Don't know how to move on from this....
The other day, WH was in our den having a zoom session with his IC. He usually uses headphones, but apparently they weren't working so he had the sound on. Well, the den isn't far from the living room and, you guessed it, I could practically hear every word. At the same time, our adult son (who has autism) was having a zoom session with his social therapist. I could also hear him since he tends to talk loudly. The den and my son's bedroom are right next to each other and I was concerned about my son hearing WH's session. So I went down the hall and saw that my son's door was open a crack. So I closed it which muffled the sound of his voice. Now I could hear WH even more clearly. I thought about letting him know that I could hear his session, but the door was locked and I decided not to interrupt. And yes, I realize I shouldn't have listened. I should have gone outside or put on some headphones myself. But curiosity got the best of me. I admit it. Listening was wrong. But now I cannot unhear what he said. My fault? Yes. But it doesn't make it go away or be any less painful.
Basically, WH said that he still finds himself thinking about the AP and some of the good times they had. His IC told him that it's natural, but that acting on those thoughts is what he needs to avoid. Then WH said that although his emotional connection to me is stronger due to "history and security" he finds that sex with the AP was "different and better" than with me. Again, his IC told him those thoughts are normal, as long as he doesn't let himself "long" for her or focus on those feelings too much.
OK. How is this supposed to make me feel? I told him my greatest fear is being compared to her, especially sexually. I know I'm way more conservative than she was in that area. I don't want to be labeled as "second best" or feel that he's settling for me due to our "history and security." What, so he doesn't want to lose his home and family and half of our savings account and investments so he'll "settle" for less enjoyable sex? And he still has pleasant thoughts of their times together? WTF am I supposed to do with that? I feel like he's been lying when he says she'll never hold a candle to me, that I am the only one he desires, that sex with AP was meaningless and unfulfilling. Really? Then why did he do it for two years until I blew it up? He also feeds me a line of bull that he never loved her, he just felt a deep level of friendship with her. She begged and demanded that he profess his love, so he said it and wrote it (and I read it!) many times to keep the sex coming. Really? I think his feelings went and perhaps still go much deeper than that. I feel like I'm just the back-up plan.
I also don't think his IC is doing him much good. He's been seeing him since July and I haven't seen much, if any, change in how he communicates with me. His level of defensiveness, his blank stares while I'm crying, his avoidance of conversations and his ability/desire to comfort me haven't really changed. He says he's becoming a better person because he's not having an A and not having online sex chats or looking at porn. That's nice, but where is his ability to show me that he deserves a modicum of trust? I don't know what to believe. As far as I know, every word that comes out of his mouth is still a lie. When I get upset and start spiraling, he starts avoiding me rather than engaging, which makes me feel even worse. I still get a lot of "I don't knows" when I ask the hard questions. And he won't let a single thing I say land directly on AP's head. If I say anything about her, he swoops in and grabs half of the blame. "Well, we both did that." "No, I don't think she meant it like that." "She was just damaged and hurt when she said that." She wrote some really awful things about me. They were things she only could have known if he told her. When I bring these things up, he says, "I don't recall saying that about you. It must have been her own perception." What? The bitch only met me once for about 10 minutes. How would she know about things I said or did if he didn't tell her? I'm lost. I don't know what to believe. I don't know who to trust. I think his IC session involve him reporting things I said and the IC telling WH how to not let my issues affect him. It's all about pumping WH up to feel good about himself. WH quoted him as saying, "I have to work on my stuff. You have to work on your stuff." Fine! But my stuff involves you, so you don't have to engage with me? You just get to ignore me so YOU don't get stressed and go back to your deviance and deception? So I'm supposed to tip-toe around so his Majesty the Cheater doesn't relapse?
I also think he bends the truth with his IC to make himself look better. He said that last week was tough for me because it was the anniversary of my dad's death, then his birthday a few days later. WH said he made sure he stayed present and supported me during that time. No, he most certainly did not! He was no more present and supportive than usual (which isn't all that much). Sure, he acknowledged the dates verbally. But did he go out of his way to take my mind off it? Do something different or special for me? Nope. It was business as usual, which means him doing his own thing and me being left with my own thoughts.
Sorry for the rant. I'm just lost and so hurt right now. I will discuss this with my IC on Monday, and we finally have our first MC appointment coming up on Tuesday. My IC recommended that we start months ago so I could start getting some clarity. But King Cheater's IC told him to hold off until they agreed that he was ready. So I've been left to stew this whole time, waiting for him to prepare his delicate little brain to confront HIS cheating in front of me and a therapist. In fact, his IC told him to avoid engaging with me so it won't set him back. How is that fair? His IC said I'm just holding myself back. I can't even wrap my head around this crap!!!!!
20 comments posted: Sunday, October 2nd, 2022
Can I Just Vent for a Minute?
The year from hell just keeps getting worse. I had no idea that 2022 would be such a bitch, but here I am and it's not over yet!
Without going into a ton of details, here's my year so far:
- D-day. That speaks for itself. Also had WH admit his many indiscretions over the course of our marriage. He is not who I thought he was. Our marriage is not what I thought it was.
- My brother got into a horrible accident. Thankfully he wasn't injured, but he lost the work van that he needed to run his business. He did find another one, but the whole thing (totally not his fault) cost him thousands of dollars.
- Then the same brother had a heart attack. Thankfully he got to the hospital and was promptly treated. He's doing well now, but I couldn't visit him in the hospital or support my mom because...
- WH brought us the gift of Covid. He decided to return to an activity before I thought it was safe. He came down with it, as did our older son and I. I had to stay away from my brother for weeks after his heart attack because I couldn't risk giving him Covid.
- Luckily our younger son did not get it since he was about to get on a plane for a summer job in another state. He stayed negative and made his flight, but I didn't see him for the entire week before he left except to say goodbye through a window. No hugs. That was hard.
- After our son left, the plumbing in our house literally blew up. Over $15,000 later, it works. There goes part of the savings account.
- Then my aunt died. She was my last surviving aunt and now I'm worried and sad for my uncle who isn't used to being alone.
- We got to travel to see our son where he was working his summer job. BUT, his best friend and his mom had to cancel out of the trip because they both had Covid.
- As soon as we got there, our son said he had been fighting a cold. I gave him a test. BAM! Covid! He spent much of our trip isolating upstairs in our rental house. WH's brother and our son's GF cancelled their trips to join us since we had all been exposed. None of us ended up getting it and we did get to spend a day of quality time with our son at the end of the trip. But it was mostly him at the house and us going out during the day without him.
- Fast-forward to the present. I took my sweet rabbit to the vet yesterday because I noticed some concerning symptoms. He likely has a mass in his chest. The next step is to see a specialist for an ultrasound to confirm the diagnosis. The only option for a cure will likely be surgery. Steroid treatment might be an option, but only to keep the tumor from growing. The prognosis is not great. He's only around 7 1/2 years old, so I expected to have him for at least a few more years. He's been a huge source of comfort to me this year. I sit on the floor and he comes hopping over to climb on me and then settles down for pets. I didn't think I would be facing the prospect of losing him so soon. I'll see what the next vet has to say and make some decisions from there.
- Our son is coming home today after 4 months at his summer job. I can't wait to hug him! But he'll only be here for about a week and a half before he moves across the country with his girlfriend. I'm very excited for them, but I'll be so sad when he leaves. And some of his time at home will be spent with us making decisions about the rabbit that he also loves very much. We will make the best of his time at home, but now this other thing is clouding it.
So, that's my 2022 in a nutshell. I do have a good IC that I see online. She taught me a journaling exercise and I did a long entry last night. WH is being supportive about the bunny and is going to leave work early next week to help me take him to the new vet.
I think I deserve a big piece of cake today. And maybe a drink. Thanks for letting me vent.
2 comments posted: Saturday, September 10th, 2022
Wanted to Share...
So I'm only 5 1/2 months from D-Day and already feel like I've been through so much! WH and I have both been in IC. My IC says I'm 100% ready to begin MC. His IC doesn't want him to begin MC until he becomes more stable in terms of how he deals with stress. His go-to methods were porn, online chat and even worse, calling or meeting with the AP. His IC has given him strategies for choosing alternate behaviors, questions to ask himself when he gets urges, etc. I do believe he's made progress in that area, but WH says he's taking it day-by-day, even hour-by-hour. Entering into MC and really discussing the difficult issues might be too much for him to handle at this point. Obviously, this is stressful for me. While I understand that rushing the process might do more damage than good, I have to figure out what to do with/for myself while I wait for WH to catch up.
Two weeks ago, I really fell into a black hole. I was feeling ignored by WH. The more upset I appeared, the more he tip-toed around me, which felt to me like he didn't give a crap how I felt (and the fact that he caused it!). I scheduled an extra session with my IC and basically cried through it as I told her how depressed I was and how much he didn't seem to care. She encouraged me to stop expecting much of anything from him. She explained that he and I are in totally different places regarding the A. He's trying to reconcile what he did, why and how to deal with his own stress and feelings about it. As a result, he's currently not capable of addressing my feelings or needs. I told her I wasn't looking for any deep conversations or solutions. I just needed a little kindness: perhaps suggesting we take a walk, get coffee, frozen yogurt, a hug, a joke...anything to get me out of the house and feeling like he cared, even if he's in a different space right now. She said those things likely don't even occur to him. He sees my pain, he knows he caused it, his history of conflict avoidance and all the other qualities that led him to the A are not even close to being resolved. She said I really needed to stop relying on him to do anything but deal with his own issues right now. She said this will likely be the hardest part of this process since I feel like I'm in it alone. She wants me to confide in a friend or family member for support, but I'm not ready to tell anyone about the A. I just can't do it. So she encouraged me to think of a few things I can do to make myself feel better.
After that session, I basically stopped talking to WH about much of anything. I kept it at a more superficial level - household stuff, schedules, thing about the kids, etc. I was polite, but not overly friendly. This went on for a few days until he had his IC session. That night we went to grab dinner since our son (who has autism) was meeting with his social therapist at our house and we didn't want to interrupt their session by making noise in the kitchen. So we got our food and he started to open up about his session. He told his IC that I was really depressed and that he didn't know how to help me, so his impulse was to avoid. The IC told him it's time for him to be more mindful about me. He should stay tuned into my feelings and do what he can (at this point) to help. He told him to plan dates with me, suggest a walk, share a song he likes, etc. There's no need to go into the deep issues right now. But he told WH he can't just avoid me while he works on himself. As a result, the past week or so has been much better. He's more attentive. He comes straight over to greet me when he gets home. He plops down on the couch next to me and puts his arm around me. Even though he goes to bed later than me, he comes in to snuggle for a few minutes when I go to bed. It's just a bunch of little things that add up to my feeling seen, heard and valued. We still have a long way to go, but I am encouraged by these positive steps.
I've also been more mindful about myself, as my IC suggested. I stopped at Starbuck's the other day just because I wanted to. I did a favor for my classroom teacher last week (I'm a teaching assistant). She asked if she could bring me a Starbuck's drink to thank me. Usually, I would say no thanks, not wanting to put the person out. But this time, I said sure! I would love an iced latte with almond milk! She bought it on her lunch break and gave it to me after I'd spent an hour in the heat with our students during lunch recess. It was exactly what I needed!
The last thing I wanted to share is something I bought for myself. I decided I wanted something to remind me that I am a strong, independent person who has dealt with a lot of stuff and is still standing. I helped nurse my beloved father through the end of his life and watched as he peacefully died. I've raised a son with autism to adulthood. I am still navigating challenges that most other parents never have to deal with. I raised my younger son to be one of the kindest, most loving and wonderful people I've ever met. He's preparing to move across the country to purse a very exciting career. His confidence level is off the charts and I am very proud of him! Now I am dealing with a wayward spouse and fighting hard to get my marriage back on track. I'm walking through life every single day with this burden, doing my job, making a difference in the lives of my special needs students, being a wife, mother, daughter, sister and friend. I'm realizing that I deserve a lot of credit for a lot of things! I was browsing Amazon for some kind of symbol of who I am and what I've accomplished. I found a collection of Morse Code bracelets. Basically they're bracelets that spell out a message in Morse Code. No one but the wearer will know what it says (unless you tell someone). Otherwise, it just looks like a string of little circles and lines (dots and dashes). I decided I wanted to get one, so I scrolled through the options. They say things like "believe" or "just breathe" or "survivor." I chose the one that I thought was most appropriate for where I am right now: f***ing badass! I'm wearing it right now. I told WH what it says and he said, "Yep! That's you!" I don't plan on telling anyone else. It's my own secret thing to remind me what I have and still can accomplish. Thanks for reading. Hope this helps someone else who might be in the same stage as I am.
4 comments posted: Sunday, August 28th, 2022
Too soon to trust him...
We're 5 months out from D-Day and I'm having a tough week. WH wants to go back to an activity that he's been involved in for years. The issue is that during the A, he invited the AP into the activity a few times and they spent time together where it takes place. He says they always arrived in separate cars, they were always in view of other people and he introduced her as a co-worker who was interested in said activity. He says no one suspected anything and they all know he's married to me (I've been there many times and have met most of the people involved).
So now he wants to go back. As you can imagine, this is a huge trigger for me. It's quite possible that AP will show up there, despite both of us establishing NC and telling her, specifically, to stay away from that activity. She's broken NC at least once by calling him about 2 1/2 months after D-Day to ask if she could show up at the activity if she knew he wouldn't be there. He again said no, just stay away. But the issue is that he so readily picked up her call when he saw the number (he "forgot" that she wasn't blocked on his work phone). Then I got a bunch of TT about the call until I "think" I finally got the truth. I emailed her after that and left a rather terse voicemail, telling her to go away and stay away (with a few choice words sprinkled in). I obviously don't trust her as far as I can throw her. And we're not far enough along in this process for to trust WH. It's realistic to think that she might show up when he's there. And truthfully, I don't think he yet has the confidence, the conviction or, quite frankly, the balls to ignore her, walk away or say, "I'm not going to talk to you." He avoids conflict like the plague. He doesn't want people to hate him. I can see him being polite or making small talk or even having a more serious talk if he thought no one was listening. I believe he's working on himself and committed to changing, but I don't think he's had enough time to build that level of confidence and not shrink if she bats her tearful eyes or accuses him of using her only for sex.
I told him that I would feel unsafe if he went back to that activity right now. I need more time to heal. I need to see him making a consistent effort for a longer stretch of time. He asked, "How will you know if you can trust me if you don't give me a chance to prove it? I can't prove it if I have to avoid potentially challenging situations." Yes. True, but am I expected to just suck it up and let it go after only 5 months?
I talked to my IC about this and here's what she said: You can't control this situation. You can't control his actions. You can't control APs actions. You need to let him do what he's going to do and trust that he will handle it appropriately. I told her that my greatest fear right now is yet another "shoe" dropping squarely on my head. The initial shock and ensuing TT is still too raw. I'm not there yet. She encouraged me to just let it happen.
WH talked to his IC about it yesterday. He told the IC that I am going through this storm of emotions about him potentially returning to this activity. The IC's response: Well, she is choosing to feel that way. She can choose to just let it go and start trusting you. Wait, what? Really? I am choosing for my stomach to tie up in knots at the thought of him going to his activity and the very real possibility that she will show up? At this early stage when I don't believe that he's ready and able to handle it?
WH asked me: "If you can't trust me to do these things now, how much time do you need? When will you start trusting me?" I told him I can't put a timeline on it. And how can he even ask me that?
So basically, I'm feeling like this entire healing/recovery process is being placed all on me. If I can't trust him, we can't move forward. If I feel anxious and hurt and on the verge of tears whenever I think about it, that's just me making the choice to feel that way. And how can his IC make judgements about me when he doesn't even know me? How can I even trust WH to be telling him the whole truth of everything I've dealt with over our 34-year marriage. Does he realize that my being too trusting is what allowed WH to sneak around for 2 entire years behind my back with a whore? I'm feeling lost and I need the perspective of people who have BTDT. Thanks.
21 comments posted: Friday, August 12th, 2022
Did You Tell Anyone Your Spouse's A?
(Title should be Did You Tell Anyone About Your Spouse's A.)
Four months after D-Day, I have still told a very limited number of people about WH's A. So far, I have told my IC, my doctor (who ordered STD testing) and a college friend of WH's who is a priest. He had lunch with WH yesterday, listened to his story and provided advice and support. He will be checking in with WH on a regular basis to help keep him accountable in his recovery. I think that's a positive thing for WH, but it doesn't do much for me.
My IC keep asking me who, besides her, do I have in my corner? Who can I call on when I'm feeling down or hopeless? Who can I count on to listen and provide me with the support I need? My answer is literally no one. I have not told any of my friends or family what I'm going through. The truth is that I'm too embarrassed. I'm horrified that it happened. I can't imagine sitting down with anyone and spilling all the details. I feel like it would create more stress and anxiety rather than helping me feel better. I'm still just trying to get through each day. I just can't see myself talking about the A to anyone besides WH and my IC. Talking to our priest friend wasn't that difficult since I know he will keep it confidential, and he deals with infidelity issues in his congregation all the time. Although he's a friend, I viewed him as more of a professional in this situation.
So what did everyone else do? Did you tell friends or family members about the A so you could get their support? My IC said she would look into support groups for me, so I'll see what she comes up with next week. It's hard enough knowing that the A will be part of my personal history and the history of our marriage. I just can't bear the idea of other people knowing that about us and having it taint their feelings about me and my marriage. Maybe that's an unhealthy thought, but that's where I am right now.
28 comments posted: Monday, July 18th, 2022
What Does "The Work" Actually Look Like?
I keep reading about "the work" - R takes hard work. A WH has a lot of hard work ahead of him. Is your WH really doing the work?
My question is, what does "the work" look like? How can I tell if my WH is actually doing the work? He has had 5 sessions with his IC (online). He takes notes and types them out afterward. He's read a few books, including some recommended here that I've also read. He's reading a book on "Choice Theory" as recommended by his IC. He says he is resisting the urge to look at porn and go into online chat rooms as he did so frequently before. He says he is NC with the AP since "impulsively" picking up a call from her about 2 months after D-Day on his work phone. He said he felt it was a "relapse" and that he learned from it. He left her a voicemail after that, reiterating that he doesn't want any further contact from her. I left her my own voicemail during a particularly bad moment. I'm not necessarily proud of the things I said, but it reflected the pain, anger and disgust I was feeling in the moment. According to WH, she has not tried to contact him since (nor has he contacted her).
WH is not very forthcoming with what he's been learning. He does not initiate conversations with me about the A, things he's read or learned from IC. I tend to start asking questions and sharing my feeling when I get upset and my mind starts racing 100 miles a minute. He responds to my questions, but there's still some level of defensiveness and "I don't know" and "that's what I'm trying to find out" when I ask why it happened. He is getting better about keeping his cool when I start raging. He says he's committed to being a better person and husband.
I have a session with my IC tomorrow and I'm planning to ask her these same questions. I thought I'd run it by everyone here who has BTDT. Is this what "the work" is supposed to look like? How can I be sure he is actually doing it the work it will take to get his head straight and get us on track toward R? And what am I supposed to be doing in the meantime, besides seeing my own IC and trying to sort through my own feelings? We are living in the same house. We are doing things together and as a family. Are we just supposed to be biding our time while he does his work? Should he be voluntarily telling me about what he's discovered or learned? Or am I just supposed to stay quiet while he does his work? I'm feeling kind of stuck between the horrors of D-Day and the next step toward R (whenever and whatever that is).
13 comments posted: Monday, July 11th, 2022
Why oh why are there so many seemingly little things that trigger the heck out of me? I'm just about 3 1/2 months from D-Day. I know it's still very early, but I felt like I was beginning to get a handle on my own recovery. I can be having a decent day and BAM! Something hits me right in the face, out of nowhere! I know it's common for a BS to have these stupid triggers but man, they can be a bitch!
I am currently on a trip, visiting my son who is working this summer in another state. This trip was planned before D-Day and WH was not included due to his own work schedule. He will be joining me on another trip out here later in the summer. This time, I'm traveling with my mom and sister. WH drove us to the airport and said to text him before take-off so he would know we got through security and on the plane OK. So I did that and he texted back, "OK good! Ping me when you land." Ugh! Right between the eyes! It's the word "Ping!" Back on D-Day, I read a string of Facebook messages between him and the AP. They were playing a little game and writing "Ping" back and forth. Apparently when one of them would write that, it would be a signal to go to a more private messaging app so they could talk. WH and I never used Ping between us. Usually we would just say, "Text me when you land." But this time he used "Ping" and my stomach was suddenly in knots and my heart started pounding. It was innocent enough on his part. It just took me right back to that day when I sat at his laptop and discovered that my worst fears had come true. I told him about this later on the phone. He apologized and said he didn't know that word would bother me. I said I didn't either, but it did. He said he would try to remember not to use it again.
Why does one stupid word cause me to freak out? Intellectually, I know why. My brain equates that word with a traumatic episode and it takes me back there when I hear it. I can't control my brain's reaction to trauma right now. From what I've read, it's a primal response. I get that, but it's just so hard to deal with. Even when I called WH the other day and he said, "Hey! What's up?" Well, that's exactly what he said after I read all that painful stuff on his laptop and called him to come home so I could confront him. Again, he said it innocently enough, but it still took me right back. I know it will take time. It's just so hard!
6 comments posted: Sunday, July 3rd, 2022
Having a hard time right now
I'm having a hard time right now. We're 3 1/2 months post D-Day and working toward R. WH has spent the first two weeks of his summer vacation taking a deep dive into books, articles, seeing his IC and taking notes. He even attended a sex addicts anonymous meeting. We're still not convinced he's a full-blown SA, but his IC suggested he explore the possibility and attend a meeting to see if anything resonates with him. I have to credit him for the work he's been doing. He's also been transparent with where he goes and I have full access to his laptop and phone.
My problem? I'm still deeply entrenched in my own trauma and pain. My defenses are up. Bad thoughts and pictures keep slamming my brain. I can't keep them out. I can't wish them away. I can't simply think about something else. I don't trust WH. It's too soon to give him a shred of trust. If I let my defenses down just a little, I'm afraid I'll be blindsided once again when some new, disgusting detail comes out (I think this is my key issue). The last thing I want to do is rug-sweep. I did that years ago for one of his many transgressions and I've lived to regret it.
I can't get the OW out of my head. I know she doesn't deserve my time, attention or one bit of space in my head. But she pops in there all the time. I can't get over the fact that she had my husband's romantic attention and focus for nearly two years. Together, they cheated, lied, betrayed and tossed me in the gutter so they could get their rocks off. They even screwed in my house, on my couch with the photos of my kids right next to it. WH refuses to admit that she's a horrible person. It's like he wants to keep a certain image of her safe in his mind. He says she's just a damaged, needy woman who made destructive choices in an attempt to feel loved and desired. He admits she's manipulative and self-centered, but then he says he was too. He can't let me put some blame on her once in a while without him swooping in to take half of it. It's like he's trying to protect her. It makes me sick. He says he didn't have feelings for her beyond friendship. He played along and kept her pacified for the sex and ego strokes. According to him, it had nothing to do with me. How? I read their emails. He gave her a list of my flaws and shortcomings to soften her towards having sex with him. She used everything he said to feel justified. "Oh this poor sweet man. His wife is a frigid bitch who isn't meeting his needs. It's my duty to screw him in my car and blow him in the bushes."
I tried IC and quit after 4 sessions. I didn't connect with the IC or feel like I got anything useful from her. I explained all this to her. Her solution was for me to just stop thinking bad thoughts. Stop thinking about the OW. Stop picturing them together. Stop wondering if the noises and faces he makes during sex are the same ones he made with her. Stop wondering if he's thinking about her when he's with me. Stop wondering what freaky things they did together that I'm not into. Stop wondering if my more conservative nature will ever be enough for him. Just let him do his work, focus on his actions and not his words, make myself happy and move forward. Nice advice. Easier said than done. Once a thought enters my head, once some little thing triggers me, it grows. It's there. It takes on a life of its own. It multiplies. When WH asks me what's wrong, I tell him. He retreats and gets defensive. He gets an annoyed tone. Throws his hands up in frustration. He tells me to just stop the thoughts. He doesn't know how to be kind, caring, reassuring and soothing. He makes it about all about how it's bothering him. He told his IC that I can't seem to control my bad thoughts. The IC said, "Can't or won't?" So now WH is convinced that I just refuse to put these things out of my mind. Wow! Does he not understand that I would If I could? Does he really think I want to feel this way? Does he think I'm happy walking around all day, going to work, talking to my family and friends, all the while stuffing down my immense pain and acting like everything is just fine and dandy? It's exhausting to keep up this act. This morning he asked me, "What brings you inner peace? Just focus on that." Huh? So I'm supposed to be driving down the road and start thinking about cute little bunnies hopping around? Is that going to get to the core of the issue, or just cover it up for a little while?
I'm really confused and reeling from all this. I do plan on trying another IC. There are literally none available around here that take our insurance. They're all booked up and not taking new patients. My only option is online, which isn't the greatest, although WH is doing fine with his. I'm traveling for much of July, but will try to fit in a few sessions if I can. I don't really expect any advice here. I'm sure most people will direct me to IC and tell me to focus on myself while WH focuses on himself. It's just hard to see him happily skipping through life while I'm stuck in a pit. He say's he not skipping, that he is also hurting deeply. He just doesn't show his feelings. He thinks about them instead. It's like talking to a stone statue. I get very little feedback or understanding, but he says it's there. Thanks for letting me vent.
26 comments posted: Monday, June 27th, 2022
Another IC Question
I posted a couple weeks back about not totally understanding how IC (for me) was supposed to work. I've now had three sessions and have a forth tomorrow. The first session was mostly intake questions and me telling her the story of the A. The last two weeks, she started by saying, "So, what's been going on?" I talk about WH, conversations we've had, concerns I have, etc. She's given me a little advice such as, "Concentrate on yourself and let him figure himself out. Focus on his actions, not his words since you can't trust what he says." It's nothing earth-shattering and nothing I hadn't already figured out by myself. Now I'm anticipating tomorrow's session and whether I can make it more useful. On the other hand, should that be all up to me? I know it's supposed to be about me and whatever I need to talk about. But, after three session, should I start expecting her to stop and focus on certain things that I might be missing? I almost feel like I'm taking the lead in every session. She's just nodding her head and chiming in occasionally. She offers advice if I ask a direct question. I'm still at a loss about what her role is vs. mine. I would like her to lead me to delve into things that she thinks would be helpful. I told her last week that I feel traumatized and asked how I can stop thinking about the A during my work day. She said, "Just concentrate on what you're doing at the moment." Really? Is that all there is to it? Because I would be glad to do that, I just can't.
So, is this how IC is supposed to go? Am I supposed to think before each session about what I want to discuss and focus on? Shouldn't she be stopping me to suggest we focus on particular things in more depth? And then shouldn't she ask questions to lead me through it? I feel like I'm just talking and not getting much in return. I expected that she would guide the conversation, not just sit and listen. I also get a weird feeling, almost like she sees all this in a "gossipy" way? When I told her I left the OW a voicemail and blasted the crap out of her, the therapist said, "Ooooo what did you say?" I just glossed over it at that point. She also asked to see pictures of WH and the OW. I held up a picture of WH on my phone (my session are online), but I told her I don't have access to photos of OW. I blocked her on Facebook. She said, "What if you Google her? Will a photo come up?" I had to tell her that I really didn't have any interest in looking at a picture of her ever again. She said OK, that's fine. Why did she want to see pictures? I suppose to get an idea in her mind of who I'm talking about. But was that even an appropriate thing for her to ask me? I suspect a lot of you are going to advise me to find a new IC, which I just might be doing after tomorrow' session. I would appreciate any advice or insight.
13 comments posted: Thursday, June 9th, 2022
Resurrect the Old Marriage or Build a New One?
WH and I are not in agreement about how to characterize our path to R. I've read in the forums and on other websites that the marriage should be considered dead, killed by his lies and betrayal. To move forward, we must focus on building a new marriage from scratch, one that is based on trust, honesty and respect.
He says he hates to think he killed our marriage, but he realizes he has greatly damaged it. He likes to think it's still alive, but "on life support." We need to give it the care it needs to recover and come out stronger on the other side.
I also told him that our anniversary date doesn't mean much to me anymore. It's just the start of the marriage in which he cheated on me, betrayed me and deeply hurt me. He asked if I wanted to start recognizing a new date in the future. Perhaps one where we both feel that we've turned a corner toward R. He even asked if I would want to have a vow renewal and create a new anniversary date. I told him I'm not ready to think about that and we would cross that bridge when we come to it.
Does it matter how we view the demise of the marriage? Is it dead and we must attempt to build a new one? Or is it damaged and we have to try to fix it? I realize it's just semantics, but it would help my brain to know the healthiest and most honest way to approach it.
8 comments posted: Thursday, June 2nd, 2022
Questions/Feeling About IC
I've had two IC sessions so far. I could only find an available therapist online, so that's what I'm doing. The problem is that I kind of hate it. I've never been in therapy before. It's not something I ever thought I needed or wanted to do. But I kept hearing and reading that it would help me process my trauma so I signed up. I guess my therapist is OK. The first appointment was mostly intake stuff, history, etc. We talked a little bit about the A but I didn't get any real advice. Last week, I told her about how WH picked up a call from the AP and lied about it. She listened and asked a few questions. I told her WH is willing to work on his issues, but I don't know how to handle myself in the meantime. Am I supposed to just sit around while he attempts to "fix himself?" She said, "Just tell him how you need him to act. He can choose to be the husband you deserve or not. It's on him." OK...that seems nice in theory. But he can't be the husband I deserve right now. I know it and he knows it, hence his need for IC and working on himself. The whole thing just left me feeling flat.
WH thinks I need a new therapist. I don't know if another one will do much for me either. How can a person who doesn't know me and doesn't know him advise me on how to handle myself and our relationship in such a difficult time? Like what can she possibly add when she's not right here, in the situation everyday? And how is IC supposed to make me feel better and process my deep trauma? I'm in tremendous pain. What is a lady on a screen going to do for me? I feel anxiety about the next appointment. What will I even talk about? Last time, she came on and said, "Tell me what's been going on." So I did and came away with no resolution, no solid advice or action I could take. What will I say this week? I'm still in pain?
WH just had his first IC appointment today (also online). He came away feeling excited and hopeful. He really liked the therapist and said they did the intake and talked about a few things they could start working on. He already heard a few useful things he could start to think about. I feel like my situation is different. I don't have a list of character flaws I want to address (except how did I end up with a cheater for a husband?). I'm only in IC because of what he did. Otherwise I never would have considered it. So what am I even doing? Is IC just giving me more anxiety and making me feel worse? Because that's how it feels. It doesn't help that I have to basically barricade myself in the bedroom to do it without my adult autistic son hearing me. I have to sit by the bathroom sink with the fan and TV on to muffle my voice. He asks what I'm doing and I say I have a Zoom meeting for work. How many more Thursday afternoon Zoom meetings can I have, especially after school is out for the summer and I'm not even working? I hate lying about anything, especially to him. I resent that I was put in this position. I'm just feeling confused and kind of stuck. Any advice would be appreciated.
16 comments posted: Thursday, June 2nd, 2022
He's Already Lied
D-Day was March 11. He said he desperately wanted to R. He said he would literally do anything to change and become the husband I've always wanted and needed. We were making some small amounts of progress. I believed he was finally disgusted enough with himself to do the work. He's been working on finding a therapist (insurance and waiting lists have slowed the process, but he's been trying).
Last night, he went to volunteer at a theater event. He called on his way home to say he was stopping for gas. We had left things in a good place when he left. I was actually looking forward to him coming home. After he called, I waited awhile. It seemed like the gas station was taking a long time, so I pulled up the "find my friends" app to see if he was still there. Nope. He was sitting in his car one street over from us. I continued to watch the app and he sat there for at least 5 minutes. It was probably longer before I clicked into the app.
So he finally drove the rest of the way home and happily came bouncing in. I asked why he was sitting in his car on another street? He said, "Oh, someone from the theater called so I pulled over to talk." I said, "Really? Why? You have a speaker phone in your car. Why did you have to pull over?" He said, "Um, I didn't know if she was going to ask me to come back to the theater so I stopped driving." I said, "OK, let me see the recent call log on your phone.” He stopped dead in his tracks and reluctantly pulled it up. His last call was a "scam likely" call from hours before.
I said tell me the truth! He said OK, the AP had called on his work phone. She used to volunteer at the theater when they were having their fling. She got an email asking for volunteers and she wanted to know if it was OK for her to sign up if she didn't see his name on the list on a particular night. He told her no, he's the head of the committee and his name won't always necessarily be there. He could show up on random nights. Plus, I would be there some nights and he didn't want me to hear from anyone else that you had been around.
So she said, OK, but can we just talk for a minute? Have you started therapy yet? How are things with your wife? He told her he couldn't talk about that. She said, but don't you even care how I'm doing? Come on, let's just talk for a minute. He said we can't talk about that, please don't call me again. And he hung up.
If he had told me she called and reiterated the entire conversation, I wouldn't have been mad at him (her, yes, but not him). He committed to telling me if she ever tried to contact him. He wrote me a whole commitment letter in which he promised to do just that. But the first test comes along and he freezes up and goes right into yet another lie. I am beyond hurt and angry. I don't know what to do next. I don't want to throw away my whole life and my entire marriage for this. Should I chalk this up to a mistake on his part? A misstep in what is going to be a long process? Or do I see the writing on the wall now?
91 comments posted: Thursday, May 26th, 2022
How do I let go of the anger?
I'm only 2 months post D-day. WH had a 2-year affair with an ex-coworker that didn't end until I discovered it and shut it down. He says he's committed to R. We've been having difficulty finding available therapists, but he has an intake meeting with one (through his insurance) in a couple of days. He says he'll explain the situation and ask if he should start with IC or if we should start with MC. I'm trying to be patient and realize that this is a process, but the anger just keeps building in my brain and I can't make it stop. When I let it out, I act in such an ugly way that makes me dislike myself. Last night I said to him, "Congratulations, you've turned me into an a-hole!"
These are the things that just keep going through my brain that I can't reconcile:
- It was a 2-year affair! That means that the last two years of my life are tainted. Every time I look at pictures from that time, like birthdays, holidays and vacations, I can only see his betrayal. I look at his smug face in the photos and I think, "Affair. Affair. Lies. Betrayal. Jerk." It's like nothing from the past two years was real. I also know that he was always running off to call her while we were on those vacations. He says he tried to tell her he wouldn't be available to talk while he was away with us but, "She would miss me so I would try to stay in touch." She would miss him? So he let her dictate what he could do while with us? Nice.
- They left a long trail of very hurtful emails that I was (un)fortunate enough to stumble upon. I can't get over some of the things he said to her. First of all, I found out that they had sex on our anniversary two years ago. She was bitching in an email about how he didn't acknowledge her last year on Valentine's Day. She said, "It's not like holidays are that special for you and your wife since you shared your last anniversary by having sex with me!" He admits that they worked late that night and then snuck out to her car. It was during the pandemic, so we didn't make any plans to go out anywhere. I innocently (stupidly) figured he had to work late and went off to bed before he got home. Last year on our anniversary (still in the midst of the affair), he took me for a late lunch and a walk. I thought we had a nice time together and it was an effort on his part to connect with me. According to the phone bills, he talked to her before and after our "date." He says he was focused on me and our anniversary. I see it otherwise. We just had our anniversary the other day. I cannot see it as special anymore. I can only focus on the fact that he had sex with her on that day 2 years ago, and that she threw it in his face in an email. We got a bunch of Facebook message the other day, "Happy anniversary you two crazy kids! Congrats on such a long, wonderful marriage!" My mom sent us a card and a check. Yeah right, people. If only you all knew!!!!!
- One day last summer, he took me on a walk to a park in our new neighborhood. Again, I thought it was an overture on his part to spend time with me and connect (which we've been having issues with for years). Well, I found out from an email that they had met up that morning and had sex in her car. She had asked him to stay in touch with her for the rest of the day to "keep the good feelings going." The whole time we were walking, she was badgering him on email to respond to her. We decided to stop for a sandwich on the walk back and that became a huge bone of contention for her! Her email said, "Why did you take her to that park? We took a walk there last week while she was at work. I wanted that to be 'our' park! And why didn't you email me that you were stopping for lunch with her? I was waiting and waiting! You promised to stay in touch all day to keep the good feelings going with me!" After we got home, he emailed back: "I'm sorry I didn't email you. I'm sorry I didn't tell you we were stopping for lunch. I should have gone into the bathroom at the sandwich shop so I could text you. I shouldn't have let that much time go by without being in touch. Trust me, I would rather have been taking that walk with you." Nice. He swears up and down that he only said that to pacify her and that he was 100% focused on me. Right. How do I believe that? It's written right there in black and white that he would rather have been with her. How can I not be incredibly hurt and angry about that?
- After much trickle-truth, I found out that they did it in my house. Do I even want to live here anymore? It's such a huge betrayal and shows a complete lack of respect for me and our kids. Turns out he was making up excuses on Thursday nights to stay home while I took our older (autistic) son to his weekly social group. Usually, we would drive him to his 2-hour group meeting and go out to dinner before picking him up. His group is about 15 miles away, so it doesn't make sense to come all the way home while we wait for him. Our younger son frequently spent time with his GF about 3 hours away, so he was often safely away from our house. Or, sometimes our younger son would plan to come with us to have dinner while his brother was at his social group. If that was the case, WH would suddenly have a reason to stay home (Zoom meeting for a board he's on, etc.). So I would take the boys 15 miles away for a few hours while he snuck in his bi*** through the garage. They would do it on our couch (he swears up and down they were never in our room, not so much because of the betrayal but because of the fear of leaving evidence and being caught). So she laid on our couch, had sex with my husband and then used our bathroom to clean herself up. It's the same bathroom that our boys use to take their showers and brush their teeth. What sorts of things did she wipe on their towels? I clean that bathroom every week. When did I unknowingly clean up her stench while I went about my chores?
- There were so many emails where she badgered him to reveal his feelings for her. He would type in circles (he says trying to avoid lying to her), but a few times told her he loved her. He said he wanted to take her on vacations to zoos, aquariums, theme parks, national parks (these are things that our family likes doing together). He said he wanted to spend all his time with her because "we just fit." He claims those were all lies to keep her pacified. I don't know. I could never lie to someone like that. Do I believe he was lying or did/does he really have those feelings?
-He claims to have stopped all contact with her. We sat together while he blocked her phone number, blocked her email, blocked her on Facebook and deleted the messaging app they used. I have no evidence that they've been in contact, but I can't just trust him that quickly and easily. He's very good at talking himself into things. He's very impulsive and will convince himself that something is OK when it's clearly not. He's always been of the mind that what I don't know won't hurt me.
- Perhaps my biggest issue is that he lied and betrayed me for nearly 2 years. He said he tried to end it but "she said no." Yeah. I'm not that dumb. If he wanted to end it, he would have ended it. He said she would cry and make him feel guilty. Her second marriage had gone bad and her husband was sleeping on the couch every night. He has medical problems and had "let himself go" and she was no longer physically attracted to him (shallow much?). She told my WH that if he left her, her romantic and sex life would be over forever and she was only 52. So he would agree to continue their torrid affair out of guilt. I don't buy that. It only ended because I discovered it and shut it down. I firmly believe that if I had not, it would still be going strong. He would still be in it. He would still be sneaking around and lying and sneaking that b-word into my house while I took our son to his social group. He says he's not so sure it would still be going on since he had tried to end it a few times. Yeah. No. He's too weak. He likes sex too much. He would still be in it. He says it should tell me something that he dumped her the minute I confronted him. He said he could have gone off with her, or tried to keep it going somehow but he didn't. He says that should tell me that he's committed to me and our marriage. I don't know. He got caught. They got caught. He can't have sex with his little b-word anymore, so I'm what's leftover. Might as well try to rebuild with me. He says that's not how he feels. That's how I see it. That's now my hurt and anger frames it.
Thanks for letting me vent this out. To make matters even worse, we've been stuck in the house for the past week with Covid. I have very little to distract my mind from wandering. I can't go back to work until I get a negative test. Today was my first day to try and I'm still positive. One day at a time, I guess.
14 comments posted: Tuesday, May 10th, 2022
WH and I are having the worst time finding an IC for him and an MC for us! We each have medical coverage through our jobs. Mine is a traditional PPO and his is through a managed-care organization. He just got his job in January and he is still also covered under my insurance. We live in a major metropolitan area, so you'd think we have lots of options. Instead, it's been a very frustrating process and neither of us has been able to secure an appointment yet. He called his insurance company right after d-day to get approved for IC. He had to wait 10 days for an intake appointment over Zoom. Then he had to wait for approval and a list of providers. That took another 10 days. He finally got the list and began calling around and leaving messages. No one calls back!
I've had a similar experience with MCs in my insurance network. I started calling around weeks ago. After putting in at least 25 messages, I received exactly one call back. That person was kind enough to spend a few minutes on the phone with me. She said her practice is currently full, as are most practices in our area. She said Covid took a huge toll on mental health, and more people than ever are seeking therapy. She said it's not uncommon to call literally dozens and get no calls back. Apparently therapists receive so many calls from prospective new patients that they have no time to return all the calls. The one who called me said she sets aside time everyday to return calls since it's her policy to do that. She said hers would quite possibly be the only call back I would receive.
I contacted my company's EAP (employee assistance program) for help. The counselor said she would look up my insurance and compile a list of therapists in my area. Her list was 10 of the same people I had already called, so no real help there.
Several of the therapists I called only meet clients online. I registered with one company and could have gotten an online appointment within a few days. I stopped short of actually making the appointment since WH and I would rather actually see someone in person. However, it's looking like that might not be possible. We can keep plugging away and calling around, but it's getting discouraging that we haven't been able to actually find anyone who is available.
Does anyone have experience with online therapy? Obviously, we have some pretty serious issues to work through. We're trying hard to R and are anxious to get started with therapy. I would appreciate any advice, experiences, etc. involving online therapy. If anyone has any advice regarding how to find an in-person therapist, I would love to hear that too.
4 comments posted: Monday, May 2nd, 2022
Infidelity Can Be Expensive
My WH has been coming clean and answering my questions, albeit slowly in some cases. I think he finally realized that trying to "protect" me from the truth is worse than just spilling it now. I told him there’s not much he could say at this point that would surprise me. He has one chance to come clean when I ask a question. If I find out later that he was lying, it won’t go so well for him.
Suddenly he spilled an avalanche of past transgressions: making out with a former co-worker, squirreling away money for "happy endings" at massage parlors, Internet porn and online sexual discussions and flirtations. The biggest revelation was that the AP had, in fact, been in our house despite his earlier assurances that he never allowed that line to be crossed. Furthermore, disgusting acts had taken place on our couch. It’s the same couch that I viewed as my refuge. My laptop, kindle, notebooks, etc. are always there. It’s where I sit to relax and unwind after work, and it’s been my safe spot since d-day. Now it’s tainted.
After that revelation, I retreated to the shower, both to cry and to think. I came out asking for two things. First was a written statement about what he was committed to doing: 100 percent honestly from now on, no matter how much he thinks the truth might hurt me. I told him the lies are hurting me more. I also want to see a written commitment to IC, and a list of the issues he will address. There are more items for this statement, but that’s the nature of it.
The other thing I said was, "We’re getting a new couch." It’s something we’ve discussed before, but we had no immediate plans to get one. Well, I want the old one gone. We went to a store yesterday and I picked out exactly the one I want. Too bad it’s going to take 6 weeks to get here, but it was a special order. I was not willing to settle for what was in stock. It cost nearly $2000, but I told WH that I’m not sorry about spending it. That’s the price of infidelity. He also owes me a do over on our trip to Disneyland. I can hardly even look at the pictures without wondering if he had just snuck off to the restroom to call her, or if it was her he was texting when his phone was in his hand. So there goes another couple thousand. Don’t worry. I’m not over-spending. We’re very good savers, and now the rainy day has come.
5 comments posted: Monday, April 25th, 2022
When I ask my WH what he was thinking during his two-year affair, he says he honestly doesn't know. He was "in a fog." This has been a difficult concept for me to grasp. How can you not know what you were thinking? You've been living your life, going to work, coming home, driving around, buying stuff and basically making conscious decisions everyday. How can you say you simply didn't give any thought to such a huge, life-changing thing? How did you not once consider how it would affect me if/when I found out? Again, he says he didn't think it through. He was "in a fog." But, since D-day (almost 6 weeks ago), he feels like "the fog" has lifted and he can clearly see how poor his choices were, how what he did was absolutely wrong, that he never had real feelings for her, that she wanted him to express feelings for her, but when he dug deep, he found me there and not her. If I'm to believe what he's saying, it's like a switch flipped and "the fog" suddenly blew away.
It's hard for me to wrap my head around this. However, in reading posts here, I've noticed a few other people have mentioned "the fog." Is this an actual thing for WSs? Do they really get into a "fog-like" state where they do and say things they don't mean? Do they suddenly realize how wrong they were? WH said seeing my pain since D-Day has snapped him out of his fog, that he sees things clearly now. Is this BS? Is this a real thing? He immediately agreed to IC but hasn't started yet. He had to get approval and a list of providers from his insurance company, which should finally be coming tomorrow. He says when he gets into IC, he knows exactly what he needs to address. He says he loves me and very much wants to fix himself to be better for me.
I would appreciate any insight you guys can give me into "the fog."
45 comments posted: Friday, April 22nd, 2022
Contacting the OW?
I'm still only 4 weeks after D-Day. It's been a struggle, for sure. WH immediately said he wanted to get counseling. He had an intake meeting with the mental health unit of his healthcare provider. He was approved for individual counseling and is supposed to be getting a list of recommended therapists any day now. He seems about as sincere as he can be at this point in wanting to figure out what was going through his brain. He's been providing me with as many answers as he can, but I understand it will take time to cut through his own confusion. He seems committed to staying with me and rebuilding everything that was lost.
That said, I have to figure out what will (and won't) make me feel better during this process. Unfortunately, I ran across a bunch of emails that were exchanged between WH and the OW. They were co-workers who crossed the line and it continued for two years until I had the proof to confront him. I can look back and recognize all the red flags that should have tipped me off. I also recall the many times that I questioned him, where he'd been, why the OW seemed so present in his life after the job contract had ended, why they seemed to text a lot (although I never saw anything overly concerning if I happened to glance at his phone). I got a lot of excuses, which I now know were blatant lies. I probably should not have read all the emails since each one was extremely painful. But it was like a train wreck. I just couldn't tear myself away.
I have been composing an email in my head to her. I find myself thinking over and over what I would say. I wouldn't call her names. I wouldn't berate her. That's not who I am. I want her to understand that she doesn't know me. She really knows nothing about me. She knows nothing about my marriage. All she "thinks" she knows was told to her by a man who lied, cheated on and betrayed his wife. I want to tell her that as much as he was lying to me, she would be foolish to think he wasn't also lying to her. I do not want her thinking she was filling a "need" for him that I could not, or would not fill. She knows nothing about our 40-year history as a couple and our 34-year marriage. She heard one side from a man who was manipulating to get what he wanted from her. She was doing the same in discussing her marriage. He honestly doesn't know what does or does not go on between her and her husband. They lied to each other. They used each other. I do not want her thinking she's some kind of victim.
After D-Day, she tried telling WH that she needed "closure." She needed to be "let down easy." As far as I know, he didn't entertain those notions. He told her it was over and they needed to cut off contact. I want her to know that when she decided to cross the line with a married man, she signed up for whatever pain and suffering that came along with it. The entire "relationship" was wrong and immoral and deserves nothing less than to end in a flaming dumpster fire. It doesn't deserve closure. It doesn't deserve an "easy let down." It doesn't deserve a backward glance." You play with fire, you get burned.
I also want to urge her to focus on her own marriage. Figure it out or get out. After she's officially free, she can swipe right on Tinder all she wants and find a man who's available. Stay away from married men. It's sad and desperate and causes nothing but pain for everyone involved. In the meantime, I want to remind her to stay away from my husband. He is no longer available to her for any reason. Besides the obvious things that needed to stop, there will be no more friendship. No more discussing her family issues, politics, music or whatever they bonded over initially. I would also like to request that she stay away from certain events where my husband is likely to be. He is active in two community theater groups (both as an actor and in administration). If she has a shred of self-respect, she needs to stay away from those events since it's possible he (and I) might be there.
So, I need you guys to either talk me into or out of emailing her. Will it help me feel better to get all this off my chest? Will it help me to move on? While WH waits for his first counseling appointment, I feel stuck. I know counseling is not the end all, be all, but it will be a positive, tangible step forward. I need to figure out how I can begin to heal myself, even just a little. Or, will emailing her just open a can of worms that I don't need to deal with?
14 comments posted: Friday, April 8th, 2022
Contacting the other spouse?
I'm only about 10 days out from D-Day. I made my first post here last week and received lots of wonderful support and advice. I do have a question and feel the need to dig more deeply into one theme that was brought up by several posters: contacting the OBS. Many people urged me to contact him and let him know what his wife has been up to. I understand the premise behind this. He deserves to know about the affair, and she needs to face whatever consequences come about in her own marriage.
Here's my dilemma: I don't know the guy. I know nothing about him. I don't know if he's mentally stable, if he has a bad temper, if he's likely to be vindictive toward my husband or my family. I don't know if he will deal with his wife alone, or if he will feel the need to expose my husband as well. As far as we know, only my WH, the OW and I know about the affair. They have a few mutual ex-workers, but really no mutual friends. I'm pretty sure WH did not confide in anyone about the affair. He believes that she also kept it entirely to herself. If she did tell anyone, it's was very likely no one who knows my WH or me. What if I tell the BS and he outs the affair to anyone who will listen, including my family?
We have an adult son with autism. He would be absolutely devastated if he found out. He is a very sensitive guy who doesn't have the ability to fully process his emotions. I firmly believe that knowing about this would put him back several years in the progress he's been making with his social therapist. We also have an adult son who very likely has found the woman he's eventually going to marry. They have big plans to move to a new city later this year and start some very exciting careers. I do not want him having to carry this baggage just as his adult life is beginning. I don't want him to have to worry about anything besides building his new life with his girlfriend and their respective careers. I also have not told my sister, my mom or any of my friends. I just don't want to go there. Truthfully, I'm too embarrassed that this happened. I know I don't bear any responsibility for my WH's poor choices, but I just want to keep this between us. I don't have the desire or the emotional energy to discuss it with anyone else. I don't want my mom and sister dissecting it behind my back, which I know they would. Besides my WH and a therapist, I don't want to discuss it or reveal it to anyone. I also don't know if the OBS has violent tendencies. What if he decides to come after my WH? Stranger things have happened.
There's no way I can be sure that telling the other BS won't open a huge can of worms. I have no idea who he is, how he would feel about it and what he would do. I don't think I'm being paranoid. I honestly don't know what fallout might occur. For these reasons, I do not currently plan to contact him. I would appreciate any relevant experiences or input. Thanks!
17 comments posted: Wednesday, March 23rd, 2022
Just Found Out; Need Advice
I'm new here. I never thought I would be in a place like this, but I'm glad to have found this community of people who are going through the same pain and sadness I am feeling. My husband and I have been married for almost 34 years. We met when I was 16 and he was 19, dated for seven years, got married and had two beautiful children. Our marriage hasn't been perfect. We've had our ups and downs. I'm not going to go into a lot of details here, but there's been a real lack of communication. I take ownership for some of this. I realize and acknowledge that it takes two people to make or break a marriage. However, I also take my vows very seriously and am floored, reeling and disgusted that he did not.
I have suspected that he's had emotional affairs in the past. I can recall twice when his relationships with co-workers seemed inappropriate to me. Of course he would say they were just friends but, after leaving his Facebook messenger open, I realized he was bad-mouthing me to these people. I don't think either relationship became physical. He did admit to having "crushes" on these people but didn't think "venting" about me was wrong. I thought we had gotten past these issues long ago, but the communication issues remained.
In 2020, he started a new job that was supposed to last about a year. Because of Covid, it ended up lasting about 6 months longer. He started telling me about his co-workers, but one name seemed to come up frequently. It was a woman he had to work closely with and he said they shared the same frustrations about the job. I began to notice her name coming up more and more. He would tell me about things she had said. She also started calling after hours, which didn't seem that unusual since they were working from home at that point and the workday wasn't the standard 8:00 - 5:00 p.m. His boss would sometimes call after hours as well, so I didn't think much of it.
After the job ended, I knew that he continued a "friendship" with the woman. She's married and has a college-aged daughter. My husband told me about her daughter being on the autism spectrum (as is our oldest son). He said they had conversations about their kids since they had that in common. He even involved me in a discussion with her once since she needed advice about her daughter's anxiety. I wholeheartedly tried to help as best as I could.
As the months went on, I kept hearing this woman's name. The group of co-workers from the former job would get together every few week and take walks. He said most of them were unemployed (as was he at the time) and they liked discussing job search tips and their frustrations about finding new jobs. Of course, "she" was always there. Now I wonder if these walks were just excuses to meet up with her.
At Christmas, my husband gave me two pairs of pajamas. I asked him where he found them and he said, "Oh, "she" bought them at Costco." I asked why "she" was buying me gifts for him to give me. He said, "Well she has a Costco membership and we don't. She saw the pajamas and thought you would like them, so she asked if I wanted her to buy them so I could give them to you." Of course, this raised a red-flag for me. I asked why he couldn't buy me gifts by himself. He said it was no big deal, she was just helping him out and he was glad because he didn't know what to get me. I said, "Seriously? I had an Amazon wish list and you've know me for 40 years. Finding gifts for me is pretty easy." Still he tired to justify it and blow it off.
After more sketchy behavior, I found some emails a few days ago that the two of them had exchanged. It was all there in black and white. They had been having a sexual affair for well over a year. The emails were downright disgusting and made me sick to my stomach. It was no wonder I couldn't get my husband's attention or connect with him. All of his focus and emotional energy was on her. She sent him a list of her concerns about their "relationship" and demanded answers. He typed out promises to be more present, mindful, attentive, etc. There were also sexual details that made me want to puke!
I texted him immediately and said he needed to come straight home after work (he now works at a school and was planning to stay and watch a soccer game). He didn't respond. I then texted him on his work phone. Still no response. He claimed later that he didn't see my texts. Turns out he did, decided I must have found out, and called her immediately. He says he told her that I probably knew and that it would have to be over between them. She begged him to meet up with her so she could say goodbye. According to him, he said no and came home. I got into his car on the driveway so our kids wouldn't hear what I had to say. I said, "This is how it's going to go. You end it now. No more calls, no more texts, no more meetings, no more sex and we get into marriage counseling and figure this out. Or you may leave my house now." He said, "I want counseling. I've always wanted counseling." I asked why he never suggested it. He said, "You know me. I hate confrontation. I hate difficult conversations so I avoided them with you. I was weak, but I want to be better."
Over the next couple of days, I asked him for the answers I needed. How long has this been going on? Over a year. I then thought to check the cell phone bills, which I didn't usually do. I was shocked and hurt to see that he had been talking to her multiple times every single day. This is a man who claims he doesn't see missed calls or texts from me. He says he doesn't look at his phone that often. I bought him a freakin' Apple Watch for Christmas so my texts would twitch his wrist. I don't expect an immediate answer, just for him to at least see it. It didn't seem to help. But he was talking to her each day on his way to work, at lunchtime, on his way home and late at night after I'd gone to bed. I felt so betrayed. I even looked up specific dates. We took a family vacation last year for his 60th birthday. I planned and arranged the whole thing. I even suggested we spend more on a hotel and have some really nice meals so his birthday trip would be special. It was a slap in the face to see that he'd been talking to her multiple times a day during our trip. We took another trip last year for our younger son's college graduation. This was the culmination of four long years of hard work and sacrifice so our son could attend his dream school. It was a celebration for all of us. Yep, she was on that trip too. Thinking back, I have no idea where or when he was making these calls. I feel played. I feel manipulated. I feel disgusted.
Still, I don't want to throw away our marriage. I don't want to spend the future alone. I had dreams of spending it with him. He says he wants to figure things out and stay with me. He says he knew what he was doing was wrong. He also said he tried to end it many times but she would cry and make him feel guilty. He says he was too weak to follow through.
Here's where I need advice from those who have been there. I told him he needed to immediately stop all contact with her. He said he would, but I also know that there were talking late at night on Saturday (the day after I found and confronted him). He said she called him because she couldn't sleep. She's grieving the end of the relationship. She needs closure. He feels badly for making her feel that way. I told him it's not his problem. She chose to get involved with a married man. She played with fire. She got burned. He said she's also sad because tomorrow is her birthday and her husband and daughter have barely acknowledged it. They took her out for dinner the other night before her daughter had to return to college. Neither gave her a card or gift, even though it was supposed to be her birthday dinner. She was hoping she would be able to talk to my husband on her birthday to make her feel better. I said I don't care if it's her birthday. She is not entitled to any further time or attention from my husband. If he really wants to work on things with me, he needs to cut off all contact. He told me she called him once on his work phone since she knows I'm looking at our phone bills. I told him that's not OK either and that he needs to block her number from both phones and unfriend her on Facebook. My husband says he will follow through and do these things. My question is: Am I being unrealistic to trust that he will? Of course, he broke my trust in the worst way already. Am I being gullible to think there will be no further contact between them? I told him I don't care if she's grieving. I'm grieving too. I don't care if her husband and daughter treat her badly. That's her problem for allowing them to treat her that way. It's not my husband's problem to make her feel better about herself. I'm also a very empathetic person and I hate that I feel heartless toward her. But I think I'm entitled to feel that way. I really have no sympathy for her, but I pity her. She says she's mourning the loss of the friendship. They both threw away whatever friendship they had when they crossed that line.
I also need advice about counseling. I'm not sure how it works. My husband knows that he needs individual counseling to work out his own issues (avoiding conflict, etc.). We also need to figure out things as a couple. I read that a marriage counselor is there to focus on the marriage but not individual counseling. So do we need to find two different therapists? And while I definitely acknowledge that I have ownership in this too, he says he has a lot to work out for himself. So does he begin individual counseling first? Do we see a marriage counselor first? Do we do these things simultaneously? And how do you choose a marriage counselor? There are over 300 in our area that take our insurance. I've read some Yelp reviews, but that doesn't seem like the right place to choose someone for such an important function in our lives. I would appreciate any input.
Thanks for letting me vent. It actually felt good to write it all out. I do feel my husband is sincere in wanting to repair our marriage and recommit to me. He says he feels a sense of relief that I found out, it's over and we can move to the next step. While I want to feel hopeful, I don't want to be gullible and get blind-sided again.
26 comments posted: Tuesday, March 15th, 2022