I had a chance to tell our marital therapist a few weeks ago about this blog.  He was less than enthusiastic.  His big fear, I suppose, is that by communicating through this blog, I am hiding behind a screen, and not facing my husband to discuss the issues firsthand.  Instead of simply saying “I need to talk to you. I am having a lot of fears and flashbacks this week”, I blog about it, he reads it, and we discuss.  I think as long as the discussion follows, there is no issue. I actually find blogging to be relaxing, and I think it helps me to unclutter my thoughts and feelings.  I also like the support gained from readers, so I hope you will continue to read, share it, pass it on, and link to me.  I will do the same with your blogs if you let me know the URL.



I haven’t blogged in a couple of weeks.  Usually I blog when I feel the need to express something because I am angry, sad or happy.  Right now, I am just….BEING.

Things have been good lately, and I am pleased to say that I am spending considerably less of my day thinking about the affair or the mistress, and the reprieve feels wonderful.

It’s interesting, I don’t mind so much having the affair pop into my mind, but I do mind the mistress invading my thoughts.  I think that is because where the affair is concerned, I have reasons, explanations and repair work that has been done. so when I think of the affair, I also think of the work that is being done, the commitment my husband and I have to working through this, and I try to refocus my thoughts on the positive.  Where the mistress is concerned, that wound is still very much open, raw, and inflamed.

The other day, while looking through my tax folders for income tax submission, I came across a file folder called “Legal” and peeked inside.  Low and behold it is all of the communications between lawyers and my husband about the details of the affair and the fallout as a result of same.  We have had three lawyers working this case, at different times, across three different firms. An employment lawyer handling the paternity and child support claims, an employment lawyer dealing with the wrongful dismissal suit she has launched because she was fired, and a criminal attorney we retained to assist us when we were considering criminal charges against her for the ongoing harassment.  Wow.  Three lawyers, two consenting adults, and a partridge in a pear tree.  Where do I fit into all of this?

So, there I sat on the floor of the home office looking through this file folder at the volumes of letters, lawyer fee statements and official documents.  One document in particular stood out for me, and I read it.  I really wish I hadn’t because the content disturbed me.  It was a dictated account of an exchange between the mistress and our family lawyer when she came to his office insisting to speak with him about why my husband and I were “bullying” her.  Is she serious?  We are bullying her?  Because we stand united, and refuse to allow her to break up our family, we are bullies?  Because he fired her after the shit hit the fan, and she no longer had any power over him, that makes him a bully?  Because we won’t stand idly by and allow her to douse us in her poison, and request legal protection, we are bullies?   She really is fucked up.  Pardon my language…

The lawyer, upon meeting with her, had asked his law clerk to sit in on the meeting and take notes.  Those notes informed the document I was reading.  In the document it stated that the relationship was romantic in nature, and that it was consensual.  She stated that she loved him, and he loved her.  It also stated that the only reason that they aren’t together is because of me.  Somehow *I* messed things up for him.  Did she really expect me to step aside?  Was I supposed to bend over and take it up the ass from her?  I don’t think so.  Where does this sense of entitlement to what is mine come from that she thinks that it is wrong of me to interfere?   So it’s wrong of me to interfere in their relationship, but it is OK for her to interfere in a 10 year marriage?

I can’t express how beyond angry and sickened I am by her, and when I read these things, or hear of her latest actions, I am livid in a way I can’t explain….and that is a big deal since I like to use words, and when I can’t…you know its BIG.

I continued reading the account of that meeting.  Towards the end it stated “She maintains that their relations were quite frequent. i.e. 5-6 times per week . Was I reading that right?  She claims to have been sleeping with my husband 5-6 times a week?  That is like everyday except Sunday – what the hell?

This upset me for two reasons:

1. He has never had sex that frequently with me
2. He told me it was infrequent so this sent up red flags that he was lying

I told him immediately about what I had read.  Therapy has taught me not to keep these things inside.  He reassured me that her statement was false.   They were not together that often, and he chalked it up to her making more of this than it really was.  He mentioned that the lawyer had joked to him that as a result of that statement, he was considered among his office staff, to be quite the stud.  My husband later quipped that for a 42 year old man that would be quite the feat – 5-6 times per week.

The whole thing left me with a sour taste in my mouth, but since that day almost 2 weeks ago, I haven’t really given the affair much thought.   My husband and I are communicating better than ever, and I no longer feel as apprehensive about raising my fears and feelings about it to him.  I know he is there for me, and wants to help.  I trust that.

I look forward to the day when I can go a whole day without it invading my thoughts.  I can’t wait to feel free again.  This burden is so heavy.


I realize that my posts thus far have all been fairly negative in their tone.   Reflecting back, they either show anger or sadness on my part, and I don’t want this blog to be all about that.  My original intent for this blog was to be a place where people who have recently discovered an affair could come, read, and possibly glean some hope for the future.  It does feel bleak in the beginning, and I won’t kid you – it doesn’t disappear right away.  For some, I imagine it doesn’t ever disappear.  There are days when you wear it like a coat, others where you can take it off, and still others where you swear it has permeated you, and become a second skin. I don’t want this blog to only be about negative days, sad discoveries and angry feelings towards mistresses and philanderers.  So, today I am going to talk about how lucky I am.

Lucky.  Not the word you would expect to hear from a woman whose husband has confessed an affair, and who has fathered a baby with another woman.  Dissonant, isn’t it?

I’ve done a lot of research into infidelity, and realize that my scenario could have happened in so many different ways.  It isn’t often that an affair is confessed.  Usually, an affair is discovered, and the information pulled out of the errant spouse who, at first, likely denies, justifies, rationalizes, and even blames his spouse.  His list of excuses could probably circle the globe a few times with room to spare.   Some common ones:

  • You don’t ‘put out’ for me the way you used to, and a man has his needs
  • You don’t support me
  • You never listen to me anymore
  • You don’t seem interested in what is going on in my life
  • You never let me go out with my friends, we always have to go out as a couple
  • You make me feel trapped
  • You don’t get along with my friends/family
  • You aren’t as thin and beautiful as you used to be
  • You’re aging
  • You aren’t exciting anymore, and I got bored
  • You don’t make me feel important

Whatever the reasons,  when an affair is discovered by the betrayed spouse, chances are the philandering spouse had no intention of revealing the secret – at least not at that moment.  Caught in a sudden moment of discovery, the affair is likely denied, the betrayed spouse made to feel like s/he is crazy, and all accusations met with a reason.  Once the betraying spouse is finally worn down, and the affair confessed, he has several options.  The one that he takes will ultimately determine the success of this marriage surviving, in my opinion.  Once an affair is disclosed, either willingly, or by being discovered, the philanderer can approach it in several ways:

  • Take complete responsibility, admit the affair, disclose all details with honesty, and provide their spouse with understanding, patience, and a sincere desire to want to repair the damage s/he has done
  • Continue to deny the affair, become angry and distant, and accuse the spouse of being ‘paranoid’, perhaps even telling them that their very accusations may bring about the desire to cheat in the future (nice one!)
  • Admit the affair, disclose minimal details, show impatience at the continuous questioning from the betrayed spouse, shut down when discussion of the affair is raised
  • Admit the affair, refuse to end the relationship, and expect the betrayed spouse to accept it

My husband chose option #1, and for that reason, I consider myself to be exceptionally lucky, considering he had several options, and it is always easier to deny and defend than it is to admit and repair.  He took the harder road for his ego, but the best road for his relationship and his family’s ultimate happiness, and for that I am thankful.

My husband has always been forthcoming with the details of his relationship.  He tries his best to provide the details I am seeking, even if his memory doesn’t always recall it immediately.  He understands the emotional trauma he has caused me, and is making every effort to be patient, loving and sensitive to my needs.  We are attending marital counseling weekly, and have been for a year. While initially he was likely going for “my benefit”, I think he would agree that we are both getting a lot out of the experience, learning to understand each other better, communicate our needs, and emotionally support one another – things that were lacking previously, which didn’t cause the affair, but certainly made our marriage vulnerable.

Since my husband reads my blog, is a subscriber, and will receive an email within seconds of me posting this, I would just like to say:

Thank you.  I don’t thank you for having an affair.  I don’t thank you for betraying my trust.  I will never thank you for this, or consider it a positive move on your part.  I do, however, thank you for the way in which you have chosen to handle the confession of the relationship, the delivery of the details with honesty and patience, and your sensitivity for the emotional state that I find myself in. I thank you for your  sensitivity to my needs, and a willingness to prioritize the repair of our relationship, even if it means putting your bad behaviour under the microscope, and repeatedly having your nose rubbed in it.  I do sympathize with how hard it must be to be constantly reminded of your mistake, and made to feel badly about it.  I don’t think, if the situation were flipped, that I would be able to do the same.  It must be very hard to have to be the strong one for me when I am thrusting blame at you, expressing anger and sadness, and expecting you to stand strong and ‘take it’ for my benefit.  I know this process is hard on you too, and I am so thankful for the way that you have chosen to support US through this process.  Despite your poor choices, and this immense mistake, the way that you have chosen to approach the situation has shown me a man with integrity, values, sensitivity, compassion, strength of character, strength of ego, emotional connectedness and patience.  Through it all, I have loved you, but for this, I love you more.


I’ve been told that I am suffering with a variant of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  Given the flashbacks, the physical reactions that I feel to the memories, or the images that run through my head, I believe it.

Learning that your spouse has been unfaithful and that you have been purposefully deceived by the person you trusted most in this world is traumatic, to say the least.  It shakes you to your core, and causes you to reevaluate all of your beliefs, and to question your own judgements.  Your confidence in your relationship, your family, and yourself are all questioned.

Learning the details of what happened serve the immediate “need to know”, and prevents you from imagining scenarios and circumstances that simply never took place, and replacing those self-created “fantasies” with factual data.  While useful in one sense, it is also excrutiatingly painful to hear your spouse described what he did with his mistress, when, and how.  It allows you to create a mental movie in your mind of the events, and gives your mind ammunition with which to flash back to these movies at seemingly random moments throughout your day.

Seemingly innocent things can act as a trigger, reminding you in a split second of your suffering, the affair, the loss.  Looking at the couch that I sat on when he told me.  Where I sat.  Where he sat.  That does it for me.  I can’t sit on that sofa now without thinking of it.  As such, I’ve tucked it into the living room that we rarely use.

Pulling out the journal that I kept for the first few months brings me right back just by looking at the cover.  I will reread the entries now and again, not to remind myself of the pain, but to see how far I’ve come.

One of my greatest triggers is music.  It is sad for me, because music is something that I love.  I consider myself quite musical, having studied music as a child and adolescent, it has a very emotional connection for me.  Music can lift my mood, make me sad, etc.  It has a powerful force for me.  I listen to music for a great part of my day.  Whether I am in the car (I never drive without music playing), or at my computer doing work (also have iTunes playing in the background), music is always with me in some way.  My musical memory for songs is also vast.  I can remember lyrics and elements to songs from my childhood and adolescence like they were yesterday, even if I haven’t heard the song for a decade or more.  It brings me right back to the days when it was a hit on the radio, and in a flash I am that teenage girl sitting on the steps of her highschool watching the boy she pined over throw a football with his friends, wondering what she could do to be noticed.  The feelings flood back immediately, and I am transported right back there.

In the wake of the affair, I spent a great deal of time in profound sadness.  I would drive to and from work, songs playing on the radio, so desperately sad.  I now connect those songs on the radio to the way I was feeling, and hearing them now puts me right back in that place.   Songs I used to enjoy, not carry with them a deep feeling of sadness and despair. I remember vividly the feelings I had, the thoughts running through my mind, or even which intersection I was at the last time I heard it.  Hit songs that dominate the airwaves wax and wane, and soon enough, a hit song goes into a remission.  It disappears for a while.  And then it resurfaces.  When songs from that time come back on the radio, it is immensely painful.

It isn’t only the songs that were current after the affair was disclosed, but also songs that I enjoyed that were popular while he was having his affair.  I can remember sitting in my car, singing along to a song, doing my infamous seat-dancing that I am prone to do when a good song comes on.  I now look back at those moments, and realize that at the time that this particular song was popular, and I was sitting in my car bopping to the tune, my husband was lying to me, deceiving me, and sleeping with another woman.   I can no longer listen to songs from that YEAR without saying to myself “He was having an affair when I used to enjoy this song”, and it strips the shine off of the enjoyment of the song.  I will still sing along to it, and enjoy it, but it will always be there, imprinted and attached forever to it, like a tag.

The worst part about songs, I find, is the lyrics.  I am a romantic at heart, and often relate the lyrics in a song to my own life.  Love songs with their professions of deep caring or turmoil when there is a fight strike a chord with me.  I often find myself thinking: “I know how that feels!”.  I think this happens to a lot of people, and songwriters want their listeners to relate to, and appreciate what they are writing about.  It is kind of like this blog, and how I want my readers to connect with what I am writing, and if a betrayed woman finds this blog, I want her to be able to relate to it, and find comfort in it.   Songs of a broken heart now have a whole new meaning.  Songs of loss and despair ring true in a way I’d never been familiar with before.

Songs about infidelity almost kill me.  3 months into the affair discovery, the song “Jar of Hearts” by Christina Perri  was released onto iTunes, following its debut as a song on “So you think you can dance”.  It used to take the breath out of me. Now that it is being played many months later on the radio, puts it right in my face.   But, the good thing is that I no longer relate  the lyrics in the same way….I don’t want my husband out of my life.  I now attach these lyrics to her.  She is the one with the heart of stone

Jar of Hearts Video

I know i can’t take one more step towards you
cause all thats waiting is regret
don’t you know i’m not your ghost anymore
you lost the love i loved the most

i learned to live, half alive
and now you want me one more time

who do you think you are?
runnin’ ’round leaving scars
collecting a jar of hearts
tearing love apart
you’re gonna catch a cold
from the ice inside your soul
don’t come back for me
who do you think you are?

i hear you’re asking all around
if i am anywhere to be found
but i have grown too strong
to ever fall back in your arms

ive learned to live, half alive
and now you want me one more time

who do you think you are?
runnin’ ’round leaving scars
collecting a jar of hearts
and tearing love apart
you’re gonna catch a cold
from the ice inside your soul
don’t come back for me
who do you think you are?

it took so long just to feel alright
remember how to put back the light in my eyes
i wish i had missed the first time that we kissed
cause you broke all your promises
and now you’re back
you don’t get to get me back

who do you think you are?
running around leaving scars
collecting a jar of hearts
and tearing love apart
you’re gonna catch a cold
from the ice inside your soul
so don’t come back for me
dont come back at all


who do you think you are?
who do you think you are?
who do you think you are?

As I struggled with the decision with whether to stay in my marriage, I was torn in a way that I’d never experienced.  Staying felt like I was weak. Like I would allow myself to be humiliated, deceived, taken for a ride, and would come back for more.  It seemed like a reward allowing him to stay, allowing him to have his children, his wife, and his life.  I wanted him to hurt.  I wanted him to lose like I had.  I wanted him to be desperate for me.  Asking him to leave meant losing the best friend I’ve ever had.  It meant my children losing access to their father.  It meant losing my partner. I wasn’t prepared for more loss.  I worried that my friends would consider me weak for staying, or judge me.  But I knew where my heart belonged, and made a commitment to do my best to make it work, regardless of what others would say.

I’ve always loved the song “Heaven helps the man (I’m Free)” by Kenny Loggins.  It is the song that plays while the credits roll in Footloose.  Not only do I still love the song, but the lyrics to the song have special meaning for me now.

Heaven Helps the Man (I’m Free) Video

Looking into your eyes I know I’m right
If there’s anything worth my love it’s worth a fight

We only get one chance
But nothing ties our hands
You’re what I want
Listen to me
Nothing I want
Is out of my reach

HEAVEN HELPS THE MAN who fights his fear
Love’s the only thing that keeps me here
You’re the reason that I’m hanging on
My heart’s staying where my heart belongs

Running away will never make me free
And nothing we sign is any kind of guarantee
But I wanna hold you now
And I won’t hold you down

I’m shaking the past
Making my breaks
Taking control
If that’s what it takes


I long for a time when a simple ride in the car, a hug with my husband, a show on TV won’t transport me into emotional hell.  For now, it is my reality.  I know in time it will let up.   I just can’t wish any more than I do that it comes soon.


Therapy can be a wonderful thing.  It helps you to identify themes and patterns in your life, your childhood, which have caused you significant emotional distress and how those threads and themes weave their way through the rest of your life.  It also helps you understand why the things in your present affect you in the way that they do, and the coping strategies you’ve built to help deal with these issues.

My mother is a kind and caring person, for the most part.  She is a nurse by training, and although that means nothing since I’ve met my share of maniacal and morally depraved nurses, it allows her to classify herself as sensitive to others, giving and warm.  She is also a thief.

I sat in therapy this morning dissecting the common threads that run through my life, and one that was most prevalent was the feeling that what is mine is not mine.  What is mine can be appropriated by whomever desires it, and there won’t be any consequences, and as much as I would like to defend my rights to my belongings, my cries will fall on deaf ears.  I am powerless to claim, defend, or hold onto what belongs to me.

My two grandmothers passed away when I was 20 years old.  My paternal grandmother died leaving a lot of items bequeathed to family members in her last will and testament.  To me she left all of her furnishings.  It was her dying wish that I be left these possessions, along with some jewelry.  At the age of 21, I moved out of the house.  My grandmother’s furniture, which was mostly in the style of Bombay Company Mahogany, was being housed in my parent’s basement, awaiting, I thought, the time when I would need it, and request it.  When I moved with my then boyfriend (now husband) to the big city, the need for furniture was there.  We had some things, which he’d acquired from having lived on his own, but I also wanted to contribute, and have something of mine to contribute – it only felt fair.  While the Bombay Style wouldn’t have meshed well with the furniture he had, it didn’t matter.  We just needed a place to sit, some occasional tables and a coffee table.  I asked for the furniture and was denied.  I was told that I was too young to take on such a big responsibility, and that we would likely have some careless friend who would put down a wet glass without a coaster, leaving a white ring on the pristine surface of the tables.  Since I’ve never been one to throw wild parties, or to have irresponsible beer-guzzling friends, it left me wondering if she had the right daughter in mind when she made those statements.  Had she confused me with some other daughter she had never had?  So the furniture sat, unused, in my parent’s basement.

Two years later, my parents sold our family home, and moved an hour east to a smaller town.  They sold many of the furnishings because they were downsizing to a smaller place.  With my brother and I both moving out, it was time to pare down the “Stuff” and de-clutter.  My mother sold sofas, chairs, tables, beds, mattresses, headboards, dressers, etc.  The money, I suppose, would go towards purchasing some new furniture for their new place.  Or maybe, as it turned out, they would simply use the furniture that was willed to me to furnish their new place.  And that, they did.  When questioned about it, my mother states “I am holding onto it for you”.  My version of the story is that she has appropriated what is mine, and is using it, not storing it, or keeping it.  Oh, and there is a white ring from where one of her irresponsible friends put down a wet glass.  Interesting indeed.

Within thirty days, my other grandmother passed.  She was older and more frail than the one who’d passed earlier, so she was less of a surprise, but it was nonetheless very painful to lose her, as I was closest to her.  When I’d been a young teenager, my school boyfriend had given me a puppy.  His mother bred puppies informally, and they had a litter of pups.  I brought her home and raised her for a year before my mother suggested that it might be a nice idea to let her live with my grandmother.  She would keep her company, give her a reason to get outside and talking to other neighbours.  I agreed, and aided with the transition.  When my grandmother died, the dog returned to living with me for the year, and my mother, perhaps in the loss of her mother, bonded with the dog, perhaps seeing it as a living reminder to her, in her loss.   When I made plans to move out, I had intended to take my dog with me and made that known.  I was denied.  The dog, as it was, would remain with my mother.  I can’t recall what her reasoning was, but as usual, it would be something that fit with her agenda.

My brother is two years older than me.  Being two years older, and a guy, he had a size and weight advantage, not to mention he intimidated me.   I used to babysit on the weekends, and had a part time job that paid me.  I used the money to buy clothes, or to finance trips to the movies with friends.  He would enter my room at will, take the money from my cash-drawer, and use it.  I often questioned him about it, and he feigned ignorance about anything being stolen – told me I couldn’t prove it.  My parents didn’t do much to stop the theft, and were fully supportive when I went down, on my own accord, to the hardware store to install a new door handle for my room with a lock. To make a long story short, he stole the key and made a copy for himself.  We went through three door handles.  What was mine was his, and I was powerless to do anything.

What was mine was his.  What was mine was also my mother’s.  What belonged to me?  Only my feelings belonged to me – and nobody wanted anything to do with those.

All of the above has the purpose of illustrating why this affair stings me so deeply.  It is, once again, a reopening of old wounds. What belongs to me is taken, appropriated as one’s own, and I am powerless to take back what is mine.  My husband was stolen, taken behind my back, and appropriated as someone else’s.  If not for the obvious reasons that betrayals like this hurt, it certainly strikes a deeper and a more painful chord when it touches on those very themes that impacted you emotionally as a child.  Now, not only are you struggling in the present, but the little girl inside of you is struggling to understand why she can’t have things without others claiming them as their own.  Why do people feel entitled to what is mine?  Why am I so unimportant that my possessions are negotiable?  The little girl inside of me wants her stuff back.  It was stolen.

Living in silence

In the wake of the affair discovery, we retained a lawyer to help us draft a cease and desist order against the mistress who continued to contact our family, set on causing as much collateral damage as possible.  One of the things our lawyer advised us of was to not engage in the same behaviour in retaliation.  We needed to be the better people, walk on higher ground.  In the event that we were ever to pursue anything criminal, we needed to be able to show that we hadn’t responded to, or initiated any vindictive behaviour towards her.  We were to moderate our behaviour thinking of the bigger picture – that this may one day end up in court, and we needed to remain innocent.

When someone walks into your life, your marriage, your family, and attempts to steal from you all that you consider sacred, your first reaction is that of anger and retaliation.  I wanted to choke her with my bare hands.  I wanted to see her suffer.  I wanted to send her emails to defend my family, my marriage, my self.  She’d painted me as a shallow, self-obsessed and pitiful person whose husband was no longer interested.  I needed her to know that she was wrong. I needed her to know that he didn’t love her, that he loved me.  I needed her to see that her beliefs were crazy, and that he was never going to want her – he never had wanted her.  I wanted her to see the picture for what it really was – a sad set of circumstances that led to a man succumbing to her advances in a moment of weakness and then becoming trapped in her manipulative games and blackmail.   I needed her to know that he hadn’t been there willingly, that she’d trapped him, and I hoped that she’d realize how sad and pitiful it was that the only way that she felt she could get a man was through game-playing and, and the only way that she could keep a man was through manipulation.  I needed her to see how sorry and sad she looked to us, and how much my husband regretted ever having met her.  I needed her to know that he didn’t find her pretty, that he thought her fake breasts were unappealing, that he hadn’t SELECTED her, and that it was only sex…nothing more, nothing deeper, nothing forever.  I needed her to know all of these things, and I had no way to do so.  Legally bound from making any contact with her, I had to sit silently and stew about it, desperately wishing there was a way she could be told how he feels, how we feel….but my hands were tied.  I was silenced.

In the coming weeks when we were receiving ultrasound images, nasty emails, requests for money, and paying exorbitant legal fees to protect ourselves, I felt like I’d been placed in the middle of a boxing ring with her, blindfolded with my hands bound.  She could hit me, pummel me, abuse me – and I wasn’t allowed to fight back.  I was silenced.

I know that we were being protected legally, and that in the long run it would pay off.  I also know that it forced my husband and I to take the focus off of HER and put it back onto US.  For that I am grateful.  But. in the immediate aftermath, when I was reeling with emotion, it was one of the hardest things to do.  It was stifling, and all I wanted to do was to choke her with my bare hands. It was torture.

The rational side of me knew that dwelling on her, and thinking about her was going to do me more harm than good. I wish I could say she doesn’t come to mind…she does several times a day as emotional triggers take hold. I spend more time thinking of her than I do thinking about myself, and it is unhealthy. I just don’t know how to stop.  I am sure it pleases her to know that she has a stronghold on my mind, but at least she no longer does on my husband, and that is one step in the right direction.

Over the hump and happy once more

I was going to call this post “A state of affairs” to talk about the state of my marriage today, but then realized it was a play on the word ‘affair’ and while funny, perhaps not appropriate.  So I erased it, and tried to come up with a post title that would illuminate feeling like we are over the worst part and on the other side – over the hump.  Then I realized that was also a play on words, being over the hump.  Whose hump?  His hump with the mistress?  No.  I will never be over that.  I will never be OVER the fact that he willingly made a choice to sleep with another woman for the greater part of a year, but what I will do is change the way I look at it, and how I look at myself because of it.

I realize that up until now, the blog has been pretty dramatic.  Posts about how I found out, the red flags leading up to it, how she seduced my husband, how she is a stalking psychopath, etc.  I realize that a lot of anger comes out, and can appear as though I am stuck in a very angry place. I want to correct that.  I wanted to write this blog in an orderly fashion, starting at the beginning and making my way through that first year.  But, that is because I am a type A personality, and everything has to make sense, be perfect, laid out in order, etc…. I don’t want this to be that way.  I want this to be a place where I can let that go, and just express myself in whatever order makes me feel better.

I am happy.  I am the happiest I have been for an entire year.  I have been through some very turbulent ups and downs, and it has been pretty rocky at times.  This past winter was probably the hardest point for both of us.  Last spring, when this whole affair came to light, I was in a great state of denial.   It was really hard to believe that the affair happened, considering I am married to a good man. We went through the hysterical bonding that caused us to connect sexually very frequently for a long period of time.  We were connecting sexually which had the side effect of making me feel more connected to my husband, and that I was claiming him back.  Soon, it was summer, and I had family fun to look forward to with vacations, kids out of school, day trips, weekend getaways, etc.  We decided to sell our house and buy a new home in August.  Part of the reason we wanted to move was because we were outgrowing our previous home.  We’d bought it when we had only one child, and now had three, so it was getting tight.  The other reason we wanted to move is because the mistress knew where we lived.  We’d seen a car like hers circling the neighbourhood, and we wouldn’t put it past her to drive by and see what we are up to.  We saw a new house as a fresh start.  The sadness started in late August, right after we moved in.  I had nothing else to “look forward to”.   Summer was coming to a close, the kids were gearing up to go back to school, and the novelty of moving was now behind us.   Deep sadness set in, and it was the start of a very bleak 4 month period that I hope I never revisit.

With ongoing counselling, we are learning a lot about ourselves as individuals, and as a couple, how we throw each other off, how our interrelation and  how we manage our own feelings sets the other person into their own tailspin.  We are learning how to ask for what we need, and how to lovingly provide it to our partner.  It has been a very beneficial undertaking, and one we both look forward to every week.  When we have weeks where someone misunderstands the other, or we find ourselves angry to the point where we simply don’t know how to fix it, we use our appointment as an open forum to pick apart what happened, and learn how to do that for ourselves.

What we’ve come to realize is that we weren’t the “perfect couple” that we thought we were.  Perhaps every couple believes they are the perfect couple, or impermeable to this kind of thing.  We did.  We would go out with other couples, and later remark at how disconnected they appeared to be from one another.  No physical contact, no playful compliments passed back and forth, no flirting, no thoughtful gestures – just co-existence.  We used to talk about how lucky we were to be together, to have found the one true person who made US perfect.  We were disillusioned.  Although we very much love one another, and genuinely LIKE one another, we really didn’t communicate well, and we are learning now how to do that.  It is a hard habit to break, and we fall in often, but we are learning how to get out, and grab onto the other person when things get rocky – something we both are not accustomed to doing.

I think most of my happiness of late comes from the fact that the mistress hasn’t been causing any trouble for us lately.  Yes, she did strike around Valentine’s day, and yes it did cause me to gain back the 8 pounds I had just lost, but since then, nothing remarkable to report.  Perhaps she has settled into mommy-hood and we are no longer her focus, perhaps she has come to realize that all of this fighting, and pushing, and debate saps the energy right out of you.  Maybe she has realized that she has no legal footing to demand more child support, and needs to simply accept that things are the way they are.  It is what it is.  Maybe she has gotten over my husband, or the very idea of being with him.  Although I am sure she still thinks we are unhappy, and that he strayed  because we are not solid, I no longer care as much what she thinks.  I am no longer desperate for her to know.  It is enough for US to know.  I don’t need her approval.  I don’t need her blessing.  I no longer want her head.  I just want US, and I have that.

Seeing the affair through the eyes of a mistress

Sun Tzu, the ancient Chinese Military General once said, “Know thine enemy”.  According to him, the best way to defeat a force is to know it well, have an ability to predict its next move, remain one step ahead, and to never be surprised.

I made a decision, about halfway through the last year, that I wanted to better understand the situation from all sides.  We all have a different perspective of what took place, coloured by our experience within that place, and the role that we played.   In our marital therapy, we are learning that true forgiveness for my husband is going to come him stepping into my shoes in order to truly feel what it must have felt like to be me, to be deceived, to be betrayed.  When I am confident that he truly FEELS what it feels like, I will have greater confidence in his fidelity, and our marriage in general.

The act of consciously trying to see the affair through her eyes is a big deal for me because:

  1. I am wounded
  2. I have been betrayed
  3. I hold grudges like nobody’s business

On examining the data as I have it thus far, here is what I see when I look through her lens.  When my interpretations have been informed by factual events, I will indicate so.

She met, and fell for a man who is married.  She probably fell in love, and if not was at the bare minimum deeply attracted (fact).  His reciprocal interest in her, his sharing of personal details that transgressed the boundaries of co-worker, made her feel as though the feelings were reciprocal.  When the mutual attraction was confessed, it quickly escalated into sex. After that first sexual encounter, she probably felt intensely satisfied, like she had somehow snagged her catch.  The bait was working, and she was slowly seeing her desires come into view.  Trying to maintain a professional relationship at work while secretly involved in a relationship with a co-worker probably ignited a wave of excitement as well, amplifying the effects of the endorphin rush that accompanies the start of a new relationship.  It probably felt magical.  Here she was, sleeping with a wonderful man, who has great earning potential, but is simultaneously also kind, warm, sweet, sensitive, and compassionate.  He likes shopping, fine dining, travel, will watch chick flicks of his own accord – I mean, what is NOT to like?  I get it…I like him too 🙂

Even though she had proposed the exit clause for each of them, when he asked to use it a couple of months into it, she felt hurt.  She was enjoying what they had together, but it didn’t quite feel normal.  She longed for dinners out, time together outside of work, a REAL relationship.  She accused him of using her for sex( fact), and told him that she didn’t want to have sex at the office anymore (fact) – she wanted to go somewhere private, so they hooked up at hotels. I can’t imagine that didn’t feel cheap for her, but it was better than the office. The threat of possibly losing him led her to feel that she had to do something to prevent him from leaving.  Knowing that he was in a vulnerable place because he was being unfaithful to his wife, she knew that she could hold this over his head, and manipulate the situation to her advantage.  Worried that it may not be enough, she turned up the degree by simultaneously painting herself in a highly desirable light by inventing a boyfriend on the side (fact), and talking about how much male attention she gets. She did this, of course, so that he would believe her to be desirable. I mean, if all of these others guys see something in her, then it must be there…right? Not when they don’t exist. She figured that these lies, couples with the threat to tell me would keep him where she wanted him. It worked for a little while, as he remained in the relationship and didn’t make regular requests to “end it”.  Whenever he did, she felt threatened, and turned up the heat again, using the best tactic she had – the threat of disclosure to me.

When they stopped having sex for a few months, she was likely worried that they were returning to “just friends”, or “co-workers”.  She knew she wanted to be with him, and she had tried everything possible to make herself desirable enough in his eyes that he would want to be with her willingly, but it wasn’t working.  He was remaining with his wife, and there was no indication that he was ever going to leave, or tell me.  Feeling that she was going to be playing second fiddle in this relationship, she decided that a pregnancy would be the best way to hang onto him.   She went off her birth control pills.  Having his baby would mean that they would be forever linked.  If this was never about attraction, and only a money grab, a baby would then be a guaranteed meal ticket. She initiated sex with him in February, and conceived a child. Yay her.

When he said that he didn’t want another baby, and wasn’t prepared to be involved in the life of another child, she stated that she would terminate the pregnancy – kill her child – if he would confess the affair to me and leave his family (fact).  Unprepared to lose his family, she said that perhaps she might keep the baby, that she was undecided (fact).  In any case, she said that would raise the child alone, if need be, and would never ask him for a single penny (fact) (sorry but I find this statement laughable since she is currently doing her best to milk us out of every penny she can).  Convincing him that he was going to lose me either way (either he would tell me and leave, or she would tell me and I would kick him out), she rehearsed how he would tell me, and they set a date for when.  The brass ring was in sight, all shiny and ready to be grabbed.  Victory, as she saw it, would soon be hers. and she would finally have the man she wanted, free and clear of the encumbrances of his family, and they could start the relationship that she had always hoped for.  Excited that the man she loved would soon be hers, and believing that his willingness to confess meant that he too wanted to be with her, it was merely days away, and he would be hers.

When she texted him the morning after he was supposed to have told me, she thought her early morning text would come fresh on the heels of the devastation and that she could ride in, and save him from the flames.  When he told her that he’d actually told me 2 days earlier, she was alarmed that he was still at home, and happily playing with his children as if nothing had happened. When he told her that I was also there, and that things were fine, I imagine she was incredibly sad and very angry.  She now felt the sting of betrayal.  The plan that she thought they both wanted wasn’t coming to fruition, and had been foiled by the fact that neither of them had anticipated what move I would make.  My unwillingness to throw away my marriage and kick my husband out was a wild card that neither one anticipated would be played.  It came as a shock to them both. For him, it was a relief.  For her, it was devastating.  Reacting on anger, she immediately started doing what she does best: threatening.  It was her way of acting out in the wake of losing the relationship she wanted and she saw ME as the reason it would never be.  She was furious with me, and now she had a baby on the way, and no one to help care for it, or her.

The way she saw it, he loved her and wanted to be with her.  He’d turned away from his wife, and turned toward her.  That could only mean that he loved her, and not me, right?  He’d had sex with her, so it meant he loved her, right? This falls in line with the Myths of Infidelity I wrote about earlier. In her mind, the feelings were mutual, and then suddenly, they weren’t.  She’d been deceived, or maybe, just maybe, she had miscalculated the depth of what this relationship was really about, and made it into more than it ever was.

I understand her feelings, and what has led her to do what she has done.  I understand that she has been hurt.  I understand that she has inappropriately directed her anger at me, when it really should be directed at herself for getting involved. She has to demonize me in her mind in order to justify her actions to herself. Women are possessive, and she felt she owned him, and had rights to him. Knowing that he was coming home every night to me – to my bed – was probably unbearable for her. In fact, she became most crazy when we were on vacations together, in which case she would text like crazy, and turn up the threats if she didn’t hear back from him immediately. She wanted him hanging on the end of the line for her every text. He wasn’t, and that drove her nuts. On the nights after they’d been together, in order to remain connected to him when he was safely returned ‘home’, she texted him all night, probably to interfere with anything he and I might be up to. She wants to believe I am the reason that they aren’t together, when in fact my husband never asked to leave – he asked me to take him back, if I wanted to. I would like to say that she should also be angry at my husband for deceiving her, but he didn’t.  He told her many times how he felt, explained that it was just sex, and not love, professed his love for his family, and his desire to not lose us.  She refused to hear any of it, and believed instead what made her feel better: that he loved her and wanted a relationship with her.  That he would leave me to be with her, and that they would have a baby together, and live happily ever after.  She sees me as the reason that he is not with her, when he made it perfectly clear to her that if he and I were no longer together, that he would not be with her.  He told her that if he were not married to me, he would be married to no one.  I don’t think she can be angry at him when he made it perfectly clear.

In the end, I feel very badly for her.  I think she is in a horrible situation, and was too naive to see it clearly.  She chose to have a child, thinking that it would bring my husband closer to her, and is now raising a baby on her own. Perhaps she also had a fantasy, as we all do, about motherhood being blissful, with a little person to love you, and it is all rainbows and butterflies, and then 48 hours into it, having logged two sleepless nights, you realize it isn’s the picnic you thought it was, except unlike me, she is doing it alone.  I do sometimes wonder if she feels any regret.  I wonder if she will take the time to try and see the situation through my eyes, to realize the depths of what she has done, the degree to which her actions have caused so much hurt, so much pain, so much trauma.   Will she take the time to consider anyone else’s perspective, and will she see where she has been wrong, or will she be blinded by her own sense of self-righteousness?  I guess I will never know.

I suspect she is a very hurt inside and longs for someone to love her. She needs and craves love and attention, and believes that the only way to get it is to manipulate. I suspect love never came easily to her, and she’s had to fight for it her whole life – it is what she knows. She fell into a situation that was way above her head, and made poor decisions without considering the collateral damage. She was selfishly focused on herself, and still is. She has, thus far, provided no indication of remorse for what she has done to me, or tried to do to my children. I feel badly that she will raise this child alone, and will suffer the pains of single parenting. This is a choice she brought upon herself, but it doesn’t make it any less difficult to bear. I wish the best for the child who is an innocent victim of choices made by two people who should have known better.

You plant beans…you get beans

This is an expression that has been used in my home for as long as I can remember.  When a child exhibits a behaviour pattern that is just like that of a relative, my parents would exclaim, “you plant beans….you get beans”.   The implication, of course, being that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.  Now, what I am about to talk about actually isn’t genetics…it is learned behaviours picked up through associating and learning from other people.  It is the argument that scientists call “Nature vs Nurture”.  Do you behave the way that you do because of genetic imprinting, or because of learning it from your environment?

In my childhood home, feelings were not often discussed.  It was almost as if it were a crime to have them.  My mother, despite claiming to be the most understanding, caring, warm and compassionate person in the world, coils away from feelings especially when they are possibly the result of something she may have done.  Her defensiveness was a roadblock to her taking the time to attend to the feelings of others.  Now I should mention that I think she CAN be caring, warm, compassionate, and understanding….to friends and acquaintances – when her ego isn’t at stake.  My father is allergic to emotion.  The emotions he conveys are happiness and anger.  He is pretty good at those two. But, he is very poor at identifying the emotions of others, and certainly doesn’t want to talk about them.

I learned at an early age that it was futile to approach my parents with any emotionally laden information.  Hard to do when you are a highly emotive person.  I also learned that if anyone was going to solve my problems, or attend to my emotional needs, it was going to be me.  I became a highly effective person, capable of solving my own issues, resourceful, efficient, capable.   What this has created, in me, is a person who isn’t used to asking for help, who isn’t comfortable admitting that I can’t fix it myself, and who relies solely on themselves.  I feel like a failure if I need to ask for help.  It feels like a defeat.  Now, I should mention that I don’t apply those same rules to others, and welcome them to come to me when they need help…I am efficient and effective, remember?

In a marriage, when two people come together to mutually support one another, a certain reliance on the other is to be expected.  An attachment forms between you and your spouse, and you come to rely on their for emotional support.  I had never learned to do that very well, I guess, and neither had my husband.  He was raised in a very chaotic environment as an only child.  His father was more consumed with himself – a narcissist.  His mother was unable to attend to emotions, and is one of those “Sweep it under the rug” folks who downplays everything with a smile, and “It will be OK” attitude.  Not very helpful when you have a real problem and require real guidance.  So, we both learned to rely on ourselves.  It was a very functional way to be during childhood and adolescence, but not terribly functional within a marriage.  We would soon realize that.   Our ability to communicate our problems was very limited, and there is no question that if my husband felt as though he could come to me for help, he would have turned towards me, and not away from me.   This was one of those things that shouldn’t have been tackled alone.  He wasn’t prepared, he didn’t see the forest for the trees, and became entangled in something he didn’t even see coming.   It was, in essence, a recipe for disaster.

With parents who didn’t meet my basic emotional needs, and seemed disinterested in general, I grew up feeling unloved.  The attachment I had to my parents was unstable, and I could never be certain that they would come through for me.  As a child, I remember being sent to an overnight camp for a month at the age of 8.  I was homesick, and didn’t want to go.  But, my older brother was going, seemed to love it, and they thought it was a good opportunity.  I was shipped away. I was there for three years before I hit my breaking point, and asked to come home mid-session.  My parents were disappointed, and I suspected that my grandmother, the financier, was upset at the loss she incurred as a result.  A few years later, it was determined that I should attend a private school for higher education.  My grandmother was big on that.  At the age of 13, I started writing entrance exams for the school she had selected for me. and I was accepted.  Once again, I was being sent away.  I never did attend, after putting my foot down and refusing.  I can be pretty stubborn…it’s a self protective thing.

Through therapy, I’ve come to realize that my childhood experiences have created in me a deep fear of abandonment.  I don’t want to be sent away to camp.  I don’t want to be sent away to private school.  I don’t want to be sent away.  I desperately craved an attachment to something permanent and reliable, and I felt unwanted.  That fear has followed me into adulthood, and creeps up from time to time, when I feel vulnerable, when my husband is angry at me, when I think he is going to “send me away” – or leave me.  Obviously, you can see the deep nerve the learning of his affair caused.  He’d abandoned me.  He’d walked away from me.  He’d separated from me.  Our attachment was unstable.  It was like my childhood fears all coming to the surface again.  The one person I’d managed to make a solid attachment to, felt completely loved by, completely secure with – had abandoned me too.  It hurt deeper than I could ever have imagined.  I wanted to recoil into a little ball, and I think I probably did.  Until my self-reliance, effective, reliant self kicked in – and I started researching infidelity online, desperately searching for information on how to cope, what it meant, and if I’d ever be ‘normal’ again.

Your past plays a huge role in your present, and your future.  Who you are today is directly the result of experiences that helped shape and mold you.  Hopefully, those experiences have resulted in positive adaptations and coping strategies, and hopefully you feel loved and supported.  For all of those positive experiences, unfortunately, we all have something that has damaged us inside and that we’ve had to adapt to, work around, grow in spite of.  Some of us have more of those than others.  It’s a matter of taking what you have, learning the most about yourself from the inside out, so that you can work with it, and create the best life for yourself.

A letter of comfort and understanding for those betrayed

You’ve just discovered your husband has been unfaithful.  I want to wrap my arms around you and tell you that I understand, that I know how badly you hurt right now, how hopeless you feel.  What you are going through is arguably one of the hardest things to endure.  Unlike a death which has some finality to it, the loss of a spouse is one that permeates your life, and feels as though it extends forever.  Let me tell you now that it won’t.  You WILL heal.  You WILL get through.  I will not sugar coat the facts, and tell you that the road ahead of you will be easy, or that healing will come with little effort and perseverance on your part.  This next year will be one of the most confusing, painful, emotionally charged, and physically draining times you ever spend.

You are likely experiencing a whirlwind of emotions.  You are angry and you have every right to be.  The one in whom you have placed all of your trust has betrayed you.  The sexual intimacy which was so important to you has been stolen by another.  Whether your partner’s mistress was aware of you and your marriage won’t change the fact that you were sharing your husband with another woman, and the reality of that is excruciating.  You likely want to know every single detail of the affair.  When, where, who, how and most importantly of all WHY?  You may never get a satisfying answer to that last on.  If you have asked him why and he says he doesn’t know, please be patient – he may not yet be aware of why.  The reasons why men cheat varies., and he will need to do some introspective self-evaluation of the time preceding and during the affair to learn more about what was going on inside his mind at the time, and the constellation of factors that came together to cause that outcome.  It isn’t as simple as we women like to believe it to be, so let me get this out of the way for you now: It isn’t because you aren’t beautiful.  It isn’t because you aren’t thin enough.  It isn’t because you aren’t smart enough.  It isn’t because you aren’t satisfying in bed.  It isn’t because you’re old, because of your crow’s feet, or because sometimes you order dinner in.  In fact, the reason that he cheated has more to do with HIM than it does with YOU.  He chose his mistress not because she is prettier than you, because if statistics mean anything, she isn’t.  You feel picked over, but you need to realize that she wasn’t picked because she holds any distinct advantage over you.  She was successful in attracting your husband because of what was going on in HIS mind at the time, his own personal difficulties and how she made him FEEL.  She may have stroked his ego, made him feel important, distinguished, powerful, intelligent, successful.  Regardless of how it came to be, chances are that it had very little to do with you.

Whether the affair was unearthed because of a disclosure from your spouse or because you discovered it, my hope for you is that your husband is prepared for what lies ahead.  I hope that he has laid all of his cards on the table, been completely honest, and that he is answering all of your questions openly and with honesty.

You will have to decide whether you want to know all of the intimate details of the affair, or whether a vague glossing over will satsify you.  Perhaps you want to know how many times they were sexually intimate and in what settings.  If that doesn’t satisfy you, perhaps you also want to know how they had sex, what kinds of sex they had, whether he enjoyed it, whether she did.  Both options have consequences that you need to be able to foresee before you walk down that path.  Finding out the skeleton details might leave you always wondering what else there was.  It may lead you to finding out the details in a slower, more drawn-out way that sucks the life out of you each time a new detail is revealed.  You will also know that there are details and events in the affair that are still unknown to you, leaving you feeling as though you are still “in the dark”.  You might fill in the missing details with inaccurate ones, possibly causing yourself more grief when you think about painful events that never took place.  On the other hand, finding out all of the nitty gritty details will give you the peace of mind of knowing that you know as much about the affair as he does, putting you on, what feels like, more even ground.  The consequence to this choice is that with all of this information, you will now create visual movies of the events, as they played out, and they will play in looped-mode over and over again in your mind.  They are hard to erase.

You will need to decide whether this is a deal-breaker to your marriage, or whether you are strong enough to weather the storms that lie ahead.  Are you willing to fight for your marriage?  Do you want to get down to the core of why and how this happened, and walk away with a better understanding of yourself and your partner?  Would you and your partner consider marital therapy?

You will want to gather a support system around you of people you trust with the delicate issues you are facing.  No matter how tempting it feels to want to drag your husband’s name through the mud, it will not serve you well to tell more people than is necessary.  Tell only those people who are, as Shirley Glass calls them in her book “Not Just Friends”, “friends of the marriage”.  Glass defines ‘friends of the marriage’ as those who wish your marriage to succeed.  They are those who will support you non-judgmentally without trying to bias your decisions due to their own issues.  If you are ready, seek out a marital therapist who has a special interest in affair recovery.  If approved by your marital therapist, seek out an individual therapist to work on the issues that face you.  If there is a support group in your area, consider joining one to tell your story.  If no such support group exists, write a blog, keep a journal, share that journal with your husband.  Let him read it and respond.

Do something that nourishes your soul.  Run. join an exercise program, perhaps arrange for a weekly coffee meet-up with other women.  Try to do at least one thing every week that forces you to think and talk about something OTHER than the affair.  It will allow you to feel a sense of the lost normalcy you once had before the affair permeated your life.  Don’t isolate yourself.  Recovering from an affair can be a very isolating experience, especially if you haven’t found a local support group, if friends live far away, or if you’ve chosen to keep this private.

Finally, know that you are not alone.  Statistics, unfortunately, reveal that infidelity is very common. You have joined an elite club of women where none of us sought membership,  but we are all joined.  We feel, we hurt, we grapple, and we understand.  I am here to tell you that you WILL get through this, you will wake up one morning without the immediate desire to cry, you will find yourself and your partner again.  Do your best, don’t set your expectations for healing, and know that you will arrive when you arrive.  It isn’t a race, and there aren’t any winners.  When you get there, you will have gained a perspective that at this moment, you cannot fathom. Do the best that you can, and remember that there is always someone that cares about you, will listen to you, and wants the best for you.  I am one of them.

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