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I've never felt so much pain

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Hurting0316 posted 1/11/2014 16:31 PM

I just found out that my husband of 24 years had an affair with a coworker. The A lasted 5 years. The OW was married and filed for divorce expecting my husband to do the same. I am beyond hurt and never thought I could hurt this much. My husband and I are in counseling but he avoids the topic. He doesn't want to discuss it but I have so many questions. Please tell me when does the hurt start to subside? At times I want to end my life but I have 2 children. Please give me advice. When I look at him I can't help but picture them together. How does a person live 2 lives for so long? What does that say about the level of deceit?

Tickingtock posted 1/11/2014 16:33 PM

I have no advice but want to let you know that you've been heard and thought of. Wiser people will come along with advice.

Lyonesse posted 1/11/2014 17:02 PM

Welcome, I am sorry you needed to find this site.

Have you read everything in the healing library at left? Start there.

Yes, this is one of the most painful experiences one can have. You are normal in thinking that. We have had seasoned military vets on this site and people who have survived the death of spouses and other traumatic events who have said the betrayal by their spouse was the worst thing they went through.

However, every person here will tell you that you WILL survive this, and there WILL be better days ahead. Hold onto your thoughts of your kids – they really need you – they need one stable parent. Please talk to your doctor if you are feeling depressed or suicidal. Many people who never thought they would need anxiety or depression medication found it helped them get through the first months after D-day. Regardless of what your WH does, get IC (counseling) for yourself – you need support and someone to help you process your grief.

Your husband should be answering your questions; however, most WS (wayward spouses) find it very hard to face what they did at first. I strongly suggest Linda MacDonald How to Help Your Spouse Heal From Your Affair for him to read. In my situation, I was not willing to start MC (marriage counseling) until my H went to IC to figure out why he was such a liar. I didn’t see any point to it if he was unable to talk honestly about the affair.

I know you have a million questions, but here is my take on the two you asked first:

Please tell me when does the hurt start to subside?

The obsessive and emotional thoughts lasted for me for about a year, but lessened in frequency. So from no sleep and thinking and crying about it all the time in the first few weeks, by the end of the year it was about twice a week. I think after the second or third month I had found this site and began to accept that this reality was my new normal, and that I had to get strong and healthy (spiritually, mentally, and physically) so I could decide what I wanted to do next. It is different for everyone; you will learn a lot by reading other people’s stories here.
How does a person live 2 lives for so long? What does that say about the level of deceit?

That is the million dollar question. Supreme compartmentalization skills by a very damaged person. My H had a two-year affair, and I am not sure the “level” of deceit is any deeper than with a three-month affair or an extended emotional affair. They just kept it hidden longer and the same poor coping skills that let them get into an A in the first place let them keep it going as long as nothing happened to force them to stop. There is a thread in I Can Relate for people whose spouses were in long term affairs. There is a variety of opinions on this, but that is my two cents.

It sounds like you want to reconcile with your H, if possible. May I ask if he ended the affair, or was he caught? Is he withdrawn, or crying, or robotic? What does he say when you ask him questions about the A?

focusupward posted 1/11/2014 17:09 PM

Hurting, I am so sorry to hear of your circumstance and pain. If the feelings of ending your life increase please pick up the phone and get a hold of a counselor/pastor/etc. to get the reassurance you need that it is going to be ok. I have unfortunately been there twice over the last 4 years so I am familiar with your pain. I too have two young kids and thinking of them and my faith have gotten me through the initial pain. Hang in there, it will get better with time and a lot of hard work. Many hugs to you!

Hurting0316 posted 1/11/2014 17:21 PM

Lyonese he did not admit to the affair. He mistakenly left his cell phone at home and I found the evidence. I suspected something but NEVER imagined the magnitude of the affair. I had no idea it was happening so long. He is remorseful for the pain he's causing me but he will shut down and become defensive if I ask too many questions. I found out on Nov 13th and it took a month for him to "officially" end it. He avoided her calls and text messages. Since she no longer works with him he doesn't see her everyday. He admitted that he loved her and blamed the A on the fact that we were having problems 5 years ago and he thought our marriage was over. The only problem is he forgot to tell me.
He looks sad and lonely and I don't know if it's because he misses her or feels badly at the pain and destruction he has caused.

Lyonesse posted 1/11/2014 17:54 PM

That’s what I thought. He is still reeling from the fallout. In the ideal world, the WS would be immediately remorseful, but in reality, confused, selfish, and shallow people are usually too caught up in their own shame and self-pity to be much use to the spouse they hurt. It is not fair, but you are going to need to decide what YOU need in terms of support, and then decide what your boundaries are for this marriage.

On the second page of this thread, you will find posts that are marked by a target, such as Tactical Primer and Before You Say Reconcile and Boundaries and Consequences. You may find some help there.

He is remorseful for the pain he's causing me but he will shut down and become defensive if I ask too many questions.

This is pretty common. Some people throw the WS out and shock them into remorse. Some agree to write down their questions and the WS pulls them out of a bowl and answers one per night. To truly reconcile, you will need to ask your questions and hear your WS answer them honestly, but how much slack you are willing to give your WS to get to that place is your decision. I was adamant and repeatedly asked until I thought I had a truthful answer. My WH ran away rather than talk on more than one occasion. It caused a lot of further damage to our relationship, and the only reason he ever started dealing with it was because I was more than willing to dissolve the legal aspect of our M (that is, divorce. He already destroyed the other aspects of the M with his A). My advice to you would be to get the Not Just Friends book to understand more about infidelity for yourself, and the How to Help Your Spouse Heal book for your husband, and ask him to go to IC. And you go to your own IC and keep reading here!

The problem is you cannot make him give you what you need, but my hope is between the book and seeing your pain and MC and IC, he will begin to see that being transparent is the right way to rebuild your trust and to figure out for himself how he became a person who betrays. My H really struggled with reconciling the image he had of himself and the reality of what he had done (not that I have much sympathy for that, but it does seem to be a problem for most waywards after d-day).

The other possibility is that the A is not really over, just driven underground. I hate to bring that up when you are already in such pain, but it happens, especially with a LTA. Are you certain he is NC with the AP? Is he being transparent in all other ways (other than being forthcoming with answers) such as access to phone and e-mails, coming straight home from work, etc.?

ETA: If you haven't found them yet:

Tactical Primer:

Boundaries and Consequences 101:

Setting Healthy Boundaries:

Understanding the 180:

Great Posts for Newbies to Read:

Emotional Detachment: What is it? How is it accomplished?

Codependency in the Marriage: A BS’s common mistake

20/20 Hindsight: What I Should Have Done When I JFO

[This message edited by Lyonesse at 6:01 PM, January 11th (Saturday)]

cliffside posted 1/11/2014 20:35 PM

I'm just about one year from finding out (D-Day) and it's like it happened yesterday. I remember that horrid feeling where you almost, or even do, lose the feelings in your legs. Where your whole body has a weird numbing sensation and when you curl up in a ball. It's the worst. Feeling. Ever.

Your husband is not remoreful and he needs to get there first. Figure out your line in the sand and draw it. But post back and post often. We've all been there. This might be the best and worst club you've ever joined. We all truly understand and care but trust me, NONE of us want to be here.

ZedLeppelin posted 1/11/2014 21:35 PM

You may not have been the best wife (who the hell is?), but the affair is 100% on your husband. This is not your fault. He chose to have an affair. This is all on him

Secondly, you need to go on the offensive. You are the one that has been betrayed here, not him! He does not get to dictate how this will be resolved - you do! He does not get to mope around feeling sorry for himself. Either he starts doing the heavy lifting, or the marriage is over.

Counseling is completely pointless unless both are fully committed to building a new marriage.

1) File for divorce. This is an effective method of shocking your husband out of his affair fog. This does not mean that you actually will go through with the divorce as the process is a long one, and you can cancel it if he shows enough remorse.
2) Adopt 180.
3) Demand that you both have to take an STD test.
4) Have him write down a timeline of everything.
5) Expose the OW to her BH. Yes, they are divorced but he may still not know why.

You should not be ashamed of this. Ask friends and family members for support if you need it. If your husband objects - TOUGH!, he was screwing around for five years! You do what ever you need to do.

Another option could be to tell him to pack up his bags and go to the other woman. This may sound strange, but right now he thinks he has 2 women fighting over him. Cheaters feel superior to their betrayed spouse, and having two people fighting over them strokes their ego. By removing yourself from the equation you damage his ego. You also gain self-respect.

5 years is not a mistake. Using salt instead of sugar is a mistake. This is calculated betrayal.

iwillNOT posted 1/12/2014 00:47 AM


I want you to know that you have been heard, and that it does get better. Not as quickly as any of us would like, but it does lessen.

I recall with absolute clarity how much it hurt on/ in the early weeks after Dday. I never knew anything could hurt that much, never knew how much emotions could cause actual physical pain, and just wanted it to STOP. I, too, thought of ending my life, just to stop the pain. Anything to make it go away. I promise you this is temporary suffering and you WILL get through it.

Just...breathe. This minute. Then for another minute. Then another. Eat. Sleep if you can. Love your precious babes. Take it one day at a time, and know you don't have to make any decisions today. Treat yourself gently and kindly, as you are in mental and physical shock. Read everything on SI that you can, there is gold to be mined here; SI has been my biggest help, including marriage counseling. It can help you, too.

Hang on. We're all here for you.

TheAgonyOfIt posted 1/12/2014 01:19 AM

hi hurting,

so terribly terribly sorry for your sudden decent into hell. My Ws's affair was also 5 year LTA and the shock was unbearable and the pain suffocating.

i don't know how people live two lives for so long; i would say that are broken in some way. good people don't put others on a skewer. Is there somewhere you can go to feel safe and secure and loved or better yet can you ask him to leave for a while while you sort yourself out, ask a friend to stay with you? Sometimes it's harder to do those things because your torturer also becomes your comforter in a very normal but twisted sort of way.

if he's staying in counseling it's a good sign. therapist will likely go around the issue for a while; that's normal. maddening that they don't want to discuss it.

don't have too much advice for you; my head is fried but just wanted to say that I too have the experience of a 5 year LTA and it's a pretty huge deception.. i could have gotten over it though had my WS had a soul. he doens't and i'm out.

it will get better for you no matter what
one day at a time
xoox so sorry

2goodannie posted 1/12/2014 10:43 AM

Oh Hurting,
Welcome to the club that you never asked to join! I found out 3 months ago that my husband had a LTA 4 years...I know what you are feeling and I am so sorry. I still can't believe that this is my life. He was a good guy and now I am having to accept that he wasn't a good guy to me. Like you, I felt something was off. I assumed it was mid-life stuff and gave him space, but didn't know that all the golfing was actually spending time with the OW. I can't even call it an affair, because it was a relationship due to the time frame. I am also worried for you about it really being over. How does he suddenly stop it? My WH told me that he loved the OW, but not the same way he loved me and that she knew he would never leave me...I know, who is this man? He was also unhappy, but said nothing to me and I caught him. He didn't come forward to confess, share his guilt...I saw the texts that he sent to her trying to hook up, when I was suppose to be out of town. I know that the OW is also married, but I haven't done anything with it. I am trying to save all my energy for myself and at this point, I don't care. She had a part, but it was really my WH who chose to lie, cheat, betray me every day for years.
I wish I had a desire to make it work, but I can't be married to a cheater. I will never be able to trust him again. So, I am sitting here with the paperwork and just waiting to pull the trigger.
Hang in there, but I can't is so hard. This is your new normal and no one will get it, unless they have walked this walk. ...You have to go through the dark to see the light, but it is there!

Howie posted 1/12/2014 20:05 PM

The pain is unimaginable. Basically, I wanted to die everyday,almost every hour,for 6 months. I was happy,I had every reason to think she was.Then the horror of discovery, the confrontation, the awful revelations and for me, the forever unanswerable question "why"? Why was I worth a lie-two years of lies?Why-when you were having great sex ,did you go for more? Why, when I was loyal,did you put everything we had at risk? Why did you treat me as a thing?
The pain is universal (as a type, see testimony here), the situation very personal,individual, yours.As the prior poster said,welcome to the club we never wanted to join. But, we are stronger than we know. Do all you need to stay healthy. A terrible price has to be paid by the one least liable and then, you see you are stronger,that every lovely,important part of your good life is still, there, waiting for you to come back. We didn't want this to happen but all human history can be summed up as this--bad things happening to those who didn't deserve them. Courage -- you are more than this situation. And the pain does ease. My prayers for you.

nekorb posted 1/12/2014 21:58 PM

I just wanted to give you some (((hugs))) and virtual hot cocoa with extra marshmallows.

You're going to be ok. Keep saying that to yourself. Out loud so you can hear it.

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