My H and I started to drift a part. I remember feeling so alone, sad , and pained. I reacted with anger and would occasionally hit him (on his arms). I never hurt him or left a mark, but I know it was wrong. He never retaliated with anything other than very, very hurtful words
From what I've read in your story there seems to be some things that match up
The OW seemed so afraid of me...and said that my H made me out to be "crazy" and "dangerous.
Gently that may of been your husband's perception at the time. I'm not going to preach to you, because you know it was wrong. I also think it was fantastic you got yourself out of that cycle of abuse, as it can be really difficult to stop once you are in it.
I do not have any experience in a ONS/affair and I would really recommend heading down to the I can relate forum. They will be able to give you some really good advice.
Either way this would be a horrific experience for you and I'm so sorry you are experiencing this. The other question you said was can your marriage be stronger?
Yes I believe so. I am not sure where the starting point would be as it was many years ago and this is why ICR would be a great starting point for you.
Your story although it seems unique has many of the same characteristics that all of them do.
First of all Kudos to you on taking care of yourself, getting to the Dr. Getting on meds, taking a leave from work. Many of us are so overwhelmed we function in a a fog of our own after Dday.
Next - I hear a lot of I'm sorry, after denial from your H, what I don't hear is real action to find forgiveness, and work on himself to figure out why he did this. He finally confessed, sort of, after you were a complete basket case for 4 days? Does that sound like remorse or ass covering to you?
You will find I am a straight shooter, and tend not to sugar coat things, but I will tell ya what works and what doesn't.
Your H had an A while you were pregnant. Nice, absolutetly charming. Even better was he put his needs before you because he did it all while you were sick as a dog. Sounds a bit narccisstic to me. Played down your emotions, and fears even when your gut was screaming at you. Of course you believed him, you wanted to trust your spouse, we all do. Do not blame yourself.
So Here's the deal, you are shattered and broken at the moment. You refer to your looks several times in your post, and I want you to know, that HOW you Look, How you act, the kind of person you are, the type of house you keep, NONE OF THAT, and I MEAN NONE OFTHAT has anything to do with HIS decision to cheat. That was all on him. He chose that because the poor punkin was needing more love and attention than he was getting, and this woman, made him feel special. It is the truth. It ultimately boils down to how the AP makes them feel.
Can are M heal from an A. You bet, Can it be even better after? YUP. Is it hard? Absolutely. But there is a magic mix that has to happen for that to occur.
1. You Have to have a spouse that is willing to own up to everything they did. They have to be completely transparent, and answer all questions, they can't spare you the truth to save you from hurt. That is called Lying. And I think you are probably still being lied to, she said it was multiple times, he says just once, I bet he says he used protection too. Don't trust him at this point.
2. You have to be able to heal yourself. It's not his job, it is his job to heal the M, that's for both of you to do, but you have to get strong for you. You have to go through the grieving process, and know that at the end you will accept what he did, that there was nothing you did to cause it, or could have done to stop it.
3. He has to do the hard work on himself, figure out his whys, and what is broken in him, that allowed him to make such horrible choices and fix it. Understand it, and change it.
4. Time - Yup it's a bad 4 letter word, but it will take you years, yup I said years to get over this.
5. Communication with each other, has to be open, honest, productive. Name calling, hitting, all that stuff has to go away. It's time to take a high road, and lead by example. You have to be very forthright, in what you want, need, and hope for. If you are not you will be disappointed at minium, and back into the cycle that got you to this place at the worst.
Don't worry about trust and forgiveness yet. He has a lot of work to do before you will be able to really honestly say I forgive you, and trust you.
Right now make sure you are sleeping, and eating, and staying hydrated. Don't force yourself to make a long term decision right away. Do decide what you need from him for you to attempt R. Be prepared to follow that up with consequences, as he was obviously ready to let this stay under the rug for the rest of his life. IT make take some real shakeups for him to really start to get what he has done, and start the hard work of R.
It's ok to put yourself and your kids first, it makes you stronger, and happier.
Keep reading in the Library, keep posting, and know that we all have a lot to share from our past experiences, and those that are currently in the thick of it.