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Just Found Out :
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 Orchids8373 (original poster new member #85011) posted at 3:49 PM on Tuesday, July 2nd, 2024

I just found out my husband has been unfaithful in our relationship. He'd done it numerous times during a very dark period of our relationship but admitted it's something he has felt compulsion to do other times in his life. During that time we were not good together, he was in a dark spot mentally and cruel. I suffered through it and we had grown a lot since then. Finding out that my suspicions and paranoia that he blasted me about then were actually true hurts a lot.

I told him I forgive him the day he told me and I thought I was fine but each passing day has gotten worse and worse. He's still my best friend but the loving partner piece is numb and cold. Affection and intimacy are difficult and remind me how empty I feel. I don't know if it'll ever heal...

I feel a little trapped in my thoughts and emotions. I asked for space to deal and he's smothering me and bringing up whether and when we're going to have kids! I'm like I don't even know if I want to be here let alone have children ever. It's so frustrating. I don't know what I want and as of right now I'm afraid I'm staying for the wrong reasons (my dogs, financial security, etc). I don't want to make a move anytime soon, I hope that this process will continue to change and maybe I will feel better over time. Any advice? Ideas of how this may go? I know everyone is different and the situation is more complex but I can't explain a 10 year relationship in a short post.

posts: 5   ·   registered: Jul. 2nd, 2024
id 8841338
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HellIsNotHalfFull ( member #83534) posted at 5:21 PM on Tuesday, July 2nd, 2024

I’m sorry you had to find this forum, but it’s good that you did. You’re in the initial shock phase. Everything is going to be so raw and fresh, a roller coaster of ups and the lowest possible you have ever felt.

Many others will come and give you some of the best advice, as people who have been standing where you are.

I want to highlight two things. You may not be in a place where you can hear this, but remember you didn’t do anything to cause him to cheat. Nothing about the relationship or you or anything caused him to be unfaithful. That is all on him. His choice, his lack of integrity and character, his selfishness, all of it.

Second, as someone who did something similar to you, reconsider your offering of forgiveness. It’s too soon to offer true forgiveness/acceptance and that’s ok. A book that I recommend is called "How Can I Forgive You", it goes into great depth about what it means to forgive, and more importantly how you don’t have to, ever.

Right now, it’s best to not worry about your relationship, because you don’t have one anymore. He cheated, it’s basically a secret divorce that you didn’t know about. Don’t worry about trusting him (just don’t at all, not even close), or being intimate or affectionate or anything. Worry only about yourself and healing.

Don’t trust his words, only trust actions you can see.

It’s ok to feel all over the place. Focus on you and healing, don’t worry about Reconciling or Divorce. You don’t have to make any decisions about that now

Me mid 40s BH
Her 40s STBX WW
3 year EA 1 year PA.
DDAY 1 Feb 2022. DDAY 2 Jun 2022. DDAY 3/4/5/6/7 July 2024
Nothing but abuse and lies and abuse false R for three years. Divorcing and never looking back.

posts: 503   ·   registered: Jun. 26th, 2023   ·   location: U.S.
id 8841352
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 Orchids8373 (original poster new member #85011) posted at 8:29 PM on Tuesday, July 2nd, 2024

Thank you for your message. I look at things a little differently. I definitely know it was nothing to do with me, that's not a problem for me. I also believe in forgiveness always not for them but for my own peace, accepting as is so I can let go. That's a personal philosophy though...

We had a talk today and I think we are at an understanding that space is needed. He even left to his parents because he knows he will struggle to not hover. He is trying.

We've been through so much and I put up with a lot (as did he to be fair)... We worked so hard to help each other become better people and I just really feel like it was for nothing now. I'm definitely going to take time with this because I don't think a hasty decision is the best option. But, this empty feeling is awful. What once was comforting, warm loving hugs now feels empty and cold and honestly makes me cringe and tense. And on top of that unpleasant feeling itself is my hatred of feeling that way towards someone I loved.

We always prided on being a good team... Yet again in my life I'm alone in the dark.

posts: 5   ·   registered: Jul. 2nd, 2024
id 8841364
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BreakingBad ( member #75779) posted at 9:45 PM on Tuesday, July 2nd, 2024

I'm so sorry that you needed to find us, Orchids. This is a community with a wealth of experience, however.

I also told husband early on that I forgave him. What I meant by that was that I understood his very messed-up "whys" and understood that he was weak and imperfect. Months later I struggled again with the idea of forgiveness, because I was finally truly processing the reality that it all actually happened, and I kept wishing that I could travel back in time and it would all magically not happen. So, I had to accept that it DID happen and could NEVER BE CHANGED.

Then, I had to decide if I could ever even try to continue to be with someone capable of such selfish and destructive behavior...even at his lowest and weakest point in life. Could I stay with someone who would hurt me to help himself?

Ultimately, I still say I forgive him, and I go back to my own original definition of forgiveness when I say that: I understand his "whys" and I acknowledge his flawed humanity. To me, that understanding is forgiveness.

Yet, I would still say I forgive him if I divorced him.

My forgiveness does not equate with my decision to stay or not stay in this marriage. That decision is about me and my own ability to be happy and fulfilled by this relationship now. Each day, I can chose--or not choose--to stay in this relationship.

So, my advice to you is to focus on your own healing first. Seek solid individual counseling from someone trained in betrayal trauma.

The relationship is broken. He is broken. And he must do the work to heal himself and do most of the heavy lifting to heal the relationship--if you even choose to gift him with that opportunity.

It is totally normal that you are struggling with trust and both emotional and physical intimacy. Betrayal creates huge trauma.

You are likely still in the shock phase. So, focus on self care.

(((Hugs to you, Orchids)))

[This message edited by BreakingBad at 9:48 PM, Tuesday, July 2nd]

"...lately it's not hurtin' like it did before. Maybe I am learning how to love me more."[Credit to Sam Smith]

posts: 510   ·   registered: Oct. 31st, 2020
id 8841373
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leafields ( Guide #63517) posted at 10:12 PM on Tuesday, July 2nd, 2024

Welcome to SI and sorry for the reason you had to find us. There are some pinned posts at the top of the forum that we encourage new members to read. Also, there are some with bull's eye icons that I'll bump so they're closer to the top of the page. The Healing Library is a great resource and has the list of acronyms we use.

Please see a doctor to get tested for STDs/STIs as there are some nasty things out there that can turn to cancer. If you're having problems sleeping or with depression or anxiety, please ask for meds. I needed to be on some for a little over a year to get over this first hump.

If you can, IC (individual counseling) with a betrayal trauma specialist can be very helpful. Bonus if they work with infidelity, too.

He should read How to Help Your Spouse Heal From Your Affair by Linda MacDonald and Not Just Friends by Dr. Shirley Glass. HTHYSPFYA is just over 100 pages and is a good blue print.

I'm glad he has given you some space to think. If he hadn't, I would have pointed that out as a bad sign that he's not listening to you and what you need. My other concerns are that he has done this before and that he has a compulsion to do this. He has a lot of work to do to become a safe partner.

Right now, concentrate on you and your healing. The rough estimate is that it takes 2-5 years (at least) to heal. This is a journey and not a sprint, so take the time you need to come to the decision that is right for you.

BW M 34years, Dday 1: March 2018, Dday 2: August 2019, D final 2/25/21

posts: 3584   ·   registered: Apr. 21st, 2018   ·   location: Washington State
id 8841377
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annb ( member #22386) posted at 11:52 PM on Tuesday, July 2nd, 2024

Gently, are you saying your husband has had numerous affairs during your relationship or cheated with the same individual numerous times.

Whatever you do, please please do not bring a child into this relationship. Your marriage is not stable and maybe never will be.

I'm also in the camp of offering forgiveness too soon. The individual who should have had your back stabbed it repeatedly.

You just boarded the emotional roller coaster from hell, not sure exactly when you found out, but it's going to be a long, bumpy ride to get off. You probably will be depressed, sad, angry and possibly full of rage. It's all normal. The reality of what he has done is sinking in and that's why you are feeling worse and questioning everything.

Please find a good IC for yourself and get tested for STDs Perhaps some temporary medications to help you sleep or cope.

Post as often as you need to. Check out the Healing Library, chock full of great articles.

posts: 12181   ·   registered: Jan. 10th, 2009   ·   location: Northeast
id 8841389
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 Orchids8373 (original poster new member #85011) posted at 2:39 PM on Wednesday, July 3rd, 2024

Hello all! I appreciate all your words, they are helpful and comforting. I have to say I'm sorry to you all having to be here as well.

We had a big talk yesterday and he was much more respectful of my need for space and we cleared a bit of the thoughts and feelings I am having.

To answer the question to what I'm comfortable it was multiple people, never full sex. He told me a week ago after going through a bad stage mentally.

I feel better today but I do know this is going to be a long process of ups and downs. Luckily I am able to get in early and will be seeing my therapist today. I've grown a lot mentally over the past year with therapy. In a way I'm glad I didn't find out til now, earlier versions of me wouldn't have been able to handle this. Me now hurts but I feel like I can sit with the emotions well and not afraid to come here or to therapy to seek help and not be alone like I've done with other issues.

Thank you all so far and those I'm sure will post further.

posts: 5   ·   registered: Jul. 2nd, 2024
id 8841418
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annb ( member #22386) posted at 7:28 PM on Wednesday, July 3rd, 2024

it was multiple people, never full sex.

^^^Again, gently, how do you know it was never full sex.

So many of us here were told that same line only to find out there was much, much more to the story.

Keep in mind cheaters lie, all of them, they minimize to make their actions not seem so bad.

I'm not trying to harp on you, I just want you to understand the nature of the beast of infidelity. Cheaters lie, manipulate, gaslight, minimize, pretty much all of them. Rarely do they ever tell the entire truth. Just a word of caution so you are not blindsided again. sad

posts: 12181   ·   registered: Jan. 10th, 2009   ·   location: Northeast
id 8841432
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standinghere ( member #34689) posted at 7:00 PM on Thursday, July 4th, 2024

I don't have a lot to add to what has already been said, I would emphasize the comments that BreakingBad made, forgiveness does not mean you stay together.

Forgiveness also does not mean that you forget and everybody acts like it never happened.

Unfortunately, some people expect that once you have forgiven them that you will act like nothing has happened in the past, and they fall back into their old behaviors, noncommunication, etc., and the relationship goes back to those "dark times".

My wife worked really hard in counseling, for years, but she still tends to lapse back into not communicating, not talking, and some old behaviors resurface. Those behaviors are really hardwired in, and you have to think very carefully about your behavior and actively work to behave differently.

I realize I'm not saying this very well, but it's just extraordinarily difficult to communicate the amount of change that someone has to make in order to become a trustworthy partner after they have betrayed someone in this manner. As many others have said, it's not the sex, it's the lies, the deception, the gaslighting. My wife's lying went far beyond her affair.

Take this one day at a time, make no commitments that you are not absolutely certain you want to keep, and don't decide to have children just now as a dysfunctional response to all of this. Having children does not make dealing with the infidelity easier. It does make everything harder to deal with, and the consequences much worse and far ranging.

Yes, I would also emphasize that you almost never get the real truth at first, for even if you get the truth, you there are a lot of things that are not disclosed. My wife insisted that this guy was "just friends", insisted she was not cheating on me, screamed at me over it, I mean, really, how could I be suspicious of her the mother of our four children. Even after she confessed to having sex with him, she made up an entire false history of their sexual behavior and encounters. Told the story to her counselor, told it to our marital counselor, and of course told it to me, even though it didn't make sense to me and didn't fit, the circumstances at the time. When she finally confessed completely, the story was extraordinarily different.

Yet the same person sat in a marital counselor's office, for months, week after week, and accused me of not believing her, of not being able to handle the truth. All while insisting that she had told us everything.

[This message edited by standinghere at 7:09 PM, Thursday, July 4th]

FBH - Me - Betrayal in late 30's (now much older)
FWS - Her - Affair in late 30's (now much older )
4 Children
Her - Love of my life...still is.
Reconciled BUT!

posts: 1656   ·   registered: Jan. 31st, 2012   ·   location: USA
id 8841500
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Bigger ( Attaché #8354) posted at 1:02 PM on Friday, July 5th, 2024

The more info we get the better our advice.

Like the "never sex": How do you define sex? Like was this purely emotional or did they make out, hold hands, mutually masturbate, online sex...
How did you get the "never sex" statement. I can share that I caught my then-fiance with the OM in active sex and yet she insisted it wasn’t "really" sex. If the wayward spouses of the world are to be believed, there is NEVER sex...
Multiple people is not gender specific: Was this with men and women?

The "good" think about plain old physical infidelity is that it’s so clear... Being caught with your privates in contact with someone else’s privates leaves little room for doubt. Unfortunately for many the line tends to get vaguer the further it moves from direct genital-to-genital interaction... We have had posters that claim it was non-sexual because it was only oral, or only on web-cams or whatever. When it reaches the realm of non-direct-sexual and emotional the definitions become even blurrier.

If this was an all-gender, purely emotional and no sexual context thing the advice would probably lean towards heavy IC for him, PTSD IC for you and after a month or two some intense couples therapy to define the expectations and borders of the marriage.
If this was purely emotional then Not Just Friends by Dr. Shirley Glass.

No matter what, realize and embrace that you are not committed to remain in this marriage. If he wants to change, it will be because he wants to change, and he fully realized that the cost of his actions outweigh whatever benefit him.

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

posts: 12484   ·   registered: Sep. 29th, 2005
id 8841543
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OlderandSometimesWiser ( new member #85018) posted at 5:05 PM on Friday, July 5th, 2024

Apologies, I am very blunt. Experience has knocked the politeness out of me a tad.

Orchids8373, advice on how this may go? Well that's up to you.

You can keep trying to pull apart the whys/how and stay unhappy or you can realise you truly deserve better than you have.

I can see you are relieved in just having a day of peace, that's all it sounds like your husband can offer you. And I bet you had to fight hard for it :(

I get you are scared and finding reasons to stay, but no decision should be based in fear. Stay because there is light at the end of the tunnel, stay because he has changed.

Please don't stay because you have lived in the dark so long, that you have forgotten your light!

Hope can keep you trapped, turn that into hope for a happiness... for you, because you deserve it

posts: 1   ·   registered: Jul. 5th, 2024
id 8841636
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Cooley2here ( member #62939) posted at 1:54 PM on Saturday, July 6th, 2024

You can call his behavior an addiction, or a compulsion. You have to accept this is who he is and what he does. If he wants to change his behaviors he will need extensive therapy with no guarantee that he can. We all have choices. We often have to fight ourselves to make those changes. He told you he has had these urges for years. This is who he is and what he does.

You too have choices. One of them is to be tested for every scary STD out there. Every time you have sex with him you are "having" sex with everyone he has.

You need IC to help you make healthy decisions.

You probably need some temp meds to help with the anxiety and depression that often show up when you confront the reality of your marriage.

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

posts: 4277   ·   registered: Mar. 5th, 2018   ·   location: US
id 8841712
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 Orchids8373 (original poster new member #85011) posted at 2:48 AM on Monday, July 8th, 2024

I appreciate all of your input. I understand he may/probably still hides and lies. I am just relaying what I have been told because adding assumptions to the narrative I don't know doesn't help. He says it was handjobs only so I'm taking that at face value because I don't know.

I'm taking this a day at a time to be sure my response is not just emotionally driven, that I weigh out my wants and needs. I didn't expect to be here after almost ten years. I don't know how to get my thoughts together some days to even know where to begin on unraveling how I feel. Luckily I have my therapist for that.

I guess I came here to feel understood, to hear others who experienced these things and see if your words could help me understand my own feelings a little better, which it has. It's less about giving every detail to the Internet and more of healing with the thought I'm not alone and hearing how others cope.

Thank you again for giving me your time and words.

posts: 5   ·   registered: Jul. 2nd, 2024
id 8841806
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leafields ( Guide #63517) posted at 4:30 AM on Monday, July 8th, 2024

I'm glad you have a good therapist. That is so helpful.

I don't know how to get my thoughts together some days to even know where to begin on unraveling how I feel.

That is normal...well, as normal as it can be in this abnormal situation. That's what I called my trauma brain. I also had a lot of difficulty concentrating, which is really bad for my job duties. What helped my thought spirals was working with my therapist on mindfulness and picking up meditation. I have access to Headspace and did their 30-day How To course to learn daily meditation. It was so helpful in being able to take a cleansing breath and bring my thoughts back to here and now.

My therapist and I also went through The Grief Recovery Handbook, which has a different definition for forgiveness than I do. For me, their definition of forgiveness aligns more with my definition of acceptance. I have to say that going through the exercises in the workbook were helpful in getting to acceptance.

Please keep posting. You'll see different responses, and one of our sayings is to take what you need and leave the rest.

BW M 34years, Dday 1: March 2018, Dday 2: August 2019, D final 2/25/21

posts: 3584   ·   registered: Apr. 21st, 2018   ·   location: Washington State
id 8841809
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 Orchids8373 (original poster new member #85011) posted at 4:49 PM on Monday, July 8th, 2024

I have loved mindfulness and meditation for a long time, though I don't practice as much as I should. I will definitely keep working on therapy and my own needs (which I rarely do, honestly). Reading and talking with others is a tremendous help.

I'm processing more than just this incident I'm finding, so it gets overwhelming at times. Things I forgot, things I ignored, things I never truly forgave but pretended to, past family trauma, etc. The more time I sit with it the more I find... I almost feel bad for being the ignorant one and letting things carry on as they did. I don't blame myself for what he did, but I do take responsibility for my heartache slightly because I chose to ignore behaviors that my more healed self now would never tolerate. I was young, naive, weaker, and had low standards on what love was supposed to look like. I have hurts and still unraveling my decisions and all, but I'm also finding a lot of strength in myself to start saying "fuck you, I deserve better" or "that's not ok" which is new for me.... I like this me, even if I feel a little sad that my reality was fantasized a bit. It's definitely one day at a time process...

posts: 5   ·   registered: Jul. 2nd, 2024
id 8841856
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