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Social Isolation of Infidelity

eolus posted 11/22/2019 14:45 PM

NYT recently had an article on the importance of close friendships, and in reading, I was able to frame the incredible post-infidelity isolation that is now my life and my profound disappointment.

I have lots of personal and professional friends and acquaintances, I am outgoing, well-regarded in my field and community, blah blah blah. However, when I think back to the day before I was directly informed of WS’s affair, I counted four people I was really close with. This was WS, two friends, and my father. My justification now for this stratification was this: those four were the only people who I was willing to tell that my marriage was bad during WS’s affair. For everyone else in my world, “how are you doing?” was always met with “great!” and life went on. However, I spent years telling WS she was depressed and needed help, that I would be there for her if she got it, and many of my interactions with those other three consistently steered to, “What is going on with WS, are you two okay?” and they were the only ones I would reply to honestly, “I do not know what is going on, but she is going increasingly off the rails and will not admit it”. As far as the rest of the world was concerned, all was well.

Enter D-Day. I learned that my entire relationship with my spouse was a lie, and worse than that, she had actively destroyed our intimate partnership, risked the safety of my entire family including my kids, and got pregnant again while having an affair without having the minimal courage to tell me it might not be something I would want to do. Everything that I built with my spouse, the closest person to me and the person I unquestionably considered my best friend was destroyed. Additionally, I realized instantly that OM was DSM-style psychotic and WS was seriously unwell, and I had to alert employers, preschool, doctors, therapists, several different layers of law enforcement, attorneys, labs, security services, etc. Never before or since have so many people known about the dirty laundry in my life.

Outside of people told about the affair in a life safety or professional capacity, I only told three people a remotely accurate account of what happened: those two friends, and my parents, who for this I considered one entity. My two friends were absolutely “there” for me, in that I could call or go see them, they would hear me out, they would check in occasionally, etc. However, as a result of enduring this, those relationships are no longer “close”. Both of them went from visiting my home many times a year to never having been back after D-Day. We are still cordial, and “friends”, but the damage is clearly done. My parents took the opposite approach, they made themselves extremely available, and while they outwardly stated they would support me no matter what, and I do believe them, they began a relentless “stay in your marriage” campaign that even years later makes me want space.

So, as the result of my WS’s unilateral horrible choices, I lost any prospect of an intimate mental relationship with my spouse, close relationships with my two dearest friends, and some of the quality of my relationship with my parents.

We are now a couple of years past D-Day. My kids are growing and doing well. I got “graduated” from IC, WS seems to finally be making real progress in hers (with a long way to go). I have not blown up my life or risked my family in any way, but I realize I have never been more alone. My spouse remains a stranger, and our relationship is a transactional kid-based alliance that could end at any time. I do not see my two friendships really recovering, and my relationship with my parents is okay. I spend my time around people in my profession who are fine and interesting, but we rarely have common interests, and other parents where at least so far I have not found anyone I would really bond with.

Stumblingon posted 11/22/2019 16:02 PM

The reason I signed up here was the realisation when it hit the fan that I didn’t have anyone to turn to. I mean I have friends that I have known for years but they are all mutual friends with my wife and I really only know them casually through the occasional catch up. There are people at work that know my situation because my wife chose to tell me over the phone while I was at work and I fell apart. I had no choice but to tell them when they asked what happened. My head was spinning and I pretty much had a melt down at work so mentally I couldn’t come up with any sanitised version so people who asked got all the gory details. There are people at work who have been supportive through this nightmare but in the end they are work friends. I’m thankful for their support but we don’t have any contact outside of work. My wife is pretty much my closest friend which is a life choice I now realise has a huge flaw when the person you would turn to is the one who destroyed you.

Zirconia posted 11/22/2019 16:49 PM

I spent a lot of time looking at me when I finally decided what my WW does is out of my control. I half wonder in my case if the social isolation wasn't self inflicted. After I got married there is obviously less time to spend with friends, and even less when you have kids. My friends have mostly scattered across the globe so it is to be expected.

I think maybe over time I should have made more of an effort to make friends. I was so busy with work, with kids, with wife, with life that I never let any friendships get past the point of running into people I know at a bar or something.

I don't trust my wife yet, I literally have no one to talk to about anything. Or had, I guess, I go to a therapist now. Taking my WW out of the picture I see now I should have invested more in people who I was friends with to try and become a real friend.

I feel you. With the exception of my daughters I haven't said a word about this to anyone but the therapist. My parents are dead, my sisters are idiots, my close friends live so far away it feels wrong to email or call and unload all this on them.

Babette2008 posted 11/22/2019 17:53 PM

This was one of the hardest aspects of the first year or so of discovering my H's As. At first I didn't tell anyone because I thought that we would definitely R and I didn't want our family or mutual friends to think badly of him. But I also didn't know the full extent of his infidelity.

Later it was just so awful that I didn't think people would respect me for staying 🥺. I also hadn't made my mind up.

I did tell a couple of non-mutual friends, and noticed that they avoided me. I decided that I wanted to not be known as the person who has the cheating husband.

SI was really helpful because it made me feel much less alone. People on SI don't get sick of hearing about how you are feeling about your WS or the AP.

cancuncrushed posted 11/22/2019 18:00 PM

Our friends were Xwh coworkers. He spent everyday with them. I only saw them on occasions. I was curious as to why we were no longer invited. No longer included They didn’t speak to us at functions. If we invited anyone the answer was no. For some good excuse.

I discussed this with Xwh. He said I was crazy.

Now I know they all knew he was a cheater. They saw his alcoholism growing. They wanted nothing to do with him. Which meant us.

I spoke to a coworker recently. Everything he had been told was a lie. Of course. I set him straight. He had no doubt by the time he left. He was stunned.

I feel isolated. Have been isolated for a while.

ChamomileTea posted 11/22/2019 18:12 PM

I spent a lot of time looking at me when I finally decided what my WW does is out of my control. I half wonder in my case if the social isolation wasn't self inflicted.

I don't think it's just you. It's kind of like your house is on fire, but all the people around you are still talking about whether the drapes clash with the sofa. The mundane chatter, which use to be socially fulfilling just falls short of the immediacy of the disaster.

In our minds, we understand that other people can't really connect with what's happening to us, not unless they've lived it for themselves. So it's not like we're holding it against them or angry that they don't get it. But still... they don't "get it". My house is on fire. My LIFE is on fire. I can't connect with you about whether you boss is wrong for demanding your report early or whether the bus driver was rude to your kid... because MY HOUSE IS ON FIRE!

I have to be honest though, even when everything had calmed down, I still found I couldn't connect with other people the way I had before. I used to have so much patience for my extended family, my friends, but I found that I was just nodding and mmmh-hhming until I could get them off the phone. I just don't have a real answer for that. I do know that I'm the one who has changed. It's not them.

This is what finally drove me to therapy, but to be honest, I've never been able to resolve it.

thatbpguy posted 11/22/2019 18:33 PM

Eolus, fascinating post. I experienced the same thing. Wife leaves me for a rich man so she could live some luxurious lifestyle and at the time I thought I had 100 friends. I had 2 or 3. And one turned on me. I felt isolated and alone like an island.

Since then I have decided to make myself isolated, but on my terms. I have 3 solid friends I stay in constant contact with and have removed clutter from my life. I like it.

ShatteredSakura posted 11/22/2019 19:20 PM

This was one of the hardest aspects of the first year or so of discovering my H's As. At first I didn't tell anyone because I thought that we would definitely R and I didn't want our family or mutual friends to think badly of him. But I also didn't know the full extent of his infidelity.

Later it was just so awful that I didn't think people would respect me for staying. I also hadn't made my mind up.


I relate to both of these points tremendously.

The experience is very isolating, but I know a lot of it is self inflicted for me at least. It also didn't help that over the years I basically put everything into one basket...she was my best friend and if I went out it meant she was with me too. I'm bit of a homebody by nature.

J707 posted 11/22/2019 20:53 PM

You find out who your true friends are, I can't count on one hand how many I have now. There were 3 at the beginning after Dday, now there are 2, the other one lives out of state and busy with his young family, I respect that. Still love the guy but he dropped off pretty quick. The 2 true friends I have still check in on me from time to time. The others that ghosted me when I was at my worst on and after Dday, well they weren't really friends to me. They can fuck off. No words, text or phone calls after Dday. Nothing, so fuck off. I do have my coworkers, they know everything and listened to me on my worst days but no outside social environment or hangouts. In this traumatic shit storm I've learned who my true friends were, I am finally happy being alone, by myself, and weeding out the fake friends that weren't really friends anyways.

Dorothy123 posted 11/23/2019 06:27 AM

I can very much relate to this thread.

Oh boy, I can relate.

outofsorts posted 11/23/2019 17:26 PM

I've felt incredibly alone these past nine months. No one knows how awful this experience is unless you've been through it.

I've chosen not to tell anyone and while I still agree with that decision it is isolating. What makes it worse is that when I am with my closest friends or family I feel like I am being dishonest by not telling them about such a major event. So that makes me less likely to want to hang out with friends....

SI helps tremendously in that sense.

1000000pieces posted 11/23/2019 18:48 PM

We are not alone in experiencing this, are we?

My WH misrepresented himself and the state of our relationship for 45 years. I have not told friends - so now I feel like the fraud. I hate my dishonesty and it shows me I don't trust anyone now. How can this lack of transparency not erode even close long time friendships over time?

Never represented my marriage as a bed of roses, but previously if the topic came up it I talked of hard work, communication, love, and luck having picked the right person were key to a long lasting marriage. I was proud that we both were committed to one another. Or so I thought.

It's hard when people tell me "I lucky I am to have WH", or envy me because "I got it right the first time". What do I say. I say nothing.

If only they knew. But right now, its the secret I'm keeping.

Datura posted 11/23/2019 19:47 PM

I can relate to this a lot. It's been an isolating 3 years in that respect.

I am so grateful I have one friend who I confided in. I think a lot of what I feared in those first few months like 'what would people think' and not wanting people to think badly of my WS or my choice to stay....a lot of that I may have done differently if I had the understanding and mindset I have now.
Back then I thought the affair reflected on me and I was scared of the 'public' response to that and didn't think I could mentally cope with that. Living with the secret has it's own set of challenges I didn't anticipate.

I feel it has impacted friendships because I do not feel authentic. I feel like I am lying. I have endured lots of conversations about 'other people' and infidelity, andhow lucky I am, and I have worn the 'I'm fine' mask way too many times. I have also come close to breaking my 'silence' many times.

Thank goodness for online friendships with people who understand and know my truth.

I hate that it became my burdon to carry this secret. If it happens again I am definitely not carrying it. It is heavy.

[This message edited by Datura at 7:48 PM, November 23rd (Saturday)]

Jimmy1962 posted 11/23/2019 20:48 PM

Infidelity Sucks!
I have found some new friends. Their names are Heineken, and I get six of them in a carton. They have never let me down!
I have no one to talk to so beer helps.

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