I am really grateful to everyone for your thoughts. It helps to have someone in your corner, even if only strangers online. It is my decision not to tell my friends and family about the affair at the moment, to be alone in this situation, but I miss the possibility to talk to someone, to cry, to vent to anyone but my husband and I need any support I can get. Anyway, you probably understand me better than anyone who hasn't been through this type of betrayal and as far as I know, no one in my circle of friends and family has.
Babette2008, your story is so much like my own and I hope we can come to the place you are now. 4 years seem like a long time and I am not sure I can live like this for so long, but I am willing to try and I hope things will at least start getting better.
Our marriage had been good and we were compatible. I don’t understand why people stay with cheaters that they don’t really like. But I also earn enough and have enough support that I am not reliant on my husband financially. I had the resources to leave. This is actually freeing because you can decide if the marriage is actually good.
I feel the same. We were always so good together. I love him and I like who he was before all this and I really hope, he can be that person again. I am not staying because of the finances, like you I earn enough to be on my own and I am also not staying because of the children. I believe they are old enough to survive our divorce with minimum damage, especially if we both have their best interests in mind. And I believe, if it came to that, we would. I am staying because I believe what we had was special and I want to try to get it back. I know it is in conflict with his actions, but I always thought we had a special bond. We are together since high school, he was my first real love, and I his. The fact that he is still my only love and I am not the only one for him is killing me and I don't know if I can get past that, but I feel I have to try. For my sake, for the relationship I believe we can rebuild. I know how this sounds and if any of my friends were going through the same thing, I would probably advise to stop living in the past and to see the cheater for who he really is. I always believed cheating was a deal breaker in a relationship, but I just can't take that advice now and I want to try one more time to get us back. I may be sorry for additional time lost, but I have to try.
Please tell the other BETRAYED spouse immediately. Sooner than immediately.
I am beginning to see that this is the only option. For his sake, but also for my own. And I know, I would be grateful to him, if he told me if the situation was reversed. Hurting her in the process and her perfect picture of herself will be a bonus.
Zeta, I came here this morning thinking I might post some thoughts on the 4th anniversary of my first DDay, but I saw your post and have so much empathy for you, and a lot to say. My husband's affair was also 9 years, a quarter of our marriage, and I was completely blindsided.
Whatisloveanyway, I cried reading your story. It is so much like mine and you gave me an insight into what lies ahead, if I choose to stay with my husband. I got the whole story (hopefully) soon after D-day, and I made clear, more lies from him will not be tolerated. I hope I can stick to that in case something new comes up, but for now, the new things in the past two months were only details of the affair and no lies. But one can never know. He was capable of lying to 9 years and he is capable now, I can only hope he chooses not to.
Second, you need to deal with MOW for your own sanity.
I really want to. I have this conversations with her in my head, where I tell her everything I think of her, of their relationship, of how naïve she was as well. I want to hurt her as much as possible, even though I know I can never hurt her as much as they hurt me. I don't think she could love anyone like I love him, but still, she wanted to believe they had this great love story and I want to shatter this image. I want her to know she was always the second choice, when she believed she was the first. She actually demanded he is not intimate with me, after they hooked up. She complained about the long vacations he took with our family, even about him kissing and holding me to congratulate me for my birthday. I still can't believe someone hooking up with a married man and then expecting him to be completely hers, and she is married at the same time. She is so selfish, it was not enough for her to be involved with a married man, she wanted everything. If he did everything she expected from him, we would not be married now and I think this was her intention. He told her on some occasions, he will never leave me and our family and this was her way to try to get me to leave him. I hate her so much. It doesn't mean I am not angry with my husband, I am and I know he is the most at fault, but if I want to stay with him, I can't hate him. I can hate what he did and the person he was, but I have to believe, he is not that person any more. I can hate her all I want though .
Third, pay the most attention to what your husband does, not what he says. The contradictions are endless. Much of my confusion stems from the loving, caring, cuddly fun person I spent all those cheating years with, because he looks and sounds the same as the one I live with now. I get very confused looking into the loving eyes that say they are sorry and that he is mine and mine alone now, because they look the same as the liar's eyes. Your perception of your husband as a man and a person will be tested, and reshaped.
I can relate here too. Part of the reason I let him deceive me for so long, is that even with all the evidence, I couldn't and didn't want to believe, he was capable of such betrayal. The boy if fell in love with, the man I loved for the better part of my life, was not the person who could act like that. So I let the gaslighting to continue for 9 years. Even now, when I know the truth, sometimes I have hard time believing it really happened. And other times I ask myself, was I always blind, was he always this cruel selfish being, who cared only about himself and what he wants and doesn't care who gets hurt along the way. I wonder if he ever really loved me as much as I love him, if he is even capable of loving me the same way. Then I remember our time together. Before the affair, but also during. We had some problems in our early days, mainly because of my low self-esteem, but he was always there for me. Even when things were tough, when I sometimes made his life hell, he was there for me. I don't think he would stick with me then, if he didn't love me. I wouldn't put up with things I did, for the person I don't really love. And he was always this "loving, caring, cuddly fun person", like you say. For our relationship to work I have to believe, he was a good person before and the he can be that same person again. I hate who he was in between and I really hope that person is gone.
Fourth, know this is a very long journey for you, and for you both. It took me over a year to realize how confused and stressed he was, and how high his BP had gotten from dealing with the fallout. I had my own journey to empathy of sorts with him. There is nothing that they can say or do to erase the shock of betrayal or the feelings of humiliation at being fooled and disrespected by someone you love for so long. You will need to work day to day to get through this. You will have many days where you question your decision to stay, and you will wonder if you will ever wake up happy again, and not remember this heartache every moment. You need to take stock of how much you love him and your life together and how badly you want to try and keep it in whatever form it takes as you heal and rebuild. We decided early on we would be miserable apart, might as well be miserable together. (These words said mid-fight, but true) But you need to be prepared for the 3-5 year thing being a short estimate for us VLTA survivors trying to reconcile.
From very early after D-day, I know I want to try to rebuild our relationship. I love him and I believe we can be happy again, but the timeline scares me. Can I live like this for years, before I finally find peace with what happened? I like what you said, that "the highs and lows seem to be leveling off a bit" after enough time passes, but can I survive years of rollercoaster? I would be miserable without him, but probably not for so so many years. And even if miserable with him I can stand, can I survive if he strays again? This is actually what worries me most. I hate myself for letting him deceive me for so long, and I did let him. If I gave him the ultimatum the first time I had evidence something was going on, if I stood up for myself and didn't let him convince me with his lies, I would spare myself a lot of years of torture. How can I live with myself if it happens again? I told him all that and I really hope he gets what continuing with the affair would to to me. But then again, I told him something similar during the affair and it didn't do any good.
Fifth, please calmly and explicitly ensure your WH knows and agrees to the rules you set for your marriage. Make him understand there is no more grace to be given, no more chances. My WH knows I have resolved to accept no more disrespect, no more lies, no more secrets, no more unexpressed frustrations or resentments and no more attitude in dealing with the fallout from his bad choices. The biggest change is that I know my worth and I will not accept less than that now.
I did that soon after D-day, and I haven't shifted the line since. Any more lies, even small ones, meant to protect me and I am out. I have to find a way to trust him again and this is the only way. I hope I can stick to it, if/when it becomes necessary. Regarding his attitude towards me, I didn't have to make any rules. It was, since D-day, the perfect example of what it should be. He never blamed me for anything, took all the responsibility, he is caring, understanding of my emotions with the whole affair. I hope he stays this way, any resentment or frustration about how I feel on his part would negatively impact our reconciliation.
Keep reading here, keep talking to those who support you and can help you.
I will stay here, I find it helps to be writing about us. I don't have support of my friends and family, because they don't know. It is my own choice to keep everyone out of it, but I miss it anyway.
Ummm,NO. It's not up to you to tell him what to do, he should decide on his own to find another job and start looking right now. He's set it up for you to take the initiative here. He's not doing anything but reacting to you, he should be taking the responsibility for the mess he created. If he asks again whether he should find another job, tell him truthfully that building trust is not about his "comforting" you, it's about his taking any and all necessary action to change course completely.[Also, we have a loan (bought a house just last year) and can't afford being on one salary or to take a substantial cut]He can get two jobs or a side job to his new one.
I know where you are coming from and agree it should be his decision, but I actually told him to look for options, but to wait with the final decision, until I see how I can cope with them working in the same building. I know I might be digging my own grave with this, but I know he loves his job and I don't want to take it from him. If I decide in a few months, that I can't be with him anymore, I don't want him to be unhappy at his job also. And if we stay together, I want him to love what he does for living for the next 20 years and not to struggle doing things he hates. He says he will change jobs if necessary and I believe he will do it on his own, if he sees me struggling, but I think in the end it wouldn't be good for us, for our relationship. As for getting two jobs so we can keep up with our loans, it is not an option for me. It would mean he would spend much less time with us, we would only be together in the evenings any maybe weekends which in this situation and with the lack of trust is not something I want.
Secondly, I'm 4.5 years out and happily reconciled. That said, my husband and his former AP still work for the same company. This is extremely unusual here as any continued contact between an AP and a WS is absolutely antithetical to R.
Emergent8, I am happy to see, from your story and from Babette, that is is possible to reconcile even if the WH and AP still work at the same place. I know everyone is different and it may not work out for us, but just seeing happy outcomes, gives me hope. I hate that she is always around, but will try to live with it and I have to find a way to trust him that this part of his life is done. If it is not, it doesn't matter if they work together, they can continue with the affair even if he changes jobs.
Throw out that 2-5 year timeline. It's just not realistic. Not for a 9 year affair. My WH had a 4.5 year affair that was a double betrayal, and while I'm mostly healed at this point (almost 5 years from DD) I was nowhere near healed at 2. So just expect that if you plan to stay together it's going to take a significant amount of time to heal.
I am starting to realize that and it scares me. But, I am willing to try and if it is too much to bear, I always have other options.
I believe the best thing for a BS dealing with a LTA is to IMMEDIATELY figure out how to emotionally detach (this also took me 2+ yrs, and only after a 6month S). Some say that detaching can impede R- but I dunno if those folks have dealt with long LTAs or if they were blessed with WS who "get it" quickly. IME, hanging on to the image I had of my WH and trying to "make new memories", etc worked very much to my detriment and significantly impeded MY healing, which should have been MY priority from day 1.
Detaching, trying to see WS w/o the rose colored glasses, putting ALL the energy into myself and my healing and envisioning a happy, healthy, productive life w/o my WH were the things that helped me through the trauma. If the WS manages to figure out how to heal themself, atone, find empathy, support the BS, etc… then great - you can consider R. And if not, the BS us already on a good path to healing, recovery, and their next chapter (and make no mistake, whether or not your M survives, you WILL be embarking on a new chapter that may very well look nothing like anything you’d ever envisioned)
gmc94, I am sorry for everything you went through. I read some of your other posts, over at LTA thread and I really wish you all the best. I don't know if I am able to emotionally detach and even if I want to. I want to have back what we had before the affair, and it won't work if we don't love each other the same way. But I also see your point. I have to know the real him in order to go on. I have to know who I am staying married to. So I will have to think about this. How do you detach yourself anyway?
Did you ask him to write a detailed timeline? You can then check it for truthfulness.
You have no idea about the "physical part", not that it really matters at this point... OBS may help you to compare the notes though...
I did and hopefully I am getting it today. I know a lot about the affair, what happened and how and an approximate timeline, but not all the details. It took him some time to realize I really need this to move on. He said before, he gave me all the relevant information, but the details on exactly which hotel and how many times, etc. would only hurt me. He had the same feelings about showing me his burner phone with their texts, but did it eventually and he saw while it really hurt me, it also helped in a way and gave me some peace, because it confirmed everything he said from D-day on.
[This message edited by ZetaCephei at 11:11 AM, Thursday, September 16th]