Newest Member: Kells

Hurthalo

One year out past separation/D-Day - some thoughts and lessons for those just going through it.

G'day everyone. If you want to read my background story, look up the voluminous 'After 9 years of R, I just got the 'I think I'm polyamorous afterall!' thread in Just Found out. It's a sordid tale of a WW who after being given the gift of R in 2013 for sleeping with a married workmate, then went on to blindside me 9 years later (July 2022 in fact) with two affairs with married men in the workplace....leaving me to pick up the pieces with three kids under 10. She is currently still with the 2nd AP (there was literally barely 6 weeks between 1st AP and this clown) to this day, who also divorced his wife to be with her.

At any rate, I wanted to regale some of the newcomers to this site with some of the lessons and thoughts I've had along the way, and hopefully show you that there is light at the end of the tunnel, despite that light at first looking like an oncoming train.

Firstly, do not deny the grief, and do not deny the anger at the unfairness of it all. Infidelity ranks up there with being the worst type of trauma one can experience; up there with death of a loved one. Let's be real here actually, it is the death of a loved one. Now losing a loved one to an illness or a car accident is tragic enough, but at least in that instance you can take some misguided view that the tragedy and loss wasn't intentional; it was just a cruel twist of fate, an unlucky roll of the dice, or the capricious act of an uncaring deity. In the instance of infidelity, this is a malicious act constituting multiple decisions made on a daily basis to inflict that trauma on a person who implicitly trusts them not to hurt them. In fact, they are THE person you should suspect the least of ever wanting to hurt you. I told my therapist that it felt like my partner had faked their own death, forced me to deal with the grief of their death, only to show up a few weeks later to rub their continued existence in my face. With kids, it just makes it worse; it's not just infidelity against me (who doesn't deserve it), it's against people who REALLY don't deserve it. And they often have no idea what it means to them as they grow up.

My point is, I have realised that it is very normal to be angry about this even a year out. Sure, the initial flight and fight instincts have dissipated, but I still have days where all I want to do is scream at the sky. To quote my therapist, 'you are likely going to be angry about this for a long time.' And that's ok. To further clarify, your marriage or relationship was akin to a multi-story building: You have spent years constructing it. When one day you are told to tear it all down for no reason, you soon realise that despite someone's intention to simply knock it down, there is (emotional/physical/financial) scaffolding that needs to be constructed and (emotional/physical/financial) safety considerations that need to be taken into account while you do so. There is no one that would be happy about dealing with that while the destruction takes place.

Not to mention the pure financial hit. I live in a 'no-fault' divorce country, and I have essentially had to pay my exWW a six-figure reward for her infidelity. It is absolutely galling, and it has added to my anger. I take solace in noting that I am not the lone ranger, this plays out hundreds of thousands a time per week worldwide. It doesn't make it right though.

Secondly, I have realised that there is no point analysing why any of this happened. Your cheating partner has cheated on you because THEY WANTED TO. Because they valued being given physical or emotional validation from an inferior person over the security and sense of family you offered them. To quote my oft-hilarious therapist, 'You could have been 90s Brad Pitt with a 10' appendage...they still would have cheated.' tongue In the case of children, these same cheaters happily put their children's happiness over some cheap penis/vajayjay. It's actually despicable. In the case of your marriage/relationship, nothing warrants being cheated on. I like to use the metaphor I heard of your marriage/relationship might have had one leaky tap. Your cheating partner invited in an arsonist to fix it, and then wondered why their house burned down.

Thirdly, trust that they aren't happier and except for the most severe case of sociopathy/personality disorder; you can bet your posterior that they will regret their decision. In the case of my WW, she has foregone a very comfortable combined salary and family life, for a haggard and balding looking POS who has kids of his own. She no longer lives in our house with a view over the city; she's living in a dogbox in a new suburb with her roof basically touching the house next door. For someone who complained to her friends that 'having three kids was her idea of a nightmare', she now essentially has four. And POS AP is likely losing half his salary to his ex-wife, so his prospects as a future husband don't look great. Which segues nicely into...

Cheaters' future relationships are likely doomed. Also, take some comfort in the empirical evidence regarding the 'success' of relationships borne out of infidelity; the success rate after 1-3 years is less than 10%. In the case of my ex-WW and her POS AP, both cheated prolifically on their partners to be together. In the case of my WW, she bitched to her friends that 'family life was choking/constraining her'. She's now with a guy with a kid. Also, imagine the nature of two cheater's relationship; everytime one of them goes away for work, there will always be a nagging doubt that they will be cheating in them with someone else. In the case of my WW, she had ZERO time for self-reflection, and literally no time single to reflect on her actions. AP essentially moved straight in on both my wife and my daughters. He is absolutely kidding himself if he (and scumbag APs like him) think that their new partners who they have monkey branched to will after a full life of NEVER remaining faithful to ANY partner, will at the age of ~40 suddenly have a 'road to Damascus' moment and change their spots. I have zero doubt that my ex-WW will be going through this same situation in the next 6-24months. Either he will do it, or she will.

'But Hurthalo, this all sounds very negative, I thought you were going to make us feel better?' Glad you asked! Keep reading my friends. So what are the good points that come from removing oneself from infidelity a year out?

Firstly, YOU WILL HEAL. There is no shortcut to this, it takes time. I went to some VERY dark places in the first few months. At one point I ashamedly admit that I had to be welfare checked on account of feeling like my life had collapsed. I have NEVER had suicidal thoughts in my life, but at one point I actually weighed up the merits of slitting my wrists to a cocktail of medication in my own bed over driving to a bridge and jumping off. In my despair, I actually settled on the bed option, surmising that anyone dealing with the aftermath would technically only have to throw out a mattress over putting out a rescue team having to pull my body out of a gorge....before I broke down in tears at the sheer stupidity of having those thoughts to begin with. I can't even fathom feeling like that now, yet at the time, it felt like a possible option - such was the absolute betrayal and hopelessness I felt. The fact I felt like that, albeit briefly, still shocks me to this day.

Secondly, YOU WILL MEET SOMEONE ELSE. Someone far more deserving of your time, someone who in the gift of hindsight, completely beats your ex-cheater in every facet. From a personal POV, I swiftly found out that being a (mostly!) responsible person who loves their children, has a job, is financially responsible (also mostly!), and keeps healthy means that I was apparently a hot commodity in the dating market. I also found that there are many people who have gone through similar, and who find infidelity absolutely abhorrent accordingly. Without sounding like a conceited wanker, my new partner is 8 years my junior, drop dead gorgeous, loves my hobbies and my interests, and she loves my children. She also earns more than my ex-wife, which doesn't hurt either! 'Cool story Hurthalo!', yes yes I get it! The point is you deserve better. You will get better.

Thirdly, and possibly the most important, living without the threat of infidelity is truly a gift. Don't discount your body's ability to keep score. In my case, before I even knew my wife was categorically cheating on me (although I am pretty sure on some level I knew) I was riven with panic attacks, and my chest felt tight for months. I actually ended up in ER at one point during her affair convinced I was having a heart attack. I wasn't thank goodness, but it was a panic attack. I no longer feel like that. I have more energy, I can trust my new partner implicitly because they KNOW what I have gone through, and they make an effort to make me feel at ease. Why? Because they are a GOOD person; not a selfish narcissist who put hollow self-validation over their family and loving partner.

I am now two weeks out from my divorce being final. To my annoyance, I have been the one who has done ALL the paperwork, wrote the consent orders, and gripped up our finances. For someone who told her friends 'I just want to be free to do what I want', she's certainly made no effort to facilitate that outside of being physically filled out like divorce paperwork by two married men. laugh laugh Whatever. I'm free of infidelity. My future looks bright with someone with whom I have learned to trust with again.

And that is worth its weight in gold. You've got this.

15 comments posted: Saturday, July 1st, 2023

One year out past separation/D-Day - some thoughts and lessons for those just going through it. (moved to General)

  This Topic has been moved to General

0 comment posted: Friday, June 30th, 2023

After 9 years of R, I just got the 'oh I think I'm polyamorous afterall!' talk. At marriage counselling. Out of nowhere.

Back again after 9 years. Wife had an emotional affair (let's face it, it was liekly physical as well, but I'll never really know) in 2013 which resulted in a looong road to eventual R. Things have been great and we've had two more kids since then, and really ticked off some amazing things in terms of work and our own lives. The affair is now a memory, well in the past, and we did a lot of work to get over it. I'll admit, at the time, it took everything I had. Fast forward 9 years.

To set the scene: Wife has been struggling fro a bit in regards to life in general and the usual malaise with COVID and a busy work life. We have done well to get through it, and the kids are thriving. We have both suffered from a bit of anxiety and to be honest, the last few months have been a bit of a struggle. I ended up in hospital with a panic attack (which I thought was a heart attack - thankfully it wasn't!) a few months ago, which took me by complete surprise. Evidently I was dealing with a lot more latent stress than I thought - but who hasn't in the last two years, right?

We both have very busy and stressful jobs, and we've been drifting slightly apart in regards to emotional intimacy. Physically, we have a great sex life, but we just don't make time for ourselves. Without too much information, we talked about the possibility (and I stress, possibility) of MAYBE going to a swingers club for a laugh - not necessarily to do anything - but to get out of the grind and have a laugh. We are both sexually very open in regards to things we'd like to give a red hot go, and so we've floated the idea a few times or perhaps having fun with another couple - but we've never acted on it. Whatever floats your boat right? I have stressed over and OVER again that if we did anything, it would be as a couple - there would be no polyamory situations of 'dating' anyone else. If a bit of fun happened with like-minded firends, so be it. And it likely wouldn't anyway. We opened a couple profile on a 'couples' app that leans that way just for a laugh and to see what was out there. And that was it. We hadn't messaged anyone, nor were we really looking to.

As a side note, we have friends whose marriage is a bit rocky at the moment after the husband went away for work and had an affair. He's now decided he 'might be polyamorous' and his wife (bless her soul) is trying to work through this. She's been a saint really, and is trying to understand it. I made a comment to my wife that I thought his excuse was pure rubbish, but of course she took his side and could 'understand that it might just work for him'. I noticed she also started reading a book 'The State of Affairs: Rethinking (?!?) Infidelity' by Esther Perel. I thought this was a bit odd, but it's all a rich tapestry of research, right?

To compound this, my wife is having to move to another city for a two year military posting next year. We agreed to not move the kids noting they have finally settled after years of moving, and we promised we weren't going to do it to them anymore. This isn't a huge problem under ideal circumstances, we have dealt with this our entire careers and I am more than happy running a FT job and tkaing care of the home front. Besides, there are plenty of opportunities nowadays for flexibility, and she can always come home and work from home from time to time.

Anyway, in light of the above struggles and a bit of a lack of emotional intimacy, the wife suggested we see a marriage counsellor just to do a 'health check' on the marriage and work out some ways we can improve it noting everything that is going on. We also agreed that if it felt right, we'd bring up the idea of experimentation if we felt comfortable with the therapist. We have our first session, all is great. We talk openly, I do the homework on love languages etc and I'm feeling good about it. I go away for an overseas work trip, and we get ready for our second session. This was a few days ago.

I'll also add here that my in-laws are staying with us due to it being the last week of the school holidays. It's great having them down to see the kids, but you'll soon see why this swiftly won't be so great in the next paragraph!

Second session is going great, we're having a great chat about ways we can improve our emotional intimacy (wathcing a TV show in bed so we can cuddle etc), and I mention that I am feeling a bit insecure about the upcoming posting noting we had to rebuild trust after wife's affair in 2013, and so I was feeling understadnably a little anxious about next year. All is great until wife drops an absolute clanger: 'Yeah so I am lacking emotional fulfillment from the marriage, and despite my best efforts to convince myself that I'm not like this, I really think the only way to get fulfillment would be from seeing other people in an ethical non-monogamous relationship or relationships.' You could have heard the therapist's mouth drop....probably matching my own. I instantly went into flight-or-flight mode, and that feeling I first felt back in 2013 on DDay came flooding back. Needless to say, I went into shutdown; I was present in the room, but I couldn't believe what I was hearing. The therapist sucked his teeth, looked at me and said, 'how does that make you feel?' I replied, 'I feel like I've just been had.' I also mentioned that her posting is now like an hourglass, we are swiftly running out of sand as the time flies this year until we are faced with its reality. And now in light of this information, my anxiety has just been compunded exponentially. The session was a blur after that, I struggled to take anything in. My blood was throbbing in my veins, and I broke out in a cold sweat while my stomach flipped. This wasn't a case of, 'oh hey we've thought about perhaps being comfortable enough sexually to maybe experiment, this was full 'I want to see other people and I want you to understand it and be fine with it eventually'. I was f#%king ropable.

At the end the therapist said, 'I really think you two should go and get a coffee at the end of this and talk.' My wife suggested that would be a great idea. Still seething, and barely able to conjure a coherent thought let alone hold it together, I mumbled, 'No, that;'s not going to happen - I need to go to work.' I paid, my hands shaking, nonchalantly mumbled goodbye to my wife, and got in the car and drove to work. I didn't leave work until 8pm that night. I simply couldn't face going home. I eventually did go home, kissed the kids goodnight and just got in my gym gear and went and worked out until 10:30pm. Other than my kids, home is not a space I want to be in at the moment. I left for work at 6am this morning, and stayed there all day again. I eventually felt compelled to come home (I desperately love seeing my kids), but I didn't speak to my wife. I can't tell you how akward it is to make small talk with the in-laws like nothing is going on, while my marriage feels like it has blown up.

But here's another rub: When we set up our seperate-but-couple profile on that app, I don't think she realises that my notifications let me know that it dings my phone when she logs into the app. Long and the short, she is logging into the app multiple times a day. This app isn't like Tinder, and noting the niche and the size of the city we live in, it's not like there are large numbers of people creating profiles on it daily. I can seperate the curiosity and/or boredom of just looking at profiles from the idea she's messaging people/couples WITHOUT me (another strict boundary we agreed on when all this talk started), but in light of all of the above - it's not looking great. She's been on it 3 times in the last 12 hours alone.

I had a mini-panic attack in the car (just a fluttery heart, countered by some deep box breathing), but I drove myself to the doctors and unloaded everything (without specific details). He is ex-military as well and he has prescribed me anti-anxiety medication. Noting the potential side effects, I'll start that course on Saturday to be safe.

I'm also very bloody angry that she has dropped this at literally the worst possible time; I am trapped in the house with her parents and I am now expected to slowly chew this dripping excrement sandwich while maintaining a cool and calm demeanour. She asked quietly to talk tonight and I told her no. My anger is absolute.

To be honest, I feel like the whole marriage counselling push was for her to validate droppng this bomb. She evidently wants this far more than I do, and she doesn't seem to understand why I have some reservations, and probably more correctly, clearly defined boundaries. I said to the therapist, 'this isn't asking me to try a food I haven't eaten before, this is asking me to move to Mongolia; when I have absolutely no desire to do so. It's asking me to try and 'fall in love with Mongolian culture' when I know full well that I have no interest in the culture whatsoever because I like Japanese/French/Canadian culture instead.' Weird metaphor I know. At any rate, the therapist now wants to see us 'on our own', which (and I could be wrong) is usually codeword for 'shit has just spiralled out of control and I need to see what's going on!'

I'm at a loss. It's Friday tomorrow and she's going out with girlfriends tomorrow night. I'm leaving the house early again so I don't have to deal with the whole uncomfortableness of this rockshow, and I really have a good mind to pack a bag tomorrow and just leg it for a few days. Hell knows my body is screaming at me to do so. Any advice would be appreciated from anyone who has gone through similar, or advice at all really. Thanks for the read, it's good to get it out regardless.

Who needs a drink....

354 comments posted: Saturday, June 25th, 2022

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