Kelaine53
I had a very revealing session with my IC yesterday. I walked in the door and told her "I need help". 

A little background is in order. Over the past two weeks my head has been in every corner of my mental boxing ring. I felt I was ready to live in the present and open the prison door and allow myself to escape. A couple of days later I had a panic attach and retreated all the way back into my self-imposed dark corner. At that point I just shut down communication with my husband.

When I related this to my therapist she sat for a moment and then asked a few very eye opening questions:
  • Was my husband still in therapy?  Yes
  • Was he completely invested in our marriage? Yes
  • Had he done anything to raise any question regarding his complete honesty? No, he is completely transparent in everything he does.
  • What was I afraid of?.....
The last question took a few minutes to answer. I was not sure what I was afraid of. My boundaries are rock solid. I know I can and would leave if even a hint of the "old husband" resurfaced. Then it came to me. I was afraid of being the old me. The person who did not see or could not see; the person that trusted when I should not have. In short, I was keeping myself prisoner. I was letting my husband's affair define who I was.

We then talked about truths - past and present.
  • I am not responsible for the actions of others.
  • I am responsible for my own choices and actions
  • Not trusting myself will not keep me from being hurt in the future.
  • Not trusting my present marriage will neither keep me for being hurt or allow myself to enjoy my present situation.
  • I am the one punishing me now. I am creating my own jail cell.
My husband tells me he loves me every morning. He has turned his life completely around. He moved us to another state and is selling our old house to reduce the pain from being reminded by places and things. He is kind, affectionate, romantic, caring and completely focused on me and our marriage. In short he is the husband I always wished for.

I can spend the rest of my life being bitter and locked away from potential or joy or I can make a decision and get on with living in the present. If I conclude that he affair is too much, then I should leave now and get on with building a new life that will allow me to be happy. OR I can recognize the new aware me and what is my current situation and put both feet in my marriage and move forward with my husband.

We don't know what the future will bring. I don't know what choices someone in the future will make that will rob me of something precious. Someone I love may be hurt or killed by a drunk driver.  Someone I love may be betrayed the way I was. 

What my therapist helped me to see that robbing myself of joy now will not protect me from pain in the future.

This will not define me. I will work each day to put that hell behind me. Today is not hell. Today is good.

Thank you for listening.
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ssix6pack
Living in the “now” is also something I’m striving for. Honestly, my “now” is nice. I really like who my husband is becoming. But, it is hard to do. It takes so much practice, and effort. I really wrestle against dwelling on the past, but it is slowly getting better. Maybe one day I’ll rarely think about it? My husband said that his prayer is that one day I’ll barely think of our painful situation, but that the awareness of who he can be will forever be in the forefront of his mind so he will be vigilant to love me well, not to mention to never stumble again into lust/etc. 

Thanks for this post. 
Betrayed female
2/11/18, d day #1. 
1/2019, d day #2.
Over a decade of unfaithfulness. 
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Heidi
I completely understand where you are with this. My WH is the same, for the past 2.5-3 years he’s been consistent in his IC, changing and treating me really well and yet sometimes I get scared. Discovering his affair hurt like no other pain I’ve felt and I never want to feel like that again.

But really I have no control over that short of retreating from him or all future partners. Instead I have to learn to trust again, most of all I have to trust myself!
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Laurajean83
Kelanie53 that is beautiful and amazing and so encouraging.  Thank you for posting.  This is my hope and prayer for my BS to keep moving forward in healing and not to get bogged down and stuck in the mud and mess that an affair creates!  Thank all three of you ladies for sharing.  You are an encouragement.  
WW, Dday 7 months ago

The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure.  Who can understand it.  Jer 17:9
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Kelaine53
Thank you all for your replies. I believe that without vulnerability there cannot be true joy. Being vulnerable exposes us to potential pain. Unfortunately, that is the deal we have in this life. The more you love, the more you can be hurt.

Laurajean, I do not know your story. It is wonderful that you wish peace and joy for your BS, but what do you wish for yourself. My FWH told me often in the beginning that he wished he had not hurt me. That is only half a wish. It took a great deal of change for him to recognize the person he was when he made his choices including to take me and our marriage for granted. When he began to express in words and deeds true and complete remorse at the person he was and saw himself with no blinders, devoid of excuses and justifications - he began to change. That was his greatest gift to me in the last 27 months. This is a safe place to express your deepest thoughts, feelings and regrets. The muck your BS is mired in comes from believing in, trusting and loving a person who blindsided you with their betrayal. The muck will lesson each time you pick it up and carry it on your shoulders. His path will clear a bit each time that you express a clear vision of who you were when you made those choices - with no excuses or justifications. Seeing you exorcise your own demons in this way while you live a good, kind and devoted life, will help him move forward. I know it is possible. I hope you give your BS this gift.

I am learning to live by this prayer:

God, give me grace to accept with serenity
the things that cannot be changed,
Courage to change the things
which should be changed,
and the Wisdom to distinguish
the one from the other.

Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace
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Jennifer
Kelaine,

Thank you so much for this post. I responded very emotionally to the words you shared with us. How often do we try and protect ourselves from pain in unhealthy ways that are not consistent with who we want to be.

I used to think that because my husband had an affair that I had a free pass from bad things happening. I thought "ok God this is it. This is the one thing I will learn and grow from." Unfortuntaley, things happen beyond our control that can rob us of joy and the path we thought we were on. When my brother died in a motorcycle accident I had to learn that there are no guarantees. Things will happen in my life that I have no control over and are not fair.

The only thing I can control is myself and my actions. I have a choice in my response to the things that I have no control over. I  can choose joy and hope even in spite of the pain.

Thanks you for the reminder!
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Allthatremains
Hi,

All of this rings so true - I too have fears that are holding me back. I am afraid that I will be 'stupid' again. That I won't see the signs or that I will believe he has changed when he really hasn't or that our marriage is slowly going to disintegrate because he really left me for someone who he loved very much, who brought him great happiness and now because he is a good person is trying to make up for all the pain but is really just going to reach a point when he wishes to leave again.

Here's a real stumbling block for me and anyone out there that has some input please let me know. I don't believe my WH has investigated why he did what he did. He says he is very remorseful and full of guilt and shame yet he doesn't want to discuss those feelings or look deeper into who he became when he betrayed me. He never brings up the affair(but will let me and listens intently but never has anything to add except that he is sorry). After 2 1/2 years of the affair, he was rejected by his affair partner for the physical part of their affair yet he continued to send her love notes, gifts etc.. for another 9 months until I found a series of those emails. So what bothers me is that he didn't choose to leave her, she left him and yet he couldn't let go of the connection. It was only when he was finally caught that  6 weeks later, he was able to finally cut off the ties and stop all communications - I struggle with the fact that he didn't choose to end the affair but that she did and yet he still couldn't let her go until the risk of being exposed came into play. I think most of you had your betrayed spouses actually choose you over their affair partner, in my case she was already gone so I feel like the default prize.

When I ask him what were his rationalisations for the affair or what he was thinking about before he started the affair he doesn't know. He said he was unhappy but he doesn't know why or whether it was an excuse for a marriage going through a transitional period (both of us turned 50 right before the affair and it was the first year of an empty nest of 4 children. He says he knows it was selfish and a cruel thing to do but he doesn't know why he hung on sending her gifts and love notes when she had already moved onto another relationship(she was a widow). Mostly when I ask him questions, he says he doesn't remember if he said this or did that or that he just doesn't know the answers to the questions I am asking. In the 18 months since discovery he has brought up the topic maybe 4 times and has until June of this year been caught in "little omissions" of the truth.

Should I push for him to do more discovery of himself? He is kind, caring, considerate and trying to do everything he can to make me happy which is a new him after a very contemptuous and critical person for the three years he was with her. He says he loves me and deeply regrets ever having the affair. I do appreciate the new him but don't understand how he can go from being one person who basically does not even act like he enjoys my company to another that loves me every minute.

Anyone out there have any thoughts?

Thank you.
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anthropoidape
I tend to think there is no point in pushing him to do more discovery. Just as there is no "why" that could really explain it to you, there is probably also no "why" that could explain it to himself either. It might be sufficient for him to have concluded that he was an absolute d1ckhead, a complete fool, and an embarrassment to himself. 

I think about people who fall for scams, like sending money to some guy in Nigeria who has inherited a billion dollars. People actually do this and they aren't even necessarily stupid. You can ask them why they fell for it, and all they can really say is that they were idiots, and they can't understand why they were so foolish. The difference with an affair is that that it's more self-inflicted, but it is still (in some types of case) just as much a case of "why on earth was I such a twit?" Ask a student, "why did you spend all week goofing off and playing video games when you knew you had an exam coming?" There's no answer, but they can still learn a lessong from the damage done.

So - there really could just be no actual answer to these questions, or an answer so stupid that it doesn't bear analysis. 

(There are other kinds of cheater, who know why they did it and who are going to keep doing it, who are essentially always living falsely, but that doesn't sound like what you have.)

This is contingent of course on his having left the craziness behind. You can only go with your gut on that. If he is a borderline personality who can easily deceive you then who knows? But it doesn't sound like he's that type. 

I get what you mean about feeling like you are the consolation prize. Although my wife confessed her affair and "chose" me over her AP, this helps less than you think. We have small children and I earn three times what my wife earns and (literally) ten times what her AP earns. She is embarrassed by the affair and doesn't want people to know. So there's a part of me that thinks she is just faking it for the kids, for the money, and so that I don't tell anyone. My point is just that in every case of cheating the BS feels like the consolation prize; it's inevitable. 

As for changing from someone who doesn't enjoy your company to someone who does - I get that too. It's a pretty consistent story here that cheating spouses treat the BS terribly. My wife was really revolting. There is nothing okay about it, but it seems like it is a natural consequence of the psychologically weird place they put themselves into. They are experiencing a combination of smug superiority (because they have their cool secret) and a need for self-justification. For whatever reason they are not in a place where they can be self-critical - if they could be self-critical, they wouldn't be cheating. So the construct, consciously or unconsciously, a false world-view where (a) they have something special happening that makes normal rules inapplicable and (b) you wouldn't care if you did find out and (c) you are nothing more than an irritant in the way of their "real" life. There's also this element of treating you as a kind of baseline item. Like a kid who knows that no matter what they do, they'll still have their mother - cheaters think that no matter what they do, they still have their marriage. So that kid treats his mother like cr@p, and cheaters treat their spouses like cr@p. Like I said, none of this is okay. However it defies explanation when they come out of that mental state so they may just genuinely have no answer to the "why". The "change" from non-cheater to cheater and back to non-cheater is not normal human development, it is some kind of switch between states, like delirium. 

Just one more thing, the not remembering. I find this bizarre. However, I am absolutely convinced that my wife does not remember a lot of stuff. Whatever is going on during an affair and in the aftermath (some of these things were in the post d-day crazy time), I believe it can cause the participant not to remember. My wife was *insane* during and after her affair. I am not saying that to excuse her (I do not think it is an excuse at all) but simply to report an observation that I am confident about. She was nuts. She was making decisions that were illogical, against her values, and against even her own selfish interests. She said stuff she can't remember saying. 

I have rambled a bit again, sorry 😉
Maybe it is okay, maybe it will be okay.

BS, d-day Feb 2017, 16 mth affair.
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Keepabuzz
My wife was also insane during her affair, also not an excuse. She was actually insane before her affair, but it got really bad during her affair. Wildly abusive.  Depressed for years, slept until the afternoon everyday. Sometimes 4 or 5 in the afternoon.  Did very little around the house. That was all left to me, and also left to me was to make all of the money. 

She also has no memory of many things she said and did during that time. I actually beleive her. I have told her many of the things she said and did, and the look of horror immediately apparent on her face shows the shock, and is quickly followed by the look of utter shame.  

My wife also didn’t do a lot of soul searching. She went to IC a half a dozen times, and then said she wasn’t going back at the time because she couldn’t help me heal while digging up her issues.  That really concerned me after awhile,  and I called her on it.  I said “how am I supposed to believe that this won’t happen again, if you don’t do the work to fix yourself.” She explained that she felt she had.  She recognized what a complete disaster she was, and ended her affair, all without my ever having knowledge of it. Then she dug in, and tried to be super wife, but I wasn’t buying it. She had done a complete 180, and there was no explaination. She had a few meltdowns during that month after she had ended her affair, and her confession of it to me. She didn’t tell me what was wrong with her, no matter how much I pried. She realized for her to even have a chance at saving this shell of a marriage, she would have to confess. So, she did, and blew my world up.  About a year out from d-day, I was talking about her issues, both recent and FOO, and how they don’t just disappear.  She said she knew that, but they she had made a decision to not allow what happened to her years ago ruin her life any longer. I said I didn’t agree with her decision, but I wasn’t going to force her to go to therapy. BUT, if I saw even a hint of those issues popping back up, I would disappear in a hot second. 

I know I certainly have that feeling of being the consolation prize. Like Anthro, I make literally 10 times what her AP makes, and she makes exactly zero dollars, and zero cents. But if she had kept her job, I would have made 10 more than her. This big beautiful house that she picked out would disappear, so would the vacations, vehicles, etc. She would have had to actually get a real job to survive. So I definitely did the calculations in my head. Also she would have received zero alimony/spousal support from me.  I had proof of her betrayal, and if I had divorced her, in my state the cheater can’t even request support. I would have had to pay child support, but at the time 1 kids was in college, 1 was a senior in high school, one was a freshman in high school, and one was in middle school. So the child support would drop quickly for her. Also the kids would have chosen to live with me, because?  YOU GUESSED IT! Mom was Fiing crazy, and absent!  So very likely, zero child support.  She would have run through the money of splitting our assets pretty quickly as well.  so it’s hard to feel like the chosen one, when you have already been second choice, then you stay together and you know that they are completely dependent on you. I do believe my wife is here for the right reasons now, but it took a very long time, and a ton of repeated, consistent actions on her part. If that changes, I’m still out.  
Male BS, D-day July 2015, trying to stay out of the dark.....
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Laurajean83
I will slightly disagree with arthro.  I think he will have a why...  and if like me...  many small whys.  Not excuses but factors.  You cant force him to do anything but every WS does benefit from the deep self introspection.  Why was it easy to lie?  Where did I learn that?  What circumstances were involved.  

I think that all the examples of people doing stupid things do have whys as well.  Why does a normally smart person get scammed out of money...  possible underlying fear or a deep desire to make it big...  why does the college student play video game...  cuz it is more entertaining than study, laziness or a deep desire to self sabotage.  

But that being said he will only discover this if he has a genuine desire to.  I worry lack of genuine desire after show a lack of not truly processing the depth of what happened.  But maybe that is ok. I dont know. 
WW, Dday 7 months ago

The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure.  Who can understand it.  Jer 17:9
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Laurajean83
I will slightly disagree with arthro.  I think he will have a why...  and if like me...  many small whys.  Not excuses but factors.  You cant force him to do anything but every WS does benefit from the deep self introspection.  Why was it easy to lie?  Where did I learn that?  What circumstances were involved.  

I think that all the examples of people doing stupid things do have whys as well.  Why does a normally smart person get scammed out of money...  possible underlying fear or a deep desire to make it big...  why does the college student play video game...  cuz it is more entertaining than study, laziness or a deep desire to self sabotage.  

But that being said he will only discover this if he has a genuine desire to.  I worry lack of genuine desire after show a lack of not truly processing the depth of what happened.  But maybe that is ok. I dont know.
WW, Dday 7 months ago

The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure.  Who can understand it.  Jer 17:9
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Heidi
For me, having my WH learn the whys and the how’s was important in his personal growth and my recovery. I needed to know he was aware of how things ended up the way they did, so he could ensure he never ended up in the same place again. 

As Laura Jean said there was no one big ‘why’ and quite honestly no reason would ever be good enough for the pain inflicted. But self-awareness is a wonderful thing and something my WH surely lacked before d day.

For my WH there was depression, an over inflated sense of self-worth combined with a lack of self confidence. There were frustrations with me and a belief it was other people’s job to make him happy. He’d hit mid life and our children were teenagers and didn’t idolise him like they used to. I’d taken up professional work again after being a SAHM and always being there for 12 years. In short he was selfish. The world stopped revolving around him and it made him angry and resentful. (Note - these aren’t excuses, these are the things he used to justify to himself why he was entitled to look elsewhere.)

Combine that with a lifeling history of lack of boundaries, and opportunity presenting itself in the form of the OW, and you get a man ripe for an affair.

His work has been to become the master of his own happiness. To understand the reasons why he was so entitled (Family of origin - go figure!). To work out why he didn’t have strong boundaries with the other sex and to put them firmly in place.

In short the work of a WS is to change their thinking AND their behaviours. This change usually comes from working out their whys. Without both changes then I think a WS is in danger of rugsweeping what they did and then going back to their old ways when another crisis hits / they feel unhappy / opportunity presents itself.
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anthropoidape
Heidi wrote:


For my WH there was depression, an over inflated sense of self-worth combined with a lack of self confidence. There were frustrations with me and a belief it was other people’s job to make him happy.


That is not miles off for my wife I must say. 
Maybe it is okay, maybe it will be okay.

BS, d-day Feb 2017, 16 mth affair.
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Allthatremains
Thank you everyone. Anthro - I must admit that to me comparing choices like missing an exam or falling for a scam are very different. Whilst they may be choices that have stupid consequences, they are decisions that usually only affect the people making them. Having an affair is choosing to hurt someone who loves you and has stood by your side in some cases for many years. For my case, my husband is a well respected business man in our community, well-liked by his peers, enjoyable company, helpful man.The transitions in our family were there, some financial, turning 50 and having the kids leave but he has never been a depressed person or one without confidence. I didn't see this coming and if this was ever exposed, his friends would be shocked. He does enjoy social activities alot and has historically been a very loyal friend and husband until his three year affair emerged. I think it is why the 'whys' are so important. I sensed some negativity towards me building as his relationship with her grew stronger and stronger but other than that I was not aware or ever considered, based on his character and that his first wife had an affair after a year of marriage, that he was cowardly or selfish enough to run away from his wife and family. The whys in my mind have to be explored to illuminate where he in his mind went off the rails knowingly rationalising his actions. If he can do it once, he can do it again as without the exploration of the vulnerabilities he may fall prey to the same patterns. Am I way off base here? He is making this harder as he is convinced without the introspection that he has learned from his mistake and that it won't happen again. He wants only to look ofrward and be the husband he wasn't for those years. I don't want to prison myself by looking back but I am not sure how I can look forward without some answers? He was very much in love emotionally and physically with this woman and he saw her as flawless throughout their time together, again maybe it's because she broke it off increasing his appetite for her, these are things I don't know and he doesn't want to investigate. So there's a stalemate here - any other suggestions to make him recognise why it is important that he does his part?
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Keepabuzz
Thank you everyone. Anthro - I must admit that to me comparing choices like missing an exam or falling for a scam are very different. Whilst they may be choices that have stupid consequences, they are decisions that usually only affect the people making them. Having an affair is choosing to hurt someone who loves you and has stood by your side in some cases for many years. For my case, my husband is a well respected business man in our community, well-liked by his peers, enjoyable company, helpful man.The transitions in our family were there, some financial, turning 50 and having the kids leave but he has never been a depressed person or one without confidence. I didn't see this coming and if this was ever exposed, his friends would be shocked. He does enjoy social activities alot and has historically been a very loyal friend and husband until his three year affair emerged. I think it is why the 'whys' are so important. I sensed some negativity towards me building as his relationship with her grew stronger and stronger but other than that I was not aware or ever considered, based on his character and that his first wife had an affair after a year of marriage, that he was cowardly or selfish enough to run away from his wife and family. The whys in my mind have to be explored to illuminate where he in his mind went off the rails knowingly rationalising his actions. If he can do it once, he can do it again as without the exploration of the vulnerabilities he may fall prey to the same patterns. Am I way off base here? He is making this harder as he is convinced without the introspection that he has learned from his mistake and that it won't happen again. He wants only to look ofrward and be the husband he wasn't for those years. I don't want to prison myself by looking back but I am not sure how I can look forward without some answers? He was very much in love emotionally and physically with this woman and he saw her as flawless throughout their time together, again maybe it's because she broke it off increasing his appetite for her, these are things I don't know and he doesn't want to investigate. So there's a stalemate here - any other suggestions to make him recognise why it is important that he does his part?


I’m with you. If my wife hadn’t had some answers, as to what was wrong with her. As well countermeasures as to how she was going to fix herself, and then maintain. I would have likely divorced her. The “I was an idiot, don’t know what I was thinking, etc” leaves the door wide open for a repeat performance, and that is not one I will be around to see...
Male BS, D-day July 2015, trying to stay out of the dark.....
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