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I can't free my mind of the A

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aLostSoul posted 12/23/2013 14:45 PM

It has been almost a year since D-day. I thought by now I would be feeling like life was normal again. It is not. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t wonder what is going on in the life of my OM…Is the person who took my job doing as good as I did for him? What does his Christmas card look like - Is it just the kids or the whole family? Is he happy with his wife? Does he miss me? Do I ever cross his mind? He says he tried to end it, but if we didn’t get caught, would it still be going on?
I don’t even like to use the word affair… I had talked myself into thinking I was in a “relationship” with another man. What started out as a boss-employee relationship turned into a PA and I truly thought I was in love with him and he with me. It went on for over 3 and a half years. In that time, there wasn’t a day that went by that he didn’t tell me he loved me. He mentioned marriage. He wanted to have a baby with me. He told me I was a better match to his personality than his wife. He described how his wife abused him – physically and mentally. I “knew” I could make him happier. Why on earth would he choose her?
I checked out at home. I had myself convinced that if my H ever found out, he wouldn’t even care. I lied to myself in so many ways. My H cared. He REALLY cared. He was devastated when he found out about the A. I have subsequently been told by the OM that he never loved me. I find myself thinking back on situations to try to convince myself that he was lying when he said he loved me or that he is lying now saying he never loved me. I can talk myself into both scenarios. What I can’t do is get it out of my mind. I was basically forced to resign from a job I loved. I had been there 6 years when he started but he continues to work in the same capacity seemingly going unscathed. I am angry, hurt, grieving and feel that I was punished and he wasn’t.
I have been to counseling. I suppose it has helped some. I can have a conversation with a stranger without bursting into tears. But I thought I would be so much further by now. I realize that I have been addicted to the A and when I was abruptly removed from it, the withdrawal has been excruciating. I didn’t get to say goodbye. We didn’t get to process what happened face to face. Friends are even wondering when I will “get over this”. When will I stop ruminating over this person that ruined my life? I don’t just blame him. I know that I am just as at fault for ruining my own life and the lives of the people I care about. What can I do to stop this torture that goes on inside my head on a daily basis?
How am I supposed to work on rebuilding my marriage if I can’t get the OM out of my head?
Can anyone relate?

pointofnoreturn posted 12/23/2013 15:29 PM

It sounds like you can't get him out of your head because you feel there are things left unmet from the relationship. Never got to say goodbye, perhaps?

Do you still have feelings for the OM? I think it's tough realizing someone else has moved on. But he has, and you should too.

I will commentate that the view you get of his marriage is highly negative. He was simply baiting you when he complained about how oh so horrible and mean his wife was. Could she have been mean? Sure, but I'm pretty sure due to the rewriting of history many WSes do to justify their As, the majority of it was pure bullshit.

I don't know your situation fully, but I'm going to assume it was bullshit. Every lie about his wife was ego kibble for you to munch on. "I'm so much better for him! *crunchcrunchnibble*" Because with certainty, this is what most likely happened.

Humor aside, this issue should be addressed. If you haven't made an NC letter, you should do so. Even if you never send it. And remember, NC means NC, even mentally. I struggle with thoughts of whether or not xAPs are suffering with their choices, but in the end, it doesn't matter. In order to heal, they have to be nothing to me. XAp won a million dollars? Who cares? XAP just had a family member die? Don't know them anyways.

[This message edited by pointofnoreturn at 3:30 PM, December 23rd (Monday)]

aLostSoul posted 12/23/2013 15:39 PM

You know, the crazy thing is that I know all of that stuff in my head. It just hasn't traveled down to my heart.
No, I didn't get to say goodbye. He has sent me 2 emails and his wife write me a letter, but I was told there should be no contact and I have abided by that. As much as it kills me. I want to be heard and I know it won't happen.
I think I also feel like a could I have been so foolish to have let believed what he was telling me. I'm a smart woman. He was lying to his wife...why wouldn't I expect that he would be lying to me too? Ego got in the way there, I suppose.

Thanks, pointifnoreturn. I appreciate you listening and your input.

[This message edited by aLostSoul at 3:40 PM, December 23rd (Monday)]

JustDesserts posted 12/23/2013 17:42 PM


You are not alone. I can relate. I was where you are. And I still struggle to self acknowledge that my so called "love affair" was actually what it was: two broken people hiding on the island of misfit toys.

Processing my hurt, anger, and resentments hasn't been easy, and I've spun my wheels and regressed more than a few times. But I'm heading along the path toward indifference.

This isn't a popular topic here on SI or in our little Wayward corner. It brings out 2x4's in most instances. Some of us - usually longer term affair waywards - go really deep into the darkness, and our addiction and withdrawal takes epic amounts of help, growth, change...and letting go.

It does get better. I wish I'd had a thousand one night stands instead of one "epic love affair" - as recovery would have been so much easier (so I think).

Now back to my regularly scheduled programming, which is the "How can I live an authentic life with my beautiful wife" channel. I married my soulmate. And I cheated on her. Our love affair is what deserves my nurturing, attention, and energy. The love we share - is real.

Wishing you comfort and peace.


[This message edited by JustDesserts at 5:48 PM, December 23rd (Monday)]

lillbug20 posted 12/23/2013 17:53 PM

Alostsoul, if you read my thread, I'm suffering from the same thing. My A Only just ended, but still is a huge struggle to stop obsessing. I've had a lot of members tell me these feelings go away..but hearing your story makes my fears more real. That I'll never get over AP:(

I just wanted to give hugs, I'm right here beside you in the crazy struggle of a life.

JustDesserts posted 12/23/2013 18:00 PM


lillbug20: telling your betrayed spouse about your infidelity will be the single most important step you take toward recovery and withdrawal.

WHEN do you plan to do this????????

end t/j

cs2384 posted 12/23/2013 18:12 PM

I know all too well too. I felt like there was never any closure. Then after 5 months of NC and an terrible betrayal from my spouse OM broke no contact and we took it underground for more than half a year. No physical contact, just an EA at that point. HUGE mistake. It didn't solve anything because all the Hurt and pain I was feeling after the first end were only temporarily placated by renewed contact. I thought I needed to end it on my term. To feel like I was important to him. This is a huge opportunity to look at yourself and try to discover what it is you're really searching for. It's different for all of us. For me it was because I felt like every man in my life chose someone else over me. My dad left when I was a teenager, my husband was abusive(victim mentality on my part). And for once I felt like someone wanted me. Someone chose me over his wife and kids. So disgusting and so wrong. The first few months after renewed NC were excruciating. I think it's important to validate your feelings though. Your feelings are real even if they are misplaced and out of context. Finding a good IC who you can really confide your feelings about OM will help. My IC helped me realize why I was looking for external validation and how I could let my husband back in where I would feel safe again. My husband has been awesome these past 6 months and we've made huge strides. Now when I think about those feelings i had for OM the sting is gone. I can remember that I once felt that way but its not how I feel now. And both are ok. It really is a slow process and having a supportive spouse is extremely helpful.

Trying33 posted 12/23/2013 23:52 PM


I can relate. I am almost at a year past D-day and I think of OM often asking pretty much same questions as you. I just can't get my head around how this "love" wasn't real.

Then last night, I was quite sick (food poisoning) and felt awful. My H looked after me and held me and brought me medicine and helped me to the bathroom etc. I thought to myself, maybe I don't feel the burning passion and desire (right now) for my H but this is love. It has to be.

I'm starting to think perhaps it's our notion and perspective of love that needs to change in order for us to truly respect what we have?

How am I supposed to work on rebuilding my marriage if I can’t get the OM out of my head?

I struggle with this too but it's a very conscious process of flicking away any thoughts of the AP when they come. I just try to change my thought pattern or focus on something else. Sometimes I try to think of bad things about him to help associate negative thoughts with him.

My H and I have a very long way to go but we've started our journey. I'm left having to work on myself as he doesn't want to talk about the A and wants to heal without knowledge of it. I have to understand and respect his way of healing and just work on myself.

Just wanted to let you know, you're not alone. JD was right, this is a hard topic to talk about on SI and is usually met with 2x4's and a feeling that you "should not be feeling like this" and more focussed on your M.

Alyssamd24 posted 12/24/2013 09:22 AM

I can relate to so much of your post....the details and timelines differ but much of what you say in your post are feelings that I too have felt and are still working through.

This is the quick version of my story: my AP was a man I met at work. The PA lasted 3 months and the EA lasted another 9. He told me he loved me and I thought I loved him and we had something special.

When our A finally came out for good I confronted his BW with the truth....he denied everything and she chose to believe him. I resigned from my job and had to find a new preschool for my DD....he remains at the daycare...his son is still there and I'm sure his new child will also be there once he/she is born.

I have had NC with him since I talked to his BW. Like you I have struggled with the fact I got no closure....that he and I will never have that conversation. That I will never know if he really cared about me or not.

Recently another member gave me this advice....that if I think of him, to think of the worst absolute part of the A and DDay....the expression on my BH face when he found out, or taking my DD out of our home when BH kicked me out....any of these things are things I now think about if my mind goes to my xAP.

JD and trying have both said it already...this isn't always a popular topic in this forum and many times will get you 2x4s rather than support. But you aren't alone...many of us are suffering through the same thing as you.

Please pm me if you need to talk. I will be more than happy to try and help you get through this.

Mrs Panda posted 12/24/2013 10:59 AM


When I first came here, I too was still in a fog of blissful-angry-no closure-everything-is-about-the-OM.

Honestly. It is crazy talk.

You have wasted a year pining about, being angry, bitter, and what not. Is this how you want to spend your life?

I hear "but I can't help it...I can't stop these feelings." And that is simply not true. You make a choice. You choose to stop reliving this sordid time in your life. And when those thoughts creep in, you picture a STOP sign. Or snap a rubber band on your wrist.

Make no mistake. This was not a real relationship. It was an A with both of you betraying your families. He threw you under the bus. So what? Is rejection so hard to take? Sometimes we lose. Do you feel like you didn't win? No pretty way to have "closure" with an A when families are beig torn apart. You are so fortunate to still have yours. Many of us do not.

You barely mention your BH. How does he feel about all this ? Do you care how he feels about it?

aLostSoul posted 12/26/2013 09:17 AM

Cs2384, I really feel like you are right when it comes to taking a look at myself. The thing is that I seemed to have a pretty perfect childhood…parents provided a supportive, loving home, still together, didn’t fight much. I was good in school, got pretty much whatever I went for- but not everything. So I have dealt with disappointment. I wonder though if that is at the heart of my issue. I didn’t get what I wanted in this situation. I lost. He chose his wife even though I thought that I was his favorite. Regardless, I need to adjust my focus and move on with my life.

I have been going to IC for the past year. I have recently switched because I don’t seem to be making much progress with him. I am also going to MC and that is a struggle. Just like trying33 said, my definition of love is warped. My brain has turned the definition of love into passion and excitement instead of commitment, kindness, patience etc. Funny thing is that I know this with my brain…but the memo hasn’t traveled to my heart. I understand that I was, well let’s be real…AM addicted to the excitement and passion of a forbidden love. I struggle with redirecting my brain to reality knowing that the man standing beside me through all of this is the person who deserves my love and attention. He is kind, thoughtful, attentive, a great father etc. However, we have never really had the passion I found with my OM. Maybe that’s why it was so addictive to me. However, now that I don’t have that passion anymore, I long for it and just don’t find it with my BH. He doesn’t deserve this, and I don’t know how to make myself fall in love with him again. Because right now with all of my self-loathing, I feel like he deserves way better than me. He tells me that as much as the A hurt him, losing me would be even more devastating.
My marriage has obviously not been great for some time. If it was, I wouldn’t be in this situation. I have adjusted by being ok with living with a roommate. We communicate to make sure the kids get where they need to be. We occasionally have gut-wrenching conversations about what my actions have done to him as well as to our family. But for the most part, I have learned to deal with my innermost thoughts by myself. My sister asked me the other day “Do you look forward to Kyle (name changed) coming home?”. The answer is no, not really. When he gets home that’s when I have to deal with my guilt and shame face to face. I feel like a monster. I talked to my counselor about doing the “right thing”. God would want me to reconcile my marriage. So I will put my feelings aside and force myself to fall in love again and demand that I stay with my husband. At that point, my counselor says that I put others’ feelings ahead of my own and need to really look at what makes me happy. So now my counselor is telling me I shouldn’t try to fall in love with my husband again? I feel pulled in too many directions. And how can I really give my marriage a fair chance when I am thinking about the OM?

I appreciate the suggestions to rid myself of the thoughts of the OM and the A and the lies that I talked myself into being real. At this point, that’s where I need to focus so I can forgive myself, love myself and in turn focus on the love I have for my BH and give both of us a full, rich life together. Like JD said "How can I live an authentic life with my beautiful wife? (Husband in my case).

sunnyrain posted 12/26/2013 10:11 AM

Put the ponytail holder around your wrist like Mrs Panda suggested. When unwanted thoughts of AP enter your mind, snap the hairband HARD.

[This message edited by sunnyrain at 9:54 PM, December 28th (Saturday)]

Brokengirl01 posted 12/27/2013 11:27 AM

Hi alostsoul,
I too find it really hard to get rid of thoughts of my AP. But what I've come to realize is that he was my heroin, I was not actually in love with him, even though I thought I was. My affair was 3 years long and it consisted of lots of texting and messaging where OM would compliment me, tell me how beautiful, sexy, amazing, funny, great I was and how much he loved me! During the affair I didn't see that he was just saying all those things to get me to send him nude pics, have phone sex, or sleep with him. I thought we were star crossed lovers, forbidden lovers! I thought he was my one true love! Hahaa! Sorry, I laugh at myself because I was so stupid!!I But the truth is, his validation made me feel SOOo good, I could face the world!! Just like how I imagine heroin or a cocktail to an alcoholic would feel! His validation made me feel like I WAS Beautiful, invincible! And now that I no longer have that, I crave it and when I feel really down about myself, my head starts having thoughts about him, and my heart starts to hurt and I start to think , oh, I miss OM" . But I now know that me missing him, only means I miss some sort of validation, nothing more! Because really I can't wrap the idea around my head that I would miss such a broken man!! I've learned that validation has to come from within, not from a manipulative, broken man!! I am working on my internal validation by accepting myself, flaws and all. Surrounding myself with people who love me, doing things I enjoy, and most importantly reconnecting with my BH. Ask yourself what itis that has you thinking of OM.

aLostSoul posted 12/27/2013 12:31 PM

Brokengirl01 – Are you in my brain? That sounds exactly like my A. However, I had the unfortunate circumstance of working for him as well. So daily interaction with him meant either emotional and/or physical contact was part of our routine. He mentioned several times over the 3 ½ year relationship that we needed to stop the A. That sent me over the edge every time…he was suggesting that I quit my “heroin” cold turkey. We would “agree” to stop. However, the next day he still called and a few days later he was asking to meet with me. The things I did for him/with him were so out of my element but made me feel so alive! I made him happy and feel a way that “no other woman has ever made me feel”. Making him happy was my goal regardless of how destructive it was for me personally. I thought we really connected physically in a way that I have never connected with anyone else before. If I think about it really hard, I’m sure I had similar feelings when I started dating and sleeping with my husband that has since faded into routine. Those feelings were about excitement, newness, forbidden love. Not about true, honest deep abiding love. And now my brain yearns for those feelings that I don’t seem to find with my BH.

It has taken me a very long time to realize the OM is broken. Had you asked me even a couple months ago, I would have said our A was about 2 good people who were only semi-happy in their marriages who happened to fall in love with each other and couldn't stop. I was blind to the manipulation. I really thought he meant what he said regarding his feelings for me and the frustrations with his wife. Oh how gullible and manipulated I was.

I think I am similar to you in that I seek validation. He provided that in several ways for me. He was complimentary of personal attributes in our A – sexy, beautiful, adventurous, empathetic etc. But he also provided validation about my abilities as his nurse – smart, productive, good with his patients, able to anticipate his needs etc. Now that I don’t have my job anymore, that is very difficult as well. It’s amazing to see how many people have gone through or are going through the same thoughts as me. I just pray that someday I will be the one handing out advice about how to put the past behind and actually use the experience as a growth opportunity to become a better you that what you would have been without it. I have seen changes in my thoughts since implementing some of the techniques suggested here. Where I once thought that driving by his house was ok, I now know it is a trigger and I have the POWER to stop myself from doing it. It may pop into my head, but I can decide to think about something else and not act on the urge.

confused43 posted 12/27/2013 14:10 PM

I totally understand how you feel. My affair did not last as long but those feelings that the AP can bring to your mind and body feel so good. I want those feelings again but know that the high can't last forever. I wish it was my husband making me feel that way. I feel like we are in a "rut" and while having an affair is not the answer I felt it showed me the passion I was missing in my marriage and maybe never had. Now I want that even though my affair is over but not sure I can feel that with my husband. How do you feel the excitement when it's not there? I think kissing is more passionate than sex and we haven't had a passionate kiss forever it seems like. It's not because he doesnt want to, it's me. I feel your pain, I really do. My affair just ended so I am just starting this road.

aLostSoul posted 12/27/2013 15:00 PM

Confused43, I know EXACTLY how you feel about passion. A long time ago I heard my friend talking about the passion she has with her husband long before my A. I remember thinking “gosh, I don’t think I have that feeling”. Someone told me that years down the road I would look back at this and be glad that I went through it because of what I will learn. At this point I still completely disagree with that. I had no idea what I was missing before I felt the passion I had with the OM. I was blissfully stupid to it. Now I long for it. However, I also realize that the feelings I had for the OM were delusional and not sustainable in any kind of normal relationship. We had a 3 ½ year relationship and it was still in the “honeymoon” phase because we weren’t living in reality. I wasn’t bitching at him to pick up his dirty socks or take out the garbage and he wasn’t harping on me for my spending. When we were together, it was just us and we closed out the rest of the world around us.
If you figure out how to find that passion with your husband, please let me know how you find it. Mine is working so hard at improving himself… He has lost 70 pounds since D-day and is shooting for 50 more. I am so happy for him becoming more healthy, but I haven’t really had a change in attraction for him which I really hoped would happen. Ugh.

MissesJai posted 12/27/2013 15:27 PM

my A was very emotional as xOM lived in another state, so there was a lot of this:

texting and messaging where OM would compliment me, tell me how beautiful, sexy, amazing, funny, great I was and how much he loved me!
My primary love language is Words of Affirmation, so you can imagine how deep he was under my skin. It took me a while to get him out of my system. A WHILE. I would find myself craving his attention and validation especially during those really hard times with BH where I felt incredibly vulnerable and I hadn't yet realized my worth and value.

It's withdrawal. You are going to have to endure if you wish to get through this. Also, be honest with yourself - is it that you can't free your mind of him or is that you don't want to? Oftentimes, people say can't when they really mean want but don't have the strength to admit it.

[This message edited by MissesJai at 3:27 PM, December 27th (Friday)]

aLostSoul posted 12/27/2013 15:56 PM

Can't vs. want... So true!!!

NewWorldMan posted 12/27/2013 16:00 PM

I struggled with this mightily. I had a log distance LTA for more than three years that essentially killed my marriage. I came clean to my ex-wife and STILL managed to screw it all up. My head was majorly fucked up.

I totally feel your pain. It's not a fun place to be. You feel like you're in limbo, waffling between the affair and your marriage.

I can only say to follow the withdrawal advice being given here. It takes time.

I moved out over a year ago, got divorced back in June, and I still think about my AP. Often. So, I know how hard it is to stop.

confused43 posted 12/27/2013 16:17 PM

So what I wonder in all of this is if it feels so good to have passion and know now what it is that we want, is it so bad to want to leave our marriage? I know the OM is not the man for me, but it doesn't make me want him any less but I saw his flaws and I don't like them. They don't work with my personality but the passion was outstanding. So now part of me wants to find that with someone new. I don't know if I can do all the work involved to get there with my husband. I know that sounds terrible and I've got 3 great kids. A life without passion is not one I want. I would do things differently now to keep the passion alive if i started over. I just don't feel it with my husband and I hate faking.

I honestly think that the first 10 years of your childrens lives are the toughest on a marriage. You give to your kids and take from the marriage. You become partners that coparent. My husband is an incredible dad and husband but I dont feel any passion with him anymore. He is trying but I'm not wanting. He does not know about the affair, just that I've told him I'm not happy with our love life.

I am reading a lot. One book that I really liked is called How We Love, but really it made me think more about the OM and our weaknesses and how to fix those. However I think it's a great book. One that has been recommended is Passionate Marriage. I started that one. I think that is perfect for aLostSoul and me because we both have spouses that want us, we just need to want them back. I'm hoping to find a fix but my heart is not in right now and I'm giving mixed messages to my husband.

I honestly don't think it will take that long for me to get over the OM because while we shared an amazing 8 months together I see that he is a coward and a total avoider of any emotions. In the beginning he made me feel fantastic, but that slowly faded and when I felt insecure he did nothing to reassure me yet still wanted to see me. I know deep down that we had a connection but I will not be with someone that is afraid to admit to it. Yes it was messed up but own up to how you feel. I hate playing games. It reminds me of Ross and Rachel from friends. So frustrating seeing all the miscommunication. Just get together already. I hate that stuff. So I was honest and he is an avoider and can't deal with that stuff.

I think time does heal. I do think about him all the time right now but I'm also very hurt and mad at him for being the way he is. I'm trying to focus my anger on him to help me move on. It's been less than a week so feelings are still very strong and raw. I see my kids and try to tell myself to focus on them but all I want is to be swept away to the world where it feels good again.

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