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Need some affirmation and advice

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WaywardRecoverer posted 9/3/2020 16:07 PM

Hi all,

I am new here. I just posted my story to my profile. My husband is in so much pain. I read through the pinned post here. He is really empty - when I ask him how he feels, he says "empty." When I ask him what he's thinking about, he says "empty." He has nightmares. I am just in so much pain and regret and remorse and so upset with myself.

I know there's a lot of advice and I'm reading through it. I just need some help and direction and someone to tell me we can do this. I'm so sorry. Thank you.

Evertrying posted 9/3/2020 16:58 PM

I am confused. (I am a BS by the way and if you don't want responses from them you need to put a stop sign on your post)

Anyway, your tag line states 2 additional PA A's that are not listed in your profile. Were there actually 2 more?

Did you ever have sex during any of these A's?

WaywardRecoverer posted 9/3/2020 17:10 PM

Hi Evertrying. Thank you for your reply. I just want some direction from anyone. I'm reading lots of posts now but just feel so hopeless right now.

The 2 PA in the tag are the kiss at the New Years party in 2018 into 2019, and the girl kissed at the concert in Summer 2019. No sex was involved but it hurts my husband all the same. The 3 prior to that refer to W1 W2 and W3. Sorry I started my own numbering then got it mixed up a bit.

EAPTSD posted 9/3/2020 21:15 PM

Some reactions specific to your story from a BS

1) Don’t belabor the distinction between “I just remembered” and “I’ve been keeping a secret”

“and me foolishly thinking the old college rule still applied”

“I got home and sobbed and sobbed”

sounds like you still can’t make up your mind whether you knew what you were doing was wrong or not. Don’t make your husband cross-examine you to figure out your story.

That’s my overall takeaway from the story as it’s written. In the past, you did some regrettable stuff, but as you get closer to the present, you’re doing better, with occasional mistakes and accidents. That’s not what it feels like to your husband, it sounds like he’s been trying to be heard for years about this exact topic and you’ve treated his needs with a consistent dismissive attitude. You’re gonna need a convincing story about why his feelings suddenly matter to you, when you’ve treated them with contempt in the past.

What changed between Summer 2019 and Spring 2020?

More general advice:
How to Help Your Spouse Heal from your affair by Linda MacDonald. It’s short and packed with a list of what not to do.

WaywardRecoverer posted 9/3/2020 22:48 PM

Hi EAPTSD. Thank you for your reply. I appreciate the book suggestion - I bought it and started reading. And thank you for pointing those two points out. They are hard to hear - my gut clenched when I read it. But I think you're right - I knew it was wrong, but wanted an excuse. I also feel that I "chose to forget" because I didn't want to deal with what I did.

What changed, and why do I suddenly care? I have been searching for those answers. After he broke down to me in Spring 2019, it really hit me. I stepped away from my emotional obsession with my job. But that period was still very hard. It took me a while to come around to hearing him. I started reading books and acknowledged that my "friendships" were emotional affairs. My parents are going through a divorce right now, and I started to realize I was re-creating the toxic behavior of my parents in my own marriage. Once I realized that, I wanted to end that cycle.

I started reading another series of books Running on Empty: Overcome Your Childhood Emotional Neglect. This opened my eyes to realizing I lack a lot of emotional skills. I wasn't understanding his emotions, not communicating, etc. It took me a long time but I started working on it.

For a long time I thought I was "supporting him." He went through a really toxic work environment from Fall 2017 - Spring 2019. I thought I was "there for him" by cooking, cleaning, running errands, etc. because I thought this would "free up his time" but I was also using this as an excuse to not deal with his depression and the pain and loneliness he experienced due to the job. This failure of me to be there for him emotionally was part of his breakdown to me in Spring 2019. Through the emotional neglect books I realized what it meant to be there for someone emotionally. It probably sounds fake but the concept of having an "emotional need" is really new to me and I hadn't considered it before this last year.

I am sorry if that is me rambling or if I sound like I am defending myself further. I appreciate your input and really want to learn and heal our marriage, so thank you again.

Lostallalone posted 9/4/2020 08:10 AM

Not to be harsh but i genuinely want to know. You just got married. Did you think you were in a semi open relationship? I mean 5 AP in 4 yrs is like you were trying to self destruct. I guess i don't understand the mind set here.

[This message edited by Lostallalone at 8:11 AM, September 4th (Friday)]

MrCleanSlate posted 9/4/2020 10:52 AM


I read your bio and I am perplexed.

So in 5 short years you had multiple affairs with women, obsessed with work, used porn excessively, and abused drugs and alcohol.

You seem to be doing some work to straighten out, which is great, but you are still missing the trees for the forest.

In a short period of time you did an awful lot of destructive behaviours. Why? What in you drove you to do that?

And you are still rationalizing so much of your behaviours. Use of certain words like 'mistake' show how much you still need to accept what you did.

These are all questions that take a lot of work to really understand. It took me better part of a year to really start to get it.

What can you do now? Well, you are reading, and cleaning yourself up and doing IC/MC which are all a good start. The best thing you can do is let go of the outcome.

You need to accept that you messed up. That you cannot make your BH better. That your M, whatever it was before, is now dead and ashes because of your actions. And you need to realize you need to fix yourself first.

[This message edited by MrCleanSlate at 11:26 AM, September 4th (Friday)]

WaywardRecoverer posted 9/4/2020 12:51 PM

Lostallalone, and MrCleanSlate,

Thank you both for your reply. Lostallalone, to answer your question, I think that yes, self-destruct is a good word for it. The EAs I denied were affairs and the idea that those relationships were affairs did not enter our vocabulary until 2018. We had a semi open relationship in college and I just didn't talk about it - because I wanted a "get out of jail free card". I also denied that there was a connection between physical intimacy and emotional intimacy, i.e. saying things like "kissing isn't emotional."

To elaborate on that and get into MrCleanSlate's response, I had 2 suicide attempts in college. Yes, it was all very destructive. I have a long habit of self-harm, self-punishment, self-flagellation, etc. I know there is more below the surface there that I am searching for answers to. Sometimes when I would drink, I secretly hoped I might not wake up.

What would be better language than "mistake?" To say I made choices? I feel that I have accepted what I did and made myself humble, although I know I have not fully absorbed the depth of it.

We are mourning the loss of our original relationship. He is really, really seriously entertaining divorce right now. I want him to be happy but I also want to still be his wife. I'm having a hard time letting go of the outcome. I accept that our old marriage is dead and burned.

How can I further accept that I messed up? I feel I am already admitting blame. Our first MC is on Thursday and I am not even sure if we will make it there.

I am sorry if this all sounds defensive. I really want to understand. What is the bigger forest? Is that the self-destructive behavior? Are these all symptoms of that, i.e. the trees?

Lostallalone posted 9/4/2020 14:04 PM

You're answers don't come across defensive at all. I think you were not ready for commitment.

WaywardRecoverer posted 9/4/2020 14:34 PM

Lostallalone, yes, you are right. That is what my husband is telling me. That I did not know what it means to commit to a vow, to be loyal, to commit. That I was not ready to get married. We were 22 then.

I am ready now though. I want to commit. I want to create a new marriage. He says he is not sure he can love me again after what I put him through. He wants our old marriage back. He is not sure he believes that I am ready now. He is not sure if I can ever really change who I am.

Lostallalone posted 9/4/2020 17:21 PM

Well obviously he doesn't want the old marriage back. Thats the one that lead to where you are now.
What you both want is something new. Something you both are safe and happy. Sometimes a divorce is the only answer in this situation. Then recommit to a new relationship. No hall passes either side if thats where it goes. To rekindle and remake yourselves to something better. May take years. Are you willing to dedicate to that. Up till now you haven't lasted months. [Just being honest]. Is he that important to you.
I am actually pulling for you two. I hope something works out.

WaywardRecoverer posted 9/4/2020 17:44 PM

Thank you again. Yes, that is a great point - the old marriage led to this. I know what we both really miss were those early years, when we fell in love, before the marriage. I had some idea in my mind that after the ceremony, the marriage was "locked in" - I see a lot of that attitude modeled by my parents (who are now divorcing).

Thank you for your honesty, and thank you for rooting for us. I really need to hear something like that. I truly love him so much. He is my light and my life, and I don't know if I could have fought depression and suicide without him. I owe him so much.

As they say, you cannot un-bake a cake. You cannot un-read a book. I realize now all the factors from my childhood that led to me becoming this kind of person. I have no choice but to continue this path of self-recovery, even if he chooses not to join me on that path. I really do not have any deep friendships in life - all my relationships are superficial. I know I need to repair and work on myself if I want to have any kind of meaningful relationships in my life at all. So yes, I am ready to commit. I am ready for the years of work. I only hope he will stay with me.

Thank you again for your message and support. I appreciate it.

longsadstory1952 posted 9/4/2020 23:10 PM

It sounds like your H is the only true friend you have ever had. Yet you can’t stay away from having feelings for women.

Why should he believe you now that after 4 years you are ready to commit?

Perhaps the best thing is to take a break and find yourself as an independent person. Break the cycle of pain you are both in.

Therapy will not fix your orientation. 2 years and more to get past an affair in the best of circumstances. Your situation is more complex than most. So you need to deal with whatever drives you, and using your H as a crutch and caregiver doesn’t sound reasonable. No spouse should be in therapy as a result of his partners behavior during what should be the honeymoon phase of a marriage.

So think about taking a break from each other to have some self healing. You can reevaluate in a few months.

WaywardRecoverer posted 9/5/2020 15:37 PM

Hi Longsadstory1952,

Thank you for your reply. It is really hard to hear you say that. But I appreciate it because I think I need to hear some hard truth right now.

Yes, my husband is possibly the only person I have ever formed a truly deep and authentic human connection with. He has changed what I believe is the meaning of life. I don't want to just take those changes he made in me and walk away. I want him to see me grow, and be there as his partner to help his accomplish his dreams.

But yes. I have no way to prove I am committed to change. I have made small steps, like sobriety. And you are right. It is not fair him to support me now. I want to change, but the work is all for me to do.

I do wish I had given him a honeymoon phase. That perspective is hard to hear. I was so immidately absorbed in my work that I sacrificed that. I regret it deeply.

With all due respect, I do not feel my sexual orientation is something that needs to be fixed, although I do acknowldege it complicates my issues.

I appreciate the advise of spending a couple months apart. We are considering that option so thank you.

survrus posted 9/5/2020 16:27 PM


A kiss is sex and in some ways is more passionate than the sex act itself. So please don't try to minimize what happened to your BH by saying it was only kissing.

This is double true if your kissing with your BH had gone cold, rare or passionless.

There's also the possibility of getting oral HPV which can cause oral cancers and even passing it on to your BH.

You may want to get into a habit of praising your BH to other people rather than criticizing him to others with them amplifying the negative feelings.

survrus posted 9/5/2020 16:37 PM


Could you clear this up, was it a single kiss or 30 minutes of making out?

WaywardRecoverer posted 9/5/2020 19:28 PM

Hi Survrus, thank you for your reply. I am so sorry if I came across as insensitive to this point, and thank you for reminding me of it. I only saught to explain my flawed "logic" and the excuse I used at the time for these transgressions. I know the pain cuts deep for my husband and acknowledge mow that there is a strong connection between physical acts and emotional meaning. I learned better about emotions through the book "Running on Empty: Overcoming your Childhood Emotional Neglect."

In terms of having a habit of praising my husband, thank you. I am trying to practice that now after reading "The 5 Love Languages." Did you feel in my bio or this post I have critiziced him? If so, where did I do that? I am still learning to use my words more carefully. Or is that general advise you are giving based on my story?

I apologize but your question makes me uncomfortable. I feel that regardless of what kind of kiss it was, the pain impacts my husband all the same, to your original point. I will answer though. To be honest, I was drunk, and almost blackout drunk for those kisses. The first one was a single kiss. The second was maybe a minute of kissing. The third I think was less than 30 seconds.

Thank you for your reply and advise. I appreciate it and I am sorry if I am butchering this.

[This message edited by WaywardRecoverer at 7:51 PM, September 5th (Saturday)]

WaywardRecoverer posted 9/5/2020 19:54 PM

Hi all,

For anyone reading through this, thank you for your time and input. I appreciate it. One thing I want to throw in the mix is a topic my H and I are discussing. That is, for the 3 EAs, I was addicted to those women. And we are discussing now that I am addicted to my H rather than showing authentic connection and partnership. This has helped me understand my behavior. It doesn't excuse anything but helps me explain it. What does everyone think of that?

survrus posted 9/5/2020 20:22 PM


I’m sorry if that question made you uncomfortable I was trying to gage the level of betrayal, I understand all is bad, but some is worse than others.

The reason I wrote about you criticizing your H is that you wrote about getting into an EA with a few women, and I thought you said you bonded by attaching to the OW and ignoring your H.

Frequently too, one of the paths to an affair is for two people, often co-workers, to complain about both or one of their spouses or so.

Did the EAs make you love your H less while they were going on and afterward?

My W “kissed a girl”, but I never found out who so this may be an issue in my future thank you for posting.

WaywardRecoverer posted 9/5/2020 20:56 PM

I understand. Sorry for getting defensive about it.

On that point, thank you. Yes I did. I wanted to ask if I was still using language that made it sound like I was complaining. With the 1st EA, my old college friend, yes, we complaindd about our spouses. With the other 2, I did not talk about my H at all and it now strikes me as a red flag.

The EAs did not make me love my husband less. In fact they intensified my feelings for him. But I realize now that I think I loved the "idea" of him more than appreciating the actual human being. I loved being a married woman. The other 2 women who I had EAs with were single and I enjoyed gloating about my "happy marriage."

I am sorry to hear what happened to you. I hope it is something you two are able to work through. One thing that I know impacted me is these women were much more "traditionally" attractive than me and I envied them a great deal. Maybe that will help you. Thank you for your advise.

[This message edited by WaywardRecoverer at 9:02 PM, September 5th (Saturday)]

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