stillstanding
What has been your experience with the lock down and triggers? Are the more intense for anyone?  How are you dealing with them ?  After 3.5 years of hard work, I feel so much is bothering me AGAIN.  Too much time to ponder, not only the affair but the discovery and the lies that accompanied it all.  My mind is not shutting off.  I do exercise daily which helps for a while, however, I believe the depression that is underlying all of us with this social distancing is making memories more painful.  
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BlindCheetah

I’m about 6 months from DDay 1 and triggers are becoming less frequent. With spring break right before everything shut down all 4 of us have been together for almost 2 months. Things are starting to reopen here Saturday we had a date in a restaurant with waiters in masks. H was so exited he could hardly contain himself. I’ve been spending a lot of time outside burning stuff and fighting pool algae so I can toss the kids in the pool. 

I’m afraid this calm won’t last, I’m about a month from 1 Year from the beginning of affair  2 and 6 months from the day it ended. 

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Crushed
They are worse.  I just dont watch TV anymore.  All the commercials about stay connecte . Use all these phone app .  Look at each other on the phone are absolutely pushing me to the edge.  They are a huge trigger for me and I am struggling 
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BlindCheetah
I have never watched much TV, I’ve gone years without it, when I do I binge and stream, usually without commercials. I have seen a few commercials recently that make me want to either pay the extra on Hulu to get rid of the ads or just cancel it. 
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ThrivenotSurvive
I have found in the past that anything that directly affects my overall well-being (making me anxious, depressed or feel bad about myself), seems to cause the rumination to start up.  

I am not experiencing it during the lock-down (luckily) but it is because I have found some things that really work for me.  

First - I have become very attuned to my emotions and can usually sense VERY early if something is triggering me, or if I am not feeling quite up to par.  I don't wait to see if it gets worse - I immediately do one or more of the following:

1) I check to see what I am watching/reading - 9 times out of 10 triggers come from media consumption.  I will take a break from social media, reduce TV watching and immediately seek an uplifting book to listen to or read.   I have an Audible membership and I love listening to a funny or inspirational story while working in my yard or around the house, taking a walk or some other physical activity.  It helps me change my mood and if I combine it with physical activity I get a sense of accomplishment and neuro-chemicals to boot!
2) I start looking for ways to build myself up.  I have actually had a really enjoyable time during the lockdown, even as I worry for the impact on those I love and the world in general.  I have a long background in marketing and events.  A lot of the projects I was working on were cancelled, moved or became virtual.  I threw myself into learning everything I could about taking my events virtual and learning new software and skills.  I played with creating marketing videos - something I'd always found interesting but never had time to pursue.  
3) I start helping others.  I took everything I was learning and offered to put it to use helping local businesses and non-profits fighting for survival.  I've created ads, planned marketing, helped organize a community wide online storefront where people could buy from local businesses and the money went back to the business, etc.  It kept me busy, energized and I love helping people.  I enjoy knowing I made someone feel a little less alone during a scary time.  That helps me feel better about myself and the world.  Which, in turn, reduces my anxiety and depression.  
4) I gave myself permission to play some.  I did projects around the house I'd wanted to but always felt like work or family were more important.  Every time I look at my newly cleaned and organized garage or my sanded and whitewashed bathroom cabinets, I feel a sense of accomplishment and pleasure.  I did that!  And it is GOOD.  That makes me feel good about myself and when I feel good about myself I don't ruminate much.  Instead I find myself thinking how lucky my husband is to have me! (LOL!!)

Also, I make sure I am eating well and getting regular sleep.  A tired or hungry Thrive is not a good Thrive - she usually gets cranky and nothing good happens after that, haha.  

Anyway - I hope any of this helps.  It isn't easy ever - especially right now - so be kind to yourself.  And whenever you need a pick me up, reach out here or on PM.  We are all here for one another!
 
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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stillstanding
Thank you Thrive!  I too work for a non-profit (food bank) so my on days do help me feel good.  I love your note that says... how lucky your husband is to have you"  I will keep that in my head and repeat!  I think my mistake was thinking I could organize photos during this down time (that is the project I would do one day) However - my husband's affair was 8 years long plus many other 'dating' situations in a span of 10 years. The photos hurt, seeing memories during a time that his smile was not truly genuine.  I decided to put those away and I guess my grandkids will have to go thru them one day LOL.  Thanks for the uplifting response!
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ThrivenotSurvive
Oh - yes, I can see how that might not have been the best choice.  I struggled with looking at pictures from that time period as well for a long time - both of myself looking happy (even alone or with others), because I'd think "Oh how little I knew," or with my husband, thinking "He was faking."

However, my perspective has changed on that as time has passed and my husband and I have talked a lot about it.  Here's what he shared:

His unhappiness wasn't with me or the life we shared, though he was unhappy that I seemed more comfortable with how much time we had to spend apart.   The fact that I seemed to handle that much better made him feel hurt and resentful.  But when we were together he WAS HAPPY.  The emotions he was exhibiting and the smiles were real.  He did love me.  The person he was struggling with, unhappy with, trying to escape, was HIMSELF.  Not me.  So while those pictures of the two of us don't tell the whole story, they aren't really a lie either.  

As for the pictures of me or with other family and friends - I realized that I WAS HAPPY during them.  That was TRUTH.  Just because there was something else happening I wasn't aware of, doesn't mean that I wasn't really enjoying those moments.  And therefore - they weren't a lie either.  And I will be damned if I let someone else's midlife crisis steal the beauty of those moments away.  

What is interesting is that when we look at photos taken when we were really down or sad, we rarely think - "I didn't know then how much better life was going to get when I got that new job, or mom beat cancer or (insert good thing here)" - but we DO tend to look at happy photos and ruin them by thinking "If I'd only known what was coming I wouldn't have that smile on my face."  It's part of how our brains are wired to protect us.  But in this instance I think it does the opposite - it steals joy.  

Those pictures were taken in the NOW of that moment.  Those moments were as real as the hard ones that followed.  YOUR emotions weren't fake.  And even if your husband wasn't revealing ALL of himself in them, that doesn't mean that what he was reflecting wasn't real - it just wasn't the whole story.  But that is HIS sadness, his brokeness - he was the one who was living two concurrent lives that he could not integrate (lack of "integrity")  - not yours.  YOURS was real, genuine. 

After giving it some time, consider trying to look at those pictures in a different way.  Allow yourself to remember what YOU were feeling - the joy of your child's birthday or the fun of a night out with friends - and DON'T ruminate on what your husband might or might not have been thinking in them.  Reclaim YOUR experience of that moment untouched by his issues.  

FYI - when you do try to imagine what he was thinking/feeling you are likely getting it wrong.  Most people who cheat can do so because they learned early to compartmentalize their lives like crazy.  And most of us that don't - aren't that good at it so it is hard to wrap our minds around how they can do what they do.  We try to judge their feelings by how WE would have felt in that situation.  But we aren't the same. 

I would say that it is likely that in his twisted and unhealthy way he WAS happy or loving in those pictures - to his limited capability at the time.  But he had an emotional handicap - a malformed way of looking at himself and love - that limited his capacity.  But that doesn't mean his love or happiness wasn't real.  

I don't know if any of that makes sense to you, but it helped me.  Occasionally I will still get a twinge when I look at a photo from the days right before DD or during the year before, but mostly I have been able to reclaim those memories and experiences for myself.  

And good for you working at the food bank - I really appreciate people on the front lines! 

Lastly - your husband is beyond lucky that you stayed and gave him another chance.  Don't ever forget that.  It was a huge gift and took great courage.  Jesus said to turn the other cheek and to love and forgive sinners (including ourselves) - but we've been struggling to do that ever since he died.  It isn't easy.  Every animal instinct we have is to protect ourselves and punish those who hurt us.  To overcome that urge takes a fortitude most of us struggle with.  (Just as an addendum in case someone misinterprets my words:  This does not mean I I think a BS is required to give a second chance (even to a repentant spouse) and I definitely NEVER want anyone to stay with a spouse who is continuing abusive behavior.  You can turn the other cheek and MOVE ON. Jesus never said to be a doormat - only to not let your own heart be turned into something ugly by someone else's failings.)

Sorry, I rambled there for a bit.  Hope some of that helps!
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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BlindCheetah

Pictures are hard, I have been checking Facebook memories on my account and my husband’s everyday to see what was happening during his first affair since it was so long ago. I need to know where we where. Now I’m seeing how things improved after it was over and the signs of him falling into deeper depression before it started which is consistent with the second. 

I recently went through pictures on my hard drive that showed a lot more of his reckless behavior before it started.  He was confused later because I was grumpy and he was trying to figure out what he did wrong. 

I agree we have very lucky husbands.

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Skelling
As usual, I like Thrive's suggestion to tackle this. Personally I can very much understand why this quarantine makes things so much harder for both sides. I can see the BS struggling

(One thing that I am hyper aware ever since Dday, is my emotions as my husband "used that against me" during the affair, so I am very much afraid of being raw, stressed, sad....because the one thing that made sense to him was when the OW told him, I chose to be miserable...., when I was trying to fight my anxieties regarding our youngest's health or taking on more than I should have to earn a few extra $ to feel comfortable to afford vacation. The other thing was that when we first started talking about the affair, my husband in his still defensive state, told me he had unhappy for a long time, which he had also told the OW. This got burnt into my brain and some days I am still really struggling to view it through a more realistic lens. When he first told me this, I raged oh my word I raged and then I took the time to go through all the years prior to him deciding that an affair would be the answer to HIS struggles. I pulled up pictures from vacations together just him and I and also together with the kids, dinner dates, theater, birthday parties, get togethers with friends....And asked him, if he was faking the smile then or if perhaps his perception was maybe a bit off. Because if he really thought that he was that unhappy in our marriage for that long, it made sense for me to continue. It still hurts to think about that and it still hurts that he took the word of a complete stranger (mind you, they had only known each other for 2 whole days.) trusted her view of and judgment of my character, even though she had never even met me, talked to me or knew anything about me...over what he knew about me, who I was and what we went through and built together for 18 years. But I suppose he had to in order to justify his choices. Doesn't take away the pain though.

But I can also see the WS struggling having to face that hurt every single day now with no escape, not even for a few hours at work. It can't be easy for them either. So maybe it helps, if we give grace to ourselves, for maybe hurting more, being reminded/triggered more, struggling/doubting more, we can see that it is all part of this journey and as said before perhaps view it from a different perspective to try and pick out the positives that it will bring. Yes maybe more arguments but that also means another chance understanding each other better, seeing it from a different point(well at least if the arguments are productive ;0) Having that time together to reconnect... learn about each other (Maybe I should insert here that I'm hopelessly romantic and try and see the good) And maybe with some grace (although not deserved) for our WS, they will become the spouse we deserved from the start. Maybe through grace for them, they are motivated to mend those broken pieces inside, they want to find answers, heal and help us heal, rather than feeling obligated because they feel guilty or ashamed of what they did to us.

I think my point is, that I can see why things get amplified and might feel extra hopeless and dark during the quarantine, but these are extreme circumstances and maybe not the best idea to put too much weight on that.  Personally, I had a few hard arguments and things that always have bothered me, had become more apparent, but it also gave me a chance to explore why? Why did they bother me? What was the deeper reason for it and was it his responsibility or my own? Understanding his background and my background was an important tool in trying to not personalize things, understanding my own responsibility for my own wounds (which really helped me to feel empowered and in control of my own feelings) i had to learn to not only become my own advocate but his as well, which didn't mean to accept everything he threw my way but to question his intent. Was he really trying to hurt me or was he clumsy, helpless, overwhelmed...whatever. That's not easy to do and especially not, when you are in a bad state so it definitely takes both to work on this. Still working on that. Another thing that helped me was a shift of focus instead of seeing everything that he sill hasn't mastered or that still hurt me, I tried to focus on how far he had come, myself and we as a couple.

Now this all worked for me, doesn't mean its law and has to work for everyone else too. To some it might be utter nonsense but hopefully some might find it helpful.

Sorry it got long and maybe confusing. 
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minnie16
I also hate looking at pictures during my husband’s 4 year affair with his young AP. I think that those were some prime years in my family life, ( weddings, graduations, new babies), and basically I was living with a two faced liar. But I like Thrives point that my own emotions were real ( I think Chump Lady makes this same argument). I was giving love to him and my family with a whole heart. No one can take that away from me. 
D day June, 2016
ws affair: 18 months sexual affair plus 2 years emotional affair after. Ow 20 yrs old; WS 60
live in Texas
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Beyonddespair
My depression has definitely gotten worse since the lockdown. I try to sit outside or go to the park when it is nice out. I have a really hard time looking at our pictures. I feel like he was all a lie.. Even now I struggle with what his genuine feelings for me are. At one time he said he loved us both which is a dagger to my heart.
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Keepabuzz
My wife’s affair was 6 months. We had been married for 15 years before she betrayed me. I have a hard time looking at any photos from about 2 year after d-day back until before our wedding. It seems that was all a sad joke on me. The only exception are the ones of my kids, I can always look at those. 
Male BS, D-day July 2015, trying to stay out of the dark.....
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ThrivenotSurvive
I have found in the past that anything that directly affects my overall well-being (making me anxious, depressed or feel bad about myself), seems to cause the rumination to start up.  

I am not experiencing it during the lock-down (luckily) but it is because I have found some things that really work for me.  

First - I have become very attuned to my emotions and can usually sense VERY early if something is triggering me, or if I am not feeling quite up to par.  I don't wait to see if it gets worse - I immediately do one or more of the following:

1) I check to see what I am watching/reading - 9 times out of 10 triggers come from media consumption.  I will take a break from social media, reduce TV watching and immediately seek an uplifting book to listen to or read.   I have an Audible membership and I love listening to a funny or inspirational story while working in my yard or around the house, taking a walk or some other physical activity.  It helps me change my mood and if I combine it with physical activity I get a sense of accomplishment and neuro-chemicals to boot!
2) I start looking for ways to build myself up.  I have actually had a really enjoyable time during the lockdown, even as I worry for the impact on those I love and the world in general.  I have a long background in marketing and events.  A lot of the projects I was working on were cancelled, moved or became virtual.  I threw myself into learning everything I could about taking my events virtual and learning new software and skills.  I played with creating marketing videos - something I'd always found interesting but never had time to pursue.  
3) I start helping others.  I took everything I was learning and offered to put it to use helping local businesses and non-profits fighting for survival.  I've created ads, planned marketing, helped organize a community wide online storefront where people could buy from local businesses and the money went back to the business, etc.  It kept me busy, energized and I love helping people.  I enjoy knowing I made someone feel a little less alone during a scary time.  That helps me feel better about myself and the world.  Which, in turn, reduces my anxiety and depression.  
4) I gave myself permission to play some.  I did projects around the house I'd wanted to but always felt like work or family were more important.  Every time I look at my newly cleaned and organized garage or my sanded and whitewashed bathroom cabinets, I feel a sense of accomplishment and pleasure.  I did that!  And it is GOOD.  That makes me feel good about myself and when I feel good about myself I don't ruminate much.  Instead I find myself thinking how lucky my husband is to have me! (LOL!!)

Also, I make sure I am eating well and getting regular sleep.  A tired or hungry Thrive is not a good Thrive - she usually gets cranky and nothing good happens after that, haha.  

Anyway - I hope any of this helps.  It isn't easy ever - especially right now - so be kind to yourself.  And whenever you need a pick me up, reach out here or on PM.  We are all here for one another!
 


I just noticed that someone disliked this post.  Not sure what I said that was offensive or upsetting, but I apologize to whomever was displeased.  I only offer what works for ME.  I make no assertions that it is right for anyone else, or what someone “should” do.  
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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Cheryl
Struggling!!! Seems triggers are everywhere!!
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stillstanding
I am sorry. Having a bad evening myself 
Take some time to pray, breath deep and take something to sleep. Melatonin,  chamomile tea, shot of whiskey  😉 Tomorrow will bring a better perspective. 
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