Mentally Stuck in DDay & in the Hurt
I am writing this because this is the worst pain and worst feeling I have ever experienced in my life. I guess I needed to write this story and maybe get some guidance from a community because books and therapy just don’t feel like enough. For reference, we do not have kids. Here is my story.
We have been married almost 13 years now and haven’t been without our problems. I’m an emotionally closed off Army vet with PTSD and she has her own anxiety issues. This led to a lot of not communicating our needs over the years and assuming what the other is thinking.
September 2020. I get a call from my mom saying that my grandmother’s cancer has returned and she has maybe days left. I knew I needed to be there for my grandmother and for my mom. I immediately let my wife know what is going on. She encourages me to be there for my family and she will hold down things at home.
Later that night my wife approached me and told me she was extremely unhappy with the state of our marriage.
It took me a second to change gears from my dying grandmother to what my wife just said but I quickly realized where she was going. As I said, we have not been without our problems. Our lack of communication over the years has led to many issues such as feeling disconnected from each other, poor routines, lack of closeness, and even dead bedroom.
I am no stranger to harsh situations like this, having survived two combat deployments when I was in the military. My solution when I am depressed is to emotionally tune out the world and keep moving forward. I know this isn’t good, but this is how I started surviving the depression I was feeling from our lack of physical and emotional intimacy. My wife’s solution to her depression was to assume the worst and believe she was unwanted by me. Like I did not want to be with her, and I can see that, given how we kept ignoring our problems. She also assumed maybe she was the problem and I wasn’t attracted to her.
Our lack of emotional and physical intimacy just built up over the years and we each became too afraid to bring it up and rock the boat. When it finally is brought up, we have big fights and then try therapy or a book or something. This led to “talking about feelings=fights”.
So, back to that night. She told me she was unhappy with the state of our marriage and she couldn’t take it anymore. She wanted me to really think about what I wanted while I was out of state to be with my grandmother. She said she was so unhappy with the lack of intimacy that she was even considering an open marriage. I told her I was extremely unhappy with the lack of intimacy as well and I believed that both of our needs were not being met and neither one of us ever brought it up. I told her I was not interested in an open marriage and said we can find some way to repair our communication.
I promised her that while I was away I would think hard on the reasons why I was so emotionally tuned out a lot of the time and I wanted her to think about the reasons why she didn’t communicate with me. We agreed to this. While I was out of state to be with family in crisis, I started journaling at night trying to get in touch with myself. My days were spent sitting with my mom next to my grandmother in her hospice bed.
It was all a lie.
When I got home after burying my grandmother, things were immediately weird. My wife and I had not communicated very much while I was away. She needed space. As much as I needed her while I was dealing with the loss of my grandma, I tried to be respectful.
After two weeks of being home, early in October 2020, I was suspicious of my wife. She was always on her phone texting with her guy friend (at this point I was never opposed to her having guy friends). Her phone never left her sight. She was distant from me in a way I had never felt before. I decided just to look at the phone records and see if I was making something of nothing. There it was. An 8 hour phone call the day I flew out in September followed by over 1000 text messages that ranged from daytime into the late hours of the night.
Since our phone plan was in my name and I owned the account, I had everything backup to the cloud and always meant to turn that off but never did. I made the dive.
It took me three days to go through everything I found and I had to do it in private. She was having an affair it it started prior to me even leaving.
The woman I never thought would ever do something like this. The worst part was, it wasn’t only a sexual affair it was also an emotional affair. She fell in love with her AP. Where I failed to be an emotional person with her, some other person swooped in.
I approached her and at first she denied everything. When I told her I had her texts and pictures backed up she admitted it. She said she would not break contact with her AP and that would be a deal breaker. This hurt even worse. I was in so much pain I shut down completely. I started individual therapy through the VA to try to cope and she continued on with her AP. She was unsure if she wanted to try with me or leave me for her AP.
For the next two and a half months I begged her to break contact with her AP. I told her how much it was hurting me. I wanted her to start therapy with me and try to figure this mess out. She kept refusing. By December 2020 my heart couldn’t take anymore. I was taking anxiety meds every 6 hours just to survive. My job performance was falling apart. I finally realized I did not deserve to be treated like this.
I looked up information on divorce and found out what I needed to do. Now I just needed to tell her.
I was trying to muster up the strength to tell her when she approached me and said she wanted to try with me. I was immediately filled with relief and also confusion. She finally wanted to try with me and give up her AP which was great but I had already mentally made a decision.
I decided our marriage was worth trying for, especially since only part of me wanted the divorce.
It took her until the end of December for her to finally break it off with her AP. Their bond was so strong that she and her individual therapist decided it was best to slowly break it off. She kept telling me how important her AP was to her and it was hard to break their connection. She loved him and still loves him. This is why she wanted an open marriage before, to be with her AP openly. How do I wrap my head around any of this?
From January 2021 until today, we are in couples therapy and both in individual therapy and have gone through many of the recommended readings such as the Michele Weiner-Davis book. The affair ended at the end of December but for me it just happened and I am still living in it.
I am emotionally and mentally stuck in the days I discovered everything and how I was treated afterwards. I have told my wife that part of me wants to try to work things out and part of me just can’t get past what happened. She has admitted her feelings for the AP are still there and she can’t do things that remind her of him because it makes her upset. This makes it even harder, knowing your wife loves another man and has someone else in her heart.
I have had zero movement with this. She tells me she is hanging on as long as she can but the limbo is extremely difficult for her since I don’t know if I want to continue the marriage or not.
I feel guilty for not knowing. I am so hurt and torn apart by everything but part of me still loves her and wants to try. My head is spinning everyday and I feel lost. Our couples therapist has said I should have had more movement even though it hasn’t even been three months since the affair ended. This has me feeling like I am delaying things and torturing my wife by being indecisive.
We are still doing therapy and talking openly. I haven’t yelled at her once and have been respectful while making sure she understands my feelings. This is important to me.
I know she is remorseful and I can see the pain in her eyes and she has been doing everything right since January to make me comfortable. I have full access to her phone and emails and we talk constantly now.
I just feel like there’s a giant voice in my head saying not to let anyone treat you this way. Like a giant hill I cannot climb over. My heart is sunken, my chest hurts, and my shoulders are heavy. I don’t know when I will know if I can get past this or not or even live with what happened. As I said before, I am still stuck in feeling like it just happened. I have never felt betrayal before.
I have been doing EMDR with my individual therapist where for some of the first times in my life, I have broken down and started crying. Both my parents were military as well so crying was something I never knew was ok to do.
If you have read this far, thank you for listening to my scrambled thoughts. I guess I needed to get this out and see what other people’s thoughts are. Is it normal to be stuck and undecided on staying or going? Is it normal to feel like you are still in D Day?
I feel like my wife is two people, one I love and one who betrayed me and I can’t trust. I needed her when my grandma was dying and she was with another man. I have never felt so much pain in my life.
My life is a living hell and I’d rather be back in combat with my fellow soldiers .
87 comments posted: Tuesday, March 16th, 2021