I see why you’re here.

I haven’t had much to really talk about in my own journey after his affair since we are doing fairly well. We do still have our struggles as we will for a while, but we are progressing and that’s what is most important.

So I searched through my search terms to see what led some of you here and the majority of you come because you struggle with how to deal with the affair after discovery. I understand exactly what you are going through and I empathize tremendously. I can’t tell you what is best for you and your relationship, but I can certainly offer some words of encouragement to help you stay focused on getting better for yourself.

I am a year and 7 months out from D-Day and I was recently able to embrace the process of forgiveness. It has been the most difficult concept for me to grasp. I understand it, but my heart refused to let me go there because of my fears of being vulnerable to someone who had just betrayed me so deeply. I was too wounded to consider it.

It took time and understanding that I would get better from this, whether I was with him or not. I knew that I didn’t want to be defeated by his affair and all of the emotions and struggles that came with it. I wanted to persevere and get back to a place in my relationship with him where we are once again coveted. But I don’t want it to be something that is apparent just on the outside, I want us to know that what we have is special to us. That we love each other terribly and are willing to do whatever it takes to be happy and healthy once again. We still have a long ways to go, but I came to an understanding that staying focused on the details of the past and the details about his AP(s) was not going to help launch me into something better. Obsessing over the what-ifs and all the unanswered questions that plague my mind is not healthy. I am tormenting myself if I allow this toxic thinking to stay with me. Sure, there may be details that he hasn’t told you. They may eventually come out and they may not. As long as you have enough to know that he is willing to discuss the reason he made the choice he did, you will be able to begin repairing your marriage.

If he is not willing to live transparently, then I would be leery. Expectations need to be set up front. Mention what you will not tolerate and draw the line. What has happened is a serious matter that can ruin everything you had if you aren’t willing to live authentically from this day forward. If your spouse isn’t ready, let them know where you stand. I would not recommend making any drastic decisions until you’ve had time alone to think about everything you need to consider. Most of that is whether or not you feel you could ever forgive him for what he has done. If you can’t, don’t fool him into believing you can. Punishing him and holding it over his head is not beneficial to any degree. Yes, it would be nice to hurt him back as he has you to make him understand exactly what you are going through, but that is not going to happen. You’re likely to just I’ve him a reason to walk away for sure or to add more insult to injury. You are only hurting yourself.

Determine whether you are ready to address what happened in your relationship that led it to be vulnerable to an affair. This means that you are ready to acknowledge YOUR part in the deterioration of your marriage. Yes, you. The affair is 100% his own, but the dwindling marriage was on both of you. Addressing these issues is what will help move you to a place of healing after his affair. You will restore what was lacking in meeting each others needs. You will find yourselves getting closer once again. Yes, it will still be painful to think about the fact that your spouse wound up taking his issues to a level where he felt the only way to make things better was to seek outside assistance. This is one of the primary issues you’ll be addressing: how your spouse felt that they couldn’t come to you when they were struggling…when they felt neglected.

Understand that the affair itself wasn’t about you. He didn’t choose a partner to replace you. He didn’t choose someone who he felt was attractive because he was sickened by your appearance. He chose someone who he felt attracted to because they tinkered with his vulnerabilities. They lit a fire under him in areas that had been smoldering for some time. They reignited what had fizzled out; what he wanted with you again. Why didn’t he ask for that from you? That is what you have to figure out: why your spouse couldn’t come to you with this. Maybe he feared more rejection. I know this was something my husband struggled with. He felt that I didn’t want to be with him and he couldn’t trust me by sharing with me something that bruised his ego and made him feel unwanted and unappreciated. I had been mean and horrible to him, so why would he approach me with a sensitive subject? The issues in my marriage are perfectly clear and I must acknowledge them if I want change.

“You can not change what you don’t acknowledge.” Dr. Phil

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If my readers see any search terms they’d like for me to address, please list them in the comments section. I will share what I can in response to these.

Without a doubt, an affair changes everything.

I’ve probably discussed this or at least mentioned it in some way several times before, but an affair really does change everything. It impacts you in ways that you expected and feared and in ways that you couldn’t imagine. I knew that if my husband had ever cheated on me that my life would take a new route. I always thought I’d never forgive him if he had, but when it came down to making the decision of whether to allow him to stay in my life or to send him packing, I had a lot more to consider.

First, I endured the pain of discovery. After 9 years together, I learned that he had gone astray…that he was no longer interested in me, but pursuing others. He made the conscious decision to live a secret life talking to other women and looking for sexual relationships all the while still coming home to me continuing to use me for what he could still get out of our withered relationship.

I knew that our relationship was failing. I knew that things had changed between us; we were strained and distant. There was no longer a connectedness between us, but I just didn’t know how to fix it. I had said some things that I really didn’t mean. I had tested the waters to see how he really felt about me – if he was really committed and loyal after all of the changes in me (body after baby for the most part and the lack of sex after baby). I felt frustrated because talking with him about my fears wasn’t something I felt I could do. He didn’t like being emotional and he couldn’t support me in that way. So of course, when he felt the same way in questioning our failing relationship, he didn’t mention it. We’d argue about it, but then the dust would settle. We told each other we loved the other, but our actions didn’t validate that. We enjoyed each others company, but it was bordering on being superficial because of the distance growing between us.

Fast forward to D-day and everything I feared was happening. Now what? I wrote a post about the questions I asked myself upon discovery, including whether or not I did love him and if I could be with him after this. I did. I wanted our relationship to be how it was prior to baby. I just didn’t know what to do to get back there. I felt at a loss on how to trust him since he wasn’t able to fulfill my need for emotional intimacy and support.

I feel that the affair really has been a pivotal moment for us. It allowed us the opportunity to wipe the slate clean and put everything out on the table. I wish it didn’t occur this way, but it can’t be reversed at this point. So we move on. We address what led us here and what we need to do to fix that and grow from here. The biggest hurdle has been leaving the affair in the past and coming to a place of forgiveness. I feel I am there. I am moving forward and leaving my thoughts and knowledge about the affair in the past. They don’t help me heal at this point. I have accepted the details and understand what place they took in my recovery. At this point they really aren’t necessary, but a hindrance.

One thing Wayward Spouses need to understand is that, despite this acceptance, it does not mean that we don’t think about it from time to time. The memories are invasive, but we will eventually learn to dismiss them promptly when they come up. And they will impact our feelings/emotions at that time, we learn to not let it have control of them. We learn to choose happiness over resentment and sulking.

But our memories are forever stamped with all of the details, all of the memories, all of the feelings we felt. It literally changes our lives and how we feel about certain values. We question our WSes values and morals. The betrayal placed upon those forces us to put up a guard. Sometimes we change our view on certain aspects of a relationship or in our marriage. Sometimes we are more reserved about trusting you with our vulnerability…or we may decide to only trust you with so much. You can’t tell us how much that should be or how long that should last. You can’t pressure us into healing faster or having expectations on where we should be in our recovery.

Time is what we need. We need patience from our WSes. We’ve agreed to do something we feel is insurmountable, but we have hope. Our desire to stay together and keep our families intact far surpasses our desire to toss it all away. I understand that even the WS will have reservations and that is understandable. We must accept that we both had a part in the deterioration of our marriage, but as far as embracing a marriage after an affair, it is tough for a Betrayed Spouse to feel like at one point they weren’t good enough and they were temporarily replaced in ways. It’s confusing for us and we will never have the answers to all of the whys and that is beyond frustrating. It just takes time to come to a place of accepting that trying to figure it all out is keeping us stuck. Then we will be able to let go.

I hope my husband sees that I have made it there.

That’s nice to know.

The other day Mike and I managed to talk about affair stuff without him blowing up too much. I am not trying to stay focused on the past, but in order for me to be willing to heal from this, I have to understand what it is I need to fix. I have to understand more about why and how he was able to do what he did because there were justifications within him that made it ok. Home life must’ve been that bad for him that he went astray.

His affair was not planned out. He was online somewhere and an add for one of those dating sites (like Zoosk – I see those all the time) popped up and so he was curious. He set up an account on multiple ones trying to figure out which one would NOT charge him to be able to connect with people and that’s how he wound up on Date Hookup.

His ads said that he was married, but in a shitty relationship, so don’t dog him before you get to know him…something along those lines. He was honest about being married and never said he was looking for a relationship, just some discreet fun. I eventually saw one of them and it made me sick that he would say those things.

Sex was planned after he saw that it worked. He talked to women, some were skanks who were willing to be sexual right up front and some were more reserved, but later willing. He said that he looked for women who seemed “easy.” And he found Paula. She was sticking her tongue out in her photo so his first comment to her was something about doing things with her tongue (he doesn’t remember exactly what he said…uh huh). They talked and made an insincere connection – meaning, he bullshitted his way to attract her to him.

He told me that he was able to talk to her about personal stuff because she didn’t really matter to him; her opinion and views didn’t really matter. All he wanted was to see if she’d side with him and console him over his shitty relationship. And that she did. She assured him that I must be having an affair if I didn’t want to have sex. I don’t know what all he told her specifically about me. Maybe I will ask more about that. I am sure that he won’t want to tell me out of fear of hurting me and being honest about how he really felt.

One thing he did tell me that stung was that after he had sex with Paula, he said it felt just like having sex with me prior to the affair: that he felt like it was a chore and how it made him feel unwanted and gross. Gross with me because he felt like he was making me do something I didn’t want to do. Gross with her because he felt guilty and shameful about doing what he did.

This was something he hadn’t told me before until now. I think we are finally getting to some of his thoughts and actions during the affair; the ones he hasn’t shared with me because they are too ugly and painful – for both of us. All of those, ‘I don’t know’ and ‘I don’t remember’ answers were bull and will not be accepted from here on out.

I have been waiting for the truth of his behaviors for a long time and it seems they might finally make their appearance. Maybe healing will begin soon.

What I need in order to heal and move forward after my husband’s affair.

Vulnerability

Compassion

Transparency

Forgiveness

….these are the main ingredients for what I need to do in order to heal and move forward after my husband’s affair. In order for me to be able to let go of the anger and hurt and confusion of it all, I need to have a better approach to dealing with it.

I have done A LOT of research these past few weeks since my last meltdown. I had a brief regression after being triggered left and right and all at once. I decided that I have had enough, I no longer want to feel so overwhelmed with memories/details of his affair and D-day. I don’t want to regress anymore; I want to be able to keep myself under control at all times and be able to deal with issues reasonably. I don’t want to get angry and argue with him over problems in our relationship.

Vulnerability:

I know I have to forgive, but I just can’t seem to get over this hump. I have not figured out how to be vulnerable and trust that he won’t hurt me. This is the biggest thing that caused my behaviors in our marriage that eventually caused distance, and ultimately an affair. I have always been so afraid of being abandoned and hurt by someone that I love. I was afraid that I might be deceived and hurt along the way after giving my all to a relationship. This is why I waited until I was in my late 20s to marry. I had to make sure that this wasn’t likely to happen…or ever going to happen. Even though I felt fairly safe, my toxic thinking got the best of me. And I allowed it to consume me more and more over time. I let it convince me that maybe Mike really didn’t love me and he really wasn’t attracted to me and that he was probably hoping to find someone even better, all the while dragging me along until she came along. I feared being dropped like a bad habit.

My anxiety became progressively worse, but I never let anyone else see it. Of course I didn’t because then that would require vulnerability and I wasn’t opening the door to let someone hurt me with my “permission.” I wasn’t going to allow someone to see me exposed…to see my weaknesses. So I certainly wasn’t going to provide them with the opportunity to get the best of me.

And because of my toxic thinking, it drove a wedge between myself and my husband. I put up protective armor and was always on defense. If we argued, it was more about presenting facts of the matter instead of expressing what I was really feeling. Our arguments became less productive and more destructive. Eventually, we just wound up being very hurtful with our words towards each other and our agendas were to protect ourselves in order to maintain a sense of control.

This was my way of sabotaging the relationship. I make myself the most unpleasant person to be around so that there is at least good reason for him to leave me or hurt me. Sounds twisted, I know. But, if I am good and doing what I am supposed to be as a wife and mother and something like an affair happens, I think it would be much more damaging to my sense of self and I’d be left dealing with it without a back-up plan. I’d probably feel despondent.

The thing that I have come to realize is that even if I’m guarded or not, it all still hurts the same. Even if I expected it and waited for it, it didn’t hurt any less. I still crumbled into a million pieces.

As one site says:

“Relationships of depth require vulnerability.  Vulnerability signifies the risk of getting hurt.  The emotionally guarded raise their shields to protect against exposing their vulnerabilities.  They are afraid that by releasing them they will be humiliated.  They are guarding against emotional intimacy. A relationship cannot be sustained without emotional intimacy.”

So if I am bad, then I deserve to be hurt; I brought it on myself. If I am good, then I don’t deserve to be and anything against that would excuse me from any kind of responsibility for how someone treats me in a relationship. This thinking is wrong in so many ways. No one deserves to be hurt, but sometimes it happens including to the best of people. I have to have expectations for my partner and for myself. I have to give respect and love and expect those in return. I can’t live my life as I have been because it just. isn’t. working. I can’t demand intimacy and hold a shield up whenever he gets close. This is where having an understanding of what having compassion means.

Compassion:

“Compassion is essentially the wish that beings not suffer combined with feelings of sympathetic concern. Compassion is not pity, agreement, or a waiving of your rights. You can have compassion for people who’ve wronged you while also insisting that they treat you better.”

That last statement is the one that sunk in with me. It also means forgiveness. Having compassion when someone has done you wrong means that you react with dignity and integrity and understanding. You don’t retaliate or scold them for what they’ve done to you. You tell them what you need from them in order to heal. Learning to forgive will help move you forward.

I understand all of this. I get it, really. The problem I have is how to be vulnerable.

“Intimacy requires feeling your insecurities and the painful emotions they elicit. All painful emotions are based in fear.  The fear of getting hurt or humiliated can sometimes take control of one’s life.”

I need to take back control of my life. The other day, I practiced being vulnerable. I recognized in the moment that I wanted to buck up and be on the defense, so I relaxed and talked through the conversation without wanting to argue and without fear of being hurt. But I didn’t feel ANYTHING. I wasn’t numb, just empty of emotion. Is that normal? Is that how being vulnerable feels? If so, why have I been so afraid all these years?? It just didn’t feel right. I felt like I should have felt insecure. When the conversation was over, I didn’t feel a huge amount of relief after exposing myself.

Maybe I am more secure than I give myself credit for. Maybe being vulnerable isn’t as scary as I always believed.

The only thing now is that all these years I have been so guarded and worried about being hurt by my husband and now I know he would hurt me. He would do something to cause heavy pain. But he didn’t wake up and decide that that was his goal for the day. Over time, I helped to set up our relationship so that it could be vulnerable to an affair. It’s almost as if I wanted it to happen so I could get it over with and be done with it. The only time I should have fear that he will make the decision to have an affair again is if I am helping to create an unhealthy relationship; if I regress back to these behaviors of wanting to sabotage. If I am not allowing myself to be vulnerable so that I can learn to trust him and feel secure and safe in our relationship. If I am not fulfilling his needs.

Transparency:

Living transparently is vital in a marriage and any relationship. Secrets keep you sick. They erode away the foundation that your relationship is built on and over time, they will destroy the trust you have gained with your significant other. This is very damaging so you must commit to being open and honest in every way in your relationship. You must allow your spouse the ability to see right through you.

We’ve already established how important emotional intimacy is in a relationship. Having that means that you are comfortable sharing your innermost desires and dreams with your spouse. You share your fears and trust that they will be a safety net for you to help you overcome any obstacles. This applies to both spouses. At the same time, you must respect that your spouse still needs privacy in order to feel balanced. This doesn’t mean living in fear that they may be hiding something from you. It means trusting yourself  enough that you can give them the space they need without falling apart from not knowing everything they’re doing behind closed doors. (Hello, co-dependency!)

I strongly believe that communication is key in any relationship. If you stop talking, then you should worry because your emotional intimacy will suffer and you will begin to grow distant from one another. You will begin to avoid asking for what you need and you will eventually become susceptible to an affair or divorce when most of the time it could simply have been avoided just by talking to each other.

Most importantly, you have to remember why you are with each other in the first place. This isn’t a partnership. You formed this relationship out of something much stronger than the fact that you were simply compatible with each other.

Forgiveness:

Oh boy! Have I addressed this topic a lot?!

It has been extremely difficult for me to wrap my mind around being able to forgive my husband for his affair. But it really isn’t about just what he did. It is about evaluating the deterioration of our marriage as a whole and seeing the bigger picture in things.

Those of us BSes who are dealing with life after an affair HAVE to look at our role as well in order to be able to fully repair the problem areas in our marriage. If not, then we should expect more affairs or divorce. That’s just inevitable. We can’t move forward without recognizing that we, too, were a part of the problem.

So, until I was able to acknowledge this for myself, there was no way we were going anywhere in our recovery. I had to begin to forgive myself for my behavior prior to the affair as well. I had to learn how to let go of the pain that I felt for the hurtful things I had said to him. I had to let go of the anger my fear caused and learn to change my pattern in relationships and within myself. I’ve had to change my thinking and address a lot of character defects. I am not done by any means. I still have a lot of improving to do, but I am well on my way to getting better. I have accepted that these changes will not happen in myself overnight. Even though the lightbulb goes off, that doesn’t mean that I will do a 180 and adapt to my new way of coping with my fears or my new behaviors. So I take everything one step at a time and acknowledge that I am making progress. This allows me to be able to forgive myself and my husband more and more every day. Some spouses are able to forgive much quicker. I am a perfectionist so I have to get this “right.” I want to have a full understanding of what I am getting myself into so that I can discuss this with my husband. I want to live an authentic life with him. I want to be happy with myself and with my relationship. I want to feel fulfilled in life in every way. So I am not rushing things, but I am moving along nicely. One of these days I will be able to wrap my arms around forgiveness completely and embrace it with all my might.

And I know that that will be the day that I feel completely liberated from all of this affair crap!

Sources:
http://www.wildmind.org/blogs/on-practice/how-to-have-compassion-for-yourself
http://lovelifestyle.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=102:why-are-some-so-emotionally-guarded&catid=1:love&Itemid=2 
http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/your-wise-brain/201111/have-compassion

How to forgive yourself for cheating & for being a shitty spouse.

All affairs happen for different reasons and in the end we all decide differently on what route to take to recover after an affair. Some of us separate then divorce, some of us separate and get back together over time, some of us just suck it up and take it and never do anything differently accepting that it was something we deserved and some of us work to restore our marriage as it was right from the get-go.

Something that both parties must do to truly move forward in their lives and towards happiness is to forgive themselves and forgive each other. A lot of people can not grasp what it really means to forgive and I have written several posts on what this entails if you want to read those, please look for my category at the bottom titled “Forgiveness.” Here is the main post I have written about what it means with a quote from another source.

In the beginning, I never imagined forgiving my husband. I always believed that if my husband had cheated on me, that it would be an unforgivable act that I could not heal from. Notice I said could. After his affair, I learned differently. I learned that it wouldn’t kill our marriage and my love for him and that it was possible for me to heal from it. I couldn’t go on forever allowing it to hold me down and torment me irregardless of whether I stayed with him or not.

It was once I realized that forgiveness is about me choosing not to let it hold me down that I could begin to understand it. With the help of many sources, I was able to being the process. Really, it wasn’t a lengthy one. It was just prolonged when I allowed toxic thinking to deter my progress.

I have since been able to fully forgive my husband for the pain he caused me. For how he betrayed me. And I have also forgiven myself for not swallowing my pride and doing what it took to keep my marriage healthy. I have forgiven myself for being flat-out mean to my husband and sabotaging our relationship. I had to in order to be free from this devastation. In order to renew our love for one another and build a new foundation for what we were going to have in our future together.

Since I have been reading my book The Surrendered Wife, I have learned a lot about what behaviors I need to change and character defects I need to address within myself in order to be  an amazing person who is tolerable to live with and be married to. I have applied those changes and am always working to improve my behaviors. I apologize and correct myself everyday. Even though many times a day I do this, I don’t allow myself to feel discouraged. I don’t allow myself to feel like a piece of shit because I still behave the way I used to prior to the affair. I am human. I will not do a 180 overnight. These are things I’ve actually done most of my adult life. That’s 16+- years of learned & practiced behaviors that I have to change.

It will take time.

Towards the end of my book, I read a paragraph that was very profound and I thought of others who I know struggle with forgiving themselves for cheating on their spouses. My husband is one of them and he says he feels that he will always carry around this guilt for what he did. I asked why, “To punish yourself?” Then I proceeded to relate it to making other poor choices. This is what I said, not verbatim:

Your affair is like making the choice to eat lots of mayonnaise and ranch dressing and lots of other foods that are very bad for you, especially in large amounts. You know you could eventually wind up with diabetes (or even high cholesterol, etc), but you continue to over-indulge in those pleasures. You think that because you are active and drink lots of water, that you have some sort of balance. One day you go to the doctor and find out you now have diabetes. You can no longer take back the poor choices you made. You have to live with this the rest of your life. You can either choose to make it worse or make it better. You can continue to eat bad foods or you can decide to do what’s best for you so that you can live without worry or fear of more problems arising from your illness. You learn to maintain it to the best of your ability.

You can’t undo the affair. You can’t undo the damage and hurt it has caused others. What’s done is done. Now, what are you going to do about it? Wallow in your guilt for the rest of your life or acknowledge that you made a shitty choice and start from this day forward to make amends by loving yourself and your spouse and doing what it takes to improve your relationship and eventually maintain that happiness?

Here is the profound paragraph….something Sister Wendy Beckett said in an interview with Bill Moyer:

“I don’t think being truly human has any place for guilt…Contrition, yes, but guilt no. Contrition means you tell God you are sorry and you are not going to do it again and you start of afresh. All the damage you’ve done to yourself [is] put right. Guilt means you go on and on belaboring and having emotions and beating your breast and being ego-fixated. Guilt is a trap. People love guilt because if they feel they suffer enough guilt, they’ll make up for what they’ve done, whereas, in fact,  they’re just sitting in a puddle and splashing. Contrition, you move forward. It’s over. You are willing to forego the pleasure of guilt.”

Are you going to go eat worms?

Food for thought. ;)

I am difficult to please.

This is really the problem here. I have always had certain expectations set for me from my father and I expect the same from others. I don’t expect perfection, just better than good enough. And things to be done the way that I do them because I know that I do a good job.

Relinquishing control over others is very difficult and hard to see, especially when whatever they are doing affects me and my life.

This makes me difficult to please unless you know exactly what I want, then there is the anxiety of making sure to please me. I know that I am a mess, I just don’t know where to begin to change it. This is my way of still trying to control the direction things take and the outcome they will have by not deciding when and how to change things. So I feel stuck.

I will begrudgingly make the effort not to control things when I notice I am beginning to do so. I say begrudgingly because I know it will make me feel like I have come unraveled.

And I just purchased this book to help me along the way:

Survey says…

After discovering my husband’s affair, I began to live in that world. I became a living statistic. So of course, if I am going to be a member, I am going to read up and know my business. I wanted to be in the know.

The percentage of married couples who have cheated in their relationships was alarming! I knew that 51% of marriages end in divorce, but I had no idea that so. many. people are cheating on their spouses. I have read differing statistics – everyone has their own way of retrieving that data – but overall it is estimated that around 80% of married couples – both men and women – are cheating or have cheated on their spouse.

80%!!!

Men are more likely to cheat than women (according to the numbers), but women are not far behind. Cheating is defined differently by everyone. Some consider flirting as cheating and some don’t. The numbers for actual physical and emotional cheating are lower, around 50-60%. Still, cheating is cheating. I didn’t marry my husband for him to have a fling with another woman. Our marriage is not an open one.

What’s sad is that even though I was betrayed, reading these articles made me feel somewhat comforted in knowing that I am not the only one…that there are actually a lot of us going through this.

But after learning about the statistics, all I can do now when I am out is look at couples and think, “I bet he/she is cheating, or I bet he has cheated on her. She’s probably doing his friend. I bet that guy with them is her lover on the side.” It’s awful how I sit and judge others. But it makes you wonder. If those numbers are that high, then a big chunk of the people I encounter on a trip out to the store or to a restaurant or wherever are part of these statistics.

I am.

What I hope for is for those numbers to decrease. I hope that I can help encourage couples to learn how to tend to their relationship to help it blossom and thrive. I hope that others can learn from what I have done, and what I did not do. I hope that they can learn how Mike’s choice was horrible and how it has affected us; how difficult and painful it has been to recover from. Yes, we can and will recover from this, but it is certainly not the route anyone should ever take to get there. Having temporary relief (an affair) is never a solution, just a band-aid to cover the real problem.

So this is why I have my blog. This is why I share my story and my journey that follows.

I’m back!!

…and so is she, but we’ll get to that later.

I feel better. I still have my ups and downs about moving…I am just nervous and worried about moving so far away and making it work, but we’ve been able to make everything else work, so I am confident that we will be ok. There will be adjustments to make, but I am embracing this new life for us.

Last week was horrible. As you know, it was my anniversary and that just made me depressed. Then Mike had a job in a location close to and similar to where he had sex with Paula and that triggered me. I have been busy packing. I still have jobs I am doing amidst all of this. Then I saw an ultrasound of my ex’s baby….the baby that will forever remind me of the one I lost as they were due 4 days apart. And I believe that my 18 y/o step-daughter is pregnant because she is marrying the guy she has been with for 2 months at the end of this month. So that will make me a grandmother at 34.

The biggest problem I was facing was wondering if Mike will EVER be emotionally available for me; if he will ever sit down and tell me his thoughts and feelings. I have faith that he will, I just have to give him time. He has never been able to do this appropriately. He didn’t even cry when his father passed away. The only time he willingly shared something with me that made him cry after the affair was when he shared this poem he found with me. This is a poem he found when we were separated:

Without You - by Hermann Hesse
My Pillow gazes upon me at night
Empty as a gravestone;
I never thought it would be so bitter
To be alone,
Not to lie down asleep in your hair.I lie alone in a silent house,
The hanging lamp darkened,
And gently stretch out my hands
To gather in yours,
And softly press my warm mouth
Toward you, and kiss myself, exhausted and weak-
Then suddenly I’m awake
And all around me the cold night grows still.
The star in the window shines clearly-
Where is your blond hair,
Where your sweet mouth?Now I drink pain in every delight
And poison in every wine;
I never knew it would be so bitter
To be alone,
Alone, without you.

He tried to read it to me and couldn’t. He became choked up just thinking about it.
I hope that he begins to try and break through his comfort zone and allow himself to feel his feelings. And I hope that he shares them with me more.

…………………..

Now, who’s back? Paula.

As you know, I check up on her Facebook. I checked the other day and discovered that she left her husband and moved back home. (She had moved about 6 hours away) She is now 30 minutes from where I sit and that thought just makes me sick. I don’t want to be anywhere close to her.

The bad thing is is that it increases the chances of running into her. I know we are moving in 8 days, so I am very thankful for that, but I have two sessions this weekend in her area. I just hope that she doesn’t decide on either day that it is a nice day to go to the park.

Requesting that he divulge details of his affair.

I must admit that I am guilty of this. I am.

In the first few days after D-day, I called and spoke to my husband whenever I had a burning question. It helped to ease my mind from the torment. I thought of all of the worst possible scenarios…details of their affair. Some questions were me requesting his account names and passwords, of course.

My husband denied having sex with his AP in the beginning. Because I could read him like an open book, I continued to press him for the truth by asking details about the affair and catching him whenever there were gaps in his story or when something didn’t make sense. And sometimes I just wanted to know to ease my own curiosity.

One of my best friends warned me about this and said that one of her friends had told her that her one warning to others who were going through the same thing was to NOT ASK FOR DETAILS.

I thought about this, maybe for a day, before deciding that I DID want to know details. I needed to know to put my mind at ease. I needed to know if there were safety risks or if there was a risk of a pregnancy. And I needed to know if he loved her.

I will admit that I asked questions about details that weren’t necessary and have only hurt me. IMO, I think that it is very beneficial to your recovery to ask details…to want to know things that could make or break your decision to repair or move on. To know if he can walk away from her and put every ounce of his life back into your hands. To know if you are willing to forgive.

We were separated for two days before I decided that I wanted to work on things with Mike and in order to work on those things, we needed to be together. We needed to be together to show that our marriage can be mended…to show that we love each other…to show that we can get along and get past the hurt.

It is NOT easy. But pelting your wayward spouse with questions about the dirty details of your affair is pointless. There is nothing of value in the answers. Who cares if he held her leg over his shoulder and drove it deep? Who cares if she could take all of him in her mouth? Who cares if he enjoyed the sex? What does it matter if he got her from behind and she let him shoot it all over her back and in her hair? Really?? How are THOSE things beneficial to your recovery??

If you just want to gauge his response to determine whether or not he really does feel bad about what he did, then you may be setting yourself up to receive the total opposite of the response you hope for. You may find a defensive and irritable spouse who doesn’t understand where you are coming from or what your intentions are. And this will drive him away. This will only lead to an argument and make you more resentful.

Most Betrayed Spouses feel as though they are completely justified in knowing this information.. You are…your spouse should keep nothing from you if you ask for the info. But what are your intentions behind this and what do you hope to accomplish and how will these answers benefit your recovery?

And when any Wayward defends his or her belief that the result of these questions is a setback therefore they should be avoided, then he/she is deemed as someone who is avoiding taking responsibility for their actions and is trying to sweep it all under then rug so that they can skip over the painful details; so that they don’t have to feel bad about what they did. This isn’t true. I once believed it was like a lot of others.

He KNOWS those details! He remembers what he did with her. Yes he fucked her and it was probably fabulous and she probably fulfilled some kind of sexual desire of his that you never have before.

But there is no need to bring that up if you want to heal. Either he will remember the memories and relish or he will cringe. Either way, if he is willing to be with you and he is willing to live an honest and TRANSPARENT life, then make the best of it. Do the work that will lead you back to a healthy, happy and fulfilling relationship. Stop living in the past to try and punish him. Chances are, he already feels guilty for his bad choice. Focus on what went wrong in your relationship that made it vulnerable to an affair and focus on what you are going to do now to improve your relationship. When you revisit all of those details, the guilt will really set in and he will feel bad. You both will. Face it and overcome it.

I wrote a post the other day about asking my husband some questions I had read on another blog. What happened was I asked him something that brought up details I remembered about his affair and his AP. It made me feel bad and I let those feelings come out sideways. We wound up having a bad argument and I slept on the couch.

This is not how I want my recovery to go…I don’t want to be reminded of the dirty details. I don’t want to feel bad about the fact that my husband stepped out on me. I don’t want to argue with my husband.

This is an example of how asking certain questions can cause a setback. Luckily I was able to bounce right back and revisit why those feelings were brought about. I’ve gained enough strength that I will not allow an act of sex and betrayal to get the best of me. To know that I have something so much stronger.

Just like my husband’s affair was a choice, it is a choice for me to steer my relationship the direction I want it to go. It is a choice for me to ask questions and make requests that will result in positive outcomes.

So if you want to drill your husband, then ask these questions:

  • What are some personal issues you plan to address that need improvement for yourself and for our relationship?
  • How will you earn my trust?
  • How can I earn your trust?
  • What are some needs that I need to fulfill? How do I need to do things differently?
  • What sacrifices are you willing to make to prove that you will live a transparent life?
  • How will you show that you have cut off all contact with your AP and will remain away from her?
  • What kind of family activities do you want to participate in to stay more involved? To show that we are your top priority?

And discuss any other changes you may need to make in order to be able to focus on your recovery. Maybe you need to move to another state and away from all triggers/reminders. Maybe you need to find a new position in a different workplace. Maybe you need to decide how to protect your family in case the AP decides to get crazy and come after you.

There are a lot of other things that are vital to making progress in your recovery than knowing what size panties the AP wore.

(And I apologize for the choppy thought processes as I began writing this while cooking, then I came back  to it after eating and with a budding migraine.)

Call it a setback if you want…

I know that anytime I talk about the affair and any of the details, it puts me in a bad mood. And I have every right to feel the way I do. I don’t think that I should just brush over those feelings and push them away with happy-joy feelings because that’s how things SHOULD be. I am a former counselor, so I guess I am always more apt at talking things to death. I have a very analytical way of dealing with feelings and experiences.

It is not an effort in trying to focus on the past, but rather how experiences from the past make me feel today. Maybe my thinking is just very rigid when it comes to this. Maybe that’s why you think I am sitting between decisions. But I need to address when I feel hurt and when I feel angry and when I don’t feel like I want my husband’s slimy hands anywhere near me.

So last night when I stayed on my computer instead of sitting on the couch with him as I have been doing, he asked where I was. Then when I did go and sit on the couch, I didn’t stretch my legs across him as I normally do. He asked if I wanted to and I said no. Then he had to ask why. Maybe he should have just taken it as it was and left it alone. So I told him that I am having a hard time and didn’t want to be close to him.

Of course, this upset him and he felt like the comments on my blog made me that way. I tried to be general, but he kept pressing so then it became heated. I told him if I talked to him about it that it’ll be considered a setback and that I am just trying to punish him, so I’ll just hold it in until I implode. I mean, that’s healthy, right?

I read my journal entry that I vowed to read when things got tough. I agree with it, but I still feel angry when I feel like I am being told to suck it up and deal with it.