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Affair 9 months on(31 Posts)
A bit of background first...
Found out last year that my husband had an affair, was utterly heartbroken.
The affair consisted mainly as an emotional affair but he had met up with the OW a few times.
My husband was devastated over what he had done and I decided that we would try and work on our marriage, went to counselling and discussed the affair and why our marriage had reached a point it had.
Now 9 months on and some days I can get on with things, other times, it consumes me. When he kisses or touches me I can picture him with someone else, I remember what I had saw in the emails and it plays over and over in my mind it is just a shit shit feeling. Feelings of distrust, if he doesn't pick up his phone at work I wonder if he is actually there, has he set up new email accounts that I don't know off etc.
My husband, I do believe feels extremely shit over what he has done but it is hard as when I have my low days he gets upset and I hate that I end up hiding my feelings even more than normal.
I don't know why I am posting this, but need to be able to get it off my chest, clear my head out a bit.
Is it possible to recover from an affair, is it normal to have these flashbacks and mistrust as whilst I made the decision to stay with him I don't want to spend the rest of my life feeling this way.
I'm not sure as I haven't had that experience but I think 9 months probably isn't that long.
You are grieving, if not the end of your relationship, then at least a betrayal of your trust. Give yourself a break and some time. Why should you just spring back immediately? If you we're grieving a death, you wouldn't expect to be over it after 9 months, would you?
I would like to think that relationships can survive such a thing, as long as your partner is truly sorry and doesn't do it again. And of course, is a good partner to you now.
I feel for you, I really do. Do you talk to your partner about how hard you find it some days?
It's possible to recover, but it may not be possible for you. Some people find a way to suppress or ignore what you're feeling or they self-medicate with alcohol or cream-cakes. Others decide that they can live with feeling sick occasionally because the rest of the relationship is so wonderful or they feel obliged to stick around for the children. Personally speaking, I felt the way you do now after just a few weeks - every time I looked at him I felt nothing but disgust - and realised that I would never feel any differently. He really wasn't worth it.
Can you tell me why your husband says the affair happened?
And please tell me what he's saying and not why you think it happened.
If he met up with the OW a few times, I guess you've realised that this was a physical affair as well as emotional?
I have spoken to him about it, but it usually ends up the same way he gets upset and says he hates himself for what he has done to me and our family I usually then get pissed off as I tell him he can't expect things to be great just because he is trying to make things better.
And then it all gets bottled in again until the next time I can't contain my emotions.
It's normal for you to feel the way you do, a consequence of what he did. As yourself if you were really happy before the affair, and whether your partner is not just sorry, but understands the damage caused and why the hard work must be his. Most of all, has he accepted he cannot contact the Ow, has he stuck to that and has he worked to explain why his boundaries were so slack and repair them? If you feel unsure about any of this it might be worth considering leaving. We often stay out of habit and fear. But they say 2 years to get over an affair, whether you leave or stay.
Hmmm, that must be quite frustrating as he's making it all about him and how he feels and not about you and how you feel.
Perhaps you could ask him to have a go at talking about it where he focuses on you and what the two of you are going to do about the way you feel. Good that he feels guilt, but that's hardly helping you now, is it?
This sounds profoundly unexplored, i'm afraid that's an almost certain recipe for it happening again, with the same person or another. You guys need help to communicate, this is too important to sweep under the rug. It was physical too I promise. You are afraid and he has made the grief about him, not you, and his shame which is selfish. This has bad bad signs all over it and he needs to rethink how this is being dealt with if you are ever going to be happy.
Charbon I do know it was physical and what that entailed.
My husband said he had the affair as our marriage had gone stale, he thought that I no longer had any romantic or sexual feelings for him that his self esteem was shot as result and when he started meeting this woman as friends originally which led to flirting he felt desired and went down the path of an affair. He says that he doesn't blame the ow (also married) or me.
No wonder why you cannot move on properly
In order for you to recover, your H needs to do the following:
* Be willing to answer all questions openly and honestly
* Volunteer information about the affair
* Do some reading, attend counselling etc to look into himself to find out what issues and traits in himself made him choose an affair
* Work on these issues/traits eg selfishness, entitlement, arrogance etc
Remember that he chose to have an affair instead of talking to you, suggesting counselling etc so do not dare take the blame for his choices.
I would get Shirley Glass's Not Just friends - it has helped many people on here including myself.
Okay so is the problem that you are plagued with mistrust (understandably) and he is sick of talking about it? Or do you question the relationship as a whole now? Or do you, god forbid, have a creeping sense of unease recently for some reason you can't put your finger on?
I don't know, it sounds if there is some implicit blame there for you; if he didn't feel you cared for him, why didn't he just ask?
I think as a previous poster has said, some more help around communicating/ counseling wouldn't go amiss.
His affair sounds like the classic midlife one - all about him and the feelings he got out of it i.e massive ego boost.
He needs to be addressing his vulnerabilities and boundaries to prevent himself from having another one. The NJF book will help with this.
Thanks for reading btw and the honesty, the main reason for telling all here.
He cut contact with the ow when I found out, as far as I can be aware he has stuck to this. She did send an email a couple of months after the affair. He called up and told me to check his email account as he wanted me to read it before he deleted.
You know you can rationalise it and analyse it all you like but you're feeling fundamentally miserable, betrayed and insulted and it is not going away. The more he apologises and gives you his whiney-assed explanations and excuses about stale marriages and blah blah blah, the more contempt you'll feel for him.
Having been in this exact situation and nearly 3 years down the line I would say it doesn't necessary ever go away, it gets easier to think about but I still have weak moments where I doubt everything .
Essentially is he worth it? people can make mistakes but its how they recover from it that makes the difference.
has he changed his attitude towards you as a result of the affair?
My husband met an old friend that bordered into an emotional affair then crossed over twice into a physical affair, I found out all the details, he was totally transparent , upset and disgusted with what had happened . So for a while I took time to think and it became apparent we had too much to lose.
his reasoning ( even though he knows it was entirely his fault and accepts full responsibility) was that he was flattered by the attention .
Anyway it's the fact he was so dedicated to healing our relationship that I decided I would stay and things are great now, I would say the blind trust is gone but I can live with that because of what I get out of our marriage otherwise. We don't take each other for granted anymore and it's like having a second chance.
I'm 30 weeks pregnant and feeling a bit down on my body so I keep thinking of it all again recently but he has sat and discussed it with me when I'm needing a bit of reassurance.
Sorry, I am a slow typer trying to keep up.
I have the book which we have both read. I will start to have another read of it again.
He did answer my questions about the affair, sometimes a bit too honestly about the physical stuff.
My biggest issue is mistrust and doubt as to whether I can ever forget or forgive what he did. How can a marriage survive when there are moments where if he touches me I remember everything of what he did.
Counselling we did try for a few sessions but maybe we or even individually need to rethink about starting up again.
Why do you think you have to forgive and forget?
Thanks. And how were you feeling at that time? If what he says is true and you had no romantic or sexual feelings for him personally, could you have had an affair with someone for whom you did? If not, then something is different about your coping mechanisms as individuals.
It sounds like he's got stuck at the sackcloth and ashes/self-flagellation stage of recovery, which is very common in people who have departed from their values. But it's a defence mechanism to stop any self-reflection and introspection and has the effect of shutting the other partner down and causing them to give up on the conversation.
If you feel you can't bring the subject up and talk about what happened, it will build up and cause even more resentment and unhappiness.
Relationships can survive affairs but they never actually get better until the hard work is done. Your partner is avoiding that right now.
That's a great sign. It's really hard to know now how to feel, this is the hard bit. Just after an affair it's so stressful and intense and there's all this hysterical bonding and alarm that life doesn't go along like normal. It's six months, or nine months later that it really sinks in as a fact and the temptations or problems rise again. The thing to remember is you never have to 'get over it', you can snoop if you want, you should be able to talk about it with him, and you shouldn't waste time in a relationship that is bad for you above and beyond all this anyway. He must deal with the consequences of what he did. You should not be afraid. But be aware that you can trust your instincts and that he is manipulating you into not talking about it by claiming shame, he just doesn't like to look at himself or your pain which is very very selfish; a trait that led to infidelity.
Why do I want to forgive and forget, well I can never truely forget but I want to reach a point where the memories aren't consuming and forgive I guess I mean I don't want to be in a marriage in which every argument I can turn around to what he did or be constantly mistrustful.
Thanks again, I do need to have a proper talk with him and how he is being is actually making things worse and take it from there and not actually back down because he is getting upset.
What are you doing for your own wellbeing? Have you enough time for you to persue your own hobbies, interests etc, to be a little bit selfish yourself, to put yourself first etc.
Nine months is early days still. Tbh he doesn't sound as if he really "gets it" yet and this is adding to your distress. There is a bit in the NJF book where the author says that feeling guilty is a useless, self indulgent emotion, feel guilty for 10 minutes and then get on with repairing the damage.
I am now 4 years on and we do have a better marriage, I hardly ever think about the affair and there are still occasions where I will do a sharp intack of breathe as a memory is triggered by something. We do communicate better, we had about 4 months worth of couples counselling and DH went on to have about a years worth of individual counselling too, to deal with his personal demons. And I bought myself a horse
You need to think about yourself now.
Why are you so set on staying married?
I stayed because I loved him and at the time of discovery whilst I considered asking to go ahead with a divorce I knew that it wouldn't have been necessarily what I want and would have been a way to cause him as much hurt as he had hurt me.
I know that for some people the fact I have stayed is a sign of weakness and it is something I do question myself about at times.
OK so you've got past the point where divorce would be some kind of tit-for-tat revenge move and now you've realised that love isn't possible when living in a constant state of disgust and mistrust. Nine months of trying to salvage the situation doesn't make you weak at all. It means you've given things due consideration and are not acting hastily or irrationally.
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