About 3 years ago I started in with some serious medical problems. Some days I thought I was going to die, other days I prayed I would die so I didn't have to suffer any more. During this time I was exceptionally weak physically, and it affected me emotionally. My husband that I supported through thick and thin was not there for me as I felt he should be. I felt like I was a burden, especially when I had to make several ER visits in a short space of time and had enough brain scans to last 100 lifetimes. One time he refused to come home and take me so I had to drive myself in to the ER with stroke like symptoms.
For years I was repeatedly told I was a lazy, stupid, useless dumbass even in front of our children. I started to lose their respect. After a while I felt that if my husband told me that all the time it must be true. I felt so alone, so empty, so broken. I felt like the favorite toy that gets played with till it's broken and then I was discarded like trash.
My affair was not something I ever planned, I never wanted to be that person. I was in a very dark place by the time I met the "other man" in a training class. I asked a question that he did not have the answer to so he emailed it to me. Over the next few weeks we exchanged a couple of emails about events. At some point we started to talk about our lives and what we wanted from them. I was registered in school to take a GED because the College I wanted to use didn't recognise my High School equivalent of a Diploma. I had already started working on a resume and had researched which Schools offered the Career training I needed. I was not getting support and encouragement from my husband but my email friend was supportive. It meant so much to hear someone tell me that I was smart and could do anything I put my mind to. I felt hurt at the same time because it should have been my husband telling me this not someone else. Having someone believe in you when you feel like the world is a dark lonely place boosts your self esteem tremendously. I eventually met with the other man and we talked for a few minutes about our email friendship and agreed to leave it at that. Shortly after that everything changed, things became physical the 2 times we met after our initial meeting. It felt wrong and I still can't say with any certainty why we did allow things to change. I regret my actions because I know that the choices we made affected more than the 2 of us, we both had a partner/spouse that we didn't intend to hurt. I was emailing the other man to set up a meeting when my husband saw the email. The meeting I was attempting to set up was to let the other man know that I was not comfortable with the physical relationship, I would, however, be ok with emailing each other from time to time.
I passed my GED only to have my husband tell me I always thought you could do it but never thought you would do so well. To pass you need an average of 425 per subject and a score of no less than 410 in a subect. I had an average of 598 per subject, I was so proud, the lazy, stupid useless dumbass was smarter than anyone thought. Pop! That was my world deflating again along with my new found courage. Long story short I continued my education and got my EMR and am now working on my EMT. I was so thrilled to be doing this but my actions mean that I am now working on school and practicals with very little support from my husband. Every time I come home really excited about my class or my practicals I see in his face that he resents my happiness. Sad thing is, I really don't think he realizes how badly this hurts. I know I hurt him and I will always regret that but we are trying to work things out. All I want is for him to allow me a little happiness over my achievements, and to share it with me. Every time he achieved something I was always so thrilled and proud. Perhaps one day he will be able to do the same for me. I have a long and winding road to recovery and earning his forgiveness. I just wish that once in a while he would be proud of me. I want to feel like the new toy that he is proud to have and not always feel like a broken reject.
Ok. Two seperate things here. One is your choices the other is your BS's treatment of you.
I could have written much of your story. Health issues. Abusive marriage. Less than supportive (to say the least) spouse.
It was my choices that did the most damage to me.
You need to believe in yourself when the world is a dark place. That's where your support needs to originate.
Work on building self respect. While everyone talks about self esteem it's self respect that is the safest and most beneficial to develope.
Once you have built that up you will find you won't tolerate behavior from yourself or others that will erode that or threaten your integrity.
I didn't choose to reconcile. Sometimes healing means making tough decisions and recognize that while your choices for dealing with some very valid issues was very unhealthy those issues do exist and distance from the source maybe needed.
This site is a Godsend. There are wise members here. Keep posting and reaching out. This whole journey is sooooo worth it.
'til the roof comes off. 'til the lights go out. 'til my legs give out, can't shut my mouth
Welcome to SI.
Feel free to look around and check out the Healing Library. (Yellow Box to the left)
I hope that your medical problems have stabilized and improved. Scary stuff there.
Work on building self respect. While everyone talks about self esteem it's self respect that is the safest and most beneficial to develop.
Respect is acceptance and awareness. It's what you do. Action. It's...holy cow I can't even put it into words at this particular moment but the lightbulb just went off.
It's the respect that I've been nurturing and building. Duh!
ETA: Ignore my tangent.
Really AmIBroken, SI is pretty flippin' awesome and I hope that you somehow find the help and guidance you need here.
[This message edited by Aubrie84 at 3:10 PM, February 12th (Tuesday)]
"We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them."
I try every day to be supportive and patient and have been working on coping with a traumatic event in my past that I never had the courage to face at the time. Just goes to show that you can block things out of your mind because they are so painful but 28 years later they raise their ugly head, they mess you up worse than they did when it happened.
[This message edited by Deeply Scared at 5:33 PM, March 5th (Tuesday)]
Oh boy seems like there is an awful lot you've been dealing with. The thing is, as painful as t must have been, none of this stuff justifies, nor excuses why you chose to have an A.
I can understand wanting support from , well anyone really. I can't imagine how tough things must have been at times. But, and this is a massive but, you still made really unhealthy choices.
You post really reads as a justification. I am sorry to read of your pain and stress, and I feel for your lack of support and care from you BH.
However, despite all of that you had a choice - you could have set boundaries to protect yourself and either got him work to help you, or leave him. Choosing an A
was only ever going to be destructive.
How long ago was your Dday and when do you feel your husband forgave you? Do you really think he has come to terms with this, or has he actually rugswept?
In answer to your question - sound like you have a lot of things to work on. I think you need to do an awful lot of thinking about why you changed this from an EA to a PA. Did you have an alarm bell ringing when you started to interchange emails with the OM which were far more detailed than work stuff. Why do you think he was encouraging this - did he not know you were married?
I suspect there are self-esteem/respect issues deeply rooted here, but also what allowed you to let another man meet your needs - the need for support and affirmation...I think reading the 5 love languages may be useful to you.
What does you BH say about your A? How is his behaviour towards you now? I kind of get the feeling that may be you feel that because he has *forgievn* you, he has no reason to work on his unhealthy attitudes towards you. Have you actaully talked about how you feel about his lack of support? Does he know what you need/want from him?
Sounds like you feel you have a penance to pay for because of this A. You need to undertsand how and why this happened and you also need to learn to forgive yourself.
Of course you're not proud of what you did, but you sound, I don't know, very submissive about it. It's not enough to be not proud of it and know its wrong. It's not enough to just be supportive. It's about understanding your behaviour and adapting that to more healthy behaviour and stronger coping strategies that are to protect you from harm - physically, emotionally and mentally.
I guess it bothers me that you're post is all about how YOU'VE been treated by your BH and, then oh, btw I had an A; rather than yes my M has huge problems, but oh dear god I had an A and betrayed my BH. If genuinely all your BH makes you feel is unsupported and unloved, and there is hardly any give back, then why do you believe it's the right thing to fix this marriage....surely it'd be healthier for you and your child to separate?
I'm guessing that you've posted one side of a complex relationship, and while I am sure you must have felt very alone, he offers you something.
I'm sorry to challenge you in this way, but without challenge we do not progress, learn or heal.
Are you both in MC? Are you seeing an IC? What exactly are you doing to support him and is he acknowledging your marriage had problems which you both need to deal with, as a separate issue.
Read UO's post - it's much shorter than mine... but she comes from a similar place...and she's right - there are two issues here:
1. Your M
2. Your A
and not necessarily in that order.
From reading your post, I too would question whether you should/want to reconcile...and if not, then that's ok. But you still need to work on your A stuff regardless.
You both will need to work on the M stuff, but he will likely be too hurt right now to hear this.
If you read my profile, you will see we had a lot in common. Not the abuse, but the traveling distance and self esteem/ depression issues.
My first posts were a lot like yours- as October said, a lot of justification. That can be the first level of why, but I suspect the real reasons were much deeper. For me, my reasons turned out not to have very much to do with my BH at all, but my unhappiness and FOO issues. I suspect you have a lot of work ahead of you.
Are you in IC? If not, I suggest you look into it. This site will be a great resource along your journey. I am constantly humbled by the insight the members have.
Whether you R or M, ultimately you will need to find your why and work on healing yourself to recover from your choices.
We're going to leave the stop sign on for now.
How does your BH recollect your support of him? Does he feel that you really did support him on his career path? Have you talked about that with him?
Depending on when he found out about your A, I doubt he has forgiven you. A typical time frame for healing from an A is 2-5 years. Some are on the shorter end of that, others take a while longer. So if this is recent, I doubt forgiveness, true forgiveness, has entered the picture yet.
To play off my first question, what does your BH say when you tell him you don't feel supported?
I think there are just some major communication problems going on. In no way should a spouse be calling the other spouse names and degrading them, especially in front of children. And yes, a spouse should be there to take care of the other spouse when serious medical conditions arise. So what else was going on at these times that prevented your BH from being there for you? Did you have other family around to lean on? If you didn't know where he was travelling, that implies some sort of high level job which committing to would require great sacrifice for the entire family. Was this one of the factors which prevented him from helping you with the ER visits?
On the subject of him supporting you now...if you had just learned that he had sex with some other woman, would you be able to be supportive of him when he came home with some positive story about his career?
When he retired I was in a strange country with very few friends and no family close by. We were suddendly living together all the time and I think that's when things went from bad to worse. We had been married for over 20 years but we didn't really know each other. My life revolved around the kids and his revolved around his job, we had become 2 strangers living in the same house, trying to be a family. It was a very unhealthy relationship and I know he often thought about leaving. I felt he had checked out of the marriage years ago, the only reason he stayed was because it was cheaper to keep me.
Now that we are talking in a healthy way we are learning alot about how each of us felt during that time. He wants me to work on myself and figure out why I made the unhealthy choices, I am doing this with my IC help. I am trying to focus on the future but have to figure out how to put all of the traumatic events of the past in the past, without being able to do that I cannot move forward. I know I am responsible for myself and the choices I make and am trying to be a better person. I know that I cannot reinvent myself, that would in my eyes not solve anything. I have to rebuild everything I lost, my husbands love, trust and respect and at the same time I have to learn to respect and like myself.
Before my A started I decided it was time for me to get back into the work place. I had to wind up both my business' to move and needed something to make me proud of myself again. All I got was a slap in the face for my efforts. If I wanted to do anything I had to a High School Diploma or a GED. I graduated High School and had some college back home, it didn't count for nothing here. I eventually plucked up the courage to do my GED, I was old enough to be the mother of every student there and one of Instrutors was young enough to be my son to. This was a really intimidating setting, I really felt my age. After surviving this I think I lost my mind, I got involved in emails and eventually an A. I still look back at this and ask myself, how in the world did i let this happen? Did I take leave of my senses or was I just the dumbass my husband always said I was?
A couple of weeks ago my husband told me that he forgave me. He told me that he realized on valentines day that for him to heal and move forward he needed to be able to forgive me. He waited a couple of weeks to tell me about this, because he wanted to be sure he really felt that way and it wasn't an impulse because of valentines day. I should have been over the moon but how can he forgive me when I can't forgive myself? I know now that even during the bad years he did love me, I wish I had known perhaps that would have stopped the A before it ever got started. I will never know now.
I am almost to the end of my class and am looking forward to starting a brand new career. I hope that the new career helps me remember that you can do anything and survive anything if you want it bad enough. I have told my husband on numerous occassions that I will fight for us, hopefully one day we will be completely happy and he can be proud of his wife again. I have a long road ahead and there have been more twists, turns, bumps and incredible challenges, but what hasn't killed me yet can only make me stronger.
I understand the feeling of feeling unimportant or less than... or alone in handling everything. I felt it, too. Years later, though, I realize those feelings were originating from my opinion of myself rather than truly from my husbands opinions of me. And I also realized I failed to adequately communicate to my husband that I had been feeling alone and ignored. That is likely because I was doing it to myself.
IC is so important, and I encourage you to continue, even during times where it feels you are making little progress or it becomes very difficult. I had to address how very vile I was treating and viewing myself, and that may have been the hardest of all to overcome. Self forgiveness only came after that time... probably 4 years into my healing journey.
Like UO and Aubrie (two very wise women) both said, self-respect is so critical. When you respect yourself, you can feel safe and secure in your actions. It was another realization I had late in the game, but it's so good to know I won't let myself down anymore. As much as we can be our own worst enemies, we are also our own best champions.
Hugs to you as you work through this difficult time. And congrats on your budding new career!
[This message edited by stroppy_wanadoo at 4:05 PM, March 21st (Thursday)]