Sorry for the delayed reply. Had our 22nd anniversary on the 20th (not a celebration of any sort, pretty triggery) and then have been mostly off the grid camping.
My WH did have four LTA, but I didn't discover any of them until last year, 5 years after the last one ended. So no, he didn't see my pain over and over. He saw it this past year and says on that basis alone he could never cheat again. If he done this to me once, saw my pain and did it again, I would without any hesitation have filed for D that day. Infidelity is bad enough, but to see someone's pain and do it to them again, I have no words and certainly do not possess that degree of grace for that level of assholery.
I can understand what you are both are saying with my ICs comment that he didn't do this to me, he did it to the M. I said the same thing to her...we- he and I are the marriage and he certainly didn't cause himself any pain (quite the opposite as I understand!!)! I think her intent was he didn't set out to hurt me/cause me harm, I know it sounds asinine, because how can you expect any other possible outcome, but it wasn't done out of malice i.e. "Wow, that Hope, she's such a bitch, I am going to cause her the most pain she has ever endured in her life". My WH's thoughts were "I am not getting enough sex at home and I deserve more. Hey, here's a willing open orifice, so I'll do that! It's ok Hope won't get hurt because she will never know"...and he was right I didn't know for 17 years. His last A ended 5 years ago. I rather suspect he thought he was in the free and clear, take it to his grave.
His As were only sex. He didn't spend money on them, no extra time, no dinners, no movies, no meaning really. Texts were about the next hook ups, when and where. Get the deed done and leave....super classy and heartfelt. I have equated these women to live blow up dolls. They used each other for NSA sex.
I am sorry there is so much pain on this thread, it's palpable and it breaks my heart for everyone posting. Our stories are all awful and our journeys through the grief and loss so very long and painful. I am sure none of us expected to be here, I certainly didn't. Our stories also don't feel as though they are ours anymore with a LTA. It is truly a different beast. We ask ourselves what was real? What was authentic? Was anything said, actions taken honest? Did he/she ever actually love me? I know I questioned it all and I felt like an imposter in my life.
I would look at photos and want to take the all down. My internal dialogue was on overdrive to every trigger. Movies, songs, photos...infidelity is everywhere. I didn't realize that until I too became a statistic.
- our wedding photo -"liar"!
- Photos of our children- "right and you were f**king AP1/2/3/4 when that was taken", take it down,
- my wedding ring - Lost a diamond after dday..."wow a sign from the universe, take it off, in my eyes we're not really married anymore anyway"
Everyday, all around me reminders of the shit sandwich I was trying to swallow.
In all of this analytical thinking, I became very angry at what was stolen from me, years and years gone in one day because of one selfish person's acts of betrayal and web of lies. MY beautiful memories were disappearing and being replaced by awfulness. My internal dialogue to his As was tainting my whole history, MY life, when I did nothing wrong. So I made a conscious decision to take those memories back. They are still MY story and were meaningful to me. I will not allow his selfishness to destroy my memories of my life in particular, my children's childhoods.
This was MY life story and it was real; it is one of fun, honesty, compassion, love and kindness as seen through my eyes. That does not have to change. He can own and have the shit memories that are of his creation and though I wish for him to heal, I don't wish him to ever forget what he chose, how he treated another human being he professed to love. I am grateful not to live with that. It is HIS burden to bear, not mine and not yours either.
I wish you all some peace and better days ahead.
[This message edited by hopeandhealing at 12:38 AM, July 25th (Wednesday)]