling me?  Trying to spare me."  Plus the OW has a different story than him.  So I'm trying to put together a story that makes sense in my heart.  And until I have a complete story that I feel has a beginning, middle, and end, and that makes sense, I'm going to keep driving myself crazy.

I have a question for the seasoned vets around here:  Is the worst over? I know it's going to be hard for a long long time, but it just seems like my depression is getting worse as the days go by instead of better.  I'm about 4 1/2 weeks since D-Day.

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-18-2013
Wed, 02-20-2013 - 7:39pm

OK, so I am not crazy- I do the same thing- went through 12 months of AMEX receipts looking for her city and agonizing over every one-I feel like I want to cut to the bone and get it done-but I am quite sure I am making it harder on myself.  I am glad to hear Applejacks that I am not the only one doing this kind of self touture!  I just want this to end and feel better, I know I am kidding myself, but it does not hurt to dream does it?

Pages