I told my husband that I wanted a divorce on May 28.  We’ve been cordial and even friendly with each other – both of us seemingly heartbroken.  In fact, we went to dinner for his birthday last week and had a really nice evening.  We didn’t talk about the divorce, and we’re both fine as long as we don’t talk about it.  It’s been so hard, because I still love him.  I cry all the time and have had so many doubts about whether I’ve made the right decision.  And he has been professing his love for me and telling me that he does not want a divorce.  Yet, his actions say something altogether different….

The week after I told him that I wanted a divorce, he stopped wearing his ring, unfriended and blocked me on Facebook, and unfriended and blocked all of my friends.  I maintain a fake FB account (to investigate employees for my job) and looked him up.  I was saddened and hurt to see that he immediately friended and had conversations with the old girlfriend that I wrote about in my post What was the Final Straw. On June 9, he signed the joint petition for divorce (and handed it to me in tears).  On June 11, I filed it with the court (and fell apart afterwards, and he again said he didn’t want me to file it, that he wanted to work on our marriage).  On Monday this week, I happen to see an email flash across on his cell phone from the Ashley Madison website.  And Saphrina.  I hacked into his accounts, and sure enough, he has set up a profile on both.  In case you’re not familiar with these websites, take a look.  They are dating websites for married people who are looking to have affairs.  He hasn’t responded to any of the messages he’s received (most of which appear to be scams), nor has he contacted anyone on either site.

Nonetheless, I am so hurt.  Words cannot even express it.  I knew that he would move on quickly; he cannot be alone.  But, how does he profess such love for me and yet do things that reflect that he does not care one bit?  And, after seeing the destruction that his affair did to me, how can he possibly consider doing that to anyone else?  How can he justify hurting someone that he does not even know?  There are innocent people that will be hurt!  I am disgusted and hurt and humiliated and sad and angry and confused and so many other emotions that words cannot describe.  Who is this person I married?  How could I have mis-judged him so badly and for so long?  I get that he is feeling rejected by me right now and needs a boost to his ego, but this is taking it too far!  I am so confused about so many things.  That being said, I am no longer confused or doubtful about my choice to divorce.  Though my heart is still aching over it, my mind is telling me that I made the right choice.

A few people have asked what was it that finally made me make my decision to ask for a divorce after three years of trying to heal.  I thought about this too in the months leading up to now – when and how would I know?  I thought (hoped) I would have an epiphany; one where I would suddenly see everything in my life so clearly and I would know exactly what I wanted to do and there would be no doubts, no confusion, no second-guessing of my decision.  That epiphany never came really.

What did happen was that I finally realized that he will never change certain traits.  Traits that I used to accept, but post D-day, can no longer overlook.  Traits that aren’t bad necessarily, but not good for me.  Not anymore.  Perhaps the incident that really made look at this more closely was the “picture with a scantily clad cocktail waitress” incident that I wrote about in December (Still insecure; but am I overreacting?).

I also began to realize that I was never really going to trust him again.  Certainly, I know and trust that he is not having an affair, but I will never trust him like I once did.  I will always have doubts in the back of my mind.  Those are things that I now realize may never go away.

I then began to ask myself:  Are these things I can live with for the rest of my life?  I was beginning to realize that the answer was no.  I didn’t want to live like that.  As much as I love my husband, and even though we are so compatible, and have such a good time together, I do not want to live out my life not feeling confident about myself or my marriage.

Then, he did something that reinforced all of the worries I had.  I went back to Illinois to visit my parents and attend my niece’s graduation over Memorial Day weekend.  I also wanted to talk to my mom.  I wanted to tell her about how I was feeling and that maybe I wanted a divorce.  When I got back from Illinois, I logged onto his Facebook account and looked at his activity.  During the four days I was gone, he unblocked two of his affair partner’s family members (Her mother and sister-in-law) and looked up their profiles.  (He can’t look up Her profile since she has him blocked.)  He also unblocked an old girlfriend and looked at her profile.  This old girlfriend is someone that I discovered, shortly after D-day, that he had been having some inappropriate conversations with.  Conversations that a married man should not be having.  Things like: You look great, haven’t change a bit; You were always my favorite girlfriend; I sure hope we can be friends again; I hope to get to see you next time I’m home.  To me, there’s no reason for these conversations.  Nor is there any reason he should be looking her up now, and I simply can’t understand why he would do that when we discussed this very issue at length in counseling.  I was very clear, and he agreed, that contact with old girlfriends and intimate conversations with them are just wrong and that he would cease it immediately and forever.  So, I guess this was the proverbial “final straw” that catapulted me into a decision that I had been mulling for almost six months.

When I told him I wanted a divorce, I did not mention the things I found on Facebook.  My reason?  What explanation could he possibly make that would make it okay?  There is no explanation.  There is no excuse.  And I didn’t want to hear any.  And, really, Facebook is not the reason for my wanting a divorce.  The reason is that he had an affair.   So, I didn’t bring those things up; instead, I told him that I simply could not get past what he did, I didn’t think I could ever really trust him again, and that I needed to find myself again, to get my confidence back.  I told him that I need to change the direction of my healing, and that direction includes not just letting go of what he did, but also letting go of him.  I feel like I need to choose between him or me, and I choose me.  That’s the reason why.

Today is so emotional for me.  Yesterday was the 3 year mark of the day that my world fell apart.  The day I discovered my friend, my partner, my protector, my one and only, had betrayed me.  We tried really hard to make it work, and I desperately wanted to get past that betrayal.  I just can’t.  Nor can I ignore the fact that he continued to keep little secrets from me and tells little white lies.  We are different people and we have different definitions of what it means to live honestly.  I accept that and accept who he is and his faults and limitations.  I am not angry about it.  Just hurt.  Deeply, incredibly, indescribably, hurt.  I am forever changed and permanently scarred.

I told him two weeks ago that I want a divorce, and not a day has passed that I have not cried.  Sometimes multiple times.  Sometimes for hours.  I am crying for many reasons:  because I know he is hurting and I cannot fix it; because of the loss of his friendship; because of the loss of my idea of marriage; because of the loss of my youth; because of the loss of innocence; because I am scared to death of what will happen to me; because of my failures in our marriage; because of his failures; the list goes on.

He signed the Petition and I’m taking it to the courthouse this afternoon to file it.

One of the things that my mother taught me that has always stuck with me is “don’t say things you don’t mean, because once you say something, you cannot take it back.”  So, I have been carefully considering whether I want to say I want a divorce.  I know that once that one little word comes out of my mouth, our relationship will forever be changed.  It’s probably why I never said the word even during the angst of discovery and hellish months following that discovery.  Not once.  Ever. Not even when I wanted to strangle him.  Not when I saw all of the emails, the texts, the money, the time and the love he gave her.

Then, I said it.  Last Thursday.  Divorce.  I want one.  I told him.  We both cried and held each other.  We are both now forever scarred by that one little word that we never wanted to hear.

He is sick with grief.  For the first time ever, I think he finally understands my pain.  He admitted that up until now, he never really comprehended just how much he hurt me, how much I have a right to be angry and resentful.  He is desperate to salvage our marriage, offering counseling and anything and everything I want him to do.  But there is nothing he can do.  He is who he is.  He did what he did.  There is no changing it.

I am simply heartbroken.  I can’t stand to see him so hurt.  I want so much to hold him and tell him that I take it back.  I never wanted this, and I never envisioned this as my life.  I am grieving the loss of what our marriage was and could have been, what I had hoped for our future together, our failure to make things right in our marriage before he felt the need to seek attention elsewhere.  But, I need to move on from this marriage for my own sanity and well being.  I need to remove myself from the worry, the doubts, the distrust, the insecurities, and find myself again; move away from the pain, and regain my confidence.

We are strangely civil and kind to one another.  I guess I pictured most divorces as some dramatic blow out.  That is not us… yet.  I hope it won’t be ugly.  I do care for him deeply.  Love him still, even.

It’s been a while since I’ve posted, mostly because I’ve needed to sort out in my own mind how I am feeling.  In the last six months, I have come to realize that while my husband has worked very hard to do and change the things I’ve asked him to, there are some things that are so ingrained in him and a part of him, that he simply cannot change them, or I now realize that his needs to continue these things are stronger than his desire to accommodate my needs.  He still needs to look cool in front of his friends, even if it’s at my expense.  He still lies or lies by omission about inconsequential things – not to me, but I’ve seen him lie to friends so that he looks better or to avoid a conflict.  These traits give me pause, and I realize that they will never change.

I also realize that I will always have the memory of what he did and how he treated me when he was having his affair.  It will never go away.  Our marriage will never be “better” and it will certainly never be what it once was.  I will never trust him the way I once did.  He will never be my best friend like he once was.

So, I started to ask myself, are these things that I can accept in my marriage?  Is this how I want to live out the rest of my life?  I’m not so sure.  I started to think that life without him might not be all bad.  In fact, it might be better.  While I might be lonely, and I will still have the pain of his betrayal, I will not be on this constant hamster-wheel of trying to forgive and forget and move on with the person who betrayed me.  I could start a different course.  A different direction for healing.  Might a different direction for healing – one that involves just letting him go altogether – be the direction that will eventually make me happy again?

Last month, I saw our marriage counselor by myself.  It’s been a year and a half since we last saw her.  Since she knows the whole story and my husband’s traits so well, I wanted to talk through with her what I was feeling and the fact that I have been considering divorce.  While she didn’t tell me what to do, she validated my feelings of lingering resentment, distrust, hurt and sadness.  At the end of the session, she asked me where I was in terms of wanting a divorce and wanting stay, percentage-wise.  I told her 75% leaning towards divorce.  She asked me what the other 25% against divorce was.  I can say very honestly (though it’s embarrassing to admit it, because it sounds so insecure, vain, and even trivial) the 25% is primarily fear.  Fear of making a mistake, fear of being alone, fear of losing friends, fear of losing our lifestyle, fear of what people will think, fear of disappointing our families, fear that maybe I’m just being too picky, fear of falling into a bad relationship in the future, fear that every man out there is a selfish pig.  I also feel sadness that we will not grow old together, that my fairytale love story is over (correction, it was over the day he decided to be unfaithful), and guilty for hurting him (yes, after all he did to me, I don’t want to cause him pain).  She told me that I need to be at 100% before I ask for a divorce, and that this might take some time.  I agree, and it’s been over a month now, and I’m still not sure.

He has no idea that I have been feeling this way, or that I am even considering divorce.  I’ve been the perfect wife, and we really get along very well.  For the most part, we enjoy a lot of the same things, and have a great time together no matter what we’re doing.  Of course, I never bring up the affair.  That’s a choice I made.  Really, how much can you talk about it and beat him over the head with it?  At some point, you’re just repeating yourself and guilting him into submission.  I think, and at least in my situation, continuing to talk about the affair only makes him feel like a total loser and me a bitter nag.

Some days, I think I will just blurt it out and tell him that I want a divorce.  Other days, he is so sweet, and I think maybe it would be a mistake to get a divorce.  At times, I’m so angry at what he did, I could strangle him.  Other times, I just want his affection.  God, this is hard.

It’s been over 2 and 1/2 years since my D-day.  I am better, and for the most part I’m okay.  I cry on occasion, but not often.  Maybe once every couple of months when things overwhelm me or I’m feeling insecure about something.  For the most part, we get along well, and we are still spending the majority of our free time with each other.  It’s just a given that we spend our days off together.  He is very respectful of my need to spend time together and understands how important it is for our marriage, and that has not wavered since D-Day.  We go to movies, dinner, walks, hikes, and out with friends.  Overall, we have a good time and really get along well.

Even so, I’m still not back to my old self.  Accepting that I may never be the same person I was pre-affair has been an extremely hard pill to swallow.  It’s something that I have mourned for a long time, and I am just now accepting it.  I sometimes miss my old, confident, happy, naive self.  She was really great and fun and easy-going and so confident and sure of herself.  The new me is, well, the same, but turned down a notch or two.  Not quite as happy, not quite as fun, not quite as confident and certainly no longer naive.  I’m still me, just more cautious and guarded.  Confidence has been my biggest struggle, but it is slowly coming back.  I’m working full-time again, and I am starting to feel more confident in my work, critical decisions are coming easier.

November and December were really bad months for me.  Those months are filled with so many triggers of dates and things that I know about now, topped with my birthday (I’m now 44 and prospects for having a child are now gone, which is another issue altogether) and our wedding anniversary in the middle of the month, which is always a struggle for me.  An anniversary is a time for reflection and celebration of your love for one another, but I can’t help reflecting on the bad things, and how he broke his vows.  I began thinking what my life might look like if we divorced.  My resentment towards him and the pain he caused began to build through the holidays.  I began to plan my exit almost daily.  On my drive to work, I would look at neighborhoods and think about which one I would move to after our divorce.  I mentally divided our assets.  I argued in my mind why I should be the one that gets the dog.  I planned out how much I would need to pay him a fair settlement (I’m the bread-winner in our house).  Then, on our anniversary, without any prompting, my husband acknowledged how grateful he is for this second chance and promised to be a great husband in the future.  His acknowledgement was exactly what I needed to hear at exactly the right time.  I just needed to know that I’m not the only one struggling with this, that he hasn’t forgotten what he did.  Since then, I’ve been a bit better.

With the new year, I am trying to look forward to the future and not back to the past.  It is so much easier said than done.  The habit of replaying in my mind the cruel things he did makes it difficult to let go of the anger and pain.  Sometimes I wonder if I hang on to that anger because it is comforting in some demented way.  Logically, I know that my mind is playing tricks on me, and that replaying those events is not really helping me at all.  I realize that hanging on to the past, replaying it in my head over and over again, is only my way of protecting myself.  It’s a way of reminding myself to never let my guard down again.  I know I should be looking forward, but it’s so hard to stop looking back.

Overall, I’m just trying to take things one day at a time.  Some days, I think we’ll never last.  Other days, I can’t imagine my life without him.  Some days, I think monogamy is bullshit and impossible.  Other days, I want to grow old with him forever.  The fact is, I just don’t know what the future holds.  I can’t predict anything.  I still check on him periodically – looking at his phone records and such.  I believe he is respecting our marriage and trying to be a better person.  I hope that he keeps it up.  But, I know that he still suffers from low self-esteem, and that was a factor that led to his affair, and every other bad decision he has made for that matter.  I’m disappointed that he did not work more on himself to address all of the issues that led him to do what he did, but after a year of counseling, I don’t blame him for wanting a break.  I can only hope he learned and retained enough to recognize and stay away from any situations that are not good for our marriage.  There is nothing more I can do.  The only thing I can do is control my reaction if he ever fucks up again.  Trust me, there will be no more second chances if he ever cheats again.  That is the only thing I am certain of.

 

Before the affair, I was one of those cool girls.  Because I had total, blind trust in my husband, it was easy for me to be “cool” with everything he did.  He wanted to go out with the guys.  Fine.  He wanted to go to the strip club.  Okay.  He wanted to go to the bar where the girls wear practically nothing.  Sure.

Post-affair.  No way.  I realized I was no longer “cool” with any of those things, and frankly, I know that I will probably never totally be cool with most of them ever again.  Shortly after discovery, he went to one of those bars where the girls are all 20 and wear a bra with a too short skirt – a place called “Twin Peaks.”  (Yes, that’s the real name of the place.)  As if that wasn’t enough to pour salt in to my freshly opened wounds, he also had one of the waitresses pose for a picture on top of his car!  Keep in mind, this was only a few months after discovery, and I nearly left him over the incident.

Fast forward two years, and he tells me that he is going to meet the guys for a few drinks to watch the game.  At first, he tells me he is meeting at one of the guys’ shop for beers.  I say sure, no problem.  So the night of this little get-together, he’s acting kinda funny.  Overly compensating about how he doesn’t really want to go, but he said he would, but he won’t be late.  I’m triggered.  It’s a reminder of how he acted so many nights when he was headed out to see Her.  So, though I haven’t done it in some time, I track him on Find my iPhone.  And, guess where he is?  Yep.  Twin Peaks.  So I call him and ask him: “where did you say you were going?”  Well, he knows I can track him, so he immediately tells me he is at Twin Peaks; he already told me that, right?  No.  He didn’t.  He does ask me if I’m okay with it, and says he can leave if I’m not.  I say stay; I’m okay, but he didn’t tell me he was going there.  Of course he disagrees again, but I let it go.

I don’t think about it again.  He comes home early; right after the game.  I feel fine about it and really proud of myself for finally being secure enough to be somewhat “cool” again.

Then, this morning, I look at his phone.  Old habit ever since discovery.  And, there is a picture of him with one of the waitresses from Twin Peaks.  All grins.  He’s been sending the picture to his friends with the caption “F’n $.”  Of course, his friends are even bigger pigs than him, evidenced by the comments.  (I wonder what their wives would think if they saw their comments?….).  I am hurt and feel totally disrespected.  Not just disrespected because he was obviously ogling this girl, but also because he then chose to further disrespect me to his friends by sharing the photo and making lewd comments about it.  I want to address it with him, but I don’t want it to come out angry or over-react.  Help me out here.  My insecure mind has me all confused.  I am trying to stand up for myself, but don’t want to turn into a total nag about every little thing.  What should I do?  How should I approach it?  Any suggestions are welcome.

June 10 is a date I will never forget.  It is a date that is ingrained in my mind as much as my own birthday, my anniversary, my mother’s birthday.  It will live with me forever.  I am accepting that fact.  It is my D-Day.  The day that my world fell apart.  The day I fell apart.

I was under the impression (actually, I was hoping) that the two-year mark was some kind of “recovery finish line.”  I’ve read a lot of blogs and books and advice columns, and most of them say that it takes about two years for the betrayed spouse to recover from an affair.  Obviously, I realize that the two-year mark for recovery is something that is written about in general terms, and it comes with a disclaimer like: every person is different, some take longer or shorter time to recover, blah, blah, blah.  So, as June 10 has neared, I was expecting (hoping) to be “recovered.”  I was hoping to be free of the pain, released from the grips of my anger and resentment, not to still thinking about it or Her on a daily (sometimes hourly) basis, to be back to my old self, to be happy again, in my marriage and in my life.  Things are better than they were on June 10, 2012 — much better than those first few months after discovery.  But, I am not free from the pain of what he did.  I am still sometimes angry, hurt, sad, resentful, or just confused.  Sometimes, I still cry, but not so much anymore.

I have noticed a change in me in the past six months or so.  I’m stronger and have most of my confidence back.  After the blow of learning of the affair, there were months where I thought I would never have my confidence back; frankly, I wondered if I’d ever be able to work at a full time capacity again.  I am once again decisive and quick in my work and able to handle a full time load, though now I choose not to do litigation — why stress myself needlessly?  I am again able to make decisions in my personal life, although sometimes I still struggle with making them.  I still have some insecurities, particularly when it comes to him and me not feeling like he desires me enough or loves me enough or that I am attractive or young enough.  But, for the most part, I am comfortable in my own skin again and feel good about me.

I’ve become more compassionate.  I look more closely at things before making a judgment or rendering an opinion. I stick up for people when I hear others talking about them, and I remind them that we never know what motivates someone to act a certain way.  I used to think that I would leave his ass if he ever cheated.  But the truth is, you can’t say what you’ll do until it happens to you, and you can’t judge someone else for staying until you’ve stood in their shoes.  The same goes for everything in life — you cannot judge the choices other people make — I see that more clearly now and recognize and respect other people’s choices.

I often question myself whether I still love my husband the way one should love their spouse.  Of course, I love him, but it’s not the same kind of love that it used to be.  How it’s different is hard to explain.  Sometimes, I want to rip his face off.  Sometimes, I want to have my own affair so he will know at least some of the pain that he has put on me.  Sometimes, I simply want to disappear and never see or think of him again.  But, those are fleeting fantasies.  Most of the time, he is still the only person that I truly want to spend my time with.  I still want to protect him, encourage him, take care of him, do little things to make him happy.  Sometimes, I feel love for him in a way that fills me completely and even makes my eyes tear up.

But, it is not that all-encompassing, all-trusting, blind, generous and unconditional love that I used to have for him.  It is now a more “cautious” love, if that makes sense.  I’m still kind of working out in my own head how I feel about him because it is so different from how it was before D-day.  It’s hard for me to accept that my love for him will always be different now, and I still question whether he loves me enough.  I mean, if he had loved me enough, he wouldn’t have gone and given his love to someone else, would he?  Why would he take so much away from me – his time, his affection, his love — and give it to someone else if he really, truly, loved me?  And, I question: Is the love we have now enough?  Is it enough to weather the rest of our lives together and the problems and issues down the road that we will surely have to face?  I don’t know.  Maybe I never knew, until he cheated, that love is an uncertainty.  Maybe no one knows, and we’re all just taking a chance.

I’ve also come to realize that I actually could leave him if I wanted to, that I am strong enough now.  When I initially discovered the affair and the months that came after that day, I frankly did not have the strength to do anything, let alone leave him.  That’s different now.  I know I can do anything, handle anything.  I’ve been through hell and survived.  I would be sad about divorcing him and him no longer being in my life, I would miss him terribly, and life would look very different, but I now know that I would be just fine.  In fact, I might even thrive.  I’ve considered leaving him many times, as recently as two days ago.  Sometimes, I only stay because I love what we have built so much — I love our home, our friends, our plans for the future — and I don’t want to give those things up.  Mostly, I stay because I still love him, and I believe that he loves me, and because I hope that one day we will be happy – truly happy – again.

I worry that I look at him so differently now, that it will ruin whatever hopes for a happy future we might have.  I see his flaws like glaring, flashing neon signs.  All things that I never really noticed before or simply didn’t give much weight:  he lies, even to his friends, about things that are of no consequence, to make himself look better; he always needs to be the center of attention; he can’t handle any criticism, no matter how slight; he rarely accepts responsibility for his own role in things when they go wrong (his affair being the sole exception); he complains about everything, as if no one has ever been as tired, hurt, sick, you name it, as him; he has no understanding of the concept of delayed gratification, and never says no to himself; he doesn’t educate himself or take the initiative to learn anything new and depends on me to do and figure everything out for him and us in life.  I realize just now that I have described a narcissist.  Yes, he has many narcissistic traits, and I worry that I have been codependent on him for so very long that neither of us knows how or is capable of living any differently.

But, all that being said, he does love me.  He shows it every day in the changes he has made in his behavior, his lifestyle, the way we communicate, the list goes on.  I know that he wants to make this marriage work as much as, if not more than, I do.  So…. I’m still hanging in there.

 

 

Two years ago, my husband and the OW ended their relationship.  It would be another month and half until I discovered the affair.  I cannot help but reflect on that time, what was happening then, how confused I felt, and now, knowing all that I know, it all makes sense.  Sort of.

In the spring of 2012, my husband and I had sold our house and were moving into a neighborhood we had always dreamed of living in.  I thought that the house hunting and move should have been such a happy time for us, a time to celebrate how much we had accomplished, how truly blessed we were to afford to live in this neighborhood, and to enjoy our good fortunes.  It was not any of those things.  It was miserable.  I was being treated like shit, ignored, blatantly disregarded, and had been for some time – over two years to be exact.  To this day, my husband cannot admit that he treated me badly, or any different than he treats me now.  I have a hard time with this.  I feel that he should own up to the fact that he was a total jerk.  But, I digress…

The weekend we moved in to the new house, I had much hope that things would be better.  I was hoping that the move would lessen my stress levels since it eliminated a long commute for me.  I hoped that we would bond over the shared experience of exploring our new neighborhood.  I hoped that we would find each other again.  And we actually did, for the next month and half after we moved in, he was back.  My old husband.  The one that was affectionate and wanted to spend time with me.

That Sunday, the day after we moved in to the new house, he was in the backyard talking on his phone – a habit that drove me insane – all of the phone calls that he took outside so I could not hear.  After he got off the phone, he came in to tell me that he needed to go help his guy friend with something.  He’d be back in about an hour.  I thought it curious that we were in the middle of moving, putting things away, trying to get things in order before the end of the weekend, and he would suddenly leave.  But, being the non-nagging wife that I am, I said nothing.  I said sure, okay.  He was gone hours.  Not one hour.  Almost three hours.  Again, being the cool-wife I am, I said nothing.  No questions ever asked.

Evidently, he went to meet Her.  And, they broke up.  A month and a half later, when I discovered the “email that confirmed the affair” I also found this string about the “break up” and Her realization that he had been lying to her all along.  He responds with additional lies to make himself look and feel better about The Lie.  He neither confirms nor denies the truth, and instead attempts to shift the blame and create sympathy for himself in the process.  It breaks my heart in so many ways – how he manipulated her the same way he manipulated me, how nothing is ever his fault, how easily the lies flow from him, and, most painfully, how obviously serious their relationship was (at least to her).  I am so sad today thinking about it, and I am short with my husband.  My husband asked me what was wrong this morning.  I told him that I still have bad days, but I know he doesn’t want to talk about it, so I never say anything.  Silence.  Nothing.  He can’t handle the guilt and shame.  Doesn’t know what to do or say.  So, he is just indifferent towards me, ignores me.  We pretend like everything is fine (old habits are hard to break).  This makes me even sadder.  What I need is comfort and reassurance, a hug, an “everything is going to be okay,” something to let me know that he wants me to feel better.  What I get is nothing.  Today sucks.

My comments and changes to names are in [brackets].

From: [HIM] To: [HER] Subject: RE: I dont even know where to begin….. Date: Fri, 4 May 2012 00:05:45 -0600

I’m not ignoring you, I lost my phone at the gokart track last weekend [this is a lie, he did not lose his phone, and he was not at the track]….but figured you’d take that a another excuse so I didnt bother trying to call you from another phone.  I figured you were probably freaking out but was hoping you were just trying to move on with your life.  You are totally over-ananyzing this and I cant take this in my life right now….you have no idea whats going on inside my head right now.  You know I am hurting inside and you still want to push me mentally by coming up with these theories of yours?  I’m sorry but I’m just trying to deal with myself right now.  Its coming up on a year of my Dad’s death and I am having a hard time…I realize you cant relate to any of this, but having you scrutinize me (on Facebook) and constantly ridicule what Im doing or what Im covering up is beyond what I imagined from you.  I’m sorry I can’t be the one for you and I’m sorry I mislead you.  I just knew in the back of my mind that we could never work and I should have really said so.  I just think its better we go separate ways since you seem completely confident that Im a total liar…I really didnt mean to hurt you, I do feel like it was selfish on my part because I needed a close friend who thought like me and who looked at things like I do, and to get me closer to God.  I now realize it actually didnt do me any good because I hurt you and Im sorry for that.  Please forgive me..

> From: [HER] > Subject: I dont even know where to begin….. > Date: Thu, 3 May 2012 22:02:04 -0600 > To: [HIM] > >

I have so many things I want to say to you, but I am not sure of how much of it is necessary at this point. I guess the first thing is that I will never understand how someone that claims to love you and care about you…..can just ignore you. I have asked you 3 times now for the case # for your divorce filing with not even a single word response from you. So, I have to unfortunately face the truth of what that means: You can’t face me now that I know the truth. Now that I know that the past 2 years have been a lie. At least the past year has been a lie, but I say 2 because now I don’t know what to believe anymore. Was it all a lie? It would have been so much easier for you to have been honest with me from the beginning. I am sure our relationship would have been put on hold, but it would have been temporary…..not like what has happened now. Now we are damaged. > > For the past week, my mind has been replaying all of our moments together. Like a movie, that at one point seemed so hopeful and wonderful, filled with so many promises. Now, I replay those moments with a very, very heavy heart because I do not know what is the truth and what was a lie. From the very beginning of our relationship, the one thing I asked from you was honesty. You looked me in the eyes and promised to always be honest…and I believed you. You are the only man in my life that I have completely trusted. I felt that you would never lie to me, so I never had any reason to question anything. After so much time that has passed and your divorce not seeming to be any closer to the end, than it did a year ago, I started questioning. Even though I was questioning…in my heart I felt there was absolutely no way that the man I loved so deeply would be dishonest with me. I was just looking for some validation from you that you were a man of your word. When that didn’t happen, I was in a state of shock. That is why I keep asking for the case # because I am in such denial. I just refuse to believe that the man I love, and claimed to love me back, could so easily look in to my face and lie to me. Even when I questioned you about it, you were so convincing that I knew there had to be some sort of misunderstanding, so I believed you. I have always believed in you. That is why I have stood by you through so many of your heartaches and troubles over the past two years. I believed that you were worth it and that one day we would get through all of this together and everything would be okay. I feel like such a fool! How could I allow this to happen to me? How could I not see it? Because I loved you so much! I gave you everything that I had: my heart, my soul, my body, everything was yours. I was completely vulnerable with you. I have never let all of those walls down with anyone before. Even Sunday, when we mutually decided to end our relationship because you just couldn’t deal with everything, I still wanted to believe in you. I told you that I would still be here for you, as a friend while you get yourself healthy. That was something I knew would be hard to do, but wanted to because of our history together, because I loved you and because deep down I was holding on to a glimpse of hope that after you got healthy through therapy and learned how to better deal with the things going on in your life….. we could be together. But I said in order to be able to be a part of your life, I needed to know that you actually had filed for divorce last year. I needed to know that I was right about you. I needed to keep believing that you were a good man and would never, ever had lied to me. Especially for such a long time. If there was a divorce and there was a case #, you would have given it to me. I decided to send you one last text today, asking if there even was a case #. Since you didn’t even respond……I knew, that my deepest fear was true. Why?? How?? How could you claim to love me and want to share your life with me and then lie to me at the same time? How could you talk about being around for [her daughter] to grow up? How could you look at rings with me? How could you look at houses with me? I feel like a very cruel, mean joke has been played on me. I can’t even comprehend that! I would NEVER have lied to you, cheated on you or hurt you in any way. I could never do that to someone that meant so much to me. I have so many questions spinning in my head, but I feel I will never have an answer to any of them.  you cannot even imagine that pain that this has caused me. This is more than my heart can take. I am forever damaged by this. Do you have anything to say? I don’t understand how you could do this to me and I will never know how you could do this to [my daughter]. Knowing how much she loved you and wanted you in her life…..how could you take such a risk at potentially damaging both of us? There will never be a good enough reason to lie. I would have rather been told the truth a long time ago and suffered the smaller amount of pain, then be going through what I am going through now. I never deserved any of this . I am a really good person with a really big heart. The only thing I am guilty of is loving you and trusting you too much. No one will ever love you as much as I loved you. I will never understand how you could throw it all away. > > This also causes me a great deal of guilt. You know how guilty I have always felt for being in a relationship with you, while you were not yet divorced. I was foolish and justified it because I knew you were in the process of getting a divorce. Now that I know that the divorce never happened…. I feel even more guilt. I can’t believe that I put myself in a position to have potentially damaged someone else’s marriage. If there could have been a chance for you to have worked on your marriage and it didn’t happen because of me…… I feel horrible. I know I have asked you for forgiveness but I still carry so much guilt. I wish I could ask [me] for her forgiveness. I have learned a very valuable, yet extremely difficult lesson through all of this. This one I will have to work out with God. > > I do hope you end up getting some clarity in your life.

I had been thinking for some time now that my therapy has run its course, and I may be ready to handle things on my own. So, last week was my last session.  Of course, I can always go back.  And, I promised myself that if I ever do need to go back to therapy, I won’t wait until I’m near suicidal!

Joy asked me what it was that I thought helped me the most.  Without a doubt, it was the realization that many most of my feelings of insecurity, fear, distrust, the triggers and the mind tricks, were just that.  Mind tricks that I was playing on myself.  Her explanation of limited thinking patterns and how to overcome them was the single most positive thing that I got out of therapy.  Now, when I am triggered or start to go down the “crazy train” of thoughts as I like to call it, I immediately, and almost as a matter of second nature, eliminate the limited thinking pattern and thus, eliminate the bad thoughts.  Sure, I’m still triggered.  I will always have triggers.  But, I can change how I let them affect me, and I can defuse the pain by stopping all the negative thinking, mind reading, and catastrophizing that I was doing.

Plus, I have started working more again, and I realize that I have my confidence back – something I never thought would return.  I thought that I was so broken that I would never have the sharpness that I needed to be good at my job.  But, recently, I had an experience at work that proved I hadn’t lost “it” after all.

I don’t regret a single penny spent on couples counseling or my personal therapy.  It’s been thousands of dollars.  All worth it.  My marriage would not have survived without the help of our marriage counselor in the beginning, or the last eight months of individual therapy.  I know that we would have given up, or at least separated, had it not been for their help and what we learned about each other and ourselves.

And, while I feel that I had to put more (in terms of time and effort) into the therapy, I also was more wounded.  My husband was able to move on from the affair and start anew much, much sooner than me.  I was not ready, and I needed to work through issues – sometimes the same issues, over and over again.  But, at some point, I felt it was unfair to keep forcing my husband to talk about the affair.  As unfair as that sounds to the betrayed (and it felt unfair to me), I believe that at some point, you have to stop beating them over the head with it; otherwise, the talk of the affair becomes a toxin to the relationship.  Don’t get me wrong – he was willing to talk about it, but after over a year of talking about it, I could see the effect it was having on him.  He was becoming more withdrawn and distant.  He simply could not bear any more shame and had exhausted himself with apologies.  That’s why I needed therapy.  I wasn’t done talking about the affair, and I couldn’t move on.

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