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Newest Member: Time2go

Wayward Side :
Cyber Affair

Topic is Sleeping.
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 Avi8or (original poster new member #82971) posted at 10:17 PM on Monday, February 27th, 2023

Hi, I am new here and looking for advice, comfort, anything. I’m really struggling. About 8 months ago, I engaged in an online/cyber affair with a remote co-worked I’ve never met. After it went way too far (photos, sexting, sharing feelings, etc), I told my AP what we were doing was wrong and I loved my husband. I also confessed to my husband what happened about a month after I ended all contact with the AP.

He was extremely hurt, but wanted to rebuild together. Things have been great, and we now even have our first child on the way. We share feelings more and spend a lot more time together. I feel like I help manage triggers and give him space to share his emotions. However, I can’t seem to even begin to forgive myself or move on. I feel like I’m living in constant doom from my mistake. I feel like I’m unworthy of my husbands love, and that I don’t deserve a good life with him.

Looking back after a bit of therapy, I realized my AP was a predator. He is 25 years older than me and kept roping me back in, even after I told him multiple times I felt uncomfortable. He encouraged my behavior by telling me I was just having fun and sharing a deep friendship or connection, and that life was too short, blah blah blah. There was a lot of love bombing going on it pulled me in. I’m angry with myself for being so naive. He’s also married and I feel horrible for being "the other woman". I feel terrible for his wife!

I don’t want to use any of this as an excuse for my behavior, but I’m so angry I let myself give into this. I feel like my marriage was darn near perfect before all of this happened. Now I want to die out of shame, guilt, embarrassment and seeing the hurt I caused my husband. I’m also worried my AP became a bit obsessed and might be stalking me. I blocked him on every form of social media and left my job (even though he’d also left the job a week prior). Before my last day, he’d gone out of his way to email my work email saying happy birthday. It really made me uneasy, since I told him I didn’t want to talk to him anymore. It’s been silence for 8 months until this past week, I saw he searched for me on LinkedIn. For some reason this sent me into a huge spiral again. It feels like I’m starting over with recovery and I’m also really scared he’s going to find me in person or find a way to contact me.

I can’t afford any further therapy, although I know I need it. I just feel so helpless and that nothing will ever be okay again. I love my husband and I want things to work, but how do I ever feel worthy of such an amazing spouse after I betrayed them? I feel like posting on here might help me a bit in the meantime.

posts: 1   ·   registered: Feb. 27th, 2023
id 8779677
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DaddyDom ( member #56960) posted at 1:02 AM on Tuesday, February 28th, 2023

Avi8or,

There is an old joke. A man walks into the doctor's office and says, "Hey Doc, it hurts when I do 'this'...". The doctor replies, "So don't do that".

It is easy, and common, to get stuck in a place of self-loathing after infidelity. And that's a good thing, to a point. Honest self-reflection can be a great catalyst for change. The problem comes in when we start to identify as the worthless, horrible people that we feel like. As horrible as it may feel, the guilt and shame of infidelity can become like a blanket to a WS. If we just label ourselves as "bad people" and then live up to that definition, then there is no need for actual self-reflection, change and growth. Living in shame puts the focus back on ourselves, and allows us to keep putting ourselves before others. Shame and guilt do nothing to help or heal the people we hurt, they only hurt ourselves. In order to heal ourselves, and in so doing, open the door to others to heal as well, we must stop living in shame and guilt, and do something to restore our own self-respect instead. We cannot love others unless we love ourselves first. A tall order, I know. But it can be done.

You got to the point of feeling this way by doing things that made you feel shitty about yourself. You lied. You deceived. You betrayed. You broke a vow. The one person whose back you were supposed to protect, you instead stuck a knife into. We all did. And figuring out how we got ourselves to that point is paramount. It's good you've been working with a therapist. Once we understand WHY (and I don't mean the excuses we told ourselves, but the REAL reasons that we debased ourselves) we cheated, then we can take steps to change in order to be safer partners in the future.

The way you start to pull yourself out of the mire is to start doing things that make you feel good about yourself. You start small. Do something "nice" every day. It can be as small as opening the door for someone. Compliment someone. Let them go ahead of you in line. Offer to help with a task. Donate. Call a relative no one else calls often. What you do matters less than the fact that you do something every day that is unselfish, and that makes you feel good about yourself. After a while, you'll notice yourself doing lots of things that you can look back on and feel good about. And that feeling is addictive. As a bonus, when you are no longer walking around all day worried about your own pain and struggles, that opens you up to being empathetic to others instead. You will find yourself creating honest connections with others, rather than the "love me please!" relationships that got us into trouble.

Take the doctor's advice. Stop doing that. Do something else instead.

Keep coming back. You can do this.

Me: WS
BS: ISurvivedSoFar
D-Day Nov '16
Status: Reconciling
"I am floored by the amount of grace and love she has shown me in choosing to stay and fight for our marriage. I took everything from her, and yet she chose to forgive me."

posts: 1434   ·   registered: Jan. 18th, 2017
id 8779700
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SkipThumelue ( member #82934) posted at 12:38 PM on Tuesday, February 28th, 2023

Avi8or,

I just want to reinforce what DaddyDom said. I was stuck in the shame and guilt cycle to lessening degrees for about 3 years after DDay. It hindered our R because I used it as a shield for my real feelings and thoughts and to steer the conversation away from my A's. Don't be me! Keep at it with your therapist if at all possible (I'm still with mine after 4.5 years) and keep moving forward in your own healing to become a better person and partner for your BH. Those little acts of kindness start adding up in a big way.

And you may not see a way to do it right now (or you may feel like you don't deserve it) but try to be kind to yourself too. It's not selfish to be kind to yourself. It took me a while to learn that but it was a big breakthrough for my ongoing healing.

Wishing you the best. The hard work is very much worth it. Keep going!

WH

DD: 5/2019

Reconciling and extremely grateful.

I do not accept PMs.

"The truth is like a lion. You don't have to defend it. Let it loose. It will defend itself." - St. Augustine

posts: 129   ·   registered: Feb. 24th, 2023
id 8779759
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Bor9455 ( member #72628) posted at 4:49 PM on Wednesday, March 8th, 2023

I love my husband and I want things to work, but how do I ever feel worthy of such an amazing spouse after I betrayed them?

You cannot go back in time and undo the affair. Your affair deeply wounded your husband and the relationship that you had. But if you want to know how you can feel worthy, that is a difficult one. A suggestion I have is to show him your love. Find a way to show him your love and appreciation for the gift he is offering you. If therapy is not financially an option today, try to find as many resources as you can like SI that help you find the root cause of why you cheated. Commit to becoming a better version of yourself so that you can be a better wife. In fact, I would say that one of the ways people justify affairs to themselves it that they feel they don't stack up to their spouse's expectation or what they think their spouse deserves.

What is the work that you have done to become a safer and more stable partner? I found that for myself, as I went through that journey, I gained a lot of distance between the me in the moment versus the me who had the affair. Through that, I began to see myself as not that same old guy anymore as I had changed my thought patterns, established new ways of interacting with people, including a reset of boundaries. Only then, was I able to forgive myself for what I had one, because I realized that I was not going to do it again.

Myself - BH & WH - Born 1985 Her - BW & WW - Born 1986

D-Day for WW's EA - October 2017D-Day no it turned PA - February 01, 2020

posts: 663   ·   registered: Jan. 21st, 2020   ·   location: Miami
id 8781276
Topic is Sleeping.
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