LLL2015
Relationship began 19 years ago. We had a child 2 years into this relationship, but he was gone--not even there for birth of son. Instead, he sowed another seed while our son was being born. I forgave him for his infidelities & lack of support & moved in with him.

We lived together for a few years and married when he was 6. So for 17 years he was faithful. That said, with our history it took time to trust him. After 12 years of marriage, he had an affair with a random person he met near his workplace. It lasted maybe 6 months.

I discovered the affair by accident (although I was suspicious of his odd behaviors the last few months -- thought he was sick), actually caught him sending explicit photos via FB. He lied at first, then trickle truth for a week before he confessed everything. Which, was a full sexual & sexting affair.

Devasted? To say the least. After all the time it took me to trust him after the pre-marital cheating, not being there for the pregnancy/birth of our first born, a step-child almost the same age as our son, losing 2 children before having a child born healthy years later...I had full trust & was shocked he would do this. I had tried so hard in so many ways to connect with him when he expressed he felt neglected sexually months before the affair. In fact, weeks before D-day, we HAD reconnected. I felt, he felt, our relationship was getting back on track---then I caught him.

SO, he doesn't know why he was continuing this sexting after he was content with our relationship. Long story short...we have done numerous amounts of one-on-one talks with so many online resources. After 3 weeks, we felt a little re-connected. We were discussing our feelings, hopes, & felt some intamacy from this and began to become intimate in the bedroom as well. But, after 7 weeks, he's become almost unbearable. He seems to have trust issues with me, which I cannot understand. He's gone through my phone, questioning me of my whereabouts, reading my personal thoughts, tracking me down on my lunch breaks, etc. All b/c he says he's scared of losing me. Frankly, this has pushed me away.

I'm still trying my hardest to try to see if this marriage can reconcile, which he says drives him crazy. Lately, I'm wondering if his affair was the final straw. I feel dissociated. I have to shut off my emotions in order to deal with his (shame, guilt). He's so sensitive, I fear sharing my feelings I have with him. He says he feels like all he's done is unnoticed.

Let me remind you, it's been barely 3 months since D-day. I try to remind him of the researched timelines it takes, which only seems to dishearten him more. He seems so out of control & depressed, I cannot even focus on myself. I feel like I need to seperate from him so both he and I can gain perspective & redevelop our our selves. However, we have children; I don't want to disrupt their lives. And, I don't think he would want to try living apart. In fact, he's so up my a$$ lately, I know he would freak out if I suggested it. But, I feel I need space to gather my thoughts. I don't seem to even have feelings at this moment.

We have not had any professional counseling, but have litterally tried everything we could find on the web, bought books, etc. We both are fully aware of almost all affair related healing. I worry I may not be able to recover--that I may no longer be in love or invested enough to see recovery through. I know I love him unconditionally, yet I'm uncertain this is a healthy relationship or if I should continue to be in this marriage. Thoughts?
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TimT
LLL2015 wrote:
...We have not had any professional counseling, but have litterally tried everything we could find on the web, bought books, etc. We both are fully aware of almost all affair related healing. I worry I may not be able to recover--that I may no longer be in love or invested enough to see recovery through. I know I love him unconditionally, yet I'm uncertain this is a healthy relationship or if I should continue to be in this marriage. Thoughts?

I do not believe every couple requires counseling to recover from an affair. It would be helpful to everyone (assuming the counselor is competent), but not necessary for everyone. However, it probably is necessary for some and I think you may fall into that group. 

There are too many established patterns and now strong emotional reactions that I fear you both may not be able to work through on your own, even though you both may actually want a restored marriage. Trust has been shattered in this marriage and I suspect that more than infidelity may be at play. 

A counselor in the same room with you, asking questions, providing feedback, pointing out reactions and patterns, helping each of you see things you may not be able to recognize on your own... these are unique benefits of counseling.

If you do not have a qualified recovery therapist in your area, of if there are financial limitations to that choice, you might at least consider free sessions offered through a church or graduate counseling school. There will likely be limits to what they can do, but at least you will have an objective participant who may be able to shine some light into areas you have missed on your own.
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TimT
LLL2015 wrote:
...I am confused, however, about what you meant by established patterns and that more than infidelity may be at play?

That probably wasn't the best way of communicating what I meant to say. Let me try again...

When a relationship has no established pattern of dishonesty or cheating, then the focus of the recovery work usually requires a narrower range of considerations than when the last affair is only one in a series of infidelities. You stated that "he doesn't know why" he follows certain behaviors and that he turns the trust focus on to you, rather than himself. Those are the kinds of things that need to be straightened out, and the work to do that goes beyond simply admitting an affair and promising not to do it again. I hope he'll be willing to do that.
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surviving
TimT - does that mean that if the WS doesn't know "why" they had their many affairs, that they will do it again?  I'm so confused!
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TimT
surviving wrote:
TimT - does that mean that if the WS doesn't know "why" they had their many affairs, that they will do it again?  I'm so confused!

No, not necessarily. But if someone doesn't understand the reasons for any particular behavior, they are more vulnerable to repeating it than someone who does understand and knows how to address those causes/influences.

When I help people answer the WHY question, we look at 4 areas that often have affects on why an affair starts, continues, and/or ends:

Historical Influences: What events from your past may have impacted your decision?
For example: What kind of marriage did your parents have? How did they deal with disappointment or disagreement between themselves? How close were they to you? What did you grow up believing about relationships? Did either of your parents have an affair? Did they stay together? Did you know about other affairs in your extended family? Do you know about them now? What about your own relationship history? Have you cheated before (whether it’s known or not)? Have you ever been cheated on? Did your relationship with your spouse start as an affair? Did you have a previous relationship (prior to marriage) with your affair partner?

Personal Influences: What personal values, preferences, or traits may have impacted your decision?
For example: Are you a risk-taker? What kind of person are you socially? Were you struggling with any thoughts or feelings, even if others didn’t know? Are you going through any significant changes? What is your opinion about yourself? How do you think other people see you? Are you a spiritual person? What is most important to you? What do you like/ dislike?

Marital Influences: What was going on in your marriage before and during your affair?
For example: How would you describe the condition of your marriage? Had anything changed in your marriage? Was your spouse satisfied with the marriage? Were you? Did your affair partner fill needs that seemed unmet in your marriage?

Circumstantial Influences: What unique conditions may have contributed to your choice?
For example: Had you been extra busy? Did you have extra free time? Were you around people who might be more accepting (or even encouraging) of affair behavior? Was alcohol involved? Were you on a trip or participating in a special event? Did you meet in a place that made it easier to cross boundaries? Did you work together? Did the availability of technology influence choices?

NOTE: None of these are excuses for having an affair. There are always other choices to be made. But if you want to adequately address those conditions that contributed to vulnerability, you have to look at these things.
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