TimT
I'm writing a manual of important steps for betrayed spouses to take after learning about the affair. If you a personal example that helps illustrate this point, whether positive or negative, please post it here. Anyone can post here, but if you are a forum member (so I have access to your email) and your quote is used in the book, I'll send you a free copy once it's released.

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Did you journal? When did you start? What do you write? Has it helped?
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Processing4Growth
I have never used a journal much. A few months before I finding out about my wife's affair, I started a journal after leaving a company I had been with 13 years for a new one. Although it was something I was excited about, I had enough concerns and apprehension that I felt capturing some of that in a journal would be helpful.

The night my wife disclosed her affair my jounaling increase substantially. I wrote a rather long entry that first night and at least 4-5 times a week initially. It was therapeutic and helped me make some of my thoughts more tangible. It also helped me to understand my thoughts more clearly seeing them "written down (I use the app Day One to capture my thoughts).

It has been just under 9 months since D-day. I do not journal as often now but on days that feel like a milestone or if there are things I want to capture, I still make entries. I have gone back a number of times to read some of the earlier entries. Sometimes it reminds me of how far I have come personally. At other times it reminds me of how frustrating this whole process has been.

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Bustedsmiles
I have found that on certain days I have to get the obsessive crazy thoughts out of my head. Writing them out somehow releases the hold they have on my mind. At times I find it comforting to write it all out and then destroy what I wrote. Guess it makes me feel like I have some control still in a situation I really had no choice or control in.
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PainfulGrace
I have always kept  journals since I was very young, I have a huge box of journals beginning when I was in second grade - I stopped journaling for the last couple of years and began again about a week before DDay... I actually wrote something along the lines of "I have no idea what I'll even have to write about..."  and then once my husband's affair was discovered I think I filled that notebook in a couple of weeks.  I wrote everything... everything I found out, everything that we talked about, any feelings I was having... I have a detailed written account of discovering every single thing about my husband's affair.  I don't know why, but it gives me comfort in knowing its all in writing.  I find it always helps me when I write- whether I write for an hour and feel relief or even if I just write down one sentence and then cry myself to sleep. I keep a regular journal as well as a prayer journal that I just began about a month ago when we separated.  Now, the regular journal is mainly used to write out day to day events or thoughts I have, when I'm angry or sad, or feeling lonely, or when I've had a good day, when I'm looking forward to something- anything at all, really. The prayer journal is for writing out my prayers specifically regarding the affair and our marriage- prayers for my husband, our relationship, us as individuals, change and growth, reconciliation, guidance, grace, forgiveness... etc. Sometimes I write angry prayers... things when I'm mad, sad, and frustrated with God or when I am questioning Him... The things I write aren't always pretty, but it helps me to get it all out of my head.  
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awaggoner1999
Initial Question: Did you journal? When did you start? What do you write? Has it helped?

I started journaling in January after I discovery day. D-Day was 12/26/2014. I couldn't say everything I needed to and I could see my WH wasn't listening anyway. I needed to put a logical pattern to my erratic thinking and journaling helped with that as well as tampering some of my emotionality about the whole mess.

I love my husband and despite how bad he thought our marriage was, I would have listened if he had said he needed to go. Mind you that would have hurt as well, but not to 1/1000th of the degree that I hurt right now. so I write about his other choices... options that may have been better ways out.

I write about how I feel, what triggered me that day, my hopes, my anger, my frustration...my prayers, my pleas...angry letters to the AP...advise letter to the AP...pity letter to the AP.

Whatever helps me stay sane that day...
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Kalmarjan
TimT wrote:
I'm writing a manual of important steps for betrayed spouses to take after learning about the affair. If you a personal example that helps illustrate this point, whether positive or negative, please post it here. Anyone can post here, but if you are a forum member (so I have access to your email) and your quote is used in the book, I'll send you a free copy once it's released.

More About This Topic:
Did you journal? When did you start? What do you write? Has it helped?


I don't know if I fit in here because I am a WS. But, I have journals since 2011 when I was plagued with anxiety disorder. I tried to write every day if I could to get a sense of the scramble of my thoughts.

I let it fall to the wayside around 2012, but I started up around 2013 when I heard of a Web app called O Life. It was wonderful. It emailed you at a set time of day (for me it was set for 10 pm) and all you had to do was respond to the email and it would send it to its servers.

Unfortunately in september (I think) of 2014 the app shut down. So, I created my own with Gmail, Evernote and Ifthatthenthis. That sort of worked and then I found an app called Diaro. I use that in concert with the 5 minute journal.

Wow. That was a lot. Sorry LOL

Journaling has helped me immensely. It's hard to see things when you are in the thick of it. By reviewing the journal once a month, or even quarterly, you can see the pattern of your life.

I don't know if I would have come out of my fog so fast had it not been for messenger and my journal. To be able to put my feelings down and read them, and to look at the messages my AP constantly sent me really helped me to realize that she was not for me, and I basically had my head up my ass.
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Anaveridice
Did you journal? When did you start? What do you write? Has it helped?

As a young girl and teen I kept a daily journal. It really helped me to vent and then see things clearer after reading what I would write later. It's a great way of sharing your feelings or emotions.

When I felt like my marriage was hitting rock bottom, I decided to pick up journaling again. I only wrote about our relationship when things went wrong or when my husband seemed out of control. I believe I began this journal to be able to use it later to reflect on our issues, in hope to discover where our troubles lie and how, if possible, we could work on these issues. When we would have arguments or he would act out of what I considered rage or irrational behavior, I would record the events and words between us. I journaled for 2-3 months regularly, then as my carrer became hectic, my writing became very sporadic. Looking back, after D-Day, approximately where I stopped writing is when he began his affair. I shared my journal with him after 1-2 weeks post D-day. I also shared all the texts between us in the absent time I had not journaled. This seemed to help him "see" my perspective and ultimately led to his awareness of his behaviors. He began to see how he had so much "wrong" in his mind about me or "us". He had felt I was to blame for everything wrong with us. But after hearing my journal (which was objective - facts with questions about his actions or my feelings) - he realized that I had been trying to communicate with him, open up to him, and help us become "better". He realized that he had completely ignored my every attempt to reconcile our marriage. He confessed that he felt he was the very reason we had issues to begin with. I was shocked by his revelation. I honestly thought I was a horrible person due to all the hateful things he had said to me up until he confessed this. Now, with the journal, our texts, and his revelation I see how and why I felt so unhappy, so belittled, and so clueless. I know there are ways I can be better too, but I now know that I wasn't a horrible person. I was being the "big person" in our relationship. I haven't journaled since D-day, except for the occasion "connecting the dots" during his affair and our marriage at the time. But, I realize it's time for me to journal again. I've had so much anger, hurt, pain, and likely resentment since D-Day (about 4 weeks ago), that I've not been able to write. Hopefully, with beginning a journal about my feelings and his attempts at "bettering" himself, I might be able to feel again or understand what I want and need.
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Inconsolable_Grief_Unsafe
I wrote a lot of letters to him  during his emotional affair but I never knew it was sexual too until after his affair partner moved out. SO I compiled all the letters and things I wrote into a journal I have at least 300 pages typed. I think writing helped me survive the emotional injuries that he was inflicting on me daily during his affair. He gaslighted me and yes his affair partner is a relative. I have over 200 pages of his chats with her before she moved in saying he was in love with her. The pain is inconsolable. Deep Sadness
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Keepabuzz
I wrote a lot of letters to him  during his emotional affair but I never knew it was sexual too until after his affair partner moved out. SO I compiled all the letters and things I wrote into a journal I have at least 300 pages typed. I think writing helped me survive the emotional injuries that he was inflicting on me daily during his affair. He gaslighted me and yes his affair partner is a relative. I have over 200 pages of his chats with her before she moved in saying he was in love with her. The pain is inconsolable. Deep Sadness


keep all that evidence, and hand it to your lawyer. 
Male BS, D-day July 2015, trying to stay out of the dark.....
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GuyInPain
I've kept journals for much of my life, but I've found it especially helpful as I've been metabolizing my wife's adultery.  Talking about it with her is important, but those conversations need to be carefully approached and pursued.  Keeping a journal, on the other hand, is available anytime I need to record the progressions or regressions in my feelings and in our relationship.  Recently I read through my journal of the last couple of years of our relationship and my work to overcome post-infidelity trauma.  Seeing my progress has been helpful.  When I obsess after being triggered by something it's helpful to see how that particular aspect of the affair is something we've already discussed and something she's already acknowledged with remorse.  That helps me let go of recurrent obsessing. So working it out of my system into written words is helpful in creating a record, an artifact to which I can return as a reference point.  

One aspect of journaling that's potentially difficult is the issue of whether the spouse is aware of the journaling.  My wife expresses concern sometimes about the letters I've written to her, as to whether they're still on my computer where our children might later find them.  Yes. they're there and I'm not deleting them, for they are important to me, as are her letters to me, which I also keep.  She knows I journal, but I've not shared with her that I journal about our marital processing as well.  She would, I know, be very upset by my journal, so I've not told her about the marital journaling.  Nor do I intend to.  Like anyone else, I am entitled to keep a reflective record of my life.  It's important for my individuation and my integrity. 
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jasmine
I journaled a lot of the time early on. The journal was my only ‘friend’ who I knew who would always ‘listen’ and never judge me. I didn’t keep the journals though. I wrote to get it all out of my system and work it out on the page. Occasionally I’d re-read but it wasn’t that interesting, TBH. I was very repetitive at times but my journal never grew tired of me. I used a ‘free-writing’ style. Eventually I trashed the journals. I sometimes feel the need to write but not as often as I did 
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AnywhereButHere
Journaling helped me tremendously. The thought-life of a betrayed spouse is the proverbial 'herd of cats' and journaling tames the cats and, eventually, helps get your thinking under control and organized. Journaling helps you to control your thinking about a situation that seems utterly out-of-control. It also assists you in identifying thoughts and positions that, upon reflectively writing them out, you come to realize may not be as valid and applicable to your situation as you first believed.

I found a particular type of journaling that I adopted to be particularly helpful. The days, weeks, months..years following DDay are a 'journey'. But the betrayed spouse and the wayward spouse are dealing with is a new 'situation'. My particular journaling style was to forgo day 1, day 2, day 3...etc and, instead, to create a document that I would edit and update as new understandings came to me. SO, for instance, if I realized something new about how my wife's affair affected how I felt about her, I would update the section on "How Your Affair Changed How I See You..." instead of making an entry on page 235: "Day 86: You affair changed how I see you in this way..." It keeps things more accessible, readily at hand to review and think about.
BH, 5+ Mo EA, DDay 3/8/18
"...regarding all as God after God."
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anthro
I did some journalling, and some posting here that was a bit like journalling. I don't any more. I never felt any need to pretend to my WS that I was not journalling. I told her it was something I did that helped me work through stuff. If she'd wanted to read it she could have, too. 
Formerly known as Anthropoidape... male bs, long affair, d-day Feb 2017.
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Keepabuzz
I also journaled during the first year.  I used an journal app for my iPad. It has secondary security. I also told my wife that she was welcome to read it. She never has, she knew she would not enjoy reading what was in there. 
Male BS, D-day July 2015, trying to stay out of the dark.....
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AnywhereButHere

For those of you who might have difficulty with traditional journaling, I wanted to relate a method that worked well for me. I have trouble with the “Dear Diary,…”, day-to-day approach and, instead, simply created a single document that I would update with insights and thought-developments as they occurred. So, instead of having my thoughts on, say, the many ways affair has affected my marriage strewn about over several months of occasional day-entries and mixed in with all the other related-subjects flogging my traumatized brain…I have a section subtitled, “How Your Affair Has Affected Our Marriage”. I then edit and develop this section as new discoveries, realizations and thoughts come to me. Sometimes I think of a better way to say something. Sometimes this might involve editing-out things I may come to feel are no longer valid or were flat-out inaccurate when I first wrote them.

The sections in my doc are: 1. What Happened (from what she told me and what I found out in their email conversations); 2. Why It Was an Emotional Affair (Being an EA my wife tries to retain some plausible deniability. This section, for me, is where I make my case with sub-sections like ‘It involved the two of sharing about how your feelings for one another went beyond friendship’, ‘It involved privately heavy-flirting and sexting’, etc); 3. “What I Believe – What I Don’t Believe” (where I draw out solid implications and respond to her countless implausible explanations); 4. “Going Forward – Moving On” (where I write what this has done to me, to us and to our future – what has changed, how I feel and how I see us ‘carrying on’ – and especially what resolutions and commitments I’m making to take care of and protect myself.)

Eventually, I think, the document begins to approach a ‘finished’ state where your updates to it are fewer and you begin principally using it as a reference for how you feel about what has happened – as a tool for making some sense of it all and staying focused and grounded in your understanding.

BH, 5+ Mo EA, DDay 3/8/18
"...regarding all as God after God."
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