BorealJ
I'm struggling with a new issue. The need for connection after discovery of my wife's affair led me to tell my best friend because I trusted him. I trusted him based on other conversations we'd had about relationships, including some mutual friends' separation because of an affair. I never doubted him and his ability to support me, but I was wary of telling anyone close to both my wife and I for fear of alienating my wife. I trusted his ability to be supportive of us as a couple and in most ways he was. But there is one incident that at the time made me pause for a second, but in recalling it, it has grown in power, especially as I'm learning about affair behaviours and reasons and my personal situation. One day earlier on in the process I was having a very difficult time. I reached out to him and he came over. I wasn't seeing a hopeful future, either for my family or myself. His response at one point was to try to interrupt my pessimism by telling me it will be okay, that even in losing my family, I will be okay. Then he said something that only got a little of my attention at the time, but that now I am not letting go of.  He said "you could have changed things, but you didn't so you can't look back, just deal with the reality of right now and on getting better for the future", which is good advice sort of. The whole point of forgiveness is to stop looking back, and start building a future.  But the problem is, while he could have meant a plural "you", I have taken it as a judgement that I failed in some way to act in the past that would have stopped my wife from straying. Even if it was meant as a plural "you", it still assumes that we were in a bad relationship and feels like a judgement of us. That sat in my gut for a while, and after listening to the affair recovery myths podcast where one of the myths was that affairs were a result of a bad relationship, that feeling started to grow stronger. It has gotten to the point where I experience an emotion that strongly resembles hatred for my best friend.  I don't want to interact with him or be in his presence.
I know this is unhealthy. Right now I need connection, and I can't feel connected to the people who are supposed to be my support base. But I don't know if in the process of trying to rebuild the most important relationship in my life, I have it in me to try to rebuild the second most important relationship in my life (well at the moment really my third and fourth most important as my kids are the first two).  I can reason that this is coming from inside of me and it is my own skewed response, but it doesn't change the gut feeling. I reason that the affair made me feel invalidated as a person, and that insecurity led me to react so strongly to the comments he made because they suggested that I should have been a different person or acted in a different way. But it's hard to imagine why when I had expressed the feeling of invalidation to him, he would make a comment that further invalidated me. I know he didn't mean it that way, but I can't help but think that is what he thinks underneath it all. As much as I can reason that he would never intend to hurt me, and that he probably isn't judging me from his high perch of happy nuclear family, I can't convince my gut to change my emotional response to him. 
Do I just give this time for my emotions to settle? Do I haul him into couples' counseling with me? I value the relationship we had, but does it now require
explicit fixing at the risk of making it awkward if these feelings will fade?
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TimT
When trust was broken by your wife, it likely caused you to be extra cautious in other trusting relationships, too, perhaps without realizing it. I'm that context, you are more likely to focus on the potential dangers, hurts, or betrayals by others you love.

I have no idea what your friend thinks about your part in all this. Maybe he's misinformed. Maybe he sees something you don't see. Maybe he has bad ideas about affairs. Or maybe he didn't even intend to communicate things the way you've interpreted his comment. Regardless of which reason is true, I encourage you to value the friendship enough to be honest with him.

But instead of direct confrontation, start with telling him what you expressed in this post... that you value his friendship, that his support was something you needed, and that you're thankful for his willingness to listen. THEN say, "There's one thing you said, though, that I'm having a hard time working through. I'm not sure I know what you meant by it." Then ask him to explain the comment.

His explanation may bring you quick relief. But if not (maybe he really does think you failed in some way to save your marriage), be honest about why that's a struggle for you. Perhaps you'd even ask him to listen to a podcast so that he better understands your part in this.

Be willing to listen to him, too. Maybe you both will learn something in all this. 

I think your likely to find a good resolution by doing this, but if you do find that there is unwarranted judgement/blame coming from him, you'll need to keep boundaries in place.
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Keepabuzz
I think Tim has given solid advise here. 

I would like to add something from my own experience. During my wife’s affair and in the first year after D-day I was working with an executive coach, provided by my company for personal development. If you have never worked with one, it’s can be very similar to IC. Due to the complete destruction of life as I knew it, we mainly focused on my home life. As I could barely function after D-day. He was a great listener, and was very wise, with a ton of life experience, and an alphabet of letters behind his name. 

As we worked through the initial trauma and into the later months of that awful year, He was always supportive, but would ask “is this really where you want to be? Do you really see a future here?”  His intentions were pure. He truly cared for me, as we had become close friends. BUT, you see the seat he sat in was different than mine. His life situation was different than mine. His life experiences were different than mine. 

He was single, NO KIDS, divorced actually, and had been for many years. His wife had cheated on him, and when he found out she literally dissapeared. Just gone. They divorced via attorneys. He never saw her again. 

He had had my best interests at heart, but was viewing my life through his lense. That ok, I understood. If I hadn’t had kids, I would have disappeared out of my wife’s life. BUT, I did have kids, and my choices are always going to be in their best interest, sometimes not mine. 

I agree with Tim, after such a betrayal trust is shattered with more than just your WS. I can certainly attest that mine is. I don’t trust anyone fully. I trust some more than others, but my full trust is reserved solely for the man I look at in the mirror. 
Male BS, D-day July 2015, trying to stay out of the dark.....
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anthropoidape
People who know exactly what to say in situations like these are rare. Your friend's motives are evident in the fact that he turned up and kept listening even though it is probably quite draining for him.

He might for a split second have just had a terrible view of you as a person, or he might really think it's all at least partly your fault. I doubt it, but even if that's the case then he was still there to support you.

For what it's worth, "you could have changed things, but you didn't so you can't look back, just deal with the reality of right now and on getting better for the future" sounds a lot like a generic statement about regret to me. Your friend may well have been reaching for a concise statement about focusing on the present and future and may even have been channelling some experience of his own that led him to that viewpoint himself. Maybe there is something he regrets and he says, "you could have changed things, but you didn't so you can't look back, just deal with the reality of right now and on getting better for the future" to himself every day about it.

But I don't think you should revisit his statement too much anyway. Whatever lay behind it... man, some people would run a mile from you at this time, it takes a good person to be there and support you at all.

I talked to a few people. A counsellor and some friends who, by and large, are never with me and my wife, only with me, and primarily right after d-day one friend who does know both of us but who lives interstate. Not one of them, including the counsellor, has failed to say something that I thought (and still think) was dead wrong, read me wrong, and misread a key aspect of the situation. In most cases, like Keepabuzz's executive coach, they tended to form a view that I should end my marriage, or at least that's how it seemed to me.

The lesson I take from this is that we are ALONE with this. Your wife will never really get it, no counsellor will ever get it, and a friend with no counselling experience certainly won't get it. They will probably all do their best to get it but they will, frankly, be miles off. I won't truly get your situation even though as we have noted it parallels mine in lots of ways. Assume that about 30% of what a good supporter says will help you along your road, another 20% will miss the mark and upset you, and the other 50% is just stuff they say while being there. Your friend is not Yoda, he's some guy.

I do think Tim's advice is good, but personally I wouldn't take it. If I felt the strong urge to say to my friend, "hey there is this one thing you said that bothered me, can we talk about it?", I would kick that urge away and just say to my friend, "hey man, thanks for sticking with me and giving up time and energy to support me. I know it's a lot to ask."

I also think your friend will understand if you need to hunker down and not talk to him much for a little while.
Maybe it is okay, maybe it will be okay.

BS, d-day Feb 2017, 16 mth affair.
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Anna26
Speaking after my own experience, I found it really hard to trust anyone as utterly and completely as I did my husband. And I think that is the real cost of being betrayed.  I read little things into what someone had said. Imagined what they might really mean, twisting things into a totally convoluted edition of a simple statement. It's a kind of self protective thing, because you are existing in a world of pain, fear and anguish. And for me, that feeling of low self esteem and self worth that is a constant part of my character anyway, just poured oil on the fire. But I've kind of pushed myself to look at things from the other persons side. In the end, they can only speak from personal experience, it's that simple. And a true friend will understand where you are coming from if you gently express your concerns. And sometimes, in the haste to 'help' it's all too easy to dispense well meaning advice. And I've found that I didn't necessarily want that, or someone to solve the problem ( impossible). I just wanted someone to listen and give me some kind of comfort.
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Keepabuzz
anthropoidape wrote:
The lesson I take from this is that we are ALONE with this. 


Sadly, this truly is reality. Alone. 
Male BS, D-day July 2015, trying to stay out of the dark.....
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Laurajean83
Keepabuzz wrote:

Sadly, this truly is reality. Alone. 


I do wonder if my husband also feels thus way.  I feel like we are together in this, but maybe he doesn't.  

I hope he doesn't feel this way?  Do you guys think your wife is aware you feel this way...  all alone? 
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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Ginger
Even if he says he doesn't,  he does.
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Laurajean83
Ginger wrote:
Even if he says he doesn't,  he does.


That is so heartbreaking I feel completely helpless.   I know this an impossible question but I will post it out to all the BS..

What can I do to make my BS feel less alone, and more loved? 
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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anthropoidape
Laurajean83 wrote: I do wonder if my husband also feels thus way.

I would stake my life on it.

Laurajean83 wrote: Do you guys think your wife is aware you feel this way...  all alone? 

I would say my wife probably feels like we are together in this [smile]

No, actually, I don't know. She still seems to be focused mainly on how she feels. I really think she cannot understand the seriousness of what she has done, or the extent of the damage, or the effect on my inner life not in a day-to-day sense but in a minute-to-minute sense. Every single minute of my life is damaged now and most are not just damaged but ruined.
Maybe it is okay, maybe it will be okay.

BS, d-day Feb 2017, 16 mth affair.
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Keepabuzz
Laurajean83 wrote:

I do wonder if my husband also feels thus way.  I feel like we are together in this, but maybe he doesn't.  

I hope he doesn't feel this way?  Do you guys think your wife is aware you feel this way...  all alone? 


I don’t know, maybe?  I have told her that I feel very alone. I think that she just thinks that was a bad day, likely. I don’t think she can even begin to grasp of the depths of the loneliness.  I don’t go into great detail, because what exactly is the point? To make her feel worse?  Na, I’m past that. I don’t see anything positive in telling her that. The old safety I felt in our relationship, and really in the world in general, even though it wasn’t a great marriage is gone. There is no way that the feeling of being truly safe will come back. I am now alone in this world, I always was, I just didn’t know it. Not that I don’t have relationships, but there is no true safety. I am the only one I can truly depend on.

My entire view view of the world has been irrevocably changed. I no longer trust anyone. I used to walk though this life with a partner that I knew without a shadow of a doubt had my back, no matter what. Now that person I trusted more than any other on the planet, has shown me that I was a fool to believe in that fairy tale. That is exactly what it is to, a fairy tale. The only person in this world that will always have my best interests at heart is me. 

I have had my entire world destroyed, a large part of me has died, and only 6 people in the whole world, other than me and my wife, and her former AP are even aware of it. Two of them were paid therapists, and one is my boss. I have been through the worst pain imaginable, suicidal thoughts, deep depression, panic attacks, anxiety, deep unrelenting shame, despair. There has been no comfort, no pain pills to take. I have had to suffer all of this, and still strap my mask on tight and function in the world, when all I wanted to do is leave it. Largely suffer in silence, unbelievably lonely silence. 

Imagine being in a terrible car crash, you can barely move from the pain. You’re terribly scarred, covered in awful wounds. Yet no one can know. No one can see the wounds, no one knows they are there, nor do they have any idea that anything has happened to you. You feel useless, rejected, spit upon, ugly, utterly worthless, of no value. You are going through this alone, except you’re with the person who drove the other vehicle head on into you (your WS), except they were driving a tank, and you were in a Carolla. They look at you at while you’re at your very lowest point and say “You’re just feeling sorry for yourself”. Yes, my wife actually said those exact words to me not long after D-day while I was breaking down in our bathroom floor.

I suffer alone, I did nothing to deserve this, but I am left to deal with the consequences, alone.  These are “my ” wounds, and it is “my” pain to be dealt with alone, by “me”.  How could I not feel very alone, and emotionally crippled? Some have noticed that I’m “Different”. I’m not out going anymore. I prefer to stay at home. I don’t talk to many people at all, whereas I used to talk to friends all the time. 

All this, and almost no one is even aware of any of it.  Alone....
Male BS, D-day July 2015, trying to stay out of the dark.....
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Guiltguilt
That’s the bit that almost killed me. The realisation that there are parts that nobody can ever touch now.

My ex wife and I were in the car the other day and she spoke in a way that just isn’t her, but now it is. I broke her as I was broken, so deeply that the lens with which she views life is tainted. Life is forever different. 
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BorealJ
LauraJean, unfortunately, the effects of an affair include more than alienating a couple from one another.  In my case, it has made me feel alienated from my entire community and support system including my family. The example I started this topic with is but one example.  Because of how the affair made me feel invalidated as a person, when I tell people in an attempt to reach out for support, I then feel embarrassed around them and in some cases (above) angry with them.  It's like I'm admitting to them that I am not a real person of value.  That I am someone not worthy of treating decently and my mind imagines that they immediately start examining me and searching for the valid reason why I am deserving of nothing more. That makes me not tell people which has an effect of making my relationships feel less than genuine. In my case, I am alone because my wife is not yet ready to take on the work of relationship repair because she is suffering from shame so much, she can only focus on her own feelings. I know that has to come first.  But it's a lonely place to be. 
If you want your husband to feel less alone, actions that make him feel seen are important. Ask him to let you see his pain and respond to it with true remorse. This might be hard for you to do.  To face the pain in him you have caused and take ownership of it might put you in an uncomfortable shameful place. If you run and hide from his pain, that will contribute to his feeling of loneliness. The trauma you feel over your affair is valid too. If he is receptive to it, you can share some of that with him. Let him know you are searching for meaning in it and determined to addressing yourself and healing yourself so that you can also help him heal.  Be careful though, if you choose to share with him the ways in which you were hurt by your affair, it can come across as selfish.  In another post I described it as hearing "I hurt you, poor me".
Also, help validate him.  Celebrate the things he has done for others and highlight how valuable he was to certain people or communities.  If you can celebrate the valued qualities he has brought to other relationships in his life, he may take some comfort there.
Maybe I need to do those things for myself.  It's funny how you can see clearly when it's not your own heavy emotions at work.
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Ijustcant
Ditto Keepabuzz! Ditto! Problem is... I don't want to live like this. I am just so tired.

BS D-day 12-11-15
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Anna26
Keepabuzz wrote:

I don’t know, maybe?  I have told her that I feel very alone. I think that she just thinks that was a bad day, likely. I don’t think she can even begin to grasp of the depths of the loneliness.  I don’t go into great detail, because what exactly is the point? To make her feel worse?  Na, I’m past that. I don’t see anything positive in telling her that. The old safety I felt in our relationship, and really in the world in general, even though it wasn’t a great marriage is gone. There is no way that the feeling of being truly safe will come back. I am now alone in this world, I always was, I just didn’t know it. Not that I don’t have relationships, but there is no true safety. I am the only one I can truly depend on.

My entire view view of the world has been irrevocably changed. I no longer trust anyone. I used to walk though this life with a partner that I knew without a shadow of a doubt had my back, no matter what. Now that person I trusted more than any other on the planet, has shown me that I was a fool to believe in that fairy tale. That is exactly what it is to, a fairy tale. The only person in this world that will always have my best interests at heart is me. 

I have had my entire world destroyed, a large part of me has died, and only 6 people in the whole world, other than me and my wife, and her former AP are even aware of it. Two of them were paid therapists, and one is my boss. I have been through the worst pain imaginable, suicidal thoughts, deep depression, panic attacks, anxiety, deep unrelenting shame, despair. There has been no comfort, no pain pills to take. I have had to suffer all of this, and still strap my mask on tight and function in the world, when all I wanted to do is leave it. Largely suffer in silence, unbelievably lonely silence. 

Imagine being in a terrible car crash, you can barely move from the pain. You’re terribly scarred, covered in awful wounds. Yet no one can know. No one can see the wounds, no one knows they are there, nor do they have any idea that anything has happened to you. You feel useless, rejected, spit upon, ugly, utterly worthless, of no value. You are going through this alone, except you’re with the person who drove the other vehicle head on into you (your WS), except they were driving a tank, and you were in a Carolla. They look at you at while you’re at your very lowest point and say “You’re just feeling sorry for yourself”. Yes, my wife actually said those exact words to me not long after D-day while I was breaking down in our bathroom floor.

I suffer alone, I did nothing to deserve this, but I am left to deal with the consequences, alone.  These are “my ” wounds, and it is “my” pain to be dealt with alone, by “me”.  How could I not feel very alone, and emotionally crippled? Some have noticed that I’m “Different”. I’m not out going anymore. I prefer to stay at home. I don’t talk to many people at all, whereas I used to talk to friends all the time. 

All this, and almost no one is even aware of any of it.  Alone....


What you have written just breaks my heart Keepabuzz, because that is exactly how it feels.  I don't even know how you managed to get it into words.  I grew tired of trying to explain, tired of trying to put it into words, because there just aren't any really that can convey how it really feels.  Someone could only really understand how it feels by actually being in the same situation.  Walk a mile in your shoes.  It can't be explained how it feels to be so utterly bereft of everything you once held dear and believed in. We spend so much time putting someone else first, but never again will I let my life revolve around one person, when it should revolve more around me.

It's just so sad that it takes something like what so many of us have been through, ARE going through, to teach us that, actually, we are strong and separate individuals, who have a value and a purpose.  That's what I keep telling myself anyway..
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