Newest Member: Timewilltell44

Blackbird25

Me: BS Him: WH, Married 1996
DDay#1: 5/2012 (EA 3 mos, PA 1 month)
DDay#2: 12/26/22 (EA, 1 wk)
Reconciling and doing well.

I just can’t seem to handle WH having opposite sex friendships/acquaintances!

I have been in IC for over a year, him too.

One thing that I have been struggling with throughout therapy is my acceptance of fWH having opposite sex friends or acquaintances. I simply CANNOT do it. I have this roadblock in my head, this overwhelming fear that he won’t be able to maintain it as "just friends" - that HE will start to view it as more than friends. EVEN THOUGH of all the female friends he has, NONE have crossed that line. They are truly just friends. I know it’s a trigger for me. It’s been a trigger. I know this is a huge trust issue for me too. I manage to keep a lid on all this and then dump all my feelings out in IC.

The latest row WH and I just had was yesterday. So he started a new job and he’s in his 3rd wk of orientation. This Friday the new recruits will get their shift assignments. There are 4 shifts. Naturally one would want to get the "best" shift and being the new guy, he doesn’t really know which one to request. They have to do a "wish list" and number from highest to lowest the order of preference. Now backstory here. There was a female medic who worked briefly w him at his other job. She’s now at this department. So he asked her how should I list my preferences? And so she told him - and listed her shift as the top preference. So he went off her recommendations - naturally she’s going to list her shift as the best one and that’s the one he chose as his #1. And I called him out on that. I was like OF COURSE YOU PICKED HER SHIFT! I KNOW none of this makes any sense to normal people LOL. But now I’m paralyzed with fear - what if he gets her shift, what if they end up working on the same ambulance, same station? It’s like I know what is reasonable and makes sense, but my body keeps reminding me - remember? His A started off as just friends; Remember? His EA started off as just friends. Heck that EA - she was MY friend too. He is constantly telling me I have nothing to fear. He is fully transparent, I have access to all the things. So this female co-worker is like literally 20 yrs younger, she’s gorgeous. She’s on instagram and they’re friends. I have noticed that she likes to post very provocative pictures on her IG - poses where she leans wayyyy over so you can catch some cleavage. And dozens of men "like" her photos. I mean hell if I was 20yrs younger I’d flaunt my assets too. Maybe. 🤔.

Anyway I use his iPad to read my books on the kindle app. When I look at his IG - which is on the iPad - it’s nothing but fitness models, cross fit athletes, gorgeous, young, beautiful women - who mostly pose with their ass hanging out, boobs hanging out. Which ok, fine I get it. They’re selling something and the more likes and followers helps. However good lord why does husband have to like and ogle every damn photo. Including this girl’s pics?? So what’s my issue? That I don’t like him looking at pretty half naked women or that I don’t like him looking at HER provocative photos? He said that he has work relationships and that’s all they are work relationships and nothing more. I’m like okay, be friends AT WORK. Why must you be social media friends too? I mean I work too outside the home. I have a great job and I work with males and females. But I am NOT Facebook or Instagram friends with any of my male co workers. And I don’t give out my phone number for co workers to text. We use outlook or teams for messages. Is it the industry?? I’m in higher education/IT…he’s a first responder. He tells me that it’s different in his line of work. Is it really???

I feel like I’m going in circles and I’ll never get out of this rut. I feel like I’ll NEVER be okay with him having opposite sex friendships. It was NEVER this way when he was active duty (military) - prob because at that time, there were no women in combat arms. So he wasn’t deploying in co-ed groups. It wasn’t until infidelity visited my doorstep that I now feel so paralyzed with this fear that a friend isn’t really just a friend. One thing husband has a hard time with is enforcing boundaries. He likes to be seen as the good guy, and the thought of not being friends or being friendly with a female makes him look like an A-hole. Which to me I could care less - that’s the boundary, be an asshole if it means protecting me, us. I know he’s working on this - has been working on this and has made progress. So I’m like is this still a ME problem?? He’s not texting women, not going out to lunch with them, nothing like that. He’s almost done w/ his degree (he graduates in May) and his classmates have a group text - males and females and that doesn’t bother me. I just hate feeling like this. I feel like I’ll never heal. I don’t like to be labeled "jealous" either. And that is what this feels like. Like I obsess over their looks and compare. Why do I do this??

21 comments posted: Wednesday, April 3rd, 2024

Thankful to all of you

I don’t have any particular problem at the moment. We’re actually doing good - more ups than downs that’s for sure. But we’re in month 11 of dday#2 (I caught the very beginnings of an EA on 12/26/22) and I tell ya, it wasn’t the dday#2 itself that broke me - it was the re-traumatization I felt from dday#1. Dday#2 triggered TF out of me. Dday #1 was May/June 2012; WH had a 3mo EA/1 mo PA w/ an old HS classmate that he hadn’t had any contact with in 25 yrs - and then they reconnected on FB. We’d been married at that time for 16 years and I was absolutely BROKEN when this all happened. He filed for D, he got arrested, then decided he wanted to R - just a lot, lot, LOT of pain and trauma and years and years of healing to get to a place where I felt like myself again. And then 12/26/22 happened and I was just thrust back to 2012 and I know I’m still healing and working through triggers. My IC says I’m still not there yet. WH IC has been amazing - and WH progress has been remarkable. But you know I’m so jaded, I don’t know if I’ll ever feel "safe" again no matter how much "work" he does. We had a discussion yesterday about social media and digital transparency. He knows I have access to all his socials and his text messages. He asked me how long was I going to be the marriage police? He didn’t ask in a mean way - he was asking in a way that sounded like "please find a way to trust me again." And the fact is I DON’T WANT THAT JOB! I used to be obsessed with checking everything - then about 2 months ago I noticed I was checking less and less. I am DEFINITELY not like that member on here whose WH has her on the phone all day long. Heck no I do not want to be tethered like that to feel safe. The one thing that does make me feel safe and secure is when he talks about the future and will say things like "we are going to do this" or "we are going to travel to this place." He always says "we" and I notice and it matters to me. We’re not young anymore. I’m 56, he’s 52 and I tell ya, hard times can age a person. Depression, sadness, anxiety, all that crap that comes along with infidelity and betrayal can really do a number on your health. This place is a mixed bag - there are members who have successfully reconciled, some who successfully divorced, some who are doing IHS, some who are still trying to find their way out of infidelity, some who are reconciling and doing really well and probably many like me who are in reconciliation and still struggle with stuff. I still can’t sleep well, I know my health has been affected because I can feel it. That stress and anxiety and everything you go through when you’ve been betrayed - it’s hard on you. This post isn’t asking for anything in particular; I just wanted to say thank you to all of you who have shared your stories, bared your souls, talked us (me) off the ledge, gave us (me) hope, said it was going to be okay one way or the other. Be it as a R’d couple or a D’d couple - the goal is still to get out of infidelity. I visit SI every day. Every day. Sometimes I think, okay I need a break because let’s be honest some of the stories are so sad and painful - and some are downright scary. Betrayal, infidelity - that was a gift I wish I never would have received. But finding SI was the best thing to happen to me. I wish I would have found this back in 2012. I know I would have done so many things differently back then. I’m a much stronger Blackbird - this I KNOW. I have all of YOU to thank for that. So maybe this post is a post of thanksgiving (4 days late lol). I know I don’t contribute much - but I’m here, every day, supporting you, grieving with you, sharing in your pain, praying that you’ll find a way through the betrayal. Honestly this is the best bunch of anonymous "friends" I’ve ever had!!

BB

2 comments posted: Monday, November 27th, 2023

My beautiful dog has terminal cancer, devastated

I need some support. I’m so sad, so devastated. Our Saint Bernard has been having issues with his back left leg for about a year. The vet thought it was a sprain - he’s 220 lbs, so a giant breed. The last two months he’s been more lame than usual, so we decided to do x-rays. Turns out he has bone cancer, and it has metastasized to other organs. Apparently bone cancer is very aggressive. They’ve given him max 2 months to live. The cancer has compromised the bone, it’s weak and since he’s 220 lbs, we worry that he could break that bone. Amputation is not an option because he’s just too big. He’s clearly in pain. We have decided to let him go peacefully via euthanasia. I’m absolutely gutted. I’ve cried all day. My face is so puffy, my eyes are so swollen. I’m such an ugly crier. We are not okay. We are extremely devastated. Our vet will meet us on Sunday at the clinic. She is absolutely gutted too - she’s been our vet for 11 years. When we told her what the specialist determined, she cried with us. It’s just so unfair. I look at my big beautiful Saint Bernard and just feel my heart breaking inside. They say they most you’ll get out of a giant breed is about 8 years, 10 if you’re lucky. We had 4 and I feel so robbed. This is just so unfair. I want to be selfish and keep him. But he’s clearly in pain and suffering. I hate this so much. Please tell me this gets better. I will have to say goodbye to him on Sunday and I’m not ready. I’m so not ready😭😭😭😭.

15 comments posted: Saturday, October 7th, 2023

Thoughts on aftermath of Dday, confronting, social media

I’m triggering pretty bad today so bear with me. Who knows what set me off today - just trying to write down my emotions, thoughts in some cohesive and coherent manner.

Firstly this:
I have so much respect for a BS who can sit on mounting piles of evidence, say nothing, while getting their life in order in advance of confronting like seeking attorney advice, preparing paperwork for legal separation, divorce, alternate living arrangements, etc. I have a hard enough time shielding my own emotions - it’s just written all over my face how I feel and I cry easily so I couldn’t hold this info close to the vest and act "normal" around anyone much less the wayward. I read in another forum about a badass BS who did just this - collected evidence and instead of a long drawn out confrontation, decided to hand the docs over and walk away. Literally walk away from the whole marriage. #RESPECT

And as much as we like to see the WH get his "just reward", catch them off guard or drop a bomb (ie separation agreement or divorce docs) and be - for the first time- the one in control, the one holding all the cards, the one controlling the pace. This is really all just so freaking SAD!!!. And for some weird human fascination, we (some, not all) come here in instances like this like we’re at the movies w/ popcorn, sipping our drinks, anxiously waiting for the coup de grace, the final blow. It just so damn sad that it goes down like this. That the wayward never ever thinks of the devastating trail of destruction they leave behind. Families destroyed. And WHY. The wayward got what they deserved - no explanation, no long, drawn out explanation, no begging, pleading for another chance. Just done. That takes giant sized balls (excuse my french) to do that!! But in reality - when the dust settles - it just makes me sad for these families. Sad for every person hurt. Heartbreaking for the betrayed, the kids (regardless of their age), for OBS and for that family - multiply the body count when it’s multiple AP’s and the totality of the loss, the damage, the devastation, the hurt, the pain, suffering, the LOSS - it’s just soo hard to wrap your head around this . So many innocent lives just destroyed. For whaaaaattttt?? And the wayward…what makes them SO entitled?? That’s a rhetorical question with dozens of different answers I’m sure. I guess I’m just pissed off that every day when I come to this site, there is yet ANOTHER family being torn apart by infidelity. And I’m no different - my family was blown to PIECES when WH had his A 11 yrs ago. And 7 months ago - catching him red handed trying to initiate another EA just infuriates me. I get that every situation is unique - I don’t know you, you don’t know me - and all the intricacies of each family’s circumstances cause each one of us to react/act in different ways that make sense to us. But what causes the betrayed to finally leave after being betrayed a 2nd, 3rd, 4th or multiple times many times over? What makes them walk after just ONE hurt? Does staying make me weak? Today I’m just angry. I guess maybe that’s the emotion I’m dealing with today.

And can we talk about SOCIAL MEDIA??? Sorry - I’m ranting bad. Don’t mean to switch gears but. I have a love- hate relationship with social media. (As I sit here on my phone typing away 🙄). I was the one in my family who resisted so much with downloading social media apps. I keep my phone on silent, oftentimes misplacing it and if the ringer is off, I’m screwed. I used to tell the kids, if you can’t reach me - text your dad, he’s always on his phone. NEVER realizing how detrimental to the marriage that behavior was! It took me such a long time to realize how easy it is to have a whole other life and alter ego on that phone. I’m in IT - and the very thing that pays the bills is the very thing I loathe. How easy it is to go incognito, use proxies, browsers that don’t track and hide your digital footprint, disappearing texts messages, Snapchat, WhatsApp, even fb messenger doesn't "save" recently deleted messages. This device took cheating, unfaithfulness, adultery, infidelity right into the digital age. How EASY it is to communicate behind your partner’s back. I have keyloggers on laptops and desktops in my home and track my network traffic on my own network using specialized software - white hat hacker stuff. I’m in IT. I know a few things. I’ve even told my kids - for YEARS - if you try to hide it, I’ll find it. Don’t do it. All the things at your fingertips. It’s so tempting to do crooked sneaky shit because tech makes it SO EASY. In 2012 my WH started an EA w a woman he went to HS with. They reconnected on Facebook. Pretty soon, my WH - who never used Facebook all of a sudden has a bunch of new "friends" - mostly classmates from HS. And mostly women. It was alarming. None of these women gave two shits about him when he was a skinny twerp in HS. And he looks nothing like that 18 yr old HS kid, he’s fit, very muscular, works out (army, hard charge kinda guy) - and he’s getting all the oohs and ahhs about how different he looks, how handsome he is, how good he looks. And he ate it up, loved the attention. Would say - I was never in the "A" group - and now all these former A groupies who were still living in the 90’s are paying attention to me - so he was enjoying all the attention. I felt like an outsider - I didn’t even know who this man was. Someone who didn’t give a shit about former classmates - someone who never was interested in reunions, barely wanted to go home on leave, didn’t care about running into or keeping in touch with old classmates. But then Facebook. Cheating at his fingertips. You go down the rabbit hole. It starts with an innocuous hi how are you doing. Then it’s a full blown EA - I wish I married you, I’m so unhappy in my marriage, I wish I could see you - all stupid NONSENSE. This is the world we live in. Maintaining trusting relationships is much more difficult with the prevalence of social media. Also - as you can imagine. Social media is VERY triggering for me. That’s the vehicle in which his infidelity was able to thrive and flourish. I hate what he did to me - all choices HE made, when if he was soo unhappy he could have chosen a whole host of different options - like how about having a face to face conversation with me? Be honest about how he was feeling - why take the NUCLEAR option and blow the whole family to pieces? I shouldn’t be "mad" at social networking sites - it’s just that having it at our fingertips makes cheating so much easier - easier to chat, easier to exchange photos, easier to plan meet ups - and easier to hide your tracks. And today I’m super pissed off at the most recent AP - the "friend" who wasn’t really a friend at all. Angry because she herself was a BS, married to a horrible serial cheater; and then all of a sudden she’s ok being the OW? Side bar: One time my WH was on a call (paramedic) and the patient was an elderly lady who was mad at her family for calling 911. They said she was disoriented and not speaking. When medics arrived, they start doing the pt assessment. She’s not saying one word. Just close mouthed. At some point my WH thinks she’s faking it - so he tries a different approach. Kicks everyone out of the room, all the family, to speak directly to the patient alone. She FINALLY starts to speak to him and the other medic (other medic was a female btw). Turns out there was nothing wrong w her she was just mad at her family and was giving them the silent treatment. But just to be sure, my WH wants to get her consent to go to the ER to be checked out anyway. She was showing signs of dehydration. She looks up at him and says Will you be going with me? He says Of course. She says Okay l’ll only go if the handsome paramedic with the dimples goes with me. LOL everyone got a big laugh out of that. THEN the female medic tells her she’s going to start the IV. The elderly woman doesn’t take her eyes off him, doesn't even acknowledge the other medic. So that medic grabs her arm, and starts to prep for the IV. When she sticks the catheter in the woman’s arm, the woman yells OUCH!! YOU WHORE!! She was hopping mad at that other medic! Anyway - anytime I think of the OW, this person who was masquerading as our "friend" I think YOU WHORE!! inside joke that only I get I’m sure!! I really hate having intrusive thoughts about this woman - hate that she takes up space in my head sometimes. And we have mutual friends on social media - even though she’s blocked - I can still see that she’s still friends of friends. I don’t want to "hate" her but we’ll NEVER be friends again - she’ll never be in the presence of me or any member of my family as long as I can help it. I’ve been working on my anger, resentment and feelings of betrayal by the OW with IC. I told my IC I come here to vent and rant. She encourages it. Along with my journaling. I’m a work in progress that’s for sure. Thanks for letting me vent!!! Feel free to comment!!

5 comments posted: Monday, July 17th, 2023

“Object Affair”? and dealing with triggers today

(For background info - my story is in my profile and in my old posts.)

I read an article recently about something called an "Object Affair". [side bar: Object Affair: An object affair can be described as pursuing an outside interest that may reach a point of near-obsession, where the interest leads to neglecting one's relationship]. It was very revealing to me - esp since over the last 6 months of IC and working on recovery, goals, commitment, communication etc I have come to realize that a lot of my issues with WH is his "all in" commitment and dedication to his job or school or training. I get that he has to be all in - it’s just that there’s never been a healthy balance. It’s always one thing gets ALL his attention (be it the EA, or school, the job, friends, whatever) and everything else suffers - and usually the one that gets the leftovers is me, the wife (or the kids when they were home - we are empty nesters now). I never thought of myself as a jealous type. But over the years I have noticed that I seem to be the sacrifice. I understand that I have to share my H with the world, with his job. Believe me, I was a military wife for years - I know how this works. He’s retired military now, but employed in a line of work in which the structure is similar to military. He thrives and excels in this environment - and I’m happy to see him succeed and thrive. The transition from military to civilian was extremely difficult so him even being ABLE to work is a miracle. My H goes all in when he’s fully invested in his job, school, or training or whatever - it’s how he’s wired, and how the military trained him. I get all that. Somewhere down the line I’d like to strike a healthy balance and we have been working hard in IC on this issue.

So the current issue I’m struggling with right now is that WH starts a 9 month training course in a few weeks, today is orientation day and consists of filing out paperwork, picking up course materials, picture taken and ID printed - AND of course being around all the other students (30). He was on shift last night so he stayed at work to be at the orientation mtg at 9. I’m sooo triggered. I feel panicked, heart racing, all the what-if scenarios going on in my head. Long story short about how this is even relevant at all is that WH has had issues with setting boundaries in the past; he’s been actively working on them over the last 6 months in IC (I’m doing my own IC, we’re not in MC - when the time is right, we will do MC again, but right now it’s IC only for both of us). Setting boundaries because the previous two training courses he was in, he got way too friendly and chummy with a particular female in his class. She now works for the same fire department that he works at, though different shifts. But she was always texting and asking him questions about school and work - initially it was just superficial stuff. They were in a study group together - where the group would meet before class. Then it was random hey how are you doing today messages, if he was out sick (he had Covid last year) she was texting him to see how he was feeling. And at the time I had told him I’m super uncomfortable with this one girl always texting you. Like asking how you are feeling is MY job. Also - how come the other ppl in the study group aren’t blowing up your phone like she always is? I was gaslit so much - there’s nothing going on, she’s half my age, you’re being paranoid, you’re making something out of nothing and the worst was when he said this is a "you" problem, not a "me" problem and you’re gonna have to get over it. I know he was enjoying the attention. And he didn’t want to give it up. So anyway - I’m a IT professional, I have access to every device, every password, I know them all because I set up my networks and all the devices we own. I can check internet traffic, sites. We share the same iCloud account so all his messages and social media is on a shared iPad and synced regularly. So I can see all messages in real time. He knows I have access - he just doesn’t know to what extent my access is. I have read all the messages between him and her and there was never anything sexual or inappropriate, but it was just "too" friendly, too chummy. And maybe I’m old school and I feel that your friendly chummy relationships should be with your wife, not your female classmates. So anyway we finally had a head to head over this back in January and he finally realized that it didn’t matter "why" I was uncomfortable, it only matters that I was and so he cut off the friendship, blocked her from SM, blocked her number, and I’m sure they might have some interaction at work in some capacity, but it’s minimal because they work on diff shifts and diff stations. Initially she was curious as to why he wasn’t answering texts and he just ignored and then blocked the number altogether- because then even he started to think it was getting weird. I saw all the texts, I still have access to all his texts. So now I’ve reached a point where I feel like we are past that - I didn’t necessarily see her as a threat, more like a thing where he was enjoying the texts too much and the attention. Ok so maybe a little bit of a threat? So how does alllll this tie into the subject of this post? An "object affair"? I think my anxiety today is me subconsciously getting ready to be pushed to the side again as his training course will take over as his number 1 priority. That will be his "object affair". AND this girl is in his class again - though he absolutely 100% knows how I feel about her so I’m sure after all these months of IC we’ve been able to address and talk about how I feel about that friendship. First it was school being the object affair, then his job really became the object affair - it’s much better now. But I had a hard time with him spending SO MUCH free time after hours texting the guys on his shift. This is still a source of contention for me at times - on his days off, on vacations, our time spent together, dates etc - they are always blowing up his phone. It’s a group chat with 7-10 other people - and while he may not respond, the others are happily chatting away, sharing jokes, memes, gossip - so his phone is receiving all those incoming messages. I have told him that wherever we go, wherever we are, we ALWAYS have 7-10 other guys "with" us. And I hate it. I struggle to figure out my "place" and I shouldn’t have to. I do admit I have trouble sharing - I have sacrificed so much as a military wife with him being gone so much, so many deployments, all those years where I was by myself raising the kids, keeping the household running - so I feel selfish in some ways and I don’t want or maybe I don’t even actually know HOW to share my husband with his job or his guy friends. I have gone off on so many tangents in the post - I guess I’m just wanting some words of encouragement. We ARE in a much better place now than we were in January. Every time he talks about the future it’s always "us" and not "me" or "I". So when he talks about future plans, they always include me in them. In a few short weeks our youngest son is headed off to the west coast to attend graduate school, so we will truly be empty nesters. He told me he is looking forward to a year from now, after he graduates from this course - and wants to plan to move to a place where we can build our forever home. (Like we just built THIS current home 3 yrs ago!). When he talks like that - I "feel" secure, safe, he’s doing all the things I’ve asked him to do to be a safe partner. I’m just ANXIOUS about this new course staring up. I’m anxious about him being BACK in the classroom training w this female. And I ask myself - is it just THIS female? or would I feel this insecure about ANY female? And I have to be honest and I admit this in IC all the time - yes I’m very NOT cool with him having female friends. Friends that are friends of the marriage, yes. But women I personally don’t know? Then no. BUT even then - his EA in Dec was with a person I considered was a friend of the family and a friend of our marriage. Turns out I was wrong. So history has taught me to be vigilant. I know I’m not the only wife that feels like that. And he knows this and he has been creating healthy boundaries and is adhering to them. I guess I’ve been down this road before, your body keeps score, I’ve been burned before and maybe mentally I’m just thinking the worst and not giving him the benefit of the doubt.

ANYWAY - sorry for the long convoluted novel - I do tend to ramble.

Thoughts? I appreciate the wisdom represented here at SI.

8 comments posted: Monday, July 10th, 2023

Update..4 months post WH EA

In a few days it will be 4 full months since I uncovered texts between my husband and a family friend. For context, WH had an A in 2012 (3 months EA, 1 month PA), so this new EA I discovered on 12/26/22 absolutely threw me for a loop. I struggled SO MUCH with this discovery because I felt like I was re-traumatized, taking me allll the way back to 2012 where I felt paralyzed, devastated, emotional…did I mention I felt paralyzed? After the 2012 A, husband and I worked sooo HARD to save our marriage. I know we got lazy and for the last 3-4 years we didn’t work so much on "us", taking each other for granted and drifting apart. What also makes this so complex is that husband is retired career military, multiple combat deployments, who suffered combat injuries (TBI); he has survivors guilt (he lost 10 of his men of a horrific, fiery helicopter accident in May 2006, also lost his best friend 2 months before that in a IED attack on the convoy, just horrific shit he’s been thru), and was diagnosed with severe PTSD, social anxiety disorder, depression. He retired from the army after 23 years in 2011. He struggled so hard trying to find his place in the civilian world for about a year. The A happened at about the 1 yr mark post military retirement. It took years - literally years, of IC on his end, IC on my end - and finally MC. We also did a brief period of family counseling, but stopped - I regret not sticking to that as our son (now 22) has recently told me that he still suffers unresolved trauma from everything that happened with his dad’s affair. So having ANOTHER discovery day 4 months ago. Well I was just sick. I felt I haven’t been able to gain my footing. I got immediately back into IC (H has been in IC for all his mental health stuff for years, and continues to this day). I felt so out of control. I’ve been suffering from bouts of insomnia and recently started taking medicinal grade cannabis for sleep. (That has helped immensely). IC has yielded so much progress!! I’ve been working so hard on myself. H has been doing awesome in his IC and is absolutely putting in the WORK!! I’m so IMPRESSED with his effort. He’s been planning day "dates" on his days off. We have gone to the movies, we went to Chicago for 4 days, Nashville, concerts, dinners. All planned by him! We are planning another vacation next month to visit the two older kids who live out West. I feel that I know all that I need to know about the EA. The messages that I found (texts) were very flirty, full of compliments- nothing sexual at that point. I discovered this about 10 days after it began. He reached out to this family friend first and she reciprocated. I feel - and he has admitted as much - that it was probably headed to sexting. I’m glad I didn’t see anything like that - BUT it was heartbreaking enough to see messages full of flirting, compliments. Because I WANT that from my husband. As for the "family friend". She’s NO longer a friend of this marriage or this family and this EA was outed to the everyone in our families. (she’s divorced, so no OBS to tell - BUT I did tell her pastor bc she holds some leadership roles in her church. She was removed from those roles temporarily.)
Yesterday I had IC and made some great progress - I have this fear of not being "heard" like I feel "invisible". I was raised as an only girl with 5 brothers. All my life my brothers’ extra curricular activities took precedence over mine. All my life I’ve been silenced by 5 brothers, my dad. I was raised in an environment where women had their place, be seen and not heard. I’ve always struggled with expressing my feelings, my wants, desires. At an early age I started to journal - because my thoughts and feelings had to go somewhere, I couldn’t keep them bottled up. And to this day I STILL journal. These feelings of not being heard carried over into my marriage. After my IC yesterday, I made a breakthrough. I was finally able to verbalize to my husband what was on my mind. Normally I’d shy away from speaking up for fear of conflict. But - I took a chance and he was very open to what I was saying. And he showed empathy and compassion. I was overwhelmed!! And happy. I know our work is not over. I know this from experience from what happened to us before. BUT we are survivors - I know this from being a military wife. I feel like "myself" for the first time in a very long time. I feel like my mental health is improving. AND our son (who’s away at college) is now in his own IC and doing so, soo well. I know we have a long way to go. But I wanted to post my progress - to share and for my own accountability. For the first time on a long time I didn’t have this heaviness on my chest. I have been sleeping better. I feel like the future is bright - something I struggled with 4 months ago. I was suffering from suicidal ideations 4 months ago, I was desperate, broken, not able to see a path forward. Today my future is bright, hopeful. Not just for my marriage but for me on a personal level. And I just wanted to share that.

2 comments posted: Saturday, April 22nd, 2023

Dday #2 12ish years later

Ok – today is the day that I will finally post. I’ve been stalking the boards for the last month or so, reading as much as I can. Dday #2 was on 12/26/22. I’ll try to be as succinct as I possibly can so I can share my story. It’s long and complicated. Backstory, H retired from the military 12 years ago. He served 23 years and had years of combat deployments under his belt; He was combat infantry, paratrooper, boots on the ground, first to go, that sort of thing. He was sent to some of the most dangerous hot spots in the world during his career, saw firsthand the horrors of war - death, dying, tragedy, was in remote areas months at a time being subjected to continuous enemy fire, skirmishes; involved/injured in 2 IED incidents -one in which his best friend died and 2 other of his men perished as well; was eyewitness to a tragic horrific helo crash where 10 of his men/peers were killed in the explosion. I don’t know too much of where he was or what he did – I have read the award citations, watched documentaries, saw news reports of some of the major battles/skirmishes and operations – and I know where generally where he was, but never was told specifics. Those details he keeps close to the vest. What I do know is that as the war is winding down overseas, he comes back each time from these deployments a shell of a man, more and more broken. He begins to go to IC to address the trauma (IC began about 4 yrs before he retired); When he wasn’t deployed, he was busy training up to BE deployed, then go again, then come back stateside and remain stateside and begin this cycle over again. I was the dutiful military wife, the "trailing wife" they like to call us – the ones who stay behind and handle the household, child rearing, being mom & dad, taking care of all the things while the H is away in another country in combat. Things were good – we had a good marriage, we communicated openly, he shared with what he could share, we raised 3 kids (now grown). Moved all over the world during his career, made lots of friends along the way – aside from the deployments, things were good, we were happy. Then came retirement and entering another phase in our lives. The transition from military to civilian life for him was TOUGH. In his words he went from "hero to zero". The adjustment was awful – we all suffered, he had no direction, no plan, no drive, no motivation. We were lucky that both of us didn’t have to work at that time and managed quite well with his pension. He suffered from tremendous survivors’ guilt – having cheated death SO many times, he carries the guilt of why did he live and so many of his friends didn’t? About a year into the retirement, he adopted this IDGAF attitude about everything; like for example he bought a motorcycle and would consistently ride it at speeds of 100MPH minimum on the highway, interstate – he bought a sports car and did the same, raced it on the interstate, didn’t care if he was reckless or if he died. Consequences were nothing compared with the weight of the guilt he was living with he said. I noticed at this time he was starting to be very active on social media – adding and reconnecting to old HS friends, male and female. I am an IT professional – so I kept my finger on the pulse of all the activity; he wasn’t tech savvy and I was so I had access to everything, all the devices, all the passwords etc because I had set them all up. In 2012 he stared to talk to this one female more than anyone else – eventually it turned into an EA and then a PA. I would call him out on the messaging and the content – but he didn’t care, he was careless like he wanted to be caught. But then again – he was acting in such a way that he didn’t care if he lost everything – he’d say I’m suffering so much that I don’t care what happens to me. Also it was like he was TRYING to do everything that he "missed" out on when he was active duty, deployed – like going out w/ friends, partying, drinking, behaving like a single man on social media. All these things I thought were being addressed in IC – because he was STILL in IC to address the trauma. Anyway – he asked me for a D – so I’ll call that DDay. The OW was married w/ small children that I knew – but I didn’t know her personally, only that they went to HS together. I was tired of the bullshit, he moved out and we separated and he retained an attorney – we were on the way to D. But then he started to have serious panic and anxiety attacks – one that landed him in the ER. I knew how to handle these events so guess who gets called to go calm him down? Me. I know that he was facing down the realities of losing his family because of what he had done – and that was the trigger to him having all these panic/anxiety attacks daily. We were separated but he was at our house every day – wanting to mow the yard, fix a leaky faucet – anything he could do to be around me. I still had access to his social media and his emails – and I could see that the OW was putting a ton of pressure to hurry up and D me – she had filed herself and I guess the plan was that they were going to ride off into the sunset together. (insert eyeroll here). Two weeks into the separation we had a rather nasty argument – one that escalated into him punching a cabinet door; he cut himself on the wood and of course there’s blood everywhere. My son at 10 at the time and was fully traumatized by this – and as much as I tried to de-escalate the situation, it was still pretty bad. My H wanted to go into the other room, and as he walked past me, our shoulders brushed and some of that blood transferred to my shirt and my cheek – we were in the hallway when this happened. I had called the police because of his behavior, I was scared. When they interviewed my son, he told them that my H had shoved me and that’s how I got blood on me. That’s not exactly what happened but he got arrested anyway based on our son’s statement. So he goes to jail. I ended up w/ his wallet and his phone. And I call the OW, the OWH, I blast him on social media, I call all his family, siblings, my family, our 2 kids (who were away at college) – I just tell everyone what happened. Anyway his whole house of cards is falling in on itself. The night in jail on charges of DV 4th degree (no visible injury) is his road to Damascus moment. He gets bailed out and I agree to meet on neutral ground to discuss the future, whether that’s D or R. At that point we had been married 16 yrs – I wanted R and I had demands, lots of them. I really wish that I had known about SI back then – but a lot of what you recommend to newbies is pretty much the same things that I did back them. Immediate NC – write a letter and send it, email it, carrier pigeon, smoke signals – don’t care just do it. Gave me access to all accounts, handed me his phone, I confiscated all the evidence – emails, texts, images, - I made copies of what I needed and deleted rest, and the accounts; he got a new phone with a new number and I kept the old phone (deactivated); he cut ties with all the friends and family (his cousin was BF to the OW and supported the A, encouraged it if we’re being honest) – anyone who was part and parcel to this A, anyone who encouraged, knew about it, helped facilitate it was out of our lives. I refused MC because I wanted each of us to do IC – he’d been in IC and he needed to come clean w/ his therapist about what he was doing, bc I felt like he was lying to her. I started my own IC for healing. At first this joker wanted to say that this was my fault – I pushed him towards another woman. NOPE. I refused to own that – all of what he did, he CHOSE to do that. So I told him he needed to get back into IC to figure out why his moral compass was so fucked up, why he put us at risk, why he was so willing to blow up our marriage, our family. So that was almost 12 years ago. We did IC separately, he worked on his trauma recovery, made peace with his demons, visited his friends’ graves for this first time in 14 years – that was some real healing for him. And I worked on me – I went back to school and got two more degrees in IT. We MOVED to another state! That was HUGE for me. I had a lot of triggers being in that city we lived in – places, landmarks, streets – it was tough for me and it was a hinderance to my healing so we moved out of state. So we’re doing good – we did IC for 1 year before we started MC and we did both until about 2016. (He’s still in IC btw & group therapy for PTSD for veterans). We worked really, really hard at R. Then in summer 2021 he decided that he wanted to come out of retirement and pursue a career in healthcare, something that he’d always wanted to do so I supported that and he enrolled in school. He’s a really good student, top of the class and he joins a study group that meets before class. There’s one student – a female – who I feel like he gravitated towards and they became friends and study partners. She’s half his age (he’s 50) and it just felt "off" to me – I was uncomfortable w/ the friendship and told him I was unsure about them exchanging phone numbers, becoming friends on social media. He assured me that it was on the level, just doing school stuff. He offers his phone, his school email, access to all the things – and I don’t see anything untoward, nothing that was suggest a friendship turning into a EA; all the communication is all about school – tests, quizzes, studying. So this goes on for a semester – and then after the semester they go their separate ways; he gets a job in this field, and she gets a job somewhere else but in the same field. But they maintain contact – but again what I can see it’s all work related now. So that’s about 10 months of that sporadic communication, BUT I’m still not digging it. I’m still feeling SUPER TRIGGERED by this and I tell him how I feel. He again offers access to all the communication and again it’s really benign, innocuous stuff. So I’m thinking what is happening to me that I’m so full on BOTHERED by this friendship??? So to the other BS out there – how do you feel about opposite sex friendships?? Is it possible that your WS can have opposite sex friendships given the history?? So I’m just pinging off the walls with worry and anxiety – like I’m convincing myself that something is going to happen so I become even more vigilant, hypervigilant. I feel like a spy – and since I’m a tech person anyway, I have a lot of tools at my disposal to really do a deep dive, BUT I’m feeling like I DON’T want that job!! I don’t WANT to spy on my H, I just want to TRUST him ya know? Then about mid 2022, there’s an advanced course that he wants to take that his work is sponsoring and his work is going to pay him to go to this course; it’s open to all professionals in this field, but if you don’t work there, you have to pay out of pocket several thousand dollars. So one day he tells me, Ya know so&so really wants to take this course but doesn’t have the money. I’m like SO? I have a kid in college – I don’t need to support another person’s schooling. He’s like, yea but you know, I don’t know, there’s just something about her that makes me want to help her. He’s all so wishy washy about this whole thing – I’m like WHY do you feel that YOU need to help her? Doesn’t she have her own parents? Why us? And WTF makes you think I’m willing to shell out $2K for someone I BARELY KNOW? And all the red flags and alarm bells are ringing in my head. So is this truly a friendship and he’s just some guy that wants to help this person out? Yea not happening – and I like livid at this point. We get into a pretty good row over it and I’m like you’re not her dad, you’re not her savior, not her sugar daddy, like you’re just a person she was in a class with – that’s fucking it. Period. I’m just like WHY is he so invested in this girl? He’s like well she’s married a soldier and they don’t have a lot of money (I can relate to that, but still…). I don’t care – we’re not paying shit. The end. So that was that. But I’m still pissed off that they’re still communicating. So I ask him – that’s it no more. I don’t want her to call, or text, or message on social media – I’m not comfortable. He makes it seem like I’m super unreasonable and that I’m this jealous person and he can’t have friends. And I’m all – you have proven in the past that you can’t have female friends, so this ends now. Only it doesn’t. They continue to communicate – and not only that, she enrolls in the course, find the money I guess, and THEN she gets a job at the same place he works. So now they’re in this course together and they work at the same job – although diff shifts. Still. The communication continues – and I’m just fucking OVER it. And I complain about it daily – all the time, like just stop. And he’s to the point where he says he can’t just cut off a friendship because how would that look, and he’d hurt her feelings AND anyway they work together now. He reassures me that it’s just a professional relationship and nothing more. I fucking hate this girl now, like for real, I full on HATE her. So not only am I triggered now I feel this deep hatred. Am I projecting my past anger on a person that really is just a friend? I mean given his past my mind is clouded and I’m just seeing red now. AND THEN. Something completely out of the blue happens. I find a text message that he didn’t delete fast enough to ANOTHER woman. A female acquaintance of his – someone he’s known since childhood, they grew up together. So I go do a deep dive and find a weeks worth of flirty, complimentary texts between the both of them. Was the whole friendship w/ the school person just a distraction so I didn’t see or catch on to what he was really doing?? So that’s Dday #2, 12/26/22. I find that he’s texting flirty things to this divorced woman – someone he’s known for 40 yrs at least. And of course I go scorched earth again and expose both of them on all this bullshit. I contact her immediately BEFORE these two can coordinate their stories - and she is all apologetic, ashamed, humiliated – she’s a family friend for God’s sake, so yea now the whole family – hers and ours – knows what she and him have been doing. She swears it’s only been a weeks worth of texts and that’s what he said and that’s all I was able to recover. So maybe he’s telling the truth about it only being a week – he said it was a week before Christmas he had reached out and things got out of hand. And something just DEEP within me just cracked open it seemed like. I felt like this wound that had healed over was ripped wide open, and everything came rushing out all at once. Hurt, anger, agony, pain, anxiety, betrayal; I just want to scream and cry and stay in bed. He writes her a NC email – I read it – and sends it. She writes me an email and profusely apologizes to me, says she used bad judgment, is truly sorry, she knows how this feels bc she remembers what happened to us in 2012 AND her exH was a serial cheater and she lived for years with the pain of that betrayal. Ironic huh? That she knows what this feels like BUT she’s ok to do this to another wife? She said that she soaked up the attention, the compliments and just went along with it. So now I hate everyone. And I’m so frustrated because all this time he’d been saying how sorry he was that we weren’t spending quality time together as much bc he was SOOO BUSY w/ work, and with school, work school work school that’s all I ever hear. And it’s such a slap in the face because he has NO time for me – but he has time to text the girl from school, go to study groups, text about tests and quizzes and homework, AND he has time to text flirty compliments and sweet nothings to this OW…..BUT HE HAS NO TIME FOR ME? It’s such a betrayal and I feel like I’m re-traumatized and re-victimized AGAIN. So now here we are again – I’m back in IC, he’s STILL in IC and he’s been in IC for years – he KNOWS he fucked up and he says he is committed to making things right and willing to do whatever it takes to get us back on track. First thing – get rid of the friendship, she has to go. So he deleted her from all social media & blocked her, blocked her number so she can’t text. I truly don’t think there was anything but a friendship w/ her – but still. And I’m wondering if I’ll EVER be comfortable with him having female friends? He’s a first responder and in that field you can possibly have opposite sex co- workers on shift with you. And the last 3 shift partners he’s had have been female and I didn’t have any issue whatsoever with that – I never felt threatened or uncomfortable; it was just this one girl from school that I just didn’t like her texting him, having this kind of access to him. It was her that triggered me so much. And then the EA that he was starting to have with the OW – I’m glad it didn’t turn into a PA but I’m sure it could have. He let his guard down, he hasn’t protected our marriage with boundaries, he’s been negligent in safeguarding our marriage, he’s ignored my pleas to end the friendship with the girl from school. I’m back in IC trying deal with the re-traumatization. In a months time I feel like I’m making strides in feeling like I’m not so triggered. Right now he’s doing everything he can do to make things right – he never told me that this was my fault, he knew better than to throw that at me again. His choices are his actions are causing me to react this way – so this is all on him. What he’s confused about is WHY am I so triggered by the girl from school and he’s been tone deaf on why I keep saying I feel like I’m reliving this trauma. As someone who has been dealing with his own trauma – he should know how complicated and complex this can be. He actually said I don’t know why you can’t just get over this. Fucking really? I told him how livid he’d get when people would tell him those same words; he just doesn’t see how my "trauma" equates to trauma at all when HIS trauma was so gory, bloody, tragic, deadly. I never wanted to be a BS, I never wanted to be in this club. I tell him that I wish he would have divorced me so that he didn’t drag me through all of this – I don’t deserve this, not then and certainly not now. I am sensing something that took months and months before from him – contrition. Like he’s really beating himself up over this, he’s apologetic, he’s saying sorry over and over, and willing to make changes – he says he is, and I can see things that he’s doing. He’s willing to talk to me about my feelings, helping me move past the hurt, offer a timeline, be transparent, he’s never asked me for forgiveness – he says that when I’m ready, I will be the one to give that. He lets me ask the uncomfortable questions; I tell him that our marriage as we knew it to be is now dead – we have to build new again and he says he is willing and he’s willing to work on what is broken in him that caused him to go wayward again – what things are brewing underneath the surface that he needs to address; he says that before back in 2012 he was just out to do everything and anything because he felt that he needed to "live" because life was short, you don’t know when that day might be your last so he wanted to do everything he could do with zero regard to who he was hurting or who was collateral damage along the way. One thing that triggers me – and it’s something that I can pinpoint back to 2012, was him texting and spending a lot of time on his phone. Back in 2012 when he had his A, he was always on that phone texting and chatting; so much so that NOW when I see him doing that, I started to feel panicky. That’s a trigger. And when this girl started to text him and they’d be chatting about homework I’d feel this panic start to rise in me. It’s definitely a trigger point for me. NOW I’ve asked him that when we’re together, the phones go on the charger and we don’t spend time on our phones – it’s a distraction and I need him to be present. I’m working through it. I’ve been down this road before sadly. Anyway if you got through all that, you’re a Rockstar – thank you! I guess I just need support and I needed to get that off my chest, all of it.

BB

5 comments posted: Thursday, February 9th, 2023

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