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Newest Member: May28

Wayward Side :
Partner found out last week. Guilt eating me alive.

Topic is Sleeping.
stop

 redwoodforest (original poster new member #83671) posted at 2:51 PM on Monday, July 31st, 2023

I messaged men behind my partners back for well over a year and he found out 6/26. I did this because I have a lot of issues with sex and at first I thought I was protecting him from them, then it became obsessive.

I do love my partner. So much. He is so wonderful and special and I can't live with myself for how much I hurt him.

It's only been a bit but I am trying. I told my therapist everything. I'm reading everything I can about the topic. I'm trying everything I can do to comfort him without overstepping boundaries.

How do you live with the guilt? It's crushing. I can't get away from it. I can't eat and I keep having nightmares. Does it ever get better? I regret it so much and then I remember I can never take it back and I'm worried I'm going to be on my death bed and all I'm going to be able to think about is how I hurt the person I love. I know it's not about me right now but I need to be able to manage this guilt to focus on my partner better.

Please no private messages.

posts: 25   ·   registered: Jul. 31st, 2023
id 8801670
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Bor9455 ( member #72628) posted at 6:44 PM on Monday, July 31st, 2023

I do love my partner. So much. He is so wonderful and special and I can't live with myself for how much I hurt him.

Love is action verb, not a feeling. Carrying on emotional affairs (EAs) behind your partner's back is not a loving action towards him and you are right to acknowledge that it did hurt him tremendously.


It's only been a bit but I am trying. I told my therapist everything. I'm reading everything I can about the topic. I'm trying everything I can do to comfort him without overstepping boundaries.

What have you done since discovery? Have you handed your partner all of your account credentials so that he can see all of the back and forth? Have you sat down and written out a timeline of your affairs?


How do you live with the guilt? It's crushing. I can't get away from it. I can't eat and I keep having nightmares. Does it ever get better? I regret it so much and then I remember I can never take it back and I'm worried I'm going to be on my death bed and all I'm going to be able to think about is how I hurt the person I love. I know it's not about me right now but I need to be able to manage this guilt to focus on my partner better.

You have to work on fixing your own shit, but you also are going to have to at some point become the partner who crawls over broken glass and moves heaven and earth to fix your relationship. There are a couple of books that we tend to recommend for folks that I personally found to be eye opening and informative. You can find copies of them at libraries or they are relatively cheap to pick up at an online bookstore. Just checked today and one of them has a free audiobook trial for Audible if that is your thing.

1. How to Help Your Spouse Heal From Your Affair: A Compact Manual for the Unfaithful by Linda J. MacDonald (Author)

2. Not 'Just Friends': Rebuilding Trust and Recovering Your Sanity After Infidelity by Shirley P. Glass Ph.D

These are a good starting point for you to start self-assessing your own behaviors and starting to understand just how profoundly deep your actions cut your partner. You've taken a good first step in coming here. The folks here on SI will meet you where you are and do their darndest to help you if you come to help yourself.

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: 666   ·   registered: Jan. 21st, 2020   ·   location: Miami
id 8801707
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 redwoodforest (original poster new member #83671) posted at 7:00 PM on Monday, July 31st, 2023

Thank you for your response, I appreciate the honesty. I am checking out the books tonight. I have given my partner access to my phone and he has looked through everything, he knows he can whenever now. I will write a timeline and tell him whenever he's ready to talk about it we can.

Again thanks for your honesty, I don't want to be coddled because I know I messed up just about as bad as a person can. I want to try to take this guilt and make something out of it.

Please no private messages.

posts: 25   ·   registered: Jul. 31st, 2023
id 8801711
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Bor9455 ( member #72628) posted at 9:43 PM on Monday, July 31st, 2023

Again thanks for your honesty, I don't want to be coddled because I know I messed up just about as bad as a person can. I want to try to take this guilt and make something out of it.

Well, to be fair, you have a stop sign, which you are more than welcome to have as a new wayward poster, but if you remove the stop sign, that means that both BS and WS can reply to your post. Right now, with a stop sign, only fellow waywards can post replies to you and if that is what you want for now, that is perfectly fine, SI will meet people where they are and help them in whatever direction they ask for support.

I think that reading the books is a good start and I recommend the How To Help book first as it is a pretty short read and really helped me to remove my head from my ass.

What as your partner's response been to all of this? How is he doing with all these revelations? Has he talked about long term what this does to your relationship i.e. reconciliation or more of a divorce/separation/things are through? It is okay that at this early stage he still doesn't know what he wants to do and he more than likely is going to be watching your actions to see what you are gonna do. You could encourage him to post here in the JFO or General forums and the folks here can also help him and guide him. What is clear is that if there is to be any chance at reconciliation, both of you will need therapy for different reasons to deal with this trauma.

One thing to keep in mind is that before you betrayed him with your actions, you first betrayed yourself. The saying "hurt people, hurt people" is never truer than in an infidelity situation. By betraying yourself and your stated values of fidelity to a partner/spouse, you betrayed yourself once you started engaging in your first EA and that betrayal hurt you, causing some trauma. However, as is usually the case, there was something in your life previously that was trauma that you were not able to properly deal with. You will need to do a lot of work in therapy with someone who will not coddle you and hold your feet to the fire. The fundamental question will have to be able to answer in order to be a safe partner is "why?" Only once you understand your whys can you begin to put in place effective boundaries to avoid it happening again.

For example, from your initial post, you mentioned that you have a lot of issues with sex, you will need to work with your therapist on those issues and if both parties are willing, down the road you can work on them/through them with your partner. If you don't mind sharing, what type of issues have you had? If you are not comfortable sharing, I am not prying, just simply encouraging you to share if you feel comfortable. Believe me, this group here as seen and heard it all so there is nothing you are gonna tell us that will shock our senses. Again, you are under no obligation to share, but I will say this in my years of being here, the more you give, usually the more you get back in advice. With SI at your fingertips you have the hard fought advice from thousands of folks like yourself who's lives have been impacted by infidelity, and in my eyes/opinion, one is a fool not to use this resource to it's fullest extent possible.

Best of luck and hope you keep posting. Like I said in my first response to you, just by coming here to post takes courage which is something you should be proud of.

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: 666   ·   registered: Jan. 21st, 2020   ·   location: Miami
id 8801729
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SkipThumelue ( member #82934) posted at 7:39 PM on Tuesday, August 1st, 2023

Welcome to SI. We waywards have done plenty of damage to our spouses, families, and ourselves, but there are many good people here to help in the healing process. This reminds me of my experience in 12-step rooms: Every post is helpful in some way. Everyone who shares aids in my recovery and I try to do the same for them in my replies.

How long have you been in therapy? I was already in IC nearly 6 months when DDay happened and I was also just starting to lurk here. My BW and I have now entered year 5 of R and I credit SI with part of my progress in becoming a safe spouse.

There's a saying here: Take what you need and leave the rest. Folks here mean well, even when it seems like they're hitting you with 2x4s. Not everything will apply to your situation and the stuff that does will stand out. But, you are not unique either. Us waywards tend to follow The Playbook or script almost line for line. There was nothing special about our As and there's really nothing the folks here haven't heard/read before.

Bor9455 has given you some great food for thought. Please stick around and keep posting. We're here and listening.

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 8801821
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 redwoodforest (original poster new member #83671) posted at 10:29 PM on Tuesday, August 1st, 2023

My partner is okay. Not well at all emotionally of course but he has been doing a great job at taking care of himself with a little help, all things considered. I helped him find a therapist and he's on the fence about her after one session but we will make sure he finds one that's a good fit.

I was sexually abused as a teenager and became hypersexual as a result. I sought out very unhealthy risky sex with men for years to fill a hole inside of me. I thought I would be able to manage a relationship but clearly I was not ready. I was finally diagnosed with PTSD about 4 months ago. I have been in therapy on and off about 8 years. I have never been fully honest before my last session. I always hid my sex addiction.

I am beginning to be able to swallow the guilt better these past few days. I've made sure to do more things around the house and offer any extra assistance I can so at least he can physically rest. I read the first book suggestion yesterday. I am being humbled greatly every day. I don't like to look myself in the mirror right now but by God I refuse to die the same person I am today.

I don't know if we're going to be able to make things work. For right now we're agreeing to take it one day at a time with an emphasis that I will go at any time.

Please no private messages.

posts: 25   ·   registered: Jul. 31st, 2023
id 8801854
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SkipThumelue ( member #82934) posted at 11:44 AM on Wednesday, August 2nd, 2023

I'm a CSA survivor too. My abuse came at the hands of my "godfather" when I was a pre-schooler. I learned how to keep secrets for my own survival, a way to cope with all of the awful feelings. Combine that with a rugsweeping family and it was a recipe for disaster.

However, the choices I made to cheat were just that. My choices. I planned, I schemed, I hid things, I reveled in my secret life. It was vitally important for me to understand that in IC. There are plenty of CSA survivors who never cheat, and quite a few on these boards. Realizing my responsibility was a major breakthrough in my healing.

By being honest with your therapist, you will really be able to get down deep and pull out those taproots. You will be able to find your "whys", all those self-justifications that made cheating an acceptable choice for you. You sound like you're on the right path.

I still struggle with guilt at times, but I'm in a place now where I no longer have to swallow it. My BW and I can talk about it and I've learned how to feel the feeling and move through it. It is hardly ever easy, but I no longer use it as a crutch like I did before.

I hope your partner can find a therapist that's a good fit for him. Just getting help was another major step for me. All I heard growing up was how useless therapy is. That you just have to suck it up and deal with it. I'm plenty old enough to remember watching The Bob Newhart Show on CBS on Saturday nights before Carol Burnett came on. He played a psychologist with a steady cast of clients and it was hilarious at the time to laugh at the "crazy people" who made his job difficult. There were plenty of alcoholics in my family who would laugh at "shrinks" and comment about how the therapists were even nuttier than the people they were seeing, all while guzzling another another beer or glass of whiskey. rolleyes

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 8801886
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 redwoodforest (original poster new member #83671) posted at 3:00 PM on Wednesday, August 2nd, 2023

While the abuse wasn't my fault and lead to the hypersexuality it was my choice to cheat. I am going to have to continue to work on fully internalizing that.

Again we still do not know if it's going to work but it's better than it was the first couple days. I, with his permission, reached out to everybody I could think of that cares about him and asked them to tell me why they care about him. I wrote them all down in a jar and gave them to him. I want him to have reminders that just because I did something awful doesn't mean he did anything wrong or there is anything wrong with him. He seemed to like it. He read a couple and said he's going to save the rest for when he's sad.

We've been doing daily check-ins to see how we're doing. I just finished up writing a letter detailing everything I did, everything I am sorry for, and what concrete things I am going to do going forward with an emphasis on it being ultimately his choice what to do. I am going to share with my therapist today before offering it to him.

The whole situation is awful, just absolutely awful, I don't want to minimize it especially when my partner is going through the worst by far. But it seems to be a little easier than it was those first few days. I have some hope. I know there is a long road ahead of us and me on my own but I am just grateful that he seems to be able to laugh a little again.

Please no private messages.

posts: 25   ·   registered: Jul. 31st, 2023
id 8801902
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Bor9455 ( member #72628) posted at 7:36 PM on Thursday, August 3rd, 2023

I was sexually abused as a teenager and became hypersexual as a result. I sought out very unhealthy risky sex with men for years to fill a hole inside of me. I thought I would be able to manage a relationship but clearly I was not ready. I was finally diagnosed with PTSD about 4 months ago. I have been in therapy on and off about 8 years. I have never been fully honest before my last session. I always hid my sex addiction

There is an old saying, there are three people you never lie to, your lawyer, your doctor (therapist in my eyes falls into this bucket even though they might not be a doctor per se) and your priest (spiritual advisor). I think the reasons for not lying to those folks are pretty obvious, but a truism of leadership in my career also applies here, you can only manage what you know about. A therapists value is only as good as the information that you provide. If you walk into each session as your most authentic self, open and honest, you are more likely to get value from those sessions. What you've described above is a trauma and of course, there is an adage, "hurt people, hurt people" and what you experienced as a teenager set you off down a pretty destructive path which appears to have culminated in you having an affair. However, based on your other post in this thread, it does appear that your trail of destruction may have finally hit rock bottom.

With a therapist, you could begin to start working on how you recover from your past traumas, work on trying to break old patterns of thinking and changing your internal monologue. It will take time and it will take a lot of effort. Recovery from a traumatic affair does not happen quickly nor easily, but I think SI is a monument to all the folks who were able to recover and rebuild their lives and I think you have the right attitude to do so as well.

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: 666   ·   registered: Jan. 21st, 2020   ·   location: Miami
id 8802060
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 redwoodforest (original poster new member #83671) posted at 2:29 PM on Friday, August 4th, 2023

Thanks for all the replies everyone, lots to think about. Been talking a lot to friends, my parents, my therapist. I've told basically everybody. I don't want to hide it anymore.

I need to work on controlling my emotions better. I think I'm okay and then I have a sobbing messy breakdown. Been trying to excuse myself if it happens around him, been reassuring him that I'm okay and he doesn't need to comfort me I can handle this on my own and will be okay. It's not his job to hold me while I cry about how I hurt him.

He's been an angel through this. I cannot say that enough. He's angry, he called me some names that are definitely bouncing around in my head still, he yelled. But he still tells me he loves me. He talks openly about his feelings with me.

We're on the same page that we're okay to be working through this for now and if either of us are really thinking about ending it we'll bring it up. He's also told me even though it can be weird he still does enjoying spending time with me.

I'm just anxious. Trying to ride the feelings without letting them consume me, like the guilt, but it's hard. Very anxious that my time is limited and I do not know how limited. Therapy is a godsend right now.

For how bad I'm feeling, I would've thought I would've wanted to act out sexually more but I don't even want to. I don't even want to have sex right now. It's just weird to sit with the hole sex filled. I hope I can learn to fill it with other things.

Work is okay. I started a new position about a month ago. I've let them know I'm going through something, as my work performance has been suffering. It's good to have something regularly to focus on though.

Please no private messages.

posts: 25   ·   registered: Jul. 31st, 2023
id 8803168
Topic is Sleeping.
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