Without revealing too many details, we have been together for 20 years, since we were 15 and have always been best friends and very close. People have always commented on how close we are- very touchy feely and affectionate, very connected; it's always been us against the world. We've had a tough time of it over the years, for various and numerous reasons, and pretty much all we have is each other and our children.
Last year was a particularly bad year for us, we had trouble with one of our children, and my husband did his back in and was literally laid up in terrible pain for a good 3 months. It was Hell for all of us, there was little I could do to help him and I was working and looking after the kids and doing everything else too during this time. His job involves a lot of travel and the driving is particularly hard on his back. When he started staying away more often instead of driving home again 'because of his back' I had no reason to complain as I hated seeing him suffer. When he started to be moody, angry and withdrawn from us, it was very hard to live with and pushed me to my limits, but I made allowances and assumed it was a combination of depression from the long term chronic pain, and side effects and later withdrawal from the very strong painkillers he was taking. I knew things weren't great but NEVER suspected another woman.
I don't know why, but one night in January I woke up needing to check his emails. And so it was uncovered. Of course he lied and denied all knowledge of her to start with as they all do, but over the course of the next few weeks everything came out in the wash and he ended it straight away.
He says it wasn't about her, it was an escape to a fantasy life, where there were no problems, money worries etc. It lasted most of last year and they met once a week usually. I found messages where he told her he loved her and wanted to be with her, and she was fully expecting him to leave me and the kids for her. He says he was just telling her what she wanted to hear to keep it going and never had any intention of leaving me. He said he has always loved me and though he felt incredibly guilty, he convinced himself that he 'needed that escape'. He called her up and confessed all of this to her too, that he never loved her and that he was stringing her along as an escape and didn't want to be with her, she went totally nuts at him. To my knowledge that was the last contact they had.
He is doing everything possible to help put things right, he is always willing to talk, has answered every one of my questions and appears extremely remorseful. I have full access to emails, phones, passwords etc..I'm not proud to admit that I put a mobile phone spy on his phone without his knowledge and so I know where he is and I know he hasn't been in touch- unless there is another phone but he assures me there is not :/
Still, even though I have no evidence, nothing he can say or do can convince me that he is not still keeping secrets.
The problem really is me, I'm not sure I can get past it :( I can't stop picturing them together and re-reading the messages and looking at the photos. I can't leave the house without something triggering me, can't stop thinking about the good times we shared last year- a holiday, some fab family days out etc. Things were bad in our lives but not so terrible between us most of the time. We were still close and affectionate and sleeping together (although obviously he told her we were not). I just don't understand it :(
Even now, we are still close and sleeping together etc, but I feel I am cheating myself by still loving him. He is trying so hard and constantly trying to reassure me that he loves me and wants to be with me, but I just don't know what to believe any more. How do I know he is not just telling me what I want to hear, like he did with her? I've told him I am taking a year to see how things go before I make a final decision. It has been so hard so far, I don't feel strong enough to move on from it- I am so broken. We have spent some nice times together recently, but then I feel sad and panicked that I have let my guard down slightly, and wonder if it was really a nice time or whether he is putting on an act. The slightest thing sets me off and I know my behaviour is hurting him. He says he understands and won't let me push him away but I don't want to hurt him or be the reason for his unhappiness. I had a panic attack yesterday as I was trying to think of somewhere we could take the kids for a day out, but everywhere reminded me of last year and the lovely days out we had when I 'thought' we were a happy family which I now know was a lie. I feel trapped.
And I'm SOOO angry with the OW, who not only knew he was married with children, but her own husband had left her for another woman a couple of years ago so how could she inflict that on somebody elses family, knowing the pain it causes?? I absolutely can't get over that fact. Fair enough she didn't know me but she knew what she was doing was wrong. She should have known better and I fantasise about telling her so all the time :(
I don't trust him, myself, anyone or anything any more and it's killing me. The world just does not make sense to me any more. I just don't know what to do, I can't cope with living like this and the constant mind movies etc. I feel torn to pieces and I'm so afraid and anxious all of the time and I feel like I'm going crazy :( I feel like the only thing that would fix me is a time machine or to have my memory erased. I hate the person I have become.
Will this ever pass?? Or should I just let him go and move on??
Sorry for the extremely long post and thanks for listening.
Sounds like you are leaning towards R, but may not have fully committed yet? By your questions above, there is a lot of healing that needs to take place for yourself. Enjoy those nice times when you have them, but know that every day is going to be different and your emotions are going to fluctuate. Especially regarding your WH.
Stay away from his AP. Fantasizing is fine. You can even post some vents here on SI if you feel up to it in order to get it out of your system. But contacting his AP won't do anyone any good, especially yourself, and I think you already know that.
As far as the mind movies and the rest of the pain you are experiencing, are you in IC at all? There are many things that can be done in IC to help you with your pain.
What about establishing what you need with your WH in order for you to heal and also what you need for the M?
Here are a few posts that you should check out if you haven't already. You can find most of the abbreviations here in the upper left corner in the Healing Library. Please check that section out.
I would also recommend reading these target threads in the Just Found Out forum:
Great Posts for Newbies to Read
Boundaries and Consequences 101 for all new BS
Before You Say Reconcile...
Keep reading. Keep posting. We are here for you Miss Trust.
That was one thing I refused to do when I was dealing with my ex's infidelity. I refused to direct my anger at anyone but the person directly responsible for his OWN behavior - and that was my exBF.
Does his OW have a boyfriend or husband? If so, be sure to tell them immediately as they should be given the truth.
I wish you strength and peace of mind.
Keep us posted. Hugs.
I think you will find that what you are feeling is VERY common. Even with a truly remorseful spouce, trust is very, very, very hard to repair. I think the "common" timeline for "healing" is 3-5 years. Is is possible to trust again - to get back the feeling security - yes. We have all seen it. Even with a truly remorseful spouse - is it guaranteed -- no.
Time, understanding your needs, and consistent actions from your WH are the path to possibly healing for you.
As on of the other posters asked -- are you in IC? It is something that many of us (me included) have found really valuable in seeing you through this. Also, MC can help as well.
I'm sorry you are here. Please keep posting. There is a wealth of knowledge - and always people who can understand exactly where you are coming from.
*** on a personal note -- with your feelings of anxiety and panic - consider that you may have a form of PTSD from this experience- and if you are having trouble - don't try and white-knuckle your way through it. It is very real - and more than a few members here have been diagnosed - and had to go through therapy for it. This kind of betrayal can rock your foundation in ways you never imagined possible. Don't discount your feelings -- you are not crazy.
Me - 36 BS
Him - doesn't matter
Read my profile story. To do that you go to my post up on the left and click on the single smiley face.
It's hard to know what to trust and what's real. Don't listen to words. That's just noise. Listen to actions. Pay attention to what your H is doing. Real remorse is not met with anger or frustration. Real remorse is doing anything and everything you can to help your BS (betrayed spouse).
Read the healing library. Read the stories of us that have had successful R. You will start to see a common theme.
Focus on you. Focus on getting strong focus on healing yourself. Learn how to be happy on your own. Learn that you can be happy and content being you. When you do th a tick it becomes much more clear as to what is going on if it's real and if it's really worth it.
Keep reading. Keep posting.
Stay strong for you. Stay strong for your kids.
Have your WH read How to help your spouse heal from your Affair (MacDonald) so that he is doing absolutely everything possible. Focus on you & finding something each day that makes you happy. A walk outside, a bubble bath...anything at all. The rest is just time. Get through each day, each week...gradually the mind movies will fade & your "normal" self will reappear. One day at a time... Peace & strength to you!
In answer to a few of your questions:
AP is/was single- her own husband of 15 years had an affair and left her for the other woman a couple of years ago! I've been tempted to let her family know but I don't really see what that will achieve. They may already know but at the end of the day they are her family and are going to take her 'side'
I am not just focusing my anger on the OW, I am throwing lots of it in the direction of my WH- and he is taking it all without complaint or getting defensive. He ended it and initiated the NC all off his own back and without hesitation, although it did take 2/3 weeks for me to get the full story out of him. I have never begged him to stay, or to choose me. I would only ever want him to be with me because he truly wants to be with me, and that is the only reason I can live with, if he had wanted to think about it I would not have looked back, I am not willing to be a consolation prize or second best (even though I feel like it inside).
In the end he said there was never a choice to make and that any feelings he may have had for her never came close to what he feels for me. I hope he is telling the truth :(
He knows he has done wrong, and is doing all he can to support me and make amends. In a way that makes it harder for me to vent at him because I do appreciate the effort he is making and I feel like I am making things worse. Sometimes I just want a huge argument so I can scream and shout!!!! "Why?? How could you?? Why??" If that makes sense?!!
I don't however, see the AP as an innocent victim. Having been in my shoes herself a couple of years previously, and knowing full well about his wife and family, she should have run a mile from his advances. She is a 40 year old mother and BS herself, not an impressionable 18 year old.
I can hand on my heart say that having gone through this I would a) Never want to, or be able to inflict this pain on someone else and b) That I would never fall for the old chestnut 'My wife and I are not close any more'. The alarm bells would be ringing loud and clear!!
With regards to IC, WH acknowledges that he has issues, low self esteem and faulty coping mechanisms and took himself off to MC a few days after D-day alone (He pleaded with me to go with him but I refused to go as at that point I didn't want to try to work it out). He had a couple of sessions but it was so expensive and financial problems are part of what he was trying to escape from, so it seemed counter productive. I also had a couple of free IC sessions but did not find it helpful, maybe I just didn't get on with the counseller. We are on a very long waiting list for a free MC service in our area. In the meantime we are trying to do it DIY style, and I have been writing a journal which is a huge help for me. I allow my WH to access and read it and add to it if he likes, if and when he wants to, so he knows what is going on in my head although it doesn't make pleasant reading for him :(
I really don't see what more he can do to help me, and yet I still struggle so much. Plagued with endless questions (what if he's hiding another phone, a secret email address, what if he is only staying with me for the kids, what if he is just settling for me because he can't afford to leave me etc etc) He has tried to assure me that none of these things are true but let's be honest, liars lie :( And without being able to climb inside his head and read his mind to extract the truth, what more can either of us do?? He can't win and I don't believe him whether it's true or not.
When it comes to making changes/improvements in our relationship, I struggle because we were already doing so many of the things the books suggest to reconnect. We had date nights, we snuggled up with a film and a bottle of wine, we went out for lunch, we kissed, cuddled, made love, went for walks hand in hand. Then once a week he would stay out for work and they would meet (she works at one of the places he visits for work so they were essentially working together on that day-he stopped visiting this place after D-day and she has recently left her job, I assume because she has given up hope of him coming back for her), go for a meal and then she would stay with him at his hotel or he would stay at her house. It's like he had a double life and I can't get my head round it.
Sometimes I feel I am too badly damaged to ever function in a relationship again, be it with him or somebody else. I even think (fleetingly) about suicide on occasion just to escape from the torment inside my head.
I suppose I just need more time :(
Now is the time NOT to focus on the relationship..
Now is the time to focus on building yourself up to be able to live alone and thrive..Figure out what you need in terms of education, career, finances, hobbies for you to be able to thrive without the marriage..
Once you feel that you would be okay leaving or staying, you may feel more grounded..Resume things you enjoyed, but sacrificed for the sake of the marriage..
Know that even if you are in R and you still find that you are unhappy, you can walk away anytime, 6 months from now, 20 years from now..
And your WH needs to get it in his head. heart and soul not to take you for granted... Don't provide him any guarantees that you will be with him tomorrow or next year...
Oh, by the way, I just finished mentioning the topic of post nups on another thread..Post nups are relevant and helpful for many couples who have suffered infidelity... Older couples, couples who would disagree on custody issues, and especially couples in which one of the spouses is completely financially dependent on the other spouse.
Who would want to face the future as an older retiree stuck in the house living with a remorseless unemployed WS (who is still in A) because divorcing him or her would create financial difficulties impossible to overcome?
Anyway why not bring up the topic of getting a post nup agreement if you don't already have one..Post nup that decrees financial/legal issues to be resolved heavily in your favor should your WH be caught cheating again..
There are few actions that show true remorse more than having WSs put their money/future where their mouth is...
[This message edited by doggiediva at 12:37 PM, May 28th (Wednesday)]