Betrayed spouses trying to move forward

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-02-2012
Betrayed spouses trying to move forward
Tue, 10-02-2012 - 10:49pm
I stumbled across this forum looking for ways to cope with my anger and lingering sadness that my husbands affair caused. My Dday was just over 1 year ago. After agreeing to stay with him & to try to rebuild our marriage, I'm left wondering if its ever going to get better....did I make a mistake?!
Let me rewind a little bit so you understand my delima.
After being in a relationship with my husband for 15 years (8 married) I found out he was having an affair with a mutual co-worker of ours. We've had our fair share of ups & downs, but have always worked thru together as a team. I suspected he was unfaithful 3 years into our relationship when my daughter was a baby, & ended up calling off our engagement. We never split & stayed together although it was very difficult to get past that feeling. He swore up & down that he wasn't having an affair, even tho my gut told me different....I believed him thinking maybe I was just feeling insecure due to having a baby & the life style change that comes with motherhood. We ended up moving out of state & started a new adventure together. He re-proposed a year later, & we were married that Fall. We had another child & things were looking good! New life in paradise, good jobs, & 2 perfect kids. I had no idea it was all going to be derailed by 1 very bad choice.
Now to the nightmare that won't seem to end.....I found out a few days after my 35th bday that he had indeed cheated on me :-( shocked is the only word to describe it! Everything was good in our marriage, we both excelled in our positions both working for the same employer, just acquired a new waterfront pool home on the Gulf of Mexico, kids doing good in school etc.
He came home early from work that horrible day, which was odd for him because he always worked the closing shifts being the GM of the company. When I asked him what was wrong, he proceeded to tell me something was wrong with his groin & that he was sick. This is where it gets interesting.....I knew instantly what had happened, almost like intuition but worse I felt it & it numbed me to the core! He admitted to being unfaithful to me & told me he thinks he caught an std from the OW! I was mortified because we too had been together sexually while he was with her. He also broke down & said he may have gotten her pregnant, but was unsure because he wasn't the only person she had slept with in the 2 month fling they shared. It took me some time to process this blow but when I did my entire world collapsed. He got tested & was clean (thank god) but within a week of telling me HE had a nervous breakdown.....really?!? He also admitted that my thoughts on him cheating in the past really did occur.
Talking about dbl whammy!!!! Suddenly he was full blown mental, not sleeping, shaking, crying, unable to work, & making it very difficult for me to hide from our 12 yr old & 5 yr old that something was wrong. I tried everything to get HIM help & to keep my kids blind to the fact that life as they knew it was over because daddy messed up. Im sorry if this is long but trust me, this is the shortened version. there are many other shards of my shattered life I can't even talk about that came about from this mess....that left deeper wounds while i was dealing with the madness at hand.....He ended up loosing his job that more than supported us, I was forced to quit mine as well. Without any help or support in the state that we lived in, & was left withno way to support my kids....we ended up moving back North near family & into my father-inlaw's upstairs loft until things calmed down & he got better. This was a shock to they system alone. its very difficult to go from living in a beautiful 3 bedroom home on the water, to sharing 1 bedroom with 4 people & a large dog.....funny how life can change so quickly!!!
Mean while I'm still left feeling like I just got hit by a Mac truck. Within 2 months of Dday I had given up everything to try to salvage what was left of my marriage, & try to move this day I'm not sure I made the right choices for my kids or us as a whole. Moving away didn't work out very well....he ended up even worse there! He refused counseling & stated how remorseful he was for ruining our lives, but he's one of those people that don't believe in shrinks or medications, good old suck it up kinda mentality. Even though his dad was nice enough to give him a job & gave my family (Great Dane included) a safe place to heal.....he was still acting like a mental patient :-( HE CHEATED ON why am I taking care if him?
I voiced my frustration on the situation as a whole, told him I too was starting to sink due to the extreme stress I was under. I found a great job, but my kids were not dealing well with the move & had problems adjusting to new schools & our new living situation. They still have no idea why daddy got sick, they think he was just burnt out over work.....I didn't want to have them think bad of their dad. Actually I didn't tell most people we knew about everything just to not embarrass him. The ones who knew where we worked, were also the ones covering for him, people I worked with daily....including her! I couldn't even talk to my mom due to her being very sick in the icu with heart problems. I felt the added strain to her heart from hearing about my life would kill her. Still to this day she doesn't know the whole reason for our upheaval....
I do love him which is why I didn't throw away our 15 year marriage, but trying to limp through this nightmare alone is very hard. He says he loves us & couldn't imagine his life without the kids & I. That what had happened was a terrible mistake, he blamed a lot on drinking & hanging out with his staff too much, rather than coming home to his family. He swore to not drink anymore & that he would change the things that led to this mess. For months i watched him withdraw & become distant. when i talked to his dad about it, he pretty much told me i have to deal with it & stay by his side as promised :smileysad: no support for me there just a roof over my head, & the knowledge that my kids were safe! The emotional & physical toll finally hit me & I was hospitalized with pneumonia, exhaustion, & malnutrition because I was unable to hold food down from all the stress. 4 months & 30lbs lighter I lay in a hospital bed sobbing for my broken life. Wondering what I did wrong to deserve this ending? I was always supportive & tried to be the best mother, wife, friend I could....but in the end it wasn't enough.
Present time:
Shortly after the new year our old boss called him & offered his job back. After much debate & long talks we chose to move back to what we considered home. He seemed to come back to life with this new beginning he was offered, so 6 months after leaving home we made move back south. He was doing well at his new position, & seemed to understand that I needed to start to focus on me & to try to begin to heal now that my focus wasn't solely on keeping him & the kids from imploding. I wanted to get the nightmares that constantly haunted my thoughts gone, & begin to try & forgive. It was a tuff couple of months for me after our return. I explained that I was going to have good & bad days, that he needed to just be there when I needed him to be, & to give me space as needed too.
Well lets just say it didn't take long for the same routine to set in for him. My biggest fear was he was going back to the situation & people that led to our mess. When I told him that I was slipping into my own depression he told me in a round about way, that if I was looking for him to help me thru MY depression over this mess, that I wasn't going to get it!!! That he wasn't very good at stuff like that & to get professional help instead! Are you kidding me?! Financially we were behind from 2 moves in 1year & still to this day I am always 2 steps behind. So I couldn't afford counseling right away instead I've been using these blogs & forums for guidance & strength....but when I started to see him fall into the same pattern I told him how sick it made me, due to the wounds I have are not healed. I set aside my own pain to help him & our kids get back on their feet.
He cant understand why I just can't get over it already? We've only been back 7 months & he's started drinking again, hanging out with the staff, & not helping around the house or with the kids at all. When I brought this to his attention he started getting weird again :-( now we're working on trying to prevent his 2nd nervous breakdown in less than a year!
I am not strong enough to hold him up this time, nor do I want to believe this is happening again. I had to ask if he was unfaithful again, which he responded no to. He says its the stress of work that's putting him back into this pity party he's been having.
I'm getting tired....not sure if I just gave up my everything, went thru all the BS & hurt just to have the same end result....I've made it known that I can not & will not let this effect my kids this time & if I have to this time I will leave. He refuses counseling & after me having to quit 2 jobs in a year over his "mistake" I'm struggling to find my own source of income. I feel like this is hopeless.....I love him & want to forgive but am growing tired of being the only one showing any effort! I feel like screaming!!!! I don't want my marriage to end but I can not go thru this again. When is it about me? It'll break my heart to leave him because he was my best friend....& has been since the day we met 16 years ago. I feel lost & numb....not sure how to fix this I'm scared, heartbroken, & oh so tired! I have been doing everything I can to keep the kids strait with school, happy at home, taking care of the house inside & out......the only word I can use to describe my current situation is unreal!
Thoughts? Please be kind....I'm open to hear what people have to say, but I can't handle anymore negativity right now! I used to be can't even think strait there's so many conflicting thoughts yelling in my head.
Thanks for reading just need to get it out!!!
iVillage Member
Registered: 02-15-2008
Wed, 10-03-2012 - 9:07am


A's are not mistakes, they are bad choices and with each phone call, meeting, drink, etc. It is a choice the WS makes.  He/she could choose otherwise but they do not and do not think about their spouses, family or job when they do it.

Often the BS will say, "but I love him", "he is my best friend".  Is it him you love or who you thought he was? Your H has repeatedly shown you who he is, believe him!   IMHO a best friend would not make all of those horrible choices that hurt you.  A best friend would be there for you when you need support.  Saying "I'm not good at that" is not an option.

I am not saying this to throw salt in the wound.  I have been in your shoes and I got myself out.

Make a plan b for yourself.  Start today.  Start looking for work or contact colleges or wherever to make yourself more marketable.  Do you have another skill that you could start something on your own?  Childcare, pet care, creating artwork, etc?  Do whatever you can to build a nest egg for yourself starting now.  Go speak to an attorney--you don't have to divorce because you do but it will show you where you stand financially.  Knowing what you are facing is a lot better than living in limbo.  In most places you can have an initial consultation with an attorney for a nominal fee.  I divorced in FL and online on the Florida Barr association website they will connect you with an attorney for an initial meeting for $25.  Have a list of questions ready.  

Find support where you are.  I understand you can not afford counseling but many counselors will work on a sliding scale or perhaps you can find a church pastor or parish counselor in your area.  Confide in a trusted friend.  Of course your H doesn't want you to talk to anyone--that will make him look bad!  It is not your responsibility to protect him, how has he protected you, his own wife? He is not helping and supporting you is he?  There may be a support group in your area.  Try alanon.  They will help you, the wife of a drinking person.

Exercise.  Rebuild yourself physically. You don't have to go to the gym, you live by the ocean right?  Run on the beach or at least walk it--now that is a great place to clear your head!  Bring a journal with you.  That helped me. Get a physical and get tested for stds.  I know your H said he was clean but I wouldn't trust his words at this point.  

Give yourself some space to think and regroup.  If you do decide to move on without your H you will have a plan b in place!  As far as your kids, they know so much more that you think they do.  Staying in the situation they are in, with an unhappy depressed mother and an absent father is far worse than if you did spit and move on.  If you do choose to move on they will learn that how your H treats you is not an option that one does not put up with it. kwim?

mhall2921,  what I am saying is to put the ball back in your court.  Refuse to live in your H's crazy.  Tell him what you expect and deserve as his wife and accept no less.  And in the meantime, put your focus on yourself.  You can get back that strong person you felt you once were!  I did.  It isn't easy but your own future lies in your hands

Wishing you the best,


Avatar for khatru1
iVillage Member
Registered: 06-07-2004
Wed, 10-03-2012 - 12:23pm
This is going to be a very short reply to your huge post but if you choose to again try to make this work, then your H has got to agree to counseling. He has shown you over and over that he cannot fix himself and correct his behaviors on his own. He needs help. After reading what you wrote I have serious doubts that he can be fixed, but it is your choice to go down that path. You cannot just re-walk the same road of promises it will get better, and have the incidents swept under the rug.
iVillage Member
Registered: 02-15-2008
Wed, 10-03-2012 - 7:57pm

You are right on Myra!


iVillage Member
Registered: 10-02-2012
Thu, 10-04-2012 - 9:52am
Ollie I do not disagree with you at all......unfaithfulness is not just a mistake! It is however life altering for all involved. My H didn't just cheat on his wife but his children too. I make no excuses for what he has done, the damage is unbelievable & it does have a lasting ripple effect on the little ones. I've had so much anger, sadness, & disbelief since this occurred! I still am left wondering how I made it as far as I have, but the only answer I can come up with is pure drive to change the path my life has taken. My kids watched a normally strong driven hardworking father turn into a hot mess in 1 weeks time. I didn't want to let them know the entire truth as to why daddy isn't functioning, not because I wanted to protect him, but more because I needed to protect THEM!
When my H made the choice to cheat, cause he did know what he was doing no doubt & could've stopped it at any time.....HE made a very damaging & irreversible mistake to his life!
My original post I made was to get it out, I needed to vent because holding it in is not healthy for me. I do walk to clear my head....almost daily thanks to my Great Dane pup we happened to adopt just as his choice to cheat began. She's been my sanity, a lot to put on a dog but its just how things progressed. When I'm sad she won't let me sit & cry...she makes me get up & move. In order to control such a lg dog I have to have an inner calm or she senses my tension. So when we walk I think of nothing at all except the beauty of where we are, as long as I do this she heals & doesn't pull. Something that's extremely important for me having a debilitating spine injury. So she is my helps a lot for me to have that to be able to get up everyday & live life with my kids & the nightmare that my H has caused. So you are right walking is very good for the body & mind!
I am angry that my H was aloud to breakdown over his bad choices....& even more so that everyone bent over backwards to help him not disappear. I made the choice to stay & give him a chance to fix what he broke & prove that the future would be as promised different. Maybe I should've walked away then, but I'm true to my word even if he wasn't. I will not stick around if it continues on this path, I have a job in life that is more important than my marriage....being a mom & raising our kids the best I know how. I made the mistake....or choice if you prefer to let him excel in the workplace & took on a position that allowed me to be there for our kids. I have skills but unfortunately I'm up against a lot of other people who have college degrees. I search for jobs daily & apply to all I see.....gets depressing when you continually get turned down. I won't give up tho....if I have to I'll fall back on working in a restaurant even tho my back cant handle it anymore. My life once again has come to a crossroad, & this time there are no second chances! I told the H that I am not going to live this way anymore. He either swallows his pride & gets himself help, or he is going to loose us for good. I'm done & will not allow this to continue any longer! He's had his chance to change & clearly he has issues that run deeper than just our marriage. I'm so tired of people like him, that use their bad upbringing as an excuse to ruin the future! I used mine to better myself & swore my kids would have what I didn't! Anyway I guess this is getting too long again :-/ thanks for the advise it helped to hear from people that have been there & over come the bad. I know I need to get myself help as well but 1st need to be sure I can financially servive on my own! What mess........think I need to go for a walk!
iVillage Member
Registered: 02-15-2008
Fri, 10-05-2012 - 4:33pm

Hang in there mhall!  It sounds like you are doing lots to heal and move forward.  I have to agree about dogs!  My two pups got me through so much with my exh and the divorce.  Just keep doing what you can to move forward.  Have you checked out the 180?  I will bump it up in the 'rebuilding' section of this board below.