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Reconciliation :
Why is the Sex so Eviscerating?

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 Wounded Healer (original poster new member #34829) posted at 7:45 PM on Friday, September 9th, 2022

Greetings.

My story (convoluted as it is) is in my profile for those wishing greater context for my search today.

The 10 cent version of what pertains to what I am seeking today is that I am a little over a year out from full detailed disclosure from two affairs my wife had about 10 years ago. Although she/we have made some well intentioned and pretty critical mistakes in our recovery, she is and has been the model of remorse throughout the entire process and has not (purposefully anyway) trickle truthed me, or blame shifted, or any other standard WW procedural awfulness we often see. I realize how immenesly fortunate I am in that regard and am TRULY TRULY grateful for that. That being said...

I am and have been and cannot see me ever being any thing other than completely undone by the sexual aspects of her affair(s). I cannot explain it, figure it out, get to the why, or otherwise disarm this. I am in IC, am undergoing EMDR, have availed myself to every resource I could find to address this...and it changes nothing. I love my wife. Adore her actually, Want to be with her, continue building and enjoying life with her and all we have worked for together. Still. Totally undone. Part of the problem (and the inspiration for the question today) is that I cannot even put it into words. I have been some version of a professional communicator/teacher all of my adult life. I can honestly say it's a gift. I "see" complex and abstract truths and am able, usually with ease, to extrapolate things and arrange them in simple, articulate, teachable ways. It's what I do. And...this is the one area in my entire experience of life that I haven't been able to do that with. I honestly cannot explain (TO/FOR MYSELF) why the mere nanosecond of a thought, memory, or a molecule of a trigger connected to her sexual betrayal...brings me to my inner knees. The only term that even gets close to describing it is VISCERAL. And maybe PRIMAL. Some hellish cocktail of rage, perfect disgust, jealousy, heartbreaking sadness, loss, confusion, and horror. Just the AWARENESS that she was this way with another man evokes this visceral repsonse. Of course I deal. I've had tons of practice pushing through, keeping forward motion and such. But, damn, for lack of a more nuanced word...the FEELING is always there. Visceral. Primal. And with counseling, EMDR, endless discussions with my wife. retraining my brain, I am honestly not sure how to do life with this anymore.

(NUCLEAR TIGGERS AND TMI AHEAD..and also, I am speaking from a male betrayed perspective and ask for grace if any of what follows is offensive to any of our amazing female members here)

Some examples:

I cannot ever imagine any scenario in which any even micro awareness of the fact that another mans semen was shot all around and into the place where my children drew their first breaths not doing anything but being devastating. There's something sacred there. And I carry a fairly constant at very least BACKGROUND awareness of that reality...all...the...time. It's evisceral. Some primal thing that is beyond me to name just churns over this reality. Even when I'm not focused on it.

My wife is a survivor of an abusive alcoholic childhood. She carried the associated issues from that into our marriage (as a beautiful 19 year old young woman). Summary: Sexual trust was hard fought for (by both of us) for YEARS in our marriage. 15 years of gentle patience and loving work...before she could freely release...became multi orgasmic with umm...some amazing side effects requiring the use of lots of waterproof bedding materials. And man, we CELEBRATED the shit out that! And ALL it meant to her, for us, and our love and patient work there. We came to call it our "gift". And we INDULGED big time from that point on. Because we really felt it WAS. A GIFT. So. She came, screaming and moaning, and squirted multiple times with AP. He noticed. Commented. Made him feel like the man. OUR GIFT. Visceral. Primal. Cannot do even a mild general awareness of this.

The first time he entered her...the first and only time any man other than me had been invited in that innermost intimate place with her...was the first time she dropped the ILY on him. She intiated first contact. Climbed on him. Straddled him. As she lowered herself onto him. "I love you". Primal. Beyond words. Visceral.

He was uncircumcised (I am not) My shy, fairly sheltered pastor's wife was clueless about that in an adult male. Was intrigued by it. Out of sheer novelty (for her anyway). My wife intrigued..about another man's penis. Visceral. Primal. Eviscerating.

I'll stop...but I could go on...and on and on really. But I've said more than enough to make the point/frame the question.

Why on earth are these things so completely and totally wrenching? So nuclear level leveling? I KNOW it was fantasy. Wasn't real. Could not be sustained. Totally lost and fogged. And my heart doesn't give a single ****. It still elicits this primal, emotional response. I have tried to frame the stuff countelss ways. I love my wife. I actually have fully FORGIVEN my wife. I understand her whys (she does too). I want her. She loves me..maybe even shows it more than I do her if I am brutally honest. She did/has done and is doing the work. Therapy (and SI) tells me it was not about me. It's in the past. I have tried to retrain my brain. "Rewire the pathways" as they say. Nothing helps. Just brutal honesty. These things just haunt. Deeply. Beyond words. I don't dwell. Ruminate. Obsess. But it remains...any single thought, small thought, memory, micro-remembrance, even a faint general awareness of my wife being purely sexual with another man...brings these beyond words feelings. And I DON'T KNOW WHY.

I hope for all of your sakes that I am the only one that lives like this. I hope (selfishly) for my sake...that I'm not.

(Edited several times for typos despite me proofreading 1,249 times)

[This message edited by Wounded Healer at 9:12 PM, Friday, September 9th]

BS - 39 years on DDay

DDay #1: 10/13/2010 - 4 month EA/PA with Divorced OM from 10/2009 to 2/2010

DDay #2: 4/14/2021 - 8 month EA with married OM/family friend 2/2010 to 10/2010

Crazy about each other. Reconciling.

posts: 37   ·   registered: Feb. 15th, 2012   ·   location: Northern Indiana
id 8754641
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Chaos ( member #61031) posted at 8:10 PM on Friday, September 9th, 2022

You aren't alone. Not by a long shot.

For reference I'm the BS of a 3 year LTA, one that was discovered by my then teen and her BFF, one that went underground for another ~18 months [before I finally told OBS] and one that had LTAP not accepting reality and creating fake profiles for the next 2 years to try to continue to reach out where we had to involve an attorney and send a Cease and Desist.

We are doing well in reconciliation. I am doing well in healing.

Yet the thought of them having sex or committing sexual acts guts me to the core! If I continued to think of this it would devastate me - to the point of rendering me a trembling ball of inconsolable goo on the floor. It would set me back greatly.

Early on those thoughts/visuals [we call them mind-movies here at SI] were frequent and crippling. HB was also hitting hard early on. So I'd literally f*** them right out of my mind and make sure it was good for me. Here I am years later. HB isn't a thing anymore but we have a healthy sex life [we always did but I digress]. And at times those thoughts still hit. They are sad. I won't let them cripple me. But they do set me back a bit. I sadly have to feel the feels and have a good cry or rage [whatever emotion surfaces] and then go about my business of being the awesomeness that is me.

I'm still in IC. We've done a lot of things to try to combat this. Hypnotism, guided imagery, EMDR. At one point I found myself googling old school electric shock. That was a dark time for me and painful to admit. But I researched it and prayed for it nonetheless. When I admitted to WH and IC that I was doing this it horrified them both. But I explained it was the closest way I could think of that would make it not have happened in my mind.

All this - and I could go on. And on and on and on... All this to say you aren't alone.

BS-me/WH-4.5yrLTA Married 2+ decades - Children (1 still at home) Multiple DDays w/same AP until I told OBS 2018 Cease & Desist sent spring 2021"Hello–My name is Chaos–You f***ed my husband-Prepare to Die!"

posts: 3532   ·   registered: Oct. 13th, 2017   ·   location: East coast
id 8754646
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DictumVeritas ( member #74087) posted at 8:18 PM on Friday, September 9th, 2022

Sex, especially for men is sacred. Some men are just not able to het over the sexual aspects of the betrayal. I Know, I'm one of those men and I have made peace with it.

To me the moment my ex-wife had another man inside her, the divorce was finalized and the legal side of it was a mere formality. I took it a step further. My wife died to me the first time she had another man inside her. I might not have noticed for a while because the alien that replaced her did a convincing job of emulating her for a while, but once the lies and acts came to light, I mourned her death and moved on.

I had the clarity that the sex was a deal-breaker the moment I found out. She tried the standard "it meant nothing", "was only sex" all out of the cheater's handbook. I cut her off before she could start the blame-shifting etc. I knew I was done with her.

In that regard, I might have been one of the lucky ones. I did not wrestle with anything but grief, because I accepted my nature, the knowledge that I neither had the will or capacity to even think of fixing it and I acted expediently to remove her from my life.

To most men the sex with the other man is a deal-breaker. Most of them don't hang around boards like these. The divorce and move on.

Other men, the fixers, try to find loopholes to stay. Some succeed, some fail for reasons wide in range and some realize later that the sex was indeed a deal-breaker.

I just told you my story, it is up to you to know yourself and realize whether the sex may have already been a deal-breaker or not.

Good luck to you, OP, I just know I would not sleep comfortably in a house so clearly still ablaze.

Your life is but a flicker to the cosmos and only the brightest flickers are recorded by history for good or bad. Most of us just want to live our lives without being interfered with.

posts: 277   ·   registered: Mar. 22nd, 2020   ·   location: South-Africa
id 8754648
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Ladybugmaam ( member #69881) posted at 8:49 PM on Friday, September 9th, 2022

You're not alone at all. I feel like we're 85-90% recovered and whenever I think about the affair....it IS visceral. My husband has been wonderful, though imperfect, in recovery....or I wouldn't still be here. But, when I think about the affair, I will get into a low place where nothing he's done can possibly worth this pain that I'll have to carry and mentally push away for the rest of my life. It is horrible. My heart goes out to you.

EA DD 11/2018
PA DD 2/25/19
One teen son
I am a phoenix.

posts: 269   ·   registered: Feb. 26th, 2019
id 8754657
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 Wounded Healer (original poster new member #34829) posted at 9:47 PM on Friday, September 9th, 2022

Thanks so much for all the thoughtful and vulnerable replies. Tragically happy that I am not alone in this. Part of me posting the question here is that I have Googled my fingers to callouses and cannot find any information on this particular thing...which seems so bizarre to me. Maybe becuase it IS beyond explanation? I mean ask anyone to imagine their life partner sexing another person into a puddle of orgasmic bliss and then ask them to explain why that thought hurts like hell...and I'm guessing the answer would be some version of "It just does" I mean we all just instinctively intuit that pain. I've dealt with a good amount of life tragedy...and assisted others in theirs...and nothing has barred and choked me like this. Not even close. Thank you all again.

BS - 39 years on DDay

DDay #1: 10/13/2010 - 4 month EA/PA with Divorced OM from 10/2009 to 2/2010

DDay #2: 4/14/2021 - 8 month EA with married OM/family friend 2/2010 to 10/2010

Crazy about each other. Reconciling.

posts: 37   ·   registered: Feb. 15th, 2012   ·   location: Northern Indiana
id 8754662
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lrpprl ( new member #80538) posted at 11:05 PM on Friday, September 9th, 2022

It was over 65 years ago that I was betrayed by my then fiance. I was overseas with the military at the time she cheated. I guess I was "lucky" (if you can call it that) since she had moved by the time I got to return home, so I have not seen her in person in over 66 years. It was easier for my healing... having my military buddies around me, and then my family supporting me. It still hurt like hell for a long time.

I have been married to my beautiful bride now for 61 years. We have been blessed with a good life... children, grandchildren, and hopefully soon we will have great grandchildren. Life has been good for us.

What brought me to Surviving Infidelity was a movie. A few years ago I was searching on Netflix for something to watch. Came across a Filipino movie with the title "The Love Affair". Sounded like an interesting title. The movie opens with the main character, a middle-age surgeon, going to a party where he was not expected to be. He walks in with the party already underway and sees in a garden his wife and best friend being touchy-feely, lovey-dovey. After a couple of confrontations she admits to kissing his best friend... would never admit to anything else.

The movie goes on for 2 hours. He has a revenge affair, etc. Near the end of the movie he and his wife are supposed to have a family meeting and explain to the children that they were going their separate ways. The youngest son is pressing the wife on "Why?" She says she hurt their father. Before she can say anything else, he speaks up and says, "It was all my fault. I did not take good care of your mother. I could have been a better husband, but I wasn't". I just sat there and said out loud to no one in particular, "WTF?? No one put a gun to her head". That movie brought me back to over 65 years ago, and I had not really given much thought to it in probably 20-30 years.

Now then, my wife and I have had the practice for decades to cuddle for 15-30 minutes before we turn out the lights. Sometimes we talk, sometimes we are silent, and sometimes something more happens. Anyway, that night, as we were cuddling I asked her "Is kissing cheating?" She sat straight up in bed and said very loudly, "Hell, Yeah!!!".

I had not given cheating any thought for many years. Also, I had always thought of cheating as intercourse... never heard of emotional cheating, etc. The next day I googled "Is kissing cheating?". Hundreds, if not thousands, of hits appeared. I started down that rabbit hole and eventually found Surviving Infidelity. Some of the posters on this site are very intelligent writers and express themselves very well. I have been lurking here since then.

I said all that to say that after all those years, decades really, I got triggered. It wasn't a hurtful trigger like Wounded Healer suffers. Just a trigger of the injustice of it all.

I guess that we all can get triggered... even after 6 decades. I really feel for you, Wounded Healer... the mind-movies you are having to suffer through. Those are some really terrible mind movies. I wish I had a good answer I could pass on, but I don't. The only thing I can think to say is that I have found through the years that by adopting a Stoic attitude towards life... controlling what we can control... letting go of what we can't control... and trying to recognize the difference between the two... has helped me mentally a lot in difficult situations. But that is not really a good answer for you if you don't practice the Stoic philosphy. Just know that my thoughts are with you.

posts: 18   ·   registered: Aug. 12th, 2022   ·   location: USA
id 8754670
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Oldwounds ( member #54486) posted at 11:39 PM on Friday, September 9th, 2022

I think I thought very much the same way as you the first two years. Nuclear, primal response is a very real and honest way to describe it.

I think it is primal, because this should be our response. Flight or flight mode, belated or otherwise is automatic.

Knowing that, doesn’t help.

Nightmares continued for me for well over three years. Exacting, redundant mind movies, taunting my soul, my existence.

We mourn a loss of intimacy, the us against the world intimacy — at least for a time.

No easy way to process it. I wish there was.

I do agree with the forum, it wasn’t about me.

It wasn’t about me, but that answer is horrifying in and of itself — it wasn’t about me at all, I had somehow vanished from the planet during the A, and being invisible to your partner is as bad as it gets.

Today, moving into year seven, I don’t dismiss the visceral memories, they simply don’t invade my brain like they used to. Processing the pain best I could, mostly by talking about it with IC, my wife, SI, etc., really helped eventually (emphasis on eventually) let the past be the past.

My focus now is on the miracle rebuild of my relationship.

It doesn’t mean my thoughts aren’t bulletproof, just that when those old primal nightmares jump in, I realize it is my lizard brain on duty, reminding me to keep my head on a swivel. To check the locks and scan the horizon. Then I move on to what is happening now, in front of me today.

Married 34+ years, together 40+ years
Two awesome adult sons.
Dday 6/16 4-year LTA Survived
Restoration takes time.
"Circumstances don't make the man, they only reveal him to himself." ― Epictetus

posts: 4401   ·   registered: Aug. 4th, 2016   ·   location: PNW. The adventure continues.
id 8754674
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gainingclosure ( member #79667) posted at 11:40 PM on Friday, September 9th, 2022

People are imperfect. They f*** up and hurt the ones they love. The betrayal of infidelity can really f**** you up hard. Some emergency responders say that the PTSD from betrayal trauma is 10x worse than the PTSD they've acquired from years of seeing horrendous injuries and accident scenes. It's a heavy burden.

The sex stuff bothers you because it took something special and sacred and made it not special. I think it hits especially hard when there are no other sexual partners prior to the infidelity.

Based on your story I don't doubt your wife does love you, but yeah, it will never be the same. Same thing for me - my wife was my first and me hers, and then it was taken away by a creep that somehow strung a few magical words together that undid all the years we had been married. Gave me HPV as well. Sex wise, there was a lot of stuff that makes me feel inferior and utterly disgusted to this day. Im sorry you had to read the transcript - that is one thing that I wish I could see, but probably best that I didn't.

Your capacity for forgiveness of this awful thing is also a measure of the love you have for your wife. I think its pretty amazing.

One other thing. There are a lot of really wise and positive minded people on here, but Ive also noticed how easy it is to get sucked into the mindset of some of the more bitter members and set your recovery back or even blow it to pieces. It can help with the not feeling so alone though. My advice is to only pay attention to the encouraging responses. Just to be aware of if you feel yourself getting worse and not better as a result of being on here.

Reconciling BH. Full story is in my bio."The soul is dyed with the color of its thoughts" - Marcus Aurelius

posts: 88   ·   registered: Dec. 9th, 2021
id 8754675
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survrus ( member #67698) posted at 2:04 AM on Saturday, September 10th, 2022

WH,

Possibly we lack the words because it is non-verbal how we know how much our WWs favored the OM, we see images but to translate them into words is impossible.

At times it feels like our spouses are giving us kind words like what you would say to a child when you want to soften reality for them.

The injustice is difficult to accept as well, how can the OM get in weeks what took us years to build. It feels like theft but of intangible value, not money or goods.

There is not a day I do not think about putting an end to OM and his kids.

posts: 1206   ·   registered: Nov. 1st, 2018   ·   location: USA
id 8754691
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ISurvivedSoFar ( Guide #56915) posted at 12:59 PM on Saturday, September 10th, 2022

Hi Wounded Healer - you are not alone. And while I am not male and therefore cannot understand this from a male point of view, I can tell you that I went through some pretty spectacular visceral responses to my WS's infidelity. I felt raped by him - and that is emotional right? Well, for me yes it was emotional but it turned into some pretty awful mind movies about physical rape which was preceded by complete and utter disgust at his touch. It made my body twitch. My H prior to infidelity and after has never, ever mistreated me sexually and has always been the most gentle to me in that regard. Yet there I was having an awful, visceral reaction to him as if he physically did something to me.

Our minds can do some pretty spectacular things to us - and that is where you are at now. I'm pleased to report to you that all of those feelings, physical and emotional have abated. And while like you I forgave him early on, it didn't abate the visceral responses that took time well beyond my forgiveness to realize.

I thought I'd never ever get over it. But I am happy to report that I have. And I think there are a few levels of acceptance (not condoning) we have to get through to finally get beyond the visceral reactions our minds foist on us.

1. We have to accept that it happened. Early on we struggle a lot with denial of our new reality.

2. We have to accept the change it brings to us individually and as a couple. In the end the change can be beneficial but it doesn't feel beneficial in the slightest for a long time. And I for one really resisted having to change - why should I if I didn't do anything wrong?

3. We have to accept that we aren't bad for the decisions we make post-infidelity. And I think this is the hardest and took the longest for me - it is really reconciling with ourselves. We have to reconcile that we stayed even with this infraction - and that we aren't chumps for staying. Maybe I am alone in this, but I really beat myself up for staying particularly considering the gut wrenching physical and mental impact his infidelity had on me.

It does get better and the visceral part will start to lessen its grip on you but it takes a long time.

[This message edited by ISurvivedSoFar at 12:59 PM, Saturday, September 10th]

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: 2831   ·   registered: Jan. 15th, 2017
id 8754707
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lrpprl ( new member #80538) posted at 2:01 PM on Saturday, September 10th, 2022

An addendum to my previous post:

Maybe it has been mentioned before, but I bought a book 50+ years ago on the subject of Concentration. Today it is called by many names, but mostly as Mindfulness. The book extolled the many benefits of Concentration... being able to concentrate on the moment. One of the exercises the book had is to close your eyes and think of a subject... much like you would do in meditation. For example, a candle. With your eyes closed try to picture this candle... see the candle unlit and then lit. After a few moments, broaden your imagination and think about how the candle is made. Go further and think how candles are packaged, marketed, and sold. Then think of the many uses of candles, etc. Continue with that mental exercise as long as possible.

What this does in real life is sort of teach you to control your thinking so that you are always paying close attention to the task you are performing in that particular moment. Since the brain can only think one thought at a time it will crowd out other thoughts trying to invade and take over your mental state. You end up controlling your thoughts as much as possible.

This might seem too "new age" for you, or you might see some benefit to performing this exercise. I see you are undergoing EMDR... I have heard good things about that.

I really don't have anything else to add, except I am praying that you are able to get away from these mind movies and thoughts.

Take care.

posts: 18   ·   registered: Aug. 12th, 2022   ·   location: USA
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ChamomileTea ( Guide #53574) posted at 4:36 PM on Saturday, September 10th, 2022

What worked for me was getting control of my ego and putting the injury in context. I am not the first person who ever got cheated on. It happens every day to people from all walks of life. I am not somehow above the fray. I was not guaranteed by God, or karma, or the universe to never encounter betrayal. I am not more worthy of love and devotion than anyone else who has ever experienced infidelity. I am not so scintillating, intellectually or sexually, as to cause a whole separate person to never look away. I am not anyone else's chief priority, regardless of what words we've spoken or what promises we've made. You get the gist. I'm not a planet and I don't have satellites whose existence are dedicated to orbiting me. I am a separate individual and my spouse is his own autonomous person. I don't own him.

Yeah, I know that sounds a bit harsh in ways. Intimate betrayal IS a legitimate wound. It's not in our imaginations or some figment of narcissistic self-involvement. There are myriad reasons for the effects it has on us, to include our innate reflex to fear abandonment and all of the social programming we've had since birth. And yet, it's been my experience that ego is a part of it, because when it's all boiled down, this is just another aspect of understanding that the cheating is on the cheater and it's not about us.

We give this message to other BS's all the time... "it wasn't your fault", "cheating is about the cheater", "you can't cause other people to abandon their values", etc. But when you REALLY start hearing that message, you have to start acknowledging the separateness of your spouse. We say, "we can't control anyone but ourselves", and the truth is... we really can't. Each and every one of them had choices and they used those choices to indulge THEMSELVES. If the cheating isn't about us, it's not about us. Our spouse is a person and not a commodity. We don't own any aspect of them. Their fidelity is theirs to give or withhold based on their own internal criteria.

This is not to excuse a cheater's disloyalty. They made promises to us. The fact that they broke them speaks volumes about their values. These are people whose word was demonstrably NOT their bond; dishonest, disloyal, self-centered, and even disordered in some cases. We do have an absolute right to be hurt by their actions, but we also need to recognize that part of the injury is to our own ego, that when we finish the question, "HOW could s/he do that?", the unspoken object of the sentence is "to ME". "How could he do that to ME??" It's the size of the "ME" that ends up being at issue. For several years after my fWH's betrayal, my "ME" was in giant letters with an exquisitely painful, fancy font. That's the very nature of pain, isn't it? It's personal and sometimes all-encompassing. It forces us into a state of self-involvement so that we must deal with it and with the threat it presents to our future well-being.

When you think about it, intimate betrayal oftentimes invokes feelings of existential threat, but why should that be? In most cases in this modern age, we are safe from physical harm, social or financial ruination. This isn't the old days where the loss of a spouse meant we could no longer feed or care for our fifteen children. shocked
Our existence isn't usually the thing under threat, and yet, it FEELS that way. We question everything we knew; love, God, human relationships, responsibility, even sanity, and this is NORMAL. It's proper functioning for human minds and human bodies, a character trait of our humanity to form these bonds and experience predictable emotions when those bonds are broken.

Here's the thing though, at a certain point, we need context. I will hate and despise every OW who ever involved herself with my husband or my marriage. If they simultaneously burst into flames, I'd never miss a moment's peace over it. I AM a demonstrably better human being in terms of my current morality, intellect, loyalty, etc. That said, I am not of greater human value than anyone else in the eyes of God or man's law. I often see, as I have in this post, utter revulsion from some BH's at the aspect of another man's semen. But do you think yours is somehow more pleasing? Is is less sticky or less odorous? Isn't the truth that the only thing special about your semen is that it's yours?? If your mind has created some Jackson Pollock painting of another guy's semen spewed out all over your home or your spouse, is it gross because it's semen, or because it's another guy's semen?? I've heard this complaint so often that a WW had oral and then kissed her husband or kissed her kids' cheeks. One hopes that she brushed her teeth first, but how is this different than if you were the guy she'd had oral with? Do you expect that she should never kiss you, or her child, or her mother again because she had once had semen in her mouth?

There's an ick factor to someone else's bodily fluids, I get it. Women feel no differently about that sort of thing as you when it comes to other females'.. erm.. leavings. barf Believe me, I get it. Part of what helped me immensely at the time was the thought that every cell of my fWH's skin that had been touched by another would slough off until nothing that had come into proximity with an OW remained. But in context, their skin, bodily fluids, and functions are no different than our own or what ours might be under the same circumstances. We like to think that we're not interchangeable and we're not. But when we set apart the possible differences in our microbiomes (the parasitic flora and fauna of our bodies), are we not all of equal value when it comes to the basics of humanity??

In the first few years there was no way I was going to be able to apply a larger context to what had happened to me, but as time passed, it became easier to step back and look at as a matter of scope. My fWH is his own person and his choices were not about me. His moral failures were not about me. And even though I am still filled with revulsion at the thought of the OW, the reality is that they are not, as a matter of biological science, more or less human than me. That's not a big sacrifice really, recognizing another HUMAN animal for what it is without emotionally quantifying it as somehow more or somehow less. I'm not needing to take the high road to do that. It's basic science. All I have to do is step back and acknowledge it.

It takes time to fully heal from the injuries we've sustained, but I do believe there comes a point where we have to push ourselves over those last few barriers. We can't have it both ways, can we? to hold onto our grievances and still achieve our goals? What I found when I really put my grievances under the microscope was that I wasn't actually letting the cheating be about the cheater. I was still making it about me.

We're not in JFO or General right now. We're in the Reconciliation forum. We recognize that we are here BY CHOICE, because we've found enough reason to believe our spouse can still become the partner we deserve. No cheater is owed that. We've made that choice for ourselves and with our own free will, we've selected our goals. We are no longer victims, we're volunteers. We've made our "stay or go" choice, which is never to say that it can't be unmade, but it is to say that like anything else worth having, it requires effort on our part. We have conferred upon our formerly errant spouse a new opportunity and for our part, the end game is to clean the slate, is it not? If it's not, what the hell are we wasting our time for? It's the grievance or the future. We can't have both. We have to find a way to let one or the other go, which is an easy choice if our cheater isn't worthy of our effort. Our very presence here though assumes that s/he is.

Anyway, that's what helped me. I needed to take a more Buddhist view of suffering, which naturally led me to question what part my own ego had in it. I found that it was quite a bit more than I had first considered and that when I applied a more global context, it was easier to let some of my injuries go. Your mileage may vary of course.

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: 5927   ·   registered: Jun. 8th, 2016   ·   location: U.S.
id 8754725
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Butforthegrace ( member #63264) posted at 4:57 PM on Saturday, September 10th, 2022

Let me suggest that perhaps the reason you're facing hurdles explaining the impact of these disclosures is because doing so could force you to utter what you would wish not to utter. Infidelity recovery involves both procedural and substantive elements. A very high percentage of WW's fail miserably on the procedural elements. They engage in TT, DARVO, blame-shifting, minimizing, etc. A lot of discussion on these forums goes to the procedural parts of infidelity recovery.

But there is also a substantive element. Sometimes, the trauma, sexual humiliation, emasculation, and such is simply too great. The insult is so profound that, no matter how strictly the wW follows "the rules", there is simply no way the marriage can survive, intact. Bottom line is that infidelity causes a break in the marriage. Sometimes that's a small fracture. Sometimes it's a completely shattered femur that can never heal.

By the way, I read your profile after posting the above. Your WW has not even remotely prosecuted post-A recovery in accordance with prudent procedure. In reality, you've rug-swept for a decade or so. Your current-day anguish is yet another sad example of what happens with rug-sweeping. Years of gnawing angst, culminated by cathartic confrontation and further devastating disclosures. I would submit that she has not been remorseful at all, despite the number of times you repeat the word "remorse" in your posts. Remorse is grounded in empathy. Empathy includes an understanding by the WW that brutal, blunt honesty by her toward you is a sign of respect and humility. She has been the opposite of this.

For context, I would tell you that, on my Dday, my wayward both disclosed the ongoing PA and told me that she was leaving me for the AP. At the time I was utterly crushed. I had suicidal ideations, days of crying nonstop, etc. I blubbered and begged her not to go, etc. Eventually I came to accept that she was resolute in her intention to leave me for the AP, so I moved on. In hindsight, her dumping me abruptly the way she did was probably a kindness to me, and oddly I have come to believe that she was motivated at least in part by kindness in remaining stalwart in the face of my begging to "give us another chance". Certainly my healing and recovery were complete and without second guesses as a result.

[This message edited by Butforthegrace at 11:07 PM, Saturday, September 10th]

"The wicked man flees when no one chases."

posts: 3969   ·   registered: Mar. 31st, 2018   ·   location: Midwest
id 8754728
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waitedwaytoolong ( member #51519) posted at 8:47 PM on Saturday, September 10th, 2022

I don’t think their is a magic bullet to overcome these feelings. I think for many who come to acceptance, the passage of time will dull the pain. Your wife has done everything at this point that she probably can. She should have been more forthcoming earlier, and without chastising you too much, you did some rug sweeping that prolonged the process and you are now working through things that could have been started years earlier. That however is water under the bridge. You have a great mindset, and hopefully as I said, the passage of time will help.

For me, I didn’t ever accept what happened. It just wasn’t my nature. I’m not sure if others experienced this, but the prevalence of porn was a big hindrance. My wife participated in the type of sex that is highlighted on these sites. Anal, facials, me being the cuckold etc. These are all graphically available with just a click, and I clicked all the time. So I was fighting not just the mind movies I created, but also those that were perfectly shot in HD. Not sure if this is applicable to you, but I know I would have been much better off had I not pain shopped with these images.

My wife like yours snapped and we actually looked into it being a manic episode as it was so out of character. She however never returned to her former self. It’s great you wife has.

We’re you able to get away from any reminders. Clothes she wore, places they did it, etc. At this point are all of your questions been answered? I’m sure it was painful to hear, but the fact she told you she orgasmed with him helps in that you probably have the full truth. Is there anything else she can do? If not, like I said, you might have to just live with it. Plenty of people here have done it.

I am the cliched husband whose wife had an affair with the electrician

Divorced

posts: 1922   ·   registered: Jan. 26th, 2016
id 8754740
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Grieving ( member #79540) posted at 8:57 PM on Saturday, September 10th, 2022

I went back and read your story. What a terrible thing you have gone through and are still going through. In many ways I agree with ButForTheGrace. Your wife seems to have felt a great deal of shame, and she seems to have genuinely worked to change her actions. But in addition to betraying you so horribly, she lied to you about it for a DECADE. She was never going to tell you these things. Her "shame spirals" may be real, but they show a level of self-absorption and a lack of empathy that is not conducive to recovery. To me it sounds like she has done many external things to return to being a good wife as you and she conceive of that, but she went over a decade without being willing to do the much harder and much more important internal work of reconstructing a self and a marriage committed to truth, honesty, equal partnership, and empathy. Her decisions and reactions across that decade prioritized herself, not you or the marriage. I think that's going to be really hard to overcome.

I say this next bit with a lot of hesitance, because you are the one who has been wronged, and that should stay at the forefront. So disregard the following if it's not helpful.

My husband and I have a similar background to you and your wife, and some of the issues in your post struck a chord. Like the two of you, we met at a very conservative college in the southeast. We got together quickly, married young, and adored each other. Like your wife, I came out of a difficult background, and I felt rescued in some ways by my husband. Due to various factors in our backgrounds, it took us a while to find our sexual groove, but when we found it, it was fantastic. Our stories diverge here--I never cheated on my husband or came remotely close to it; he had a pretty standard midlife crisis affair in a time of stress and change.

His lying did the most damage to our marriage and to my psyche, but I definitely felt, and still feel, the visceral pain of the sexual betrayal. The explicit body fluid talk that many betrayed spouses (mostly male) engage in here doesn't really resonate with my experience, but I emotionally experienced--and still experience--his betrayal as sexual abuse. I understand the poster above who said it felt like rape. I was, and still am at times, prostrated with pain about it. There are acts I cannot do with him anymore because it's mentally too hard for me.

But from your post I sense that your experience might be shaped by harmful views of sexuality that permeate conservative evangelical environments (not to mention broader issues of sexism in our society). Even the most well-meaning, psychologically healthy people in the conservative Christian circles I grew up in seem to absorb the sense that a husband owns his wife's sexuality, and that a woman's worth as a human being is tied to her sexual virtue and fulfillment of prescribed roles as wife and mother. You seem to have a lot wrapped up in a conception of her as a sweet, gentle, adoring pastor's wife and mother.

I see a lot of completely justified and understandable hurt and anger in your post. But I also think your hurt might be exacerbated by ego and control issues that you may have to let go if reconciliation is in the cards. CT's post seems wise and relevant--there is ego wrapped up in that gut question of "how could he/she do this to ME?" Maybe moreso for men, because sexist strains in our society make sexual infidelity a bigger ego blow to many men than it is to many women.

All of this is hard. I'm so sorry. Take care of yourself, keep being honest with yourself, and also continue taking a hard, honest look at your wife. My rabbit trail aside, there's a lot of dissonance between the facts you relay about your situation and your stock positive descriptions of your wife and her role in your life. What's that all about? I suspect your psyche won't rest until you figure it out.

[This message edited by Grieving at 11:08 PM, Saturday, September 10th]

Married for 20 years with two kids when my husband had a six month affair with a coworker. DD1: 6/2020. DD2: 7/3/2020. Reconciling

posts: 230   ·   registered: Oct. 30th, 2021
id 8754744
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Trdd ( member #65989) posted at 10:03 PM on Saturday, September 10th, 2022

You are slightly less than a year and a half out from Dday 2 where you learned the truth. Healing takes longer than that, unfortunately. And you have a lot to heal from.

The intensity of the sex, the decade of her gaslighting you, inviting her second affair into your family life (even vacations) and on top of all that, she badmouthed you to both men.That's kind of like a wayward hall of fame list of betrayals to be honest. It's actually surprising that you seem to describe that only the sex is still hurting you. Do you really think that is accurate?

If it is, then great. But be careful not to rugsweep some of the emotion on the other ways she betrayed you. It always come back to haunt. You have a bit of the knight in shining armor in you I think; combine that with the former pastor role and it's a big temptation to not deal with this thoroughly.

I hope you get through this with time and continued work. If you find you can't, you can both forgive and divorce if it comes to that. They are not mutually exclusive.

[This message edited by Trdd at 10:05 PM, Saturday, September 10th]

posts: 642   ·   registered: Aug. 27th, 2018   ·   location: US
id 8754749
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Trdd ( member #65989) posted at 10:17 PM on Saturday, September 10th, 2022

I should have mentioned in my post above that perhaps you could view the fact she dropped the posom after him not showing up one time as a sign that the sex couldn't have been that amazing vs your own within the marriage. If it was all about the sex and it was so much better, she would have kept chasing him, right?

posts: 642   ·   registered: Aug. 27th, 2018   ·   location: US
id 8754750
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waitedwaytoolong ( member #51519) posted at 11:24 AM on Sunday, September 11th, 2022

In thinking about this, one issue that is remaining is the EA partner is still in you lives. You said it has been reduced, but for you to move forward IMO that relationship has to end completely. This guy, who together they laughed about your penis size, is probably still privy to more of the sexual details of her affair as he was involved as her counsel when this all was fresh. I can’t imagine shaking his hand and looking at him knowing he has the the knowledge of your wife’s most inmate thoughts and actions. Just him being in your life has to add to the mind movies you are experiencing.

Just to note, that your wife keeping him around you and your children is a pretty shitty thing to do. He needs to be cut off, and your wife if need be, has to explain the reason. She doesn’t seem to have seen any consequences for her affairs, but this should be one

I am the cliched husband whose wife had an affair with the electrician

Divorced

posts: 1922   ·   registered: Jan. 26th, 2016
id 8754785
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jb3199 ( member #27673) posted at 11:53 AM on Sunday, September 11th, 2022

By the way, I read your profile after posting the above. Your WW has not even remotely prosecuted post-A recovery in accordance with prudent procedure. In reality, you've rug-swept for a decade or so. Your current-day anguish is yet another sad example of what happens with rug-sweeping. Years of gnawing angst, culminated by cathartic confrontation and further devastating disclosures. I would submit that she has not been remorseful at all, despite the number of times you repeat the word "remorse" in your posts. Remorse is grounded in empathy. Empathy includes an understanding by the WW that brutal, blunt honesty by her toward you is a sign of respect and humility. She has been the opposite of this.

You may not like or agree with the above quote, but I think that it is really important that you look at this deeper. Not so much in trying to convince you to that either your view or this view is totally correct, but that there is logic in the above, and until you really accept everything that you have learned, there will always be obstacles in your way.

The bottom line is, it doesn't matter if you have had a 'model' wife for 30 years. It doesn't matter that you had a shitty wife for a year or two. What matters is you had both, and one doesn't eradicate the other. You still have a further path to acceptance than you may believe. Those 10 years of rugsweeping are not only years of non-processing, they are years of deception. Not active deception---I know she didn't get up every day with the forefront thought of deceiving you, but does that matter much in the grand scheme? Why weren't you important enough in her life for her to feel that you deserved honesty? Avoidance, or a refusal to revisit past regrets is hardly an acceptable excuse. You claim to love her deeply, which there is no doubt, but it is important to know exactly who you are loving. I can tell you, from the outside, it looks like you are still protecting her.....something very common among us. Primal. Visceral. You understand. But you need to stop doing this if you are going to process exactly what she has done. And if she was the least bit remorseful as you claim, she would be doing this already. You wouldn't have had to find new revelations. It matters very little, in my opinion, that she was forthcoming ONCE DISCOVERED. You shouldn't have had to discover ANY new information....yet alone bombshells.

But here you are. You have to take everything that has been learned, UP TO TODAY, and work on processing through it. A lot of that is going to have to be introspection. WHY did I need to 'protect' my wife from her wrongdoings 10 years ago? WHY did critical situations arise in the last 10 years, for me to only ask basic questions to hopefully satisfy my uncertainties? WHY would they arise again and again? WHY DID I ALLOW MYSELF to not seek the full truth? Maybe when you have satisfactory answers to these questions, some internal dialogs may change.

BH-50s
WW-50s
2 boys
Married almost 30yrs.

All work and no play has just cost me my wife--Gary Puckett
D-Day(s): Enough
Accepting that I can/may end this marriage 7/2/14

posts: 4078   ·   registered: Feb. 21st, 2010   ·   location: northeast
id 8754786
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irwinr89 ( member #42457) posted at 2:03 PM on Sunday, September 11th, 2022

if the sexual betrayal didnt disgust you as much as it does, then I would be wondering whats wrong with you :)
its totally normal and even worse for a man because we have this biological paternal uncertainty from millions of years of evolution, the fear of raising a child thats not ours...so when our wives sleep with another man, it triggers a very primal and strong set of mental gymnastics to protect us. So again, what you feel is totally normal, you are only human.

I also think you are hyper-sensationalizing the sex act a bit much, the whole thing about his penis, and semen, and kids birth etc, etc..for me it helped me realize I dont own her body, she can feel free to do with her body as she wants and I could have zero say on it, its only up to me what actions I can take as a result of her flawed decisions, but her body is hers to stick and smear whatever she wants on it....
I dont know your situation, while for me her PA was also visceral and insulting, I got over it quickly....I have had like 3-4 times the number of sexual partners that she did before marriage, and I did all kinds of crazy sexual stuff, one-night stands, threesomes, sex parties, etc etc (all before marriage) so for me the sexual part was desensitized quiet a bit....

In the end the sex is visceral and upsetting because its supposed to feel that way when betrayed, you can rightfully decide is unacceptable and move one, or you can find ways to cope with it and realize that you need to mourn that part of your marriage and try to move on

posts: 71   ·   registered: Feb. 14th, 2014   ·   location: Miami
id 8754800
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