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Long Term Affairs Part 38

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Svon posted 11/16/2018 15:49 PM

Butterflybeauty, my husband stayed out of fear. He STRAYED to begin with because he was depressed and had no self esteem. She was an escape a fictional life where he had his own little cheer leader who tells him how great he is, adores him, wants him, finds him desirable. Who wouldnít love an escape like that? Oh, I know, anyone with morals and boundaries, which is something no cheater has. He describes it as never feeling real and knowing it would end someday. She was literally a drug that got him high in the beginning. But, then he couldnít stop because of the painful withdrawals. The withdrawals are what we have been living since D Day. My pain, the kids pain, his shame... all what he was too cowardly to confront years ago. He honestly says ďshe could have been anyoneĒ. He craved someone, anyone in need of a hero. And wouldnít ya know, a 400 (literally) pound woman pretending to be my friend was desperate and lonely too.... I have heard a theory as to why more men cheat than woman. Some experts feel itís because many men do not form close bonds of friendship where they can pour their hearts out. They donít have a friend to cry about life with. Menís friendships usually arenít that deep. Society encourages men to be tough, Stoic.... NOT VULNERABLE., so when facing painful human emotions, sometimes sex and or another woman fills the void or pain they are experiencing. Oh, if they could just turn to a friend iot even a crazier thought, their wives this site would not exist. That is the one thing my husband has learned in therapy. He needs to be vulnerable and brave enough to share his feelings.

CaliforniaNative posted 11/16/2018 17:56 PM

Butterflybeauty Its about compartmentalizing the affair.

Itís much more characteristic of men. Most women believe that if you love your partner, you wouldnít even be in an affair; therefore, if someone has an affair, it means that they didnít love their partner and they do love the person that they had the affair with. But there are many men who do love their partners, who enjoy good sex at home, who nevertheless never turn down an opportunity for extramarital sex.

LTA Affairs for us really arenít about sex; theyíre about betrayal. Imagine if you were married to somebody very patriotic and then found out your partner is a Russian spy. Someone having a long-term affair is leading a double life. Then you find out all that was going on in your partnerís life that you knew nothing about: Gifts that were exchanged, Texts that were sent (sometimes in front of you) trips you thought were taken for a specific reason were actually taken to meet the affair partner.

For LTAs, To find out about all the intrigue and deception that occurred while you were operating under a different assumption is totally shattering and disorienting. Thatís why people then have to get out their calendars and go back over the dates to put all the missing pieces together: when you were going to the store that night and you took three hours were you really shopping? It will make you crazy.

[This message edited by CaliforniaNative at 6:01 PM, November 16th (Friday)]

Svon posted 11/16/2018 18:50 PM

Butterflybeauty, take all this advice with a grain of salt. Only you know your situation. We all have different ones. Much of what Californianative experienced is nothing like what I have experienced, felt, nor was her ex husbandís affair similar to my husbandís LTA. We all have a different story and healing journey. Fund yours and your peace. Often this site can be helpful while other times it can cause more pain and fear. Take what you agree with and ignore the rest.

hopeandhealing posted 11/16/2018 19:06 PM

Butterflybeauty

what's the point in risking all the things you say you love and value for something that means nothing??

A simple cost benefit analysis clearly demonstrates the costs are too high for a WS to engage in that behaviour. So how is it possible? I think a number of factors are at play. The first of which is the degree of self serving behaviours our WS possess. Putting themselves first at all costs.

I believe there is zero to very little consideration actually given to the consequences. They are all just "potential" risks in their minds and they just won't get caught. They are master compartmentalizers. I am not saying all cheaters are narcissists, they simply aren't (though some do fit the diagnostic criteria), but they certainly have narcissistic traits/tendencies.

My WH cheated to have more sex than what he was getting at home, period. He risked it all including my health with zero intention of leaving us for them ever and he was upfront with all of them about it. Wish he had been upfront with me about his perceived "need". His goal was to orgasm and leave. Super classy. For him, he didn't need the ego kibbles or relationship niceties, he has said all his emotional needs were met at home. I equate his APs to free prostitutes.

All cheaters are incredibly selfish in their decision making about the A...the irony is, in my experience, this is not my WH in other areas of his life. They don't really look much beyond what they perceive they are lacking/deserve. They justify their actions to support their delusions. We (BS) are not selfish (or not that selfish), possess boundaries and likely have healthy ways of fulfilling any perceived voids we may have or at the least, the communication skills to articulate what we are missing and find healthy ways to fulfill it.

There is zero point in risking it...but they don't see that until the shoe drops and the reality of the risk hits them.

[This message edited by hopeandhealing at 7:07 PM, November 16th (Friday)]

hopeandhealing posted 11/16/2018 19:16 PM

I agree with Svon in the take what you can and leave the rest.

All of our WS As and healing from the shit sandwich is different and that is totally ok. There is no right or wrong. We all have our different lines in the sand. I know there are many on this site who read my story and thought "that Hope is crazy for staying with her WH after 4 As, she's gonna get what's coming to her. He's a serial cheater, they never change". I get it, I get the risks, but I also I see what I have before me.

The reality is, only you know what you have before you, what your line in the sand is, what you need to heal, how you need to move forward. Understanding Wayward behaviour is not an easy thing to do if you are not that wired that way and frankly, I am grateful I am not. I have given up trying to "understand it" beyond what I know now and am just trying to move to an acceptance phase, looking at it in the rear view mirror and basing my decisions on the here and now.

I wish you healing and peace.

Svon posted 11/16/2018 19:19 PM

Hopeandhealing, as usual you have a gift with words. Bottom line is most men.. mine definitely, never thought of the consequence because he never dreamt he would get caught. And for years he didnít. Once my husband got his head out of his ass he was ďstuckĒ with a monkey on his back that was jealous as hell and could talk, threaten etc. he would have been better off with a prostitute. As I said, all cheaters are different and all affairs are different. I am beginning to see that all healing timelines are different too. I read a quote from an interview with Esther Pearl ( great books, by the way). When she was asked how many marriages survive and how long healing takes she responded ď it depends on the foundation of the marriage. I have seen couples divorce after a ONS and seen others back bounce back from a 8 year affair in six months.Ē

CaliforniaNative posted 11/16/2018 21:40 PM

Svon please donít comment on my LTA as you know little about it. My husband lied, cheated, led a double life and I divorced him. Successfully. Now I am trying to work on a friendship with him for a solid coparenting relationship. End of story. Thank you.

hopeandhealing posted 11/17/2018 01:39 AM

CaliforniaNative,

LTA Affairs for us really arenít about sex; theyíre about betrayal. Imagine if you were married to somebody very patriotic and then found out your partner is a Russian spy. Someone having a long-term affair is leading a double life. Then you find out all that was going on in your partnerís life that you knew nothing about: Gifts that were exchanged, Texts that were sent (sometimes in front of you) trips you thought were taken for a specific reason were actually taken to meet the affair partner.

I am really struggling with this generalization of LTAs as you have described, so am opening it up to some dialogue/discussion, as it does not fit with my experience. Maybe my WH LTAs are different than many, I don't know. I suspect what you wrote might represent your experience and thus be your frame of reference, but to generalize LTAs overall as a being as you have described I think pigeon holes them to one specific thing, which they are not.

My WH's LTAs had everything to do with sex and that was it. Obviously inherent in there was betrayal and lies, but there was no "second life". He got laid an extra one to two times a week, sometimes it was zero. Full stop. Gave between 0 and two hours max a week of his time to these woman. They signed up for it, they knew that's all it was. I didn't have anyone of them trying to blow up his world or threatening to do that. NSA sex, period. There was not daily texting, just texts to arrange the next hook up. No gifts were exchanged, no money spent and no trips being taken under the guise of anything else.

Upon reflection, I think the reason I struggle with your statement is because it suggests my history as a BS, at least for the time the LTA was active, is not real, that parts of it were not authentic, as they were under the guise of this double life. That simply isn't true, not for me. My history and all my memories are mine and I cherish them. My WH's cheating will not dampen or diminish special events in my life for which he was present, but had one of his four masturbation aides/free prostitutes on the side. He was present, fully engaged in those moments and didn't want to be anywhere else. The narrative suggested just doesn't fit for my experience, nor I suspect all LTAs.

My WH cut it off with them one day and it was over, their was no "fog" or missing them, though I am sure he missed the extra sex. He wasn't looking for a replacement wife/partner or really even for ego kibbles. His behaviour towards me and his kids didn't change during his As. He didn't treat us poorly at all. There was nothing overt behaviourally to "miss" as an indicator of his betrayal. He is a master compartmentalizer and a master liar, all nurtured and trained by his occupation, unfortunately (no excuse, just reality of the job)

I can appreciate everyone's experience is different, no two people are alike, not two As are exactly the same. That's why really, we can only speak to our perspective and be open to that being very different for other people. I pass no judgement on those who like yourself chose to D, as I would expect no judgement for those like myself, who chose to R, even after 4 LTAs. We are all just doing the best we can given the load of crap shovelled to our doorstep. At the end of the day, we make the best choices we can and live with the consequences thereof.

I hope you continue to find your happiness and continue to successfully establish the friendly coparenting scenario you seek.

[This message edited by hopeandhealing at 1:47 AM, November 17th (Saturday)]

Svon posted 11/17/2018 08:52 AM

Californianative, I am sorry you thought I commented on your husbandís LTA, but in reality I only made reference to the fact that all affairs are different and That what you described your husbandís affair to be was nothing like my husbandís. I encourage you to reread my post. You are right, I know little about your situation except for what you have shared and I pointed out that it is quite different than my story. We need to be careful when supporting others. Itís too easy and sometimes tempting to make our situations or cheating spouses just like everyone elseís. Oddly, I think many BS find comfort in thinking that all affairs and cheaters are the same. Maybe it gives them peace in their decisions. I donít know, but I thought it important to leg Butterflybeauty know that no one situation mirrors that of another. I have read posts from you where you have challenged others for staying especially after multiple D days. I donít think challenging anyoneís choices is especially helpful to anyone. I would certainly never question your choice to divorce. It was clearly right for you. We all have different emotionall needs, desires, and wants from life as well as different spouses. Letís respect those differences and support each othersí rocky journies through life and itís pain.

Hopeandhealing, I wish I had your gift of writing! Itís always so eloquent and usually mirrors my feelings exactly.

Butterflybeauty, I hope you are having a better day. I know you have heard this before, but time does help. Imagine a life with less pain a year from now and try to imagine what that life would look like. Would you be married? Divorced? Dating? Etc.... because time will lessen the pain regardless of your choice. At least that is my experience and what I have been promised by many therapists. We will all survive!

CaliforniaNative posted 11/17/2018 09:38 AM

Svon,

Svon please do not post to me again. You comments judging my support are not helpful to me and my situation. Save your time and effort to those you can help. I am only referencing comments about me. I will not ask again.

I have a different opinion about LTAs then you do. When differences of opinion occur, it is all too easy to just sit back and assume that the other person is wrong. Letís agree to disagree.

Thank you.

[This message edited by CaliforniaNative at 9:53 AM, November 17th (Saturday)]

Svon posted 11/17/2018 09:45 AM

Californianative, I am confused as I did not post to you originally. I posted to Butterflybeauty. My only post to you was a reply to your post to me so there is no need to ask me again. I am sorry that my efforts to support Butterflybeauty did not help you, but my intention was always to support her and offer her my perspective and my experience. Itís what this site is intended to do. God bless us all and may we all continue to find our own peace and happiness! We all have it within ourlseves to create the life we want and to choose happiness despite the pain thrown our way!

northeasternarea posted 11/17/2018 13:35 PM

Californianative, it may not be your intent, but you come off as very judgemental toward those of us who donít follow your path and divorce the WS.

CaliforniaNative posted 11/17/2018 13:47 PM

North,

Nothing is more devastating than discovering that your purportedly faithful partner hadóor is having--an affair. The fact that your WS has lied to you (whether in words or in silence) adds unspeakable pain to the sexual betrayal.

If the affair was ongoing, itís normal for the BS to feel enraged, depressed, crazy, disoriented, obsessed with details of the affair, and convinced that nothing will be ever be normal again.

But as catastrophic as an affair can be, I do not automatically think everyone should make it a deal-breaker. If you have kids, and need the financial support, you might try to work it out.

Give The WS a chance to make reparations and earn back your trust over time. Give yourself and the relationship the opportunity to heal and grow stronger. This is slow and arduous work, no question. But if both of you are committed to healing, your marriage is worth the effort.

HOWEVER, if WS doesnít prove themselves then yes.....fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me. I am also big advocate for the golden rule. My X doesnít feel the same way....heís proven that.

Speaking of golden rules - I am off to help fire victims N of Malibu. Being a fire survivor myself I have first hand knowledge of that trauma too. Have a good day!

[This message edited by CaliforniaNative at 1:51 PM, November 17th (Saturday)]

WantaFuture posted 11/17/2018 23:34 PM

Soon, your words about the affair being a part of your story touched me. I sometimes cannot believe that my WS hid her "friendship" with her high school BF from me for so many years. This is now my story of marriage. It is heartbreaking to think about. This will be my first Thanksgiving since DDay and I have to watch the Thanksgiving Parade with my kids knowing that my WS emailed OM while we watched it as a family 3 years ago. Yup, this is now a part of my marriage story.

SI Staff posted 11/18/2018 00:27 AM

Letís get back to supporting each other instead of critiquing membersí replies. If you have advice to offer, do it without diminishing othersí contributions. Take what you need and leave the rest. What doesnít work for one may be beneficial to another.

Thank you.

hopeandhealing posted 11/18/2018 10:03 AM

WantaFuture,

You are absolutely right, the A being part of your life story now is true, as it is for all of us here. I see you registration date is Oct, so I am assuming, perhaps incorrectly, that you recently discovered your wife's A. I suspect it feels completely surreal and that your life has been a lie, I know that's how it felt for me, especially in the beginning.

What helped me over time was to change my narrative around the power I was giving my WS As and remind myself that that what he had with his APs was fantasy, not real life. At the end of the day, he was "choosing" (albeit clearly not every moment of every day) to be with me, with his family.

At first I wanted to take all the pictures down, didn't wear my wedding ring, everything was a trigger. I would look at a family photo or the kids' scrapbooks and quickly go through the mind math to figure out with whom else he was sleeping at the time the photo was taken. If nobody, I felt relief, if he was active in an A when the photo was taken, the memory was instantly diminished/tarnished and I became upset at the loss again. This happened a lot.

With time, I shifted my thinking to no way, this is my life story and it was very real to me. The story which wasn't real, was my WH's and that is his to reconcile, process and accept. My integrity is intact, my truths known, my history mine and mine alone. HE chose to change what his story was and by virtue, obviously change mine as well, but I refuse to let it steal my memories of happy times. The births of my kids? Nope, those were the greatest days of my life and I will be damned if I let his selfish decisions change my story.

Hope that helps give a glimmer of hope that things really do get better with time and a remorseful spouse.

Wishing you healing.

PurpleHaze posted 11/18/2018 20:46 PM

I don't post much anymore as I am spending a lot of time working on myself. I do read often. My H's affair was at least 16 or more years with an ex gf/body buddy. They got together for sex in between partners. My H and I married and she married and apparently was not happy with her sexual situation in her marriage and my H and her started an affair that went on for years. Ironically, they were not able to get together often for sex. They began talking again in about 2000, started sex in 2003-2006. Continued emailing, sexting and texting and got together in 2013 and 2016. She came to our town in 2017, rented a lovely room and my H didn't go to her but instead of breaking it off, lied to her and said he was moving our daughter. She got upset and broke a rule, she texted him on a Monday evening, they always texted/sexted during work hours. I found the sext and the rest is history. I have entered year two and still am a fence rider, I have many reasons for this and most are smart. What I have learned about LTA's is that they are devastating. They take down the strongest as well as the weakest. The effects of the betrayal, I do not believe ever go away for the BS, it is as if we have lived a lie for years but didn't know it. I have seen healed marriages as well as broken ones after this. I believe, there is not much that can happen in your life that will create the pain of an LTA, it is pure hell. I have seen many BS's have huge health issues, myself included. It breaks us until we rise up again and realize we never deserved such a betrayal, such devastation, such pain. It is a subject that is taboo, an LTA is unacceptable for so many. For those of us that try and work it out, we are looked down on by some and unsupported by many. If we divorce, there is often judgement, why did our partner choose to cheat for years, what was wrong with us. The truth is, it really had nothing to do with us but a lot to do with our partners and that is why working on ourselves is so important, we chose people who hurt us for a long time. My dday was July 2017 with TT until May 2018. This is the most painful, heartbreaking, horrible thing I have been through in 59 years. Everyday I work on myself, on my future. I do yoga, meditate, read, do IC and have come to realize that I am worth so much more than how I have been treated. That burden lies on the shoulders of my WH. While I was half of the marriage, without honesty I never really had a chance. Good marriages require honesty, encouragement and at times selflessness. I am still married but not committed to forever. I watch and see if my H can redeem himself enough for me to stay. I also live for myself now, I am my priority. I am lucky as my children are raised and have children of their own, it stunned me how much this hurt them. Each and everyone of us is here because we are hurt, trying to be better, trying to change and yep, some are just complete assholes who have not nor will never get it, they will have to live with their choices. The best part of SI is that it is support for all. I stay out of forums that trigger me. LTA's to me is one of the hardest threads on SI. It is so much pain to know you were cheated on for years. I hope we can hold each other up and support one another. Whatever choice we make, R or D, will hopefully be the best for ourselves. There are some like me who just are not sure yet and that is ok too, we have been literally put through fire and it takes a while to heal from flames both physically and mentally. We are all trying to do the best after a pain that often feels unbearable. To anyone on this thread, I wish you the best, I so get the pain. To newcomers, check out everything on this site and look further to other things that can help you move towards the life you deserve. There are books and even videos to help you along this path. I would not wish this on anyone. I am so grateful to have found SI as it has helped me.

[This message edited by PurpleHaze at 9:02 PM, November 18th, 2018 (Sunday)]

Svon posted 11/18/2018 21:38 PM

PurpleHaze, well written. I am sorry you are struggling so much this far out. The pain can be intense for sure. I like to change the narrative a bit and consider what LTAís arenít. They clearly arenít love affairs or our spouses would be gone. They arenít intense and passionate or they would have been discovered much earlier. Our spouses, unlike other affairs never considered leaving. Donít get me wrong, itís still hurts like hell, but I have read stories of shorter flings where the WS leaves for the AP or is in a ďloveĒ fog. Some have a child. I guess what I am saying is the length of LtAís Make it more painful, but in my opinion, other things could be equally or even more painful. It sounds like your husband spent very little time with his AP. Would it hurt less if he was in a 6 month affair where they had sex 4 times a week? Or a year and hooked up each week? Betrayal is betrayal and it sucks. I know thinking of my WSís affair for what it was and what it wasnít has helped in my healing. I hope you find peace! Sounds like you are doing a great job taking care of you! I hope your healing journey continues! I hope all of ours do! I refuse to let this pain in forever. It is already fading 6 months out. We didnít choose this shit sandwich, but we can choose to let it go and let happiness in, alone or married! Peace to us all!

PurpleHaze posted 11/18/2018 22:06 PM

Svon, thank you for your response. I agree, every affair is painful. I texted with the AP for a bit over a month after dday and actually found her to be quite vapid, self centered and devoid of emotion. She told me "get over it, it was mostly about sex but we were good friends". In the next sentence she said that if I told her H that I would be responsible for ruining a great marriage. In that moment I knew who and what she was. I honestly do not know if it would hurt less if it was a 6 month intense affair. The fact that she was an ex gf and that it went on for so many years is very painful. While they were not able to get together sexually that often, they did sext, talk and text which took away so much as my H worked out of town and never texted me. I am learning to care for myself and he needs to take care of himself. I know that each and every affair is painful and changes us. My goal is to heal myself and enjoy the rest of my life. I was in shock for several months and then quite ill after dday so my reactions are a bit delayed. I am working hard on my own healing. I have much to be grateful for and I am. I dance everyday just because it feels great! I also sing. I don't know how my marriage will play out but I do know that if I stay, my husband is a lucky man. I don't mean I am perfect, far from it but at least I am honest about that. You have always had a great attitude and been so kind. I wish you the best everyday. Yes, it is a shit sandwich and sometimes we choke and sometimes we swallow. The gift is to walk through and come out the other side a better person.

hopeandhealing posted 11/18/2018 23:19 PM

Purple, so nice to hear from you! I have been wondering how you have been doing. I am glad you continue to work on you, healing your being and nourishing your soul through your dance, singing etc.

You are right, your WH is very lucky to still have you extending the grace of being together. I hope he recognizes the gift and shows you through his actions that he is deserving of it.

You are so worthy of finding your happiness, whether that is with our without him. My IC told me early on that one day, I would know if I was going to offer R or go down the path of D. She said there was no rush to get off the fence, that I needed time to gather the evidence to help me make an informed decision. I thought she was crazy and longed for this magical day to come where I "knew". A year and a bit out, I don't think it was a "one day" event, but I can certainly say, the legs have swung and I am sliding down the the R side on a fairly consistent basis. I am allowing myself to be more vulnerable with him, the protective walls are coming down because he has shown me he is worthy of that gift. You will know when your "day" comes. You will reflect and say, this is what happiness is to me, this is what I want more than.... I believe this to be true.

Svon,

I found myself nodding with your reframe of thinking of what a LTA is not, especially the part where they could leave for the AP. Of course any WS could leave their spouse for the AP, but with an LTA, there is more than ample opportunity to do so...they didn't They didn't want to lose what they had, they just wanted their cake too. Damn cake eaters.

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