Skelling
Ok so here is something that I am struggling with and could really use some advice. There are a couple of things so please bear with me.

I understand that because of the affair, i am more sensitive to some situations. I try to type this down as straight forward as possible but please be lenient with me, if I sidetrack. Its a bit embarrassing and uncomfortable to talk about but maybe helpful to others too.

So before the affair sex was mostly initiated by my husband not always but often. After the affair that changed a bit. I suppose partially because I still wanted to feel attractive, desired and wanted. Now for me it would always be a given that whenever I would initiate it, my husband would jump at the oportunity. I understand that there are times, that he might be tired or just not in the mood...but now after the affair, if offered and he doesn't seem so interested, I feel rejected, embarrassed that I even offered, not attractiv enough, not desirable just not enough. When I tell him that, he tries to tell me that it has nothing to do with me but that he is tired or his mind is elsewhere...and the first thing that then comes up is "well he wasn't too tired or exhausted for her, she must have been more appealing..., because he slept with her on his business trip after working long hours only getting a couple hours sleep but had no issue staying up with her till 2am, having sex then, knowing he would need to get up at 4 again. But with me he has all the time in the world, knowing I will still be there tomorrow or next week....and with her he knew he onl had those two days, so he had to make sure he gets it done?? I don't know thats how it feels to me.

Thats one and when I then start an argument about that and how this makes me feel, he gets frustrated and tells me its late and he can't deal with that at that time and just goes to sleep. Why can't he not jump over his shadow and put me first. I get he is tired, exhausted... but so am I. Why can't I come first before he thinks about what he needs? And then I will be laying awake with those questions and pictures spinning or if i finally fall asleep, I get plagued with nightmares. Anxiety then at an ultimate high and instead of trying to comfort me, making sure I am ok, he turns over and tries to go to sleep. Then I feel again rejected, abandoned, uncared for, unloved. I don't seem to matter or how I feel doesn't seem to matter. And again I bring it back to the affair, saying that he cared about her feelings, that she was ok. texting HER after he cheated on me, making sure SHE was ok. Told her , he would find a way to hide her pictures after SHE got upset, when he told her he deleted them. Sending HER an apology after he had to hang up on her quickly, because I walked in..... All that making sure SHE was fine because he didn't want her upset. But if I am upset, it seems to be ok and can wait to be dealt with? He says he didn't want conflict with her but has no issue having conflict with me. Makes me want to scream why am I not as important to you as she was. Why did you have no issue giving to her what you have such a hard time giving to me? Why am I not worth more to him or at least the same as her?

And that is pretty much every time that I feel insecure or overlooked, that my head takes it and connects it back to the affair BUT WITH HER......how do I get out of this? How do I stop this? How does she take so much undeserved space in my head and my heart?
Quote 0 0
ThrivenotSurvive
Skelling -

I have a lot of thoughts on this.  But first, a couple quick questions - how far out from DD are you and your husband?

And, as objectively as possible, how often is a scenario playing out where your needs (whether to feel wanted/desired, or simply to be understood/reassured) are not being met in comparison to how often they are being met?  For instance - if you think back over the last month - how many times did you feel like he was willing to put your needs second to whatever he felt needed to be attended to (sleep, work, whatever)?  And how often did he meet your needs - for sex, to cuddle, to help out around the house or talk through your feelings when you were beginning to spiral?

None of us are perfect - and sometimes we don't have the emotional bandwidth to deal with something well in that moment.  We know we are likely to be short/curt/unkind in response to someone we love.  In those cases, it is actually mature and wise, to say, "I don't mean to seem like your needs don't matter - it's just that I am exhausted/fried/depressed and I don't think I can talk about this right now." 

HOWEVER, and this is really important - this should come with a willingness to deal with that issue/concern/need at another time VERY SOON.  To say, can we table it until tomorrow after work (or another appropriate time)?  And then follow thru on it.    My husband and I had to do this several times during the first year or two when he had a really challenging meeting the next day.  I was willing - and it was insanely hard, because like you - my mind worked it to death for HOURS while I waited.  Interestingly, he found that it was often really hard for him to relax the following day (even if he'd fallen asleep out of sheer exhaustion) - so he started preferring to deal with stuff right then and there, because he found that the less time I had to cycle, the more "productive" the conversation was.  I was less emotional (hadn't gone to the truly ugly place yet) - which allowed him to be calmer - which resulted in both of is getting more out of the discussion.  As he started to see this cycle play out - he started ASKING me if something was wrong long before I felt compelled to bring it up.  But he always appreciated it that I was willing to wait - and saw it as proof that I wasn't trying to punish him - but that the voices in my head were getting me down and I needed his help to tame them.

Now, if your husband is using this as a tactic to avoid the conversation all together - then that is a concern and will require a different approach.

One thing I'd like to point out - there is NOTHING in your post that seems like you are "bringing every argument back to the affair".  If he forgot to get an oil change and somehow THAT came back to the affair, then I'd be more concerned.  You are following a more logical train of thought then that so I don't think you are being unreasonable.  But you are likely linking things in ways that aren't really true.  I.e., he was always worried about her feelings and isn't with me - therefore he doesn't love/value me as much.  HE LEFT HER HIGH AND DRY.  He is WITH you trying to rebuild a marriage when it is hard as heck.  I'd say that shows way more commitment to your feelings than a text message or twenty.  That being said, he needs to do a better job of recognizing hour needs for reassurance - and meeting them.

SEX - there's a lot to unpack here and I need to go to a meeting.  But when I get back, I will give you my two cents worth on that.  Suffice to say, this one is usually fraught for both sexes BEFORE an affair - with one partner typically doing more of the pursuing and often feeling the way you do right now.  And then after an affair?  ALL NEW BAGGAGE.  Both sides have new insecurities that can make sex a minefield.  And sometimes your body can throw you a curve-ball you aren't expecting.  Like when your head really wants to have sex, but your body is just not on the same page... and now your partner is certain it's because your don't want them.  Or they have bad pictures in their head, or they are thinking about someone else.  I have had this happen with my husband - in my head I was so turned on  - but my body was just NOT getting from Point A to Point B. 

He was worried that he wasn't pleasing me.  But I can assure you it wasn't that - or because I didn't want him, or that I was playing movies of his affair in my head.  I might have been hormonal or unable to get work stuff out of my head... I don't know.  What I know is that there would have been a lot less of him (or me) second guessing it BEFORE the affair.  Now it takes great effort NOT to do exactly what you are struggling with - assuming that it links to the the affair when it is just as likely one of a number of other unrelated reasons.

I'd consider thinking about before the affair when he was the main pursuer.  Were you always 100% into it immediately?  Or were their times where mentally or physically you just couldn't get "into the mood"?

You can't compare the limited interactions of an affair with a life-long partnership.  For better or worse, the dynamics are 10000% different.  Any of us can lose sleep for a night, or two or five when we know it is short duration.  But when we have all the time in the world?  Nope.  Look at it this way - if he knew that the world was ending in 5 days, he'd be all over you.  But he's planning on a lifetime with you.  So the idea of waiting a day or two when his back isn't hurting and he isn't mulling over work BS doesn't seem like a big deal.  Now, if he's regularly avoiding sex - that a different thing and could be related to shame.  But that is not what I thought I was hearing/reading.

Okay - gotta run.  Late for my meeting because I am too verbose.
BS - Female
Married 27 years, one adult child
DD May 2016

“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” - V Frankl
Quote 2 0
Skelling
Thrive,
thank you soooo much. This is why I like it here so much because I get different perspective. In my mind it all makes perfect sense and a different scenario doesn't even come up.

We are ot 8.5month from dday. 7.5 if I count rom the time I was given the full picture. 

As for the other question. You are right in comparison to how often my meets do get met to when they aren't, I have to admit that he is very sensitive to meeting my needs, reading triggers before I even pick up on them. I think what is frustrating, is that when I sooo exhausted and just want reassurance and feel  heard, and safe, ususally all I am looking for is a long hug, eye contact, touch to my face or a kiss on my forhead, telling me "I got you" "I am here for you" "I love you" and with that, I could relax and push whatever gives me anxiety in that moment away but since that doesn't happen then, anxiety grown, thoughts start spinning and I start comparing and usually I won't get any sleep, whereas a hug would have literally fixed that in seconds and we both could get the sleep we need. I know that I a being unreasonable, if I can't let it go and say he never, he always.... because it is not true. He is starting to think about how his actions affect me, how he can help me feel safe and secure.... you are also right that he does offer to just postpone it and even said, if we argue tonight, I might actually say something that I don't mean because my I am not capeable of clearly thinking it through...

As for the sex. My logical self agrees with you but my emotional self struggles with the fact that he knew her for two days, he was tired, he wasn't even interested in sex with her told her that and still ended up having sex with her because he didn't want to upset her. He was still able to get it up for her (although he had to help with that, when she said she really wants it in her now, makes me want to vomit) and finish. I don't know I guess I really struggle with that. Especially when it takes a bit for him to get into the mood. I do get very insecure then and my mind keeps telling me but for her....and he didn't even want to and found her particularly attractive. What does that say about me? I know my rational self should kick in but unfortunately my emotional self seems to have taken over by then completly. I suppose it doesn't help that I am a woman and can only go by what I know is true for me as a woman, which I know may be completly different for a guy. It sure is frustrating though and I hate ablsolutely and utterly hate feeling like that.
Quote 0 0
Sadie
Hi Skelling;
    My husband always tried to help when I was spinning out of control, yet felt helpless and would get frustrated.   We eventually had a very nice heart to heart where I was able to tell him what actions from him would help during my struggles.    I too, need the long hug, the affection and sweet words.    And, like you, I find myself especially vulnerable when I am exhausted.    It took a couple of reminder conversations, but he now is better at tuning in and giving me what I need during those times.  Sometimes, I still have to tell him that I’m tired or I am struggling and fortunately, I get my needs met.    
     So maybe having that conversation will help you two as well?     
I am about as far out as you are with full disclosure.   My wh has no idea how many conversations we have, that Still trigger me and in my head I have some lovely comments that I rarely blurt out, thank goodness.  Lol.  But still, I would say that a good 80% of our talks about even the weather or our dogs, even, I could reference his affair.    Well, I do reference it, but I keep that to myself-mostly.  🙂
      I have less than zero suggestions about the sex.   Mine is still a complete mess.    
Quote 2 0
ThrivenotSurvive
Skelling wrote:
Thrive,
We are at 8.5 month from dday. 7.5 if I count from the time I was given the full picture.   You are VERY early in this process.  I know it doesn't feel like it - but trust me.  You both are doing great for that time frame.  This is an incredibly difficult process that we have no real preparation for, so it's like finding yourself running a marathon that your life depends on - when you've never walked farther than to your car.

As for the other question. You are right in comparison to how often my meets do get met to when they aren't, I have to admit that he is very sensitive to meeting my needs, reading triggers before I even pick up on them. I think what is frustrating, is that when I sooo exhausted and just want reassurance and feel  heard, and safe, ususally all I am looking for is a long hug, eye contact, touch to my face or a kiss on my forehead, telling me "I got you" "I am here for you" "I love you" and with that, I could relax and push whatever gives me anxiety in that moment away but since that doesn't happen then, anxiety grown, thoughts start spinning and I start comparing and usually I won't get any sleep, whereas a hug would have literally fixed that in seconds and we both could get the sleep we need. I know that I a being unreasonable, if I can't let it go and say he never, he always.... because it is not true. He is starting to think about how his actions affect me, how he can help me feel safe and secure.... you are also right that he does offer to just postpone it and even said, if we argue tonight, I might actually say something that I don't mean because my I am not capeable of clearly thinking it through...

Good - I am really glad to hear this.  Because in that case it sounds like he WANTS to meet your needs, but doesn't always have the emotional bandwidth or more likely doesn't fully realize how easy that it would be to give you at least some measure of comfort in that moment.  in my experience, men often tend to think in absolutes.  This is certainly not always true, but true more often than not.  So if he doesn't feel capable in that moment of answering all your questions, or having sex, or whatever you are reaching out to him for - he tells you no.  What he (and others, both men and women) don't get - is that it isn't all or nothing.  That if, in that moment, he could reach over and TOUCH YOU (a long hug, stroke your hair, touch your cheek, etc.) and say "I love you but right now, I don't feel prepared for XX.  Not because of anything to do with you - but because I am tired, cranky, etc."  But it's important for me to make sure you know how much I love you.  Short of XX, what could I do right now to help you feel loved?  To know how much you matter to me?" 

Just hearing those words would likely make you feel better.  Just knowing that he's willing to extend himself in SOME way, even if it's not all the way - would make you feel like you mattered.  And then you could ask for a compromise that could make you feel better (say, a date to have a conversation or "sexy time" later in the week but a long kiss right now).  He gets to begin to have the feeling that he's part of the solution rather than just the problem.  A win-win. 

But here's the thing.  You are going to have explain that this is a multiple choice question - not a yes/no one - to HIM.  He clearly was never taught (or learned) so seek alternatives - so educate him on how to love you better.  I found that my husband was very, very willing to learn - but things that were as obvious as the sun in the sky  to ME - were completely new concepts to him.  I used to get mad at him, or assume he was being willfully obtuse.  But once I decided to share with him how I wanted to be loved (very, very clearly - no talking around it) I was shocked at how quickly he responded. 


So my suggestion would be to try telling your husband (not when you are upset, but when you are both calm, having a good day), that you realized this hurtful pattern had been bringing you both down.  Slowing your healing.  And given that he's been making such an effort in other ways to be kind and supportive, you realized it was probably not that he didn't want to make you feel better, but that he didn't know how.  And then share with him how he could help you feel better - even if he couldn't give you everything you needed in the moment, etc. 

When we talk to our spouses' as if we ASSUME that they want to do the right thing but just don't know how to make us happy, they feel far less judged.  Rather than hearing that they are still bad and selfish people always hurting us, they hear that we see their efforts and want to help them love us in the way the makes us feel safe and valued.  Of course, this is only if they ARE making real efforts, but it sounds like your husband is definitely trying - albeit imperfectly. 


As for the sex. My logical self agrees with you but my emotional self struggles with the fact that he knew her for two days, he was tired, he wasn't even interested in sex with her told her that and still ended up having sex with her because he didn't want to upset her. He was still able to get it up for her (although he had to help with that, when she said she really wants it in her now, makes me want to vomit) and finish. I don't know I guess I really struggle with that. Especially when it takes a bit for him to get into the mood. I do get very insecure then and my mind keeps telling me but for her....and he didn't even want to and found her particularly attractive. What does that say about me? I know my rational self should kick in but unfortunately my emotional self seems to have taken over by then completly. I suppose it doesn't help that I am a woman and can only go by what I know is true for me as a woman, which I know may be completly different for a guy. It sure is frustrating though and I hate ablsolutely and utterly hate feeling like that.

Yeah, I get the wanting to vomit part.  There is little about the idea of your partner having sex with someone else that doesn't have that effect on us.  So here's the truth: 

- He may not have wanted to have sex with her and still gotten it up.  Feel free to read about male rape victims - men's bodies are just like ours in the fact that they can have unwelcome sexual reactions.  There are women and child abuse survivors who were told they must have wanted it because they were wet or their nipples got hard, etc.  I apologize for being graphic but I don't know how to talk about this subject without it.  

- He may have had MIXED feeling about it.  Part of him may have welcomed feeling wanted/desired but another part didn't want to be "that guy" or hurt you.  I could go on and on.  I have no way of knowing and he's likely only now sorting it all out in his head.  But the body is a very strange thing and the anxiety caused by feeling scared/pushed/conflicted could have actually also caused him to "get it up".  There are people (including myself) who under extreme stress feel uncomfortably horny - not for a happy/sexy reason - but because our bodies need a way to release (via orgasm) the built up anxiety. Weird, I know.  And uncomfortable as heck in a heated business negotiation, let me tell you.  Again, I apologize for the TMI - but I want you to understand that i know first hand that anxiety can lead to a need for release - and NOT from desire.  

- And here's the worst case scenario.  He wanted to do it.  He was excited and desired her.  And maybe in that moment he did.  But if he is with you i can nearly assure you that even if that was the case, that is not how he feels about it now.  Think of it this way - most of us have had a scenario with drinking or gossiping or something hurtful/stupid ... where in the moment it felt delicious, exciting and totally worth it.  We knew we shouldn't but it felt good.  And then the next day, or month or a year later, we saw it for what it was.  A mirage - that cigarette that we loved to enjoy had given us cancer and now we regret every smoke.  The pleasure that once seemed so obvious is now hard to even recall in our minds and far outweighed by the pain of regret and consequence.  Or maybe you tied one on trying to look cool with younger colleagues - and you wake up shaking your head.  You remember feeling on top of the world last night, but now you just feel sick and ashamed of everything that seemed so darn cool last night.  I could keep going, but you get the picture.  They may have felt that way at one time, but they don't anymore.  

NONE of these scenarios has anything to do with how desirable your husband finds you.  Not one.  

I think it is far more likely that your husband is still experiencing a lot of shame - not an aphrodisiac.  Think about it this way - try to imagine that the roles were reversed.  That every time he looked at you, you could imagine the thoughts running through his mind.  How you'd let him down.  How you were a crappy human being.  How you weren't sure from moment to moment if he hated you or loved you, etc.  Would it be easy to feel sexy or desirable in that scenario?  It wouldn't for me.  If I feel crappy about myself at WORK it can bleed into my sex life.  Much less if I think I am a crappy partner.  

This is by NO MEANS to say that it is your fault or your job to rectify.  Please do not think I am saying that at ALL.  I just want you to stop thinking that it is about your sexiness, desirability or how much he loves you.  This is in HIM.  And as he works through his shame and can begin to recover his good feelings about himself, it will be easier for him to feel worthy of you and sexy/desirable within himself.  



As always - remember this is just based on my personal experience.  I could be totally wrong.  Take the parts that make sense to you and throw the rest out of the window.  The only thing that is right is what helps YOU.
BS - Female
Married 27 years, one adult child
DD May 2016

“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” - V Frankl
Quote 4 0
Skelling
Thank you both that was very helpful and actually made me giggle a bit thank you for that.

I think you hit the nail on the head, because he actually had said that to me before that sex sometimes is just like a vent to release anxiety and stress. And yes part of him probably liked the attention. But he also said he wanted to avoid conflict and felt as if he "owed it " to her because she was nice to him so he now was obligated to give her what she wanted....He said he felt instant guilt, when he put it in and realized that this is not right and doesn't feel good (again makes it the harder for me to understand, how he was able to keep going, but he said he closed his eyes and just concentrated on himself) He said to him it was more like masturbation, kind of lets just get it over with kind of thing. But Why the heck do it in the first place then.... Argh this is so frustrating and painful.

However, I would def. say that he wants to meet my needs and a lot of the times he does too. I know that I have to work on myself to acknowledge his efforts more and not hurt him and therefore discourage him from trying. 

Tonight he came home and brought dinner for me because he knew that I don't like spaghetti, which I had made for the family. He wanted to make sure I ate because I haven't been eating healthy. I could recognize the gesture but instead of being happy about it, my mind went straight to "he wants me to eat so I gain weight, so i look more like her..." I have always been very tiny, even more so now because of the stress. So I am maybe a size 2 with literally no boobs that fed 4 babies, and the ow was maybe a size 12, bigger boobs, no kids you get the picture. I catch myself thinking maybe he wants someone who looks more like a woman. So I am constantly comparing myself. I asked my therapist today about that and he said, he suspects it stems from my childhood comparing myself to my sister as my parents always compared us and favored her rtill this day and then in school and uni it was the same. I was known as sister of instead of by my name....so I guess that adds to the mixture and I have some work to do there.

I could see how my husband was hurt, that I would even remotely think that his intentions were anything but to make sure I was taken care off and ok. He even told me how much this hurt him something he would have never done before, talking about how he feels.

I suppose it is so hard for me to really trust in the change in him. Just like in the other thread from blessed. Why is it different now. Why do my needs all of the sudden matter, if they didn't seem to matter before. I know he is a really good guy and wants to do everything to right his wrong. I don't want to sabotage his efforts or hurt him so I try not to say anything but he knows me well and can read me well and not talking about how we feel got us into this mess in the first place. I think you are spot on with having to talk about things rather than assume.
Quote 0 0
ABurris105
“Why is it different now. Why do my needs all of the sudden matter, if they didn't seem to matter before.“

Unfortunately, sometimes it takes something as horrible as betrayal to wake people up and make them see what they couldn’t before.  Like Thrive, this is based on my personal experience, so take it or leave it.  

I struggle with this too, thinking why did it take this? Why couldn’t you just see it before and do it? In our case, he had some individual healing that had to take place that changes how he sees me.  Only he could do that, but why not through other means like therapy? I still don’t have a good answer for that, maybe pride and selfishness?   What I have been trying to do is accept that it happened and I can’t change it, so I am trying to be grateful for the change that has come from it.  Being angry and focusing on the fact that he should have been able to get it without betrayal doesn’t help me at all.  So, I have been allowing myself to feel the anger, but not wallow in it bc that just stirs up so much.  Instead I try to really focus on the fact that he is indeed, here with me and making an effort;  that he truly does regret what happened and has to live with himself and the consequences of that bc he can’t get away from himself, and that since we can’t change it, why not learn and benefit from it all we can.  Would I have chosen this way for change ? Absolutely not..I tried for YEARS to get him to go to counseling, read books, spend time working on things together.  But, he refused all that and I had absolutely NO SAY in the horrible decision he made in how to deal.  BUT, he has repented and come back and is working hard (we are 21 months out from Dday, almost 12 from no contact) to make things right.  I am doing what I need to heal, but I don’t want to waste any more time than I have to on dwelling on it or OW.  Life is short and we have so much to make up for (his affair began a month before our 27th anniversary).

 Having said that, today is a good day... they aren’t always good and when I find myself wallowing, I just have to pray and spend a little time there so I can “feel it and deal with it” but, as time moves on and I make actual written notes that I can look back on of what he has done to make things right and how he is trying, it helps me not get stuck there.  We have a lifetime together.  That is too much to waste any time on someone who just passed through his life.  So, as long as he continues to show me he is making an effort, we continue to grow and I am grateful that my needs matter now.  I hope your husband will continue to make efforts to know and meet your needs.  If you aren’t already, consider making notes of positive ways he has done this so that you can physically see it during those times your mind may be swirling too much to recall them.
Quote 1 0
Diraz
Skelling, this is exactly what happened to us. Neither one of us would say, we both just went with whatever. Of course after the fact we find out he hated working nights and I also hated it. 
Things we should have said to each other. My H being passive aggressive there were little comments but when I would ask he’d say everything is fine. 

As for comparing myself to the OW, well I did that pretty much all the time the first year. It’s really hard not to no matter what the age difference, body type etc. It definitely can mess with your mind. It took some time before I came to the realization that she really didn’t matter. Yes even what she had that I thought I didn’t have
didnt matter because my husband chose to stay with me and work on us. I told him many times that first week if he wanted her to go and I’ll be just fine( eventually). I did not want him with me if he was pinning over her. He wouldn’t leave and said we wanted me and he wanted us. Yes all words that I took with a big grain of salt. But over time and me actually processing all of this his words did match his actions.

I remember a few months after DD we were
talking about my hair and my H said I’d love it if you grew it out. Of course right away my thought was “ she had long hair” is that why he wants me to grow it out? Or when we were being intimate and he had a new move. I said where did you learn that? Her? I remember making those kind of comments all the time to him. 
I kinda of think it had to come out and he had to endure it a little bit. I told him the first week, what if it takes years for me not to be angry? He said I’ll stay however long it takes. So maybe I was testing him with my little comments? Eventually I just stopped saying little things because it got old and he knew exactly how I felt about what he did. Time and the right actions by you husband will help get you there. But you have to believe that you are a beautiful loving women. Your husband chose you, your husband wants you! 

I agree all the things we thought were no big deal pre affair are a huge deal now. I can’t handle  a little bit of what I would perceive as disrespect from my husband and yes he does have a thinner line to walk. I want to feel protected by him, I want to know he’s protecting our marriage at all times. Those are things that should have been there all along. But this time I’m going to make sure he knows and understands it. 
 

 
Quote 3 0
Keepabuzz
Thrivenotsurvive, well put!

I think that much of what you said is usually true for men, but can also be true for women. My wife also would get frustrated and shutdown. She was defeated, she had caused all of the destruction, and had no idea what to do or how to help me. For a very long time, I refused to tell her what I needed. She should know, right?  Because it was clear as day to me!  She didn’t though. Right or wrong, she didn’t. When I started to tell her, very clearly what I needed and when, and how I need her to react in when I was triggered, she followed it to the letter. 

Sex is also an issue for me. But it seems to be opposite. Since her confession almost 4 years ago, then a few months of hysterical bonding, must desire tanked. Most of the time, I could literally do without sex. For so long, it caused nothing but intrusive thoughts. That horrible mind movie of him inside her. Many times I had to stop in the middle of the act and get dressed and leave the room. It’s has gotten better, but no where near what it used to be. On the other hand, if I was willing she would want to have sex every day. It’s not special to me anymore. It’s just sex. It has little value to me. I honestly find much more intimacy from kissing her than to have sex with her. I guess it’s just one more thing in a long list of consequences we have to deal with because of her affair.  
Male BS, D-day July 2015, trying to stay out of the dark.....
Quote 2 0
hurting
There are some great points covered above. 

My only suggestion is actually one to your husband. I would suggest that he just ACCEPTS that no matter what he does or how unrelated an issue might seem to him now to the affair, that it will be linked in your head, and respond to THAT. My WS would get frustrated at times because he would feel that whatever I was getting upset over had ‘nothing’ to do with the affair- and yet I was working myself up badly over whatever it was. 

I think it was Trinity who once put it like this: ‘I can draw a link between his cheating and a bowl of breakfast cereal’. I know that held true for me- the links may not have made sense to anyone else... and may be too convoluted for anyone else to follow. What really matters, is that if YOU are getting triggered and spiralling because of whatever association has been made or intrusive thought is troubling you, then it is up to him to help deal with it. It doesn’t MATTER if he doesn’t understand why it is triggering. He needs to react first to the immediate event of the trigger and link. For the record, going to sleep does NOT count as dealing with it. 

Now our WS are often quite lost at how to best help us. I too, have had to tell my WS directly and many times over what he should do to help me. I hated to at first. Because it seemed to make his effort count for ‘less’ if he was told what to do and it ‘didn’t come from him’. I thought the ‘appropriate’ way to handle such situations was blatantly obvious... but apparently it wasn’t to him. He now asks me whenever I am triggered whether there is anything he can do to help. THIS in itself is helpful. I’m also not opposed at all to being verbal about how I feel. He needs to hear it to understand what’s going on, sleep be damned.

Quite a while down the track from D-day, he has sometimes been able to ask me how a trigger is linked to help his understanding of what happened in my head. 

I think my WS learning to be more sensitive to triggers and secondly trying to learn how to help when such a situation arises has actually been the most helpful thing to me FWIW (and a good dose of time).

re: intimacy, I would say it takes a lot of time and there are ups and downs for sure. The issue of shame, mind movies and intrusive thoughts etc make it an absolute minefield. 

Sit down with your WS at a time when you are not angry or triggered, and talk about it. My WS hates these conversations. They’re awkward and often stunted. But he needs to understand what is going through your head, just as he may be able to share with you some of what’s going through HIS head. For example, my WS never initiates sex with me any more. Now I can obviously put a bad spin on this one ‘well he pursued HER etc’. He has told me though, that he doesn’t because he feels ashamed. He feels he doesn’t deserve to approach me like that BECAUSE of how he treated sex before (selfishly, as a means to an end for self pleasure only). So while he’s fine with ME initiating, he does not do so himself. Ever. It makes me feel unwanted etc (because of his cheating), but I do understand that he has a million reasons to feel ashamed and unworthy of ‘asking’ me for sex. I suppose I can see how those kinds of feelings would be a turn off for him.

So while the reason that he isn’t ‘wanting’ to initiate sex IS affair related, it isn’t for the reasons that may come to MY mind (am I less attractive? Why does he want me less? Is it because I am always available to him?). It’s because he is ASHAMED. 
Quote 3 0
TheFarmGirl
The APs take so much space in my head as well. I don’t really know how to resolve that but with time. I’m slowly, almost, barely getting to the realization that my WH didn’t do this to specifically to hurt me. It’s been a year since ddays for me.  

To to speak about the intimacy part:  We have the same problem. My WH has been candid about this with me... he says he is disgusted with sex now because it was the origin of this awful life for us. And I agree. We sometimes accidentally do (and often it ends in me crying unintentionally), but it is not satisfying for either of us so we both basically are choosing to be practically  celibate. It’s bizarre. Maybe this helps you. It definitely helps me, to realize that for my husband and I that sex is an icky, shameful thing because of his actions. 
Quote 0 0
TheFarmGirl
...also, I too feel slighted by any way that my WH does not prioritize me or make a 200% effort. 
Quote 0 0
anthro
TheFarmGirl wrote:
...also, I too feel slighted by any way that my WH does not prioritize me or make a 200% effort. 


I feel this way sometimes. In our case at least though, it is our joint reality that we both have really busy jobs and a lot of other priorities. That's how we are. So I can't - for example - with any fairness fault her for being exhausted and not particularly able to engage with all the exhausting stuff we have sitting in our relationship closet. It is just life taking attention away.

I think these kinds of things are the reasons most couples don't survive infidelity. It is possible to work past it but when you have so much unrelated pressure, and then you also have crossed wires and misinterpret tiredness as coldness, and so on... it's not likely you'll be survive long enough to rebuild. 
Formerly known as Anthropoidape... male bs, long affair, d-day Feb 2017.
Quote 0 0
Sadie
I told my WH about this thread and how validated I felt, realizing just how normal this is.    Go figure, he was quite surprised about the internal monologue I have even when we talk about something as mundane as to where we will go eat.   Once again, I needed to explain to him, that even though we don’t talk about his affair much, that doesn’t meant that it still doesn’t affect me and most every aspect of my life.     
      This, of course brought him down and he was depressed for the rest of the day.   He says that he is able to block it out and never think about his affair.   I get it.   I too have blocked out shameful things I have done in the past.  I learn, I apply it to my future and I move on.    Hopefully, my past bad deeds have never effected others, as his affair has me.     
     Perhaps I should start speaking my internal monologue, so he realizes just how much it is still on my mind?   Then again, would that really help us to move forward?   Hmmmmm.   Doubtful.
       
Quote 0 0
ThrivenotSurvive
I have found that a middle road approach has worked for me. 

If I told him every single time it crossed my mind (from mild to significant), it would likely overwhelm him.  And when I think in terms of things I've done, I would start to feel like there was no hope if the other person brought it up every day, day after day, even as I was trying to do everything in my power to be and act very, very differently and prove that they could trust me.  At some point I think I'd feel that they'd always look at me that way and make me feel trapped in who i was - not who I’d become.

That being said, I really believe that there is no true intimacy without honesty and vulnerability.  So if I constantly hide what is going on in my head, where's the honesty and trust between us?  If I can't let him help carry my burdens as well as my successes - is it really a partnership?  Or glorified roommates? 

So - I choose my moments.  Sometimes they are times where I just really need the comfort.  Sometimes it is times when I feel that he is in a good emotional space to be receptive to talking about something that is bothering me.  But it is always a balancing act - and it is always hard to navigate.
BS - Female
Married 27 years, one adult child
DD May 2016

“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” - V Frankl
Quote 3 0