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When does the pain end?

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WW43 posted 9/25/2013 13:59 PM

It has been 7 years since I learned of my WW affairs. She admitted to them out of guilt and shame. She was truly remorseful and has continued to be remorseful for her choices and the pain she caused me. I loved her despite the pain and anguish I was suffering. At the time she came clean we were in the process of trying to start a family. Within a few days of DD we learned she was pregnant. Yes the child was mine. There was no question of that. During those early days I decided I would stay to raise my child but when they hit 18 I was leaving. It may sound crazy but I didn't want to be a part time parent nor did I want my child to grow up in a divided home.
During those initial days and months I suffered, she would try to console me but usually just gave me space because she felt so guilt and didn't know what to do for me. The one thing that was not allowed was to talk about it. She refused. I could tell it hurt her and the stress wasn't something she needed while carrying a baby.
We now have two kids, we're better than ever but I can't seem to win the battle with the hurt, the memories and the fear. I have nightmares almost regularly, its rare that I sleep more than 4 hours and I struggle with triggers that I identify but still cause a torrent of hurt. My wife has been and continues to be very loving and patient which just adds incredible guilt but also helps. I read an article about post traumatic relationship stress disorder that described the disorder as if it were a demon invasive parasite bent on killing its host. It was very informative and at the same time very scary. Many of those who suffer PTRSD end thd pain themselves. Sadly there have been days recently that I have felt that is the only way to escape the pain and give my wife relief. I have talked to her about this. This is the time of year that she dropped the bomb. Every year it nails me but it was getting easier and easier until this year. For some reason I have been swamped and seem to be reliving all of the pain and confusion of that horrible day.
Does this ever go away? How do you deal with triggers? I feel like a failure for struggling so bad so long after the fact. How do you stomp the memories and bury them so you can move on and be free of this demon?

seenow posted 9/25/2013 14:11 PM

Geez WW43. I am only 4 months out so cannot answer your question but I feel the pain in your writing. You deserve some happiness and the strength to find it.

atsenaotie posted 9/25/2013 14:21 PM

Hi WW43,
It does not just run out or end, you have to work through it, accept what happened, and find peace with your life as it is. What did you do 7 years ago to work through your feeligs?

If you did nothing, intending to tread water" in the relationship for 18+ years and then D, maybe it is now time to start working through your feelings. Have you seen an IC, could you?

How do you stomp the memories and bury them so you can move on and be free of this demon?

You don't. You pick each one up, examine it, and understand why it causes you to feel the way you do. You learn what you can about yourself from the pain inflicted. When you feel you understand the first painful piece, you set it back down and pick up the next. After a while, you will probably begin to see a pattern in the pieces. What does the pattern show or tell you. The more you handle and understand the feelings, the less sharply they will hurt you.

What did your WW do after her A? It sounds like she rug-swept, and never answered your questions about a timeline, details. Did she identify and own her reasons for her A, her Whys? Did she go to IC or take other active steps to fix her issues, and to learn and practice new coping behaviors? Was she transparent with where she was and what she did after dday? Do you feel safe with her as a M partner, or do you fear another A?

I do not think staying in a M for 18+ years to then D is a very good or sustainable plan.


confused615 posted 9/25/2013 14:21 PM

The pain is still so present because you and your WW have not talked about her affairs. Until she faces what she has done..and the two of you talk about the affairs..and she answers all of your questions honestly,without blame,anger,or being defensive..well...this elephant will always be in the room.

How do you eat an elephant? one bite at a time. You talk about it..cry..get angry..hold each other...and talk..and talk..and talk..until you feel safe again.

The average time to heal from infidelity is 3-5 years. And that's with a lot of hard work. It sounds like you and your WW rugswept her affairs...and that is why you are still in pain.

Yes,talking about it might hurt her. That's ok. She did a shitty thing. It's ok that she feels bad about it. But she will continue to feel bad about it..just as you will...until the two of you face this head-on.

What has she done to help you heal? What has she done to heal herself?

Welcome to SI. You will find a great deal of advice,support,and understanding here.

[This message edited by confused615 at 2:23 PM, September 25th (Wednesday)]

1985 posted 9/25/2013 17:37 PM

The first step is to talk with her about the affairs and get your questions answered. I know this from personal experience.
I found out 5 years after her A had ended. I got a tiny bit of info right away and then my W clammed up. She refused to talk or answer questions saying it would be too painful to her to bring it all back up in her mind. Off and on for a year or two I would try to ask questions and I got stonewalled. I gave up trying.
I worked on healing myself. We stayed together. We had good times; raised our kids; loved each other.
Sound familiar to you?
And all that time the pain and bitterness and insecurities and anguish and anger just festered. I kept it buried; under control enough that neither she nor the world saw it.
But it was there. And I felt it. Often.
Sound familiar?
I lived that way for 28 years. Life generally was ok; good even. I loved her. We had good times. We prospered. But what was buried in me never went away. And I always was fighting a hidden, residual sadness about my life. I was STUPID.
Don't let it keep going on like I did. Last year after Christmas something made me say its time. And I told my W that we had to discuss it. And answer questions. She didnt want to, but to her credit she agreed to. You absolutely cannot imagine how just talking calmly about it. Getting some answers to basic questions that helped me understand a bit what happened. Eliminating some of the mystery and secrets. You can't imagine what that did for me emotionally and psychologically. And it will do the same for you. It absolutely will turn your life around in a positive way.. Yes, some things you hear may hurt at first. But the fact that you know the truth; no more secrets; will so overpower that hurt that you will feel overwhelming relief.
It actually brought us closer together.
My W still would rather not discuss. But she will if I need it. And as a result I have chosen to not ask ongoing questions to spare her pain. BUT that is MY choice which is what makes it ok. I literally have 100 more questions that I would like to ask. I haven't. I may never. But knowing that I can if I choose and that I have gotten answers to the most important ones has made such a change in my life. You need to do this too.
My W was stunned when I first told her how much pain I had and how much I had suffered. She told me that since I hadn't "insisted on talking in the past" (no she isn't deaf but that comment would make you wonder) that she assumed the A was "just a little bump in the road for me and didnt bother me" ( and yes they do say the most unbelievable things). Perhaps your W sees you in the same way since you are just sucking it up and enduring the pain to spare her. She needs to hear the truth.
Show her this post. Tell her it's time to talk and answer questions. It will change your life to get it out in the open. Good luck.

WhatsRight posted 9/25/2013 17:48 PM

I agree that the pain is still present because it has not been discussed - talked out.

I am also over 7 years post dday. And today I started a thread entitled "I Hate my husband" vent.

I know the lonliness of not being able to talk about it. Keep trying to give her a safe environment in which to do this.

I wish for you peace.

ophelia24 posted 9/25/2013 18:00 PM

Hi there WW43,

You have had some excellent feedback on here. I will add some from my personal experience.

7 Years ago (same as your WW affair) I confessed to an affair with a co-worker (unoriginal - I know). At the time my H majorly rug swept as he took the blame for it and I went along with it, out of cowardice and also at that time, an inability to look hard at myself and my behaviours. So, we limped along for 7 years, but because I hadn't been held accountable or looked at myself I then had brief PA (kissed and flirted) with another co worker in my next job, that I cut off quickly and tried to forget about.

Now. Fast forward to February this year. I confessed to my H that the affair 7 years ago wasn't the only one. That there had been more prior to this. ONS with 2 men (one of them with his best friend 21 years ago) and various inappropriate behaviours with men over the years. Including the PA I mentioned. So shameful.

So all the feelings he pushed down 7 years ago after that first confessed affair, are now resurfacing. Hence his asking me for a timeline about everything. I can see it is overwhelming for him. Not just the one he knew about (although that is bad enough) but many. He is traumatised. We are struggling. But I have recently suggested that we set an hour aside a few times a week to discuss each one. He has told me this morning before going to work that he wants to talk about the first one with his friend. Of course this is not going to be comfortable for me, but that's the consequences of my actions. And I am glad he is bringing his hurt to me, rather than become depressed or project that hurt and anger onto our children. He is struggling with how and why I could do that to him. I have written elsewhere that when you don't care about yourself, then no one else stands any chance of being protected. Including those we are supposed to love. That goes for children as well, as they too are affected by the fallout. Whether people stay together or not.

You have every right to express your pain, hurt and anger about your wife's affair. And there is no moratorium on when that is. 1985 said he did this himself many years later. And is the better for it.

Back yourself WW43.

ophelia24 posted 9/25/2013 18:03 PM

Also, I really don't think us WS's can be truly remorseful until we have picked over what we have done, and held ourselves accountable for our actions. And really looked hard at why we chose to do what we did. Feeling guilty and ashamed, is not about remorse. Not wanting to talk about our Affairs is not remorseful behaviour. It is just wanting it all to go away. It is taking the easy way out.

ETA for typo

[This message edited by ophelia24 at 6:05 PM, September 25th (Wednesday)]

Chrysalis123 posted 9/25/2013 19:14 PM

This has been around the internet for a long time.....

Are you wondering when the pain stops?

The Pain Stops: when you stop looking at the person you love as the person you love, and you begin to see them, not as a partner, a lover, or a best friend, but as a human being with the strengths and weaknesses and even the core of a child.

The Pain Stops: when you begin to accept that what you would do in a circumstance is not what they would do, and that no matter how much you try, they have to learn their own lessons, and they have to touch the stove when it's hot, just as you did, to learn that it is much better when it is cold.

The Pain Stops: when your longing for them gets slowly replaced by a desire to get away, when making love to them no longer makes you feel cherished, when you find yourself tired of waiting for the moments where the good will truly outweigh the bad, and when at the end of the day you can't count on their arms for comfort.

The Pain Stops: when you start to look inward and decide whether their presence is a gift or a curse, and whether when you need them, they cause more heartache than bliss.

The Pain Stops: when you realize that you deserve more than they offer and stop blaming them for being less than you wish. When the smile of a stranger seems more inviting and kind, and you remember what it's like to feel beautiful, and you remember how long it has been since your lover whispered something in your ear that only the two of you would know.

The Pain Stops: when you forgive them for their faults and forgive yourself for staying so long. When you know that you tried harder than you ever tried before, and you know in your heart that love should not be so much work.

The Pain Stops: when you start to look in the mirror and like who you see, and know that leaving them or losing them is no reflection of your beauty or your worth.

The Pain Stops: when the promise of a new tomorrow is just enough to start replacing the emptiness in your heart, and you start dreaming again of who you used to be and who you will become.

The Pain Stops: when you say goodbye to what never really was, and accept that somewhere in the fog you may or may not have been loved back. And you promise yourself never again to lay in arms that don't know how to cherish the kindness in your heart.

The Pain Stops: When you are ready.

[This message edited by Chrysalis123 at 7:15 PM, September 25th (Wednesday)]

WW43 posted 9/29/2013 18:01 PM

Thank you all for the support and encouragement. This was the first time I have shared this with anyone. After reading your posts I told my wife I posted to this website and asked her to read this thread. She did so without complaint. It was tremendously helpful. I feel like we've passed another milestone in our recovery and reconciliation. Thank you all very much for your kindness.

nuance posted 9/29/2013 23:51 PM

I also had to revisit my unresolved feelings at about year 8 or 9. You can't just bury this stuff. Luckily my W was there for me this time.

sisoon posted 9/30/2013 09:06 AM

What atsenaotie and Chrysalis said, and...

Are you saying that you're definitely going the D route, or would you want to R, if you could get through your pain?

If D is your choice, you have to heal yourself. Your W doesn't matter. After 7 years of hell, I strongly recommend IC, since you're having trouble healing on your own.

If you would R if you can get past the pain, well, you can get past the pain. Again, stop trying to do it on your own - get help. Get support for facing your pain, face it, and move on. Once you do it, you'll laugh at yourself for waiting so long.

But R requires effort by 2 people, and your W will probably have to answer your questions. If she won't, and you still want answer, R sound impossible.

But no matter what your W chooses, you can heal - but it sounds like starting IC is a good first step for you no matter what.

[This message edited by sisoon at 9:07 AM, September 30th (Monday)]

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