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Hannah47 ( new member #80116) posted at 3:12 PM on Saturday, May 14th, 2022


You are 100% right. I have a massive fear of abandonment. I am adopted. It is built into my character. I have always been afraid of him leaving me, even before all of this happened.

A big part of my anxiety and drinking was due to that fear. Even without this happening, it prob would have always been there. But now it has completely overtaken me. My brain is like "see? You always knew you weren’t good enough. He was always going to leave you sooner or later".

Darling, I know what you are talking about. I want you to focus on yourself and acknowledge that you have certain needs in a relationship. When those needs were met, you felt happy and secure. When those needs were not met, you felt anxious and insecure. Next, I want you to realize that there is nothing wrong with you. Your needs are not healthy or unhealthy – they are just your needs. Your feelings are not good or bad – they are just your feelings. Now, I’m pretty sure that you realize that you cannot expect that all your needs will be fulfilled all the time. Especially if your partner has different needs (not better or healthier – just different). However, if your needs are often neglected, you will feel anxious and insecure often. That will only magnify your needs – your brain wants to get to the safe place, so it will push for even more closeness, it will require even more assurances, compliments, validation, and whatever your needs are. Like you described – it will make you feel more needy. If your needs are consistently fulfilled, you will find security that you are longing for. Consequently, you will feel less needy, and your fear of abandonment will not manifest itself so often.

You have been with your husband for 20 years. You have been in therapy on and off for decades. And you still haven’t found safety. You are still that anxious, needy, clingy person in "crazy mode". That tells me that:

A) Your husband did a poor job of understanding you and your needs, of meeting your needs consistently and of providing safety for you. This is not just because of the affair; I’m talking prior to that as well.

B) Your therapists did a poor job of helping you to navigate through your fears, feelings, and needs. I bet they sold you the story of codependency and made it all about you – how what you feel is wrong, how you are deficient in some way, how you should work on yourself and change, and so on. However, humans are not lone wolfs, we are social animals and there is nothing wrong with relying on others to help us become the best version of ourselves. It is in our human nature.
As a side note, your therapist told you that your husband’s work trip will be "a little like exposure therapy". Let me tell you something about exposure therapy. I’m afraid of spiders. When I was little, my cousins grabbed me and put a spider on my hand, thinking how that will heal my fear. Well, the only thing that happened is that event traumatized me so much that I still remember it clearly 30 years later. And I’m still afraid of spiders. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not shitting on therapy techniques, but they need to be done in a controlled environment. And your situation was definitely not that.

If I may, I’d like to suggest that you read the book Attached. The New Science of Adult Attachment and
How It Can Help You Find-And Keep-Love
by Amir Levine and Rachel Heller. It offers a refreshing perspective on attachment styles. I have a feeling it will help you to understand yourself and your husband better, and to see things more clearly.

P.S. You are good enough smile Don't let anyone ever convince you that you are not.

posts: 17   ·   registered: Mar. 21st, 2022
id 8735308

Luna10 ( member #60888) posted at 6:11 PM on Saturday, May 14th, 2022

Please read the book The Journey from Abandonment to Healing. I feel it will be a saver for you now. It’s available on Audible too so you could just listen to it.

BW - 38 at the time of the A
WH - 45 at the time of the A
Dday - 27/9/2017

posts: 1456   ·   registered: Oct. 2nd, 2017   ·   location: Europe
id 8735322

 MumaBear1978 (original poster member #79830) posted at 6:29 PM on Saturday, May 14th, 2022


Thank you for the book recommendation. I have downloaded it now on my kindle.

I have wondered in the past if I am codependent and after googling it, I believe I am. I don’t know who I am without him. I don’t have any hobbies or interests, my life revolves around him and my boys. I have an intense fear of rejection and abandonment. I can’t make decisions on my own. I don’t trust myself and double check everything with him. I can’t handle being alone. I’m scared to express my true feelings because I’m afraid of being rejected.

And now, with everything that’s happened, these fears and insecurities are 1000 times worse.

I honestly don’t know how I’m going to survive without him. I don’t think I can live a life without him. I feel broken. I feel like part of me is missing. I feel unloved and unworthy. I feel alone. So so alone.

posts: 77   ·   registered: Jan. 25th, 2022   ·   location: Australia
id 8735324

sisoon ( Moderator #31240) posted at 8:51 PM on Saturday, May 14th, 2022

Ah, sister. Sweetheart. 'Co-d' is a description, not a curse or your doom or anything to be ashamed of. It's just a description.

You aren't aware of yourself without him, but you most assuredly exist on your own. You may be unaware of your strengths, but they do exist, in spades. Another way of saying 'co-d' is 'you're so much more than you think you are.'

Many of us think you're better off without your H, but I know that doesn't help with the feeling of abandonment. You have definitely been abandoned, and no matter how lousy an H he's been, abandonment is painful and scary. See if The Journey from Abandonment to Healing helps. Maybe you can borrow it from your local library, maybe even an electronic copy if you have a way of reading ebooks, or maybe hust the audiobook is downloadable.

I know this is a terrible time for you - just remember that you are so much more than you are aware of.

fBH (me) - on d-day: 66, Married 43, together 45, same sex ap
DDay - 12/22/2010
Recover'd and R'ed
You don't have to like your boundaries. You just have to set and enforce them.

posts: 27082   ·   registered: Feb. 18th, 2011   ·   location: Illinois
id 8735346

 MumaBear1978 (original poster member #79830) posted at 12:00 AM on Sunday, May 15th, 2022

Thank you @Luna10 and @sissoon.

I have downloaded the book you both recommended now.

Oh no. I have downloaded the book by Scott Pine because that’s the one that came up first but I just saw another book with the exact same name by Susan Anderson. Which one do you both recommend?

[This message edited by MumaBear1978 at 12:09 AM, Sunday, May 15th]

posts: 77   ·   registered: Jan. 25th, 2022   ·   location: Australia
id 8735364

ChamomileTea ( Guide #53574) posted at 12:19 AM on Sunday, May 15th, 2022

The Journey from Abandonment to Healing by Susan Anderson

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

No one can make you into a liar but you.

posts: 5414   ·   registered: Jun. 8th, 2016   ·   location: U.S.
id 8735369

Hurtmyheart ( member #63008) posted at 3:06 AM on Sunday, May 15th, 2022

I have wondered in the past if I am codependent and after googling it, I believe I am. I don’t know who I am without him. I don’t have any hobbies or interests, my life revolves around him and my boys. I have an intense fear of rejection and abandonment. I can’t make decisions on my own. I don’t trust myself and double check everything with him. I can’t handle being alone. I’m scared to express my true feelings because I’m afraid of being rejected.

And now, with everything that’s happened, these fears and insecurities are 1000 times worse.

I honestly don’t know how I’m going to survive without him. I don’t think I can live a life without him. I feel broken. I feel like part of me is missing. I feel unloved and unworthy. I feel alone. So so alone.

Muma, I can so relate to what you are saying here.

I lost myself along the way too. I dedicated myself and my life to my now deceased WH and my kid's. And I am proud that I did. And I also lost my way when mine started checking out of the marriage and I really had no idea what was going on at the time. Suspected yes. But facts? No. He always told me how faithful he was and how much he loved me and to believe him, which I did. But obviously he was just lying to me throughout our whole marriage.

Understand that you are in a very dark deep hole. Why wouldn't you be? Your wonderful, awesome, fabulous, WH blew not only your world up, he also did it to the family. Everyone is being affected by your WH choices. And the fact that he blames you??? Wow, he blames you for HIS choices. Or because you had issues. We all have issues.

If he wasn't happy in the marriage there were other options he could have chosen... either fix himself and the marriage or leave the marriage.

At the time my deceased WH did the same as yours did. He left for a period of time and started the divorce process then he wanted to come home. And I let him come home with false promises.

I think my biggest regret was allowing mine to come back to the marriage without him owning up to his truths. Instead he only admitted to the least amount of his truths and swept everything else under the rug. It was pure hell trying to make things right when he still wasn't all in. But that is the choice I made at the time, to allow him back home.

And I also depended on mine financially and emotionally dispite the pain he put me through. And as my deceased WH and I also agreed, it is natural to want to depend on each other emotionally. So you aren't wrong to want to depend on your WH emotionally. What has been wrong is that he hasn't been trustworthy.

It's been two years and two months since mine passed away. And after his death I had many many dark days and still do. I have given myself lots of grace to grieve just as I want you to do.

Your marriage is dying and now you are grieving your marriage. The emotions you are feeling are completely normal.

No one wants their marriage to fall apart. And I'm sure if you read around here enough, you will realize that we all have been in a similar situation in that our marriages were falling apart. And I honestly admire the strong BS's here. The one's who said no more and fought back against the abuse. I wasn't one of them though but I now am much stronger emotionally. And because I am not actively having to live under the dark cloud of alcohol addiction and his affairs, I have much more clarity in my life. Still sad but is to be expected. And one other thing which I feel is important to add, I am learning to forgive my deceased WH and in time you will get there too. Don't allow forgiveness to happen too soon though. Just letting you know what your future can look like. You won't always be stuck where you are at now.

And know this, what gave me the will to live is because of my kid's. I couldn't harm myself but would have liked to just drop off the face of this earth. Now that was fair game. I still have to stick it out no matter how bad of a day I have because it is the right thing to do.

You will get through this. Stay strong in each day. Do it for you. Do it for your kid's. And do it for your mom.

posts: 840   ·   registered: Mar. 12th, 2018
id 8735379

pureheartkit ( member #62345) posted at 3:25 AM on Sunday, May 15th, 2022

It's going to be better. I didn't want to be without my ws. I waited and waited and waited for him. Didn't think I'd ever have fun again, want to go out or try anything. He was my everything. I felt like a plant shut up in a dark room.

Once he turned away from me I felt like I was no good to anyone. My self esteem was gone. Even confronting him there was no anger only sadness and fear that he was going.

It's a trick of our minds. You have to trust what we are saying. The sun is still shining even though you maybe can't see it. You will grow strong. This is just a moment of time in your life that will pass. Believe in yourself. Honestly I didn't know what I would do with myself. Everything was great and I was so happy then scared and confused during the A then suddenly it would never be the same ever again. I reached out, offered help. We talked lots. I cried for two years and finally realized year three he'd never change. I wanted to go back to the happy safe times. I would have given all I had to get that.

Truth is I could never go back anyway. He was 3xposed for who he really is. I was someone else as well. I could never trust like before. I'd never feel the same safety again. I had to find my own safety by growing strong. I'm happy and I don't feel scared. I'd never let anyone control me or my life like that again. I feel freedom and joy. It feels riskier but that's life. Life is a risk. My journey is 8n my own hands. I learned to listen to myself. It's good. Don't be scared of it. It's different but it's very good. Like a bird learning to fly. You have to believe you can. You can and you will.

Thank you everyone for your wisdom and healing.

posts: 2322   ·   registered: Jan. 19th, 2018
id 8735380

Cooley2here ( member #62939) posted at 4:18 AM on Sunday, May 15th, 2022

Please find a therapist whose expertise is EMDR. It gets to your hidden memories. The ones running your life. It only takes a few weeks most of the time. Once those memories are uncovered you can take the sting out of them so they are no longer running your life.

When things go wrong, don’t go with them. Elvis

posts: 3296   ·   registered: Mar. 5th, 2018   ·   location: US
id 8735385

Luna10 ( member #60888) posted at 11:29 AM on Sunday, May 15th, 2022

The one CT confirmed is the book.

Muma I want you to know you’re in very good hands here. A lot of us, including myself, had to deal with the excruciating, freezing, paralysing fear of abandonment.

Yes I’m still married but I can tell you that what I felt post dday in the first few months I never felt in my life. I couldn’t understand what would happen to me if he left. Who would I sleep with in the same bed, who would I talk to, who would "take care of me".

I remember a moment, about 2-3 months post dday, having a horrible nightmare and WH waking me up and holding me and me thinking "if he leaves me nobody will be here to protect me and soothe me". At that point I realised this is crazy, that the woman I was pre-marriage was 100 times stronger and more independent and somehow I merged into one with my WH and lost myself.

Two things emerged from dday and my realisations post that day: I never want to feel that sheer panic of abandonment ever again it would kill me and I never want to feel that horrible worry that I can’t financially cover my kids’ needs and mine financially.

I got to work on that in counselling addressing the fear of abandonment and worked hard to further my career. Today, 5 years later, I can support myself and my kids to a similar level financially if WH leaves. I have a good career, I have my own savings and I would not depend on him to pay anything (although I’d hold him to his obligations) in order to lead a good life.

Emotionally I’m in a much healthier place. I have worked hard to discover myself again. I am still doing it. I am confident and shaping myself into the woman I want to be, not the one that others want me to be. WH is still here alongside me, he’s welcome to stay as long as we both head in the same direction and we don’t expect the other to be an extension of ourselves. We enjoy each other’s company but I’m not the people pleaser and conflict avoidant I once was. I wouldn’t jump for joy if he left. I am just stronger and aware that after all I could lose him in various ways (including death) and I should be able to keep functioning. I’m me, I’m strong, I’m truly capable to calm my inner child’s fears and be the adult I need to be.

You will be that person too, it isn’t easy, it is actually excruciating. But the person who will emerge from all these struggles will make you proud of who you truly are.

Lots of hugs!

BW - 38 at the time of the A
WH - 45 at the time of the A
Dday - 27/9/2017

posts: 1456   ·   registered: Oct. 2nd, 2017   ·   location: Europe
id 8735412

DailyGratitude ( member #79494) posted at 4:01 PM on Sunday, May 15th, 2022

I am a few months ahead of you on a similar journey
My xwh left for the AP. Even after we D (upon his request) he went back and forth between me and AP.
He ultimately chose AP. I regret not having been strong enough to kick him to the curb when I had the chance. But my heart was hurting so much (it still does) and wanted things to go back to the way they were. Mind you our marriage wasn’t great because he had cheated before but I couldn’t bear the pain and fear of being left. I would’ve given everything to make it work. Again. Even though xwh has proven that he cannot be faithful. I don’t blame myself for wanting that because I learned that it is normal for humans want to bond. It’s what we do. You will learn many helpful things from the books recommended on this thread. I would also recommend "intimate deception".
I still struggle everyday. And there are days when I don’t think I can go on. But when I read stories of folks here on SI who survived and thrived, i am encouraged tremendously.
So I want to thank all the folks here who have been so generous to share their stories. Especially Hurtmyheart and pureheartkit. Your stories gave me hope for my future and I hope they will do the same for Mumabear.

Mumabear: I hope one day you and I can be the source of encouragement for others. I look forward to a day you post to tell us you are doing amazing.
Sending you prayers and strength

posts: 211   ·   registered: Oct. 17th, 2021   ·   location: Connecticut
id 8735422

Bigger ( Attaché #8354) posted at 7:35 PM on Sunday, May 15th, 2022


I want to focus on some extremely straight-forward and real issues.
One of the key factors of infidelity is how fantasy-based it can be. Often that fantasy flows on to our real lives too. Only with the "mama" prefix in your name… you cant afford fantasy. Your kids won’t eat fairy-dust and there is no frog you can kiss to find a prince.

Sometimes the BEST and the ONLY thing we can do when a spouse says and does something is believe them.

I’M GONE is a complete sentence, followed by actions that indicate he means it.

Only you two are still connected by all sorts of social and legal aspects, and can still impact each other in serious and negative financial ways.

Like where did he go? If he’s furnishing an apartment he’s using what are really marital funds to do that. OK – MAYBE you can get half back when and if this ends in divorce, but at that time it’s half of the value of a used dining room table (simply leaving the store devalues furniture by 20% at least). Or the credit-card debt on the card you are BOTH responsible for – he might be charging a cruise with his AP on it and half that could end up from your wallet. Or he could finance his new life by withdrawing from his 401k, with the hefty tax-penalties and simply hide the money – making it hard to get once you two formally divorce. If you file taxes together that would/could impact you badly…

Think he won’t? Know him better? Did you think he would cheat? Or leave?

I KNOW these are extreme examples, but if he says it’s over – he’s gone – then the next logical step is to formalize it. The moment a divorce petition or separation petition has been filed it creates a safety-net that limits what either of you can do with funds.

If you aren’t up to it then ask a friend to start the process for you. In my family I’m the go-to guy for hard issues. I have negotiated debt, sat HOA meetings and confronted non-paying employers for family-members. If you have a nice ahole-grumpy-bear type friend then have that person help you start the process. Not necessarily complete it – but get the protection you need in place.

"If, therefore, any be unhappy, let him remember that he is unhappy by reason of himself alone." Epictetus

posts: 10590   ·   registered: Sep. 29th, 2005
id 8735450

morningglory ( member #80236) posted at 10:56 PM on Sunday, May 15th, 2022

OP, I just want to share some reassurance that you did the right thing. You might be wishing right now that you had done something different in reaction to his affair, such as sweep it under the rug, in order to keep him around. But that strategy rarely works. Aside from the misery that comes of living with an unreconciled cheater, the unreconciled cheaters are the most likely to cheat again, and to eventually leave you. I rugswept after my WW cheated (after a brief period of "I'm so sorry, you can monitor my devices" things got worse than ever and he demanded rugsweeping), and years later, he not only cheated on me, but left me. He didn't leave me because I demanded real reconciliation. He just decided he wanted to leave. And I had devoted several more years to him in the time between DDay1 and his abandonment of me.

So rugsweeping is not a good strategy for practical reasons, as well as psychological reasons. Even if you had pretended nothing was wrong, he probably would have eventually left you, just years later when you were older and it was even harder to adjust to a new life, instead of right away. He isn't a loving husband. He's a selfish cheater, who only loves himself. He would have eventually ditched you whenever he decided the cost-to-benefit ratio of having you around was no longer in his favor.

[This message edited by morningglory at 11:01 PM, Sunday, May 15th]

posts: 168   ·   registered: Apr. 15th, 2022
id 8735475

 MumaBear1978 (original poster member #79830) posted at 2:24 AM on Monday, May 16th, 2022

Thank you all for your thoughtful replies. You really have given me a lot to think about. I have downloaded both the books recommended to me so I’ll get started on them as soon as I can.

My brother and his family came for a visit yesterday to check in on us. He is so angry by what has happened and said something that has really stuck with me. When I told him about WH saying he’s emotionally exhausted by his constant worrying about me for over a decade, he was livid. He said what if it was cancer that I’d been battling for a decade. Would WH have stood by me, supporting me and being the strong one for a decade through chemo and remissions, just to turn around and say HE can’t do it anymore?? That his way of dealing with the stress of an incredibly sick wife is to fuck around and start a relationship with someone else for 3 years??

He said I need to get angry. I need to realise that what WH did to me by not leaving his job, by going to the conference after only 3 months and expecting me to just be able handle it, was nothing short of torture. He said WH is a spineless coward and can’t believe he dared to leave our marriage because he can’t handle the fallout of his own unforgivable actions. He said he should be groveling on the floor begging my forgiveness.

I know y’all have been saying the same sort of things but I’ve still been feeling a bit numb and I don’t think it’s really sinking in. But hearing it out of my little brothers mouth, seeing how angry he was on my behalf, really shook me.

I so appreciate everyone’s support right now. It is hard to read what ur saying but I’m taking things in slowly and I hope I will start to feel some hope soon.

posts: 77   ·   registered: Jan. 25th, 2022   ·   location: Australia
id 8735500

The1stWife ( member #58832) posted at 3:57 AM on Monday, May 16th, 2022

Your brother is spot on.

Survived two affairs and brink of Divorce. Happily reconciled.

posts: 11852   ·   registered: May. 19th, 2017
id 8735505

Luna10 ( member #60888) posted at 9:03 AM on Monday, May 16th, 2022

You have an amazing brother, he is right in every word he says and I’m so glad he is around you. Please listen to him and have a look at Bigger’s post, I know it’s hard now and you feel you cannot think straight but your WH will use your inaction to his advantage. Please start securing yours and your kids’ future.

BW - 38 at the time of the A
WH - 45 at the time of the A
Dday - 27/9/2017

posts: 1456   ·   registered: Oct. 2nd, 2017   ·   location: Europe
id 8735513

Beachgirl73 ( new member #74764) posted at 1:29 PM on Monday, May 16th, 2022

I like your brother. Listen to him and love yourself. And I agree, follow Bigger’s advice.

Sending hugs.

[This message edited by Beachgirl73 at 1:31 PM, Monday, May 16th]

posts: 18   ·   registered: Jul. 3rd, 2020
id 8735522

Bor9455 ( member #72628) posted at 1:50 PM on Monday, May 16th, 2022

I don't have much to add other than your brother seems to be your guardian angel in all of this. In times like this, we need to know who we can rely on, and it looks like your brother is certainly one that I would want in my corner if I were in your shoes.

Strength and hugs for you. The next step is to get down to an attorney's office and get the process of your divorce underway as soon as you can. Take back your power in this situation, file for divorce, setup an email inbox where your soon to be ex-husband can contact you about the kids and then block his ass on your phone and any other methods of contact he may use. It will help you to get some space from him and that over time, that much needed space will provide you with the perspective that your husband isn't worth another second of your time.

Myself - BH & WH - 35 years (05/24/1985)Her - BW & WW - 34 years (05/25/1986)<P>D-Day for WW's EA - October 2017D-Day no it turned PA - February 01, 2020

posts: 203   ·   registered: Jan. 21st, 2020   ·   location: Miami
id 8735526

Beachgirl73 ( new member #74764) posted at 2:16 PM on Monday, May 16th, 2022

Could you ask your brother to help you with the legal issues Bigger refers to? I know it’s hard but I agree that you need to protect yourself and your boys now.

posts: 18   ·   registered: Jul. 3rd, 2020
id 8735528

 MumaBear1978 (original poster member #79830) posted at 10:10 PM on Monday, May 16th, 2022


I appreciate your advice. I don’t live in the US so I’m not sure if things are different over here regarding separation. Is 401K the same as our superannuation?

I don’t actually earn an income, I’ve been a stay at home mum, so I don’t actually pay taxes. WH has been the sole breadwinner for approx 12 years.

I have been looking for part time work for the past few months. WH told me there was no rush, to wait until I found something I really wanted to do. Obv I’ll have to find work ASAP now.

I’m feeling so overwhelmed right now. I’ve taken everyone’s advice and not made any contact with WH but I really thought he would have reached out by now, even if it was just to see the boys.

posts: 77   ·   registered: Jan. 25th, 2022   ·   location: Australia
id 8735595
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