Newest Member: ibelieveinspring

Reconciliation :
New Here and Struggling

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 Lemons17 (original poster new member #79612) posted at 11:59 PM on Saturday, November 20th, 2021

Where to start....this will be quite long so I apologize in advance.

We just celebrated our 20th anniversary this past April. A month later, I lost my job VERY unexpectedly. I've actually had quite a bit come down on me the past 2 years, which I won't get into, but it was heavy and I absolutely closed myself off to my husband emotionally and physically. We grew apart, but I was so consumed with my life and raising our teens I didn't notice how badly he needed me, and he struggled to communicate his needs. We always had a good marriage, never fought, but my needs weren't being met either for many years. I was struggling, and he did try to support me AND give to me, but I can see now that I gave him nothing in return. I thought it was just a rough patch...that we'd get through it fine. We didn't. And while I can look back and see the "why," that does not mean I blame myself. He knew his needs weren't being met, and he should've talked to me. He knows that now too.

He went to a conference and a co-worker started coming on to him immediately after meeting him (at the time he didn't see her intent at all - he just thought she wanted to be friends as he's always been naive about this stuff). She was 17 years younger than him. They talked upon returning for a few weeks before he met up with her at her request at the grocery store down the road. She started crying about her "hard life as a single mom with no support" and asked him for a hug. He hugged her and they kissed. He immediately hated himself for it and says he instantly regretted it. That he wasn't even attracted to her, he just liked having someone who was there for him and giving him attention, so essentially an EA that went PA, but without sex. I have ALWAYS told him that if he cheated, we were done. I have reiterated this repeatedly over our 20 years together, so he thought he'd just ruined everything. She immediately started blackmailing him with "what if I messaged your wife and told her what happened" type threats. Ten days after that kiss, completely out of the blue, he said he didn't think we should be together anymore. I was blindsided. We sat down and he finally told me about the things he needed, how he missed the times we spent together having fun, and that he loved me, but wasn't sure he was IN love with me anymore. There were tears, hugs, promises made, and we slept together for the first time in awhile that night. He did not, however, tell me about the affair. He messaged her and told her he was done, but she refused to let him go. For the next 5 weeks I threw myself headfirst into making our marriage work. I had no idea another woman was in the picture. Things were going really well! He says he was too terrified of losing me and just couldn't tell me. He tried to break it off a few more times with her, but she would just threaten him.  He wanted to tell me, he says he just couldn't bear the thought of losing everything he loved, and that he DID love me and had never stopped. He didn't know how to get out of the mess he'd created. He kept her happy (he uses the word passified) so she wouldn't show up on our doorstep those 5 weeks. I have texts to prove that he tried to break away, but she was desperate for him to choose her and she would fire right back at him with threats and "I can't live without you" comments. So he was still talking to her and seeing her while we were working to make our marriage better. She even went out and got a tattoo of his handwriting from a piece of paper she found at work because she said, "she needed a piece of him with her." She's nuts, and she freaked him out, and those 5 weeks just made her more attached and crazy. Meanwhile, he was physically and emotionally sick over it all. He was drinking heavily and he never drinks. His stomach was a mess and he lost 25 pounds. I knew something was off, but never thought it was this! I even asked him several times if there was another woman, to which he denied. I was suspicious, but just kept thinking "no way." He finally cracked and told me everything Labor Day Weekend. In all, it lasted about 9 weeks, including the 5 we were supposed to be "working things out." He sobbed when he told me (and sobs every time we discuss it and he NEVER cries). He was, and still is, extremely remorseful, calling himself stupid for falling into her trap when all he wanted was someone to listen and be a friend. He says he sees completely how it was wrong to even start talking to her, and that he should have talked to me about his needs. Within an hour of telling me, he messaged her and told her that I knew, and that he would never talk to her again. That she was a mistake, he loved me and our family, and that he felt nothing for her. He said it felt like a million pound weight he could finally toss off his shoulders. He then blocked her on everything. He's had zero contact since, with the exception of her calling him once 2 weeks post DD on a work number, and he hung up on her as soon as he realized it was her (and called me immediately to tell me).

Yesterday was 11 weeks. He has done EVERYTHING right since that fateful day. Anything I need, he does it. Anytime I need to talk about it, he answers my questions and sobs every single time. He gave me access to everything (email, social accounts, his phone, etc)  He has consistently done everything every book tells you is needed to "recover." He repeatedly tells me what a wake up call this was to how vindictive women can be, and how much he adores and loves me. He tells me this entire thing has made him realize how lucky he was to have such an amazing wife, and that he's finally going to be the husband I've always deserved. He reads articles on how to help me recover. His actions and words show me daily how sorry he is. If I have a meltdown, he holds me and tells me that he'll never forgive himself for the pain he's caused me and that I don't have to cry alone ever again. He texts me to say "I love you" several times a day. I could go on and on. He feels nothing for her, I know that. I see it and we've discussed it a thousand times. But....I'm so broken. What has me so messed up is those 5 weeks we were supposed to be making our marriage better, yet they were all in vain because he was lying to me the entire time. Had he come clean and broken it off then, I know this would be so much less traumatic for me. It kills me. I ache inside. And I know things could have been so much worse. She begged him for sex. He refused (and yes this was confirmed through the messages she sent him about how rejected that made her feel). If he had slept with her, I don't think I could try reconciliation. This is hard enough.

But on the flipside, our marriage is stronger and better now than ever. We are so happy together. We go on dates, he's affectionate and attentive, and our sex life is amazing. We probably make people sick with our PDA while we're out, and we laugh daily. He is so much more communicative, and we talk about everything. It's the marriage I've always longed for...but at what cost??!! Despite all of this, it's like a dark cloud is constantly hanging over me. I just cannot get over the broken trust, lies, and pain. He has given me every detail. I know the full story. I know he's remorseful, but sometimes it just smacks me in the face and I feel frozen. Why is this so hard!? I hate that this is our story now. I love him endlessly, but...
I guess I just needed to share and get it all out to people who understood because I have nobody to talk to who understands. If you actually read all this, thank you.

posts: 3   ·   registered: Nov. 20th, 2021   ·   location: Ohio
id 8699489
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The1stWife ( member #58832) posted at 1:35 AM on Sunday, November 21st, 2021

I’m sorry you had to be impacted by by infidelity. And yes we all truly understand the pain and heartache it causes to the betrayed spouse.

Given that it is just about 6 months since your discovery of the affair, you appear to be doing ok. Good days and bad days and you can see your H is trying.

The recovery process is long and slow. Unfortunately there is nothing you can do to speed it up.

Professional counseling may help you. And your H separately.

Your H can only help you heal to a certain point. The rest is up to you. It may come down to a conscious decision you make one day to not look backwards but look forward to your present and future.

There is a good book called How to Help your Spouse heal". It can be helpful for you too.

The pain is agonizing and it makes you question everything. So sorry for you.

Survived two affairs and brink of Divorce. Happily reconciled.

posts: 10890   ·   registered: May. 19th, 2017
id 8699498
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fareast ( member #61555) posted at 2:45 AM on Sunday, November 21st, 2021

Lemons17:

Sorry you have to join us here but you will receive good support. You are doing well dealing with the trauma your WH imposed on your life. I second reading the McDonald book: How to Help Your Spouse Heal From Your Affair. It’s a very good, short read. Also read “Not Just Friends”.

About those five weeks while you thought you were working on your M but your WH carried on communicating with the AP. Taking him at his word (always difficult when dealing with some one who has cheated on you) he was still motivated totally by his own selfish interests and protecting himself, to your detriment. He is not abnormal in this regard but it does give you an insight into his potential for selfishness. He needs to work on his whys that allowed him to continue with the AP while leading you to believe otherwise. I also second the advice for professional,counseling for yourself. Good luck.

[This message edited by fareast at 9:38 PM, November 20th (Saturday)]

Never bother with things in your rearview mirror. Your best days are on the road in front of you.

posts: 2852   ·   registered: Nov. 24th, 2017
id 8699503
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ChamomileTea ( member #53574) posted at 3:36 AM on Sunday, November 21st, 2021

Despite all of this, it's like a dark cloud is constantly hanging over me. I just cannot get over the broken trust, lies, and pain. He has given me every detail. I know the full story. I know he's remorseful, but sometimes it just smacks me in the face and I feel frozen. Why is this so hard!? I hate that this is our story now. I love him endlessly, but...

It just is. Our brains are kind of like organic computers, and we're being asked to rewrite everything we thought we knew about our mate and our marital history. We've got all this corrupted data, and the new information needs to be verified, and reverified, and reverified, until finally we can trust that we've got the story right. That's trauma. It's about trying to make sense of the story, and we just LIVE IN IT until we finally feel like it's real. There's also the grief process to deal with because we've experienced real losses. Our story was NOT what we thought it was. It's something different now, something less worthy of blind trust and naivety. Our innocence is lost and it's never coming back.

You're not alone. It sucks to get through, but you will. Have faith in that.

((hugs))

posts: 4676   ·   registered: Jun. 8th, 2016
id 8699507
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ISurvivedSoFar ( member #56915) posted at 10:40 AM on Sunday, November 21st, 2021

I'm so sorry you are here. Our stories are similar - 20 years of love and what I thought was a great marriage with the realization that we had the normal struggles. Here's something I recognize from my story.

We always had a good marriage, never fought, but my needs weren't being met either for many years. I was struggling, and he did try to support me AND give to me, but I can see now that I gave him nothing in return.

Here's the thing. This exposed the fact that he could not cope with normal M issues and instead did something so egregious. This is NOT your fault. Please don't think that you did anything wrong. You were in this marriage too and you did not betray him. The road to travel is to fix the part of himself that felt he was entitled to make himself feel better at your expense. And for you it is to not blame yourself one bit for what he did so you can heal too. Sure there were issues in the M - but that is not a justification for what he did.

It is hard and it is a struggle to get over a betrayal of this magnitude.

I just cannot get over the broken trust, lies, and pain. ...I know he's remorseful, but sometimes it just smacks me in the face and I feel frozen. Why is this so hard!? I hate that this is our story now.

If I may and gently, his remorse is not in any way mitigation for the pain he caused you. I just don't want you to feel guilty for the way you feel because he feels badly. He should feel badly but his feelings are caused by him not you. Concentrate on what you need...it is the most important thing you can do right now. I know we've been used to worrying about our spouse's feelings but infidelity really changes that. It isn't that we cannot feel for them. Rather it is just most important to get healed before we can drive the reconciliation that will necessarily change the partnership after such an infraction.

All of this to say that your feelings are not only normal but they are necessary in order to process the trauma and come out on the other side.

Keep working through these feelings - it is the most important work for you.

DDay Nov '16
Me: BS, a.k.a. MommaDom, Him: WS
2 DD's: one adult, one teen,1 DS: adult
Surviving means we promise ourselves we will get to the point where we can receive love and give love again.

posts: 2647   ·   registered: Jan. 15th, 2017
id 8699514
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outofsorts ( member #70701) posted at 1:42 AM on Monday, November 22nd, 2021

Hi Lemons,

First of all I am so sorry that you are here and are going through this!!! It's a terrible position to be in. But given that you are here, SI is a great place to be - there are some incredibly wise people here that you can learn a lot from.

One thing that was really helpful to me was learning about how infidelity affects your brain (and therefore, your behavior, thoughts, feelings, etc.). I suggest listening to the two episodes of the podcast linked to on the first post on this topic:

https://www.survivinginfidelity.com/forums/?tid=617809

The two therapists do a fantastic job of explaining just how infidelity wounds your brain and your sense of self.

The second thing I would do is find the Helping Couples Heal podcast (which was started by the same two therapists a few months after the episodes linked to in the post above) and look up the interview with Stan Tatkin. One thing that Dr. Tatkin says in that interview that has really stuck with me is that infidelity is one example of a particular type of wound to the brain: I thought my life was one thing and then I found out it was something completely different.

Of the many things about going through infidelity that has surprised me, one of which was just how incredibly difficult it is for me to get my head around this.

(((hugs)))

Me(BW): 40WH: 40 Married 7 years, together 20.Dday 2/22/19Reconciling

posts: 352   ·   registered: Jun. 4th, 2019
id 8699571
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