Thoughts from a fellow traveler, a former cheater

I have a place I go to other than here to discuss this very societal, and personal issue — affairs.  It’s a very private and exclusive message board made up of 6 former cheaters — 3 women, 3 men.  It’s a place where we can share ideas and thoughts — and vent — privately about our personal struggles. A place to help each other out.  We are all so different, with very different stories, yet, we can all relate to the other and help each other through this.

None are still cheating.  3 were caught and/or confessed.  3 never were (curiously all 3 are the female former cheaters).  All are remorseful.  We needed a private place of non-judgment and non-disclosure, so we could speak openly about a very touchy subject.  A place where we can say whatever is on our minds without the fear of a Betrayed Spouse throwing a fit.  We all experience the “egg shells” one has to walk upon in a recovering marriage, even years after, not knowing what is going to “set off” a Betrayed Spouse and having to self-edit your own mouth, even when you have promised to be 100% open and honest. Even the best most mature, and loving Betrayed Spouses have their moments of shrill, emotional illogic, even long after the fact.  This message board is a good place, even though we are now down to 4 members (one of the females was banned for being overly-difficult last fall).  But frankly I think I read more than I write.  I used to go there a lot, but less so now.  But the topic, and the need to vent about it and such, is a bit played out for me. I’m transitioning away from this. I can envision even stopping adding new blog entries here at some point.

But back to this message board. One man there in particular I could very much relate to.  His stories and mine were fairly similar, except that his ex-OW was married also, and withdrew completely after the affair was disclosed.  He’s not being stalked by her as I am by mine.  He also has come to learn what a wonderful life and family he has and how he almost blew it all on something that was part real, part illusion.  And he’s working hard to reconcile with his wife and improve his marriage.  And he too has the internal struggles and after-shocks of his affair that he must deal with, as we all do.

Recently, he decided that he needed to stop coming to our board.  That he felt that the day to day reading about affairs and discussing them was perhaps retarding his progress.  That it was time to “move on” and focus his energies entirely on his marriage. Fair enough. I get that. I too walked away from both my blog and the board last fall for several months. I needed a break.

As he retired from the board, this man left us with an eloquent “goodbye” through a series of “lessons learned”.  I thought them so profound that, with his permission, I am sharing them with my readers.  These certainly hit me between the eyes. I could completely relate.  He is a thoughtful, intelligent, introspective man.  He is not the self-absorbed, narcissistic jerk that cheaters (especially men) are usually portrayed as.  You will get yet another person’s insight into themselves as the former cheater — why they did what they did, and what they learned from it.  This final missive to us was amazing in terms of its honesty, self-awareness, and lessons learned.

(This is my) last post.

Not because I have to or need to or even really want to – its just that I feel this compelling call to move on. There are only so many cycles that my head can compute, only so any words that can be written, only so many emotions to be expressed before you conclude that you have learnt 99.9% of everything that having an affair can teach you.

And much of what I have learnt is not only from my own perspective, but from reading, sharing, understanding and debating all of our experiences. That is the true value of this board and the friendships that are inherent in it. You bring context, consideration, support and understanding. Thank you.

So I thought I would share – as pithy as these thoughts may be – what is absolutely true for me post my affair – these beliefs and ideas that have sprung from my experiences and leanings that I stand by as 100% correct – for me – that I would then share to anybody else that asked. Here we go:

1. An affair is the ultimate sliding door moment. It challenges the most important choice we made in our lives – the person we chose and committed to spend the rest of our lives with – and gives you a brief glimpse at what our lives might have been like if we had chosen someone different and holds out the possibility that we could still choose differently now. It shows you a fantasy into an alternative future which in turn challenges all the choices you have made and the potential life that might be. Of course it is not an accurate picture or prediction – but it is still a vision, laced with emotion and lust stirred with the opportunity to wipe the slate clean and start again. Nothing is more powerful than the promise of what might be reinforced with emotion of what currently is.

2. Part of the reason we hold onto something so tight is because we fear something so great won’t happen twice. Like the above, an affair awakens emotions that we know we may not ever experience again in our lives. That scares the shit out of us. We know that if we remain in our marriages, finding that overwhelming romance is highly unlikely. The midlife crisis kicks in and we are shaken with the knowledge that time is running out, that we are mortal, reinforced by the death of parents or people we know as we age… “Is this it?” we ask, “is that all there is?”. This simple thrill of finding somebody else who thinks of you as attractive as you find them… allowing you to hold their hand, tell them that they are as special to you as they tell you you are to them… allowing you to kiss them slowly, deeply, passionately… How many more times in your life will you get to do that, to feel that, to experience that? Tick, tick, tick…

3. “There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.” Nelson Mandela. I settled in my marriage for a wonderful woman who I knew who was safe, honest, beautiful and controllable. The perfect unchallenging partner who would love me and who I could also love with almost no risk. She adores me. I know that. And forsaking violence or ongoing abuse – she would never leave me. And all the women that I loved in past that would have challenged me, stretched me, made demands of me, grew me – the ones I would have had to really work at to keep – I gave up on as too hard, too difficult, too much effort. I settled. I settled for a woman I could control. This is an awful admission but true for me. It was true for my affair partner as well. She settled in much the same way. Power corrupts. We knew we could do what we did and still rescue our marriages. And that’s what we both did. And diminished ourselves as a result.

4. But in truth – I didn’t settle at all. I married someone better than me in almost every way. I shudder to think what I would have done had my wife done the same to me. I would not have been as calm, would not have given me the space and love that my wife has, to help me through my mistakes. I did not married down at all – I married up. My wife is the most beautiful person in the world – and it took a affair to help me realize what a gift I had in my life.

5. Love is two things. And you must have both. Chemistry and choice. I don’t buy this complete bollocks that romance is different to love. Crap. I knew I loved the ex-OW the first time I saw her almost 5 years ago. She felt it to. Call it whatever you like – intense sexual attraction, intellectual engagement, hormones in overdrive, brain chemicals driven by the human need to mate and reproduce, blah blah blah … I don’t feel that with every attractive girl I meet – in fact, I have only every felt that three time in my entire life. Three. In 41 years. There IS something about two people who smash into each other and their lives are completely changed as a result and they are compelled to be together. That is special, significant and profound. And does not happen every day. But nor does it mean that they are your soul mate or a once off – but they are special. And I do honestly believe that we don’t meet people by accident. They are meant to cross our path for a reason. And I have learnt why the ex-OW crossed mine.

6. But the second item is just as important. Love is a choice. You have to choose. Deliberately. Carefully. Profoundly. Daily. And sometimes with the concentration of a chess master. The ex-OW and I, despite clearly experiencing the first part of our love did not ultimately get to the second part, longer than the time our affair went for. It seems obvious but it is important. While in our affair, we chose everyday to love one another. Simple. Then one day, she chose not do. That did not negate our chemistry and desire to be with one another – but it did end our love. Simple. We do not love each other anymore as love is an everyday choice. We may miss each other and may still desperately want to see each other – but we don’t. So we don’t love each other either. Simple. She chose her husband and/or family. My wife chose me. I now choose my wife.

7. And once one partner in an affair chooses to depart – that does not stop the chemistry. That initial calling that brought you together does not go away. Ever. I still remember the first girl I ever felt that way about as strongly today as what I did when I was 16. And I am sure if a saw her again, the temptation would still be as intense. It is no wonder that many ex school flames get back together later in life in an affair. Chemistry is life long. Real. Linked at a DNA level. That is why it is so hard to let it go… And let it go you must if you are to move on – which brings me to my final learning…

8. Time and Distance. I have come to accept that I will have this real physical and intellectual bond with the ex-OW for life. It can not be turned off by either of us. It just is. It is a calling. And to be in its presence and to have it in your life, but to ignore it, is simple torture. As much as failing to eat or drink or sleep – it chews on you, in the pit of your stomach, until you will do anything for it. So you have to exit it from your life to survive. That simple. And the only way to do that is to drive distance between you and give it plenty of time. A mate of mine had a work affair 5 years ago – they were both married – she pulled the pin on it too to save her marriage and moved overseas with her family to get away. He still thinks of her everyday but the emotional impact of that loss only hits him every three weeks or so – after 5 years. It gets better, he says – but the journey is long – Time and Distance he says is the ONLY thing that works. Damaged permanently, his marriage at an end, but surviving.

————–

Well said, my friend.  Your presence will be missed, but your words here certainly helped me put it all in better perspective, and hopefully, some of my readers too.

RW

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16 thoughts on “Thoughts from a fellow traveler, a former cheater

  1. I really truly, deeply hope that JR does not feel this way about Nikki and if he does and I ever find out I will leave him. I will place distance between himself and me and I will learn to live without him. I don’t believe that flames so to speak last forever. I have seen ex-boyfriends that I swore I loved at the time, and when I see them now I think to myself…WTF was I thinking. I believe lust can really mask itself as love under the right circumstances. I have even felt lust for another man during my marriage…we were separated at the time and I was viewing men with a different pair of eyes than I did while I was in a happy marriage. I didn’t act out on that lust, thank God, but I wanted to. I didn’t feel connected to JR at the time and I believe that must have been true for him when he got caught up with Nikki. Plus she was a predator who used men to get what she wanted…fake teeth, fake boobs, pay off her car…etc. I’m sure you get the picture. She knew exactly what to say to my husband…she thought she landed her next sugar daddy. I can understand how the man who wrote this can feel the way he did. He says he settled for his wife, that she didn’t challenge her. That is sad, what a sad way to live. I don’t believe that JR or I have ever felt that we settled for one another.We have both challenged each other to the max over the years. We drive each other insane sometimes. It’s always kept things interesting. Now I think part of the trouble we have is that he feels unworthy of my love given what he has done. It keeps him stuck in many ways. I find myself on a journey and I have no clue of the destination and where I will end up. Time will tell.

    • I think what his blog shows is how different each affair is. That we can’t paint with a broad-brush. His feelings about how and the why he got involved with someone are similar to mine in some key ways, but not in others. How he feels about his ex-OW is very different about how I feel about mine — I have no good lingering feelings about her. Yet, I agree with what he says about how ANY significant relationship in our lives lingers in our “DNA” and at minimum at some deep outpost in our psyches. It’s what makes us human. An affair certainly is the wrong thing to do, but you have to also look at many of these as no different than any other close, love relationship. And how it impacts us when it’s over.

      Unlike many, this man really struggles within himself about his affair and his feelings for the ex-OW. He was in an incredibly loving and close relationship, even if immoral and wrong. Which he admits. But if you read it again, he also says how he’s come to realize when an amazing wife he truly has. I can relate to this. Sometimes you don’t realize what you have until you almost lose it. He’s still struggling, yes, but he’s on the right path. He’s also telling people like me (and those like you), that yes, even this DNA-like connection fades. Time and distance are everything in getting over someone.

      He’s being honest. Human. Probably more honest than he’s been with his wife. These are his thoughts. I put them out there (with his permission) to show the feelings of yet another former cheater as compared to me. I thought his honesty refreshing, and his thoughts about affairs to be spot on correct and worth deliberation.

      but this is not to suggest that all ex-cheaters think this way, especially yours. Every affair, every RELATIONSHIP, is different. This is his story. Not yours.

      • now I’m doing what I said I was no longer going to do on this blog — which is debate. this is not the place. If anyone disagrees with me or with this man says whom I quoted in the blog, I suggest you write your own blog entry dressing us down. But this isn’t how I want my blog to go. I went down that road the last time and I’m just not doing any longer. Debates with Betrayeds? Nope. If you don’t care for me, my blog, or what I’m saying, talk on your own blog. Judging me or people like me? I’d rather you’d judge me silently. I think I’ve been diligent in my self-criticism and that of people like me.

        I’m going to delete this whole debate shortly. It’s detracting from the point I was trying to make with this entry.

      • I sincerely hope that none of my comments came off as debate. I love reading your blog and all that you share and nothing that I said was intended as debate. Only sharing of opinion or thought or discussion. Please feel free to delete anything I have written that could be taken that way as it was not my intention at all. I want to respect your feelings in regard to your blog and am sorry if any of my comments crossed any lines.

  2. Amazing. Profound. Deep. True. THIS is what I wanted my OWN affair partner to please see! Believe it or not! I wanted him to explore this and feel this and to tell me, even in the midst of our affair….if this was true. Because, if it was, I may have still seen him a few times to say goodbye. I may have still hurt. HE may have hurt. But I would have absolutely walked out of his life for good and pushed him very hard to recognize what he already had!

    Even as the former OW, I can SEE that he already has this. What I wanted to know, was if he truly felt this, even if it hurt me. As with ANY affair, there are different reasons that we get involved in them. Mine was the classic case of a woman who was done(but not legally) with her marriage. I was not lashing out in anger, I was simply done. I was vulnerable to a past romance with someone that I KNEW would still be there, because of the EXACT chemistry your friend wrote about. I have my thoughts as to why HE chose to enter into an affair with me. (while I am not about to judge, his are a bit less “noble” and I say that partially in jest, but….his reasons were NOT based in total and complete emptiness at home.)

    But, because I knew this. Because he did not lie to me or promise me anything and b/c he did NOT bash his wife….I think I felt that deep down, he would one day see clearly, with or without me, exactly what he already had. I got to a point in OUR own relationship, where I started to feel the newness wear off….or something. I cannot quite explain. I personally think that something shifted inside of HIM that caused him to change just enough that I felt it. Not in a bad way or in a mean way toward me…but maybe he found a part of what your friend just wrote about, on his own and just “accepted” us as what we were for “now”. He would have ALWAYS had me in his life, regardless of risk, but I didn’t want to play that role forever. (nor did I want him to leave or to marry me….I truly did not.)

    But he is not emotionally deep. He would never soul search. He would never attend therapy after an affair discovery. I know he would have ruined his marriage with his attitude at home….and attitude that DOES work for his wife though….and is NOT mean. I’m just saying that I felt as if I could see HIS future. And while I wanted HIM to discuss it with me and wanted him to know that it was OKAY to even acknowledge it to me, b/c we would still be special to each other in our own way…..he would not go there. SO I did. I saved his future for him. I do not say that in some heroic manner. Please do not get me wrong. But with the way I am wired and the insight that I do have into certain situations and life and with my constant thinking and analysis….I truly believe that I could see what was coming, even if he could not.

    So I let him go. I don’t know if he will ever appreciate what he has at home, the way that someone who has been discovered and then has soul searched enough to come to the conclusions that your friend did will, but at least I know that the root of who he was, which was someone who did NOT want to walk out on his family, will remain intact. At least when it comes to me. I will not be the one that causes him to realize that only after the fact. He would have been too stubborn to apologize properly and then fix his marriage properly and so in the end, he would have lost her….and found out only too late, that he lost it all. And then, he would have had me. I didn’t want that for him, or for me, or for his family.

    In my eyes, I did this because I DO truly love him. I love him more than I love my time with him. I love him more than I have ever loved anyone. I met him when I was very young and knew right then that I would NEVER forget him. That I would have chosen him. But life did not work out that way for us. And so now I just have to accept that while I can love him forever, I cannot have him for myself. And it’s funny, even though I made the choice, and he still doesn’t understand why (or want to acknowledge that he knows) and even though I am okay overall….something is missing. I’ve felt empty and lost and sad. I didn’t expect that this time, since I so willingly chose to let go, without any fights or talks or emotional explosions, but I do know that it is normal and that it will get better. I fight very hard to keep myself from playing any sort of “victim” role and “blaming” him for any of this.

    Thank you so much for sharing this. I sums up EXACTLY what I have been trying to tell my affair partner I believed would happen “in the end”. I sums up EXACTLY why I chose to end things now. It sums up feelings inside that I could not articulate. What this man said is exactly what I think my own MM would have come to see, through painful discovery, or as an older man looking back, and I just couldn’t be a part of any of those equations and feel good about it.

  3. PS….Also, btw…I am also a woman who was not “caught”. Even though my marriage has been dead for years, my husband would STILL be pissed and probably even hurt. He would of course walk out on me immediately, but that is not the point here. I just wonder if maybe it is less expected of women? So maybe it’s off the radar a bit more? I don’t even have a job, and I can still manage to find excuses to travel alone or with certain friends, that used to allow me to see him.

    The other thing is this. We never emailed. EVER. He does not have Facebook. We don’t Skype. His phone and all of it’s records are through his company and his job requires lots of calls, all over the country. I also have my own phone and my own cell account. I have a private credit card as well. We only spoke by phone and texted. We did not text a lot in the evenings or at odd times, although I wanted to and at times we DID do that more. I have never brought his name up one time, in over 3 years, even as an old friend etc…And, we are long distance. So there were always many, many weekends and nights etc…that my own husband would see me slouching around, not dressed up, not going out, acting pretty normal. I just wonder what the stats are on women VS. men, getting caught.

    And I do not say this in a proud way. Not at all. I mean, now that it’s over, even my therapist doesn’t think I should say anything, especially since the marriage is over and we will be getting divorced anyway. But I just found your comment about the women, VS men…interesting. I would like to know though…how the women are doing in their marriages, even having not been found out? Because for me, I never could have done what I did, if I had an inkling of love left for my husband at the time. I never could have done what I did, had I not truly believed that our marriage was done. And even though my affair is over, I STILL do not want my husband back. I do not think I could ever feel love for or with him again. Obviously my story is different, with the emotional abuse and all. But I know that if I had to TRY to fall back in love with my husband, especially after the affair and what I felt in it (real or not) it would be virtually impossible. And yes, I have children that I contemplate staying for….but I just can’t. Just wondered if these women had innocent and “good” husbands at home that they have realized are “wonderful” as it seems many MALE cheaters end up doing. They see their wives beauty in different ways AFTER the affair. Do the women in the group? Or do they still long for the affair partner? I know I would be the second option, if I chose to stay married.

  4. Also, in response to some of the other comments that were left prior to mine, I think that it is very difficult for a betrayed spouse to understand and accept that while a former wayward CAN be very sorry, and CAN change, and CAN love his wife and ONLY his wife again…..the former wayward cannot always stop having the emotions that he has. It sounds like your friend believes in the same type of chemistry/DNA connection that does draw some people together instantly, and I do too, b/c that is how it was for us and how it still is. It was ALWAYS be there, for both of us. Now, what you choose to do with that, is different. BUT….a husband who has cheated and is trying to repair his marriage CAN love his wife and devote himself to her again completely, but what he cannot do, which I believe is an issue for many betrayed spouses, is to stop the feelings/thoughts/emotions of his own truth, that are deep in his soul.

    I think that a betrayed spouse is usually so hurt b/c they are completely devoted to this one person, even in the depths of their soul. And it is probably very hard to accept that while they choose to stay with their former wayward and while he may choose to stay with her and TRULY loves her, that he may still, depending on the situation, have feelings for another woman. I guess that is where the betrayed spouse must decide for themselves, if that is something they can accept or not. But I don’t think that to share every single thought and emotion is healthy, nor do I think that if a thought passes through the mind of a former wayward, but he does NOT act on it…..that it becomes him not being transparent. Some of our thoughts are just like dreams….out of our control. We can choose to stop dwelling on them and to not focus on them, but if they are there, we can hardly prevent that from happening.

    And you are so very right about the reasons and type of affair. It sounds like some of the AP’s that certain men chose were really bad choices. Maybe the women were just after money and sex and out to ruin lives. And yes…I was an OW. But I was NEVER out to hurt HIM. And even when all the dust has settled, I NEVER will. I truly believe that he loves me as much as I love him, even though he will likely spend the rest of his days with his wife, even long after the kids are gone. I cannot be held responsible for whether or not this is fair to her, as I cannot force him to NOT love me. I cannot make him see what he has, if he chooses not to see it. I cannot make him let her fill his voids if he refuses to acknowledge that they are there. All I can do is step away and let him go, but the rest….is up to him.

  5. Just another BS weighing in. So glad you posted his words. What he said struck me as a summary of a lot of really hard learned life lessons. To me they reflected a lot of truth and a lot of growth- authentic and beautiful. If I were his wife- I’d be moved.

  6. It’s been almost 2 years since DDay, the end of my Affair, and the last time I have ever spoke to my xMM and I have spent days, weeks and months on the internet looking for some form of understanding. I am very relieved to have stumbled onto your blog and this specific post. It took my jumbled thoughts and put them into words that make sense.

    Due to nature of my DDay – everyone in my life knows about my A. I would probably say about 99.8% of those people all feel that I should hate and despise my xMM for luring me into the A. Then I should hate and despise him for vanishing after DDay. But for the life of me, I have never once felt that way towards xMM and trust me I have tried! I thought hating him will help me heal. Then the discussion of indifference came up and I have waited anxiously for that moment to happen to me and it hasn’t. I have just come to the realization that there is a piece of me that will always be in love with him. Time and Distance broke me…but after being knocked down lower than I have ever been before…Time and Distance is what is helping rebuild me into a better person!!!!!

    Sliding Doors…sigh…that is exactly what it is!!!!! To catch glimpse of all the What If’s in your life!!! I’ve learn to appreciate each morning I wake up next to my husband, to hold him closer when I kiss him goodbye for the day, and to whisper I love you in his ear while he sleeps!

    • It’s almost never an easy situation and I’m glad you find at least some of my blog illuminating.

      Pardon me in advance if I give you some feedback on what you wrote. I’m truly not trying to be unkind, but I have to react to what you’ve written, and plainly and bluntly.

      Every affair is different and I don’t know your story, but rarely is it a case of villain and victim. You aren’t blameless. He isn’t blameless. You were two married people who carried on a large scale deceit and deception, and complete betrayal of your spouses. Unless he held a gun to your head, you can’t blame him for your decision to have an affair. He didn’t lure you anywhere. You went. Willingly. You must own your decisions. It’s part of your own healing and ensuring that you never go down this road again. It’s easy for you (and your friends) to blame the evil married man, but in reality, you weren’t forced to do anything. Own it.

      I too felt manipulated by my ex-OW in my affair, but I never blamed her for the decisions I made and the things I did, despite her lies and manipulations. My ex-OW also is trying to paint herself as the victim of me. It couldn’t be further from the truth. We are both to blame, equally. The difference between me and her is that I wasn’t telling lies and trying to manipulate the situation. I was just going with it, day by day, although I was very stressed out throughout the affair. But that aside.

      I wish you good luck in your recovery. Do you have a blog of your story? I’m curious as to how all this unfolded.

      Anyway I hope my blog entries assist you in some ways on your journey.

      • My apologies for not being clear on my post…I should have mentioned that I do not share the same point of view as the others who say I should hate my xMM. It’s quite the opposite actually!!!! I accept full responsibility of my A as a willing participant and hold no animosity towards xMM. We went into the A with eyes wide open – though foolish and impetuous – with complete understanding of what we were doing with each. The people who feel that I should hate him are the same ones who were first in line to “cast stones” at me when they found out about the A…so their words to me are just that “words”. I don’t blame them for their opinions or actions towards me either. Like you…I believe in OWNING IT!!! I wasn’t manipulated, lied to, or tricked into the A. Nor was I treated with contempt or disrespect after the A by xMM. After DDay, we just ceased to exist in each others worlds anymore. It was the only way to save my marriage, to save his marriage and the only way we could let each other go. Even my therapist thought that the dynamics of my A was unusual…she admitted that the typical stages of grief does not apply to my case. It’s been almost 2 years since I last heard from xMM but I still care for him, wish him happiness and healing. I still ache whenever a memory crosses my mind but the tears have stopped and every now and then I catch myself smiling at the memory instead.

        No, no blog about my story. Maybe I can email it to you…if you are interested.

      • Yes, I’m interested. Please email. A link is at the bottom of my menu bars on the right side of my page.

        Ok. I get it. I just reacted to what you wrote. It’s very typical, it seems, to blame the the Affair Partner for the affair, but more so by Betrayed Spouses. It’s a way to sort of deflect attention from themselves (and their Cheating Spouse) — as long as you blame the other person, then the Betrayed Spouse doesn’t have to look in the mirror and be honest about their role in creating a marriage so lousy that their partner sought the attention (and arms) of another person. And it also lets the Cheating Spouse off the hook to some degree. So I try and make sure that people don’t focus so much on the OM/OW. Nobody makes anyone do anything.

        So I see your explanation and I couldn’t agree more. I wish my ex-OW had as much courage, character and understanding as you do. Unfortunately, I came to realize that she was an immature, dishonest, cunning, manipulative person, who, more than 1 1/2 years later, is still tormenting me over my decision. She lied to me. Big time. But I never blamed her for my decisions.

        yes, please write.

  7. Wow wow wow. Been looking for some way to understand what I’ve been going through and this post articulates very powerfully the very real feelings that go along with an affair. The rational part of my brain knows it’s a fantasy and an escape and all of that, but the pull and connection is real. Real in the little space we’ve created for ourselves, but not sustainable. Reality is just starting to creep into the affair I started (willfully, intentionally) for all of the usual reasons. I’ve been trying to convince myself it’s purely fantasy in hopes that will let me leave it be and move on, go back to my real life, but it’s not that easy. I’ve cultivated something real that will be difficult to shake. Hearing someone honestly acknowledge that fact is very helpful. Understanding what I’m dealing with is a start to sorting this all out. Thank you for sharing this.

  8. where to start…I am a FBS who is four months from discovering husbands long term emotional affair – says never had sex or even met in person- which I don’t believe-I feel enlightened and deeply saddened to learn how a WS still feels after returning to wife. To me it sounds like – in original story- that WS only returned to wife when AP chose to return to her spouse, so he went back to wife but his heart and thoughts and desires are still for AP. How sad! Husband and I still together and going to try to make it work. But somehow I feel that maybe im his second choice as well. There are two strong reasons on his part -this is what I think- to stay with me : first is the fact that he absolutely doesn’t want for anyone to know about his affair family, friends co-workers as I have only told one trusted friend, my niece who happen to come over when I was have a total meltdown early on and unfortunelty our two boys -18 & 22 who still live home- because they couldn’t help but hear spouse and I fighting in original week of discovery.and the second is money, he doesn’t want to give me any of it of that I am sure. I mean all this has been sooo frickn hard, my life has been shaken so bad don’t know how ive survived so far – only good so far is that ive lost 35 lbs. (don’t recommend as weight loss program) and while husband & I together-didn’t split up- I don’t know if we gonna make it. In the last four months I have read THOUSANDS of articles, postings, blogs etc. and im scared to death because spouse really hasn’t done any of the things that couples need to do to survive infidelity. even though he says still loves me always has always will – only women for him etc. with everything ive learned and especially article im commenting on I wonder if he’s just settling, because his AP told him go home to your wife im not leaving my husband because I believe her husband may not know. oh yes this crap sure $#%^^&&&^ hurts !! Poor him – and his midlife crisis im starting to feel like im DONE – sad part is still love the SOB! theres a song I think called breathe and a verse: so accusing their words, are, like they have any right to criticizeyou cuz you know were all hear for the same reason; because you can’t jump the track were like cars on a cable and lifes like an hourglass glued to the table, no one can find the rewind button girl so cradle your head in your hands and BREATHE JUST BREATHE!!!! I may not have got the words exactly right but ithink you understand. As for me right now im trying to do what most sites suggest slowdown and make no hasty decisions hell it’ll take me that long to be ready to leave if that’s MY final decision. I just started real estate school and going to embark on new career -something I always wanted to do- and if hes still here at the end so be it! and if not it will be the second saddest day of my life. D-day was the worst! Sorry so lo ng, trust me I have barely given you entire scenario and yes I do accept my portion of blame for letting our marriage die but I TRIED OH HOW I TRIED to get him to hear me about not getting my needs met but he refusedto listen so I tried to divorce but he sucked me back in and when we ended up same place I basically shut down – kinda like a zombie for several years so when he tried to tell me his needs weren’t being met I couldn’t or didn’t want to hear – the difference was, I told him; yes when I wasn’t getting my needs met ; I shutdown from our relationship , when HIS needs not being met his -he goes and has an affair!! And he wonders why his life is crumbling around him. Pray for us both!!

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