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Some advice please

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Patty21 posted 4/13/2021 10:16 AM

It's been a few months since my husband has found out about my affair. I feel lost and just stuck about my life. I know what I did was wrong and I do take full responsibility.at times it is hard to explain to my husband why I did this. He tells me it's a choice not a mistake. It's frustrating when he tells me that I can't change and I will cheat again. I really am trying my best to fix myself and figure out why I decided to do this to my family. I had a rough upbringing. then my father wasn't in my life. I had a bad relationship which I had child. Then my recent relationship I have cheated on my husband of 2 years. I really could use some advice on how to improve myself and really show my husband that I take full responsibility and that I am sorry for the pain I have caused him. I am now going to find another job it causes alot of pain to my husband. Plus I think it would help me focus more on my job career then my husband to worry what's going on at work. I have started therapy to heal from the trauma growing up and really finding out why I cheated. Even though my husband wasn't th nicest to me.he did verbally and emotionally abuse me but I know it's not an excuse to have hurt him. Any advice would really help me out. I can't eat and sleep. I am very depressed and just feel horrible for what I did.

HellFire posted 4/13/2021 10:25 AM

Why did you feel the need to mention that your husband wasn't nice to you?

You seem sincere, seem like you are taking full responsibility, then you felt the need to add that. Those few sentences seemed really out of place.

I don't think you take as much responsibility as you think you do. And your husband feels that.

I'm not excusing his behavior. If he was awful, you had every reason to divorce. Instead, you chose to cheat.

You said your husband keeps telling you it wasn't a mistake..it was a choice. That doesn't sound like YOU believe it.

Cheating IS a choice. A mistake is grabbing a gallon of skim, when you meant to grab 2%.

Are you defensive when he is upset, triggers, or gets angry?

Have you answered all of his questions, or are you telling him you don't know, or remember?

Have you dropped the friends who knew about the affair before dday?

Does the other man's wife know about the affair?

In what ways are you showing you take responsibility?

Feeling horrible is good. Sorry,but its a necessary step. The thing is, it's also selfish. Your shame helps no one. You need to pull yourself up,and start being proactive in healing the damage you have caused.

maise posted 4/13/2021 10:29 AM

What does taking full responsibility mean to you? How does that look through actions?

DaddyDom posted 4/13/2021 10:30 AM

Welcome Patty. I am sorry that you are scared and hurting, however you've come to a good place to look for support. All of the wayward spouses (WS's) here have walked in your shoes at one time or another, so there is a lot of advice to be found. Take some time to breathe. Here are some resources to get you started. First, I recommend "Have to help your spouse to heal from your affair" which can be found online, or even for free in PDF form if you search for it. It is a quick read (maybe 2-3 hours?) and is essentially a guide for the newly outed WS to help with damage control in the short (and long) term. Also, please check out The Healing Library in the top left corner of this page for some great articles that may be of help.

For what it is worth, you most certainly CAN change and become a safe person. Now is honestly maybe not the time to argue that point with your spouse, however I think it is important for you to understand that. Most of us share a similar background to you, and have neglect/abuse/rape and other family and life trauma's in our past that contributed heavily to how we got so broken in the first place, and what ultimately contributed to how we allowed an affair to happen. I would highly suggest finding a good therapist (IC) for yourself, and exploring those past trauma's.

Recovery from infidelity is a long, slow process. 2-5 years is the average just to get to a point where reconciliation (R) can begin. Be prepared for a lot of hurt and anger, and whatever you do, be honest, don't "trickle truth" anything, and do your best to not get angry and defensive. Keep the lines of communication open. Stay humble.

PS - As a new member, you want to ask a mod to put the stop sign on this post for you. Stop signs mean that only WS's can respond to your post. If that's what is desired.

Patty21 posted 4/13/2021 10:49 AM

I do at times feel triggered by the comments my husband makes. He makes me feel like I can't be a better person.that I can't get through this. I do have a therapist that I see to help me deal with the trauma I had growing up and in my early 20s. I do my best to be open and answer his questions. I feel stuck because alot of the times I am told that I should of thought of what I did. I do say I'm sorry and I try to listen. But many times it sounds like my husband has given up. I do see the extent of how much I hurt him.i know the process takes a long time and I am willing to put in the work. I guess I need to stop saying it was a mistake and realize it was a choice. Now I am making a choice to improve myself. I have been doing my best to keep my head up high. When I do my husband likes to talk bad about what I did. I'm just a cheater a bad wife and mother. It makes me sad that's what I am and I really don't want that to define who I am. I do answer my husband but he doesn't believe me. Idk how to be there for my husband. I have read that book and it has helped alot but I still feel like I am not doing enough.

HellFire posted 4/13/2021 11:02 AM

What he is saying,and feeling,is normal for a BS 2 months out. He is traumatized. He doesn't believe you. Why would he? It's up to you to prove you can be trusted.

Honest,consistent, remorseful actions are what he needs to see. And it will take a long time.

The first year is so hard for a BS. They are on a roller coaster of emotions. If you want to reconcile, buckle up, and ride it with him. Show him he isn't in this alone. Because,I can assure you, he feels he is.

He is right. When you answer certain questions, you SHOULD HAVE thought before you cheated. Instead of feeling stuck, acknowledge he is right.

When you apologize, how do you say you're sorry? A basic. "I'm sorry " won't cut it. It needs to be a detailed apology.."I'm sorry for doing xyz. I understand it makes you feel xyz."

I'm going to tell you what I've told other FWS here. He is going to give up 100 times, before he actually gives up. He will say he is done and he will mean it because he is so devastated. It is up to you to step it up,and show him why he shouldn't give up.

When he calls you a bad wife, acknowledge that he is right. You were a bad wife. But that you are working on yourself,so you will never be that again.

Other than IC, what are you doing to become a safe partner?

And, finally, if he was such a bad husband, why do you want to reconcile? Not all marriages should be saved.

Show him SI. It will help him deal with the emotions he is having,and help him find strength.

[This message edited by HellFire at 11:04 AM, April 13th (Tuesday)]

maise posted 4/13/2021 11:09 AM


This process is going to be about looking at you and taking responsibility for your own thoughts about yourself and your own feelings about yourself. I’m going to separate talking about your husband right now - it seems you’re very focused on what he thinks, how he “makes you feel” and come across as a victim in how you discuss the way he’s expressing himself.

The thing is, nobody can “make you feel” without your consent. If he says XYZ about who you are - it’s on you to think about why that gets to you so much. Do YOU believe these same things about yourself and that’s why it hurts you when he says it? This whole process is going to be about taking accountability for YOUR thought about you. YOUR feelings about you. It’s going to be about coming to a place where you see yourself as you are now without blinders, without victimizing, without excusing, without lying...and step into a role of choosing to make yourself better should u not like what you see. That’s responsibility for you, and accountability for you. Only after can you be there in those ways for someone else.

[This message edited by maise at 11:10 AM, April 13th (Tuesday)]

Patty21 posted 4/13/2021 11:17 AM

I think when my husband tells me these things it does hurt. When I really do take a minute to look at myself I don't like what I see or how I have been acting. I feel sick to think that's the kind of person I have become. I really don't want this to define me. I want to be better for myself and my family. I feel he says this to get under my skin or he wants me to see what kind of person I am. I think I want to be better and he keeps telling the bad things I have done. So I feel stuck. Idk how to feel good about myself or get to that level of confidence again.

maise posted 4/13/2021 11:25 AM

You’re still making it about him rather than about you and how you look at yourself and what you’re going to do about it. He can’t fix you, he can’t save you, he can’t make you be different. Only you can do that. Making it about what he says, how he “makes you feel”, what he’s “doing to bring you down” is not conducive to your healing, to your work, to YOUR accountability and YOUR responsibility. You did this, not him. You are responsible for making you who you are. You have to learn to break away from making it his fault you’re not excelling. He’s allowed to feel how he feels without you making it about how it’s breaking you down further. What are YOU going to do build YOU up?

[This message edited by maise at 11:28 AM, April 13th (Tuesday)]

Patty21 posted 4/13/2021 11:31 AM

I am going to therapy every week. I have been reading books. I have been praying to just help me stay strong and how to heal myself from the choice I made to hurt my family. I am taking medication. I guess I spend so much time thinking about what my husband tells me because that's all I hear from him each day. I know that it was my fault but I feel when I am trying to succeed. I feel that he tries to remind of the person I am and at times that distracts me from the healing process. I need to stay strong and recognize my bad choices. I need to stop feeling sorry for myself and shameful. I know I have alot of work to do and a long road but I am willing to put in the work.

hikingout posted 4/13/2021 11:35 AM

Patty -

As DD said, many of us have been in your shoes.

I am going to tell you something I wish I understood earlier on. And, this is for you and not really relevant to your husband, in fact saying it to him would enrage him most probably:

This part of the situation was created by you when you cheated. BUT there are rich and valuable things that can be gained by this that will help you evolve if you let it. Have hope. There is always hope.

It doesn't have to define you permanently, but it will define you for some time to come. You are doing the right things where you are at so far. In my recovery, I learned a lot about myself- at first it's all gruesome discoveries.

I learned that I didn't have the integrity that I thought I did. I had to figure out why and how I could make exceptions to that integrity if it was so strong. I learned that some of my perceptions of him and our relationship were very wrong and could have been fixed with communication. I learned that I really had never loved myself or held any boundaries that I needed to be happy.

It will get better, keep going to therapy, keep trying. You will fail 1000 times, but each thing will teach you what you need to know.

I have talked to WW's for 4 years while on this site. Some of them did turn around and divorce their spouses because they got healthy and their spouse did not. I am only saying this part because if your husband was emotionally/verbally abusive in the pre-A marriage, and continues this after you get to a state of healing, you may not feel compelled to stay in this relationship.

OR - you may find that the way you interpreted his behaviors, or used them to justify doing what you wanted were false perceptions that were caused by the unhealthy lens that you currently have.

No way can strangers on the internet figure out which it is. But, my purpose for saying it is - the goal is to fix anything you can find to fix. It takes way longer than you would believe...I am getting there 4 years out, but there are still things that I practice and know I am not as good at as I should be. At the same time, I have learned enough that I can find my compassion for myself and keep positive feelings while continuing to try and go in the best direction.

Noone would ever guess how cheating on your spouse is also a self betrayal. Something that we do that is extremely damaging not just to your BS but to you. You did not act in your best interests and as a result there is a lot to wade through to get to the other side. But, the other side definitely exists. Along with new wisdeom and new ways of looking at things.

Just keep doing your best. Keep doing the next right thing. If this man is going to be a healthy choice for you on the other side of this, noone can guess. But, I will tell you that you will make better decisions when you know better, and if this marriage does end your work is not wasted. Your longest relationship is with yourself. The better that relationship is the better external relationships you will have.

HellFire posted 4/13/2021 11:37 AM

Are you..

Completely NC with OM?

Are you answering all of his questions, without anger,or defensiveness?

Are you Completely transparent? Does he have full access to everything, all accounts and your phone,passwords included?

Were you tested for Stds?

Have you given him a full timeline?

Have you dropped all friends who knew about the affair?

Has the other man's wife been informed?

Are you accountable for your time when away from home?

These are a few of the basic things needed, in the beginning, after dday.

What,on this list, have you done?

HellFire posted 4/13/2021 11:40 AM

I see the affair was with a coworker. That's a huge problem.

It's good you are finding a new job.

hikingout posted 4/13/2021 11:40 AM

OH! AND! I totally get it's hard to heal at the same time your spouse is spiraling. The thing that helped me was to understand that cheating on someone is a tremendous trauma. Some people even suffer long term PTSD. Read as much as you can about trauma. It will help you understand some of what he is doing is reacting to what has happened. Having that empathy and insight really did help me learn to balance between my husbands upset/anger and me trying heal. Eventually understanding what this does to people in general helped me to help him. Which in turn helped our overall situation.

I don't even think I delved into that until after the first year, and only because I read so many betrayed people's stories here.

Bulcy posted 4/13/2021 11:47 AM

Hi Patty21,

As lots of people say, welcome to the club we don't want to belong to.

I usually start a post to a new member with this advice. Listen to the waywards on here, they have all been where you are. They offer advice without any prejudice. There is experience of how to do things and possibly more importantly how not to do things. My immediate advice:

Put up a stop sign. I've seen a number of people leave SI because of comments from BS. While these are often constructive, they can be painful if you're in the early stages of R

Seriously....Listen to these guys. Initially I read lots of threads, but did not take too much in.

You're not alone.

be prepared for some 2x4's or some reality checks from people on here. We're as gentle as we can be, but sometimes we need to be told straight.

Read books - Linda MacDonald - How to help your spouse heal from your affair. Great book and will help.

Stay with it

BraveSirRobin posted 4/13/2021 12:33 PM

You've gotten some excellent advice here, but I want to emphasize that you aren't obligated to save your marriage. If you tried to address his abusive behavior before the affair, and he was never willing to hear it, then it's relatively unlikely that he will be willing to do substantial work now that you've cheated on him. It is okay to look at the situation and say, "I'm not willing to do everything it takes in exchange for returning to an abusive status quo."

I'll temper this comment by observing that the wayward mindset is inherently untrustworthy. We've seen WS come here claiming abuse, and then the examples they give are far from abusive treatment. However, if your spouse was swearing at you, gaslighting you, isolating you, and deliberately crushing your self-esteem before the affair, that's not an issue you can or should ignore. It is possible that your best chance of healing yourself is by acknowledging that you made toxic choices while living in a toxic situation, and that you need to get free of both.

sisoon posted 4/13/2021 13:19 PM

BS here, no stop sign. Really - think hard before removing stop signs. Getting beaten up by BSes won't help you heal.

BSR (BraveSirRobin) is right that saving your M isn't a really good goal for you, especially if your H has been abusive.

What I saw from my W (these are my words, not hers) was a commitment to face the self-talk that enabled her A and to change from cheater to good partner. She didn't want me to leave, but she was committed to healing herself whether I stayed or not.

If you attempt to R without healing yourself, it just won't work. Life will suck for you and for your H.

Is your H in IC? TBH I see no positive outcome from telling you that you'll cheat again. I see potential positive outcomes from saying 'I'm afraid you'll cheat again' or 'I'm afraid you won't change,' but telling you you'll cheat and telling you you won't change - that's pretty much setting you up to fail.

My suggestion is to start answering the questions that have been asked in this thread. (I don't have any idea how that will turn out, but I think it's a good start.)

No matter what anyone says, you can change, and you can heal. It's not easy, but it's eminently doable and eminently worthwhile.

[This message edited by sisoon at 1:21 PM, April 13th (Tuesday)]

nekonamida posted 4/13/2021 13:38 PM

I see potential positive outcomes from saying 'I'm afraid you'll cheat again' or 'I'm afraid you won't change,' but telling you you'll cheat and telling you you won't change - that's pretty much setting you up to fail.

To be fair, to a foggy WS who may still be slightly in CYA/victim mode, there is no difference between those two statements which is why hikingout is right. We have no idea if Patty's BH is a normal BH who has been unfairly portrayed or if he's abusive. Her BH may genuinely be expressing his fears but Patty could be unable to hear it in her current state as anything but an accusation or criticism. The same may go for things he said during/before the A too.

If Patty heals, she will know the difference and she can make a good decision for herself. Unless she believes she is in danger or she is under verbal attack to the point where it's interfering with her day-to-day life or it's affecting her child, it's probably better for her to focus on herself and figure it out before she makes any concrete decisions about R or D.

fooled13years posted 4/13/2021 13:54 PM

Patty21, there is no stop sign so as a formerly betrayed husband I gently offer you the following:

He tells me it's a choice not a mistake
Your betrayed husband is correct in this. You may view your actions as a mistake but you made many choices on your journey to infidelity.
It's frustrating when he tells me that I can't change
This statement is incorrect. Everyone is capable of changing; in fact you are different today than you were yesterday if by no other measure than being older.
and I will cheat again
This statement may or may not be true based on the choices you make going forward.
I had a rough upbringing. then my father wasn't in my life. I had a bad relationship which I had child. Then my recent relationship I have cheated on my husband of 2 years
Everyone I know can tell you that their childhood was not perfect and their lives did not work out the way they had planned but not many chose to have an affair.
I have started therapy to heal from the trauma growing up and really finding out why I cheated
It is good that you have started therapy but please understand that therapy is not a be all/end all answer for what has happened in your life and figuring out why you made the choices you made.

There might be mental, emotional and quite possibly physical work that you are going to need to do above and beyond therapy in order to find the answers you might be looking for.

I am now going to find another job it causes alot of pain to my husband
It is good that you recognize the pain you still working at the same place is causing your BH but if the therapy is obtainable only through the insurance you are getting through work you might consider holding off quitting until therapy resources are available through other means.

You will not be able to help your BH until you have received help yourself.

Plus I think it would help me focus more on my job career then my husband to worry what's going on at work
These are two separate issues IMO.

I take this statement above as though you put your job/career before any other part of your relationship.

Even though my husband wasn't th nicest to me.he did verbally and emotionally abuse me but I know it's not an excuse to have hurt him
Perhaps I am wrong here but if you think that the way your BH verbally and emotionally abused you was not an excuse for you to cheat then why did you tell us about the abuse?
I can't eat and sleep
You need to not only eat healthy and get your sleep but you should also drink plenty of water and exercise too as you are going to need all your strength to help your family get through this.

I wish you success as you try to navigate this path.

HellFire posted 4/13/2021 13:56 PM

but telling you you'll cheat and telling you you won't change - that's pretty much setting you up to fail.

First..no. Just no. HER ACTIONS will be the reason she fails, or succeeds. Nothing her freshly traumatized BH says will cause her to cheat again.

Second...this man is 2 months out from being totally devastated. He is allowed to express his distrust and pain as he needs to, without having to do so nicely and sweetly, to the woman who just destroyed him. The BS is always told to take the high road. To ask questions, but don't cry or get mad, as they are being answered because then the fragile WS will stop talking. To express themselves in a way that helps the WS want to work on herself. Come on. I don't think he needs to worry about making sure her feelings don't get hurt right now.

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