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Infidelity support thread for the betrayed party

(221 Posts)
ppandj Fri 25-Aug-17 16:47:55

I recently found out about my partner's affair, which occurred while I was pregnant and had a newborn (plus a toddler). My partner's behaviour was vile to me for a long time (turns out it was part of the guilt of the affair) and I had been considering ending our relationship anyway. Then I found out about the infidelity and our world has come crashing down, we are both devastated and my partner has had a wake up call- all the illusion of his affair has been shattered and he realises what he jeopardised when he made those choices. I have not yet decided what to do long term; whether we stay together depends largely on him and whether he can have a good look at himself and learn his lessons, but also I need to build my self-esteem and think about what I actually want.

Since I found out I have been on MN (more than usual wink) and have read some old threads where the betrayed spouses were supporting eachother. I have also seen that there are many coping with this shitty experience currently posting. So I thought maybe we can have a thread to know that we aren't alone.

SandyY2K Fri 25-Aug-17 17:06:20

I would also suggest you look at www.survivinginfidelity.com

It's a great resource for betrayed and wayward spouses.

Pinkmilk38 Fri 25-Aug-17 17:08:37

You're not alone.

It's been 15 months since I discovered my husband 6 month affair. We are still together. Feel free to ask me anything as I remember in the beginning I felt so alone. My whole world had changed. I didn't know who I was, who he was and how we would work it out.
Big hugs to you. X

Bumshkawahwah Fri 25-Aug-17 19:39:03

Hi there,

I clocked you on Wizard's thread - I did the same search on here when I found out about my husband's affair. This is a great idea.

I found out last November that my husband had cheated on me and it has turned everything upside down. It feel like someone has pulled a rug out from under me. I don't know what to believe or what to rely on. I resent that choices about my life were taken away from me. It is a horrible feeling.

9 months on and things are much better. Not great, but better. I still don't know if I am in this for the long haul, but with 2 primary aged children, I didn't want to cut and run. We'd only just moved country 3 months before I found out and I didn't want to uproot them again so soon.

My husband was vile to me too, in a way he had never ever been before. Even when I pointed out how absolutely horrible he was being, in his head it was me being a bitch and more reason to feel justified that he was having an affair.

I totally get what you're saying about building up your self-esteem and seeing what you want. I'm only now realizing that is what I need to do.

I'm so sorry that you're going through this. It is such a terrible shock, and a bit like childbirth, it's really hard to explain what it's like to someone who's never experienced it.all I can say is be as kind to yourself as you can, try and get some time to yourself. Are the people that you've confided in or can confide in? I found this invaluable because the unfaithful husband can keep coming out with bullshit justifications in the beginning. it was so helpful to have someone who le just tell me that I was right, not going mad, and that my husband was being a wanker.

ppandj Fri 25-Aug-17 21:58:10

@SandyY2K thank you, I will definitely have a look. I've been watching TED talks on infidelity and also Esther Perel's YouTube channel is quite helpful.

@Pinkmilk38 sorry you've been through this. When did it start to feel better (if it did)? Did you know from the start you wanted to give it a go with your husband?

@Bumshkawahwah I could almost have written your post. It truly has blindsided me and I am questioning everything else too. I feel like I am grieving for the life I imagined because now I don't know if we will have that (or if I now want it). Do you feel your respect coming back for your H?

SandyY2K Fri 25-Aug-17 22:15:12

Another thing that's helpful is counselling. It enables you to become much more aware of yourself and understand some of the relationship dynamics a lot better.

Self esteem can go down the tubes following infidelity, but it need not be the case.

Bumshkawahwah Sat 26-Aug-17 04:31:42

I have to say, respect for my H is still very much missing. Well, I guess I respect the effort he is putting in, going to therapy, really looking at himself and trying to change. But I still look at him and think what a pathetic wanker he was.

I'm definitely grieving for the husband I thought I had.

ppandj Sat 26-Aug-17 04:50:59

Yes sandy I have been having counselling myself since January because I had antenatal anxiety and depression. Part of what really hurts is that I had been feeling so low and was so vulnerable and I really needed him to step up and be supportive, which he just didn't. Now, knowing when everything started in his affair it was around that time. It hurts so much that he abandoned me in my time of need so that he could basically have an escapist ego trip. The year before, he had been seriously depressed and I had been quite firm in making him seek help but I also was always there for him. I took on so much more than my "share" of duties to try and make his life easier, and I listened to him and cared for him. So I do know how hard it is to live with someone who is depressed, but I was carrying his child and was so low and all the time he was starting an affair with someone at work. I don't know if I will get over that.

@Bumshkawahwah I don't feel like I know who he is anymore. He doesn't really know who he is. We had a bit of a row today because his counselling has been cancelled. He has had one session a fortnight ago and then the subsequent sessions have been cancelled because the counsellor has gone off sick. He starts a new job in September and will be away for training for 3 months so his access to counselling will be limited in that time due to working hours. He said he wasn't going to ring the service back today to arrange anything, so it would have to wait til Tuesday. I said it seems like he isn't actually all that bothered about having counselling himself so if he can't be arsed, why should I be? Do you feel your H has benefitted from therapy?

Bumshkawahwah Sat 26-Aug-17 18:06:04

Ppandj - yes, I think he has benefited from therapy, hugely. It's been vital that he does, this, for both of us. If we end up splitting up, it won't be because he hasn't done the legwork, but because I may get to a point where I realise I am just not able to get over what he has done and would rather not stay married.

How remorseful if your H? Is he really wanting to make this work? If so, I'd recommend making it clear what you need him to do, as a minimum.

Things on my list were, going to see a therapist, telling some people (I know that might sound odd, but people outside our house knowing meant he couldn't hide from what he had done and I didn't have to play happy families in front of absolutely everyone. He told his mum and sister, and s friend), and letting me talk about it when I need to. Also, deciding what is acceptable behaviour when it comes to women.

This last one was because the whole affair started when he got chatting to a group of people (male and female) while waiting to catch a ferry when we lived in Asia. They all exchanged details on an app that is commonly used there (not unusual at all to do this where we lived). A few weeks later the girl contacted him and invited him out with her and her colleagues. He didn't go, but neither did he tell me about it. He had no intentions with this girl at the time, but 6 months later it led to an affair with her.

ppandj Sat 26-Aug-17 18:34:10

@Bumshkawahwah are you me in an alternative reality? Apart from living abroad I could actually write your posts word for word apart from obviously I have only just discovered it really. How are you in yourself?

My partner is very remorseful and says he can't believe what he nearly has lost/might lose. To be honest our relationship had been bad a couple of months before this, because of his selfish sense of entitlement causing rows and then also lots of external factors causing stress. He says he began feeling awkward around OW when she first started making advances but then flirtation began etc etc. He did a lot of justifying it to himself before it all came out and now he sees he damage he has done he is utterly ashamed.

Both sets of parents, my sister and a close friend of mine all know about it. Like you, I felt it was important that he didn't hide his behaviour and also knew he would need someone to talk to about it so he has talked to his dad. His parents are very upset by it but his family are not very open about emotions in general.

Have you had couples counselling? What do you think you might do for you? I have been looking at courses.

Bumshkawahwah Sat 26-Aug-17 19:39:27

@ppnj

I haven't had proper couples counseling yet, but we're aiming to do that. At the moment it feels too soon, and still too raw to talk about what I need to contribute to the marriage.

It doesn't help that my husband's first therapist became my therapist too. We then had one joint session with her and it was a disaster. The therapist was completely wrong for both of us and at the couples session she talked about how I was going to drive H away by being critical or nitpicking and I need to trust him. This was only about three or four months after I found out about the affair. I was quite traumatised by that session and it took me a while to be able to face counseling again.

We do have things we will need to address though. Things had been going wrong, gradually, for s long time and we had some unresolved problems which were breeding resentment in both of us.

Bumshkawahwah Sat 26-Aug-17 19:42:22

I should add - although I'm saying he is putting in the legwork, there are times he needs a push from me. He happily goes to therapy, in fact looks forwards to it, but other things he drags his heels on or makes excuses as to why he's not done things that I really need him to do. Sometimes.

ppandj Sat 26-Aug-17 19:54:28

Oh what a shame about the first therapist casting doubt and causing you more stress. My partner's counsellor apparently told him in his first and only session "it would have taken someone very strong to have not had an affair, given the circumstances" hmm. When he told me that I asked what he had told her and said if his counselling was going to end up being a pity party for him it was a load of BS. He did accept this though and he says he knows he needs to examine what in himself lead to this- how does he manage his self-esteem, cope with stress, express himself and what does he expect? He is really trying at the moment but it is very raw and sometimes everything he is doing is just not enough- like not booking another counselling session the other day for example.

I would really recommend individual counselling for you, if you can go. I was already going and my counsellor really helped me get over the anxiety and depression I had in the winter, I find it so helpful and such a comfort to just release a lot of feelings and thoughts with no repercussion from anyone I know.

I am also focussing my attention on ways to become more self sufficient as I think this would be helpful whatever the outcome.

Bumshkawahwah Sat 26-Aug-17 21:04:57

I'm seeing someone now, although I just had to take a huge break while we. Some home for the summer. It's something I should have done a long time ago so all the work at the moment is on me, my self esteem, and how to be more secure in myself.

WizardOfToss Sun 27-Aug-17 05:32:37

Hello lovelies. Just found your thread. I'm so sorry, so angry, and so sad that you have to go through this. It's been very generous of you to have supported me so much on my thread.

Why do the fuckers do it? Is it a societal thing, that tells them it's kind of ok if they can get away with it, being men, being entitled and such? And/or, is it an internalising thing, bottling stuff up, being able to compartmentalise to a staggering degree, divorcing from reality? I'm talking about good men too, non-players, non-flirters , non-serial adulterers.

Anyway, reading this has inspired me to register for counselling. He's getting it, I think I need it to help process things and try and stick myself back together a bit. It's good to hear that others have found it helpful.

Hope you're all sleeping now! flowers

ppandj Sun 27-Aug-17 06:53:17

@Bumshkawahwah so glad you have that support too. Hopefully once you are back having regular sessions it will make a big difference. How old are your DC? (Hope you don't mind me asking.)

@WizardOfToss oh I am so sorry you have had to find us, but I'm glad that you have. In terms of why they do it, I have watched some YouTube stuff that I found really resonated with our situation. One thing was Todd Creager saying "people who have affairs are not looking for another lover, they are looking for another self". This has certainly been true for my partner.
But I do think a lot of it is to do with feeling entitled, thinking they can get away with it and not hurt anyone and getting caught up in the excitement.

As for how they do it? I just don't understand. My brain can't process that my partner had such a nice life and threw it away, now it is all broken and the pieces are being picked up and we have to see whether we can put them back together in some way to make life better. I won't accept life going back to what it was before I found out, so my partner has a lot of work to do and I do accept that some stuff has to come from me (I need to set personal boundaries, be a bit more assertive, be more independent).

How are you all today? I feel tons better because my baby has slept last night after having a bad cold and stopping him sleeping for a few nights.

ConstantStruggler Sun 27-Aug-17 09:45:14

So glad I found this thread. I don't have many people IRL that I can talk to. Since finding out about my h's affair four months ago i have lost a stone And my confidence. It has also made me realise that my family is my life. Everything revolves around h and my dcs. And I thought I was his everything too.

Perhaps one day it will be like that again. Perhaps it won't.

H is very remorseful. He says he doesn't want to lose me. I wonder if it's really me he's afraid of losing. I have told him I don't want to stay together just because of the dcs. I want him to want me for me. In his heart. And if he can't give that we shouldn't be together. I also told him that as time passes I may feel differently about him. God, what a mess!

We tried counseling as soon as the affair came out, but I think it was too early. We were told to go on dates and laugh and have fun together. I think that's probably good advice but only somewhere down the line when things have been talked through and the "why" is clear. H still has no clue why he d risk his marriage and our friendship with ow.

Sorry this is turning into a bit of an essay. I am just so glad to find others who are going through the same. Am so sorry that you are though... Ppandj I could have written your post. With exception of baby as my dcs are bit older.

Pinkmilk38 Sun 27-Aug-17 11:33:10

I do feel better now and don't regret my decision to stay with my dh. I did not know for the 1st 6 months if I wanted to stay or go. I didn't put pressure on my self to make a choice. I took it day by day. After 6 months I would give my self little deadlines to review how it was going.

I was having counselling when I found out due to something else that was going on. He has had counselling. I have had cbt. We are having marriage counselling together at moment. I do think us both having individual both joint was the best way for us. He needed to work out why.

It is one of the hardest things I have done. The first few months where awful. You're whole world is turned upside down. Your life is not how you thought.

Feel free to ask me anything else. I remember how lonely i felt at the start. It's something until you been through it you can't understand. You can sympathise and think what you might do but until you're in the situation you don't know.

Sorry to everyone else who is going through this. It is heartbreaking.

ppandj Sun 27-Aug-17 17:56:15

@ConstantStruggler hi there, sorry you need to join us but welcome and I hope you might find it helpful too. It is really difficult because you can't talk freely in real life but sometimes the emotions are quite overwhelming. I too realised that my family is my life, and I actually don't think I realised how much of myself I have given to him and to my family. It has been something else that I have felt angry about even though I did choose to give so much, but I feel like I lost myself for a while. Also like you, I need to know that my partner actually wants me, not just the nuclear family. He says so, but obviously I don't particularly feel it given his actions. Has your H been showing you how much he values you? Mine is trying.

@Pinkmilk38 thank you, it does help to know that you don't regret it. I haven't decided yet, there isn't really a question of whether I want it to work between us, it's a question of whether I can forgive this. I won't forget it and I won't ever be the same person as I was before this. But I do believe that people can change and can emerge stronger. Do you trust your H yet? So many people keep telling me he will do it again. My gut instinct is that he won't, but then I never thought he would in the first place.

Bumshkawahwah Sun 27-Aug-17 18:51:00

Hey, Wizard, I'm glad you made it over here. I have asked myself why do many times. If you asked my H, a week before his affair started, whether he was likely to have an affair any time soon, he would most definitely have said no. It seems it was just that certain set of circumstances...I had left the country, he was only there for a few more weeks, this girl asked him to meet her, we were having problems, it was only meant to be one time etc etc that triggered the whole thing. But there was still this sudden point where he made the decision to jump. I would definitely put him in the category of non-player, but apparently that is no guarantee of fidelity. So I worry that he could do it again under other, day deferent circumstances. He says 'I would never do this to you again'. I say 'butbyou thought you would never do this...until you did.' Friends that I have confided in were properly shocked st him. No one would have predicted this from him.

@ConstantStruggler and @PinkMilk38, hello to you both...I'm so sorry that you are both here. I read somewhere that the only thing more traumatic than infidelity is losing a child. I honestly don't think that is much of an exaggeration.

@ppandj, to answer your question, my children are 10 and 7. And what you said about wondering if your H just want the nuclear family and I have definitely asked my H the same thing. I'm starting to believe that it is life with me that he wants.

Pinkmilk38 Sun 27-Aug-17 19:24:53

I had to think about the do I trust him question. I do but I no where like I did before. I trusted him completely. I thought he would never hurt or betray me like he did .I don't think I will trust anyone completely .

I do not check his phone even though he would hand it over as soon as I asked. He shows me his phone bill if I wanted to see it. Same with messages or emails. I don't check as it is my way of building up trust. He lets me know if he is late or when out keeps on contact. He will answer my questions.

It is a very traumatic event. I had no idea until I picked his phone up one day and my whole world fell apart. Didn't suspect a thing. I never been so hurt in my life. Think as I had a crap childhood and felt unloved and unwanted his affair brought that back up too.

It has changed me. I now have a hole in me. I keep my guard up a lot.

Can I ask if it was an ea (emotional affair) or pa (physical affair) or both. My husband's was both.

To everyone you are not alone. I will answer any questions because I remember in the beginning I felt so alone and had no one to talk to. Xx

ppandj Sun 27-Aug-17 19:35:05

@Bumshkawahwah my P says the same about the circumstances. That it was a chain of events and circumstances that led to it actually happening.
He has been v honest and said that after the first time, he came home and looked in the mirror and thought "what have you done?" But when he saw her again he justified it to himself and reasoned that I would never find out, that I had enough to deal with already so he wasn't going to admit it then, then he says it just snowballed. He says that for him and the OW it was purely physical- she is in an unhappy marriage (poor lamb) and they made it clear it wasn't going anywhere. So why? I suppose we may have to accept we will never know an answer to that.

Does anyone else have days where you actually feel normal until you get reminded and then it hits you again?

ppandj Sun 27-Aug-17 19:49:30

@Pinkmilk38 thank you for being so willing to answer questions and be there, like you say it is so lonely. I really relate to what you said about childhood. I didn't have an unhappy childhood but have got some abandonment issues (I have never fully explored them but it has come up a few times) and I do feel that my partner abandoned me while I was depressed, anxious, vulnerable and pregnant. He was here in person but not in spirit. This has brought back this abandonment issue.
As I said upthread our relationship was very difficult in the lead up to his affair starting. It was physically driven, but also I think he was friends with her and we had lost the friendship because of constant arguing. She looked up to him because of their positions at work and she flattered him. He says it was emotional in as far as it was an ego trip but he didn't love her and she knew this. He has been very honest and he says now he feels that he took advantage of her offering it on a plate and was basically having his cake and eating it.

Bumshkawahwah Sun 27-Aug-17 20:16:27

@pinkmilk38, my H's affair was a PA and then once they were thousands of miles apart, an EA.

@ppandj, I still get that wave of remembering crashing over me. Despite all that has happened, H and I are having some of the nicest times we have had together for years, weird as that sounds. The other night we were chatting, he was rubbing my back, everything was lovely and I felt that punch to my gut when I remembered what he had done. It doesn't happen nearly as much as it used to, but it still takes me by surprise.

Bumshkawahwah Sun 27-Aug-17 20:18:56

I read these messages and think - we did not deserve this. Was I a perfect wife? Not by along shot. But did I deserve to have my choices about my marriage taken away from me, my life turned upside down in this horrific way? God, no.

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