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Wayward Side :
Badwife79

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 Badwife79 (original poster new member #79641) posted at 12:40 PM on Friday, December 3rd, 2021

I am really struggling with the thoughts of will I ever make my BH happy again. Can he ever be happy with me? I had an affair with a co worker 16 years ago, my husband had a relapse of emotions about 7 months ago and it was like I had cheated on him all over again. We were so busy with our kids and life that we didn’t focus on each other the way we should have during our recovery. We are really working hard now but the problem is how I handled things from the beginning. I held back details because of shame but most importantly because of his feelings. I realized that he needed to hear the truth so that he could heal. I have come clean with my affair, but because of my lies and deceit in the past he keeps thinking there is more. I don’t know how to get past this. Another big thing is he keeps telling me that I will never love him or feel about him like I did my AP. That is so not true but because of my past actions he doesn’t believe me. I was a terrible person in my past and have made changes but I worry they will never be good enough for him. He loves me so much and I know that but he doesn’t feel like my love is real. I don’t know what else to do. I feel like I am losing him and it shatters me. I messed up and don’t deserve him but I want to change for the better and make him happy again. Any advice?

posts: 29   ·   registered: Dec. 1st, 2021
id 8702296
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AvoidanceIssues ( new member #78853) posted at 1:39 PM on Friday, December 3rd, 2021

Have you written a timeline listing and describing all your interactions with your AP and provided it to BS? Have you volunteered to take a polygraph?

These two steps combined may ease his mind on whether he knows everything.

posts: 14   ·   registered: May. 25th, 2021   ·   location: District of Colombia
id 8702303
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BraveSirRobin ( Guide #69242) posted at 1:46 PM on Friday, December 3rd, 2021

Hi B79. Welcome to SI.

I've been where you are, with an even longer gap between my affair and my second round of confessions. My first piece of advice is tough to hear but crucial to accept: settle in for the long haul. Your BH has many stages to work through on his way to acceptance of his new reality. Your A feels long ago to you because you've always known the truth and have been able to gain a gradual distance from it. He's in a totally different situation, smashed in brutal waves against the rocks of what he thought he knew vs what he now knows vs what he fears he has yet to find out. I understand, so well, your desperate impulse to find a quick fix, but there isn't one. The only way out is consistency: a story that pulls no punches and then doesn't change moving forward.

On that note, this jumps out at me:

I held back details because of shame but most importantly because of his feelings.

Obviously, I can't read your mind, but this qualifier is a red flag to me. I absolutely believe that you cared about his feelings. I also believe that you can't come clean if you still think that protecting his feelings was your primary reason for lying. The primary reason that waywards lie is because there's something we want that we know we can't get by telling the truth. You wanted, and still want, reconciliation. You were afraid that confessing the full truth would destroy that possibility. To break that cycle, you've got to face yourself without any armor. How can you stop lying if you're still lying about why you lied?

If you stick around, I'm going to push you to look at these things. At times, you may be insulted and resentful and wonder why you're wasting time with someone who doesn't appreciate how much you've changed since your affair. All I can say is that I've inhabited that space you're in. It was so important to convince myself and my BH that I was different that I fell right back into the same old deceptive patterns as a way to make my case.

Can you tell us more specifics about the affair? How it happened, why you think it happened, how it came out, what happened next?

WW/BW 50s (Me)
BH/WH 50s (TimeSpiral)

posts: 2379   ·   registered: Dec. 27th, 2018
id 8702304
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ChamomileTea ( Guide #53574) posted at 1:40 AM on Sunday, December 5th, 2021

Speaking as a BS, I have noticed a a fair few cases like yours here at SI. I have a theory about it, and typically, the BS rejects it out of hand because their obsession for more detail feels so imperative to them that they can't/won't be diverted from it. Honestly though, I think there's some science happening even though I can't prove it. I think it's a memory storage issue, whereby the trauma of the moment prevents proper storage of the memories. Then, some little trigger comes up decades later, and all the sudden, the past feels present. But there's more... that crazed obsession we had back at the JFO (just found out) stage is back, and crazier than ever. I do remember feeling compelled to search for hours at a time, daily, through damned near everything my fWH owned. His tech, his sock drawer, old suit pockets, stored dress shoes, cars, attics, anything I could think of. It took me months to stop, and I had to MAKE myself stop. I mean, seriously. What did I need to know?.. that he fucked someone? Well, he did... several someones and often.

It's that obsessive/compulsive drive though that has me thinking it's all about TRAUMA. These are usually guys who have been relatively content in their R for many years. Some can tell us what the trigger was, but others can't. They just have a day when all they can think about is the affair and suddenly they're right back in the trauma and convinced that there are details about it that they don't know. Of course, it's bizarre to think we can know everything. We can't open up our WS's head and peer in to have every detail. And even when you question these guys as to what they might find out that will resolve this crisis of confidence they're having... they've got no answer.

I think the best thing you can do is recommend trauma counseling, particularly with EMDR if possible. If I'm right about my theory, a good trauma counselor can help shift these memories to the correct storage so that the past will start feeling past again.

Bear in mind that healing doesn't fall into our laps. As BS's, we have to choose it. We have to work on it. And if he's never done that, then there too is something to be had in counseling. Sometimes a BS will get stubborn and decide that they didn't do anything wrong and they shouldn't have to do any work to make it better. But those BS's are choosing to stay with their trauma. They're choosing to KEEP their pain. And I know it sounds harsh, but I don't think a WS who has done their work, remediated their poor character and made amends as best they can, should sacrifice the balance of their life on the alter of shame. You can't MAKE anyone do anything. But you can decide if this relationship is good enough for you.

For the moment, I think your best bet is to try and get him in trauma counseling. The FACTS are that sixteen years have elapsed and you've been a good wife to him in that time. His emotional triggering is NOT based in reality. If it was me, I'd probably be pretty firm with him about insisting that he get some help. I know you feel badly, hence your username. But this is your life too, and you have some say in how you're going to allow yourself to be treated. Certainly, you can pacify his questions with answers and reassurances of your love, but that's what you've been doing and what are the results?

{there, their, they're..lol}

[This message edited by ChamomileTea at 1:42 AM, Sunday, December 5th]

BW: 2004(online EAs), 2014 (multiple PAs)Married 38 years; in R with fWH for 7

{edited for typos.. again}

posts: 4886   ·   registered: Jun. 8th, 2016   ·   location: U.S.
id 8702665
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survrus ( member #67698) posted at 1:49 AM on Sunday, December 5th, 2021

BW,

You wrote, Another big thing is he keeps telling me that I will never love him or feel about him like I did my AP.

Anyone who has seen the intensity and passion of an affair as the betrayed spouse is likely to feel that way. When the betrayed compares the affair to how their relationship is and was they feel they were a 2nd or 3rd choice as a lover. My WWs love for OM was completely unconditional it has never been so for me, I can't shake the idea that my WW had more orgasms for OM which lasted longer and got her wetter.

If the OM were taller, wealthier, more handsome, talented, athletic, older/younger than the BH from the BHs perspective they are less. It does not matter if it is true, just your BH believing it is enough.

You may have reinforced perceptions he had about himself from childhood and your affair proved him right.

As other have said, polygraph, timeline, postnup and DNA the kids.

posts: 1086   ·   registered: Nov. 1st, 2018   ·   location: USA
id 8702667
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 Badwife79 (original poster new member #79641) posted at 3:08 AM on Sunday, December 5th, 2021

AvoidanceIssues….. We have discussed a timeline and I have told him I would take a polygraph if that meant him believing me.

posts: 29   ·   registered: Dec. 1st, 2021
id 8702670
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 Badwife79 (original poster new member #79641) posted at 3:17 AM on Sunday, December 5th, 2021

BraveSirRobin….. the affair happened at work between my manager and I. It started with what I thought was harmless flirting but then he took me into the security room one night and kissed me. I pushed him away and stopped it from going any further. I then went home and thought about what happened and how it made me feel. I felt wanted, like he chose me out of all the girls we worked with. It made me feel good about myself and boosted my self confidence. I went home and thought about what happened and decided I wanted to proceed with the affair. I wasn’t necessarily unhappy with my marriage but he just made me feel special and I liked that feeling. I decided to tell him I wanted what he tried and so the affair began. I only had sex with him 4-5 times total and we only met once outside of work. I met him outside of work on my lunch break when he was off. Nothing happened because we were going to meet at his mom’s but she ended up calling off sick that day. I really hate all of this and how it has made my husband feel. I held back because of his feelings but also because I was ashamed and didn’t want to think bad about myself. I had the personality that I wanted everyone to think highly of me.

posts: 29   ·   registered: Dec. 1st, 2021
id 8702672
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 Badwife79 (original poster new member #79641) posted at 3:26 AM on Sunday, December 5th, 2021

ChamomileTea…. Thanks for your response. He went to individual counseling this past week and we have our first marriage counseling session on Tuesday. This has been really hard on him and it hurts him to hear everything I have done or say to him. I know that you say I was a good wife after the affair until now but that was not the case. Yes I was faithful to him but I never did anything to fix what was wrong. I was always hateful and a bear to be around. I wasn’t very involved in family activities and everyone was miserable around me. I almost permanently lost my relationships totally with my kids. Yes I have changed recently and have become a better person. He has even complimented that but it is still hard for him to accept me fully, almost like it is a front. I am hoping we can work through all of this.

posts: 29   ·   registered: Dec. 1st, 2021
id 8702674
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Unhinged ( member #47977) posted at 3:36 AM on Sunday, December 5th, 2021

Hi there, Badwife79. Do you know what triggered his "relapse of emotions" sixteen years later?

I've been reading "The Body Keeps Score," by Besser van der Kolk. It's mostly about the long-term effects of trauma on the mind and body. It's been enlightening for me. If he's the type to accept help, buy him a copy. If not, drop a subtle hint. Either way, I think he might benefit from the reading the book. It's a good place to start, recognizing that a part of him might very well be stuck in that past trauma.

Heading towards divorce
D-Day April, 2015

"The Universe is not short on wake-up calls. We're just quick to hit the snooze button."
-Brene Brown

posts: 6383   ·   registered: May. 21st, 2015   ·   location: Colorado
id 8702675
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BraveSirRobin ( Guide #69242) posted at 4:10 AM on Sunday, December 5th, 2021

Yes I have changed recently and have become a better person. He has even complimented that but it is still hard for him to accept me fully, almost like it is a front.

Can you tell me more about how you feel you've changed? What did you learn about yourself that helped you with that? How has the change manifested -- in other words, how do you think and act differently than you did before?

WW/BW 50s (Me)
BH/WH 50s (TimeSpiral)

posts: 2379   ·   registered: Dec. 27th, 2018
id 8702677
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Hippo16 ( member #52440) posted at 1:07 PM on Sunday, December 5th, 2021

Unhinged recommendation:

I've been reading "The Body Keeps Score," by Besser van der Kolk. It's mostly about the long-term effects of trauma on the mind and body. It's been enlightening for me. If he's the type to accept help, buy him a copy. If not, drop a subtle hint. Either way, I think he might benefit from the reading the book. It's a good place to start, recognizing that a part of him might very well be stuck in that past trauma.

I say buy him a copy - it is worth the time spent reading. The caveat is he must want to work on his side of continuing the marriage.

Other comments in thread above? Yes the BS must heal themself and BS must find a way to reconcile with their life as it now exists with the memory of your affair. He has no choice - he will live with the memory. His choice IS how to live with the memory. The affair can eat away at a relationship - sort of like acid rain eats away a Marble gravestone. (apologies for macabre simile)

Your BS can move forward if you "do the work" - Read all the posts by BraveSirRobin and ChamomileTea. (picking on them as they have contrasting experiences) and you should be able to pick up pointers to use in moving forward with your life.


Edit: grammar

[This message edited by Hippo16 at 1:29 PM, Sunday, December 5th]

Not Just Friends

posts: 596   ·   registered: Mar. 26th, 2016   ·   location: OBX
id 8702693
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HellFire ( member #59305) posted at 1:50 PM on Sunday, December 5th, 2021

Don't tell him you will take a polygraph "if he wants."

Take the initiative. Be proactive. Do some research. Find a reputable administrator in your area. Schedule the test. Tell him about it. He will go with you and give the administrator the questions he needs answers to. They will work together to condense his list into 3 or 4 questions,and how to word them. Then you will take the test.

Do it today.

IMO, you will never be able to convince him that you love him more than you loved your OM. After all, you were willing to throw him away for the OM. You risked his love,and his heart. You destroyed the marriage, and because you were "busy" you didn't take the time to reconcile, you rugswept. He may never believe he is number one. This is a possibility a WS risks,when they have an affair.

[This message edited by HellFire at 1:52 PM, Sunday, December 5th]

posts: 3874   ·   registered: Jun. 20th, 2017   ·   location: The Midwest
id 8702695
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guvensiz ( member #75858) posted at 5:10 PM on Sunday, December 5th, 2021

How did he find out? Have you confessed or did you get caught? And which part did you hide from him?
Looking at the part you have told here, there is not much to hide. But you may have minimized it to us, of course. I wouldn't recommend using minimizing words like "only, just" etc. "Had sex 4-5 times, met only once out"... Just tell the plain truth, let him decide whether it's much or less.
I agree with Hellfire; reply all his questions truthfully, prepare the timeline and schedule the polygraph.

Good luck.

posts: 620   ·   registered: Nov. 14th, 2020
id 8702713
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Never2late ( new member #79079) posted at 12:32 AM on Monday, December 6th, 2021

The lying (Trickle Truthing) on the initial DD can be almost impossible to overcome for some. Ok, you did this awful thing and are coming clean....but continue to lie. How can he ever truly feel you've stopped lying? Perhaps there are even worse details, additional affairs that you've justified withholding because of shame, not hurting him any more than you have to or done so already, desire to preserve what's left of your marriage...especially if it's something he cannot possibly prove. TT can at times be worse than the discretion itself.

posts: 38   ·   registered: Jul. 7th, 2021
id 8702751
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Dazedandconfused1978 ( member #79527) posted at 12:50 AM on Monday, December 6th, 2021

Never2late~

Exactly.

posts: 64   ·   registered: Oct. 26th, 2021
id 8702752
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src9043 ( member #75367) posted at 1:12 AM on Monday, December 6th, 2021

Badwife:

The details surrounding your affair are very sketchy so what I have to say may or may not be relevant. But you should do the following if applicable: Notify human resources of the affair AND file a sexual harassment claim against him and your employer. Go see a lawyer in order to evaluate your chances of prevailing in a civil suit against both your boss and the employer. I don't care if it was ultimately consensual, your boss is a predator and used his position to get you to have sexual relations with him. DO IT. Notify your boss's significant other. Quit your job immediately, if not already done. Schedule a polygraph that will cover adventures with any other men since the two of you became exclusive. Provide your husband with a timeline that explains in enough detail that he knows how long the affair went on, where the sex took place and how many times, and how did it end. I don't think details of the sex acts do anyone any good so unless he insists, leave that information out.

Whether your marriage survives should be entirely up to your husband. In my mind, practically no WS deserves a second chance. But if a BS is willing to try, who am I to argue otherwise. He will have to eat that shit sandwich you served up to him for the balance of your marriage. Been there, and did not like it at all.

[This message edited by src9043 at 1:13 AM, Monday, December 6th]

posts: 500   ·   registered: Sep. 7th, 2020
id 8702755
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 Badwife79 (original poster new member #79641) posted at 1:58 AM on Monday, December 6th, 2021

BraveSirRobin…. I have become more involved as a wife and mother. We spend more time together as a family and I enjoy my time with them. I have become more considerate of his feelings when making decisions. We have created some new rituals as husband and wife as well.

posts: 29   ·   registered: Dec. 1st, 2021
id 8702760
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 Badwife79 (original poster new member #79641) posted at 2:05 AM on Monday, December 6th, 2021

Never2late…. You are right. The problem is that I did trickle truth at the beginning and then after realizing that it was only hurting him more and preventing his recovery, I did come clean. The problem is that because of how I handled it in the beginning, it is hard for him to believe me now. There are no other affairs to disclose and I want him to believe me so bad. I feel that a polygraph may be the only way

posts: 29   ·   registered: Dec. 1st, 2021
id 8702762
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 Badwife79 (original poster new member #79641) posted at 2:08 AM on Monday, December 6th, 2021

SRC9043….. I appreciate your post, but I have been gone from that job about 5 years now. My AP is no longer working there either. I agree with what you are saying about him. I just couldn’t see it because I had blinders on during the affair. I appreciate your opinion but not all WS are terrible people. I love my husband more now than I ever have and will NEVER do anything like that to him again.

posts: 29   ·   registered: Dec. 1st, 2021
id 8702763
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WalkinOnEggshelz ( Administrator #29447) posted at 11:56 AM on Monday, December 6th, 2021

I have become more involved as a wife and mother. We spend more time together as a family and I enjoy my time with them. I have become more considerate of his feelings when making decisions. We have created some new rituals as husband and wife as well.

These things are good at helping you be a better wife at the surface, but what have you done to work on yourself? To ensure that you will not end up back here again?

You will need to roll up your sleeves and do some hard work on yourself. Look deep within yourself and shine a light on all of those dark ugly places that you stuff away and don’t face. We all tend to want to be good people, but when we bare our teeth it’s important to understand why and how that happened because wanting and being are two very different things.

Have you read How to Help Your Spouse Heal From Your Affair? Have you been going to counseling? Have you figured out your whys and worked on how to change those habits/feelings? Have you been able to sit in your husband’s pain with him? Or do you tend to get defensive or deflect? Are you being proactive and bringing up feelings about your affair to him or are you waiting for him to come to you? Are you allowing yourself to be vulnerable with him or taking his lead?

Unfortunately being a more present wife is the bare minimum a person can do to reconcile. You will have to go much deeper than that and we can help you.

In order to start, you have to be willing to get very real yourself. I hope you are ready. smile

Me: WS late 40’s
Him: BH (HoldingTogether)
D Day: 7/24/2010
If you keep asking people to give you the benefit of the doubt, they will eventually start to doubt your benefit.

posts: 14742   ·   registered: Aug. 27th, 2010   ·   location: Texas
id 8702774
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