"We're not broken, just bent. We can learn to love again."
First thing I can tell you, you will get a lot of advice here. Not all of it will be good, but most of it is sound advice by people who've walked where you're trying to walk to now. Take what you need, and leave the rest.
I want you to stop using terminology like "he's fallen into a trap" or "he's fallen into her bed". He didn't "fall" into anything, he had an affair. Saying things like "he's fallen" tends to take the responsibility away from his actions and makes him sound like a victim in this, and he's not a victim. Mental health issues or not, unless she raped him, he's not a victim. We all have childhood damage (commonly referred to as "FOO" here, or family of origin), but we all didn't cheat on our spouse.
As a physician, I am sure you are aware of how incredibly important it is to get tested for STD's. Both him AND you. Safe sex is a myth, condoms don't keep everything out no matter how many you use.
I also want to tell you that, going by the numbers, the chance that you know everything is really very slim. I've been on here for over 5 years and have read thousands of stories, and them majority of people experience trickle truth, or TT. This is where you get a little bit of information now, then in a few days/weeks/months you get more information that was kept from you, wash rinse repeat. There really is no way for you to know that this was his first affair, even if he told his affair partner, or AP, that it was. My H told each of his AP's a totally different story in hopes that it would help them feel better about sleeping with a married man, and of course none of the stories he told any of them were true. He told some it was his first affair, some that it was his 2nd affair, and others he told he was single.
There are stages in dealing with this, even for people who are healers like yourself. Things will get better, then worse, then better, then way worse, and so on. It's called a roller coaster for a reason. Hang on!
Your husbands affair is NOT your fault. There is nothing you could have done to stop it, nor is there anything you did to cause it. He has poor coping methods and chose to have an affair rather than deal with his issues, much like alcoholics turn to alcohol to "fix" their issues rather than dealing with them the right way.
Take care of yourself, eat when you can, drink when you can, and get as much sleep as you can manage. Take care of your kiddos and know that this is a marathon, not a sprint, and it's going to take a while to get through all this muck. You CAN do it, I have done it. It took me 2 1/2 years to forgive my H and he did just about everything right from the very beginning, and I am NOT a forgiving person. So it is possible. He has a long road ahead of him as well.
Itdoesgetbetter offered you GREAT advice. It gives me hope that I too can forgive and move forward. We are both "new" to the betrayal and this has NOT been easy. My roller coaster dipped so low last night I drank an entire bottle of wine (I'm not a drinker) and then threw up for 2 hours. I just wanted the pain to stop.
You need to get real, and only accept honesty from him. Your B.S. meter will tell you, let it guide you. I do have days that are a little easier (I'm on day 14) but then BAM, it's happening all over again. I'm trying to find a good MC and somebody that can not only put my hair out (it's on fire) but also dig deep and get both our childhood traumas out.
So my advice to you is to get into therapy ASAP. Go alone or as a couple, but go! It's okay to vent, let it out. You're still in shock, the anger is be something you've never experienced before. That's okay, this is normal. You did NOTHING wrong. Stay strong, we're all here for you.
"Every decision you make indicates what you believe you are worth.
I ran my first marathon just 2 weeks after DDAY.....lost 14 lbs in those 2 weeks and the marathon almost killed me cause I had nothing in the tank.....so if that was your meaning behind it....your are so right....the pain from running that thing on zero glycogen stores was pale in comparison to the pain I was feeling the weeks prior...wasn't even freaking close.....I could of run a 50K up mount ranier and it still wouldnt be close
[This message edited by Long Gone at 9:46 AM, September 16th (Monday)]
His behavior is not your fault...in any way. He needs to own that. He sounds like he needs deep therapy.....my fww was much like he was....in many ways....
Some of the words in your post struck me. That he had "fallen into a trap" and "fallen into her bed." You also speak of his illness with great care, but also seem to blame yourself for not being around.
He did not fall into anything. Regardless of his mental health issues, unless they are so incredible severe, he made a choice here. He was not trapped. He did not fall. You may just be using figures of speech, but just don't. In order to reconcile, since that seems to be what you want, he needs to own his choices - without excuses or mitigations - and you need to hold him responsible for those. Really, that is a critical step for reconciliation. Empathy has its place, but accountability does, too.
I wish you the best.
Maybe I'm way downplaying his health issues. But if he was responsible enough to have children in his care, then he is responsible enough to stand up for himself - to you, to the OW, to everyone.
I'm only sharing all of this because I allowed myself to think in the early days that I was "too controlling," that I wasn't vulnerable enough to him, that I didn't allow him to play a leadership role. I believed that was a big factor in why he chose to have an A. But then I woke up and said to myself, "If he wanted to be a leader, he could have. If he wanted me to show more vulnerability, he could have asked." Affairs don't happen because of fertile ground, as you say - they happen because the cheater didn't want to take responsibiity for themselves.
I am so very glad he is being kind to you. If it is genuine, then that is a fantastic first step.
Hang in, Marathon.
Is there a friend for family member with whom you can lean onto for support or distraction?
When you leave your workplace head to your favorite coffee place .. Indulge in a yummy drink and time to yourself while listening to soothing background music..Buy yourself that pretty something that your were admiring for the longest time..Do anything you can to be kind to yourself and feel special..
After suffering a betrayal of this kind, you will need to process and heal from the grief, anger, and resentment of being lied to and betrayed by your WH...
Your WH will need to acknowledge that time/space and attention needs to be given to YOU as the one who is hurting..
You may need to detach from him long enough to regain your equilibrium before you can begin to focus on the marriage..
IMHO this individual healing has to happen before you can even BEGIN to work on the issues of the marriage..Don't allow his cheating to be rug swept..
In my case this healing didn't happen because my WH was incapable of remorse..WH didn't want to fix what he broke..He thought that the problem was me and that I drove him to cheat..WH and I will eventually D..
I resent WH! I want to strangle him every time I look at him...KWIM?
[This message edited by Marathonwaseasy at 11:16 PM, September 18th (Wednesday)]
If she continues to harrass you,tell her you will file a restraining order and then do it if she continues. These AP are not dealing with a full deck at the moment either, so you must protect yourself and your family. Do not listen to him tell you he feels sorry for her, too bad. If she were a decent person she would have never gotten involved with a married man in the first place. Out her to her WH. You do not know for sure he is gay and even if he is he may still not want his wife out ruining other families.
Cheaters lie, AP's lie. Hell my WH went as far as to say the OW had cancer and he felt sorry for her. Some of them claim to be pregnant. You never know what kind of lie they will use next. Do not fall for it. Do not continue to protect him, he is not an invalid. If he has mental illness, he needs to address it. You can not continue to rug sweep this for him at your own expense. He did this and now he has to man up and take the consequences for his poor choices and you have to let him do that. (((HUGS)))
What do you need from him? NC, transparency, IC, MC...etc. Perhaps you need to make that list.
What do you need for yourself? You have a lot of work ahead of you, not only addressing the issue of the A, but the illness and the disfucntion of your marriage.
If you are BOTH willing to put in the work, Reconcillation is still an option. But you have to stop emasculating him, stop mothering him and make him stand on his own two feet and take responsiblity for his own life and actions.
I don't think recognizing the factors that lead to the breakdown of your marriage is protecting him, it is owning the issues, however he made the choice to have an A rather than speak to you, he has to own that.
You already know what you have to about the OW, block her completely and let her know further commuinciation is unwanted and will result in police/legal action.
It won't be an easy road but if you are willing to do the work, it is possible.
[This message edited by ninebark at 8:50 AM, September 19th (Thursday)]