I'm a lucky man. I'm a WS who was found out, and has been actively recovering with my BS from the devastation I caused in our marriage.
We're basically in a positive place, moving mostly forward, and have rekindled much of the energy and excitement in our relationship which had been eroded or lost. We have also added in new and exciting dimensions to our "us" which, due to standing at the edge of the precipice of marital failure, we were unafraid to communicate to each other. Before discovery, we had somehow gotten to a point of lethargy and distant communication. And our dreams, desires, hopes and plans for us were lost in a grind of mediocrity of our own doing. And I used that as a way to justify and rationalize my behavior - a love affair with another married woman. Since D-day my wife and I are no longer lethargic and distant. We're connected, excited, and moving forward together.
All of the "marital renaissance" my wife and I now enjoy has been possible due to my lovely wife's strong inner character, and sense of self-worth (which took quite a hit due to my affair). She's tough, talented, beautiful, and kind (I know...why would I ever cheat on such a woman?). And she chose, soon after our D-day, to not allow feelings of bitterness and anger corrode and consume her, so that WE could begin to heal TOGETHER. It was an amazing and selfless act. I'm a lucky man.
What I'm struggling with right now is this: on our D-Day, my cheating was exposed, and at the same time I also learned that my affair partner had been cheating on me. Thus I'm a Wayward Spouse, and also a Betrayed Cheater. And in the aftermath of D-day, when I learned I had been cheated on, I started two parallel tracks: 1) as a WS who wanted to work on and save his marriage. And that has happened. And 2) as a Betrayed Cheater who felt deep hurt, anger, and resentment toward my also married AP for cheating on me...and I'm struggling with letting go.
My D-day came about because of my AP's reckless and selfish behavior. I'm not resentful I had a D-day - I deserved to be caught, and I look at my D-day as one of the best days of my life. It was the day I was forced to decide if I wanted happiness with the girl of my dreams (my wife), or to tinkle it all away having projected a fantasy life onto someone completely unworthy (my AP). I've chosen my wife, and every day I feel an appreciation that she decided I was worth staying with.
My focus in this post is the lingering resentment and anger that 15 months later I still feel, and which flares up. I was cheated on. And it hurts. I've shared this hurt in an ongoing way with my wife, and while she is doing her own healing from the hurt and anger I caused her, she has also been empathetic toward the similar emotions that I'm feeling. Yes...she is truly an amazing woman. She's justified in her anger, when it does flare up (not often). And I have no real right to mine, as I was hurt as a direct result of something my deceitful and callous behavior had created.
So I'd like to share what it feels like for a cheater to be cheated on. My AP and I created a fantasy world which was infatuation, lust, friendship, and love. For close to two years we connected, and experienced a whirlwind of new relationship energy and excitement. From the moment I had rationalized and justified why cheating was okay, I poured myself into my AP...and sadly projected qualities and character onto her which I later learned were missing from her core self. Part of my shame, anger and resentment is toward myself for being so naive and blind to who she truly is as a person. One of the things about an affair is that AP's only see eachother for short moments of time, and in those moments it is easy to put your best foot forward. Both partners are buffed, flossed, attired, and excited for the secret, stolen moment that's taken so much planning and orchestrating. You can hide sad truths and realities from eachother...and no one is burping, scratching their pits, and wearing underwear that was made when Reagan was in office. Our little charade took on a life of its own, and that energy I poured into her and us has seemed to burn a groove into my psyche which is hard to ungroove. As I've told my spouse: I'm over her. I'm not over being thrown under the bus by her. Aw...poor me, right?!? This is where karmic accounting comes into play. And I deserve to feel the hurt, anger, and resentment I am feeling. The problem is closure has never come for she and I.
When her husband and my wife compared notes right after D-day, it was then I learned of her cheating on me. And my wife gave him information from me that he needed to unravel her numerous connections with other men. Thus, my AP learned that I knew what she had done. In the moments after my D-day I was feeling the full weight of the hurt and devastation I had brought into my marriage. And I was feeling the sting of betrayal from my AP. And one thing I thought I would receive, but never have, is some sort of apology from my AP for what she did to me...lied, and ultimately threw me under the bus when her husband caught her due to her other connections with men. She was and has been silent. If we had just had a physical affair, I'd understand. But in our misguided fantasy world, we had created a love affair, and I will share that not once did she receive from me anything less than my best. I respected her. I was a giving friend. I was a great lover. And she came up so short in the end. It was a gift I received when I learned of her true self. But it still hurts. And I wish I could just let go. In a moment of feeling low last week, I sent her an e-mail wondering if she was ever going to offer an apology. I also apologized for how my behaviour in our own affair affected her family, and indicated all I wanted to do was be able to forgive her. Crickets has been her non-response. I told my spouse about sending the note, and said I had to do it for me. She wasn't happy, but still, amazing woman that she is, she said if I felt it was part of my trying to reconcile my "non closure" betrayal, she accepted it. It was a sh^tty idea.
My wife and I get closure. We get ourselves, and our marriage back.
But my relationship with my affair partner is like a silent, wordless, divorce in a vaccum. Not a single word of any sort. And I somehow feel in the realm of "honor among thieves" that I deserved the consideration of an apology. It speaks to character, and if the shoe was on the other foot, I wouldn't have been able to sleep at night until I was able to tell the person I had betrayed...who KNEW I had betrayed her...I'm sorry.
I still have a long way to go. And my wife and I do, too. We aren't wearing rose colored glasses. But we are working, communicating, and committed to each other. Our continued journey to healing will be a long one.
I'm not angry and resentful that my affair is over, and that I learned some ugly truths about my AP. I'm angry and resentful that I don't rate an apology. Yup...karma is a beeyotch!
Thanks for taking a look. Any thoughts, ideas, observations would be appreciated!
[This message edited by JustDesserts at 11:15 AM, June 26th (Wednesday)]
Any thoughts, ideas, observations would be appreciated!
wow, I don't know where to start. You deserve nothing from your AP. Forget about her. Work on healing yourself for your wife. If you think you need something from your AP, you have a LOOOONNNNGGG way to go my friend.
You're not a betrayed cheater. You didn't have a honest relationship with your AP so how could you be cheated on?
Gently, your writing reveals someone with a huge ego, IMO. You wax on and on about how great it was with your AP. What you had with her was sordid and dirty.
did you tell your wife you broke NC?
I know I'm being harsh but sheesh!
"I told my spouse about sending the note, and said I had to do it for me. She wasn't happy, but still, amazing woman that she is, she said if I felt it was part of my trying to reconcile my "non closure" betrayal, she accepted it. It was a sh^tty idea."
And I am in agreement my affair was a shallow, callous, supremely selfish thing.
I appreciate your take and perspective.
I'm struggling with a similar situation. I knew my AP had several partners in the past. He and his wife had an "open" marriage. He led me to believe that he wasn't currently "seeing" anyone but me. And silly me, I asked him not to have any other "girlfriends" while we were engaged in our affair.
When I found out that he was in fact still meeting with other F*** buddies, I ended it with AP and confessed two days later to my husband. He has been surprisingly supportive and we are actively working on R. His attitude seems to be the same as your W.
But now almost 5 months after Dday, I still struggle with feelings of betrayal, that I wasn't "good" enough. And I would love to tell him what a piece of s*** he is but I won't break NC.
Really twisted thinking....all of this when it was all a lie anyway. And that's what I keep telling myself. It wasn't just a fantasy world but a giant LIE!
After all, you knew she was a cheater. You shouldn't be surprised to discover that...she was *really* a cheater. Whether it was just with you, or a dozen guys.
TBH, I think your AP is acting better than you in this respect -- she's gone NC with you. You haven't gone NC with her.
My fwh spent a long time getting over the loss of his friendship with his OW. They were good friends and colleagues before the A. So he genuinely had a big hole in his life. I encourage you to do what my fwh finally did, which is to fill that emptiness with figuring out why you had the A and working on being a better person.
And please do your wife the kindness to apologize for sending that non-closure note.
Keep working at it JustDesserts. It's hard, but worth it.
Thank you. My wife has received my apology for the note. She got a copy of it, wrapped in a note from me, right after I sent my AP the note.
You do have an amazing woman for a wife. BEcause if my WS used the words, "Betrayed cheater" he would have been out on his butt. It sounds like your wife might be doing all the work of the Recovering while you wait for this apology from the woman you wrecked her world for. I hope you are IC and can work through those feelings, because they are not healthy.
Thank you. My wife has received my apology for the note. She got a copy of it, wrapped in a note from me, right after I sent my AP the note.
BS here. I don't think you have things in the right order here. Sending the note FIRST and then notifying your BS is all about YOU. This should have been a discussion you had before you sent the note.
You may have set your BS's healing back further than Dday did. The affair was all about you and the need for closure is all about you.
I will share that not once did she receive from me anything less than my best. I respected her. I was a giving friend. I was a great lover. And she came up so short in the end
If your best was to present to her a lying cheater who was betraying his wife/family, then indeed you did give her your best. Reality is, you didn't give her your best. It wasn't possible given the situation. Instead, what you gave her was a facade of the good man that you wanted to be, but weren't.
As far as respecting her, no you didn't. You don't participate in an affair with somebody you respect and you don't have an affair if you respect yourself. Same goes for being a good friend, so toss that out the window too.
You are still romanticizing your affair. Your OW was nothing more than a player in the fantasy. She owed you nothing, not even the truth. The only person she owed anything to was her husband and you already know she wasn't willing to be honest with him either. To say you are hurt by her cheating on you is really disrespectful to your wife. See the affair for what it truly was and you'll move forward from this. Keep hanging onto that "love affair" and you won't.
I'm over her
Actually, you aren't. If you were, you would be indifferent to her. You are hanging onto the pain because it's the only thing left you are allowed to hang onto.
There IS no honor among thieves. I'm sorry you feel betrayed, but to me it's kind of like the murderer feeling betrayed when his accomplice takes a deal and testifies against him in court. You sort of just have to shrug and say, "What did you expect?"
Please try to find a way to get past these feelings. They are not helpful to your healing and growth as a person. And---I'll say it too---kudos to your former AP for not breaking NC to reply to you. Sounds like a healthy action for her to have taken.
I'm not judging you, btw. I had irrational feelings of my own during and after my A. As an example, astonishment at my level of cowardice and hypocrisy after D-day, as I was the bus-thrower-under and ground my former AP into the dirt, when just the day before I had been proclaiming my love for him. So to an extent I understand and say that irrational feelings are somewhat normal, but you must find a way to let this stuff go.
Divorced and remarried to XBH
BS here. I have to echo the sentiments already provided. You seem to have a semblance of an understanding of the issues at hand. You have an eloquent style and display enough 'humbleness' to not come off as offensive.
BUT ... IMHO you have a lot of work ahead of you to figure things out. It sounds like you have an amazing wife and although I would agree with you being open and honest with her, I would caution you against inflicting anymore pain. She may seem understanding, but I assure you that she doesn't want to hear about your plight as a 'betrayed cheater'.
If you are committed to your wife and want to R then IC and a lot of introspection would benefit you greatly. You need to know the 'reasons' behind your A. Why did you allow yourself to betray your own moral code? Why do you feel 'betrayed' by your AP? In simple terms, an A is two broken people who decide to use one another. You and your AP were broken and you continue to broken. You can work through this and understand why you're feeling this way, but it isn't a 'healthy' feeling.
The fact that you are here looking for insight is very reassuring. Focus your attention on your wife and figuring yourself out. Good luck.
I'm struggling...obviously to everyone except the stupid, pathetic guy writing this...me
Thank you. I'm almost afraid to read any additional responses...
[This message edited by JustDesserts at 12:17 PM, June 26th (Wednesday)]
Saying your AP cheated on you just doesn't compute.
If she was sleeping with her BH, was that cheating on you, too? Did you stop sleeping with your wife when you started up with the AP?
IMO, if you're cheating with someone---you can't claim to be cheated on by them. You're both living a lie already, why be surprised if the AP has other APs?
You were not cheated on. You betrayed your wife. Focus on your marriage.
No contact. Ever. And that means mentally, too.
Are you in counseling? Are you and your wife in marriage counseling?
Keep the focus on your wife and your marriage.
My wife has received my apology for the note. She got a copy of it, wrapped in a note from me, right after I sent my AP the note.
So you thought of your AP first with no regard towards your wife until after the fact. That alone has to be incredibly hurtful, again, to your wife.
My tolerance for stupid shit is getting less and less.
After D-day, there was never a NC "pact" or agreement. Just silence. I kind of kept thinking I might get an apology (delusional, it does appear). No one ever said "we're going NC". The numerous times my AP and I have crossed paths in the last 15 months she's sort of slunk away and hoped I didn't see her.
Yes...in all my brilliance I had an affair with someone who lives in the same smallish town as me.
Guilty. And here I was thinking I'm not so much of an a-hole. Wow...
It sounds to me like you are fishing for more contact. Closure isn't going to come with an 'apology' or NC letter at this time. The NC letter should have been a minimum requirement for the benefit of the marriage. Now, at 15 months out, I personally would let it die. Only exception would be if your wife requests one from you. As previously stated, it now is all about your wife. You need to heal as well, but your healing has nothing to do with your AP.
It doesn't sound like you've progressed very far since D-day. That's ok, but you cannot be satisfied with where you find yourself today. Find a good IC and work on yourself. Let the AP go.
That hurt her, but worse his admission that he screwed so many women that he couldn't remember if he was doing anybody else (besides his W) while their A was going on, but it was likely.
FWW, like you, not pleased. She thought she was having a "real affair", whatever that's supposed to mean.
What it means is you both got your just desserts, just like all of us waywards, but you both got a little bigger karma bus.
Gently, from the tone of your comments, I'd say you need an even bigger bus. Year Two is coming up, I've got a feeling your lovely BW is about to serve it up. Fasten your seat belt.
[This message edited by MoreWould at 12:55 PM, June 26th (Wednesday)]
In the future, talk to your BW, ask her how she feels about what you want to do. Ask her how she feels about you needing an apology from the person you betrayed her with. Do this before you do anything else. What you did was perform what might feel like another betrayal, to your BW, and then ask for forgiveness. Have you asked her how she REALLY feels about that part of what you did?
Are you routinely someone who does what they want and then ask for forgiveness? Do you have trouble checking your ego and asking for permission, before doing something?