A different kind of DDay
As some of you know, my husband lied and minimized for 5 years after DDay, then he put me through 1 year of trickle-truth. During those years there were generally two points of contention between us. One was the truth about the betrayal – something that I got in the end, but in a very damaging way (ofc it’s possible he’s still lying about some things). In this post I want to focus on the second one.
The second one was about one specific need that I had. I needed him to feel for me what he felt for the OW, only 10 times more. I needed him to pursue me / to court me / to date me. I made my wish / need clear to him many times after DDay. Perhaps this sounds silly but let me explain. I apologize for the length – this is very painful for me to write, and at the moment I don’t have the strength to think about the reader. I am truly humbled by the kindness of anyone who will read this, thank you for your time.
I learned about how he felt for the OW only during the 2022 – the year of TT. However, that was only a confirmation of what my gut was telling me since DDay. I’m not blind – in the weeks after DDay I read their messages, I read their work emails (unfortunately, I didn’t see their work chats, and ofc I didn’t know what they were talking about in person), I knew about some of his behavior when it comes to her (I learned more during the year of TT), and I know a thing or two about how people act when they have feelings for someone. He labeled it as "a crush", but from his description + all evidence / indicators + the duration of the betrayal, I’d say it is closer to what we mean when we say someone is "in love". We can label it "infatuation", "new relationship energy", "limerence", "being in love" – the label doesn’t really matter. You know that feeling when you like someone, when you find yourself thinking about them a lot, when you are drawn to them, when you want to spend more time with them, when you are excited about spending time with them, doing things with them, talking with them, when stuff reminds you of them, when you enjoy their company, when you want them to like you, when you want them to see you as a potential mate, when you are attracted to them even though you are aware of their physical "flaws" (or you choose to ignore them)… That’s how he felt.
He was careful not to reveal how he feels directly. After all, he was in a long-term relationship with me + he didn’t know whether she feels the same way. However, he was pursuing her indirectly (flirting, compliments, gifts, asking out for coffee or drinks, doing stuff for her, providing emotional support, and so on). There was one direct attempt that I know about, when he got very drunk, but either she’s very stupid and didn’t get it, or she was uncomfortable and decided to ignore it. Here's the thing – she was not interested in him that way. We spent hours analyzing her behavior and words, and we came to the conclusion he overblew it. He built up a fantasy in his head and saw something where there was nothing. At best, she was enjoying attention without any intention. The way she acted with him was how she normally acts with people, and my husband (boyfriend at that time) thought he’s special and it means she’s into him. Nevertheless, the way he felt about her was very real to him. By his own admission – if she was interested, if she had made any direct moves, he would have an affair with her. He still claims he wouldn’t leave me for her, he wouldn’t leave me to start a relationship with her. However, having in mind how he felt about me – resentment, negative sentiment override, falling out of love with me (stuff that was fueled by the betrayal) – I have reasons to believe he was monkey branching.
Anyway, DDay happened, and in the following months he shut that down and decided to commit to me. He went about it the wrong way (lying and minimizing instead of being remorseful), but that’s another topic. Like I said, this post is about my need for him to feel for me the way that he felt for her, only 10 times more. I wanted him to pursue me and to feel and demonstrate the same level of excitement. I needed that for at least 3 reasons:
1. I felt that was missing in our relationship during the betrayal. I felt his distance. I felt neglected, I was well aware his affection towards me has diminished. I asked him about it, he’d usually say nothing is wrong with us, it’s just the life, and I believed him. When I found out the real reason, naturally I wanted that back.
2. Being "in love" is very important to me. I am well aware of the "chemicals in the brain" story, and how that doesn’t last long. However, I felt like that for my husband years and years after we became a couple. I felt like that for him during the betrayal, and after. Hell, I was well aware of what he did to me, and yet I felt freaking butterflies getting ready for a date with him. Either there’s something wrong with my body chemistry, or maybe just maybe the story is not so accurate. You see, I believe that after the initial chemical thing, being "in love" becomes a choice. You choose to be "in love" with someone by cherishing that person, by focusing on the positives, by being grateful. In a way, you allow yourself to get hyped about that person, you make sure to often think about some nice memories, maybe daydream a little, try new things, create new memories, and so on. It’s what they call "keeping the spark alive". Yes, I was extremely hurt by the betrayal, but I chose to put that aside for a night, and to just be excited about having a date with the sexiest man alive. Being excited about your partner is important to me. I know that marriage is much more than that, but for me, as long as you "keep the fire burning", everything else comes naturally, and easily.
3. Probably the most important reason – I wanted to reclaim what I lost, and she got. I felt that is an important part of my healing, and healing of our relationship in general. A) My dear SI members, there is absolutely nothing that woman did or had, that I didn’t do or have million times more and better. He gave her his affection for free, he was getting nothing out of it. This became especially apparent after DDay, when it became clear that everything he thought he was getting was fake – it was in his head only. On the other hand, I gave him so much of the real stuff and somehow, that wasn’t enough for him to feel that way towards me. I needed that changed – I needed him to appreciate me and my efforts, and to respond in an appropriate manner. B) I was terrified he stayed with me for the wrong reasons, that he settled, that he stayed because she didn’t want him, that I’m a second choice. I needed more than words to believe he stayed for the right reasons. I needed to see he’s excited about me in the same way, but 10 times more.
During these 6 years he did a poor job demonstrating that excitement about me. I didn’t feel pursued. We did have some dates, but way too little of them. They often felt forced, he wasn’t relaxed with me the way he was with her. There was flirting and compliments, but way too little, and they didn’t really seem genuine. He had troubles initiating things, making plans, put in some effort. He’d always claim this has nothing to do with the way he feels about me, and he gave me a bunch of excuses. In the beginning it was just weird, we just need some time and practice. Then the thing was that we fight and talk about the betrayal too much. Then it was the pandemics, and we can’t go anywhere on a date. Then he has performance anxiety and fear of failure which block him from relaxing. Then it was the guilt he feels about the betrayal. Then it was he's just not good at showing emotions, that doesn't mean he doesn't have them. Then it was not knowing how to "win me" because he feels he didn’t do much to get me in the first place (he claims he tried, but nothing works). And so on.
Then the other day he finally told me the truth – he’s not pursuing me, taking me out on dates and all, because he doesn’t feel that way about me. That is, he doesn’t feel excited about me, or the time spent with me. So, there’s no motivation. The last time he felt like that was with the OW. He claims he lost those feelings for me even before he met her, but I have strong reasons to believe that’s the result of him rewriting our relationship history. And he didn’t regain those feelings during these 6 years after DDay.
Just to be clear – he claims he absolutely loves me, and he is 100% committed to me. He even claims he cares more about me and my happiness, than about himself and his happiness. He doesn’t want to divorce me. I guess he’s just not "in love", if by "being in love" you mean what I described in the beginning of this post. You know, the way he felt for the OW.
How do I feel about all of this? Well, the short answer is:
1. Someone please kill me now.
2. I’m still alive? Well, I’m heartbroken beyond words. This is truly like a new DDay. I can’t sleep, I can’t eat. I want to crawl into a hole and just die.
3. I’m pissed at him for deceiving me for years in yet another way.
I asked him to move out. I think he’s not taking me seriously. He thinks we should try to work it out, we should put in more effort, and maybe the excitement will come back. We?!! Maybe?!! My dear SI members, I know there’s nothing I can do about this, as the problem is not me. I’m a great gal, and I offer a lot – mentally and physically. I can just refuse to be treated like this. He claims the real problem is the baggage we have (the betrayal), that’s what’s preventing him from feeling that way about me. Well, the baggage will always be here. Perhaps I’m wrong, but if I, the betrayed one, can exert control over the baggage, and not let it control me, so can he. I guess the Force is stronger with me. Or he’s just not that into me.
He delivered the "revelation" in a nonchalant zero-empathy way. As if it’s not a big deal, I should just accept it, pretend it didn’t happen, and maybe one day he will be excited about me again. I told him my only wish and hope is that he will "fall in love" with someone in the future, as I find the idea that the OW might be the last woman he felt like that about absolutely insulting.
Anyway, I apologize again for the long post, I wanted to get as much of it as I can out of my system, as I now need to pick myself up again. As some of you know, I got a serious medical diagnosis just 2 months ago, I’ve been through hell due to that, so the timing is just awesome! *sarcasm* I’m gonna take some time off from SI, I need all my energy focused on me. I also feel I’d be very biased in my replies to others, and I’d just tell everyone to divorce, it’s not worth it. Thank you all for everything that you do here, I learned a lot!
Btw. if you allow just a little bit more of self-pity, as I need to get that out of my system as well. Also, this is something I still haven’t processed properly. I have already written a little about it here, it’s a long story that deserves a post of its own (I actually have it written down, just didn’t have the strength to post it). Due to the betrayal and false reconciliation, we don’t have kids. Nevertheless, as long as we were together, there was hope we will sort through this crap and have a baby. Yes, I’m close to 40, but you all know that today that doesn’t mean it’s too late. There was hope. When I picked my username here, I was guided by that hope. Hannah is the name I’d give to my baby daughter. And now it’s becoming very real she will always stay just a dream. The end.
24 comments posted: Saturday, May 13th, 2023
Six year update
It's been a bit more than one year since I made an account on SI (I’ve been reading occasionally for at least four years prior to that), and it’s been six years since DDay. I wish I could say things are great now, but they aren’t. I’m sorry this is not a positive reconciliation story, but I still want to write it. There are things to be learned from other stories, too. Anyway, these are my truths.
#1 Reconciliation cannot happen if you don’t know the truth.
Six years ago, I knew enough to realize he betrayed me, but not enough to realize the extent of the betrayal. There were indications there’s more to the story than what he’s telling me, but I didn’t really have any proof, as the strongest evidence was in his head only. That enabled him to lie and minimize for years after DDay. We had countless conversations, read a bunch of stuff together, talked and worked on relationship problems, and so on. However, my gut was still screaming for answers and truth about the betrayal. At one point (4-5 years after DDay) he realized I won’t let it go, and then the torture of trickle-truth begun. For more than one year, he was giving me bits and pieces, along with some major revelations. I had to drag the information out of him. It was exhausting – mentally, emotionally, physically.
The worst thing is that now, after everything, I don’t feel I have full understanding of both whats and whys. The story changed so many times, there are still inconsistencies and unanswered questions. He claims he’s honest now, but he just "doesn’t remember" (it happened so long ago, it wasn’t important enough for him to memorize it, he tried hard to forget it all these years, he himself does not have a clear understanding of whats and whys, blah, blah, blah). This is the reason why I don’t have my story written on my profile – I don’t even know what to write. My shortcoming regarding this is that I’m the kind of person who needs to know. Ofc, due to lies, minimizing, and trickle-truths, I am now very reluctant to trust what he’s saying, especially if it doesn’t make sense to me. I don’t know is there a way out of this, but I now feel that with each passing day, the chance I’ll get my answers decreases. That makes me sad.
#2 No amount of ABC can compensate for XYZ. Sometimes it really is too late for XYZ.
In a recent thread on Wayward Side there was a brief discussion how BSs need XYZ, but WSs do ABC, and think that should count. Well, ofc it counts, it’s just that it’s not enough. I made my XYZ very clear so many times, and I’m still not getting those. He blames it on his inner demons – avoidance, anxiety, fears – and circumstances. I feel I’ve been patient enough. I’m sick of promises, I’m sick of hearing "tomorrow, next week, month, summer…", and I’m sick of circumstances. We like to tell ourselves "It’s never too late". While that is a positive stance towards life, the truth is it can be misused. It can become an excuse to delay, to hesitate, to wait, instead of acting now. "It's never too late, so I’m gonna kick the can down the road, and deal with it in the future." If you wait for the perfect moment when all is safe and assured, it may never arrive. If you wait too long, it may happen that there will be no future. Sometimes literally. Two weeks ago, I got a pretty serious medical diagnosis. I’m strong and hopeful, but it might be too late for some of XYZ.
#3 Time doesn’t heal (it’s just a correlation).
So many times I read statements such as "it will get better in time", "time really heals all wounds", "you just need some time", "it usually takes X amount of time to heal", etc. Bullshit. Time doesn’t heal anything. The only ones who can do the healing are WSs and BSs. Sure, they do it over time, but time here just does what it normally does – it passes. If I’m upset about XY, and it doesn’t get resolved somehow, I will be upset about it tomorrow, in 2 months, and in 17 years. That’s who I am – I need things resolved. The only alternative I can think of is to make things irrelevant. In this case, it means to divorce. I know myself, and I know this is how I function. Unfortunately, my husband is in a "time heals everything" camp. He thinks he knows me better, and that the passage of time has some special powers. I wish I could just "let it go", I wish I could forget, I wish I could let the time do its magic, but even if I divert all my conscious power into accepting that some things will not be resolved, my brain will remind me they are not resolved – I will dream about it. It’s like an itch. So, why not just scratch / resolve it? Time is not a healer, consistent actions over time are.
#4 There’s one more thing about time – we cannot get it back.
This is related to everything I wrote so far. The betrayal took our early 30s. Reconciliation attempt took our mid and late 30s. This means that on top of the betrayal issues, I have to deal with some other byproducts. Not having kids, for example. I do my best to do what sunflowers do – turn my head towards sunshine, but those dark shadows of resentment and anger are so tempting. I won’t write much about it; I need to be strong and positive for my upcoming health fight. Just want to say – if the betrayal had to happen, I’m sad we didn’t use the time after DDay more efficiently. Getting the truth, not delaying actions, and resolving issues would’ve made the difference.
Why didn’t I divorce him? I’m stubborn. And I love him. This time next year we'll be millionaires! And I’ll have a positive story.
15 comments posted: Wednesday, March 29th, 2023
What made you a villain?
As we all know, most cheaters compartmentalize or vilify their spouse to justify the betrayal. My husband mostly did the latter. He was in negative sentiment override, he was rewriting our history, he was making negative comparisons, and so on. He overblew every little thing, and when there was nothing to overblow, he made it up. It is truly shocking to learn how low he thought of me during the betrayal. It is especially painful because 99% of that was complete nonsense. I’m no angel for sure (who is?), but most of the stuff he told me left me completely baffled. Just recently he told me the craziest of all the crazy thoughts he had.
One day he was having lunch with the OW during work break. She suggested to take something from the Asian street food place. He had a thought how nice and simple that was, to get something to eat with her. And how complicated it is with me. I’m a vegetarian, and I don’t really like Asian food. So, it is true I sometimes cannot just go to any place and grab anything from the menu (but usually there's always at least something I can eat). However, 1. I’ve been a vegetarian since I was 16 years old, and that was 5 years before we even met! He knew very well I only eat at places that offer at least something vegetarian. 2. We were ~10 years together at that time. One would think he would have similar thoughts long before he started to hang out with her, if it was such a problem. I can’t believe his rationality didn’t kick in to question why that is suddenly a problem. 3. Why was it even a problem when during the betrayal he would rarely take me out to eat? 4. I’ve never had a problem with him eating meat, and I regularly made meat dishes for him. I could go on, but really, this is some absurd tragicomedy.
I’m starting this thread in the hope others will share some stuff that made them a villain in their WS’s eyes. It is not my intention to shame the WSs, I just want to feel less alone.
P.S. I used to say he made me a monster in his head, but I think I’ll go with the Villainess from now on. Sounds badass.
75 comments posted: Monday, January 30th, 2023
What to do with sadness?
My DDay was in early 2017, but I did not get the full story back then. During the following years we had quite a lot of heavy discussions, but WS kept insisting on his original very minimized story. I didn’t have proof that there was more to the story, only indications and a gut feeling. Only in January this year, 5 years later, he started to offer more honest explanations. Unfortunately, those were only half-truths, and the trickle-truth continued throughout the year. There is no way for me to know whether I have the full story now (by "full story" I mean honest answers to my questions). The only proof is in his head, and all I have are his words. After all the lies he said during and after betrayal, I feel I can’t believe anything he says that sounds too good to be true or anything that seems implausible.
The information I got this year completely devasted me and rewrote my/our past. I’m talking about the past 8-9 years during which I made important decisions based on premises that I now know were false. This is especially painful for stuff that happened after DDay. I did not make an informed decision about reconciliation. I was trying to be realistic about reconciliation efforts, but since my reality was false, I now know I asked for too little. I married him not knowing what I know today. I don’t know whether I’d go for reconciliation and whether I’d say "yes" to him if I had known the truth. Nevertheless, the past cannot be changed, so now I’m just trying to play the hand I’m dealt.
People say with every new information, the healing and reconciliation process restart. That is so true. I’ve re-experienced all the feelings people go through after DDay. Behind those feelings is just deep sadness. I’m so sad for everything that happened and I’m so sad that it did happen. I’m sad for every instance of the betrayal, for everything he felt during that time. I’m sad he chose to lie after DDay, to drag us through 5 years of false reconciliation, and through plain torture. We missed out on so much during the years of betrayal, but we missed out on even more during the years of false reconciliation. I’m sad he wasn’t honest with me before he proposed to me. He knew what marriage means to me, and he managed to ruin the most basic ideas and dreams I have about marriage, love, family.
The sadness is preventing me from moving on, and I’m determined to get rid of it. I had enough. Lately I read so many posts here from betrayed spouses who re-experienced betrayal trauma or who regretted their decision to reconcile, years and years later. I don’t want that to happen to me. Betrayal sadness needs to go, and it needs to go for good. Of course, I’m realistic and I know it will never completely disappear. And that is fine as long as it is no longer a dominant emotion in my life.
The question I have is how to kill the sadness efficiently? What worked for you? The things I read are mostly focusing on some variation of personal happiness plan – basically, do the things that make you happy. There are plenty of things that make me happy, and I’ve been doing them for years. That didn’t really help. The thing is, that happiness is a very shallow one. Something that makes me smile, something that makes me feel good temporarily, something that does not have a long-term effect on me. It’s like taking a painkiller instead of treating the cause of the pain.
This is truly a year of hell for me. I’d appreciate any insight, advice, comment, book recommendation, support, anything...
11 comments posted: Thursday, November 17th, 2022
Update / DDay4 / vent
My original thread / story is here https://www.survivinginfidelity.com/topics/656136/new-info-5-years-after-dday-completely-broke-me/
A quick recap: Before we got married, husband had a one-sided EA with a cow. He minimized the shit out of it for 5 years post DDay1. I wanted to believe him, but his story didn’t make sense, and it couldn’t quite explain some facts. So, I couldn’t move on, and I kept pushing for the truth. At the beginning of this year, he finally started to offer more truthful answers. Those answers + the fact that he lied to me for 5 years devastated me and that’s when I wrote my thread here.
In the following months we’ve had many discussions. I was not ready to divorce him, so I’ve tried to make my peace with the new info and give it a shot. After kinda disappointing vacation I’ve started to doubt whether we can make it at all. I’ve started to seriously think about the divorce. I went back to his story from the beginning of this year and refreshed my feelings that I don’t have the full story. We have spent the past 4 weeks talking, arguing, opening old wounds. I have asked him to move out and presented divorce as the only option for me to move on and heal. What happened next is a no surprise to me – I had a DDay4 confirming that he only told me half-truths at the beginning of this year.
1. That night when he sent her the message that looked like he wanted to hook up with her (described under DDAY2 in my original thread) he would most likely cheat on me. Before they even went out, he gave himself permission to cheat. He basically told himself if an opportunity arises with the cow, he will go for it. So, there it is – I got a clear confirmation of my thoughts / fear – he didn’t physically cheat only because, as it turned out later, she wasn’t interested in him. To be fair, he claims he cannot tell with 100% certainty what would happen if she had replied to that message, maybe he would come to his senses. But it doesn’t really matter, does it?
2. Around that time he wanted to break up with me, he just didn’t know how. In other words, he was a chickenshit. He felt some kind of obligation towards me (we were in a 10+ year relationship at that time), and he didn’t want to hurt me. But he also didn’t want to be with me. He wanted to be single again, so that he can do whatever he wants, so that he can go out and play the field, flirt, hook up with someone, whatever. However, as he claims, there were days where he knew that’s stupid and that he loves me and wants to be with me. There were days when he thought our relationship doesn’t have a future, there were days when he thought this is just a bad phase and it will get better.
3. The purpose of the chat he had with her in the late 2016 (DDAY3 in my original thread), when he told her he is unhappy in our relationship, was to find out what she thinks of him. He thought that he can trick her into admitting her feelings for him if he starts a conversation like that. (What a dumbass, she had no feelings to admit). According to him, the reason why he so much wanted to find out what she thinks of him was because he got tired of everything. Around that time, we have moved in together and he has started to regain positive feelings about me, and he wanted to clear up what was going on between them.
4. Everything he did for her (like buying those stupid gifts or giving compliments) was not because she was a good friend, it was not because he wanted her to reciprocate and boost his ego, but rather it was because he wanted to make himself look good so that she sees him as a potential mate. However, according to him, it wasn’t because he wanted to be with her, but because he wanted to see whether he still "got it". And she was some kind of a proxy for other females.
5. He still claims he never wanted a relationship with her. He still claims that he didn’t find her physically attractive (however, he didn’t think she’s repulsive), he still claims that he did not have feelings for her – except that one passing thought I wrote about under DDAY3 in my original thread – he didn’t feel butterflies, he didn’t daydream about her, or feel anything that would be a clear sign to him that he’s catching feelings. In his words, he doesn’t remember ever feeling that way about her. He thinks everything that happened was a product of a fucked-up state of mind he was in (low self-esteem, hopelessness, dissatisfaction with life) and his resentment towards me. And she was just there, giving him some attention that he has overblown in his head. He saw something where there was nothing.
The fact is, she has an overly-friendly personality, probably because of her own insecurities and unhealthy need to be liked by everyone. To put it bluntly, she’s an attention-seeking whore. And she was like that towards everyone, but somehow he did not recognize that, and he thought she’s into him.
Nevertheless, he claims he cannot give me clarity and understanding of what was going on, as it is not clear to him either.
Anyway, as you can assume, my current state of mind, after all these years of lying and trickle-truths is such that I cannot believe this is now the full truth. There is such a mess in my head that I even considered he might admit to things that did not happen, just to give me an answer that I think is true. As if somehow that would make me feel better. It doesn’t help that the explanations he gave are basically the same that I thought were true all these years of "reconciliation". In the past he denied them all and told me they are just my fears. Except they weren’t, I was right, my intuition was right, my common sense was right. However, I find no satisfaction in being right now, I’m just tired of everything.
We have spent lots of time together since DDay1. I am certain he will never betray me again. He is certain he will never again feel resentment towards me. We function well together, we can have fun and deal with everyday stuff. There is love, there is attraction. We did improve a lot of things in our relationship. There are some things that still need improvement. It seems that the precondition for those improvements to happen is to finally leave this shit behind us. I’m afraid that too much damage has been done. They say the reconciliation cannot begin until the last lie has been told. That would mean that we’ve never really started the reconciliation. Is it too late to start now? I don’t know. I don’t even know whether there are still lies being told.
What I do know is that I’m tired of everything, and lately I’m just getting more and more annoyed. We had a lovely vacation in August. Nevertheless, everything just didn’t feel right. I had fun, but I didn’t feel intimacy, closeness, affection, that warm feeling when you look at someone you love – things that matter to me the most. Things that I felt when I was with him before the betrayal. It was disappointing. If the situation continues as it is, I know it will get worse. I gave him until the end of this year to come clean about everything, and to show me it is worth it to stay together. I don’t want to divorce, but I also can’t continue like this, it is killing me. Divorce seems like a less painful option.
Thank you for letting me vent, I’m sorry that I don’t have a happy update like others do.
4 comments posted: Thursday, September 29th, 2022
Surviving the Affair by Fred McAllen
I found this book on Google Books and I'd like to read it / buy it. The problem is, I can't find it anywhere. It looks like a self-published book that used to be available on Amazon or something, but it's no longer there.
I'd appreciate an info about where to get that book, if anyone here is familiar with it
6 comments posted: Thursday, April 14th, 2022
New info 5 years after DDay completely broke me
Hello everyone, first time posting here, and I’d appreciate any advice, insight, and support from anyone who is willing to read this.
F(38), M(37), together for 16 years, married for 3. DDay1 was 5 years ago. My husband (then boyfriend) had an inappropriate friendship with a coworker (F32) that lasted ~2 years (2015-early 2017, until DDay1). He claimed there were no romantic feelings. I’ve recently found out there were feelings and now I’m devastated and don’t know how to proceed.
SHORT STORY, DDAY1 & RECONCILIATION
All the stuff typical for an emotional infidelity happened: frequent contact (tons of messages and spending time together during and outside of work hours), conversations about personal stuff, he helped her with not work-related stuff, he was giving her compliments and validation, there was some mild flirting, he comforted her when she was sad /distressed and bought her some small gifts to make her feel better and so on. I was not aware of any of that, I didn’t even know she exists. He hid everything from me and lied.
During that time and some time prior to that we were not in a good place in our relationship. I believed our problems are mostly due to the external factors that negatively affected our life. On the other hand, he held a lot of resentment towards me and was in a negative sentiment override but did not communicate that to me. In his mind, he was blaming me for all the bad stuff that’s happening to him, saw me / what I do and our relationship in a negative light. He was comparing me to her and our relationship to theirs (since he was in a negative sentiment override, in his mind she easily won in those comparisons). I only found out about all of that in the years after DDay1.
DDay1 was 5 years ago. I found out by seeing a photo of them on a night out in a group setting (that night he lied to me that he has to work late). He came clean in general, but at first he minimized their relationship a lot. He accepted my terms (#1 was to cut contact with her and communicate with her only if it is unavoidable for work-related stuff) and we’ve decided to try to fix things. These past 5 years we’ve spent hundreds of hours talking, we read and discussed many books, articles, posts on infidelity forums and so on. We’ve been through a lot – crying, fighting, hysterical bonding, trickle-truths, mental tortures… We moved to another country several months after DDay1, things in our relationship improved. We even got married and that day was probably the happiest day in my life.
What kept me going was that he claimed he had absolutely no romantic feelings for her, he claimed he did not want to be with her and that he only did all of the stuff because he considered her a good and close friend. He did say he cared about her, but only in the way that someone would care about a good friend. He claimed he was hiding that friendship from me because he thought I would not approve it and he thought he's not doing anything wrong. However, after DDay1 he admitted that the relationship was inappropriate, that he crossed boundaries and that his behavior was a huge betrayal, if nothing else then because of all the lies to me and the way that he treated me during that time.
Nevertheless, one thing kept bugging me. One time (mid 2016) when he was out with his work colleagues (she was also there), they were drinking and he sent her a message that, from an outside perspective, looked like he wanted to hook up with her. He lied to me about that for years, that is, gave explanations that made no sense to me. And then two months ago he told me that around that time he thought she is sending him mixed signals and with that message he wanted to see whether he has a shot with her. She didn’t reply (it was early morning, and she had already left the place). He said he doesn’t know what would happen if she had replied, but he believes he wouldn’t do anything as that would be crossing of his boundary (physical cheating) and it would become "too real" (whatever that means). He claimed he only wanted to see whether he still "got it" as around that time he was depressed, lacked self-confidence, felt unattractive and so on. He claimed he only wanted to see whether some other woman besides me finds him attractive and she was the only one that was giving him attention.
He also revealed some other stuff (like buying her gifts to make her feel better, spending time with her doing a certain activity that was not just occasional outside-of-work coffee / drink, doing some personal favors for her…)
Those revelations were a complete shock to me, like DDay1 all over again. That casted a new light on everything he has done, and I’ve started to seriously question his motives with her and explanations he gave me so far. Don’t get me wrong, the doubt was always there but I really wanted to believe him when he said he had no romantic feelings for her and all these years I tried hard to convince myself that those doubts are only my fears. But things just didn’t add up. So, I kept pushing for the real truth and understanding.
And then around 2 weeks ago he said that yes, it looks like he had a crush on her. Specifically, he said that during that time (early 2016) he was thinking a lot about her and about the time they spend together and one day a thought that he is crushing on her popped into his head. He claims he dismissed that thought. However, he didn’t do anything to stop those feelings and the crush continued for months after that. He told me he was thinking of her and he wanted to spend more time with her, but that except for that one message, there was nothing that would clearly indicate to her that he has more than friendly feelings toward her.
He said the only time when he "opened up" to her was in late 2016 when he told her he is unhappy in our relationship, that he feels stuck, and that the relationship is not progressing. He claims he only wanted someone to tell him he’s stupid for thinking like that, that we are good together and that we can work it out. He claims she was the only friend he had that he felt like he could talk to about that, that’s why he went to her and not to someone else. He said that she didn’t show interest in what he is saying and that she only told him that he should talk to me about that. He told me this is when his crush was gone as he was disappointed that she couldn’t spare 5 minutes to talk about his problems while he was listening to her whine about her relationships and other personal problems for a year. Nevertheless, again, he did nothing to stop all of that and all the inappropriate behaviors continued until DDay1 in early 2017 (messages, spending time together, mild flirting, compliments, hiding all from me, lying to me to go out with her…)
So, here I am, 5 years after DDay1 and I am completely devastated and don’t know how to proceed. He said he didn’t tell me earlier because he was trying to protect me from further pain. He made it clear with himself that something like that will never happen again and that he would never go back to that way of thinking (negative sentiment override) and that he is completely committed to me. He wanted to save our relationship and he thought I could not handle the truth.
And he was right, I don’t feel I can handle this. I have always been a very emotional, romantic person, I idealized love. All I ever wanted from life was to find someone who would truly love me and for whom I would be the only one. Now when I know he had more-than-friendly feelings toward her, I just feel utterly sad and disappointed.
I have no evidence of a physical cheating. I believe him when he says that nothing physical happened, however, I cannot help thinking nothing happened only because she was not interested in him (she wasn’t, in fact, after DDay1, when he told her they need to break contact, she told him she had no intentions). He claims he would never physically cheat on me, as that would be crossing of his boundary + he claims he didn’t even find her attractive. He claims he never fantasized about her.
He still claims that, despite his crush, he never wanted to be with her. He admits that he was conflicted about whether he wants to break up with me (not because of her, but because he was unhappy in our relationship), but he insists that, even if we had broken up, he would not pursue her. He claims that, despite everything, he was aware of her flaws and didn’t think they were compatible.
I just don’t know what to believe anymore. I feel like our marriage is a lie and that I was a second choice. I feel that he decided to fix our relationship only because she did not want him. He says that’s not true and that I am the love of his life. He said he was actually relieved when I found out on DDay1 because he wanted to shut that down anyway, he just didn’t know how, and he was too weak to do it. He thought things would naturally die off when she leaves the company (she had plans to do that). He said that he did feel guilty prior to DDay1 and that lying to me was not easy for him.
I don’t just feel betrayed, I feel robbed of all the years when he was in a negative sentiment override that I did not know about (including the infidelity years) and of these 5 years of reconciliation. I feel he treated me very unfairly for the past 10 years. I feel that all the time and attention he gave to her were stolen from me. I feel he misled me and took away my chance to find happiness in life. These past 5 years of reconciliation, my life was a mess, and it very much negatively influenced my professional life as I couldn’t focus on work. 2-3 years ago, we decided we want to have children. But we agreed that we first need to completely fix what was broken. And now, even if we manage to truly reconcile, I feel it will take a long time to do that and by that time it will probably be too late for kids, considering my age. So, I feel he took away from me my chance to find happiness, to have a successful career and to have children.
If he had told me all back then, in the months after DDay1, I believe that by now I would be able to process all of this and heal, as I would approach the whole reconciliation differently. And now it is just too late for some of the things I would have done differently. I also would not spend months contemplating about his explanations which made no sense.
For all of that and more, I now feel that I am the one full of resentment and contempt. This is very hard for me because I am one of those suckers capable of unconditional love. So, despite everything, I still love him and I just want us to be happy. But I feel that’s impossible now. He assures me he is the man that I want. He says he cannot recognize the man who did all the shit, and that he is ashamed and disgusted of that man and mad at himself for turning into that man. He claims that man was a result of his depression and avoidance of communication with me way earlier. He claims this whole experience changed him and all he wants now is to make me happy. But I am stuck with the feeling that it is just too late.
In addition, I don’t feel I can mentally handle another 5(?) years of struggles while attempting to repair the damage caused by things I’ve just found out about (DDay 2 & 3). I am terrified that maybe he is still lying and that there are more things he doesn’t want to admit.
I don’t even know (neither does he) how to repair all of this, where to start. After DDay1 five years ago, we at least had some plan / general idea of what we need to do (for example, cut contact with her, rebuild trust / no more lying, more communication, more affection, dates…) and even though we made mistakes during our reconciliation and there were setbacks (I think that’s completely normal), there was progress. But now I feel all of that was annihilated and we’re back at step 1. Except we have no idea what the next step should be.
He is very apologetic and willing to do all the right things (basically give me everything I want and need) and I’m wondering is that enough? I feel he is promising to do something that he is supposed to be doing in a relationship / marriage by default!
I could go on, there’s a cacophony of feelings in me, but this post is already disrespectfully long. If anyone will read this – thank you very much for your time. If there are any questions, feel free to ask. We both want to fix this, but just don’t know how. I hope someone can help me navigate through any of this or that at least I can get some much-needed support.
21 comments posted: Wednesday, March 23rd, 2022