The A that my wife brought into our family is simply the most traumatic experience of my life. I dont need to expand on that because everyone on here knows what I am talking about...nothing unique here.
Here is my philisophical dilema.
People with cancer, horribly burned people, children with disabilities, the list goes on....these are "real" tragedies....right?
See, this is what my wife and I discuss from time to time. Yes, adultery is bad...but no one is dying, no physical pain is experienced, no noticable shortening of life is occuring. On good days we mention how lucky we are...that we are NOT facing the many OTHER horrible trials that can enter a persons body and affect a family. But then I feel a little tug....saying HEY, THIS IS NO CAKE WALK!...but is that just the victim in me.
And yet...is this trauma any less impactful? Does it not alter life as we know it permenantly?
As I think about it, as I read about others who have dealt with both an A and some of the above mentioned trials of life...I really think an A is just as much of a burden as anything out there...sometimes I think it is more.
I totally see why support groups for traumatic events can be so beneficial to those experiencing similar trials. This is one reason I am fond of SI. However, I think real life group meetings of people affected by an A would be a dangerous gathering setting...due to the potential for rapid bonding occuring between people in that group...maybe I am wrong, just thought I would mention that.
I say an A is more of a burden due to the nature in which it must be carried (basically in secret)and the lack of unified support offered by those you DO confide in to us suffering from it (some say you are weak for R with a WS, some say it takes a strong man to R, others say WS deserve to be happy and should seek their true soul mates, others say soul mates are made not found, stay together for the children, children are resilent and will adapt to single parent homes, etc.).
If one is fighting cancer there is none of this wishy-washy support. The trauma we are experiencing is as life-altering as anything I can imagine. At times, I believe fighting a terminal illness would be easier.
If I were fighting cancer I could tell my boss and he would be accomodating with my work deadlines. With an A I am offered no such luxury...and yet the affect of the A definately affects how productive and focused I am at work (management position that requires problem solving skills and professional presenations).
Can you see what I am trying to convey?
No doubt I would gladly take this over seeing anyone in my family fighting cancer (MIL fought cancer untill the end...was very sad)...but this trauma is not small. But is it in the same class as other traumas?
Trying to quantify something that may not be able to be quantified.
I thank you for viewing my post.
To be sure, my wife is supportive and this thought has NEVER been used in a hostile manner...neither her or I think this is a small trial. We just respect the fact that we have healthy children and are blessed in so many other ways.
God be with us all.
[This message edited by blakesteele at 8:35 PM, April 23rd (Tuesday)]
This is the single most traumatic thing I have ever experieced. Many say that this is worse than losing a spouse or even child.
It challenges your mental health. It scars your sense of self. The single most important person in your life, the person you believe in, trust, ripped out your guts and set them on fire and laughed while they did it.
"Just" an affair? I dont' think so. Don't sell your pain short. And for all it is worth, do not EVER let your wayward attempt to do so.
I would opt for my path over his/hers any day. She was only in her 30's...he has yet to recover.
My husband and I ...at least we had the chance.
The A was devastating to us...and I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy. But I also would opt for my pain than any of these...
People with cancer, horribly burned people, children with disabilities, the list goes on..
ETA: But "Just and affair" doesn't cut it.
It is still a major trauma...
[This message edited by karmahappens at 7:13 PM, April 23rd (Tuesday)]
HEY, THIS IS NO CAKE WALK!...but is that just the victim in me.
That is not the statement of a victim. Nothing wrong with recognizing the trauma and pain.
[This message edited by wonderboy at 7:29 PM, April 23rd (Tuesday)]
This is the single most traumatic thing I have ever experienced - it has created PTSD, that's how traumatized I was.
I've been following the blog of a woman who recently lost her child. It's raw, gut wrenching stuff. I don't think I could ever fathom losing one of my precious children. That being said, Rebreather's response hit the nail on the head for me. The selfish acts that were committed were done purposefully. This sweet mama had no choice or say in her situation, neither did we as the betrayed.
But her child's passing was out of her control, out of the child's control. Our waywards made conscious decisions that would ultimately hurt us. If any of them, including my WH, would try to refute that I call BS. There was a high price to pay for what they did.
No, it's never "just an affair"
I agree I wouldn't want to lose anyone to death but early on I thought the betrayal was worse. When a spouse dies, they wanted to stay alive and be with you. When a spouse purposely kills the marriage, totally disrespects you with an A, it feels the same as a death. You lost something you thought you had and the person you love chose to leave you. I felt like I lost everything that was important in life and my whole 40+ years was living a lie.
My fWW was stunned to hear that I considered her to be a worse peron than a neighbor that has had 3 kids out of wedlock, and twins with her current beau. I told her "At least she didn't have sex with other women's husbands."
Not much said after that.
D-Day #1: 12 Aug. 2008. WW's 2nd affair w/college teacher.
D-Day #2: 18 June 2009. Affair #1 with neighbor was fall of 2002 - while I was coping with the fallout from 9/11.
Still trying to R.
22 years married
I pray never to have to deal with an infidelity again.
That being said, I'd choose his A over the loss of a family member or a disease. Mostly because it leaves me with choices, I have the choice to stay or go, the choice to make the best of this crappy situation and the choice to live the best life I can. The others options don't always give you a choice.
Following dday I could totally have handled a month off work, you nailed that one on the head!
Your choice of wording really hit me right now. My husband keeps saying his life has been so filled with tragedies. Then he will list them, and yes, they are serious, and nothing anyone would choose to endure, but most are natural life happenings. I've had many things in my life that he would have classified as tragedies, by his stnadards, but I just don't look at them that way. They have all strengthened me in some way as well as brought me closer in my relationship with God. His EA started while I was in the hospital recovering from a leg amputation. Of the two things, the affair is the only one that I look at as a tragedy, and the one that has turned my world upside down the most.
I think that anything that causes pain could be looked at as being as serious as another painful thing. There really should be no scale on which one hurt tops another. They are all painful. No one else's pain is any more significant than your own.
So glad that you are able to enjoy a good day today!
My FWH's affair was horrible, and I thought it would do me in. It still hurts, and it has changed our relationship irrevocably. But I know I am strong enough to get over my FWH if I had to, to live without him after all these years. I'm changed, but not destroyed.
If my child did not make it, I would be just a shell. It would be the worst thing ever to happen to me. Because what my kid is going through and what I am going through because of it is already the worst.
Met when we were 17 and 15. Together since 1983, married since 1985. Two kids, B21, G15.
Life has a way of making us get our panties in a wad.....I refuse to wear panties ever again.
I think that anything that causes pain could be looked at as being as serious as another painful thing. There really should be no scale on which one hurt tops another
That's my experience,too...when phisically in pain everything else disappeared, but the pain of A was there, ready to raise its head when I started to get better. However a disease is something you can share with other people, they're ready to support you, even strangers in the streets where eager to help a hairless and frail woman..the pain of A is something to be ashamed of, to suffer alone or with few trusted friends.
What made my life a nightmare for more than 2 years was that the combination of the 2 events made feel completely helpless: a part of me wanted to leave WH, but my body was so frail, my life so depending on other people that I had to stay ( and also be thankful for his help)
I'd choose his A over the loss of a family member or a disease. Mostly because it leaves me with choices, I have the choice to stay or go, the choice to make the best of this crappy situation and the choice to live the best life I can. The others options don't always give you a choice.
Now that I'm better ( I hope) I think like this..I know that if I discover a new A, If Wh leaves me I can survive, I can go on with my life and be quite happy again: I thank God every morning when I wake up and there's no pain in my body.
Mostly I fear to be ill again, I don't know if I've enough strength left.. but this time I try to get to that prepared, to control what I can.. for example I enquired about paid help for sick people so that I wouldn't depend on WH or kids..That makes me feel stronger and more self-sufficient
This whole A devastation has been more traumatic to me than the sexual assault I suffered in my late teens. You see, with that, I cut that man out of my life, I knew he didn't care for me, hadn't promised anything to me and I cared nothing for him, except to never see him again and for his penis to wither and drop off. I suffered flashbacks for months and years, although they became less. It changed me as a person and I went off the rails for a while. But I worked on me and I never saw him again.
With all of this A stuff? It was done to me again and again over a series of years by deliberate choices of WH who promised to love, cherish and be faithful to me until death. Yes, I didn't find out until Aug 2012 (fully in Dec 2012), but the harm was done, whether I knew it or not. It was done to me by the person I love. And once I discovered it, he blamed me. But unlike my previous trauma (where I had all the facts) I didn't know exactly what he had done to me and he didn't fully disclose until 4 months later. The trauma from all of that, not just from the actual harm he did, but also from the betrayal of love, that feels worse than what I suffered before.
We're working on it. I believe we can recover from it. But I also believe that he has no idea how much trauma he has caused me. And perhaps that's because if he really understood, I don't think he would feel he could ever look me in the eye again.
Part of the problem with this type of trauma is that we have to forgive the person who did this to us if we are to R. Not just as theoretical forgiveness, but a day to day, up close, gritty forgiveness. To rebuild, we have to keep reliving and facing our trauma until we can learn to live with it. It's really hard.
So I don't think we can compare this trauma with other types of trauma as a general rule. It's a different kind of trauma and only those who have been through other trauma can work out for themselves if it is 'better' or 'worse'.
[This message edited by Fidelia at 5:45 AM, April 24th (Wednesday)]
"lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed" Heb12v13
"Oh God give me
We need to allow ourselves to FEEL - the good, the bad, and the ugly - without guilt.
Saying that, yes there is worse- if anything happened to my family it would be harder for me personally and death is so final BUT this is in someones control- they have chosen to take you down a path that 'could' lead to heartbreak so really- I think it's the worse thing anyone could do that is in their control- especially when they say they love you.
Hope that makes sense!
Alea iacta est...
There is always something worse out there. While it's something to be thankful for, it doesn't diminish the damage done to our own lives, because at the same time we are the something worse to someone else.
As for physical effects... they do happen. Stress is a major influence on health.
Infidelity has been an opportunity for me in a lot of ways. Opportunity to grow, to find new ways of living and dealing. It has created an opportunity in my marriage that I'm not sure we would've had without the rock bottom of infidelity (my husband got sober. Not downplaying the gutwrenching pain. At all.
I think those opportunities can be harder to find - but totally there - in tragedies that end with death or severe illness.
I think what you say about unified support is absolutely spot on. Death or physical illness is cut and dried in terms of how the vast majority will respond.
I totally see why support groups for traumatic events can be so beneficial to those experiencing similar trials. This is one reason I am fond of SI. However, I think real life group meetings of people affected by an A would be a dangerous gathering setting...due to the potential for rapid bonding occuring between people in that group...maybe I am wrong, just thought I would mention that
I agree. I don't know why, but I do. Group support is notorious in general for sparking affairs. I have no issue with bonding generally. Even bonding with the opposite sex. But...even us BS' with proven ironclad boundaries - we're not always in our right mind for awhile.