Courage
18 months past DDAY, lots of lies about the extent/intensity of the affair and my husband is finally ready to sit down with me to tell me everything. With the help of a marriage counsellor, everything we've learned from Retrouvaille, the book How To Help Your Spouse Heal From Your Affair, and most importantly his need and desire to come completely clean, he has spent hours writing his story which we he is going to read to me tomorrow night. My anxiety about this is through the roof. On one hand, part of me doesn't want to hear it because of the pain I know it will bring me. On the other hand I have been begging for truths since day one and my soul has not been at peace since. Continual lies and discoveries have left me literally crippled with pain, despair and anger.
My goal here is to have my WH willingly be truthful with me so I can finally lay this part of our lives to rest ( I am not naive enough to think it will ever fully go away) , but I want to stop obsessing over his lies and the things he has withheld from me. Simply, I want to feel safe enough to trust and become vulnerable enough to be able to show him the love I have for him in my heart. I have been guarded for so long, and I want to be free of that. I am terrified though of how to handle any new truths he may reveal about the affair that he has denied repeatedly over the last few months. And let me be clear, I'm not after sorid details. I simply want him to come forward on his own and tell me about the affair- without me asking a thousand questions. I am fearful of the pain and fearful of what to do with the anger I know I will undoubtedly experience. I am also fearful of feeling he is still withholding truths.

I want to be able to show grace and work towards forgiveness and trust so that we can have the marriage we both envision. I'm struggling with how I can constructively deal with the pain and subsequent anger that will follow. I know he will reveal things that he repeatedly lied to me about. I'm scared about how I will deal with this. I'm worried about how I will react. In my head I have a whole strategy of coping in a way that leads me to love, but I also know myself and am fearful of the intense emotions that will follow with these new truths. Ugg - any tips for handling this in a constructive versus destructive way? I mostly fear myself in this situation.
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johnbluedog69
I am praying for your strength and guidance I wish you all the best
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TimT
I'm glad your relationship is at this place... his willingness to be honest, your desire to forgive.

There are a few things I would suggest:
  1. Don't confuse pain with unforgiveness. There will be new information shared and since he was previously hiding it from you it will likely be painful... perhaps very painful. Forgiveness doesn't mean you don't feel the pain. It means that you work through the pain in a way that allows you to appropriately grieve what has been lost (certain hopes and expectations) and eventually move forward to what is new. Your husband should be willing to help bring your comfort and relief during this time. Forgiveness will keep your pain from getting stuck in anger.
  2. Remember this: When your husband tells you the truth, he is giving you what you asked for... what you need. This does not negate his betrayal, but he cannot change that now. What he CAN do, if he is committed to repairing your marriage and rebuilding intimacy with you, is finally be honest. So even in the worst revelation, recognize that he may be finally trying to do the right thing.
  3. As I have worked with couples over the years, I have become more convinced that less knowledge about the past will help you heal more quickly. Betrayed spouses often believe they need clarity in order to heal, but that is not always true. I never tell a BS what they can or cannot ask, but the bottom line is this: WHAT DO YOU NEED TO KNOW IN ORDER TO FORGIVE? It doesn't require knowledge of details, but certainly an admission of the extent of the relationship: who far did it go and for how long did it go on? Also, you a clear proclamation of the unfaithful partner's commitment to ongoing honesty.
Last week, a couple came to their Truth Session. The wife had first prepared a page of questions, but as she thought about it more and more, she decided she only needed to ask two things: (1) Since we've been together, have you had emotional or sexual relationships with any other women other than the one I know about? (2) Are you currently emotionally or physically involved with anyone other than me? She knew there were details... maybe even specific things she would find out later about his affair. But she believed that as she forgave and healed, she would be able to lump any new info into what had already been forgiven. What should NOT be left out in a Truth Session is any detail that falls outside of known boundaries. (For example, finding out later that the affair involved intercourse when that had been previously denied will feel like a lie that might undo the healing process. But later finding out about an intimate detail you didn't know will be painful breaking down trust.)

I wish you well!
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UrbanExplorer
This does sound emotionally charged for both of you. Tim's point about deciding what you truly need to know to move forward is a good one. How does this work? If he is relaying details you don't want to hear, what is your move?
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Courage
Thx Tim, I so appreciate your advice.
Your point about the need for details is something I've been thinking about all day. I don't think it's really the details I need. I think it's more the fact that he is willing to finally be honest after lying to me so many times about so many important details- like time frame, intensity, sexual contact- his honesty is what I want to see and experience. I want so badly to trust and forgive ... So we'll see how it goes.
To your point Urban Explorer- I am going to take it one line at a time ( he is going to read it to me) and if i feel it's too much- I may stop him. I think I pretty much know it all anyway ( the big stuff at least)...
We have discussed things that don't need to be revealed.
Thx for the support!
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Courage
Well truth talk has happened. I listened with an open heart to his 13 pages. The overall theme was how wrong he was and how much he wants our marriage to work.

So today I am left with some new information that I don't know how to deal with. He told me that he still was in contact with her until a couple of months ago - but only through text. He initiated it every time. He just wanted to see how she was, or he was really down about himself and she was the 'only one' who understood and told him he was a good person. Every time I made a new discovery about the affair, he would tell her what I knew and how terrible he felt for hurting me..Blah blah blah

im in a bit of shock over this one cuz I never expected that. I feel that I am the one on the outside. not sure how to process this new information yet. I truly never would have guessed he was still reaching out to her ( very minimally he says) I'm really just stunned to hear it.
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blythespirit
That is the part that is hardest for me right now, too -- the continued reaching out for support and understanding from his AP.  Like yours, my husband has consistently told me that it is "minimal" or "very limited."  It's only been six months for us, unlike your eighteen, but it hurts as bad today as it did six months ago, that he is sharing things with her that he isn't sharing with me.  Like a club to which I'm not invited.  Whether because he "doesn't want to hurt me" anymore than he already has, or because he truly just likes her better.  I don't know.  And when asked why, his only response to me is that he doesn't know why either.  He is being wonderful with our kids, respectful of my request for space and privacy, supportive of my efforts to go back to work, and always asking how he can help me with the house, chores, etc.  All of which is fantastic, and more than he's ever done, and yet, he still both initiates and receives communication with his AP.  I just don't get it, and I know I won't be able to handle it for much longer, let alone another year.  So confusing and hurtful.    
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Fionarob
I have also experienced similar to this - I caught my husband still emailing and texting his AP, he also described it as minimal.  He said there was nothing romantic about it.  I started a post about it on this site and TimT gave me an excellent response which helped me reach the decision to leave the marriage.

He explained that any ongoing communication with the AP, in whatever form, is still participating in affair behaviour.  They are still keeping secrets, doing something they know is wrong, and maintaining some form of emotional connection.  All the time they are involved in that they are not committing 100% to the marriage or helping you in your healing.  It also leaves the door wide open for the affair to start up again, whether that is there intention or not, it leaves the possibility there.

This situation has been my life for the last 2.5 years, my husband ending the affair, a few weeks of putting in some effort to the marriage, then connecting with the AP again, entering back into the affair.  This pattern happened over and over again.  I realised he was never going to end his relationship with her, even though we had been going to counselling for 5 months. I knew I had to be the stronger person and end this pattern, because it had taken over my life.  He moved out on Friday. 

I do wonder now whether his affair was an exit affair, but when it came to it he just wasn't brave enough to walk away.  It says a lot that he couldn't do what I wanted for 2.5 years (end the affair) but as soon as I ask him to move out he has gone.  I know he has been to see the AP several times even though he claims the affair is over.  Not sure why he is still lying to me even now!
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Guiltguilt
My experience is that when it came out the first time, I did not close the door entirely. For months I pined for the AP, ignoring her emails until, well, I didn't. I replied. in the time between, I'd spent a lot of time at home, and had tried to put effort into our marriage. The dynamics were different in the affair after I replied, so when we were caught out the2nd time by her husband, I set out an email telling her in no uncertain terms that it was over, that I had made the decision to recommit to my marriage, that's he was not to contact me again, and that her husband had the perfect right to call me scum as he did. There was no pining after that. No desire to reinitiate contact. Fog lifted with a jolt. Then I swept it as far under the carpet as I could, hoping it wouldn't come out, but 3 months later, it did.

Being here and seeing the experience of BSs, I'm so sorry I put the APs husband through months of that in addition to the devastation of my family.

No healing can start while there are reservations about communicating with the AP., or mentally romancing a relationship with the AP. I saw somebody who looked like her the othe day at a function and I felt a sense of dread and wanted to leave.
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UrbanExplorer
I also struggled to let go of my concern for my AP's well-being and stayed in minimal contact for some time. It was not the same kind of communication we had during the affair, but it was communication. I was in kind of a loop in that I did not know if I wanted to recommit to my marriage at all, so I didn't feel like giving up my autonomy to talk to my AP or anyone really, and talking to my AP reminded me of the mess I was in and made my marriage feel more hopeless to return to anyway.
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Courage
UrbanExplorer wrote:
I also struggled to let go of my concern for my AP's well-being and stayed in minimal contact for some time. It was not the same kind of communication we had during the affair, but it was communication. I was in kind of a loop in that I did not know if I wanted to recommit to my marriage at all, so I didn't feel like giving up my autonomy to talk to my AP or anyone really, and talking to my AP reminded me of the mess I was in and made my marriage feel more hopeless to return to anyway.


My WH says he struggled with that too. He was concerned for how she was doing and felt responsible for the pain she was feeling as well.
He said he was choosing our marriage but he struggled with completely letting her go.

The more lies uncovered the less committed I feel to wanting this man. So bitter at times that he will never feel this kind of pain... And I'm in this bc of his choices.

Thx for your replies. I guess this type of behaviour is 'normal' after an affair has been revealed- but that doesn't make it easier or make me feel more forgiving towards my spouse.
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Courage
Fionarob wrote:
I have also experienced similar to this - I caught my husband still emailing and texting his AP, he also described it as minimal.  He said there was nothing romantic about it.  I started a post about it on this site and TimT gave me an excellent response which helped me reach the decision to leave the marriage.

He explained that any ongoing communication with the AP, in whatever form, is still participating in affair behaviour.  They are still keeping secrets, doing something they know is wrong, and maintaining some form of emotional connection.  All the time they are involved in that they are not committing 100% to the marriage or helping you in your healing.  It also leaves the door wide open for the affair to start up again, whether that is there intention or not, it leaves the possibility there.

This situation has been my life for the last 2.5 years, my husband ending the affair, a few weeks of putting in some effort to the marriage, then connecting with the AP again, entering back into the affair.  This pattern happened over and over again.  I realised he was never going to end his relationship with her, even though we had been going to counselling for 5 months. I knew I had to be the stronger person and end this pattern, because it had taken over my life.  He moved out on Friday. 

I do wonder now whether his affair was an exit affair, but when it came to it he just wasn't brave enough to walk away.  It says a lot that he couldn't do what I wanted for 2.5 years (end the affair) but as soon as I ask him to move out he has gone.  I know he has been to see the AP several times even though he claims the affair is over.  Not sure why he is still lying to me even now!


Fionarob,
Thx for your reply. The question I have is how would you act towards your WH each time you discovered he betrayed you again and then begged to stay married. Upon discovering new lies from my WH, I don't want to even see him. I can't imagine being loving to him.
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Fionarob
Courage - I would be angry initially.  But I am not the sort of person to scream, throw things, lash out or say hurtful things.  I would just tell him I was fed up with being treated this way, that he was making me hate him and I didn't deserve such a lack of respect.  I shouted a few times, when there was no one else around.  But so many of my discoveries happened when our children were around, that I had no choice but to control my anger.

After the initial anger had died down I would just be extremely hurt and sad.  He would then start making all his promises about ending the affair, being completely transparent, not putting any pressure on me to change, saying he didn't ever want to loose me. I fell for it every time.  Once he had ended the affair each time I was then back to being nice, loving, working on the marriage as best I could, even being compassionate towards him because I knew he was hurting from the loss of his AP.  He had it really comfortable to be honest.

Looking back I think I made recovery from an affair look easy.  My husband did not have to suffer constant rages from me, I didn't bombard him with questions, I didn't insist he give me evidence of his whereabouts etc.  I think I knew none of it would work so I just didn't do it.  He had to want to end the affair and commit to the marriage, and this wouldn't happen if I was making his life awful.  It turns out making his life easy didn't work either.  He just wanted both.

If you want to message me about it then please do - our situations sound very similar!
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