My affair ended 2 months ago and my husband has been devastated since finding out.
I had an 11 month affair with a neighbor that I also commuted to work with occasionally. He instigated the affair but I didn't refuse the advances. My husband was very busy with work and we got lost in all of the kid/work demands. I'm not blaming him at all for the affair. It was my choice completely. I have taken responsibility for it and I am doing everything I can to make amends. I took a leave of absence from my job for several months so we could spend more time together. We have two grade school age children and this is also helping them.
One thing he is having the hardest time dealing with is feeling like he will always be considered the second best man in our marriage. I don't love the OM (thought I did) and my BH recovered a lot of the texts and read them. He feels like the passion he saw in the texts are more than I can ever feel for him.
In short, I do feel like we can have the same passion and I am trying to rebuild our relationship. We are in MC and IC.
Any suggestions about how to specifically help him with this?
(No stop sign - 2x4s welcome, but keep in mind I'm new at this)
The primary first step is remorse...not regret (That is being sorry you got caught). Remorse is active. It's proactively searching for ways to make your H feel safe while he heals. It can take a long time and you must be focussed for the long haul. Gently: The emotional damage of betrayal is greater then if you had died. DO NOT underestimate the severe blow to his self esteem and emotions. He has been completly wiped out by the one person who was supposed to have his back.
You will see written that the following are pretty basics gotta haves:
1) Total transparency...don;t make him ask for passwords and "police you" .Volunteer the stuff so he will feel safe
2) IC for you both. You need to understand why you cheated. Probably a huge moral jump from who you thought you were. Figure it out and fix it
3) MC: Gotta figure out how to be a couple again and work on the issues .
My wife was 45, so similar there too.
I always feel like number two, or number 5 if you read my story. Logically I know that's not true, it just feels that way(emotionally).
Human beings make mistakes, terrible mistakes. They drink and drive and kill someone for example. None of us is perfect.
To err is human, to forgive divine.
The first flush of love is intoxicating, and I'm sure the sex was great. Point out that was true when you met your H too. The difference is that true love goes past that new "rush"; that is what you didn't get to with AP, or you wouldn't want R. In other words, he won the game, he is not consolation prize.
Physical affection, from handholding to great eye contact sex, as much as you can muster, will help too. Watch for triggers, ask if you see that look, squeeze his hand, apologize, ask how you can help.
I'm not much for the fix yourself crap. You aren't broken because you slipped past boundaries once in your life, got caught up in something. The aim wasn't to hurt anyone, even though you did. Forgive yourself first, or you'll be useless healing him.
I looked up (Didact), your BS to understand your story.
I agree with NitroBob about some of his post but not the parts about not fixing yourself, or this was a mistake, or this is about forgiving yourself.
Your BS, and you have done extremely well following your D-Day. He has been remarkable at taking charge of the situation, evaluating what took place with extensive knowledge of the numerous episodes within your affair. Yes this is one affair, but it could be a hundred decisions to betray your husband over the 11 months, where you stepped out of your marriage, risked your children, your spouse, your health, friendships just for some good cake eating sex.
You were in control during the affair and you lied extensively to control your marriage, now it is your husbands turn to control. Only he gets to decide as to whether your marriage continues from here or not. As I said earlier, he is showing such strength in trying to keep it together, but the pain of betrayal, and lies is almost unbearable. His feelings and emotions will rollercoaster up and down over the coming months or years. He will trigger from the memories of the information you gave him, and any others that you have held back.
He especially feels hurt when you compared his love making to your AP. It was a part of the honesty, that he cannot un-ring what now knows.
To help him get through this?
1. Be completely honest about anything he asks of you. Totally transparent about who you contact and what you do. Never, never lie again!
2. Be totally supportive when you see him hurting, not necessarily by words but instead by your actions.
3. Work with him to make him secure during your lovemaking. Again, actions - not words. It is difficult for us BS to perform when our mind is elsewhere - my d-day was a 1 1/2 years ago, I still have visions of the OM with my WW. You can imagine what that does to the level of intimacy - it completely depresses the moment.
4. I still do not know why my WW decided to have an affair. It happened at what I would have called the pinnacle of our 7 year relationship, my career, my physique. Help your BS understand why you gave yourself permission to cheat. Why you had no sexual boundaries.
5. Focus on your children, spend your time with them and your husband together. As a family unit, it is amazing how the children help us bond during these difficult times. Greatest therapy for all of you.
6. Consider moving away from your area and the neighbour.
7. YOu had sex in your own house with AP, a car and your own bed. Get rid of anything that will remind your husband of you having sex with the neighbour.
8. If your husband wants you to quit your job, do so. He isn't being selfish, once again, your job may be a trigger. It is what you said led up to having the affair, the sharing of rides to work.
Know this, and I am not trying to make you feel more badly than you already are.
Your marriage from before the affair no longer exists, it can never be the same again. Your BS may forgive you, he may remain, he may leave but he will never and cannot ever forget the hundreds of choices you made to cheat. You had his absolute trust, now you only can have the trust you earn back. You had agreed to the sanctity of marriage, you took vows, and threw it out the window for some gratification sex.
You seem to be working to fix yourself, carry on, continue with professional help for yourself to assist you find your way back. There is no easy fix, this will take a long time.
I wish you luck.
he will always be considered the second best man in our marriage.
In reality during the A the above statement was in fact true.
Without fail all BHs think this to some degree. The path that worked best for me was to get a plan into place to leave my M and learn to derive my personal value external to the M. I knew I wou8ld survive and be happy even if my M did not.
In short I had to care less about the M and more about myself. I had to hold back enough from the M to ensure that I could leave the M. I still am not 100% in my M. Considering the past, I doubt I will ever be.
My W has to be 100% in the M. That is a non-starter. I am not going to 100% for many years. Fair ? No. Niether was having an open M and forgetting to tell me about it.
IC was invaluable. My W spent a lot of time building back the trust and doing anything that I needed to feel safe. Yes it was/is hard on her, but again, so was finding out she cheated on me.
Look at this from his perspective. Based on all the evidence, the sentence in quotes is true. More loyalty was demonstrated to OM then to your BH. Honestly I belive you don't think that way, but he does and the burden of disproving that falls on you if you want your M to reconcile.
Amends are key. Spend 200% more effort that you did in the A in winning your H back. Pretend like you are dating or you are really trying hard to woo him to get him to propose. It will be hard and he will not acknowledge it, but you do it because it is the right thing to do and your only chance of having a second M (same people).
At the end of the day your old M is dead and gone. This is starting over from almost nothing.
You know your BH better than we do so you'll know what will help him best. Some BHs want post nups, lie detectors tests or even separation. The point is that only very extreme actions are going to register. Does OM live nearby ? Work nearby ? Would you be willing to move ? Have you confessed your A to OMs BW ? NC letter ?
At some point I guess I realized that my W did this to herself and as a result messed up her life more than mine. My life is not tethered to hers and I can absolve myself from the mess she created. I did not get a choice therefore was not something I can control or should share blame in.
Be an uber wife, mother. It takes time and only once the intense emotions fade will you begin to get any credit. Prove as often as you can in any way that you can you want your H and only your H in your life forever. If you can't be merciful and let him go. Sometimes this stuff is a deal breaker. D honorably and fairly.
Agreeing to R with someone shows character, strength and generosity. Not all people have it in them to even try. Honor how good of a person your H is and strive to earn your M back.
One day at one time, don't be afraid to fail, but effort counts as much as effect does. The decision for him to stay M is largely out of your hands and will be from now on. Don't try to force it. Make being M to you as attractive and beneficial to him as you possibly can. Be transparent. Keep NC. Agree to permanently end all activities that contributed to the A forever. Tell him the truth and let him make his own decisions about the future of the M.
He will heal mostly on his own (hard truth). With that comes a new comfortable in his own skin feeling and can be very empowering. It may look like indifference to the M, but it is investing in his happiness elsewhere to ensure that he does not get blindsided again.
DS 1, DD 6
Dday 8/31/11. EA/PA. Lied to for 3 years.
Every truth comes to light in a long enough timeline.
Basically be willing to do anything to help your BH feel he's not still #2 to your needs.
Love is an action that shows you care about that other person's happiness more than your own
"The darkest night is dispelled by the humblest of flames."
Any suggestions about how to specifically help him with this?
(No stop sign - 2x4s welcome, but keep in mind I'm new at this)
As a BS, I think it is incredibly important to never say anything good or respectful about the OM or to show concern for his well being.
In my situation, based on emails, the OW was the sexual aggressor and very pushy.
So one thing that has helped me is when my husband expresses regret for ever meeting her and refers to her as just an available slut. But then he always adds that, he, too, was just an available slut. That last part is very important to me. Because they were BOTH ACTING in a way that hurt their marriages.
Also, do not ever talk to him again. If he fishes for contact ignore him, and show any calls, emails, letters, texts to your husband, pronto.
No contact is important and send a no contact letter, now, if you haven't already. Let him help you write it, and mail it.
In the letter, no goodbyes or I will miss you. Just tell him he was a mistake and how much you regret the affair, and how your main focus now is saving your marriage.
If The OM.... oops, pops out of a store, accidentally on purpose and tries to talk to you, act as if he doesn't exist. Do not engage.
Someone will see such interactions and it will get back to your husband.
You received a lot of other excellent advice. Particularly realizing that your marriage is now dead. You need to recommit and that includes a new marriage.
For me, my anniversary is a painful farce, and I no longer wish to celebrate it.
Also, reassure your husband that you love him and The OM was just a distraction. Not anyone of significance. Find ways to prove this is true, too, and not just an empty statement.
In my situation, I read emails between the OW and my husband. In them, she was talking about how she was never in love with her husband, and how she would leave him in a minute if he said the word.
He never firmly told her that leaving me was not an option. So, to me, and in my fantasy it was something that was always on my husband's mind too.
Therefore, in your no contact letter it may help to state, that leaving your husband was never on your mind, and that the OM was simply a distraction, one that you will always regret.
[This message edited by seethelight at 9:46 AM, May 27th (Tuesday)]
I really don't have any advice to add, but I want to express my gratitude and compliments to you for wanting to help your husband return to his rightful place of honor and respect in your home.
I don't know if this is one you can "win". I hope so, for both you and your husband's sake.
She told me that the sex was better than ours because of a number of issues, including his size, his fitness and that he cared more. Other details she doesn’t want to tell me, because they are too trivial in her mind, or (/fear) they are even more devastating. She is angry if I ask for them.
This is pretty much the same story I got from my wife about her affair.
It was a part of the honesty, that he cannot un-ring what now knows.
Honestly.... I NEVER GOT OVER IT. It has been 28 years, she has died, and those words still crush me on the inside. I have never felt like anything other than "second rate", even with my two other wives that I married after she passed away.
I think the previous poster is correct, that he will not be able to "un-ring" that bell which will clang in his head as long as he lives.
He feels like the passion he saw in the texts are more than I can ever feel for him.
And this is precisely what you told him. He cannot believe that you can prefer another man sexually, yet be just as passionate about him as you are the other man.
Neither do I believe it. It just doesn't add up.
I do feel like we can have the same passion
How? Why? What proof of this can you offer ?
In light of the fact that you have clearly said and demonstrated otherwise ?
[This message edited by tfkeel at 7:19 PM, May 27th (Tuesday)]
She told me that the sex was better than ours because of a number of issues, including his size, his fitness and that he cared more.
Just to add because the physical aspects typically have more significance than the emotional ones (to BHs) this is the part he struggles with.
He is undoubtedly a better man than OM, but he heard he is not in a key area of your M. Being intimate is going to trigger him to the point he will avoid this altogether. R doesn't work too well without this being remedied.
He heard he can never compete with OM in terms of physical intimacy.
If this is true and you feel that way it becomes something that will always be there. If it was said in a moment of anger to hurt him that might be easier to address and fix. There are many ways to look at this and it will require him redefining what his masculine prowess is. IC is a must.
He needs to feel he is "more that sufficient," in the bedroom. The rest might be fixed, but this really requires some serious attention.
How ? By communicating about it and what he can provide that OM couldn't gives you a start, but his ego is destroyed is in serious need of repair. Build him up as much as you can in every aspect of your M.
It is possible to overcome, but a lot of that damage needs to be addressed before you have anything close to normal.
If it was said in a moment of anger to hurt him that might be easier to address and fix.
It would be, indeed. If you exaggerated about the attributes of the OM in order to "blame" your husband for your affair, or out of revenge, this could actually have a solution.
"Come clean" about this quickly, if this is what you did. Over time, as you continue to build him up and restore his trust, his pain will subside.
[This message edited by tfkeel at 10:44 AM, May 28th (Wednesday)]
It's probably unreasonable to think you will be your wife's best lover unless you are her only one. Women who are beautiful can sample quite a few even before marrying, let alone during!
As men, though, we want to be the biggest, the best etc. I think the way I came to terms with it is that we only have to be good enough to please, not the best. Same with income, looks, fitness, sense of humor etc. I think it's also true that the thrill of new makes comparisons a bit suspect. On the other hand, some men are very good at sex, and that may be from experience, perhaps not the kind of experience the more noble of us care to indulge in!
BH recovered a lot of the texts and read them. He feels like the passion he saw in the texts are more than I can ever feel for him.
That's one of the worst parts. My girlfriend wrote "I love you" to her AP on a daily basis. She NEVER said it to me. Her letters and texts to him showed far more love and passion than she ever showed me, before or since her affair.
Can your husband recover from knowing that you loved the other man more than you loved him? I dunno. I haven't recovered yet, and it's been over a year.
Hardship is a pathway to peace...