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I Can Relate :
Long Term Affairs Part 39

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whatisloveanyway ( member #66450) posted at 5:16 PM on Tuesday, August 8th, 2023

trynhard,

I see you have been a member a very long time, and it is nice to meet you. Thank you for checking in with your update, it really meant a lot to me to hear your story, and to see my journey in some ways mirroring yours. I hope that checking in has been therapeutic for you and not triggering. I'm not sure somedays if my daily reading here is helping or hurting me, but I certainly find comfort in knowing others feel the pain I feel and understand it, as my WH cannot. My story is a mess, it is long, and I wouldn't judge a soul who decided not to read all this jumbled mess of me too's. I guess I keep trying to work through this in real time mostly here, online or in my head. Progress is very slow with many setbacks, so I am always oddly comforted to read of others taking years to heal to a noticeable level, and very interested in any couple who can come through a LTA intact. The odds are not with us.

I did not find SI until a year post Discovery, and I had already scared the MOW off without realizing it. It took a year and a half for me to learn that there had not been an isolated brief affair with LT email contact, but an ongoing, intense multi-year affair that went underground for almost a year after my initial discovery. The story of the length of the Affair went from a couple of months, to what I uncovered to be a couple of years, to which they admitted to 4 then 6 years, which became 8 years and ultimately 9 years start to finish. I blew things up two months before their 10 year Ashley Madison anniversary, 2 weeks before our 32nd wedding anniversary, but I didn't figure out that there was an ongoing affair to end for another year. See how confusing? I don't even know how to tell the story anymore it is such a mess of tips of the iceberg, gaslighting, rugsweeping, digital forensic gotcha's, horrifying exchanges with the MOW, all the icky stuff.

I endured the slow realization of a big fat false reconciliation, complete with recommitment and wedding rings I resized, all built on a foundation of secrets and need to know controlling trickle truth from an emotionally stunted, disconnected spouse. I learned everything years or months after it occurred, never in real time, which was and still is disorienting. My WH could never stop protecting himself and did untold damage to me with the lies and promises he told me while still cheating. He admitted to almost nothing I did not find and prove on my own, and he grew increasingly angry with me as I continued to uncover details and confront him with his lies, most of which he could not even remember telling. I took a lot of notes and journaled my way through this hell daily and he came to hate my recall for events and refused to work with me on a timeline or full disclosure. He told me over and over I had the whole truth, the full story, all the gory details, when of course I did not. In the end, it was multiple begging emails to the MOW that gave me the full timeline, and revealed further lies he continued to tell, both big and small that I could not have proved otherwise, so I owe the pathetic woman credit for that small act of kindness. The mind of a trapped cheater is impossible to understand. It is concerning to me that he threw his MOW under the bus, never protected her from me or apologized to her for what has transpired, including me devastating her with the horrible things he said about her, and the reveal that he tried to cheat on her multiple times for more than half of their relationship. He has zero care or regard for someone he trashed his marriage for, and swears she means no more to him than a stranger on the street. It would make so much more sense to me if he had cared for her, but it also pleases me that he showed her no more respect or kindness getting through this ugliness than he showed me. At least there is that. He did not love her, he just loved how she made him feel about himself.

The damage from the lack of honesty that I begged for, insisted on, demanded and threatened to leave over is permanent. Honesty is my number one core value and I never conceived that he could be dishonest with me, and each new discovery was a sham of a reboot to renewed commitment with total honesty. Over and over, I was assured there was no more to know, no more secrets, no more lies, nothing else to find, but every time there was, even after I begged him to clean up his hard drive and phone, because I couldn't stop the forensics, but he forgot how many breadcrumbs they left behind, and how many ways technology can catch up to the lies, eventually. I was a slow study, but I got there, and I'm now left with no trust moving forward. There is no trust but verify program for me, there is only hope my worst fears don't come true again. He says I can trust him now, he is done with that, he is happy with me (although he says he always was???) and I have nothing to be afraid of moving forward. He has conveniently shifted my recovery and our reconciliation to a me problem, not an us problem and he refuses to admit there is a him problem. He has a lot of issues he doesn't even care to recognize. We have a lot in common with our FOO, especially judgmental controlling mothers, and we just went in opposite directions in how we let it shape our futures. I thought we were an unbeatable team with an unbreakable bond and he thinks we still are, isn't that something?

I know that I am out of infidelity, thanks to relocating, covid, semi-retirement, total electronic and financial transparency, and most importantly threats to the MOW to out her personally and professionally. I know I have made the best choice on paper for myself, for now by staying together, even though my post reads like a cautionary tale of where not to end up. I know that we have always been and continue to be a great team at home and our business, and I want to believe that sparing my children the gritty truth of their parent's perfect marriage is a gift to us all and not a burden or source of guilt for me. I want to believe that old pictures, or memories or words, names, places, dates or songs that trigger a flight response or a flood of tears or a pang of heartache will fade with time, and I am still waiting. I still cannot look at pictures of my WH and me together from the cheating years and have them all tucked away, but the electronic stuff gets me from time to time. Recently, cleaning out my mother's house after her passing hit me with so many painful mementos that I became numb to the point of emotional shutdown. I'm still crawling out of that fog.

I can't believe I have been living this surreal version of my life, in this twilight zone episode of a marriage for almost six years now. I am truly worn down by all of it. That said, so long as I carry on in my marriage as if nothing awful has happened and I'm not heartbroken and afraid of what else I don't know or can't control, that we can have a great time, a lot of laughs and a bucket of adventures and tons of fun. I keep waiting for that bass note of sorrow to grow quieter, or my need to talk about it to my satisfaction to fade, but so far, not yet. Thoughts of the A, the MOW, the details the logistics, the disparate stories I've been fed, the unanswered questions, the hundreds of disastrous conversations or stonewalling sessions, the indignity of failing to advocate for myself in a way that helps me heal, failing to get through to him, to get him to follow through on the work he promised me when I agreed to stay - these thoughts fill my head every night and every morning and randomly throughout the day, every day, still. I keep waiting for a sea change, but I have been in the doldrums for a while. I am trying every trick in the book to retrain my brain to stop stimming on the pain and picking at the unknowns, but it is hard, hard work for me.

My early in the process therapist assured me that the continuing, long term shifting of my reality with the trickle truth, my OCD need for details and dates to piece together the timeline and the root causes for the A, plus my husbands inability to recognize his need to work on himself as opposed to "fixing me" would cost me some time to sort out the real reality as he called it. He gave me the gift of acceptance of my own timeline to process, to recover, to decide what I want and what to do next, even who to tell, and he gave me breathing room for my bruised ego, and my frustrated problem solving personality. He made me believe that it's OK to take as long as it takes, to take my time and not judge myself for what I choose, so long as I stay grounded in my values and continue to work to heal myself from horrifying betrayal. It feels like being stuck in amber some days though.

I think having a therapist go through my trickle truth with me, counseling us both, was a shock for him, and helped me to understand just how damaging continued deception can be. I booted WH from MC and continued on my own to help process the bulk of the truth I uncovered. I also think having my therapist urge me to let go of my OCD questions about a long ago affair, only to discover with me that my gut instincts were right, that there was a valid reason I couldn't let go and start to heal because my WH was lying to us both, the MOW was lying to me, and my WH had the therapist fooled with his lies - we were all wasting our time. I have adjusted to five or six different versions of what was really happening, both before I knew there was an affair and we were the golden couple, and the shocking discovery after discovery when I continued to offer trust and work to build an honest meaningful relationship moving forward while he was working to keep his secret life still secret. I was the most gullible BS because of my inability to comprehend that he was capable of lying to my face. I am so sad that he was incapable of ending a relationship he still swears meant nothing to him with a boring stupid high maintenance woman, not for me, not for himself and not for a single reason he can articulate. "It was easier to get into it than it was to get out of it. She cried. It was supposed to end anyway and you were never supposed to know. Nobody was supposed to get hurt. It's water under the bridge now. I don't know, I can't explain it and I don't want to talk about it. You just can't accept that affairs are a thing that happens."
I am still so incredibly hurt by his inability to make a choice for our marriage or me even when given an ultimatum for no contact and again for total honesty or I walk. To say he has disappointed me is an understatement. To say that I love him and that loving him has been the best and the worst thing in my life is one as well.

I am wired to walk away from pain, conflict and especially anyone I can't trust. This is really new territory for me, requiring expert level emotional maturity and acceptance that I don't have, not yet. I know I am struggling with an inadequate partner and inadequate tools in both our tool belts. I understand why I choose to stay and fight for a future worth having versus leaving, but I don't really see a clear path to anything that looks like success, just settling for what is left and worth salvaging. There isn't really a great option for me, because I know how much emptier and lonely my life would be without my WH and the family we have built, even if it is part fiction. But I am also learning the cost of compromising on my values and settling for less than I believe I am worth by staying without solid work from my WH. I'm choosing the devil I know, and maybe giving up on the idea of redemptive love, of coming through this happier or a better person. I don't think I've felt this bleakly accepting, this cynical or this negative since I was a teenager. I guess I just don't know how to get past the hurt of deep intimate betrayal when I curl up every night with my betrayer and listen to him tell me he loves me. Yes, but so what? Recently, on a lovely evening stroll, holding hands, he squeezed mine and said I love you and tears welled in my eyes and I said for what it's worth. I know I crushed him, but it just blurted out. I said you showed me what you are capable of doing to people you love, so I guess you taught me I don't know what it means to love a person. I know what it means to me and it is a very different thing than it means to you. He said nothing else that walk, which is its own hell, the silence. He told me later, after I brought it back up, that he loves me as much as he is capable of loving a person, that he has given me more painful honesty and apologies than anyone ever in his life. He wants me to be grateful or proud of him for that? I have come to understand that if he were to see things as I do, that his internal house of cards of compartmentalization and rationalization would tumble to the ground. I think his entire self image is in complete contrast to the person he truly is on the inside and I don't think he is interested in exploring anything about himself or his motivations. I'm going to be analyzing mine forever now I suppose, as well as pondering if I can ever know a person with any certainty again.

I love him, or who I thought him to be, with all that I am, he loves me as best as he is able. We are coming up on forty years together, and before this I would have told you he is my best friend, soul mate and the only living person on earth I trust completely. We love our grown children so much, and travel to see them several times a year. We have a great time together as a family, and they are really settling into happy, positive futures. They are the best thing in my life and the best thing tying me to this tragedy of a relationship. They have no idea of the decade of betrayal or the last five years of my breakdown and panic attacks, and my slow crawl back to a life I can live with. I hid it very well. I know I have chosen the harder path, staying with a man who will not freely admit to his failures or work to atone for the relationship damage or repair himself on a personal level. He has compartmentalized everything like an engineer would. I could never have imagined this becoming our lives, or me staying with anyone who hurt me a fraction of the amount my WH has hurt me, so my journey of self discovery is ongoing.

I'm sorry for turning this into a therapy session. I had a rough stretch of deep sad thoughts last night, and your post struck a chord for me, maybe hope that this is just another dip in the rollercoaster before I get to an easier stretch like you are in now. I am trying to be patient with myself, to understand that long drawn out trickle truth underground A during recovery puts me on the slowest and least likely path to healing, let alone salvaging a relationship, or even figuring out what I even want anymore. My WH is adamant that we will beat the odds, that we already have and he continues to believe we are currently living our best lives and I should really have chosen happiness by now. He is happy as can be, unless I bring up his "mistake that he has apologized a hundred times for". He never will get it and I have to learn to live with that or live without this marriage. I'm still learning how, I guess.

I really just wanted to say hello, to commiserate, to thank you for taking the time to come back and share and to show a fellow struggling member one possible, positive future. I like to envision a hopeful, happy future for us all here, regardless of whether we reconcile or give up. I hope you continue to have all the fun that grandparenting brings and wish the best for you and your family. I also hope you check in again someday, with more positive news and hope for those a little further behind you on the healing path. Best to you.

BW: 63 WH: 64 Both 57 on Dday, M 37 years, 2 grown kids. WH had 9 year A with MOW, 7 month false R, multiple DDays from 2017 - 2022, with five years of trickle truth and lies. I got rid of her with one email. Reconciling, or trying to.

posts: 562   ·   registered: Oct. 9th, 2018   ·   location: Southeastern USA
id 8803688
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OnTheOtherSideOfHell ( member #82983) posted at 11:04 PM on Tuesday, August 8th, 2023

WILA,

First off, I want to tell you that longterm affair survivors that heal with marriage intact are more common than you may think. I personally know four of them and none of them are on this website. Second, although my husband and I had no false R and little to no trickle truth I too suffered when looking at old pictures taken during his cheating. What helped me overcome that is admitting to myself that marriages are full of ups and downs and when times were hard I didn’t always stay for love nor did I stay faithful out of love for my spouse. At times, all that kept me married was family and finances. All that kept me faithful was respect for myself and my own values. He had zero respect for himself, her, me, and he had no values to speak of. That’s his problem. I can look at pics and see me and even him living our lives. I can look back with pride at my choices. He can’t. 🤷‍♀️

As for how he callously and hilariously threw the OW under the bus, it might be the single event on d day that saved our marriage eventually. Unlike you, I don’t think I’d have reconciled if he cared about her at all. The thought of him truly loving her would have been it for me. Like your husband he said the same thing "he liked the attention at first and didn’t know how to get rid of her without toppling over the Apple cart". It was easier (and safer) keeping her happy than pissing her off. He knew she’d sing like a canary. He was simply a coward.

posts: 189   ·   registered: Feb. 28th, 2023   ·   location: SW USA
id 8803719
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whatisloveanyway ( member #66450) posted at 5:19 PM on Wednesday, August 9th, 2023

Ontheotherside,

Hi, nice to meet you. I wish I knew a real couple that have been through this. I just have lots of girlfriends whose marriages ended due to infidelity. It's good to know there are more than I think.

First I almost deleted the book I wrote yesterday. I was not in a good head space. Some days the thoughts or feelings just pile up and its all I can think about, all I want to talk about and I just cry a lot and question my life choices and occasionally overshare on the internet! I took a short hike by a waterfall and stood in my zinnia patch and visited with the swallowtails and regrouped after a day of appointments and errands. My WH was waiting for me like a kid with our puppy, because he missed me. It all helped, that and some conversations and pm's here.

I really like what you said about recognizing, looking back, that there were ebbs in your love for him. I see how I did that in many ways in our lulls, and I had one rough patch when he was mean to us all where I wished he would leave so the tension in the house would lessen. I always told myself that commitment and marriage mean for better and worse and I tried to be grateful for the parts of him and our family life that were good, because much of it was. I always loved him and felt safe and trusting with him, I just excused things I shouldn't have to the life stressors and age stages we faced. Like you, cheating, even lying about what I did or where I went or who I was with was just not something I could conceive. I never had secrets, and believed in my heart he had none as well. I am embarrassed to admit that I do withhold things now, and gatekeep what I think WH needs or deserves to know about what I think or what I do. I don't really have any secrets, I just don't offer up information as a habit anymore.

I feel like you about pictures. It's hard not to see a gullible, pitiful self in those pictures early in the process, but I now see an amazing mom, friend, sister and all around nice person trying her best for everyone. I made the best choices I could with the information I had. I am and always will be a deeply caring and empathic person, and I value that and can be proud of the person I see in those pictures. Infidelity did not take my self respect or my values or the parts of me I cultivate, so I find solace in that.

I've posted this several times, but I still look at my Me photo album on my phone to ground myself. I stayed up late one night and tagged all the photos of me through the cheating and aftermath years, but only me, or me with my dog or kids or friends. Not a WH in sight. That album makes me smile every time. If I cry, they're tears of happiness for the blessings, love and friendships that have stayed constant, that I know to be true. I have lately added a few pics of me with WH, post cheating years, because they were good days and spark a happy memory and not a sad one. It is my best tool if I get bogged down in the past. How can I feel sorry for myself with that album full of fun and love? I recommend the Me album to anyone who mentions struggling with the visuals from the past, and hope they can see the good parts of themselves, their lives even during the awful stuff. Maybe it's time to make an Us album too, because we have had some grand adventures, wonderful family trips, peaceful and happy moments, since I drug him back into fidelity and monogamy. Maybe looking at that can help temper the sad or bad memories. I know it can't make up for his lack of work repairing himself and his A damage, but it can help with my perspective and gratitude for what remains.

After DDay, what kept me here, besides paralysis from emotional devastation and almost instinctive clinging and fighting for the marriage I wanted to save, was my kids and needing to be a source of stability and predictability in their lives. It also took me a long time to get over the humiliation of being a BS, being in one of those marriages, being that clueless woman and I didn't want to tell anyone what had become of us. What keeps me here now is an ever changing list of pros and cons, and as long as the pros list wins, staying makes sense.

Lastly, thanks for the perspective of the disregard for MOW being a good thing. You are right and I know it. If he had loved her I don't think I could continue trying. He asked me, very early in the discovering the real truth and the false reconciliation, if him not having any feelings for her or what she was going through made him a bad person. I told him that I was the wrong person to ask that question, because I want him to feel nothing for her, care nothing for her, and it would be painful if he did care about her. Though I know he did, or treated her as if he did, because of the many emails and texts I found, it was clear there was care and friendship. But not enough to matter. Kind of like his love for me? But I still wonder sometimes what that means about him, his ability to ghost another person, to share himself for a decade and then just not care. He explained it as once I'm done with someone I'm done. I wonder if it would just be too embarrassing or awkward for him to face her after the things she knows he told me, after the things I have said to her about him. I blew up his fake cheater persona with a lot of truth bombs to her, because I wanted their fairytale to die a bloody mess too.

He has never asked if what he did to us or to me makes him a bad person though, and will still argue that what he did was separate from us, never affected marriage or home life and has nothing to do with us, he always loved me and our family. It is foreign to me, this compartmentalization and rationalization and refusal to address unpleasant things or see things as they are not how we want them to be. I'm a pick it apart and fix it process improvement person, and in my world almost everything is connected and accessible. We are such very different people. I used to think that's why it worked, now I wonder if that's why it's not working the way I need it to. This topic - the infidelity or the recovery work needed to heal is always a battle ground, and at this point, I have to guess it always might be.

So, I write long sagas here, to share my story and confusion and to look for some touchstones in this forum to help me find comfort and find my way through. It breaks my heart to see new members keep piling up, or LT members still struggling with so many of the things I am trying to figure out. But it sure helps finding others who have been on this journey, and gathering hints and hope for the future. I am trying to spend less time on the JFO forum, and let the more experienced and wise members guide newbies along. I'm not sure I have a lot of useful content for them right now, and can get triggered reading so many fresh discoveries and raw emotions. I am right back there with them. I have haunted the S/D and New Beginnings threads several times over the past three or four years, as I have come as close to leaving as a person can get - everything from just going away for a while to pursing separation to clear a path for divorce, even asking him to separate. He won't give up yet or at least we are not both there at the same time. We have pulled back from that cliff but I can still see it, and feel like I am one more Bullshit lie or revelation or transgression from jumping off it. I'm frazzled. The SI version of adrenal fatigue maybe? No way to live in an attempt to reconcile, but maybe the narrows I have to pass through to get to whatever is next.

Wishing luck and peace and happiness to all who haunt this thread.

Edited just to cut out some of the overshare and whining....

[This message edited by whatisloveanyway at 6:13 PM, Thursday, August 10th]

BW: 63 WH: 64 Both 57 on Dday, M 37 years, 2 grown kids. WH had 9 year A with MOW, 7 month false R, multiple DDays from 2017 - 2022, with five years of trickle truth and lies. I got rid of her with one email. Reconciling, or trying to.

posts: 562   ·   registered: Oct. 9th, 2018   ·   location: Southeastern USA
id 8803804
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ThisIsSoLonely ( Guide #64418) posted at 12:46 AM on Sunday, August 13th, 2023

IDK if my WH's A qualifies as a LTA (2-3 years including the 1 year of FA depending on what counts as the beginning and end), but it seemed long term to me, and this resonated with me as I recall this feeling so well:

If he had loved her I don't think I could continue trying. He asked me, very early in the discovering the real truth and the false reconciliation, if him not having any feelings for her or what she was going through made him a bad person. I told him that I was the wrong person to ask that question, because I want him to feel nothing for her, care nothing for her, and it would be painful if he did care about her. Though I know he did, or treated her as if he did, because of the many emails and texts I found, it was clear there was care and friendship. But not enough to matter. Kind of like his love for me? But I still wonder sometimes what that means about him, his ability to ghost another person, to share himself for a decade and then just not care. He explained it as once I'm done with someone I'm done. I wonder if it would just be too embarrassing or awkward for him to face her after the things she knows he told me, after the things I have said to her about him. I blew up his fake cheater persona with a lot of truth bombs to her, because I wanted their fairytale to die a bloody mess too.

I did the truth bomb to the AP - I sent a big ugly email, with quite a few screens shots of texts to her, to me, with timestamps, and a clip of a call between them - but I sent it not only to the AP, but to the OBS and to my WH. Apparently that email was part of the absolute end of their A (at least to the best of my knowledge) and it ended in a total blow up with both of them calling the other liars etc while OBS and I sat back and let it happen I suppose. Apparently my WH was too cowardice to even finish reading it, so he fought with AP in the darkness of willful ignorance of what I had said in the email - what it contained - culpable deniability (e.g. "IDK what the email said as I didn't even bother to finish it....").

In my case there was also caring and friendship between them. That was and is undeniable. I would say there was more care and friendship between them than there was between us at that time, and definitely more lust. But love? IDK. I don't think so. Granted I don't think there was anything that qualified as love between us then either. The love in our relationship then flowed one way - from me to him. What I was getting back was a lot less than anything I want love to ever be. It was indifference at best from him, and disdain at worst. I don't think he had real love to give at all then - he didn't have enough time, and enough effort, and enough headspace for any single person then.

My WH never said he didn't have any feelings for her once the A had blown up once and for all. He skirted that question, and told me later that he though he loved her when the A was hot and heavy, but in hindsight it wasn't love. In other words, I've gotten something similar to what you described above w/out the self reflection your WS has about him being a bad person. It's a double edged sword - and I have felt it too. I so badly wanted WH NOT to love her, but then at the same time if he could decimate me, wholly and fully, for years, AND not love her - what kind of person is he? What can I expect from him ever? I mean who can do that to someone they love, for someone they don't? Is that really better??

It's a mind____ of the highest order.

[This message edited by ThisIsSoLonely at 12:49 AM, Sunday, August 13th]

You are the only person you are guaranteed to spend the rest of your life with. Act accordingly.

Constantly editing posts: usually due to sticky keys on my laptop or additional thoughts

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NoThanksForTheMemories ( member #83278) posted at 1:12 AM on Tuesday, August 15th, 2023

I can share from the other side. WH initially asked if loving two people made him a bad person. What about wanting to help someone? He thought he was "helping" his AP see that men could be open and communicative, unlike in her (AP's) marriage. Ugh. He thought she was "the one" because he felt so strongly for her, like nothing he'd ever felt before. He had to grieve the loss after breaking up with her.

I tolerated all this bullshit, thinking that he would come to his senses. He did eventually, but not until after DDay2, when I threatened divorce. Today (9months past dday1), he seems like he's falling back in love with me at last, but I am struggling to feel the same. The longer I had to watch him get over her, the more dead I became inside.

I've told him that he should've left me when he decided to pursue his feelings for her. I can understand accidentally catching feelings for someone. Shit happens, especially if you have poor boundaries. But the lies and deception - especially those that happened after dday1 - those are very hard to overcome. And watching your spouse get over his AP is brutal.

[This message edited by NoThanksForTheMemories at 5:00 PM, Tuesday, August 29th]

WH had a 3 yr EA+PA. Dday1 Nov-22. Dday4 Sep-23. 30 years together. Allowing space for R without commitment.

posts: 78   ·   registered: May. 1st, 2023
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Chaos ( member #61031) posted at 11:16 PM on Thursday, September 14th, 2023

And watching your spouse get over his AP is brutal.

Damn - truer words were never spoken.

BS-me/WH-4.5yrLTA Married 2+ decades - Children (1 still at home) Multiple DDays w/same AP until I told OBS 2018 Cease & Desist sent spring 2021"Hello–My name is Chaos–You f***ed my husband-Prepare to Die!"

posts: 3770   ·   registered: Oct. 13th, 2017   ·   location: East coast
id 8807853
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NoThanksForTheMemories ( member #83278) posted at 4:54 PM on Monday, September 25th, 2023

The time since my last post has been ... something. WH started a group class/therapy for waywards and has gone deeper in IC. This led to a confession about past "near miss" infidelities from long ago - women he was attracted to and one that he shared a room with during a work trip because he thought she was interested in him (she turned him down). He wants to clear his conscience, and he admits that he has a problem/vulnerability that goes beyond his LTA. He says he's working to become the person that fits his self-image and someone I can respect and love again.

This was the first time he's confessed voluntarily, but it was still like dday all over again for a while last week. I managed to bounce back faster this time - I have a lot more armor on now. He's going to have to continue the work and make the changes for a while before I can even start to trust that he's made himself safer, but I'm encouraged by his behavior. He's reading and journaling and doing IC once a week along with the group therapy. He's recognizing his self-centeredness and the flaws in his thinking. He's showing me genuine desire and love.

All of this is good, but I'm not taking my armor off anytime soon. I remain skeptical that he can making lasting change based on the other bad habits that he has struggled with the entire time I'm known him (nearly 30 years). He will hardcore diet or exercise or get into a new hobby for a year or so and then gradually lose interest. Unfortunately there's no way to know that he can maintain any change he makes other than waiting and watching, so that is what I'm doing for now.

I'm trying to take the positive signs at face value while still keeping myself protected. We're at 4 ddays now (10 months since dday1), and I can't help wonder what else? What other secrets is he keeping out of guilt and fear? With each round, things get better for him and worse for me. I don't know what will be left when this is all done.

WH had a 3 yr EA+PA. Dday1 Nov-22. Dday4 Sep-23. 30 years together. Allowing space for R without commitment.

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whatisloveanyway ( member #66450) posted at 3:53 PM on Wednesday, September 27th, 2023

NoThanks,

Well, it’s good to know there are voluntary truths coming forth, because I believe it’s the best thing a WH can do in the aftermath. Voluntary discussions of the whole truth, and nothing but the truth - that’s the sign I need to believe R is possible. But I feel you with them hurting all over again, because for me, each new detail hurts on its own but hurts more because I had to accept how much more I was missing, and how deep the rot goes with WH, or how his default setting is lay down a suppressing cover of lies big and small. Be adamant and convincing but give no ground to facts. It’s been infuriating, and I’m trying to understand that his personality shortcomings are not a reflection of my worth or his feelings for me, but I’m so fragile and easily wounded these days I barely recognize my old feisty self. I don’t have much armor yet, or an ability to compartmentalize so I’m feeling vulnerable and cautious what I wish for. Getting the honest conversations I need may just hurt my heart more.

Good luck with finding that place that feels safe, and keeping that armor shiny! I will always wonder what my WH is still keeping from me. I know enough to understand the broad strokes though, so I’m trying to let go of the wondering and pay attention for anything that sends my spider senses tingling - all those feelings I ignored, brushed aside or explained away that might have saved me a few years in this stupid saga. Cautious comes with the territory I guess. It’s a similar feeling to driving again after an accident. Hyper alert, ready to take action to save yourself, to stay safe.

I finally, finally started up with an IC to help me figure out how to get unstuck, how to move forward and how to piece my life back into one I can live with. One session in and my head is churning, so much to think about. I like her, a lot. We are planning on EMDR to help my OCD thoughts and recurring painful memories, so I am hoping it might work on me. It was interesting though, her first statement to me was that I cannot live divided.

I have to make the most important decision, stay or go before we work on the path to walk. Since DDay 1 I’ve been on a primal quest to save and defend my marriage. Every time I pack a bag or envision separating, I think about how he is the first and last person I want to talk to everyday, the person I tell all my stuff to, everything but this big elephant of infidelity. I don’t know how to start a life without him in it, and more unsettling, I feel as though I have nowhere to go that would not be lonely or sad anyway. I’ve been through this with too many friends. It is not easy. I like this life, just not the missing and hurting parts. So I guess I’m staying.

But what a contrast from my first IC, who assured me that I should take my time, all the time I needed to decide, that deciding to divorce was always a choice, but give myself space and grace to be sure that was the path. He seemed to sense my investment in this life and my complete love and devotion for my WH and maybe wanted to help me save it if I could. He let me have limbo for as long as I wanted, but new IC right away said you cannot live divided in your life like this. Decide and then let’s work on how to make that decision work for you. I said I was angry that I have to be the one to do the work and change to feel safe in this life, and she said yes, but you must change to get through this. She's not wrong.

I chose her for her EMDR training, but also because of the enneagram personality profile systems she uses. The enneagram was an eye opener for me years ago, and I’ve had all the HR tests so I know who and what I am. So, we already have a shorthand to discuss a lot of my thought processes. She’s helping me sort through my roadblocks and grief through that lens, which I really appreciate. She’s excited to work with me, thinks she can help me a lot. I am hopeful and glad I finally took this step to help myself.

We barely scratched the surface of all that is pulling me under right now, all the other stuff, because infidelity is the greatest of my problems. Processing my mom’s death, the ongoing aftermath with the hoard and the heartbreaking alcoholic siblings, missing my dead dog and wondering what insanity made me get another busy needy one so soon…. I hope to work on those after I get my footers in here.

[This message edited by whatisloveanyway at 1:31 PM, Thursday, September 28th]

BW: 63 WH: 64 Both 57 on Dday, M 37 years, 2 grown kids. WH had 9 year A with MOW, 7 month false R, multiple DDays from 2017 - 2022, with five years of trickle truth and lies. I got rid of her with one email. Reconciling, or trying to.

posts: 562   ·   registered: Oct. 9th, 2018   ·   location: Southeastern USA
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NoThanksForTheMemories ( member #83278) posted at 7:10 PM on Thursday, September 28th, 2023

I had to accept how much more I was missing, and how deep the rot goes with WH, or how his default setting is lay down a suppressing cover of lies big and small

I get this, whatisloveanyway. I'm sorry you're having the same experience. Your new IC sounds really great, though, and I hope it helps you get unstuck and able to move through the pain.

People keep telling me the same thing (including my IC) - that I don't have to make a decision, but it's been over 10 months, and it's hard to live in limbo, so I've decided to stay and see what happens with WH without pressuring myself to be active in R. That said, it's still really hard on some days to resist the urge to divorce him and be done. Rationally I know that I will be trading one kind of pain for another - divorce won't be a magic wand that takes the pain away. WH seems genuinely remorseful now and is trying to work on himself, so we might actually have a chance at a decent future, but I can't help at the same time feeling like I'm setting myself up for another betrayal in a few years, when the urgency of all this wears off.

WH had a 3 yr EA+PA. Dday1 Nov-22. Dday4 Sep-23. 30 years together. Allowing space for R without commitment.

posts: 78   ·   registered: May. 1st, 2023
id 8809773
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Notaboringwife ( member #74302) posted at 7:43 PM on Monday, October 23rd, 2023

And watching your spouse get over his AP is brutal.

Almost five years into R.
You know, after being told on D-Day, that I was boring (hence my SI name), in addition to other ridiculous claims, I simply threw my husband out of our home.
At a later time, upon reuniting, I've was told that she was exciting, fun, interesting, interested, easy going, and he was learning something. That litany did not change overtime.
And I've wondered why on earth did he want to come back to me when he had it all...To date by the way, I have not yet got a clear answer, but I am working on it. It may be that as they both had alcohol addictions, he saw an unpleasant future. And she did not care nor understand the connection with our adult children and grandchildren as she had no children of her own. But that is my guess at best.
He dumped her, after living with her for three months. Just like he dumped me on D-Day. At least he's been consistent in the way he ends relationships...
What I find most galling, is that he says he feels indifference towards her. I can't read his mind, but I sure can tell he is not telling me the whole truth....he loved her in his own way. Cared for her enough to put me and our respective families under the bus and leave. After I gave him a second chance, he kept going to the same gym where they had met, at different hours not to bump into her, but of course they did. He told me it was nice to talk. He told me she teared up after he told her he loved me. Of course, he changed gyms after this encounter. He drastically cut out alcohol, but it took three years for him to come about.
I believe that he harbours feelings for her today and not with indifference. That will not change.
I have my own reasons for giving him a second chance. And I wonder at that woman (me) who gave him a second chance because rereading this sure sounds ugly. And his comments did a number with my self-esteem then. Not today. Not anymore.
His infidelity is now part of our lives, and thankfully, we work towards making our lives joyful and peaceful. Each differently and at a different pace, but together.

fBW. My heart is scarred.

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Hopeful76 ( member #58149) posted at 1:43 AM on Sunday, October 29th, 2023

It has been a long time since I spent time on this forum, but now I find myself struggling again and looking for direction. In 2016 my WH ex affair partner decided to share details of their over 6 year affair. She was pissed that he had finally ended it and wanted to burn down our marriage. We did all the work: Individual Therapy, Couple's therapy, retreats, marriage support groups - you name it we did it. But here I am again feeling as lost as I ever was. I cannot give myself permission to be ok. I think deep down I stayed for the wrong reason. I just turned 70 so at the time I was already in my 60s and was afraid to start over alone. I am so angry at myself for putting up with everything he put me through and for not having the courage to walk away. I don't think he has been unfaithful again but he has lied to me about small things. These lies, regardless of how small, are like little daggers. I know that I am the only one that can find a resolution to the constant pain I feel. There are just no positive solutions. My baby sister recently passed away and I feel so lost She was the most kind and loving person and was there for me always.

My best advice for those who have just found themselves in this hell hole is to find the strength to do what is best for yourself. I wish I had had that strength. Staying can be a nightmare.

Hopeful76
M: 41+ years
BS: 64
WS: 62
DDay: 6/18/16
PA: 6.5 years
Working hard to rebuild.

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id 8813303
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TheEnd ( member #72213) posted at 2:43 PM on Sunday, October 29th, 2023

Hi Hopeful.

First, I am sorry for all that you have gone through and continue to go through.

I wanted to comment on your anger at yourself. While I totally get it, it's misplaced. It's easy to look back with 20/20 vision and criticize ourselves, but you made your choices in good faith. At the time, staying and working through it felt like the better option. There is no shame in that.

People talk about the risk in staying usually in terms of the WS cheating again. Of course, that is a very real risk. But the other risk is time. What i mean is, it takes years to recover and then more time to rebuild the marriage and we never, ever know if it's going to work out. We don't know if the "new" marriage will actually work for US. Our choices on Dday are to plow ahead with a wait and see attitude or divorce.

You plowed ahead. The wait and see period appears over for you. You now know that staying did not make you happy for whatever reasons. Again, NO SHAME in that. That was a viable option (try and see) and now you know.

Be kind to yourself. I don't know if you'd consider leaving him at this point but if you don't, please build a life for yourself that makes you happiest given your circumstances. Enjoy time with friends, family, hobbies. Detach from him as a husband, life partner and consider him a roommate maybe? But fill your life with things that make you feel good.

[This message edited by TheEnd at 2:45 PM, Sunday, October 29th]

posts: 585   ·   registered: Dec. 3rd, 2019
id 8813333
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NoThanksForTheMemories ( member #83278) posted at 5:15 PM on Monday, October 30th, 2023

TheEnd, those are very wise words, and I've said them to others. I need to remember to say them to myself - that it's okay to try R for a while and still walk away. That I don't owe R to my WS for working on himself and the relationship.

Detach from him as a husband, life partner and consider him a roommate maybe?

I have tried this, and it is so very hard because we've previously done everything jointly. Our finances and property are 100% joint. Before his affair, we socialized together and had a lot of activities in common. We did stuff separately for work but only rarely for pleasure. I miss that, but at the same time, I don't enjoy doing stuff with him like I used to.

I think I need a complete separation/divorce to properly detach. I've done as much as I can in our current circumstances, but I still have to see him every day. Plan meals. Coordinate kid wrangling. Deal with home repairs. Etc etc.

We're less than 2 weeks from the 1 year mark of dday1, and I keep thinking over everything that's happened in the past year and not liking it. I know he is finally trying to make real changes to himself and be the person with integrity that he presents to the world, but I don't know if I have patience left to "wait and see" if he can really make lasting change.

WH had a 3 yr EA+PA. Dday1 Nov-22. Dday4 Sep-23. 30 years together. Allowing space for R without commitment.

posts: 78   ·   registered: May. 1st, 2023
id 8813434
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TheEnd ( member #72213) posted at 8:07 PM on Wednesday, November 1st, 2023

Nothanks,

It's a more than valid choice to end your marriage if that is what you want. For me personally, divorce is the de facto price of infidelity. Staying is offering grace. A stay of execution if you will ( smile ). It does not mean the crime is wiped away or that the price for the infidelity will never be paid.

Can you afford a separation? Would he be willing to rent a cheap place or stay with relatives for a period of time? Therapeutic separation is a thing and it allegedly gives both parties more clarity. I like the idea of him leaving so you can stay in the comfort of your home and your daughter's life is not interrupted.

It sounds like you are wanting space, space and more space. That might mean you are done with this marriage or it might mean something else (like maybe you are someone who needs that space to heal). Separation is a good way to find out.

Therapeutic separation usually has an end date. Like 30, 60 or 90 days at which point you both agree to make a decision about your marriage. Give it some thought.

[This message edited by TheEnd at 8:11 PM, Wednesday, November 1st]

posts: 585   ·   registered: Dec. 3rd, 2019
id 8813694
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NoThanksForTheMemories ( member #83278) posted at 6:08 PM on Friday, November 3rd, 2023

Hopeful76, I'm so sorry for the loss of your sister. I imagine that pain is triggering a similar sense of grief and pain to the affair. That must be very hard to deal with! You're never too old to start something new, if you want to.


TheEnd, we did an in-house separation for about a month and that definitely helped. WH got Covid a few days ago and is now isolated in one bedroom so I'm getting a "break" in that sense, but I'm having to do more work around the house, which is hard with my disabilities.

We have not opened up to our kid (teenager) or local family about the affair, and a full separation would require us to disclose that something is going on. The teen is already in need of a therapist for other reasons, and I'm really worried about her. A separation would be another emotional stressor for her. It's also physically hard for me to manage our house alone. WH has serious anxious attachment issues, so that would be another challenge with full separation. I know that should be his problem to deal with, but as long as we have to communicate regularly, it will become my problem too.

I think it really comes down to me. I need to be ready to pull the plug, and I'm not quite there yet. I keep thinking maybe I can somehow tough it out for a few more years until kid turns 18. Then at least we don't have to deal with custody mess, and maybe she'll be off in college so moving would be easier. But I wake up every morning wishing I was alone. It's not a great a way live. Neither R nor D looks like a good choice right now, so I end up feeling stuck.

I also have a lot of lingering pain from the length of his affair and his behavior through that time period and the months after the initial disclosure. LTA is a special kind of hell, and doubly so with disclosures that span almost an entire year. There is no "safe" period of time. Every month has some kind of negative association memories. I guess it will take time to replace the bad ones with good ones, but I feel like he has squandered that opportunity for the past year (since dday1) with the trickle truths, and that adds to my pain.

He's miserably sick with Covid, so I can't even look to him for comfort right now. Dday1 is barely a week away.

WH had a 3 yr EA+PA. Dday1 Nov-22. Dday4 Sep-23. 30 years together. Allowing space for R without commitment.

posts: 78   ·   registered: May. 1st, 2023
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TheEnd ( member #72213) posted at 8:33 PM on Friday, November 3rd, 2023

When you're ready, you'll know.

It's ok not to be ready. It seems pretty healthy to me in that you know yourself, you're listening to yourself and you're taking your time.

Since separation isn't possible right now, I guess I'd just say put as much focus on you as you can. Do things you enjoy. Take good care of yourself. Find things to do without him and do them often to get that space you are craving.

Do you have a guest bedroom? Maybe make up some excuse why you two need to sleep in separate beds for a while. Then turn your room into your oasis of total privacy. Stop wife'ing him too. It's super hard to be caregiver to someone you don't want to be around right now. And you shouldn't have to. Whatever things you do for him, are his problem now.

Just brainstorming. But you want space and I think that's healthy for you so try to find ways to create it.

posts: 585   ·   registered: Dec. 3rd, 2019
id 8813970
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NoThanksForTheMemories ( member #83278) posted at 4:14 PM on Saturday, November 4th, 2023

Thank you for the suggestions. I have a single bed set up in our downstairs room already that predates dday1. There are days when I can't climb upstairs due to a chronic illness, so I have that excuse when I want to sleep separately. I've been using my health problems as a cover story a lot. Often it's also true - the emotional stress makes everything in my body worse. I wonder sometimes if I would get healthier if I left this house and stopped working on R. Unfortunately my doctor can't guarantee that, otherwise I'd be out the door.

Other than laundry, there's not much "wife" stuff I can do anymore. I do the majority of kid related stuff, but these days that's mostly after-school driving or getting her meals together.

Before I got sick, I always had a full schedule of things I enjoyed doing - job, volunteering, parties, hiking, etc. I was very Type A. Now I spend a lot of time having to rest, so unfortunately there isn't as much to occupy my mind. I watch TV and read a bit, and I do a couple hours of freelance work, but those idle cycles always turn to the big problems - how to deal with the affair fallout and our kid's issues.

And then I think about the terrible things happening in the world and the much bigger problems people are dealing with, and it's hard not to feel like I'm focusing too much on my own pain. I have a nice house and food and and savings and health insurance. Our kid is in a good school, and we live in a good neighborhood. So my WH spent 3 years loving someone else and lying about it. So I'm stuck with a disabling disease for the rest of my life. Maybe I should be more grateful for what I have.

Apologies if I'm coming off as self-pitying. I didn't sleep well, and I'm really tired.

WH had a 3 yr EA+PA. Dday1 Nov-22. Dday4 Sep-23. 30 years together. Allowing space for R without commitment.

posts: 78   ·   registered: May. 1st, 2023
id 8814032
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Molly65 ( member #84499) posted at 5:53 PM on Friday, March 15th, 2024

I must respectfully disagree with the idea that we BS may not want to see it or we lie to ourselves bc we love our WS. I recognize that may be possible in some situations (the classic lipstick on the collar type stuff), but from what I see here on SI, I suspect it's a very small minority of cases where there are such signs/red flags (like extra clothing in the car or house, or smelling of perfume, or seeing the strange texts).

My WS did 99.9% of all A-related communication from his office (and he works a lot of weekends, so it was easy). He used his office phone, office calendar, and they only met / had sex at lunchtime. When he acted strangely shortly after it went PA, and I confronted, he told me it was stress at work (which I did know about, so his answer "made sense" at the time... he was acting like a jerk the same way he acted like a jerk in the midst of a stressful project or deadline).

My WH lied to me about his AP from before we were even married. He'd been lying about her for >25 years, tho the sex was about 10 years.

Maybe my trust was blind - but I can't even see it that way in that I never even knew this woman had ever existed, or ever been a part of his life. He lied about her from the very beginning of our relationship, and a few years later (probably after we married) she moved to another city, so there would be no way for me to know about her.

I completely agree. When you look at life and at your husband or wife according to YOUR VALUES, betrayal is not contemplated at all. You give 100% trust to your spouse because that is what a relationship should be based on, 100% TRUST. Why should it be any different?

Plus as in our case, the affair started at a time when we were living apart because I he had been assigned to a different country and I stayed to allow our children to complete their studies where we were. He was seeing the FB during his business trips, so even if I had been with him, he never took away time from family commitments, he always spent his weekends either with us or with his toxic parents. He is not the guy who goes out in the evening, he was jus going home late, which he had done for the past 20 odd years without any betrayal. He had a double life because he took advantage of our logistics. The company paid all their hotels stays, the company paid all their romantic dinners because they worked during the day and then spent their free time together.

Luckily he never spent money of the POS FB. And yet she wanted him to dump me.

[This message edited by Molly65 at 5:54 PM, Friday, March 15th]

Molly NEW LIFE

posts: 130   ·   registered: Feb. 18th, 2024   ·   location: USA
id 8829087
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