This might seem minor to others...

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-26-2008
This might seem minor to others...
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Sun, 01-18-2009 - 3:36pm

For some background, I've been married just over a year. We're both active duty military and are stationed in separate places. (He's in Nevada, I'm in Delaware). We've been long distance for all but a month of our relationship, including dating.

So, the thing is this. I found quite a few emails from him to other girls that live in Vegas, usually nothing more than just hi, but there were some that asked if they would like to meet or if they'd have sex. He joined a couple of dating sites, put an ad on craigslist...

I confronted him about all of it, and he said nothing happened besides the emails. I forgave him for it, but it's really hard to trust him again. I've been trying, and he's been doing his best to make it up to me. I do trust that he never actually cheated on me, and that it would stop.

I just want to know how you move on and get past it? We've been through a lot the past couple of years, but it hasn't been anything we couldn't work through. I know we can work through this too, and it's really up to me if it does work. It wasn't anything I couldn't forgive him for, but it still really hurts.

How do you do it? Any advice for me would be wonderful.

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Lilypie - Personal picture

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iVillage Member
Registered: 09-05-2006
Sun, 01-18-2009 - 8:37pm

men do NOT put ads on Craigslist just to do it. they do NOT email women just to do it. wouldn't his time have been better spent sending YOU an email or writing YOU a letter? your husband, like many men believe all they have to do is lie to us, come up with a lame excuse that we will buy because so want our love to be pure.

trust your gut!!!!!

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-26-2008
Sun, 01-18-2009 - 8:56pm

I know it's going to be very hard to get through for me, but he really is sorry. I think the hardest thing is that we're dealing with all of this 2,500 miles apart. It really hurts. I thought I was doing semi-okay, but today.. I don't know, I just started crying again.

I know I won't be okay over night, but I'm tired of reliving it in my mind. Every time I don't have anything to do, it's all I think about. I just want it to be over and for my life and marriage to be back to normal. I believe him when he says he hasn't physically cheated on me and that he is sorry.

Maybe it's because you can't see the sincerity in his voice when I am upset, or how he's been trying so hard to make it up to me this week. I just don't know how to help myself. I don't want this to haunt me forever OR even for it to ruin my marriage. I know he screwed up and he does too. I just think it's something we can work through and overcome.

I am trusting my gut in forgiving him. I couldn't tell you why he did what he did.. But I know that he wants us to be okay and he is doing what he can to help me. I just wish I knew a way to help me get over this.. It's not as easy to get over this as it might be if we were together.. I have to deal with it while still being across the country. Any ideas?

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Lilypie - Personal picture
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Registered: 09-05-2006
Sun, 01-18-2009 - 9:29pm

keep in mind, this is your life. you know the man, i do not. please know i am the first one to say that my view points are somewhat jaded so i need to be upfront about that.

i do believe that there are men who mess up and then realize what bad choices can cost. it sounds as though you believe he is one of them.

empathy - that is the key. many, many husbands do not have that. they simply can NOT put themselves in our places and get in touch with how they would react if we did it to them.

i will tell you one thing, you can not go thru life looking in the rear view mirror. you will never make any head way in your marriage if you continue to do so. if you keep replaying what you saw then you will never get out of the ditch you are in and get back on track for your lifes journey.

i will offer up a suggestion: each and every time one of those thoughts come into your mind simply say out loud ERASE.

i would also like to recommend a book b joel osteen, 'your best life NOW' - many of the posters on this site have read it and it does help. i have read it cover to cover several times, now each and every day i open up to a page, any page and read the page. it is amazing how each day the 'page' is just what i needed to read. another great book is 'the one' by kathy freston, it offers much insight on husband and wife relationships. since you are apart i am pretty confident reading these books will help you to heal and move on with your marriage.

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-26-2008
Sun, 01-18-2009 - 9:42pm

I really appreciate that. I'm a sucker for reading material, and especially self-help books, so I bought both on Amazon. :) Maybe after I read one I'll send it to him.

See, even through all of this.. How he handled me finding it and how he's been trying to be helpful and patient and all of it... It shows me that he really does feel sorry and guilty and all of that. But he does want to work this out and make it better than it was. I'm not saying it won't haunt me for awhile, I don't know that. But I do know that no matter what, this relationship and this love is worth saving. Before all of this, he was an amazing husband. He knows he messed up and has proven himself to still be amazing. It's kind of hard though, as I kind of saw him differently and still do. It's just hard for me to realize it's not something I will get over in one day or even a week.

Again, I really appreciate your suggestions. :) Thank you. I guess another thing that made it hard is I used to pity people on boards like this and now here I am.... Oh, how things change so quickly.

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Lilypie - Personal picture
iVillage Member
Registered: 09-05-2006
Sun, 01-18-2009 - 10:31pm

it is interesting isn't it - these tangled webs?????

i want to take this opportunity to tell you how much i truly appreciate you and your husbands sacrifice. something tells me you would not be here, on this board if it weren't for the separation. so many of us take our freedom for granted, never stopping to think of the sacrifice/

my daughter, 19, is thinking about joining the Navy, but going in as an Officer, she is in her 2nd year of college right now. she is taking the ASVAB test for real on Tuesday. she took one the day she talked to the recruiter and got an 85%. she is pretty smart. he told her to study because he would like to see where tests out at with a little bit of sutdying under her belt ------- we will see.

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-26-2008
Sun, 01-18-2009 - 10:45pm

I'll be praying for her to do well. :) The military is definitely a great place to learn and grow up and meet people. My husband is working on getting his bachelor's in mechanical engineering to become an officer and a pilot.

I think I made a 79 on the ASVAB. I guess one detail I didn't feel was necessary was that we're both active duty Air Force. We've been apart since March 2007.

For the most part, this whole relationship has been amazing. He's been my strength and my comfort when no one else knows how. He has let me cry about this and be upset and just let me be mad and talk at him about it. I know I have a good man on my hands, he just made a mistake. The reason I joined iVillage to begin with was for the Long Distance Relationships board. I don't regret having to come here though, because I know that no matter how hard this thing is for us to deal with, we'll get past it and become stronger like we always do. And then if the Air Force ever gets its butt in gear.... Maybe we can live together.

I don't know any of the stories on this board, including yours. I do know, however, that it must take a very strong woman to deal with their spouse having an affair (and not just sending emails). I'd be completely crushed if that happened. My husband is my world, and if I knew he didn't feel the same way... It would be very hard. I know I love him tons, but I don't think I would be strong enough to handle that.

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Lilypie - Personal picture
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Registered: 08-01-2007
Mon, 01-19-2009 - 9:36am

Hi Kayla, and welcome. Although I'm sorry you have a reason to be here.

Please know that anything I say is just my opinion, impressions, or perspective, coming from my experiences of being betrayed myself, and over 2 years of being on this board. Some of what I say at first might be hard to hear, but please know that my intent is not to discourage you, and if you bear with me I will get to some "positives", I promise! I just feel that sometimes I have to be completely honest about what I'm thinking in order to be of any real help.

And just to preface this, I will give you an "outline" of my story so you will have an idea of where I'm "coming from"- was with my H for 17 years before he had an affair (was with him my entire adult life), his affair began as an emotional affair then after 4 months it turned physical, when I confronted him he just left me without any sort of explanation (didn't confirm it or try to deny it, just gave me the "I'm not happy" speech), we continued to be separated but he wouldn't leave me alone despite the fact that he was seeing another woman (that falls under what we call "fence-sitting" where they won't make up their mind and they try to have BOTH in some capacity or another). After about 5 months of this where I was progressively cutting him out of my life I came to the point where *I* was ready to end it for good, then H dumped OW (the other woman) flat and had his "epiphany" and started to do a big turnaround. Showed remorse and a desire to change. I waited another 2 months before agreeing to try to rebuild with him, in which time I observed his actions to be as sure as I could that he was sincere. We began rebuilding, and at the same time for the first 8 months the OW was harassing me because she is pretty much a psycho. Now my H and I have been rebuilding for over 2 years and I have to say that we are stronger, closer, and have a much improved marriage.

Ok- WHEW! huh? :)

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The first "tough" thing that I am going to say here is, hon, he DID cheat on you. I know what you meant... that he says he didn't do anything physical and you believe that. But the emailing and looking around... that IS STILL CHEATING. He was investing time and energy into looking around that could have been put into the MARRIAGE. What he did calls his commitment to the marriage into question, he damaged the trust, and it was still a BETRAYAL. His behavior I believe falls into the category of EMOTIONAL affairs, and a good book on that subject is "Not Just Friends" by Shirley Glass.

So whether he actually took things to a physical level or not, you will still be dealing with the emotions and effects of betrayal, and the issues where he will need to PROVE his commitment to you and the marriage, and will need to earn back your trust. That doesn't sound "minor" to me at all. And another book I would recommend is "After the Affair" by Janis Spring. There are some good sections about what the BS (betrayed spouse) goes through emotionally.

And the next "tough" thing... I feel the need to say that I do agree with Planin's first instinct, and feel the need to caution you that they often MINIMIZE what they've done. Often the story that the betrayed spouse gets first is not the WHOLE story, and the truth comes out in little bits and pieces over time. And it doesn't matter how sorry they appear to be, or how much they appear to be doing and saying the right things. Even some of them that ARE truly sorry and want to change hide part of the truth at first out of FEAR. Fear that you will leave. Or because they don't want to hurt you any more than they already have, not realizing that when you find out in some other way later on, that it hurts MORE because they didn't disclose it to you sooner.

So I just feel the need to urge you to be careful here, and would suggest you put more stock in his ACTIONS than you do his words. It's great that he appears to be saying the right things... but please be careful until he has backed that up with his ACTIONS, and has done so consistently for awhile.

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Something that a lot of us have come to realize after going through this is that we don't know how we will react until we are actually faced with something. I used to always say that if my H ever cheated on me, I would be GONE. But here I am. There's a lot more to it than I ever realized before I experienced it myself.

And don't underestimate yourself! I think you are going to find out that you are much stronger than you ever gave yourself credit for.

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Ok, here's where I have to say something else that's "tough". The "normal" that you had before doesn't exist anymore, and chances are, you are not going to see him the same way again. Unfortunately, until they can invent something that will erase our memories, we can't go back to a time where we don't have the knowledge that they have betrayed us. But what we CAN do is learn to live within this new reality, and we can build something NEW and DIFFERENT with our spouses. And in some ways, that NEW relationship can be BETTER than before, if both partners are willing to work really hard at it. You are seeing your H differently because you are now seeing some FLAWS that you didn't know he had before. You can't go backwards from here and "forget" that he has these flaws... but you can look at him and see if he is working on them.

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This one is probably going to be the most important question that the two of you find the answer to. Because WHY he did it... the real deep down reasons within HIM as to WHY he did it... that is where the most changes need to be made and where the things are that need to be addressed in order for him to become far less likely to ever do it again. Counseling can be extremely helpful in uncovering those things, and figuring out what to do in order to address and change them. I know that's not an option for you now, but I would suggest it as soon as the two of you can live under the same roof again.

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It's just hard for me to realize it's not something I will get over in one day or even a week>>

And here's the last "tough" thing I'm going to say... you don't just move on and get past it. You have to WORK THROUGH IT, and it does take time. Most things I've read about affairs (and I've read a LOT!), say that it usually takes the betrayed spouse an average of 18 months to 2 years to heal from this. I don't want to discourage you, and want you to know that it is a process, and it's likely you won't feel THIS bad, or quite the same way in a month from now, etc... it DOES get better, but it's gradual. And you may go through periods of time where you're feeling pretty good, only to have something "set you back". We have "good days" and "bad days".

But if you can work through it WITH your H, TOGETHER... that's what can bring you closer. Not just facing it together, but while you're doing this sometimes you can get to know each other on a level that's a lot deeper than you've known before.

But to answer your question of how you eventually get to where things are BETTER- it takes a lot. They have to be 100% committed to you, to the marriage, and to doing the work. They need to be proving to you through their actions that they are indeed genuinely committed to it, and that helps the trust to come back a little bit at a time. If the wayward spouse is being supportive, attentive, loving and concerned about your feelings, that can help a LOT with YOUR healing.

In my case, in order to work through this "what it took" was for a combination of things to be happening all at the same time. My H had to live his life as an open book with me to show that he no longer had anything to hide. They have to completely stop the cheating behaviors. He had to be offering up PROOF that he WASN'T doing anything he shouldn't, and also demonstrating to me that his head and heart were with ME. We had to figure out WHY he had done it, we had to work on healing the damage that had been done to me and the pain that had been caused me, and he had to work on the things about himself that had led him to do what he'd done. And we also looked at any problems that had existed in the marriage previously, and both put effort into working on those and doing some things differently. It was all of these things, going on all at the same time.

So here's where I'm going to get to the "positives". If your H is saying all the right things and showing true remorse for the pain he has caused you, that is a positive. If he backs it up with actions, that will be a BIG positive. The way I see it... this could be an OPPORTUNITY for the two of you to get some things straightened out and addressed before you've been married for years, or before you see any further problems crop up. You could end up having a much more satisfying and fulfilling relationship than you would have had otherwise.

I know that early on it is so painful that you wish you could just turn back the clock, or rush through it and get it over with. But trying to skip over what needs to be done and just "going back to normal" or "sweeping it under the rug" would likely only return you to a set of circumstances where he would be "ripe" to do something like this again. And it's also likely if you were to try to skip over all of this, your pain and emotions wouldn't be worked through and addressed either. Resentment could build up.

While the two of you are apart I think you might be able to get some dialogue going, and get started on talking out some of what has gone on. I think there may be some things you might have trouble working on until the two of you can actually be located and living in the same place, and hopefully some of the other military wives I've seen here will chime in and let you know how they approached things under these circumstances. Until the two of you can live together again I'm thinking that maybe he could work on figuring out WHY he did this, and my suggestion to you would be, just focus on taking care of yourself to get through some of these really intense emotions as you begin to absorb this, and maybe think about what kind of marriage and relationship you would like to have. Anything that is "less" than that would be areas that the two of you can work on once you are together again.

Best of luck to you Kayla, and I hope you will stick around and keep posting. This board has a lot to offer. ((HUGS))

Val

Val                                   &n

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-29-2003
Mon, 01-19-2009 - 9:51am

My husband is also in the military and is thousands of miles away from me. He has also done the email thing. During one of his deployments he had an email "affair" with a woman in another city. She sent him cards, gifts, emails, etc.

I have to be honest here and tell you that the first time it happened (four years ago), I sounded just like you. It was so unlike him. He was so sincerely sorry. I loved him, I wanted things to work out. It had to be a fluke, a freak occurrence caused by us being so far apart for so long.

I forgave him.

And it he did it again on his next deployment. This time he had progressed past mere romance into extremely explicit sexual talk, naked pictures (sent and received).

Both times he and the other woman made plans to meet in person when he came home. When caught, of course he claimed that he was never really going to go through with it.

My husband also says he "doesn't know why he does this" and my answer to him now is "well go find out, because you have to stop."

This is not your fault. This is not on you. You didn't make him do this, your being apart didn't make him do this. He made a choice, a wrong choice. He has to take responsibility for it. Of course he's being great about everything - you just caught him cheating on you and he knows he's in trouble and is trying to get out of it.

I made a mistake in being so quick to forgive and move on after the first time. I just wanted it to be over, to stop thinking about it. I don't think I truly forgave, I just gave in.

I know how hard it is to be in this situation when you are far apart. My husband is overseas right now. I'm in a limbo of pain, unable to move forward with either a divorce or reconciliation until he comes home. It hurts, I know. And you want nothing more than to just forget about it.

But based on my experience, I think that's a mistake.

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-26-2008
Mon, 01-19-2009 - 12:14pm

I think forgiving immediately is too. But for a couple of days, I thought working through it on my own and letting him think I was okay was the way to do it.. It wasn't. I only ended up in more tears. He cried with me because he just wanted it to be okay. I know it's hard for him to hear as well, but I told him yesterday that he's probably going to hear a lot of it from me because I have to work through it on my own time and I need his support.

He cried last night, for the first time since I have known him. I didn't even know how to react to it, but I wasn't in the mood to console him that everything will be okay because I don't know that yet. I mean yes, we'll get through it eventually.. But in the mean time, it'll take both of us a LOT to really be okay.

I also think that I'm not even capable of forgiving him quickly. I actually tried that approach too, which is how I ended up here. I guess I am kind of afraid that if I do really treat it as a "minor infraction", then he'll think it's okay. He knows it is wrong, he's called himself stupid for doing it many times now. It's funny that you mention though that he said he would never actually go through with it. Although I do believe Ryan that he wouldn't, I don't know that for a fact.

He lives in Las Vegas, of all places. For the past two years now he'll go out with his friends on weekends (not every weekend... he's actually sick of living there) and they'll go down to the strip. Ryan made it very clear to me that he's had plenty of opportunity to cheat on me if he really wanted. He's right.. The wedding band doesn't deter women from asking, and he has told me a few times of when he's straight up been asked to have sex with them. Really, women are that class-less? WOW!

Anyway.. It is kind of hard to see his actions that show he's being really honest with me and that he wants to make it work since he's across the country. I think that is what makes some of it really hard. That even though I lost the majority of the trust I had in him, I still have to trust that he is being honest with me. That's really hard to do. He's been really open with me and he tells me where he's going and even who with. It kind of helps to just keep up with the routine we've always had: He'll call me after work at 3am (Yes, that is our normal) when he gets off work, and then he'll call me at 6 or 6:30 when I have to wake up for work. When he's at work, he texts me when he can or emails me if he's at a computer. We have pretty much constant communication through out the day, except while he is sleeping.

The one thing that really scared me is that the morning after I found the emails, he called and talked to me for a few minutes. Then he said hey, I'll call you back in a few minutes. I have to go change. My first thoughts were Oh, maybe another girl is calling him. That scared the hell out of me, because it all hit so hard that I have no way of knowing what's really going on there except what he tells me. I really hate it that his word is the only one I have to go on. I used to trust his word completely, that he was being totally honest with me, but he had the time to send emails to ALL of those girls? I guess I feel that if I end up in tears or upset about this constantly, it will wear on him and begin to feel like I'm beating a dead horse. I read something on the board website that said the WS sees it as something that is over and they feel sorry or whatever, but it's not that easy for us. Ryan's now realizing that even though it's all said and done for him, it's not that easy for me.

I guess it hurts more because I've been cheated on by a couple of different guys when I was younger. It hurt a lot then and I ended the relationship because of it, although both guys had other problems.. (One is now in jail and the other is an alcoholic.. Go figure) This is my first time actually working through it with the guy. We're both still really young (I'm 21, he's 22), and I know that we can grow because of this and become a lot stronger. It's also much harder because I never planned for something like this to enter THIS relationship.. I thought this was totally different, that my husband would never do that to me. I think it's kind of funny.. We had SOO much trust in each other. We've both been cheated on and hurt before, and made lots of promises to each other that we'd never do that to the other. Well... that went out the window!

For a few days, he'd been really sweet and all of that, but then he went overboard. I think he was so happy that I didn't just leave him that he was telling me how amazing I was constantly. I got really annoyed with it and actually told him to stop.

I just think all of this might be easier if we were actually together. I wish I could say it never would have happened if we were, but I can't say that.

Okay, I am sorry! I am a very long winded person, but I am done now. :) It does help quite a bit though just to get it off my chest and out in the open, even though I have told a couple of people I know locally.

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Lilypie - Personal picture
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Registered: 09-26-2008
Mon, 01-19-2009 - 12:48pm

Hi Val. I put most of a response to you in the post to va32h.

I have to say first though, that I think after 17 years of marriage before he cheated, I'd be having a really hard time deciding what to do in your position.

We've been together just under two years. We met Feb 2007, graduated tech school and left there in March 2007, and have been long distance ever since then. We got married in January 2008, in Vegas of all places. We had a second wedding this past August with all of our family there.

I do believe that he never physically cheated on me. I'm not sure what he was actually thinking while doing it, but I think he actually considered it more of an ego boost than anything, as in those girls may think he's hot. (I asked him if it was for an "ego boost" and he said I guess..)

Something else you said that really hit home with me was when you said he might hide part of the truth out of fear of losing me. Since last saturday, he has told me a couple of times that his greatest fear is losing me.

I guess this has been hard for me because I don't feel like I am actually capable of making him see that I'm not going anywhere while I'm still processing this in my head. I can't tell him it will all be okay or even that I think he is amazing for being patient with me.. I guess I just feel like as my husband and someone who really wants to work through this with me, he's going to have to suffer with me. I know he's probably tired of me bringing it up, but I have to for my own sake.

I was just thinking about it, and in one of the previous relationships I had where the guy cheated on me, I broke up with him and I still felt the affects of that for well over a year. I didn't regret that decision by any means, it was just very hard that someone I had put so much trust and love into could hurt me so badly. I think this is actually much harder because then I didn't have to deal with him and if it would happen again. That guy got a new job that paid decent and he told me his goal was to get us our own apartment after I graduated and we'd get married in the next couple of years after I went through basic and all of that. So even though we weren't married, he was still promising me the world.

Anyway, back to the subject at hand. :) I actually appreciate you telling me to actually take the time I need to heal properly. I think if someone hadn't done that and told me it was quite normal and necessary then when I was still upset in a few weeks or months, I would be thinking that I wouldn't be able to get over it and would just give up. I don't want that for my marriage. He still talks about how we'll raise our kids and our future. I know we still have a future together, it just looks a little bleak right now.

It's really hard for me to think that after being together a little less than two years, my perfect world of the husband who gives everything I need to me (in the way of affection and love, not material things..) just became a little more realistic. I just thought this relationship was different. That I finally had found someone who was doing his absolute best not to hurt me... And then this happens?? One week into it seems like so little time compared to your two years.

I guess being here though shows me that it's not stupid to stay with someone after something like this.. It gives me hope that I'm not the only woman who has ever given her husband a second chance. I know I am not, but it does give me a different perspective..

I think, unlike the other two guys who have cheated on me, Ryan is worth working through this. The other two relationships were with guys who weren't worth my time anyway, it just took them cheating on me for me to realize it.

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