reestablishing respect

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-28-2010
reestablishing respect
10
Wed, 07-28-2010 - 4:05pm
New to the forum. Husband confessed to a 3 yr emotional and physical affair that ended in Jan. 2009. He was forced to confess after I received 2 anonymous notes in the mail.Don't know if she sent them but odds are she did. She also called my home after he ended it. My husband has done all the right things to heal me and our marriage.He is beyond remorseful and is horrified that everything he convinced himself about me and our marriage was absolutely wrong. He has days where the guilt about what he's done is overwhelming. Trusting him doesn't seem to be my issue anymore. I am stuck on how he could do something like this. How he could justify his actions, kiss me goodbye every morning like he had for the first 22 yrs of our marriage and then get into bed with her before the day was over. I am disgusted that he could do such a thing. I've read that it is impossible to understand the cheater because I have never cheated. I go for days where everything between us is fine and then I just lose it. I rant and rave and make him feel absolutely awful. I do it over and over. Asking the same questions, convincing myself once again that cheating ends everything. That I can't live the rest of my life with someone who was so morally bankrupt that they could commit such a terrible crime against me. Is anyone else struggling with this? I am stuck in this terrible place. I try to tell myself that if I could survive cancer I can survive this. To be honest, I would rather deal with the cancer. Sometimes I feel like I've lost my respect for him and myself at the same time. How do I get it back?
iVillage Member
Registered: 06-01-2009
Wed, 07-28-2010 - 5:16pm

Hi...


My husband did not have a physical affair...But I caught him texting a friend of mine 20 to 100 times daily behind my back..and he was also texting his ex fiance 20 to 100 times daily too...For a period of 2 months...


And I struggle every day witht the question of how could he do it???? And at the time I asked him about the texting and

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-28-2010
Wed, 07-28-2010 - 6:11pm
My husband insists that he always loved me even though he sees now that his actions contradict that. For years he made it perfectly clear that work was his first priority. He was so concerned about saving money and making sure that I would be provided for if anything would happen that he pushed us back. Me and the kids, we have 3,learned to settle for 2nd place, our mistake. But somewhere along the way we stopped being as attentive to him. His fault, he forced us to learn to exist without him around for games and events that he should have been sharing with us. Then some changes at work, the bosses sons coming in,pushed him out of the limelight. The boss didn't rely on only him for advice and opinions anymore. Now he felt no one needed him. He decided I didn't love him and wasn't physically attracted to him anymore. He says he didn't even know he had this deep need to be wanted until he met her. He says for almost a year they were 'just friends'. I asked him why I couldn't know about his new friend, why he had to lie to me so he could see her and how he couldn't know that hanging out with another woman was wrong. He says he never really thought about it. I get so angry when I hear that. You would think that any idiot could figure it out, I guess not. He says he never meant to hurt me. I guess we've all heard that. I don't think its a matter of planning to hurt your wife when you're cheating as much as just not even thinking about them. How can they not know that what they are doing won't hurt their clueless spouses. I was never supposed to find out. That was his defense. My husband spent 10 months trying to exit his affair, doing everything he could think of to make it her decision to end it so that there would be not retaliation. The less he gave the more she said it was okay, that anything he could give her was okay. They only met for a couple of hours once a week, not always for sex.(He says the affair wasn't about the sex, it was about the attention). He finally couldn't take it anymore. He was having nosebleeds and nightsweats. Also, he says that during the last year of the affair he and I connected again. I have to admit that things between us were much better. He was more attentive to me and the kids, more loving than he had been in a long time. I didn't find out until after he ended it. He can't remember what day he ended it or when it started, when he last had sex or many other important details.(this was a huge deal because I was having medical problems and his having unprotected sex could have literally killed me if I had gotten some sort of infection. He says he spent the better part of the last year of the affair in such misery about what he was doing he has blacked it out of his memory. I don't believe you could forget such life changing events but he insists that if he could remember he would tell me because then maybe I could be at peace. I will have to accept that I will never get the full story. Does he love me now? I have no doubt about it. He loves me with all his heart and soul. I see in everything he says and does, but I still can't come to terms with how anyone could be so selfish, to put their needs above all others. I can't imagine how anyone could take their pleasure at someone else's expense, let alone how my husband could do it.
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-01-2010
Wed, 07-28-2010 - 8:05pm
initforever - I share your pain. I too found out about my husband's affair after it ended. I was informed by the OW via email, no doubt sent as revenge for him ending the affair. It was heartbreaking to learn that someone you trust with every ounce of you has betrayed you. My husband was the same in not remembering details and supposedly trying to end it for a long time. It's been 7 months and we are on the mend. Some days are great and things never felt more wonderful between us, other days are a struggle for me to not scream, cry and run out the door. It helps to know that he ended it on his own and to see how remorseful he is. He made the decision that he wanted me, our family and our marriage over this other life he created. Some days all I can think about is how he could do that to me, to us, to our family. But over time the good days have started to out weight the bad. And if you truly believe that he loves you and wants to make amends, I believe you can get through this. Hang in there and just know you have support no matter how things turn out.
iVillage Member
Registered: 08-31-2009
Wed, 07-28-2010 - 8:58pm

while our stories are "like' in some ways we are 'different' in one major one. my husband of now almost 34 years had numerous affairs. he went to massage parlors. but there was one, one woman who he was involved with for 3 years.

unlike your husband my husband never showed any real empathy towards my feelings. there was denial, lies, and brow beating of me initially. it was all my fault, if i would have, i should have, i could have - what a crock of crap.

betrayal changes you, it is as if you wake up one day and you are a different person. you hope you are in a nightmare, one that you will soon wake up from. but alas, you never wake up the same again.

most of us can relate to the mood swings, the triggers, the mind chatter, the pictures playing over and over again in your mind. the constant reminders via the news and television that betrayal is becoming common place. that wives, for whatever reason, appear to have lost their worth - their value. for if we were worth something, if we had value NOONE would EVER see fit to treat us in such a manner let alone our life partners.

your husband has shown remorse, he is showing empathy, he seems to get it. but you are hurt, that i understand. now the only question that remains is this - AND PLEASE KNOW I MEAN NO, ABSOLUTELY NO DISRESPECT TO YOU OR YOUR FEELINGS HERE - when are you going to begin to value you - all that you are??????????? look at what you have come thru, look at the special woman you are. he had reality slap him in the friggin face - wake up you sorry sob, that is what life said to him. are you prepared to loose this most special woman? time to start using the head on top of your body rather that the one between your legs - that is what life shouted to him. it shouted and he listened.

i am not defending your husband, he was selfish, self serving, and hurtful. but it appears, thru your post, that he has awakened from the fog of 'macho, macho, man' and sees that he nearly thru away platinum for the impostor of fools gold.

i would recommend that you open a dialogue in which you simply lay it out there. "the days when i am distant, crying, mean - something, someone, some song, some thought, , some news report, that shirt, your phone ringing, triggered me - reminded me of the hurt. i do not want to be like this, but right now i am finding it hard to control. i want to be happy, i want us to be happy, but right now i do not know how to get there; AND I NEED YOUR HELP. I NEED YOU TO UNDERSTAND what is happening within my heart, mind, and spirit". I NEED YOU TO LOOK AT IT FROM MY PERSPECTIVE. i am not saying you are doing anything wrong, i am simply saying i am a bit lost and am having trouble finding my way."

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-28-2010
Thu, 07-29-2010 - 8:42am
sissyjacks--you really hit the nail on the head. I know he is sorry and I do try to let him know when something has set me off, but I think about what he did too much. I once asked him why she made him feel so special.I asked what she said or did. He said she told him he looked nice. I reminded him that the reason he looked nice was because I had taken the time to choose his clothes. I asked if even once when she said that he looked nice in that shirt, etc. did he even stop for one second to think about who picked it out. There wasn't a stitch on his back that I didn't choose. Needless to say, it took a great deal of effort not to throw all his clothes out. Doing laundry can still set me off. Realizing that I unknowingly washed underwear stinking of the sex he had with her makes me gag. He said she wanted him as a friend then as something more. He was just looking for a friend. He worked all the time and hung out with someone from work who had cheated repeatedly throughout the 25 yrs we had known him. My husband alway said how disgusting it was and how could he repeatedly hurt his wife that way. I thought I was sfe. You see, we talked about what we should do if we ever felt ourselves drifting so far apart. On more than one occasion we had conversations where we promised each other that no matter what we would never humiliate and hurt each other by cheating. If we were unhappy with each other or just our marriage in general we would talk about it and end the marriage if we felt we wanted to be with someone else. Despite these conversations he did it anyway. He says it just sort of snowballed until one day he was kissing her, then one day he was naked in her bed. I will never understand how or why he could make himself so important to the exclusion of all others especially me. I asked him why he felt his affair was different from his coworker, who always seemed to think he was invisible when he was out with his other women. We had both agreed that this person's behavior was disgusting.My husband just saw his affair as something different, something he couldn't help.He wasn't out to hurt me. He says unless you've experienced the low of feeling so unwanted as he did and then the high of the undivided attention of another person who seems to honestly want to be with you, you can not understand the overwhelming emotions that made this possible. He insists that the emotions and hormones take over and you just can't seem to help yourself. You know it is so wrong but you do it anyway. Many times I have asked him how wrong did it have to be to make you stop. How overwhelming were these emotions? He contained himself to only seeing her 2 or 3 hours a week and not even every week. I asked why not more if he had to have those feelings. He told me that was all the time he could give her without taking anything else from me and the kids. I told him I hope he enjoyed his commitment and obligation free fantasy life. He says not so much. I asked him how long he held her after they had sex. He said not very long because he had to shower and get home and the sex wasn't as great as he thought it would be. He even used to call me on the way home to see if I needed anything. He thought he was being so considerate. He took her on a business trip. Someone who knew him saw him and told his cheating coworkers wife, who then proceeded to call him and warn him to stop. It took him 10 months to finally extricate himself. You are right, I need to work on myself. As you can see, its been 18 months since I found out and I still have so much trouble dealing with the details. I try to tell myself it doesn't matter anymore. He is not that person anymore. He is a wonderful husband now and a better father too. But rebuilding self esteem is so hard. I try to see the good parts but I tear myself down too often. Every time I rip into him I feel so bad about myself afterward. I am trying to enjoy the way I look now. I lost 30 pounds and have never been in better shape in my life, but it is hard to enjoy because I know why I lost the weight. He enjoys my new body and there are days where I feel he has no right. He liked the way I looked before or so he says. I wasn't all that heavy before about 145 lbs. Now I am a skinny 115. I worry about being too thin because once I asked him what it felt like to hold her and he said she was very bony. She was a workout nut and was very thin. So I want to make sure I don't remind him of her, but I won't get fat to make him feel better. As you can see I have a lot of work to do on myself. It is so hard when the one person in your life who has promised to accept you unconditionally, rejected you body and soul.
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-28-2010
Thu, 07-29-2010 - 8:49am
How do you do it? Feeling positive is so hard. I always told myself that if he ever did something like this our marriage would be over. This was the one thing that was absolutely unforgivable. Then he says the words "I've been with someone else." and everything conviction I had about how I would handle this flies out the window. The first thing that went through my mind was that we could fix this. He had spent the previous 6 months letting me fall in love with him again and I just couldn't throw it away in that moment. But I feel like I've undermined my belief system, what I was alway sure was true about me, to give him another chance. I feel like I don't exist. That I don't know this person that, when faced with a crisis, just caved. I want to respect him but some days I look at him and I feel nothing but disgust. How do you get over that? How are you doing it?
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-01-2010
Thu, 07-29-2010 - 4:34pm
Initforever - try not to think about what you thought you would do. Nobody can ever know how this feels or how they would handle it unless they are in it. I also always thought this would be the deal-breaker. Even driving home to confront him the day I found out I was imagining myself walking in the door, yelling at him and leaving for good. Things never go as planned and that is okay! You have to remember that he did this. You did not do this. You did not cause this. He did this. This doesn't make you any less wonderful of a wife, mother or person! Not to give any sympathy to him, but I do try to remember that this is also something he has to live with. And if he truly loves you and wants to be with you then he will have to live with the guilt of what he did. I have learned that I don't always have to remind my husband of that, he does a pretty good job of feeling guilty on his own sometimes, so that helps. I suppose it helps for me to have a "dive right in" attitude in that I decided to stay and try to make things work and I am doing it without looking back. I know that I can only focus on the future if I want to make things work (with the exception of looking at the past to understand how we can improve the future and ensure he and I don't feel the way we did before.) It's the hardest thing I have ever done in my life and I am holding out hope that it will be one of the best. Try to keep that in mind and stay positive. Remember, you are strong and can handle whatever comes your way!
iVillage Member
Registered: 08-31-2009
Thu, 07-29-2010 - 10:51pm

i printed your post so i can address the different issues.

yes i remember those days of doing laundry and being tempted to burn all of this 'new' underwear. he changed from wearing tidy whitee briefs to designer boxers. began primping, cutting his toenails and fingernails really grooming - if you know what i mean? using lotion to address dry skin etc.

please know that i was much like you - i listened to all of my husbands bs excuses for his betrayal. in retrospect i should have demanded that he step up to the plate and stop with the whining and reflecting. he NEVER took responsibility, but rather instead passed the blame onto me. his exact words were "there is root cause for everything" yep, i was the root cause in his eyes.

i am angered when i listen to these men discuss all of this attention these other women give them. hell, if i did not have children to look after, a home to manage, a job, laundry, shopping, laundry i could have given him a tremendous amount of attention. but dummy me i thought i was doing what good wives and mothers do - being responsible. there were MANY times when i wanted someone to pay attention to my, there were many times when i wanted to feel special, but did that mean it was ok to go out and look for some side 'between the sheets' action. ah, that would be a NO.

the other woman in my case wrote my husband that "he never had to worry about how little time he had to share" told him to remember she was available "24/7". God give me strength.

my husband lied and told me he had ended it - then i found him on the phone calling her. i lost it and threw a glass of merlot in his face - he chased me down and beat me in the chest severely. banged my head into the marble tile floor. asked me "do you want me to kill you"? then turned around and apologized, all of the while trying to get me to believe that she was a nice person. while i have no ill feelings towards her any longer i did not, do not, want to hear about how nice she was. it was more than i could take when i had to read how much he thrilled her.

your husband sounds as though he gets it, mine did not/does not get it. mine has shown absolutely NO empathy about the situation. instead he has tried to put it all off on me - his actions were a result of me. that would be a no, his actions were all on him - he was/is selfish looking for someone to ring his bell. he wanted to feel like a young stud, amazing what viagra can do. so what i am saying here is this, if you love your husband and you know in your heart of hearts that he loves you then the two of you need to begin to rebuild a NEW foundation. one that is built on love, respect, honesty, laughter, and integrity. the old foundation is broken, what you had in the past is gone, but that does NOT mean you can not rebuild. you can.

again i say you need to explain what and how you are feeling to him. he needs to take the time to simply hold you expecting nothing in return. he needs to get it, that you have been hurt and that it is going to take a long time for you to get over this. forgive yes, you can forgive, but forgetting - that is a no, it will always be there, but not forgetting does not mean you can not go on. the mind is a powerful thing, but remember, you can learn to control the mind, i just know you can.

i hope i have helped in some small way.

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-09-2008
Fri, 07-30-2010 - 12:38pm

I don't know, I think what they actually do is just put you out of their minds to be ABLE to cheat, doesn't matter if it's an EA or PA - it takes the same kind of thinking to actually have any kind of affair.

 

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-08-2007
Fri, 07-30-2010 - 8:09pm

You know, your Marriage is one I really think can be rebuilt.