About Infidelity Grief & Trauma
I am working on an essay about my experience with infidelity with the goal of helping others through a profoundly destablizing experience. When I was going through the worst of my own experience I became very frustrated by the scarcity of resources to help me beyond this forum; meaning that most of what was written about infidelity seemed geared to reconciliation. In my own case --and certainly that of many others on this forum -- that wasn't even an option. My ex denied the affair and gaslighted me even as he was dating someone else and living under the same roof. I became unhinged and found my way back to sanity but recovery looks a lot different than I expected. A few revelations:
It never really goes away, we carry it with us, always and it just become less interesting to engage with over time.
Grief is not chronological. It's more like a jack rabbit. I can feel fine for a few days and then a trigger moment can send me into knee-buckling grief.
My best healing came from re-storying what happened, creating a new self.
Anyone else have any surprising truths to share?
14 comments posted: Sunday, May 1st, 2022
Would This Hurt Your Feelings?
Been with SO going on 4 years. He's an emotional avoidant, divorced and never had children. He really loved his elderly pet cat, who took a turn for the worse over the holiday weekend and expired. I went over to SO's house for the evening as I usually do 2 or 3 times a week. I figured he might want company. I made dinner and he lay on the couch watching television with a blanket over him. Our usual habit is for me to lie on the couch with him. This time, however, I asked if I could snuggle up with him and he answered, "I am comfortable here as it is." This is not the first time he's brushed me off like that but it was unexpected and hurt, coming off some other stresses. I went and read in the other room and tried not to cry. A close friend said I may be codpendent in expecting that he wanted to be comforted (anticipating needs that aren't there), but it still hurts. Am I overreacting?
5 comments posted: Tuesday, April 19th, 2022
Delusional co-coparenting rant
Experienced a rage trigger with XWH. UGH! DD is having a difficult time in freshman year of college and academically struggling. Also has a new boyfriend who is not on campus and comes with a lot of red flags, including a father who is incarcerated. The downslide began when DD started to try to engage a bit with XWH and affair partner for the first time. These two posers are still together, much to my surprise. They had dinner together and a few outings but AP is a pretty shallow, narcissistic person who views DD as competition. Bottom line: DD came home from school one weekend and was told she couldn't stay with them for the night because AP was "uncomfortable." This was in our old family home that DD grew up in, and where their affair started (she was an invited guest in my home when she started sleeping with my husband).
DD left very hurt and upset that evening. Since then she's been estranged from her dad and struggling, grades started sliding. When the college crisis came up, though, XWH swooped in to try to be super dad. He even called me to discuss the matter, and we both agreed she should stick it out. He went to visit her on campus and I took this as a sign he would be more involved as a parent (when he's been MIA). I can't believe I fell for it. Fast forward a week later. DD brought the boyfriend home. I called XWH to discuss the relationship as it seems to be getting alarmingly serious. He never responded or called back. I tried to share my concerns but he called DD directly instead who exaggerated what I thought was a very calm but assertive conversation about her needing to focus on college. This stupid triangle of divorce is so dysfunctional. I am proud that I didn't rage text XWH about refusing to communicate with me -- but I am still struggling with anger about it -- about having to parent alone, having to make difficult decisions and picking up the pieces of his damaging behavior.
I find my mind reaching for revenge tactics against him and I hate that I am spinning my wheels with hate and anger toward someone who is worthless.
8 comments posted: Tuesday, March 29th, 2022
Finally Came Face to Face with Other Woman
It finally happened: I saw AP at a Christmas Party with WXH. Even better, we chatted for about 20 minutes about mundanities. I had no racing thoughts, clammy hands or rage. My initial thoughts about the experience are that she's uninteresting and a lot more afraid of me than I am of her.
When she first spotted me, her expression reminded me of a trapped, panicked animal. But my compartmentalization skills were in full throttle and I felt nothing except fascination for her artificial look -- painted eyebrows, waxy skin (like one too many chemical peels had happened), dental veneers. WXH stood there like a dumbfounded troll. My favorite moment came when my SO, who is 6'5" and towers over everyone including the two of them, leaned down to politely introduce himself to AP and she said, "I think you know my name."
Funny how grief becomes less interesting. It never goes away, it just becomes something I am less invested in as the years go by and I enjoy life more as a single person. I have also come to realize how I dodged a bullet with my marriage. I was an unhappy wife, yes but not the "wicked witch" that WXH described in divorce papers, nor in their narrative about me as a vengeful ex-wife to justify their betrayal.
For the first time since the unraveling of my marriage in 2016 and divorce in 2019, I am at peace.
6 comments posted: Wednesday, December 15th, 2021
What happens if you don't pay alimony
Been divorced for almost 3 years. I haven't paid alimony for the past year for a host of reasons that include WXH came into a huge financial settlement after a car accident, failed to pay his half of childcare expenses and lives supported by his affair partner at her house. I probably owe about 10k or more. I pay alimony because I was the breadwinner in the family until he began an affair with a woman I invited to dinner and destroyed our marriage.
Since the divorce I have paid all of DD's expenses, including college. WXH hasn't said much about it until I got an ominous text today about how it was time to talk xmas plans and money. Some background here: we had an odd living arrangement on a family property. He built the house so we had no mortgage I gave the house to him and in lieu of him taking half my retirement savings I set aside money for DD's college and paid him alimony for 3 years. Every once in a while he's blown off steam about the financial arrangement but I ignored him. He had a clown of an attorney and I never took it seriously. He's pretty disorganized and chaotic person. He can't usually pay his bills but likes to blow money on fancy suits and hit the race track with his affair partners.
Today I got a text that indicated he wants to talk money again which is worrisome. It doesn't make sense to pay 5k to hire an attorney to get such a paltry sum -- also the shame about asking for alimony (his family is deeply embarrassed). I live in Maryland. What's the worst that could happen?
5 comments posted: Thursday, December 2nd, 2021
Anyone feeling triggered by the holidays?
Just wanted to hear how everyone copes with the holidays, hoping for some uplift. This is my second Thanksgiving/Christmas since my divorce and the first since I moved from the family farm where I lived with XWH for more than 20 years. I live in a beautiful place now that I love, but don't have the indoor space to entertain anymore. However, I am feeling sad that my matriarchal role in entertaining my nieces and nephews and friends seems passed. My china and silver are [packed away in boxes.
For Christmas Eve I am having dinner out with SO and DD. But I have to admit this hurts, and that XWH's family, with whom I tried to remain close, has not indicated any interest in having me join them for any gathering this year. I am close with them individually, for the most part, but it's a different deal now that XWH and AP are now a couple. I feel excluded and then end up doing dumb, reactive stuff, like posting photos of me, SO and DD having Thanksgiving dinner together as if to say, "See? We are doing great." But doing that makes it worse, my sense of exclusion and being thrown away.
What hurts the most is that this time 7 years ago I invited AP to sit at my Thanksgiving and Christmas table because I felt sorry for her. She had no family or friends. That's when her affair with XWH began and my family unraveled. I relive that every year.
10 comments posted: Monday, November 29th, 2021
Does Your Ex Still Try to Avoid You?
Just curious about this. Does your ex avoid you and, if so, do you think it's out of anger or shame?
Lately I have noticed that even though XWH and I get along quite well when face to face, he still goes out of his way to avoid me or communicate directly. Even more maddening is on more recent occasions he has told DD that he won't go to certain events we are both invited to if he knows I will be there. This came up because we live in a small town, attend a lot of intersecting social events and I remain close to my in-laws, including my nieces and nephews. Recently I was invited to BIL's birthday lunch and XWH told DD he wasn't coming because I was attending. Mind you, this does not occupy a lot of emotional space in my head overall but it does bother me that he tells DD he doesn't want to be around me. Why tell her? It's also a little puzzling because up until last March I lived in the marital home with DD and he hung out there all the time to visit her and do work around our property. I tolerated his presence because it was the best thing for DD to see her dad (he moved in with OW and didn't have a place of his own for DD to visit -- OW was banned from having contact with DD by court order).
My theory is that XWH justified his affair with OW by painting me as the enemy who deserved to be cheated on because I was demanding and mean. Granted, I was angry about his affair (it was with a woman who pretended to be a friend of mine) but it's been a few years now and I see that I am better off and doing quite well. I moved to a lovely place on a property nearby our old farm, won a big promotion in my job, and am in a relationship with someone DD regards as a father figure.
I think XWH avoids me because his old narrative about why he did what he did doesn't stand up too well when confronted with an ex wife who jokes with him and laughs. He's still with OW but I heard through friends she's deeply self-conscious about her role in the break up of our marriage and stays away from any place where she knows where I or DD will be. I guess it could be he doesn't like me as a person anymore (don't care) or is still angry that our divorce settlement didn't work out the way he wanted, but my gut tells me that he constructed an alternate reality in which he justified his affair (he hated cheaters until he became one) and the more he's around me the more fragile that fantasy is. Wondering what others have experienced from their exes.
9 comments posted: Monday, September 27th, 2021
The Looming Train Wreck that is Moving Kid to College
DD goes to college in two weeks. I am anxious how the dorm move-in is going to go because she invited XWH to help her move in addition to inviting my SO. She's been pretty cool to XWH the past few years but lately their relationship because he had an affair with and is still dating the family friend that broke up our marriage. That began nearly five years ago and through out that DD lived with me and XWH completely had his head up OW's skirt and barely parented. He would forget to pick DD up at school or was late, once even stole $$ from DD's checking account to take OW to the horse races (their couple thing is getting dressed up and hanging out at racetracks). Well, I guess DD has forgiven him because they are communicating more and. after stating flatly she didn't want his help, she's now accepting it.
First, I don't think it takes 3 people to move a kid into her college dorm. Second, I don't want to be around him, especially since he is not paying a cent of her tuition. He has not lived under the same roof as DD since he left to go live with OW. I am the one who helped her study, took her to doctor's appointments and got her through high school, paid for tutors and took her on college visits. The whole time he was preening around with OW, spending thousands of dollars on expensive suits (he's a carpenter) and fedora hats and betting on horses. I see the ridiculous photos on Facebook.
I am also paying the whole cost of the tuition according to the terms of our divorce settlement. Third, SO (who I really didn't want to come in the first place) is so flattered she invited him to help, he wouldn't miss it for the world, but my sense was she invited him impulsively and probably because she thought it would please me. The two have a good relationship and being that he's childless he has adopted DD as his own. If I asked him to stand aside he'd be really hurt.
Should I just let this train wreck happen? Any thoughts or advice would be deeply appreciated.
12 comments posted: Tuesday, August 10th, 2021
Nearly Just Ran Into OW
I just had a near run in with OW.
I had to drive my 88 year old former MIL back home from a party in her car because she was too drunk to drive. I still have a relationship with her and visit/help out because her son, XWH, is a terrible son who hardly visits her.
Anyway, DD followed us in her car, which was low on gas. MIL lives on a family compound where I also lived for 25 years -- the last four with just DD after he left us. I moved last March just a few miles away and DD goes back and forth between houses. XWH is splitting his time between the house, which he is having cleaned and repaired, and OW's home about an hour away.
When we arrived to the house OW's car was in front. DD was quite put out by that and had been hoping to stay the night there with her friends. She said WXH had not been answering her texts about whether it was "safe" to stay there. I texted XWH and prodded him to answer her texts and his patrionizing response-- which was a lie -- is that he has clear communication with her and to stay in my lane.
Some background here: Our MSA specifically states that OW have no contact with DD. There is good reason for the addition: OW pretended to mentor and befriend DD when she was only 13 -- as well as me -- while seducing her father. She was a family friend and part of our social circle. It was a sick situation -- she was a guest in my home many times, took DD skiingng and even showed up for school concerts to cheer her on. She took us out for "girls teas" together and then, I later learned, was texting him constantly. It has taken years of therapy for DD get over how she was used as a tool by OW. I guess I am still not over it, either. DD is now almost 18 and not very conversant yet on how the legal system works but she's often said to me she is grateful for the language in the MSA and wants a restraining order against OW once she turns 18 -- obviously, that's not going to happen as OW poses no physical threat.
Would it be worth talking to an attorney about sending a letter to OW and XHW asking that they adhere to the spirit of the court order in accordance with DD's wishes and enforce the boundary?
It's hard for me to sort through my own feelings. That OW is now spending time on the family farm where I lived for 25 years really bothers me. I have heard through the grapevine she feels a bit uncomfortable about it but not enough, evidently, to stay away. The family property also has a social club in which I have remained a member and still plan to attend events -- this is my community. More important, DD has activities on this farm that she will pursue on weekends home from college. That DD has to navigate this and be the one constantly asking if the coast is clear bothers me. XWH has a disordered personality and is not capable of ensuring there are firewalls.
Any advice on this or how I can navigate this new normal?
2 comments posted: Sunday, June 27th, 2021
my three truths
I am working on an essay about my experience with XWH's infidelity and our divorce. I have boiled down lessons learned the past few years into three points. Thought I would share and see if anyone else had thoughts to add:
1. DD thrived not inspite of her dad’s betrayal and abandonment, but because of it. Had he remained under our roof with his chaos, cheating and sociopathy, she would not have matured, graduated with honors and become an amazing human being. XWH left me free to parent her the way I wanted.
2 Close friends and family who bear witness to your suffering as a betrayed spouse often confuse neutrality with having the moral upper hand. Silence in the face of wrong doing is not moral. I was surprised how few close friends and family really stood up and spoke out at what was happening to me and DD. People I respected would say, I don’t want to take sides, or I am neutral or I don’t judge. Infidelity and abandonment are wrong and create suffering. To remain neutral is to refuse to bear witness and acknowledge wrongdoing – and that is not moral.
3. People seem to have a standard or model in mind for how a betrayed spouse is supposed to act. The prescribed expectation is that he or she conduct themselves with quiet dignity and stoicism and not tell people what is happening. Some tears might okay in the first year or two, but keep it to yourself and shake it off. After a few years, it’s unseemly to display grief or anger about the end of your marriage. Don't feel ashamed if you are not ready to move on even if others close to you have.
8 comments posted: Friday, June 11th, 2021
Anyone fall back into an anger binge after a transition? I just moved to a fantastic new place with DD after 25 years on XWH's family farm. Where I live now is even more beautiful than the place I left and we're very happy here. XWH will move into the old house, which has fallen into disrepair.
DD graduates soon and will be off to college. I got my COVID shot and am feeling optimistic. So why am I so angry at XWH again?
I have a few guesses about how it started percolating -- going through old memories, photos and things in the house. Then on Easter I saw that my former MIL (with whom I remain close) had brunch with him and OW. Also things with SO are bleh again. I notice that when things go a bit south there I tend to direct my focus to the past.
I am trying to meditate and stay focused but I just feel distracted and angry and am drafting hateful emails to XWH that I stop myself from sending but it's a weird loop. Intellectually I know anger doesn't solve anything, yet it's like a drug for me sometimes. Help!
4 comments posted: Tuesday, April 6th, 2021
Need advice on moving
How did you handle the divsion of furniture, goods after divorce?
As I mentioned I am finally moving from the marital home into a beautiful apartment a few miles away. I am leaving the house to XWH because he built the house with his own hands and it is located on his family's farm where I have lived peacefully among his relatives the past 25 years. Per the settlement we agreed I would live there until DD is graduated.
When he moved out three years ago to live with AP (he's still with her, by the way) we only divided up the big things -- he took the bed, a cabinet, and the truck.
Now that I am getting ready to move he texted he wanted to go through what I was taking with me and what was being left behind.
First, our marital settlement agreement (which he evidently never read but signed anyway) said essentially that whatever he didn't take with him to the new residence was mine. I don't intend to take any of his family heirlooms or anything that he made (he's a carpenter), but I know he's eyeing a few things that I purchased during our marriage, as well as some wedding gifts we received.
Second, I am pretty sure he's going to have a meltdown when I tell him this. He is a child and is capable of acting out in some way, like blocking the movers from taking things he decided he wants or yelling at DD. He's at the house a lot anyway to visit with DD and may see me packing up stuff and then throw a fit.
Should I just start quietly taking things or is it better to inform him that I plan to take what I want to take and it's within my rights to do so?
It's going to be weird knowing that AP will live in my house where they met and carried out their affair under my nose. Yes, it still hurts but I also know they are marked by shame for what they did and will never be accepted by his family or our friends no matter where they live.
11 comments posted: Thursday, March 4th, 2021
Some good news
I am beyond excited. I found a place for me and DD!!
To circle back a bit, I have been struggling to find a place to live. For the past 24 years I have lived on my XWH's family 60 acre farm. I have loved it here, always. Loved the mud, the cold, the long gravel drive that stayed frozen most of the winter. I didn't care.
XWH and I operated a small stable, there were always parties and gatherings with friends. It was hard for me to think about leaving because I thought I would die here. The house belongs to XWH and his relatives. They have loved having me here and we got along in spite of the divorce, but farm was also dying -- falling into disrepair, fences falling down, fallen trees everywhere. It was also time to go because DD is off to college in the fall.
But I found a 2 bedroom, 2 bath apartment up the road over a beautiful barn. I even knew the original owners at one time. There were 32 people vying for the apartmetn but I secured it today with a deposit. Best of all the new owners are in the same line of work as me. I am filled with joy. So many places fell through or didn't feel right. This one did immediately.
I can't wait.
10 comments posted: Friday, February 12th, 2021
Ghosted by SO... Seriously?
Off and on I have posted about my SO. We've been going out for about 2 and a half years. We met at a fundraiser and he's helped me get through some tough times. He was married before, still good friends with his ex-wife -- no children. I thought I was safe from being hurt but what became evident was his avoidant attachment style. He was incredibly emotionally distant. While he showed compassion and kindness, he just wasn't emotionally available. He never said, I miss you or I love you.
Mind you, in the beginning, he was all in and pursuing me rather charmingly. But that changed once we started a physical relationship.
I felt ignored being in the same room with him for the most part. Sometimes we'd laugh and talk, but most of the time I would pause in midsentence so he could look at his phone or ignore him on vacation while he remained glued to cable news.
When the pandemic began, we stopped having any kind of physical intimacy. At first, I thought it was because he was worried about being infected by COVID. But no, he claimed his Cialis wasn't working as well and that he stopped having desire, too. I tried talking to him about alternatives to experience physical closeness. I learned to cope. We had an intellectual connection and a good friendship. But he even stopped kissing me. Sometimes we spent a whole evening without touching at all.
Over Christmas he gave me a gold bracelet that belonged to his great grandmother and took me and DD out to a lovely dinner (socially distanced). But two nights later we were talking about some difficulties he was having with some charity work he has been doing over the course of the past year that has been very draining. He talks about it constantly in excess detail and I got a bit exasperated because I could not understand what he was trying to convey. In any case, we had a disagreement that turned into a discussion about our lack of intimacy. He said something that stuck with me -- that when he was a kid (he was raised by a single mom), he used to hide from his mother in his bedroom because she was so needy.
The next day I left his house while he was still sleeping. I didn't leave a note as usual. I was still sore. I also figured it would pass, as we have had disagreements before that were uncomfortable but passed. Butt this hasn't. Other than cryptic text about talking to me later, he's not called. On New Year's I asked if we were getting together, he said "Next Year."
I am being ghosted by someone I have dated for almost 3 years. I am in disbelief. I unwittingly fell for another abandoner, an emotional eunuch. And I guess a part of me knew that, but I held on to him because the SO before him ended things taking off as well.
Could use some words of support here. Thank you.
8 comments posted: Monday, January 4th, 2021
Nervous about New Beginning
Hi all. I have finally found a housing option for after I leave the horse farm where I have spent the last 25 years. Haven't quite made the leap yet because I was waiting until summer and when COVID is over, but finding housing is difficult because I live in a rural area and this opportunity is a good one.
But this is a hard transition. I have loved our farm. I spent my married life and raised my child. The house and land belong to XWH and his family, and the house is falling apart anyway. I remain close to his family, who live on the property, including MIL and BIL, but it's time to move on and figure out a new path. A few issues I am struggling with:
XWH and I also ran a stable and boarded other peoples' horses in addition to our own. I cared for the horses, fed them, oversaw their vetting, etc. After he left and let the fences fall down I realized it was no longer safe to board horses. I called it quits and left the barn to the mice and spiders. I moved my horses to different stables and pay board, but there are be two horses that will left behind because they belong to XWH. I still care for them because in the colder months they need to be feed 2x a day and I am working from home anyway. I am worried for their welfare after I go. XWH is incompetent and cruel. He will ride them hard and leave them in a stall without food or water because he forgets. I once came home from a business trip and found they had been confined like that for 2 days in 90 degree heat. He will forget to water them, feed them or put out hay in the cold months. When we were married, I knew how to manage him, remind him -- and that's part of what may have ruined our marriage. I became a nanny to this manchild. Anyhow, he recently told DD that he plans to get more horses after I go. I assume this is for OW and they plan to move to the farm after I go and DD is off to college. I feel like OW should be warned that he can't be trusted or is unreliable but it can't be me because even though we were once friends I am now the vengeful ex-wife. However, I am not the only one who has expressed worries about this. Family members and friends have said the same. How can I encourage them to say something to OW who is the only person he will listen to?
Second issue is I am just worried about feeling lonely and depressed in a new place because my move coincides with DD going off to college. Anyone have any experience with this?
Advice and reassurance appreciated.
2 comments posted: Tuesday, November 24th, 2020
Thanksgiving is a triggering time for me even though I am more than a year out from divorce and 4 years out from D day. Still, XWH's affair with OW started when I invited her to our home on Thanksgiving and I believe they started sleeping together the following December. This year MIL (with whom I remain close) told me that XWH and OW are driving her up in an RV to BIL and family's home. It's hard not to feel violated about that. I have done well post-divorce and, I know it sounds strange, feel like I "won." I have been promoted to a leadership post at my work, took some great trips before COVID struck, and DD is happy and ready to graduate HS, I am looking for a place to live after I move off the family property (per the marital settlement I live for free on the family property until DD graduates).
Still, it's hard to let go of the family I married into and the property that I have called home for 25 years. Family is the last shred of married life I guess I cling to. I watched my daughter's counsins grow up and they still consider me their Aunt. It feels like once OW steps into their house and sits at their table, my history is erased the damage she did to me and my daughter -- the lying, the manipulation of befriending us while sleeping with my husband-- is excused.
Nevermind that traveling to another state for a family gathering is a terrible idea because of COVID and MIL is in her eighties. MIL has misgivings about going but says XWH has been insistent (which shows what an ass he is).
Even though being on the RV with XWH is the last place on earth I would want to be (I hated going most places with him during the latter years of our marriage because he threw so many tantrums), it still hurts that she is going there as a guest in BIL's home. She will sit there with her false eyelashes, lacquered talons and stilettos and pretend she is not a morally bankrupt narcissist who broke up a family.
There I vented.
4 comments posted: Thursday, November 12th, 2020
update and question
A few silver linings to report in an otherwise bleak year (given the pandemic). I was promoted to a leadership position in my organization. It feels good have some job security and validation.
I am still living on inlaws' property and we all get along but I am looking for a house. XWH and I are also on good terms and my anger toward him is fading (though not all the way gone). He's still with OW but I see small changes. He is around a lot more and trying to repair the damage with DD. Overall, he's more engaging with me, too -- talking and sharing, liking my posts on FB (yes, we stayed friends).
I replaced my old therapist, which has helped. I met her during our coparenting counseling and she has helped me see that XWH is bipolar, which I suspected for many years. I have more compassion for him now given that he will always have chaos and instability in his life.
Here's where I need some advice:
I have been with SO for almost 2 years. It's not been an easy relationship, as I have written in the past. I think he has avoidant attachment issues due to abandonment. We are great companions and DD loves him. He lives close by and I go over to his house once or twice a week, eat dinner and spend the night. He's older than me by a few years and has operational issues but is ashamed about exploring any other options. We've had no intimacy for the past 7 months. He used to take medication for ED but no longer even does that. When we manage a conversation about it, he says he has no desire anymore. Intellectually and emotionally we are very close, but I miss being kissed and touched. In this age of COVID I have not wanted to break up with him (he's too isolated and has no family). Also, I do not want to put his health or DD's health at risk by meeting anyone dating. It's hard, though. I can't imagine him not in my life but I also feel like this isn't working for me. He seems to know this and makes jokes about my "dumping" him one day. If it weren't a pandemic I would probably start taking steps to extricate myself but in this new normal breaking up with someone seems catastrophic.
I have an online dating profile that is hidden. Is it cheating if if I unhide it and just start looking to see who's out there? Is it wrong to stick a toe in the water if I don't meet up with anyone?
10 comments posted: Tuesday, August 11th, 2020
Social Distancing my SO
Just an update. Feeling sad about this but I think for my own emotional health I need to distance from my SO. I care for him deeply, but his emotional remoteness wreaks havoc on my heart. We have been dating for almost two years. He got me through my divorce, cared for me after a horrible fire, gets along well with DD. He's a great friend.
Here's the bad. He's emotionally unavailable. We hardly ever have sex. When we do, it's pretty mediocre. Not to be too graphic here but he has equipment problems like most men his age (he's in his early sixties) but he also fails to entertain other options for intimacy. I have tried to talk to him about it. He acknowledges there's problem but doesn't do anything beyond that. He rarely kisses me and sometimes I have to just ask him for a hug.
His attention is always elsewhere. There have been times when I come over for dinner and he keeps cleaning his kitchen or mopping his floor, as if I am not there. I guess I would describe him as self-directed. If he came over I would drop everything and light candles,ask how his day went. Instead he describes how proud he is that he's cleaning his bathroom and goes into details about the different household tasks he peformed that day.
He's older, retired, lives very much alone on a rural property. His solitary living situation has made him very self directed and guarded about expressing love -- when I once told him I loved him he said thank you.
Also, the kicker was during our birthdays, which are several days apart. I took him to a very nice restaurant and gave him a picture of us I had framed. He gave me two cards, one of which referenced flowers he got me that never materialized. He meant to get them, just never got around to it. I told him how hurt I was and while he acknowledged it he never did anything about it.
Then this pandemic: I have been working 12 hour days because I work in a health care related field. I am exhausted. I came over to his house the other night and brought some steaks to cook. While was making a salad his phone kept pinging with texts that he keep reading and laughing at. He would do this while I was talking to him. He explained that he was on a texting thread with his buddies. When I protested he said, "Get used to it" or words to that effect. Then I realized that I was being triggered by all the times my XWH was texting his girlfriend while I would be trying to make dinner for us in our family home years ago. That memory still can bring me to my knees.. how awful and violating that felt.
So last night SO called and I didn't pick up. Instead I texted back to say that I was exhausted emotionally and physically from my worrk and needed some space to take care of my mental health.
I miss him, miss the possibility of what I thought we could be in the furture when DD graduated. But in reading over my journal of the last two years, every time I left his place the morning after I felt heavy with grief -- grief about my marriage, the betrayal, and a very shortlived passionate relationship that happened with someone else after I separated and that too abruptly ended. Most of all I feel grief about having nothing to run toward now -- the pandemic makes things all the more worse because one can't really plan, or even go out and be with friends to get over it.
Thanks for letting me vent.
18 comments posted: Sunday, April 26th, 2020
Grief about leaving home
I am experiencing some sorrow about the fact that I need to move from the marital home next year when DD graduates. It's been my own only home for the past 24 years and it has been a lifestyle more than anything. We live on a 50 acre horse farm. It was a beautiful life. I feel haunted by the fact I have to let it go and figure out the next chapter. The farm belongs to my ex and his brothers now. My father in law died last summer and things have fallen apart since -- buildings and the barn are falling into disrepair. Oh... but the memories that grab me by the throat. I had beautiful dogs always at my heels-- they are all dead now from old age and are buried here. DD used to run all over the farm like a pixie in nothing but a cowboy boots. We had dances and parties. Now it's a ghostown. The irony is this is what AP fell in love with when I invited her here. She was captivated by the fact that it was a place people always wanted to visit, but it's slipping away now because WXH lives with her in her dumpy townhome now 50 miles away and he refuses to maintain the property.
AP has chronic health issues that likely make it impossible for her to live here after I go. Plus she and WXH were in a terrible car accident and still recovering physically and financially. I have been trying to keep things together on my own-- figuring out how to fix things and solve problems -- like leaky roofs or broken fence posts. It's too much. I work full time at my job and come home to problems. All my horses remain but it's become a dangerous situation to keep them in fields where the fences have fallen down and they can run to the road... so I have reluctantly decided to move them off site to other barns so they are safe and cared for. Nothing lasts forever but the grief about leaving it behind is overwhelming sometimes. I thought I would die here. It's a year off but sometimes I just walk around and cry because I feel like my heart will be ripped out when I drive out of here for the last time.
9 comments posted: Thursday, February 20th, 2020
D Day Anniversary
Tomorrow it will be three years since I confronted XWH about his affair and became a different person. I am still becoming, I guess. Taking stock. Sometimes I think I should be farther along. Here's a brief update:
Just before Thanksgiving my XWH and AP were in terrible car accident. They were in a shock trauma hospital for 10 days. XWH broke every rib. AP broke a lot of bones and sustained a head injury. Even though she has health insurance and car insurance (and the accident was not their fault), there has been Go Fund Me page set up for her. The site asked for $30 thousand. They have only raised $5,000 and some change. I doubt either one will be the same after this accident. Their injuries, while not serious, will take a while to heal. Just weeks before this happened XWH totaled his car in an accident that actually was his fault. His life and business are in chaos, but he pretends everything is well and he's prosperous. He is self employed in a business that never really took off.
All this to say he struggles, still.
I am a year and a half into a relationship. BF lives near me and is only 6 years older. He's kind and companionable and very good to DD. I respect him, though he's emotionally unavailable sometimes and recently confessed to me that at 62 he doesn't have much desire left and has trouble in the equipment department. This is challenging for me -- particularly my self esteem and need for validation. Then again, not every problem needs to be solved at once (I tell myself).
Sometimes on this site I read about people who say that after a period of healing and recovery they believe the infidelity ended up being the best thing that ever happened to them. Some days I feel that. Other days I get a little nostalgic for the days when I believed in the possibility of XWH. I still remember what it felt like when he loved me and I wish that could be erased sometimes -- the memory of him and how he would turn to me with nothing but love. All that then, poof. It's gone. So that's a struggle.
2 comments posted: Thursday, December 26th, 2019
Weird twist of Fate (and Karma)
So XWH and AP are in shock trauma after a car accident. XWH has multiple fractured ribs and AP has multiple fractures and had to undergo surgery (but manages to still post updates on FB). Since AP is a transplant patient and at a high risk for infection I imagine that her condition is pretty tricky. Also, I am pretty sure XWH is uninsured now that we are divorced (he was on my employer sponsored insurance).
Really not sure how to handle this news. DD has no interest in visiting XWH because she doesn't want to see AP. Also a few ex-laws are now peddling the line that AP has no family and thus deserves sympathy and support, including ex-MIL.
So, yes, this is weird karma. On the one hand, it is fortunate they were not killed and I am glad they survived. On other hand, I am already seeing a few sympathetic posts from people in our social circle about XWH and AP. No doubt she has some serious health challenges ahead but I hate that she's getting lionized. Background: Three years ago AP was an aquaintance I invited to Thanksgiving on a charitable impulse. We became instant friends and DD adored her and considered her mentor. The whole time AP was sleeping with XWH. I refused to believe it even though everyone else seemed to know about it. Any thoughts about how to handle things on my end when people ask me about the situation? Should I be pushing DD a little harder to see her dad in the hospital (it's an hour away).
13 comments posted: Sunday, December 1st, 2019
Fell of the rage texting wagon
I don't know what's wrong with me I sent my XWH a really dreadful text last night and couldn't stop myself. I was triggered by XMIL calling DD while she was doing her homework and asking why she didn't show up for dinner as she was invited along with XWH. DD suffers from a lot of anxiety and has a lot of academic pressure on her... I didn't even know she was supposed to be at her grandmothers' for dinner (on a school night?). The way she kept apologizing to her grandmother for forgetting -- I could tell there was a lot of guilting going on the other side of the line.
I called XWH but rather than call me back he texted. That enraged me, too, so I went off. A few glasses of wine didn't help. I ridiculed the fact that he is broke and still wastes his time showing up at equestrian events with AP wearing fancy tweeds and pretends he's successful, rather than taking care of his recently widowed mom. DD is getting sucked into care-giving MIL, who is showing signs of dementia. I used to help care for XMIL until she started treating me rudely and insisted the end of the marriage was my fault. Now she's often alone because XWH is always out with AP.
All this is ancient history now and I have no idea why I got so angry so fast. I am in a relationship with someone else, financially stable and have a great job. What's wrong with me? What kills me is I know he loves my anger, it empowers him. Ugh.
3 comments posted: Friday, November 15th, 2019
New Life Awkwardness
Haven't posted in a while so here's a quick update. My divorce was final in June. EXWH and I legally separated January 2018 and were living in house separation starting in January 2017 (D day was December 2016). I still live in the marital home with DD on the inlaw's farm, as we thought that would be the best arrangement for DD until she graduates next year. It's been a bit klunky dealing with ex-inlaws but I am saving a ton of money and planning my exit strategy.
I have been seeing the same guy for 14 months now and we've been taking it slow. I have introduced him to DD and they have a great rapport. He even drives her to appointments when I am at work (I have a long commute) and EXHH has been very unreliable about picking her up and taking her where she needs to go (another story).
We've taken a couple of trips together and I have posted photos on Facebook. We care for each other deeply, but he knows DD is my first priority. This week he's coming with me to a family celebration down south. Every time I mention this to people I sense a little eyebrow raise like they are saying, "So Soon??" I find myself getting a little defensive about it. Does anyone feel like they are being judged for moving on so quickly? Usually it's people who don't know me well or are older.... but still. Do I really need to be walking around in black to mourn my dead marriage for several months before committing to a new relationship? Looking for a little affirmation here, I guess. Thanks all.
6 comments posted: Monday, October 7th, 2019