Throwaway_999

My long story.  In 2010 I caught my WH texting another women.  We had major fights and he agreed to cut contact.  I told him if I found out he broke the NC we would divorce.  A deal breaker for me.

 Fast forward to 2 months ago...and I found emails by accident.  Full proof of his long distance affair that lasted from 2013 to 2016.  After weeks and weeks of trickle truth, I now feel I know the basics.  In 2013 at a work conference they got drunk and he “woke up” naked in bed with her but doesn’t remember if  they sex.  I am not stupid.   It progressed to phone calls, texting, emails.  He swears they never had sex again until 2016.  He planned a weekend vacation for themselves under the guise of another conference.  He initiated all of it.  During their weekend away, he told me he felt he didn’t have chemistry with her and “it just wasn’t right for him”.  He says there was NC since then and no official breakup, they just never spoke again.  He deleted all of his personal emails to her so I didn’t not have a chance to read any of them.  I found flight information and hotel reservations to confirm the weekend trip in his work emails.

  I do know they fully intended to continue the affair before the weekend trip but he says it was such a disaster for him that he changed his mind and never spoke to her again. His AP was married and was a serial cheater...she knew he was married with young children.  

In 2018 he was diagnosed with cancer....he has only a few month left to live.  And I just found out about this affair and all of the lies for so many years.

He is consumed with fear over the cancer and the affair is somewhat in the backseat for him.  It is the only thing on my mind.  Why? Details? I have had multiple panic attacks, I cry all the time, I don’t recognize myself anymore.  I now have full access to his devices.  In hindsight I definitely saw signs and felt him disconnected from me during the affair.  He consistently has call it a friendship...but now realizes it was an affair.  He says she listened to him, and he felt he has never been good enough for me and if he had told me of his feelings back in 2013 that I would have left him.   Not true of course. 

I have to tell my kids this week of his prognosis.  I am already heartbroken over the affair.  I have chosen to stay with him because of his illness....but we have many times in the past 2 months where he almost left.  He begged me not to tell his family but I choose to tell my sister in laws as they are like sisters to me. 

I believe he feel shame and remorse, but he says he never intended to ever tell me of the affair and wishes I never found out because it was easier for him to live with guilt than face the consequences of the affair.

My marriage feels like a lie.  I can’t look at our family photos because I now know of the affair.  This is very painful for me.  I can’t stop the mental movies of them having sex.  Last night I wrote a list of my unanswered questions (it’s pages long)  for him to write out the answers.  To help me try to move on from this.  We are both in IC and have a MC session next week.  

I just need a place to vent and need any advice of support from those who have chosen to reconcile.  We are not divorcing.  I need to keep our family whole because of the cancer and limited time.  How do I fast forward my healing?  I don’t have years only months.

 

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ThrivenotSurvive
I am so sorry - to face grief over finding out your marriage was not what you thought, combined with the grief of losing a loved one - and all the stress of caregiving... well... it is just an overwhelming amount to deal with.  

Unfortunately, I don't know that short cuts to healing exist.  Your healing will be ongoing well after the death of your husband.  Your situation does require changing the approach somewhat, though.  Typically I would suggest that in the early days after DD that you would spend more time focusing on yourself (rebuilding self-esteem/confidence, calming the nervous system, self-care, lowering hyper-vigilance, etc.) while your spouse focused on figuring out the "why".  It always seems to me that it takes them a bit of time to get past the justifications to get to the truth, so giving them some time to allow the affair "fog" to dissipate and really reflect on why they made the choices they did helps get much better answers to work with for the future.  However, you aren't building a future with him, rather you are trying to make peace with the past before his time is done.  And your time is limited to get the answers that will have to reflect back on when ruminating after he is gone.

I get that he is focused on the fear of his impending death.  But here's the thing - he only has a short time on this Earth to try and gain some level of redemption.  To help heal as much of the damage that he is leaving behind as he can.  He needs to focus on THAT - because death isn't in his control - but doing what he can for you IS.  I am glad you got your questions together.  He needs to spend time and energy answering them as truthfully and fully as he can.  If he is strong enough to write it out, he should.  If not, have him record his answers.  Healing from this kind of betrayal typically takes YEARS and it is common to end up asking the same questions many, many times.  You won't have that option.  But if you can re-read/re-listen to his answers it may help you.  I also suggest that you review his answers as soon as possible, and think on the answers.  It will be likely that you will have follow-up questions - or not be sure you understand the replies.  Try to get as much clarification as you can before he passes.  Do NOT feel bad for pursuing answers you need.  He will be at peace soon, but you will have to keep living, with a difficult combination of grief, hurt and anger.  Be compassionate - but also GET WHAT YOU NEED.  He owes you that - no matter what he is facing. 

Keep up with your counseling.  You are going to need a LOT of support.  ALL betrayal/infidelity is hard - but this is a particularly difficult scenario.  And if you feel like you are not making progress don't be afraid to change therapists - or see more than one.  You may need assistance BOTH from an infidelity expert AND a grief expert.  And come here and let us support you. 

Lastly, it may be really hard but be honest about your feelings with your husband.  When you are feeling love - tell him.  When you are feeling hurt, angry, disappointed, confused, gutted, etc. - tell him.  Tell him how his actions have made YOU feel.  Listen to his replies, ask him to explain if something he says doesn't make sense to you (How could you have still loved me and done THIS?) Sometimes in our pain we go to one of two extremes.  We either focus only on trying to regain what has been lost and try to "forget ' the infidelity, pouring out our love and putting all our energy into reconnecting with our partner.  Or we go the other way - having trouble connecting to any positive feelings about them, struggling to feel or demonstrate any love, etc.  

Usually over time these extremes relax into something more normal and healthy.  But the two of you do not have that time.  So try not to wall yourself off in anger - OR try to hide you negative feelings to "make him more comfortable".  You only have NOW for honesty and truth.  Don't leave things unsaid.  If they are going to be hard for him to hear, still say them - but with as much compassion as you can.  BUT STILL SAY THEM, because you will not get a second chance.  

I am so sorry you are having to experience two of the hardest things a person can go through all at once.  Sending you virtual hugs and prayers for peace.
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
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Bgreen

I am so sorry you are going through this. What a Devastating thing to have happen. I can understand how with the cancer and terminal diagnosis, the affair might be a backseat for him, and I can understand why the affair consumes you. I think both would be normal.  You’re not wrong to feel that your marriage was a lie, I can totally relate. It is so hard to look at pictures of your life together knowing the affair was happening simultaneous to all your experiences together.

There is no way to speed up healing, unfortunately. There are however ways to try to cope and conversely, thought processes that will keep you stuck. For starters know that your feelings, whatever they are, are valid. It’s okay to be angry with him. It’s okay to feel hurt and to cry. 

im almost two years out and it’s been a roller coaster without having the added stress of a diagnosis; you are dealing with so, so much. Make sure you take care of yourself during this time as much as possible, and be gentle with yourself. Know above all that none of this is your fault. 

 

Female, BS 2 years post DDay
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