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c6284x posted 8/18/2013 08:48 AM

I have been divorced now for two years. And earlier this year I started to attend a secular self help group (I'm non religious) but last Friday for the first time I admitted the reason my divorce was so painful was because my wife had an affair.

Other than you guys on SI no one ever knew why I was divorced. I told family and friends that we just grew apart and I was just vague with group members.

I have been carrying around this shame for two years all by myself. I don't know if this is just a guy thing or if women feel the shame as well. I know I did nothing wrong but I felt that if anyone one knew about my situation they would think of me as a loser.

I surprised my self by admitting it in the group because there are several attractive women there and no matter what you are always trying to put the best foot forward, even in a self help group. I'm glad I did it though, it kind of too the stigma away from the situation. Two years and small steps.

cmego posted 8/18/2013 09:12 AM

I definitely felt shame in the beginning. My ex was cheating on me with men. Gay affairs. I told no one while we were in R. Literally, only my Mom and sister knew. I didn't tell my best friends.

Once we S, then I told people the usual, "It just didn't work out", trying to protect...my kids? His career? Myself?

But, within 6 months, I started telling the truth. It felt freeing.

Bottom line, it is YOUR truth. YOUR story. I don't find shame in my story any longer. I have found a survival story instead.

[This message edited by cmego at 9:12 AM, August 18th (Sunday)]

Chrysalis123 posted 8/18/2013 09:36 AM

I felt immense shame too. I was so embarrassed that I did not tell anyone.

But, slowly I realized I had nothing to be ashamed for. I did not behave horribly. In fact, I did the opposite.

Like cmego said, it is my survivor story. My scars are victory scars.

Congrats on making such a huge step in your recovery!!

better4me posted 8/18/2013 10:11 AM

I too was ashamed about my X having an affair...I think the stigma may be a little greater if it is a female partner who cheated, or a gay affair but there is still stigma. The shame is a pretty heavy thing to bear. It is so freeing to tell the truth and to receive support and acceptance and caring. Once I told people and received acceptance in return it made me wonder why I waited so long to speak the truth!

I kind of have the feeling c6284x that you may start sprinting now that you've taken these first small steps...

ladies_first posted 8/18/2013 10:32 AM

I think most people in Western society shy away from talking about PAINFUL topics -- death, handicaps, violence against the defenseless -- perhaps because of sense of helplessness; nobody defeats death.

And when it comes to other painful, "heavy" topics that are frequently in the media -- cheating, betrayal, war -- I think sometimes the platitudes come out only because someone hasn't been through the trauma of betrayal or war, and simply doesn't have a true understanding.

c6284x, divorce is only as shameful as the messages in your head.

I have been carrying around this shame for two years all by myself.

Maybe a handful of one-on-one IC sessions will help you replace your shame with something closer to acceptance?

[This message edited by ladies_first at 10:33 AM, August 18th (Sunday)]

nowiknow23 posted 8/18/2013 10:43 AM

I think this is a great step, c. You know on an intellectual level that the shame is not yours, but emotionally, it's another story. Bravo for speaking your truth.

c6284x posted 8/19/2013 10:02 AM

Thanks everyone for all the kind words and support. I could not have done any of this without you.

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