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Wayward Side :
I ruined a good man.

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 LostMolly (original poster new member #82611) posted at 9:21 AM on Wednesday, January 25th, 2023

I ruined a good man. My husband and my marriage was the envy of many of our friends and I have ruined it all. We have been married 21 years and honestly it has been a great marriage. We never argue, we spend time together doing everything from shopping to vacationing and supporting my side business. My husband is an executive in the defense industry for most of his professional life so money has never been a real issue, so When DOVID happened, being immunocompromised, I quit working altogether. Being quarantined seemingly brought us closer together. Then When we were all clear to return to our regular lives I was approached by my old company to see if I wanted to come back.

I was really bored at home so I decide to go back to full time work. Enter "Justin". Justin was a new team member hired over the pandemic and he and I hit it off straight away. I never found Justin attractive in the conventional sense. He is a tall, skinny, slightly balding and approaching 50, just a very unassuming guy. What I did like was his quirky, dry almost English style of humor, it is very cerebral.

I realize that I was mentioning Justin more and more at home just because I thought he was funny and really in line with my Monty Pythonesque type humor. My husband said that he noticed we were communicating a lot outside of work and asked what is going on and if he should be concerned. I thought it was cute that he was jealous and aghast at the suggestion that he might think anything could be going on with me and Justin.

I showed him a picture of Justin from the company function and said he is not my type at all. My husbands retort was, he is exactly your type, he looks like all the guys you dated before me. I thought about and he was right, all the guys I dated before were tall (6’2" and taller) and skinny while my husband is under 6’ and muscular/stocky hairy Scotsman.

My husband said, be cognizant of boundaries. I offered to show him our texts to show that we were just friends and he said I trust you, I need to have trust in you above all. Honestly, I was low key upset that he would even suggest that I would cheat on him and harbored some resentment over it. The texting started to increase and eventually over the course of a few months, our texts turned complimentary and progressed. I didn’t shut it down because I liked the compliments and attention and never had any intention of going any further. My husband has always been complimentary of my looks and has always made me never forget I am a woman.

As you can guess, it went way too far, my husband was away, my coworkers went out one night, Justin was there and too much drinking, some touching under the table and we ended up having sex in our house. Justin was completely opposite to my husband, he was tender, slow and loving. I liked the contrast not necessarily the sex was not what I have be accustom too. We passed out and, in the morning, even though I regretted it, we had sex again. I felt immense guilt about it and vowed not to do it again and not to tell my husband.

Justin wanted to continue seeing each other, got sloppy covering his tracks and his wife found out by reading texts. She kicked him out immediately and told me that she would tell my husband. I was afraid that she would contact him on social media and as he was out of the country for work, I logged into his accounts and blocked her. I knew I was going to have to tell my husband but wanted to do it face-to-face not while he was on the other side of the world.

My husband came home, and the first thing he said was how much he missed me. The guilt was overwhelming, and I started to cry. I told him the ugly truth, that the guy I told him I had no interest in, and that he didn’t have to worry about, had sex, more than once. His face was a mixture of sadness and disgust. He asked what your plans, what are you two going to do? I told him how sorry I was, how I cut contact with him and how I wanted to work this through together. He asked me to leave so that he could clear his head and think about what he wanted to do. I left and over the next few days begged him to talk to me but he ignored me altogether. After a week, I came home and begged and pleaded with him to talk about it but he won’t even acknowledge me. Soon he started engaging me in conversation, how long, how many times, did you use protection, where did he finish, did you disparage me in any way, did you make plans beyond this, does his wife know and would you have told me if she did threaten you, I want to see your texts. I answered them all, even though I knew it would only make it worse. He asked me multiple times, gauging my answers against previous ones. I told him that I would quit work and he said not to as I would need the job to support myself. I asked for counseling, and he refused. His opinion was that I changed not him and if anyone needed counseling, it was me. So I started IC and reading everything I could about betraying one’s spouse. I wanted him to read about being betrayed and he refused. He said, "when you first told me that you cheated, you said that it was nothing that I did, so why should I have to delve into an area that only serve your self preservation?"

I wanted nothing more than for him to touch me again but he politely asks me not to touch him when I try. I have constantly been at him for sex and just says, no thanks. He has said that the issues lie in not that I had sex with this guy but the betrayal, as his work requires travel for weeks at a time and now he will just assume that I am with Justin or another guy. Of course I tell him that I will never do it again and he say you have already proven yourself to be untrustworthy and your words do not equal your actions.

We are sleeping in separate bedrooms. He is polite with me but disengaged, almost like we are acquaintances not husband and wife. Then after about 6 weeks he kissed me and we had sex. At the beginning I just wanted to hold him and him hold me, to feel him close to me again but that was not to be. He was not kind at all. He was verbally abusive, calling me all sort of names, overly rough and finished without any concern for me at all. I asked him what that was all about, if you don’t like it, go see Justin.

The man living with me now is just a shadow of who he used to be and it is all my fault. He sullen and rarely interacts with me unless it is to abuse and use me for sex. I am at my wits end on how to proceed. I don’t want to leave or him to leave because I love him. I keep hoping that I can say the one thing that can get us back to talking and maybe healing anything to break this stalemate.

I bring up steps and situations that I think will help and his answers are always flipped back on me. He has not brought up divorce so I think that is positive, but I don’t think I can last too much longer with the way things are now. I keep hoping to see some semblance of the man he was before I cheated.

I broke it, how do I fix it?

posts: 9   ·   registered: Dec. 24th, 2022
id 8774599
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Copec ( new member #79885) posted at 6:21 PM on Wednesday, January 25th, 2023

Thank you for sharing your story. I ruined a good man too. And I did it for years. It is devastating to the betrayed spouse in every shape and form and I honestly don’t know how my husband still stays with me. When I started this journey, my husband was able to provide me with a list of things he needed from me, which I think is atypical when someone is in shock. At this point, you can’t rely on him to tell you what he needs from you. I can share some of the things my husband asked of me for some ideas. But one of the first things I did was go to therapy. Your affair seems short lived, but there is a reason you did it and you need to figure out why. The action items my husband gave me and some I learned by reading include the following , 1. Scheduling a date night frequently, 2. Sending him pictures of memories and lifting him up(because it crushes their self esteem as you can imagine), 3. going to individual counseling, 4. listening to his hurt and pain with out being defensive, 5. Reassuring him with triggers (so when he leaves for trips, acknowledge that it is a trigger and hard for him and that you will constantly communicate with him and reassure him while he’s gone)6. Make no contact with the affair partner (that should be #1) 7. Let your partner know where you are going and what you are doing, 8. Complete transparency with phone, email etc. 9. If he won’t talk, write him letters, texts, notes, show him how sorry you are constantly.

The verbal abuse from him is a hard balance. Initially, it will happen, but if it continues (like in my case) boundaries need to be made because even though you hurt him, you still deserve to be treated like a human being. It’s sucks and it’s hard. But there is so much growth and change that can happen in yourself. Good luck to you.

WS/mad hatter-2+ years post DDay.

posts: 35   ·   registered: Feb. 4th, 2022
id 8774658
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BraveSirRobin ( member #69242) posted at 7:31 PM on Wednesday, January 25th, 2023

Hello, Molly. Welcome to SI. As you can see from my username, I'm a fellow Python fan (and also a WW, though the name implies a male perspective). I chose the name because Brave Sir Robin is the epitome of wayward denial. He promotes an inflated version of himself while secretly aware of his inadequacies, and he runs away from every battle that gives him an authentic opportunity to prove his worth. That was me. Overcoming those tendencies has been the work of years.

My first impression of your story is that you've left out the most important chapters. You weren't interested in the AP, you were almost insulted by the implication, you just liked the attention... and then suddenly you're in bed together. You were done with him and resolved to take it to the grave, but there was still enough happening for his wife to catch on. This feels like the shorthand version of events I wrote for myself to present to my BH. It doesn't unpack anything about how and why (despite an objectively good marriage and alarm bells being rung by your husband) you forged ahead. I don't ask this from a place of condemnation. I have no right to sit on my high horse with you. But since I've been there and done that, the silence feels very loud to me.

As far as how to"fix this," it's an understandable question, but unfortunately, it's the wrong question. I have written from time to time that the devastation of an affair doesn't get solved by the WS figuring out how to pull the BS up off the floor. You need to get down on the floor with him. You need to face the destruction you've wrought and respond with vulnerability as raw as what you're asking from him (and that's a very tall order). The first step is the part you glossed over above. I don't mean graphic details (not with us, at least; tell him the truth of whatever he wants to know). I'm talking about motivations, digging deep in yourself to figure out why you thought you needed this badly enough to put your whole life on the line. Getting drunk wouldn't have done it if you hadn't passed through a dozen gates along the way. Let's talk about how you got yourself through those gates.


Also, I can't lie to you. Your marriage may, in fact, be unfixable. Your BH sounds a lot like a member we have here named waitedwaytoolong. He tried R for five years and ultimately realized that the damage to his trust, his ego, and his view of his WW was too steep to overcome. He didn't like who he became while trying to reconcile and realized that divorce was his only authentic option. Sometimes there is no way to recover, no matter how hard the WS tries or the BS wishes they could adjust. Any WS who makes a run at reconciliation has to face that possibility and let go of the outcome. That was utterly terrifying for me, letting my defenses go, but I never could have been fully honest if reconciliation was my "at all costs" goal.

I recommend sticking with the stop sign for a least a little while. Read in the other forums; you'll see plenty of raw honesty from BS in there. In time, some of them will be invaluable resources in your healing; at the outset, though, hearing even the softened version of their opinion of your situation may be too much to absorb.

I'm sorry you have to be here, but glad that you found us. I hope and believe we can help.

WW/BW

posts: 3625   ·   registered: Dec. 27th, 2018
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EvolvingSoul ( member #29972) posted at 12:48 AM on Thursday, January 26th, 2023

Hi there LostMolly,

Welcome to SI. Put me down as another one who ruined a good man and what should have been a good marriage. I cheated for a very long time, with someone I swore to myself I wouldn't go over the line with, but of course I did. BS and I are reconciled now but it took many years, mostly for me to figure my own shit out of how and why I was able to do what I did and a lot of time to give him what he has needed to heal. And honestly, the relationship will never "get back to" what it was or should have been had I not cheated (or rather I should say if I had not been a person who was capable of cheating and did).

I think you are probably in the early days and for the betrayed spouse, there is a roller coaster of emotions they cycle through in the first few years after realizing that the person they were counting on to have their back isn't who they thought they were and that any future they thought they had with this you isn't going to be what they thought it would be. A few questions answered will be helpful for the people here trying to figure out where you are in the process and to help you as you navigate the post infidelity landscape.

When did the affair end and when did you confess?

Does he know everything? Is there anything at all that you are holding back? Even something you are sure he will never, ever find out about?

You said you thought answering those questions of his truthfully was just making things worse and in the short term I know it seems that way but complete honesty now is the only way forward. Let go of lying about anything at all, even if it makes you look bad, even if you think it will torpedo your chances of staying together. True healing for you and reconciliation with him has to built on honesty.

You've done a some things right! You have gotten yourself into IC. You ave begun to educate yourself about the true nature of infidelity and how it impacts the people involved. If you haven't already I would suggest reading "Not Just Friends" by Shirley Glass. It explains how the conditions for affairs to start in the first place develop and how you can protect yourself and your marriage going forward. Also, and if you only read one book it should be this one, "How to Help Your Spouse Heal From Your Affair" by Linda MacDonald is short and lays out a good road map for what it takes to successfully reconcile. It'll tell you what behaviors are supportive of rebuilding trust and which behaviors are likely to hinder reconciliation efforts. Finally, the post "Things every WS should know" is pinned to the top of this forum and has a pretty good description of what your BS is likely going through right now and hopefully will help you find empathy for him.

As BraveSirRobin said, you are going to have to get down on the floor with him instead of waiting for him to pick himself up or just offering a hand to haul him to his feet. This level of betrayal is a life changing event. It's like he had a stroke or a terrible accident and he's in the ICU and has a very long recovery ahead of him and things might never work exactly as they did. It's much easier for us to envision ourselves standing by them and supporting them through that process if we ourselves didn't inflict the injuries. In your case, though, and in my case and in the case of every WS here, we did. We made those choices, those choices that hurt and harmed the person we were supposed to love and honor and protect because we wanted to have a feeling in the moment we were making them. To accept that we did it makes witnessing the pain and damage to our BS breathtakingly difficult to face. I blamed my BS for "holding on" to his pain for years before I got it that he did not want to feel this way.

Finally, I would like to recommend that if you don't have very good tools for dealing with difficult feelings, you should starting cultivating some. A mindfulness practice with a foundation of daily meditation has helped me so much and I think it could help you too. There are a lot of resources out there nowadays for learning this skill. I use an app called Headspace which is a subscription deal but there are many free resources available. I have relied heavily on the teachings of Pema Chodron and Eckhardt Tolle. Not every teacher is a good fit for every person but if you do due diligence I think you'll find one that is right for you.

I know that it all seems like it's a horrible knot that can never be untangled, but take heart. It can. I was about as messed up as anyone can be but I can tell you from over a dozen years down the road that all is not lost. Your marriage may or may not be salvageable but I think it is probably too early to know. But you definitely are, and you are worth the effort it takes to truly heal from infidelity. The work is 1000% worth it.

Proceed with conviction and valor.

Keep posting and reading. People here can help you.

Best to you from this EvolvingSoul.

[This message edited by EvolvingSoul at 12:51 AM, Thursday, January 26th]

Me: WS (62)Him: Shards (57)D-day: June 6, 2010Last voluntary AP contact: June 23, 2010NC Letter sent: 3/9/11

We’re going to make it.

posts: 2566   ·   registered: Oct. 29th, 2010   ·   location: The far shore.
id 8774735
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 LostMolly (original poster new member #82611) posted at 4:55 AM on Thursday, January 26th, 2023

@copec

"The verbal abuse from him is a hard balance. Initially, it will happen, but if it continues (like in my case) boundaries need to be made because even though you hurt him, you still deserve to be treated like a human being. It’s sucks and it’s hard. But there is so much growth and change that can happen in yourself. Good luck to you."

At this point I feel like I deserve everything he says because it is all true.

How long did it go on in your case? What did you say to get him to stop and be kinder?

posts: 9   ·   registered: Dec. 24th, 2022
id 8774750
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 LostMolly (original poster new member #82611) posted at 5:12 AM on Thursday, January 26th, 2023

@ bravesirrobin

"My first impression of your story is that you've left out the most important chapters. You weren't interested in the AP, you were almost insulted by the implication, you just liked the attention... and then suddenly you're in bed together."

I didn't want to make it too long but we became closer over the course of many months and the realization that he was really 'my type' of guy. My husband's comment really confused me and made me take a look at what I really found attractive about my husband. We don't have the same sense of humor and all I did was laugh with the AP. It was fun reminiscing about silly comedy and I let it go too far.

posts: 9   ·   registered: Dec. 24th, 2022
id 8774751
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 LostMolly (original poster new member #82611) posted at 6:28 AM on Thursday, January 26th, 2023

@ evolvingsoul

"When did the affair end and when did you confess?

Does he know everything? Is there anything at all that you are holding back? Even something you are sure he will never, ever find out about?"

I confessed when he got back from his overseas trip. I would have never told him if I had a choice.

He knows everything he has asked about. I offered texts, and to answer questions but he has not asked for a time-line, written or otherwise.

His issues seem to be more that he isn't skinny, or over 6' so he cannot compete (his words) with what I obviously find attractive.

Also I did things with the AP that I haven't with my husband. The truth is I have enjoyed this one particular thing in past relationships but my husband is a larger man and it would have been almost impossible. I tried to boost his confidence by telling him that but that too backfired when he said that guys who would never commit to you got more from you than I did.

I feel so guilty and everything I say just makes things worse.

He left on Sunday while I was out and I came to find out he left for a 27 day work trip without telling me. That absolutely crushed me. We used to spend time together before he left on the trips, having sex and generally staying connected to each other. I asked why he didn't tell me and said does it really matter? That conversation is our total communication so far as he asked for me to only reply to his calls/texts.

To make matters worse there is a woman at his work that I know has designs on him if he ever opened the door and now who knows what he will allow. I think I am going insane with projected jealously and knowing my husband is disappointed, disgusted and disengaging with me and there's nothing I can really do about it.

I think he will come back from this trip and ask for a divorce and I can't even fight for him.

posts: 9   ·   registered: Dec. 24th, 2022
id 8774755
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EvolvingSoul ( member #29972) posted at 3:10 PM on Thursday, January 26th, 2023

I confessed when he got back from his overseas trip. I would have never told him if I had a choice.

He knows everything he has asked about. I offered texts, and to answer questions but he has not asked for a time-line, written or otherwise.

How long has it been since D-day (the confession) is more what I was wondering. A month ago? 6 months? A year? Also, how much time passed between the sex and D-day?

I think you should go ahead and create a timeline, one that has the basics (who what when where) and one with the gory details. Make them available to him when he gets back from his trip. He may never read them, but he should have the option of knowing everything if he wants to. It will also help you begin to see what happened from a perspective that isn't through the lens of starry-eyed gaga that happens when your brain is flying on affair chemicals. I think you may still be viewing what happened through affair goggles, based on the tone and word choices in your story.

It's possible that the betrayal is a deal breaker for your BS, and that no amount of effort on your part will save the marriage. However, there is more than the marriage at stake here. It's you and your integrity that are at stake here too. Whether or not your marriage is reconcilable, you will go on living with you. It's important for you to dig deep and figure out why and how you were willing to throw your integrity overboard and sacrifice your authenticity in the marriage for the sake of a feeling you wanted to have in the moment. The reasons you were tempted to cheat are not the same as the reasons you were able to actually follow through.

Don't give up on the marriage yet, and don't give up on yourself ever.

Do you still work with AP?

[This message edited by EvolvingSoul at 7:19 PM, Thursday, January 26th]

Me: WS (62)Him: Shards (57)D-day: June 6, 2010Last voluntary AP contact: June 23, 2010NC Letter sent: 3/9/11

We’re going to make it.

posts: 2566   ·   registered: Oct. 29th, 2010   ·   location: The far shore.
id 8774774
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Copec ( new member #79885) posted at 5:39 PM on Thursday, January 26th, 2023

LostMolly, in answering your question, the verbal abuse and stonewalling continues. We are 1.5 years out from D-day. This is not a new problem. He has had issues with anger and explosions our whole marriage. I am just whole enough now to create boundaries and know what is not ok.

It sounds like it’s early on for you. The early on is brutal. My husband wanted me to create a timeline, write it down go over it and he wanted gory details. The funny thing is he cheated too after I did and did it without knowing or confronting me and hind site he says he knew I was having an affair. So in his eyes, his affair is justified. We have a lot to work through so a lot more complicated. I think if I was the only one that cheated it would make it a bit more simple. I’m the one doing all the work and he’s not acknowledging his part completely so it’s a struggle. What keeps me going is knowing that I did my part that was disgusting and horrible and that’s what I’m responsible for. I cannot force him to do anything. So most days I am fully involved in supporting him, understanding his pain, acknowledging what I’ve done etc. With that process, I am healing myself. That’s the most important part. Because in healing myself I am understanding boundaries, realizing I have rights and do not have to go with what he says all the time. Your husband is stonewalling you. I think what needs to happen is an honest conversation about if he is willing to do the work with you. it takes two. Every situation is going to be different. If he’s not willing to talk to you at all, I’m not sure what the point is. The first few months are a nightmare, but if he’s not at least willing to try and communicate after a few months, you may need to discuss separation so you can heal individually. I sound like a walking contradiction cause I’m saying it takes two and my husband is still struggling and not going to IC or getting help with anything and I’m doing everything possible. But the thing is, I want our marriage to work. I love him, I want to fix the broken parts and work on healing the infidelity parts. There’s nothing else I would be doing. If I was separated from him I would just be focusing on my kids, not dating, not doing anything much different, just continuing to heal. So I’d rather work on our marriage and do the hard things even if they don’t work out in the end. Anyway, hang in there. It’s all very messy and not straight forward. Keep processing and doing your part.

WS/mad hatter-2+ years post DDay.

posts: 35   ·   registered: Feb. 4th, 2022
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CrapMan ( new member #80450) posted at 8:29 PM on Thursday, January 26th, 2023

Inappropriate post.

[This message edited by SI Staff at 1:01 AM, Friday, January 27th]

posts: 11   ·   registered: Jul. 22nd, 2022
id 8774811
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WalkinOnEggshelz ( Administrator #29447) posted at 1:02 AM on Friday, January 27th, 2023

Crapman will not be returning to this thread.

If you keep asking people to give you the benefit of the doubt, they will eventually start to doubt your benefit.

posts: 16617   ·   registered: Aug. 27th, 2010   ·   location: Anywhere and everywhere
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 LostMolly (original poster new member #82611) posted at 5:39 AM on Friday, January 27th, 2023

@ evolvingsoul

"How long has it been since D-day (the confession) is more what I was wondering. A month ago? 6 months? A year? Also, how much time passed between the sex and D-day?"

It has been about 2 months since I confessed. It has been about 8 months since Justin and I had sex. I vowed immediately to never do it again but Justin has been continually engaging me to meet again for sex.

We have been out for social gatherings and alone for lunches etc without sex or physical contact. His wife found his texts to me much later.

Of course my husband does not believe that we have been alone together since the intimate encounter without having sex.

He also does not like that fact that he had unprotected sex with me after I had unprotected sex with Justin.

posts: 9   ·   registered: Dec. 24th, 2022
id 8774849
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 LostMolly (original poster new member #82611) posted at 5:48 AM on Friday, January 27th, 2023

@ copec

Thank you for your response. It is a but disconcerting, to be honest.

It is difficult to know that all this is happening because of me. I don't want a divorce. I love my husband and do not like seeing him angry and disengaged.

I wish this was just a bad dream. I wish I could just wave a wand and make it all disappear.

I cannot help him heal without him talking. I am trying to give him space and do as he asks but it feels like my world is slipping away.

posts: 9   ·   registered: Dec. 24th, 2022
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EvolvingSoul ( member #29972) posted at 7:08 AM on Friday, January 27th, 2023

Hi again LostMolly,

Okay. I can see why your BS is barely holding it together and is shutting you out. He's armored up because you're not at all safe for him as a partner. If you truly want a shot at reconciliation, here is what I think you will need to do:

1) Cut contact, all contact, with AP. No lunches, no texts, no social outings, no nothing. Cut him off. He is an enemy of your marriage and if you aren't willing to go NC (no contact) with him, then reconciliation is not going to be an option. Try to see it from your BS's point of view. If 8 months ago he had sex with that woman who has "designs" on him as you stated in a previous post, lied to you about it for 6 months, then 2 months ago confessed it to you out of fear you were going to find out about it anyway, would you be okay with him going to lunch with her? Going on social outings where she was present? I very much doubt it. This guy does not care about you in the least. He's not a friend. He's an enemy. Certainly he's an enemy to your husband. By continuing to be in contact with him, you are demonstrating that loyalty to your BS is not your top priority.

2) Start looking for another job, stat. The sooner you can go complete NC with AP, the better.

3) Write out a timeline of the affair that covers all of your interactions with AP, even the ones that you don't think are relevant or important. Do your best to include everything. Use receipts, timestamps on photos and whatever other evidence you have to piece together a complete account in chronological order. Do not destroy evidence. Offer to take a polygraph to verify that you've told the truth in that timeline to the very best of your knowledge.

4) Get STD tested. Your BS should too.

5) Give your BS your passwords to everything. Your phone, laptop, desktop, social media accounts, email, all of it and let him know he can look at them any time he wishes. Again, do not destroy evidence. Don't delete texts, photos, etc. of the affair, until he tells you it's okay to. I'm guessing you have already deleted some evidence given your statement about your AP not covering his tracks well enough. Offer to try to recover whatever has been deleted. There are software programs and companies that specialize in that.

6) Stay in IC. Make sure you have one that is skilled in dealing with infidelity. Do not blame your BS, and do not let your IC blame your BS or the marriage for what happened. You have to own this 100%. Start trying to figure out how and why you were able to do this. It's not because you liked compliments and attention. It's not because AP had quirky sense of humor. It's not anything your BS did or didn't do. You have some distorted thinking to untangle and you'll need to be willing to question everything about yourself.

7) Cultivate some skills for dealing with difficult feelings in ways that aren't destructive to you or other people. I mentioned meditation in the last post and I'm doubling down on that now. It's going to be a rough ride.

8) Keep reading and learning from the accounts of people who have been through this before you. The books I mentioned are, I think, the bare minimum. I did a ton of reading here on this site also. The healing library (link in the yellow square in the upper left of your browser) has many good articles. Most are from the BS's perspective and they begin to give you an idea of what he is going through. The Just Found Out forum, too. I also read the Betrayed Men's thread in the I Can Relate forum.

9) Prepare for the long haul. The conventional wisdom is 2-5 years to heal from a life shattering event like this. In my case it was more like 6-8. I seriously underestimated the timeline. Your BS is still in shock. He's going to be all over the place as he begins to process. I hope he will reconsider getting into IC. He's right that the problem wasn't with him, and it's not fair that now he now has trauma that will require healing. But trauma he has and a good IC can help him work through it. You can't make him go though. You keep going to yours.

LostMolly, you are at a crossroads in your life. I know you wish you could just wake up from what feels like a nightmare. I remember wishing I could just fast forward 10 years so that whatever the outcome was going to be it would have already happened and I'd be past the hurt and horror of it all. Unfortunately, the only way out is through. I can tell you that now, more than a dozen years down the road, the work is 1000% worth it.

Proceed with conviction and valor.

Me: WS (62)Him: Shards (57)D-day: June 6, 2010Last voluntary AP contact: June 23, 2010NC Letter sent: 3/9/11

We’re going to make it.

posts: 2566   ·   registered: Oct. 29th, 2010   ·   location: The far shore.
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DaddyDom ( member #56960) posted at 7:02 PM on Friday, January 27th, 2023

@LostMolly,

I'm sorry that you are feeling so afraid and unsure. I think many WS's, while having an affair, don't have a clear and realistic view of what the consequences of an affair will be like after discovery (or we just don't allow our thoughts to "go there"). TV and movies would have us believe that infidelity is something that a spouse will just "get over" pretty quickly, so we often just compartmentalize those thoughts and feelings like we do everything else during an affair. Then, when it happens, we feel blindsided instead. In hindsight, it sounds stupid (because it is) but I see it over and over again.

Infidelity is one of the worst trauma's an individual can experience, perhaps the very worst, right up there with the loss of a loved one, a horrible accident, or contracting a fatal disease. Why is it worse than those things? Because none of those things were done purposely with the intent of betraying and harming you. When a loved one dies, we lose their presence in our lives and that is deeply painful. However, their death is not a betrayal. They didn't die because they don't give a shit about you, and they didn't die because it was more fun than being with you. Moreover, the rest of your world remains intact. You still have your other loved ones to lean on, and it's not as if you suddenly can't trust others to not drop dead. It doesn't reflect your own self-worth.

Infidelity on the other hand, is the exact opposite. It is always done "on purpose", and it always, by definition, includes betrayal, lying, deceit, and a complete and utter disregard for your feelings and welfare. When you are cheated on, the people you trusted the very most in this world to always have your back, and to have your best interests at heart, instead kick you to the curb and plunge a knife in your back. The person being cheated on (the BS) feels as if the rug was just pulled out from under their feet. If the person they trusted most in this world, who promised to love them and put them before all others, just straight up fucked you over, then... does trust even exist? Can they trust anyone? Was everything the cheating spouse said a lie since the day you met? Do they love you or hate you?

The truth is, it's not just trauma, it's compounded trauma. Most people, when traumatized, still have a "support system" of people who love them and who want to help protect them. With infidelity, not only is your usual support system (your spouse) gone, but now you can no longer trust anyone at all (because you've learned that even people who claim to love you can lie). And that's the real issue. People tend to get very hung up on the sexual aspect of infidelity, and of course, that's part of it. But the worst part is the loss of trust, the loss of self, the loss of a feeling of safety, and the inability to even comprehend how to live in a world where the people you love can treat you like you are less than garbage. That's why infidelity is often a deal-breaker. To the BS, it can feel like living with someone who tried to murder you, except that now, they are wondering "why you are so upset and why can't we just snuggle"?

Add to that the knowledge that your lover was able to give you things that you desire, whereas your husband did not and cannot... well that doesn't exactly encourage further exploration on his part. It is just another reminder of the ways that he is inadequate for you, and how those things were/are clearly more important to you than love and trust are.

I don't say any of this to hurt or insult you, we're all WS's here and we've all done the same horrible things to our spouses. But I want you to understand that this isn't something he's going to simply "get over". It's not as if he's mad and it will subside. He's devastated. He's not even the same person anymore, and that wasn't his choice. So when you wonder what he's feeling or where this is going, just know that... there is no upside for him, no reason to stay, to forgive, or to care about you in any way. If it is your desire to reconcile (and if it's even possible) then you're going to need to give him reasons to think and feel otherwise. What exists now, sucks. No one would or should stay in the angry aftermath of infidelity. So if you want to open the door to something more, that means things have to change. YOU have to change, and so does he. Unfortunately, it doesn't sound like he's ready to seek counseling yet. But don't let that stop you from doing whatever it takes to work on yourself in the meantime. If your goal is truly to try and fix what was broken, then maybe it will begin by him seeing you make the effort to change. And if it doesn't... well, you are still going to need to be a healthier person in order to live your life and move forward.

Understand that the marriage is already over, regardless of the fact that you haven't split or divorced. It ended the day you cheated because you "broke the contract". That's why it can be difficult when we convince ourselves that we need to "save the relationship". But it can't be saved because it's already gone. So the only option is to move on separately or to build something new together. The first option is pretty straightforward. Building something new is harder, but FWIW, it can result in a new, healthier relationship that is based on reality and honesty and informed choice.

You've received some wonderful advice and comments so far, please re-read it all and consider it carefully. Some time or space apart is a scary thing to be sure, but to honest, where you at right now isn't a picnic either. My advice is to stay the course. Work on yourself, FOR yourself, and work hard on figuring out what factors in your life allowed you to cheat in the first place. More importantly, figure out who you are and who you want to be. Then go do the work to make that happen. Only you can control your own happiness.

If you and your husband are meant to survive this then you will, and if not, then honestly, that's for the best as well. Loving someone doesn't mean you can be in a relationship with them. Relationships are what you make of them, they don't change who you are.

One last thing. I am in year 7 after D-day. I had my head up my ass for 3-4 years and just wasn't really R material despite my sustained efforts to get and be better. But I did. The thing that helped me the most to move forward was letting go of the outcomes. I accepted and even learned to embrace, the fact that things were over. It allowed me to stop panicking over things I could not control, and better yet, it allowed me to stop worrying about my OWN needs and fears, which opened a door for me to honestly care about HER needs and fears. And let's face it, that's what was really needed all along. Once I wasn't a selfish, needy little prick 24/7, and could show her empathy and concern and ownership, that helped her to let her walls down as well, and things started to improve rapidly after that. So, as scary as it seems, do what you can to let go of the things you can't change. If the worst happens, at least you won't be surprised. And if things turn out better? Well, then they turned out better than expected.

Me: WS
BS: ISurvivedSoFar
D-Day Nov '16
Status: Reconciling
"I am floored by the amount of grace and love she has shown me in choosing to stay and fight for our marriage. I took everything from her, and yet she chose to forgive me."

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 LostMolly (original poster new member #82611) posted at 1:21 AM on Monday, January 30th, 2023

@ evolvingsoul

I really appreciate the very informative step-by-step post.

Over the last few days I've come to the conclusion that there is not much I can do but wait for my husband to decide what he wants to do.

I have not heard from him since he left so I texted him last night telling him that i was sorry to have put him in a situation whereby he was questioning his self-worth. That this had nothing to do with him lacking in any way, shape or manner.

I woke up this morning to an apology of sorts. He said he was sorry for treating me so badly and that his ire was not fairly distributed. He then said that he forgives me....but he cannot be with me anymore, that the trust he had in me will never be regained and a relationship without trust is not a relationship.

He said that when he gets back next week he would prefer that I am not there and to advise his lawyer of who my counsel is.

He said he considers himself single and that he no longer cares who I see. I cried and begged him to discuss this more when he gets home but he said that I should be happy because I don't have to sneak around cheating anymore.

I offered him the option of having an open relationship on his side only until I regain his trust and see if we can get back to a real relationship. He has not responded.

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 LostMolly (original poster new member #82611) posted at 1:41 AM on Monday, January 30th, 2023

@ daddydom

I appreciate your post, coming from the male WS point-of-view.

I have come to understand that begging, crying, negotiating and prostrating myself will not work. I have emasculated my husband and cannot repair his hurt.

I have said it didn't mean anything, his response is, So you ruined a fantastic relationship over nothing?

I have said that I only love him and his response is, fucking some one else is demonstrating your love for me?

Before this he was so confident in himself that I could never envision him being shaken to this degree.

Awhile ago he said he wanted and open/swinger relationship so we explore sex with others and I was a hard no because I didn't want to think if him with anyone else or potentially falling in love with someone else. Now I think it might be a last ditch opportunity to keep him in my life.

[This message edited by LostMolly at 1:42 AM, Monday, January 30th]

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EvolvingSoul ( member #29972) posted at 8:28 AM on Monday, January 30th, 2023

Hi again LostMolly,

Over the last few days I've come to the conclusion that there is not much I can do but wait for my husband to decide what he wants to do.

I have to disagree. You can do. Not with any kind of guarantee or expectation of getting the outcome you want, but you can still get it in gear and get as much going at that list as you can before he gets back. Get STD tested and show him the results. Write that timeline. Write a NC letter to AP and cut him off. Start looking for a new job. Read Not Just Friends. Read How to Help Your Spouse Heal. Make a list of your passwords to give him when he returns. Doing them without knowing how things are going to turn out takes courage and leaning into vulnerability. Add Brene Brown's work on vulnerability to your reading/research list. That stuff was a game changer for me.
This

I offered him the option of having an open relationship on his side only until I regain his trust and see if we can get back to a real relationship.

seems a destructive and desperate attempt to get the outcome you want that seems likely to lead to more damage. You aren't currently a safe partner for him or anyone else. Focus on fixing you.

Me: WS (62)Him: Shards (57)D-day: June 6, 2010Last voluntary AP contact: June 23, 2010NC Letter sent: 3/9/11

We’re going to make it.

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Bor9455 ( member #72628) posted at 6:03 PM on Monday, January 30th, 2023

I keep hoping that I can say the one thing that can get us back to talking and maybe healing anything to break this stalemate.

Now is not the time for talk. Now is the time for actions to show him what your words mean. Maybe infidelity has always been a deal breaker for him? We wouldn't know that answer but you've been married to him for a couple of decades, so maybe you have a sense of that. Either way, he has been quietly observing and from where he sits, you don't appear to be a safe partner for him in his eyes.

To speak to his somewhat flippant attitude about it all, he is deeply hurt and angry about the situation. However, there is one line I heard here that really shook my perspective. No one wakes up one day and decides they are going to be a wayward. There is no book or class on being a wayward and by definition we figured out how to have an illicit affair without telling our betrayed partners. In other words, we found a way to get into this mess on our own, we can and should find a way to get out of this mess on our own without their help. That is not to be confused with in a reconciliation scenario the two of you coming together to work on the marriage, but at the moment, there is no marriage left to counsel, which is what I think your husband is telling you by his comments.

I would suggest that you spend some time here and really do the work of learning your whys. What about you and your life lead to your stated value of fidelity being conditional. I mean, none of us take a vow that has a conditionality clause "to love and to cherish 'til death do us part unless my company hires a really hot secretary" so what about you and your life experiences lead you to accept infidelity in this circumstance. From your husband's perspective, until you figure out why your stated value of fidelity doesn't match your actions towards it, all he can think about it is you doing it again. Maybe not Justin, but the next Justin.

Complicating it further, when his gut was telling him that something with Justin was off and you gaslit him into believing that nothing was going on, even going so far as to be offended that he would even think such a thing. I don't know this for sure, but I would bet that after one of those confrontations, you shared with Justin a summary of how your husband expressed his concerns to you about your contact with him. Did you and Justin maybe dismiss it as silly or jealous husband at that point? If it is anything like me, it probably meant that things got turned up a notch because suddenly there was a little shared world that only you and Justin knew about and your husband was jealous about. The jealously sort fueled a secretive nature to your interactions that probably deepened your connection to a level past friendship but on a downward slide towards further intimacy.

I've gone on here a bit, but my point being to your original post, there is no magic words you can say that will bring your BH back to the table. Only actions can do that and in some cases, those are not enough. As other said, reading some of the books recommended, putting together a timeline, making sure a firm message of No Contact with Justin has been established. You cannot be friends with him or maintain a shred of contact with him ever again if you wish to save your marriage. You also want to get yourself tested for STDs, because Justin was sleeping with his wife and who knows how many other women. As I said earlier, you figured out how to have an affair without your husband's input, you can figure out how to get out of it and work at establishing some level of normal for him. Start working on what actions you can take to make your husband feel some sort of safety and how you can become a safer partner for him or someone else. That work begins now and will not be easy, but a worthwhile endeavor regardless of the outcome for your marriage.

Myself - BH & WH - Born 1985 Her - BW & WW - Born 1986

D-Day for WW's EA - October 2017D-Day no it turned PA - February 01, 2020

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Contrition2 ( new member #80613) posted at 8:32 AM on Wednesday, February 15th, 2023

Lost Molly

Your husband should have returned from his 27 day work trip.

Please make use of the counsel on this forum, to ameliorate any further harm to your husband/marriage.

I'm keeping you in my prayers

[This message edited by Contrition2 at 8:32 AM, Wednesday, February 15th]

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Topic is Sleeping.
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