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Coming out of the darkness

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Midlyfewife posted 6/11/2020 23:46 PM

Sorry in advance for the long post. First time here so this is going to be a long one. I am a 48 year old female married 20 years with 2 children, ages 18 and 17. In 2014 I befriended a male co worker, who is also married.We shared a few of the same interests; jogging, football and of course our work. We began texting each other in the morning to see how the day might go- were going to go for a walk or jog at lunch. General conversation. From there it went to exchanging messages after work through a trivia gaming app. As we started to talk and exchange messages more, conversations took on a flirtatious tone.

In 2015 he expressed that he found me attractive and was having fantasies about me. We initially agreed the flirting was as far as it would go. That lasted a few weeks and then turned in to sending pictures to each other, typically after a work out while changing back in to work clothes. One afternoon after a work out that all changed. When we finished the work out he grabbed me from behind and it went from there. We were all over each other, and it ended with me pleasuring him. This was the beginning of an affair that spanned four and a half years.

After the first year, he decided it needed to end and he told his wife about the affair. He said this could never happen again, to which I agreed. But I didnít tell my spouse about it and decided I didnít need to since it had ended. At least I thought it had. After taking a ďbreakĒ from the affair for about a year, he came back. Said he missed me and couldnít stay away. After resisting for a few months, I gave in and we picked up where we left off, sneaking around to meet up and back to sexting. We continued on and off this way until my husband found out last year in March.

My husband had started asking more questions and hinted that he suspected something. When he confronted me with it I sat May, I did myself no favors and admitted to one sexual incident and the sexting. I told him what I thought he knew. He accepted that story for about 10 months. This April, he called the OBS. She was all too happy to share her story. She told my husband I had initiated the affair and even chased her husband off to a different location( still with the same company).

As to be expected my husband was devastated. How could I carry on with another man for 4.5 years? Why did I not tell him the truth? Honestly I never thought he would find out, stupid right? I also thought I was protecting him. The only thing I have succeeded in is putting my poor husband and family in a state of devastation and shock and given my husband reason to question everything I say.

Being the loving man he is, my husband is trying to help me figure out what was broken or missing in me. We both believe that CSA has contributed to the affair, but is not entirely to blame. We are working towards reconciliation and taking one day at a time. We sent a NC letter to the AP and have begun MC. Due to the pandemic we are having a hard time finding individual counseling.

We have purchased a few books and I have provided him with a time line of the affair, in addition to writing him an apology letter. We have written a list of conditions to consider. As we are not in IC we have been getting to a secluded spot by the lake once a week to have lunch and talk about the affair as I try to help him understand the how and why and maybe begin to heal.

Owl6118 posted 6/12/2020 03:45 AM

Welcome. Your post is not too long, a four year affair and a year since first Dday is a lot of ground to cover.

So, here you are, and here your husband is.

The question now is, what do you want? What would you like our help with today?

[This message edited by Owl6118 at 4:30 AM, June 12th (Friday)]

Lucky77 posted 6/12/2020 08:53 AM

Midlyfewife

Our stories are similar. Workplace infidelity. LTA. Fluctuating times of the A being on or off. Knowing it was wrong but caught up in the excitement of the whole thing. You could feel the AP pulsing in your veins. Like a drug. And you always needed a fix. Yep, been there.

Did you exchange ILY's?

I'm still shocked by my actions. A death by a thousand cuts. So many incremental transgressions. Flirty texts. Flirty pics. Soooo naughty. In a quiet alone moment you might admit you miss AP. So conflicting. The father of your children is a good man, very likely. How could you risk throwing all that to the wind?

We're both adulterers now and will be for life. I feel like I carry permanent wound because of mine. I feel it like a box cutter across my chest and a huge scar left behind.

Welcome. Sit for a while. Read from the Healing Library. I enjoyed the writings of "Deal Peggy" when I was where you are. You are not alone, though you feel it. This path is so well worn by others.

What is CSA?
Above all else......please be sure you are NC. It is soo tempting to reach out.

Midlyfewife posted 6/12/2020 10:30 AM

Thank you owl. I arrived at my husbands urging as he has found a great deal of support here. To answer your question,I am hoping to rebuild my marriage. What I would most like help with is how to help him heal and regain his trust.

MrCleanSlate posted 6/12/2020 10:39 AM

Midlyfewife,

There is a lot of really well meaning people here to offer advice and help you out, but be prepared for some real hard mirror gazing and some tough love from members.

Start off with going to the first pinned post at the top of Wayward Side forum - It really does give a lot of good pointers on where to start.

One thing I noticed in your first post was you seemed to put a lot of responsibility/initiative onto your AP. You need to stop and analyze that and really learn how to own your actions. If you want to have a hope of R you need to figure out what led you to have an A in the first place.

BTW - almost 5 years out form D-Day and my BW has 'conditional' trust. That is something I need to work on daily. It is a marathon.

[This message edited by MrCleanSlate at 10:42 AM, June 12th (Friday)]

Midlyfewife posted 6/12/2020 10:49 AM

Thank you Lucky.
CSA is child sexual abuse. The NC is still strictly in place. I have not spoken directly to the AP since DDAY 2. I did pass him in the hallway on Wednesday., as he had to come in to the office briefly. I did not even look at him and definitely did not speak to him. I texted my husband as soon as I saw him and immediately after he left. This was extremely torturous for my husband.

We never exchanged ILYís. While the affair lasted that long, love never came up. I didnít love him and I am positive he did not love me. We both got caught up in the thrill.

Once my husband discovered the affair, it was easy to end it. The hard part is still trying to answer my husbands questions. Details are often easier to give than to help him understand. Sometimes I am not even sure how it happened.

Owl6118 posted 6/12/2020 10:51 AM

OK, I understand.

The rub is, both of those may be beyond your control. It's a trusim here that your husband has to heal himself.

There are things you can do to support his healing, like, be unflinchingly honest, vulnerable, and non-defensive in answering his questions (unfortunately you put yourself in a bigger hole on that front by your choices to continue to lie to him after D Day 1, but it is what it is).

But even those things which may be hard for you, like being wholly honest with him or being emotionally vulnerable, cannot heal him. The hard work of his healing only he can do.

And, it is a possibility you have to accept that his road of healing may not include remaining married to you. Affairs are an extinction-level event for marriages. He may not feel rebuilding is his road to his best healing and best life.

Let me therefore suggest a different question for you to work on, an alternative to "how do I help him heal?"

My question for you would be this: Who do you, today, want to be? What kind of person do you want to become? What are your values, and what values do you want future you to embody?

Then, we can talk about where you are, and what work is to be done to get to being the person you want to be.

Because you need to decide who you are going to be, and how you are going to get there, before he can begin to decide about marriage to you and his place in it.

If you don't know who you want to become, with or without him, how can he know whether that person is someone he wants to be with? If you don't know who you want to become, how can he evaluate whether you are willing to do the work to become that person, and if you are making progress?

So, who does Midlyfewife want to be?

MrCleanSlate posted 6/12/2020 11:10 AM

You still work at the same company as your AP???

I can tell you that no healing will be possible for your BH or even you if that doesn't change.

Just think about it - everyday you go to work and your BH knows there is a possibility that you will see or talk to AP.....My BW got triggered when I'd show her a random text or email that my AP persisted in sending me after I broke things off.

Midlyfewife posted 6/12/2020 11:33 AM

MrCleanSlate
I am most grateful for all of the replies and outpouring of support. I have already received a great deal of helpful advice.

Thanks for pointing out that I seem to be blame shifting. As for what led me to the A, I would say that I suffer from low self esteem. I also convinced myself my husband no longer cared about the state of the marriage. That as long as we were married it was good.

What I am struggling the most with is explaining to my husband how you can engage in a long term A and still love your spouse. R is what I want and what he seems to want as well, but he is understandably cautious.

thatwilldo posted 6/12/2020 12:28 PM

Hi, Midlyfewife. WW here. You said:

What I am struggling the most with is explaining to my husband how you can engage in a long term A and still love your spouse.

In my opinion, you don't love your husband when you are engaged in an affair with another man. You were using your husband and children to show a face of legitimacy to the world. They made you feel like you were basically a good person. That's the way it was for me, anyway. It has been so hard for me to admit that I didn't love those to whom I was lying.

Do you think you need to reconsider your love and treatment of him? It's so hard to admit what monsters we've become.

Midlyfewife posted 6/12/2020 14:39 PM

Owl
I did put myself in a huge hole by not being honest upfront. I am honest with him now and try not to get defensive. We try to take breaks when conversations are too heated or are non productive.

I get that he may not want to stay married. As to who I want to be today, that is easy. I want to be the woman I was when we first married. The one that said I will never hurt you. That has changed to I will never hurt you again. The values I want to embody most are the ones I had before. Honesty and integrity which I sacrificed in the affair.

I want to be the woman that had always put my husband and family first. I want to be loving and giving and kind. Compassionate and caring. The me I was before...


MrCleanSlate

We are still employed at the same company. I have fought leaving for a year. When I was not honest about the affair when it came out,I convinced myself that because he was not aware of the extent of the affair, it would not take long for him to heal and he would be able to "get over it" on his own. That he would be hurt and sad for a while but would recover. Selfish and dumb on my part but that was my thinking.

As it has come totally out in the open, I am very aware of the pain and hurt I have inflicted. Working with the AP is indirect as of now due to COVID 19; we are both health care workers. I hav actively begun looking for a new job as I know now he can't heal when I work with AP.

That will do

I think there were times during the affair tha I did not feel like I was very loving to my husband and certainly did not show it. I treated it like a working relationship. He worked nights and I worked days, so I looked at it as we both hade job duties around the house and raising children. We became very disconnected.

I don't think anything made me feel like a good person. I started to think I was a failure to my husband and my children which seemed to amplify if he was upset or the kids were not behaving. I can definitely see how he is struggling to understand.

[This message edited by Midlyfewife at 6:34 PM, June 12th (Friday)]

Lucky77 posted 6/13/2020 06:52 AM

No doubt 4.5 years qualifies as a LTA. I recall thinking during my LTA...this really is just a series of a thousand one day affairs. Never such where the relationship was going nor how it would end nor how long it might go. A couple bits of good news... you were amazingly lucky to not pick up an STD or get an OC along the way. Did you ever do overnights together or such "playing house" things? Hopefully you never brought him home to the marital bed.

He'll have tough questions......"did you do things with him you withheld from me........was he bigger......how many times........if I never caught you would you ever have ended it.....how amazing was it".

For me I was just shocked at how good of a liar I turned out to be. One thing I do now is study other liars. Just so I can really feel the magnitude of what such a good liar is like. I just watched a 30-for-30 story on Lance Armstrong. Wow, what a liar. While for a minute I feel smug that I'm not that bad of a liar......probably I am.

What was going on in your life you needed such an escape?

I don't think you can rewind the clock like you hoped and make everything go back to how it was. You're in a new normal now. Sorry you're here. At some point it might be cathartic for you to tell us about the A more. Kind of like coughing up the big hair ball.

Midlyfewife posted 6/16/2020 23:04 PM

Lucky77
I think that is so accurate. I tried to convince myself that since the affair had starts and stops over the course of the 4.5 years that maybe the inactive parts didn't count. Looking back it is like a series of a thousand one day affairs because somehow the AP occupies thoughts, good of bad. There were no overnights or playing house. We did not spend any time in one another's homes. While I did not have a child with the AP, his wife gave birth to their 2 daughters during the affair.

My husband and I worked opposite schedules; him nights and me days. We would not see each other from Sunday night until at least Wednesday evening. Both my daughter and son were doing poorly in school and I had started menopause. Something my husband discounted as he thought I was too young.

He has asked those questions and more. Including how could I live a lie for so long and how did I hide it. I hid it fairly well until text messages started to show up on an old phone that my husband had been monitoring.

Here comes the hairball. The affair began in 2015 and consisted of text messages that were sex fantasy and the exchange of nude or partially nude photos. There was a few incidents of oral sex, not vaginal or anal. It ended in 2016, when he told his wife. About 8 to 9 months after it ended, he started flirting and telling me he missed the texts, pictures and encounters. I admitted I missed that too and we seemed to pick up where we left off. This lasted a few months and then we took another break. This pattern continued until my husband confronted me with the affair last May. I gave my husband a timeline and he was surprised it didn't seem detailed. I have lost track of dates and times so he feels I might be giving vague answers or trickle truths. What he doesn't seem to understand is that while this is now a significant part of my life, the dates are not something I would recall like the day my children were born or when they took their first steps.

I guess I do realize I have to accept this new normal. The question now is how do I acknowledge his hurt and help him move forward?

[This message edited by Midlyfewife at 11:04 PM, June 16th (Tuesday)]

Lucky77 posted 6/17/2020 06:38 AM

If you are not familiar with the Cherokee story of the Two Wolfes, check it out. You seem to be attempting to break from feeding your bad wolf. Focus on feeding your good wolf.

So you are here now, with us. The Waywards. If this was the HS cafeteria you are officially having lunch with the cool table.

From here on a key challenge will be living with honesty and integrity. You seem like you are working really hard on that.

There will be some, me included, that will call BS on this.

There was a few incidents of oral sex, not vaginal or anal
.....in 4.5 years you didn't sleep with AP......really? We have very keen BS radar here on the Wayward side.

Keep working on your IC. See where you can go with purging the CSA demon. Grab a stack of Brene Brown books and sit with them. Rather than being addicted to the adrenaline rushes from sexting with AP, feed off the rush of living every hour with integrity to yourself and your family. Your behaviors are those of one with some rather thin moral skin, like me. Keep working on that day by day and you will be safer for your H.

One thing that helped me was organized religion. I enjoyed quiet prayer and confessing sins.

Midlyfewife posted 6/17/2020 07:40 AM

Lucky
I am working on honesty and integrity and development of a thicker moral skin. We did not have vaginal or anal sex. Our encounters took place at the work site and were very quick in nature. AP and I actually had discussed that mom how racy oft explicit our sexting had become, we decided that was a line we would not cross. As if somehow that made our affair less wrong.

One challenge this week has been my husbandís incredible anger. Sometimes directed at AP other times at me. I am huge may be trying to test if I run back to or contact AP or just get frustrated all together and walk out. I think he is testing to see if I am really going to stay committed and put in the work.

Zugzwang posted 6/17/2020 11:20 AM

One thing you should focus on is what you think other people are doing or thinking in their actions with you. Waywards usually use this a way to justify things. For example;

We both got caught up in the thrill.
Stick to I got caught up in the thrill. The way you word it sounds like you are trying to divide responsibility here. You really have no idea what so ever what your AP thought or why. Just like you lied to your husband. I guarantee your AP lied to you.

We became very disconnected.
Stick to you became very disconnected of your choosing. It isn't we. It is I. When you say that, it is still blame shifting and justifying.

Just food for thought. I am not of the camp that a Wayward can possibly love their spouse while cheating and actively hurting them. I simply believe we value them. Which is anything at the most is object love. You stayed because he was still giving you something you valued. You used him like an object to feed something. Just like you used the AP.

He has asked those questions and more. Including how could I live a lie for so long and how did I hide it.
The question now is how do I acknowledge his hurt and help him move forward?
What have you told him? The same narrative that you have given us...the work, when we get to see each other, problems with the kids, menopause....? When it comes down to it. You were able to do it because you didn't care. You wanted it and you chose it. You were or still are selfish and entitled. It isn't pretty, yet it is the truth. Tell him that. Be honest and vulnerable. You hid it because you wanted to double dip. You hid it because you valued what he was giving you and you didn't want him to leave. Don't lead with ....I didn't want to hurt you. Be honest with yourself. You really didn't want to deal with it. You didn't want him to see the real you. You didn't want to face the shame and guilt. You missed the chase, you missed being wanted and desired, you had become immune to your husband...and through it all you didn't care who you hurt to get it. This is ugly stuff you will need to admit to yourself and to him if you really truly want to move forward and heal. No one wants to admit to themselves their self confidence and self esteem is so low that they would step on other peoples backs (your family, your husband, his family, and wife) to feed it. Don't do anything to save face anymore. Show him how ugly you became. Be vulnerable. He can never trust you till you trust yourself to face the truths about who you became.

Midlyfewife posted 6/18/2020 13:39 PM

What have you told him? The same narrative that you have given us...the work, when we get to see each other, problems with the kids, menopause....? When it comes down to it. You were able to do it because you didn't care. You wanted it and you chose it. You were or still are selfish and entitled. It isn't pretty, yet it is the truth. Tell him that. Be honest and vulnerable. You hid it because you wanted to double dip. You hid it because you valued what he was giving you and you didn't want him to leave. Don't lead with ....I didn't want to hurt you. Be honest with yourself. You really didn't want to deal with it. You didn't want him to see the real you. You didn't want to face the shame and guilt. You missed the chase, you missed being wanted and desired, you had become immune to your husband...and through it all you didn't care who you hurt to get it. This is ugly stuff you will need to admit to yourself and to him if you really truly want to move forward and heal. No one wants to admit to themselves their self confidence and self esteem is so low that they would step on other peoples backs (your family, your husband, his family, and wife) to feed it. Don't do anything to save face anymore. Show him how ugly you became. Be vulnerable. He can never trust you till you trust yourself to face the truths about who you became.

Very true in some regards.
I have told him that I was incredibly selfish and had needs. He has had trouble accepting that and has told me there is something broken in me. I also admitted that I have and had put myself first. I chose to ignore the fact that I would devastate him should he ever find out. I did feel disconnected with him, and stated we in prior posts, as he stated he had felt that as well at our MC.

My husband an I do have many talks about what I was feeling or thinking at the time and sometimes we have to agree to disagree. I felt worthless and had hit the lowest my self esteem had ever come. Becoming involved in the affair boosted that. Interestingly, the attention that I craved, also worked against me. When it involved sexting or touching each other, I was very comfortable with the AP. When it came time that a physical encounter arose, I felt awkward, shy and self conscious. While there had been discussions with the AP about vaginal or anal sex, they were strictly fantasy. I had a problem being intimate with him, we never kissed, never had vaginal or anal sex. Strictly hands or blow jobs. My husband asked why blow jobs, and not any other sexual contact. My answer to him was that it was my way of taking control of that situation and not allowing it to go any further than what I was willing to do. Something else I will need to figure out at IC, when I am able to locate one that is accepting new patients.

For now, we are continuing with book reading and a weekly date for lunch and a quiet place for the 2 of us to talk about needs and wants.

Zugzwang posted 6/18/2020 13:53 PM

and had needs
well, is it needs or wants. Was it wants you should have been filling for yourself and not relying on other people to fill for you. When you break it down...he is right. There is something broken inside you. When a "want" isn't filled by you by relying on someone else...one should never hurt other people to get it filled. Hence, forth the "want" is unrealistic and unhealthy if not having it means doing ill. When you state the "need"..."want" and the disconnect then you make it all about him and the marriage. What he didn't do for you. It is really what you weren't doing for yourself. As long as you keep up that narrative...you will drive the marriage to dysfunction and most likely divorce because at some point he will realize the reality and truth. Especially if he is here. It is never anyone elses job to make you feel special, wanted, or loved. Those things are sides. Icing. You should be doing that for yourself first. Everyone else (other than hopefully a parent) is a sprinkle on top of what you should have already built.

I chose to ignore the fact
No, you didn't chose to ignore. You accepted that fact that he was going to get hurt and you didn't care. You didn't know for fact he would never find out. You hoped. So, in reality and truth you accepted the fact to hurt him. It was worth it to you.


My husband an I do have many talks about what I was feeling or thinking at the time and sometimes we have to agree to disagree.
For example? What? Are you denying him his reality? Are you making excuses to save face?
I felt worthless
Have you blamed that on him?

Midlyfewife posted 6/18/2020 14:29 PM

Thank you. I appreciate you taking the time to evaluate my posts and provide guidance. You have forced me to challenge my thinking on this and have really given some insight to why I am having a hard time in making my husband understand my point of view. Primarily, because I have likely not fully accepted my reasons for engaging in the affair in the first place.

Wanting the attention of the affair allowed me to become disconnected and disengaged from my marriage and family and focus only on me.

Where we disagree is that I felt worthless. I did not blame this on him. However this is often something he tries to shoulder the blame for.

I also realize that I have been a coward. I have come to believe that if I had wanted to, I could have given all my fears and feelings to my husband and rewarded with his love and support. I need to let him know that I chose to do this to him and work hard to change that in me.

sisoon posted 6/18/2020 17:05 PM

WS only

[This message edited by SI Staff at 6:05 PM, June 18th (Thursday)]

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