I’ve thought ceaselessly about what I want to say when I post for the first time here, and it has been quite hard to find the words – that is unusual for me since I write when I need to clear my head. It feels like, these days, my head will never be clear again.
I guess the best way to start is to explain my experience and what has drawn me to this site.
For over four months, I carried on a relationship with a man outside of my relationship. I think it started as they all start: I convinced myself my feelings were not real, and I told myself, “we can be friends – I can do this” despite an intense attraction between us both. His marriage had been in shambles for years, while my relationship with my partner was, on paper, everything a real, happy relationship should be. But, in spite of having everything I could ever want, some part of me still needed something else… That came in the form of a man who intrigued me on many levels, and soon it felt too late to stop the inertia of falling for him, though I knew it would devastate my family should they ever find out.
At first, I was somewhat open about at least knowing the other man (pardon me, but I am not yet versed in the acronyms so bear with me that I spell everything out!) I told my partner about him, at least what I felt like he needed to know so I could maintain, in my head, some sense of honesty about my feelings and actions. When I came to my partner and told him about the other man, it was at first an attempt to get us into a sexual relationship – between the other man and me – because inviting other people into our relationship had always been a dialogue between my partner and me. However, because he could sense that this was in no way about him, it was instead about my desire to be entirely with someone else WITHOUT him, of course red flags went up and my partner declined my suggestion to be with this other person.
After that, it was a problem for us – because I began to withdraw from my relationship, and I think he could sense it was my desire for the other man that caused my focus to shift from us to someone else. He pushed me constantly to open up about my feelings, but as it often goes, I even lied to myself that this was anything more than sex.
That led to me carrying on with the other man in private. We shared text messages throughout the day, and we met up in person, most of the time at my house, but also other places… My partner knew nothing of this, but instead was told – by me – that it was, “not a big deal, I am handling it, everything will be fine”. He knew better, of course, but I think he desperately wanted to believe that what I was saying was true.
Eventually, we had an out-of-town trip together and right before that, I had an encounter with the other man that caused me to try and end it between us. I suffered with deep anxiety that caused me to have panic attacks all day, and when my partner saw me on our trip, it was then, about two months after this began, that I finally told him about my feelings and everything that occurred between the other man and me.
Even through that, he committed to staying with me, but on the condition that I would really let the other man go, and again focus entirely on mending our relationship.
My intentions were short lived, and soon after we arrived back home after our out-of-town trip, the other man broke the no-contact rule we had made, and soon thereafter again it seemed we had picked up where we left off, but this time with more intensity and more depth between us – I think because we felt we dodged a bullet and perhaps would “get away with it” this time… Though I tried to avoid realizing that was happening inside me, I see clearly now that indeed it did get more intense, and I was more engrossed in the affair than ever.
Adversely, I also became more depressed, withdrawn, and bitchy. I started to pick apart my partner and find reasons to be mad at him for simply being who he was. It was made worse by his attempts to be close to me, because I knew I was still lying, and him being close to me made me feel sure that he would see through the bullshit and know instantly that I was not at all doing what I had promised.
Six days ago, I got a call from the other man, randomly, while I was playing with my children at a park. I knew instantly that it was not him, because we made an agreement long before that if we were to talk on the phone, we would ask first and never call out of the blue. I knew not to answer the phone, and for good reason; his wife left me a nasty voicemail declaring she had his phone and saw all the correspondence between us. I knew INSTANTLY that it was THE MOMENT.
THE MOMENT of discovery. THE MOMENT when I no longer could hide a single feeling, a single thought, a single truth.
I endured calling the wife back, and I listened as she recounted to me all the details she discovered. She knew verbatim the words I told her husband, and she had seen the pictures we sent between each other. She knew, and she vowed that soon, in whatever way she had to do it, that my partner would know everything, too.
I raced home, called my partner and told him to meet me there, and within minutes I found myself face-to-face with the bitter, ugly truth of my actions of the previous two months. The previous two months in which I had promised it was over, I was now confessing that I had lied – intentionally – over and over, knowing full-well how much it would hurt him, I had to finally tell my story.
The next day, everything I said was corroborated when my partner met the other man’s wife. She handed him the proof in the form of his phone, and he proceeded to read everything. From the declarations of love, to the inappropriate pictures, to the way we planned our meetings. He knew that the other man had cuddled me in our bed. He knew that the other man had desired me and had his desires met. He knew the depth of my infidelity, and there was not a damn thing I could do to stop the cascade of sadness awash on his face.
It is six days in to recovery, as I see it, and I have not had any contact with the other person. It has been six days since D-Day, and my partner still has the devastation deep in his eyes, but so do I. We spent the past weekend together, and we both cried, we both found ourselves bewildered by the reality of our life now: I cheated on my fiancé, and he now has to unravel every lie I’ve ever told him, wondering if any part of who I was during this is actually who I am.
Right now, I am simply trying to get by, minute-by-minute. I told him last night that it is hard to be in our home, because most of the memories I have with the other man happened right here. The guilt over that is palpable. The shame is intense. The self-doubt, criticism, and hatred is real.
However, so is my relief. I wonder if anyone can relate to that. That in the midst of this bitter truth, AT LEAST now I am not lying anymore. AT LEAST I have that. To me, right now, that is everything. Because the lying is evil. The deceit rips apart the soul and captures every single ounce of goodness, joy, and peace and steals it away with great pleasure. The darkness that overcomes the deceiver is only lightened by the drug of the affair; seeing the other man was the only time I felt safe over the past four months.
Because being around my partner, I was living a lie. I was simply a vindictive, intentional liar, selfish and absent of every shred of decency…
But I see now why. I see now what overtook me. No lack of self-reflection or responsibility here, because I take ownership of my choice to have an affair, but I see that something dark washes the soul. Something I can only say is like a drug. I’ve read other people’s posts on here and felt a sense of comfort that I am not the only one who felt that way. The rationalizations are ceaseless when in the midst of getting the fix; it overwhelms you, overtakes you, and the only thing that matters is getting that next rush. The affair was the rush – it is like nothing I have ever experienced, and it was powerful enough to draw me out of the best relationship of my life into the arms of a married man.
I need help. Help to accept that this is inside me. The craving to have attention from other men. The longing for sexual relationships with multiple partners started early in my adolescence, and it bleeds into my relationships – that is not healthy, and it needs to be stopped. The desire to have intimacy with partners outside of my relationship is not new – I have struggled with this for years. But this is the first time I really see how destructive that desire IS. I am committing to do everything I can to get help for this.
The best place to start, right now, is total transparency. Even though it hurts my partner, he is committed to making this work, so long as I am honest to the point where it hurts. I have shared with him my feelings of withdrawal from the other man, and that I do actually miss him – in fact, I think I described it as feeling like a death. The sudden loss of contact with the other man was absolutely, intensely jarring - couple that with D-Day, and it has left me feeling helpless and stressed, but I know there is no turning back. If I want to make my relationship work, and I want to have the kind of happiness and trust that we once had, there is no alternative but absolute transparency.
Beyond that, I think it is moment-to-moment.
I cannot undo what I have done. And I sure as hell cannot take away my partner’s pain, or salvage the family I tore apart – his wife and child are devastated – and my own children, though too young to really understand, sure as hell would not like it if my partner left us now. This is on me. And me alone.
The first steps are the darkest, but I am grateful, because I think they’re also the first steps towards light. Towards understanding. Towards healing. At least, that is my hope.
Your post resonated. Being "honest" and sharing juuuust enough info with your partner. Continuing it after "handling it", and having it snowball into chaos. BTDT.
However, so is my relief. I wonder if anyone can relate to that. That in the midst of this bitter truth, AT LEAST now I am not lying anymore. AT LEAST I have that.
Please take some time to skull around the site. Make yourself familiar. Check out the Healing Library. (Yellow box on the left) Read in the Wayward forum. Participate in any threads that ring bells on your behavior and thought processes. I understand you are only a week into this, but have you thought about going into therapy (IC)? Might be something you want to look into. Tip- Find someone who is experienced in infidelity. Someone who will push you and help you work thru the process of finding your "whys" and changing your current self-destructive path.
Good luck. Stick around. You're not alone here.
"Courage is being scared to death and saddling up anyway." - J. Wayne
I'm very glad you confessed and told your BS (betrayed spouse) everything. Trickle truth (aka TT) where you slowly let out bits of information, minimise or lie about the A (affair) is, according to some BS', more damaging to the marriage than the A itself.
My advice to you now is to get yourself into IC (individual counselling) dig deep and find out why you had the A.
Read, read and read some more. The healing library on this site is a good place to start. 'How to help your spouse heal from your affair' and 'not just friends' are also two of the first things you should read.
Answer all of your partners questions with honesty. If he's angry, meet it with compassion, never become defensive or angry yourself. Validate his feelings.
It is six days into recovery, as I see it
Be very, very careful with this. This phrase jumped out at me. Right now, your BS has had his world blown apart. He is doing well just to get out of bed in the morning. He will not see it this way, recovery is not even on his mind right now. All he can think about is surviving each minite. If he is getting that vibe from you he may feel like you are trying to rush him or rugsweep. You are further along in this process than he is, don't leave him behind in this.
It's a long and hard road, one step at a time.
Chin up. Unwavering. Fight. I can do this.
It is a relief to get it all out in the open, I agree.
Be careful that you're not holding anything back in some misguided effort to protect your fiancé (which I'll abbreviate as BS for betrayed spouse) from further emotional damage. On the contrary, the longer you hold stuff back, the more painful the disclosures are to your later on--the Trickle Truth (TT) that BrokenButTrying mentions. Once you do confess everything, you'll feel free. You won't be anxious about your BS looking at your emails, texts, phone logs, browser history, etc. as he tries to verify that you're not still cheating on your BS secretly. No tell new lies to your BS & no hiding old lies from your BS.
This is a pretty good place to share your thoughts and fears and difficulties. After being on her for just about 3 months, I don't think there's anything unique about anyone's particular circumstances. There's someone on this message board that has experienced what you're going through and can offer helpful advice. You'll find support from the members here, and you'll get hard questions that you need to face--no enablers here.
Best of luck to you as you and your BS as you struggle through this.
If you have further affairs he will forgive once more. How does this help you in your struggle to remain faithful? Its going to be difficult to respect your partner if he isn't prepared to say that he has reached his tolerance for humiliation and pain, and further transgressions will end the relationship. The green light for further unfaithfulness needs to go.
I have shared with him my feelings of withdrawal from the other man, and that I do actually miss him – in fact, I think I described it as feeling like a death. The sudden loss of contact with the other man was absolutely, intensely jarring
BS here. First, I congratulate you on your willingness to look inside yourself and see the pieces that allowed an A to happen. That's a hard step. You're ahead of the game imo.
Second, very gently, I would stop telling your partner things like those I quoted. I understand, he wants you to be brutally honest, but I have to question where that ends. What is being healed by him hearing you describe missing this man that helped destroy your relationship? I commend your partner on his strength, because I'm certain if I'd heard anything like that, I wouldn't have made it in R. The words you say now, while there is still a very real shock that your partner is in, will echo in his mind for a very long time.
Please don't misunderstand me. I'm not saying you should lie to your partner, at all. If you have contact with OM, even unintentionally, you should be as open as possible as fast as possible. You should offer transparency in every area of your life. However, isn't answering a question about missing OM with something like "I'm focusing my energies on us, and trying to deal with my own issues, so OM isn't really in my thoughts." the truth? Is there harm in that answer? Is there help in answering that yes, you miss OM, and losing him so quickly feels like 'a death', which no one views as a positive event?
Keep on the road you're on. You should feel good about your willingness to face this head on. It's not easy to really face ourselves, infidelity or not.
Nobody with any self-respect will put up with such behavior for long. You are 6 days beyond Dday and confessed only because OM got caught by his BW who did the right thing and told your SO about it. Do you think SO thinks you've had a massive change of heart and recognized the error of your ways? He knows you'd still be having sex with OM in his bed if BW had not discovered the affair.
Have you told SO about your obsession for multiple,sex partners directly, and not just by offering threesomes? That's transparency. He is entitled to know who you are deep down inside yourself.
Will he still be there if you are wholly honest with him? That's up to him.
However, so is my relief. I wonder if anyone can relate to that.
Absolutely. I felt a huge weight lifted from me. I actually feel guilty about how much better I felt almost immediately.
I have shared with him my feelings of withdrawal from the other man, and that I do actually miss him
My MC warned both of us that this could happen to me. It's good to be mindful of that emotion. Make sure you don't stop there. You don't necessarily miss the AP. You need to work on finding out what shortcoming in you that your A covered up.
There are several components of your post that resonate a lot with me. I understand the self-doubt, anxiety, etc., that comes with coming to terms with what we've done.
Myself, I am still highly dealing with that. I look back at all the things I did (check my profile for details), and cringe at the person I was. I am in a wonderful place of true fidelity now, and can echo some of the things other members have said, such as the feeling of freedom that comes with knowing there is nothing to hide.
Like you though, I still have self-doubt. Not about my being faithful, though - my doubts are even more disturbing.
They stem from what I interpret as my subconscious . It makes me think things like "maybe I don't really love my wife", or "maybe I really don't want to be with her anymore", but when I look at her, my life, my kids, I realize just how much I have and how much I love it.
My IC (independent counselor) has been great about things that may have led me to where I am today - things about my childhood and the unhealthy occurrences of sex that may have led to this, but hasn't really helped me in pursuing the "why's" to do what I've done - and that's where I really want to go now.
I WANT to better understand the why so these doubts will disappear. I don't want my subconscious causing me anxiety anymore, but I have to work through it one day at a time - and so do you.
It's hard, but you can do this - the hardest part is the repetitive nature of what causes you guilt now.
Going aback to things that resonate...
Absolutely. I felt a huge weight lifted from me. I actually feel guilty about how much better I felt almost immediately.
THIS is exactly right. I feel bad about EVERYTHING, even things I *maybe* shouldn't feel bad about, which only causes me more guilt and attacks my anxiety levels that much more.
But as I said - one day at a time. You can do this.
"The truth shall set you free, but first it will make you miserable."