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Inside the mind of a mistress


I’ve just spent an hour sitting at the computer watching You Tube.  While seeking out some resources for a member of my local support group that I run, I came across a Dr. Phil episode whose topic was “Inside the mind of a mistress”.  As always, I was intrigued.

Thoughts and comments always welcome.

Parts one and two:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x1ekYBdSNz0

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CuPFcODpEfU

 

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Burden of Responsibility: Is a mother to blame for her son’s infidelity?


I received an email from a reader of the blog today.  She is devastated because she just learned that her son has been unfaithful in his relationship, and she feels that she has failed as a mother.  As a betrayed spouse, she had a horrible experience, and wanted only the best for her children.  She shared the infidelity openly with them, in the hopes that they would see the pain their father had caused, and know the impact and devastation that an affair can bring.

She emailed me today to ask if I thought that she was a failure as a mother as a result of her son having strayed.

I picked up the email as I was stepping into the car to pick up my children from school, so I didn’t have the chance to send a detailed reply.  Since I was going to reply further, and since I know she reads the blog, I thought that others could also benefit from the post, and also chime in with their thoughts and support for her.

In my opinion, she is no more responsible for her son’s adulterous ways than she was for the affairs her husband had.  These are grown men, with free will, who should know better, and who chose to commit infidelity in their relationships…JUST LIKE EVERY OTHER MAN/WOMAN WHO DOES IT.  I told her in my reply that she is not responsible, and then I wanted to go into more detail and couldn’t.  What I would have added was:

My Mother in Law (MIL) was repeatedly cheated on by my FIL.  He took several mistresses, including my son’s nanny, and my MIL’s best friend.  Repeated infidelity over a long period of time, and infidelity that she came to know about.  Surely, she sought no help, and received no support.  I know this not only because this wouldn’t have been as commonplace (the support, not affairs), but also because she is not one who would know how to solve the issue, how to communicate effectively around it, how to seek support, and  is someone who would instead internalize it, thinking herself the cause, shifting the blame onto herself.  After many years, and a divorce, he abandoned her when she started to show signs of mental illness.  She was increasingly afraid to go out on her own, paranoid from time to time, and just not her old self.  She was damaged, and he moved on…married the best friend that he had once cheated with (needless to say that relationship didn’t last either).   She was, and still is, a broken woman.  She lives with her elderly mother, a woman who puts her down, makes her feel incapable and has essentially infantalized her into being completely dependent on her.

My husband had an affair knowing FULL WELL what the consequences of affairs can be.   He watched his mother disintegrate into a shell of a woman.  Is his mother to blame for not having “raised him right?”.  Absolutely not.  Should I blame her for not being proactive enough and educating him on how to prevent an affair?  No.  I can’t blame her anymore than I can blame myself for his affair.

So, dear reader, unless your son consulted with you, and asked you whether he should seek an affair and you helped him to have one, you have no responsibility for his actions.

Last night on the news, I sat transfixed on the story of Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight, who were kidnapped and help captive for ten years, repeatedly raped and beaten by Ariel Castro.  I watched as they interviewed his mother, sitting in the front seat of her car, overwhelmed with grief and shame for her son’s actions.  She wept, speaking in Spanish, telling the news crew how she is so sorry for what he has done, and how she feels so badly for those girls.

I think we would all agree that this mother can’t be blamed for her son’s wicked actions, and we can all be fairly assured that she did her best in raising him, and cannot be held responsible for his decisions, many years after she has completed “raising him”.

Ted Bundy’s mother, Paul Bernardo’s mother…pick any sociopathic individual who has commited the most heinous of crimes, and we can still say with certainty that their mothers didn’t influence their actions, or play a role.

Dear reader, I know it is hard to learn that someone you love has been so hurtful to someone else, especially when you feel he should have known better, seeing what you had gone through.  It is hard to look at him, and not be triggered once more, feeling like the devil is too close.  It is hard to see him as your son, and not as a man who is capable of such deceit and causing such anguish.  Remember, that if he is remorseful, and truly wants to learn from this and grow, that he will need your support.  You are in a great position to be a support to his partner, and to help her through this.  You will help bridge the gap between them, and offer them hope and solutions.  You are, however, in no way responsible for what he has chosen to do, any more than you would be responsible if he woke up tomorrow and robbed a bank.

Stay strong.

 

Drip…drip…drip…The danger of the “trickle-truth”


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Trickle-truth: A phenomenon whereby an individual who has betrayed their partner reveals the complete truth s little at a time, as opposed to all at once.

You either have a denier, a gusher or a trickler. A denier will deny the affair is happening, and make you feel like you are going crazy, filling you with self-doubt. A gusher will explode with all of the truth right away, whether they were caught or whether they willingly disclosed. A trickler, on the other hand, reveals information slowly, over time, possibly telling lies to conceal certain aspects of the truth until they are ready to let them out in a slow and controlled way, thereby delaying the betrayed partner from having the “complete truth” for some time.

Do you have a denier, a gusher or a trickler?

I had a gusher, and I am thankful.

First of all, I should back up one step. Before the truth can come out or be received, the betrayed partner needs to decide at what pace they wish to receive the truth, and how much detail they want/need. Not everyone needs or wants the details. I am NOT one of those people. I wanted to know as much about the affair as my husband did. I didn’t like knowing that another woman knew more into that window of his life than I did, and so I set out to see the affair through his eyes, to share in the details and not feel as though I was left out. So, for me, having a gusher was a good thing.

Aside from complete denial of the events, trickle-truths have to be the most damaging thing to the healing process, second only to finding out that your affair never ended, after being told it had (but that is another blog post for another day). And so I write this blog post for the spouse who betrayed. Yes, you…I am talking to YOU this time.

Being betrayed hurts. It hurts like hell. There is no greater hurt imaginable. Whether you were discovered accidentally, or whether you came clean and told your partner you had an affair, the simple fact is that you committed a crime against your marriage, and have changed your spouse forever. The hurt that comes from the betrayal of the most intimate part of your life is intense. But what carries more weight than the details of your behaviour during your affair are the details of the behaviours you exhibit AFTER disclosure. Whether you are aiming to reconcile or whether you are headed towards separation or divorce, your partner is going to want to know what happened. BEing cut out of someone else’s life, and having a secret life outside of them is hard to wrap your head around. When your whole world comes crashing down, and you are given the devastating news, you really do start to question what was ever “real” in your life. In order to make sense of the information, many betrayed spouses find themselves asking a ton of questions designed to pieve together the puzzle, create a timeline of events, and make sense of what happened. It isn’t enough to know that you cheated. We want to know where, when, how often, with whom, in what way, what you did, and most of all WHY you did it. We want to know if she was prettier than us, if she was smarter, if she was better in bed, if she was thinner, if she made you laugh more, if she was….better. Whether you are uncovered or disclosed, your opportunity for some sort of redemption is NOW. You are already found-out, you really have nothing else to lose. So, why do the trickle-truth way of concealing certain details, only to reveal them later? Don’t you know that is more hurtful to us? All you are doing when you do that is protecting yourself, and once she realizes you aren’t being forthcoming, she will see that you are once again thinking only of NUMERO UNO, and not putting her needs first.

I know that you feel ashamed. Maybe you feel angry because your secret has been uncovered, and you feel like you can no longer partake in your extra-marital activity. Regardless, all you want is for it all to go away. If you could snap your fingers and make her “reset”, whereby she is aware of the affair, but never raises it, doesn’t cry, doesn’t ask questions, doesn’t hold it over you, and doesn’t threaten to leave…I bet you’d snap those fingers. I know that anytime I’ve felt shame, I’ve just wanted to hide and come out when it is safe, has blown over, and people have forgotten about it. I get it. But, let’s face it, you did something pretty vile, and you need to take responsibility for your actions and the hurt they have caused. Telling the truth is only part of what is necessary, so I start there.

When your hurt partner asks you for the truth, they want it. They NEED it. You hold the key to their healing, and if you deny them the truth, you deny them healing, or at best, you delay their healing. Neither are good options. I firmly believe that people ask questions at the time when they are ready to receive them. In the case of infidelity, I think this is an exception to that rule. Sometimes a partner asks for the truth, demanding it immediately, only to discover that they aren’t emotionally ready to process what has been offered. The betrayed spouse has a responsibility in asking ONLY THOSE QUESTIONS THAT THEY ARE PREPARED TO HEAR THE ANSWERS TO. You will need to talk together about how fast and how much, but just knowing that you are giving it ALL to her/him at the speed at which S/HE needs to hear it is so comforting.

I look at it this way: The affair was a wall between you and your spouse. Your activities were completely hidden behind the wall. When the affair was blown open, it threw open a window between you and your spouse. She can see you, and you can see her. She might even be able to climb through the window to meet you on the other side. But, each time you tell the truth in a way that shows her that you concealed it previously, the window closes by an inch. With each concealed lie slowly making its way to truth, the window openings gets smaller and smaller until you find yourselves on two opposite sides of the window, unable to cross through to the other person. Your window, right after the affair is the widest it will ever be. Keep it that way by telling the truth as you are asked. Each time you do, the truth helps prop the window open, making it more likely that you can 1. See each other better, and 2. One of you will make the overture to join the other on their side.

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It sounds silly, but in the wake of my husband’s affair, while I was reeling in pain, the one thing I could feel comforted by was knowing that although it felt I had momentarily lost him to the other team, knowing that the truth was given freely each time I asked felt like he was coming back to mine. Knowing that I could access the information that I needed whenever I needed it, allowed me to feel as though I was strangely in control of something. When you learn of your partner’s affair, suddenly you are strapped into a roller coaster ride that you never intended to board, and you feel as though your life has run away with you, and you aren’t in control of anything. Your partner cheated, perhaps the other party is making demands or acting like a nuisance…either way, you feel out of control. Having the information as I needed it allowed me to feel some small semblance of being in control of my self.

For me, I wanted the information right away. I told my husband to give it all to me at once. When he disclosed, I felt as though my world was pulled out from under my feet. I had fallen down, and getting up felt like an insurmountable task. The last thing I wanted was to stand up, knowing the truth I had, bearing weight on my legs again, only to have them swept out from under me again with some new unexpected information. I wanted it all at once – quick – like a bandaid. I figured: “knock me down, beat me up, kick me while I am down here. But, so help me God, if I have to get up and be knocked down again….I don’t think I will get up the next time”.

My husband was forthcoming with the information I needed. It was one of the factors that allowed him to restore my trust in him. Had he withheld, told me slowly, or concealed further, it would have added insult to injury. It would have left me feeling as though he didn’t respect me enough to tell me the truth. It is one thing to conceal an affair when it is a secret. It is entirely another to be given a chance to come clean by someone who is begging you for the truth, and then deny it knowing how much it means to them. When you are in the affair, you can rationalize why s/he doesn’t need to know. You can justify your actions and secrecy by saying that she wouldn’t want to know. But when s/he stands in front of you, a broken person, and begs you to tell the truth, and you don’t….on purpose…you are simply someone holding onto a large cold glass of water, and depriving the parched and dehydrated person in front of you from taking a sip.

Now, if you are the betrayed spouse, there is a way to minimize trickle-truth. Remember, that trickle-truth tends to happen because the unfaithful partner feels scared and ashamed. They are less apt to tell you the complete truth if they think it will harm them (you will walk out, you will threaten to take the kids, you will divorce them), or if they think you will use whatever information they provide as ammunition against them later. Remember that you too have a role here, and that is that if you are going to ask for the information, you have to promise to use it internally only, for your own knowledge, and that you won’t turn it around and use it as poison. No one will offer you a vial of poison if they think you are going to turn around and pour it down their throat. Reassure your partner of why you want to know, and that you won’t hurt them with the information. Reassure them that although it might hurt YOU like hell, that you will do your best to process the information that comes in a way that is healthy and helpful to both of you.

Being betrayed hurts. Being deceived after the betrayal is uncovered is just further disrespect. You don’t have to spill it all in one episode, but the simple act of reassuring the betrayed spouse that you will do your best to give her the information as you remember it, when asked, is a huge step forward and earns big points.

Betrayed spouses: Be prepared for some of the answers that you do get to be “I don’t remember”. This is especially true if the unfaithful spouse is male. Men simply don’t remember the details the way us women do. We remember what he was wearing, what cologne he had on, whether it was breezy out…he simply doesn’t look for, appreciate, or need that detail in order to live his life, so he may not have made that mental note. But, don’t fret, those memories can come back, if they are given time to percolate. The important thing is that the unfaithful spouse doesn’t start creating details that weren’t accurate simply for the purpose of ‘having an answer’. That helps no one, and can do more harm than good. If you don’t know – say so. If you spontaneously remember in a few days, gently remind your partner that you’ve had a breakthrough memory of the events s/he was asking about, and ask when it would be a good time to share it.

Healing can only begin once the truth is known. Finding out weeks or months later that the “truth” you thought you had wasn’t the truth at all can cause significant setbacks in healing. If you want to move forward to a place where forgiveness is possible, a place where she doesn’t “bring it up anymore”, where she doesn’t “ask anymore questions”, and where the affair no longer dominates discussion, remember that truth now brings healing later. Truth later, brings healing even later. In a nutshell: You need to sit in the shit before you can get out and towel off. Be willing to jump in.

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The key to my heart: A tale of forgiveness


It is a New Year, a new beginning, a fresh start. How will you write this chapter of your life? You have 365 pages, and today is day 1. What have you done to move your story forward, to propel yourself toward happiness? Are you stuck? Do you feel lost? Or are you in a place of contentment? Do you feel you are settling for what you have, and if so, do you have the courage to reach out and grab that thing that eludes you? Is this your year? Is this the year it finally comes together? Are you ready for the wonderful things that are coming your way? I hope so 🙂

As 2012 drew to a close, and with the golden rays of 2013 on the horizon, I offered my husband a gift. Not only was it a gift I had never given him, it was a gift I have never given anyone. I forgave him. I’d made the choice to forgive him some time ago, but wanted to tell him in a way that was meaningful to me. At first I thought I wanted fanfare and streamers, fireworks and hoopla. But as it drew closer, I just wanted something quiet, something personal, something warm.

I sat down to write my husband a letter this week. I wanted the letter to represent the emotional journey that I have been on over these past 2 years and 9 months (and let’s not forget the extra 15 days tacked on there either, it has been a long road). I wanted to take him on the journey with me, or at least the Coles Notes version, transport him briefly through the experiences that I have had in healing, and the ways in which he has helped me to heal. I wanted to thank him for all that he has done, for being a good man and for always putting my need for support above his need for shelter, for listening, for answering, for sitting in the shit with me (and this blog documents that there has been a lot of shit). I wanted to share my appreciation for all that he has done in this journey, and to convey to him that he has been my hero. I sat down, and slowly started to write, and when I was done, I had the following letter, which I am publishing for you all to read, which was presented to him last night.

One thousand and twenty days ago, you held my heart in your hands and crushed it, slowly suffocating the life out of me. As I sat there across from you on the sofa, trying to comfort you because you were crying, you pushed me away, and told me that you needed to tell me something. You told me that I deserve to live my life with full knowledge and awareness, and that I hadn’t been doing that. You then proceeded to tell me that my deepest fears were true, and that you were in a relationship with another woman, and had been for some time. As my stomach hit the floor and the room started to spin, you told me that she was pregnant with your baby. The floor fell from beneath my feet, and I stood paralyzed on what was left of the small bit of earth that I was perched upon.

The man I thought I knew stood before me, but he was gone. His familiar gaze now gave way to empty eyes that stood emotionless in front of me. I allowed the words to penetrate, but I could not respond. I felt completely paralyzed. I just sat there and listened to you, and for the first time in my life, I wasn’t sure whether I was real or not, whether I was in a dream, or whether I had just died. The truth is, a huge part of me died that day, and that part was the part I call “us”. “We” were no more. We were just “you” and “me”, because the safety and sanctuary that was “us” had just been violated and torn apart. It lay there, broken, hardly recognizable, and the only thing I wanted was to put it back together again. The only thing I wanted was for you to tell me that you were kidding, that it was some prank, to shake me awake. I wasn’t asleep, and you weren’t kidding, and this was to become my new reality.

When I awoke the next morning, for a fraction of a moment, I was certain I had dreamt it, and felt a lightness I can’t explain. It was like nirvana, but then I remembered that you were not with me in bed, and it had not been a dream, and that moment of serenity imploded. I woke up to the broken reality that would become my new “normal”. “My husband cheated on me with another woman, and she is having his baby”. The words tasted bitter in my mouth, but they would become my new mantra, repeated daily in my head for months and months and months, and years. I heard it in songs, I saw it on TV, reminders were everywhere. It was a new reality I had not invited, but which I was now forced to contend with. The phrase “life isn’t fair” suddenly had a personal meaning. I wasn’t sure what I had done in my life to deserve it. Was it karma paying me back for some horrible misdeed? Was I simply a cosmic collateral damage in the universe? Was I a bad wife? Had I gained to much weight? Was I no longer attractive? Had I “lost it”, and by “it”, I mean everything you used to find of value in me? Why was she chosen? Why was she better than me? Why did you pick her? Why had you done this to me? Why was I now having to pay the price for your bad decisions? Was I unlovable? Was I unworthy of being loved the way I needed to be?

As I spent my days dragging along the floor behind me a drawstring bag, carrying what was left of my self-esteem, I was inundated with hurtful emails from the woman who claimed to be so caring and understanding, so warm and personable. She took what remained of my self esteem, and held it tightly in a vice grip, dipping each piece of what remained into the acid that came through her words. Her words confirming my deepest fears: “I am ugly to him, I am fat to him, he laughs at me, he chose her, he is only staying for the kids, he never loved me…” She hand-plucked each one with deft precision. It’s as if she had lived inside my head, and knew exactly which buttons to push, and she pushed them with a satisfying and demonic enjoyment, her every move designed to wedge the knife deeper into the still bleeding wound. And when it would seem that she hadn’t done enough, she went in for the kill: She told me that due to words that I had spoken, due to action I had taken, that she had made the decision to keep the baby. She took the worst possible outcome (having the baby), and made it the result of something *I* had done, as if it was decided by me. No, instead it was to be my punishment for having fought for my marriage. I either lose my husband to her, or I keep my husband, whose love I don’t even trust anymore, he gains a daughter, and I gain a 22-year child support sentence. It was the ultimate lose-lose, and I felt like she held all the cards. I was broken, and death seemed more palatable.

Although I had my suspicions that something was wrong, I trusted you, and felt you would tell me if anything was really wrong. When you assured me everything was fine, I allowed your words to quench the fears I had, and the slate was wiped clean each time. The trust I had in you far overcame any fears, and I knew I could just trust, and I did just that.

I never snooped in your emails, and I never checked on your phone calls. I didn’t monitor your texts, and I didn’t have you followed. I had no reason to doubt what you were telling me. I didn’t have to investigate anything on my own, because you summoned the courage to tell me, and for that I am thankful. Although you do say that you were pressured to tell me, and had no intention of ever telling me, and were only doing so out of duress, I can tell you that I would have fared far worse had I learned it from her, so I thank you for telling me quietly, in the privacy of our own home, far away from her evil. Thank you for not letting me find out any other way. Thank you for being a man, and telling me to my face, despite the shame that such a moment brought to you. It is a shame that I can’t even imagine, and something that I would not have had the strength to do, had the situation been reversed. Thank you for being strong enough to do the right thing.

In the weeks that followed, you attended marital counseling with me. You attended regular weekly sessions, and faced head-on the shameful situation of having your mistakes placed on the table for open commentary and evaluation. You watched me cry and break down, witnessing firsthand the carnage that you created in the one you professed to love and protect. But you kept coming, and didn’t complain. You didn’t back down, you didn’t refuse, and you didn’t stop.

You took the time to look deep inside of yourself and your situation at the time, with the guidance of our counselor with a desire to learn what had led you there. Thank you for seeing the possibility of there having been a lack of something within you, something broken, something that needed mending. Although I do own my share of any marital breakdown that resulted in your inability to feel that you could come to me with your feelings, I also understand that your decision to have an affair was yours alone, and wasn’t something you did as a result of me, or our marriage. You had plenty of healthier alternatives to deal with your situation, but made a bad choice. I don’t think it makes you a bad person, and I don’t define you by it. Thank you for trying to find what it was within you that enabled this situation, no matter how painful, and for having the strength to examine it. Thank you for being strong enough.

You listened to me gripe and complain incessantly. You watched me hurt, and you listened to me ask the same questions over and over again. You answered them honestly, whenever there was an answer, and struggled to give me comfort, even in times when there wasn’t an answer to give. You placed all of your cards face up on the table, and gave me the truth at the speed at which I needed to hear it, not at the speed at which you were willing to face it. You followed my lead and proceeded at my pace, even when it was uncomfortable. Thank you.

You allowed me to start writing a blog to express my feelings, in the hopes that publically sharing it, that I might gain support from objective others, and also possibly help others in the process. You didn’t stop me from making public our struggle, and I agreed to protect our anonymity. Writing the blog has been a great triumph for me, is something that I enjoy, and which has brought me a great deal of support. It has also helped others. Thank you for giving it your support, and for being a faithful reader, and my first subscriber.

You never made it my fault. You didn’t blame me, or equate any of my inadequacies with your choice. You didn’t deprive me of support, and never denied me the opportunity to talk about it when I needed to. The door was always open, and you always made room for me, and you didn’t shut the door on me, or tell me I was raising “the affair” too often, was asking too many questions, or was being “unreasonable”. You tolerated my teasing and rubbing your nose in it, when I felt I needed some “payback”, and you took it without anger or disdain. Thank you for not retaliating and allowing me this momentary feeling of satisfaction. I sometimes needed it.

You allowed me to tell certain friends about the affair, and gain support from them, even though them knowing was embarrassing to you, and shone a light on your shame. You put my need for support above your need for secrecy, and I thank you.

You willingly attended the “Healing from Affairs” weekend with Anne and Brian, and never once questioned the purpose or need, nor the cost. You made the arrangements, attended, were a full and willing participant, and enjoyed a weekend that brought us closer together and for which I will be forever grateful.

You allowed me to attend the “Take your life back” seminar with Anne and Brian last month in November, taking charge of the kids to allow me to experience a weekend with other betrayed spouses, and the healing that comes from that. You didn’t stop me, you didn’t suggest against it, and you made it easy for me to attend without guilt. Thank you for that support, and for that gift. It, combined with the previous seminar, the learning and the introspection has helped to bring me to the place I am today in my healing, coupled with your support and care. Thank you.

Thank you for helping me to heal, and for acting as my healer in this journey, taking on the weight of my load when I didn’t think I could do it anymore, despite also having your own load to carry. Thank your for your patience, and for never asking me to “move on”, or “get over it already”. You accepted the repercussions of your actions as a burden you were willing to bear as a result of your actions, and you allowed me to do, say, or feel whatever was necessary, as a result, without making me feel stifled, or stupid, or judged. Thank you.

Throughout this journey, you have proven to be my hero. You have tackled situations that I don’t feel that I would have had the opportunity to tackle if I had been the one who had the affair. You have graciously stepped into the shameful places you needed to go. I know that I would not have had the ability to tolerate the constant nose-rubbing, the shame, the embarrassment and the constant exposure of my errors. You did, and for that, I recognize you as the pivotal reason for my healing, and the biggest force, outside of myself, that allowed me to heal in the way that I have.

I now have greater insight into how your affair came to be, and I no longer wish to hold it over your head, or to make you feel remorseful, or guilty. I know that you are remorseful, and I know that this has been your life’s biggest tragedy. It has been mine as well. Instead, I want to help heal you also, and move forward from this tragedy together.

When we first sat with our marital therapist, at our first marital therapy appointment, he told me that the end goal of affair recovery was to seek and grant forgiveness, and that forgiveness could only ever be considered once I felt as though you had stood in my shoes. I remember feeling such torment at the idea that I was to be expected to forgive you. “Forgiveness” was not the F-word that I had in mind, and wasn’t something I was prepared to consider. Last spring, at the end of the seminar with Anne and Brian, you were asked to write a letter, asking for forgiveness. I appreciated the letter, its heartfelt contents, and your genuine request for forgiveness, but I simply couldn’t grant it. I felt badly, like I was expected to. I wanted to, but simply couldn’t. I loved that weekend, and the feeling of togetherness that it helped to reinforce, and I did not want to forgive you simply because you had asked me to, or to comply with the programming of a seminar.

In the weeks that followed, I didn’t want to forgive you simply because I was running on a “post-seminar high” or trapped within the memories of that weekend. Instead, I hoped that the moment that I offered you forgiveness would be more genuine, and coming more from inside of me, not because you were asking, and not because you were programmed to request it. It needed to be real, and it needed to be heartfelt and pure, and it needed to come from me.

I was never ready to forgive you because of what I thought “forgiveness” meant. I always thought that forgiveness was the act of ‘excusing’ someone for what they had done. I thought that it meant ‘condoning’ someone’s actions, and finding something ‘acceptable’ in those actions. I thought that it meant ‘pardoning’ them from their responsibility, and telling them that what they had done was “alright”. I could never come to a place where I believed any of that to be true, and I felt that to ask me to forgive was to deny me my right to be angry, to feel betrayed and to claim that someone had wronged me. I thought that forgiving meant that I could no longer claim to have been betrayed, or own that, and that it took the value of what I was feeling away. I owned those feelings and I didn’t want to lose them. They were the expression of my broken heart, and they weren’t ‘wrong”, they weren’t ‘pardonable’, and they certainly weren’t ‘acceptable’. In speaking with other betrayed spouses, and those who have been hurt in other ways, I learned to define my own meaning of forgiveness, and this one felt better. It was to be the definition that I would then strive towards.

Forgiveness, as I now see it, is the act of letting go of the “better than” attitude that I was able to hold over your head because you had had the affair, and I had not. It was the decision to not see myself as a “better spouse” and to let go of the comparison. Being a spouse isn’t a contest to be won, and we aren’t on opposing teams. Forgiveness is the conscious choice to no longer hold your actions over your head, and to no longer engage in behavior that accentuates your shame, or which holds your actions under a microscope with the intention of helping me to feel better at your expense. Forgiveness is the choice to let go of the victim mentality, and to no longer be defined by it. Forgiveness is making the choice to see that you were a man who made a series of bad decisions, but not to see you as a “bad man”.

1020 days ago you broke my heart when you disclosed that you’d been having an affair. 2 years and 9 months, and 14 days ago, my life changed completely, and my reality was irreparably altered. These 145 weeks, these 24,480 hours, these 1,468,000 minutes, these 88,128,000 seconds have been the most painful, but also the most transformative of my life.

I do not condone what you did. I do not accept what you did. I do not pardon what you did. We both know that if you should find yourself on this path in the future, that the outcome will look very different from this. But, I trust with every fiber in my being that we won’t find ourselves in this place again. I trust that you will talk with me about issues which render us vulnerable, and that we will work towards fortifying our relationship and making the necessary steps towards keeping our union safe from any outside threats. I trust that we will actively work at strengthening our marriage, and no longer fall to the path of least resistance, the easy-way, the “comfortable way”, and I agree to work outside of my comfort zone and work at the ways that I can be a better spouse to you, going forward.

And so this New Years, 1020 days after you broke my heart, I find it mended. It will always hold the scars, but you have helped me heal in a way I didn’t think would be possible 1020 days ago. I thank you for being my hero in this, and I would like to offer you my forgiveness.

To honour this step, I wanted to offer you something as a symbol of forgiveness, so that you could carry something with you as a reminder of our story, and where we are. I tried for weeks to determine what that would be, but then realized that it was too personal a choice, and you needed to be the one to make it. I will let you decide what you would like that to be, if anything at all. For me, I purchased a Pandora charm for my bracelet: a heart shaped lock with a small golden key. This is highly personal for me, and symbolic of where we stand because 1020 days after our tragedy began, you once again hold the key to my heart. I love you.

Welcome to my new beginning.

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How could he do this to me, and claim to love me?


Often times,  I hear betrayed spouses say “How could my spouse have done this to me?”, and “S/he must have known this would devastate me, how could s/he do this on purpose?”, or ” S/he says s/he never stopped loving me, despite having had an affair.  How do you love someone and simultaneously hurt them so deeply?  How is that loving??”

Those statements are familiar, not only because I have heard them time and time again from wounded spouses, betrayed by their partners, but also because I too have asked EACH ONE OF THOSE QUESTIONS at one time or another.

The pain of infidelity brought on by a spouse’s affair has been described as one of the worst emotional traumas that a person can experience.  If you just caught yourself debating that statement in your mind, and posing death as a more painful trauma, you’d be close, but wrong.  In death, those left behind, except in the case of suicide, know that the person who left them did not do so on purpose.  In an affair, the person who suffers the loss is caused to suffer due to the purposeful actions of another, worse still by the person who vowed to protect their hearts forever.  It is a truly indescribable loss and betrayal that you simply can’t fathom or appreciate unless it happens to you.  When someone causes you to suffer such pain on purpose, and with intent, the damage is really immense.

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Of course, upon discovery of the affair, the first thing we wrestle with is the dissonance that arises when we consider that this pain was caused intentionally through the purposeful behaviour of someone we love, and who purports to love us.  “How can someone love me, and do something so ugly to me?”.   The simple fact is, affairs are completely selfish acts, where the person embroiled in the affair is NOT thinking of you, the pain their actions will cause you, the consequences of their actions, or whether they should reconsider in light of your feelings.  They are motivated completely selfishly by the benefits that the affair brings THEM.  For the time being, the world is revolving around them, and for a brief time, you do not exist.  Hurtful to think, but completely true based on the many reports from wayward spouses who report their experience. Affairs satisfy an emotional gap left open by vulnerabilities in the wayward spouse’s world.  Passed up for a promotion, the loss of a parent, a recent move, addition of a new baby into the home, these experienced, not dealt with and perhaps even minimized in the mind of the wayward spouse, grow and are soon tenderly placated and soothed by the adoring and admiring words of another, who reflects back to him/her the reflection of themselves they wish to project.  The affair partner, then, becomes a mirror to the wayward spouse, reflecting back only those positive qualities in themselves, and none of the stressors and reality that come with real life.  It is a fantasy and it feels really good.  It feels so good in fact, the wayward spouse starts to seek it out, the thrill like a drug, the  fringe benefits well worth the effort to cover it up and hide it.  Who the affair partner is, what s/he looks like, how they perform in bed, what they say and do don’t really matter – it’s how those things made your partner FEEL that made the difference, and I can guarantee that while they were deep in the throes of self-esteem-seeking, they were not thinking about you, your pain, the possible outcome.  They were selfishly only thinking of themselves.  It is akin to a drug addict, who just needs a hit – the tunnel vision showing them only the drug, the finish line, the goal.  Everything else falls outside the line of focus, at least for now.  So, when a spouse says, “I wasn’t trying to hurt you”, s/he probably wasn’t.  What s/he WAS trying to do was unhurt themselves, and you were collateral damage.

One of the things that used to drive me INSANE in the wake of my husband’s affair was that he used to say “I never stopped loving you”.  Knowing that my husband had been intimate with another woman made me feel as unloved as a human could possibly feel.  I had no value, no worth.  I wasn’t worth loving if he chose to do that to me.  I was unworthy.  Claiming that he never stopped loving me felt like a slap in the face each time he said it.  He’d say it with a expectant tone, as if I would hear it and magically understand that he was right, and I shouldn’t hurt over it.  PARDON ME???!!  How do you claim to love someone so deeply while thrusting your penis into another woman?  How do you love me while creating false email addresses to hide your tracks and telling the other woman that you love her?  “How is that loving me?”, I’d thought.  He would explain it as “compartmentalization”….that he had an ability to put me and our family out of his mind completely when he was with the other woman.   When he’d start to feel guilty, he would justify why he deserved this, why it was OK, and even why he thought I would be ok with it (yes, he rationalized that one).  He wasn’t thinking of me while he was with her. He had his phone turned off, and he was disconnected from us.  It was weird to consider that notion, because part of me wanted him to be thinking of me, and the other part didn’t.  If he was thinking of me, then I held at least an equal share of the OW’s power, I’d think.  However, if he was thinking of me, it also meant he was doing this to me with willful knowledge of me, consciously.  It was a lose-lose, and I hated it.  It was only once I had the opportunity to sit and talk with Brian Bercht of Passionate Life Seminars, and his description of what was going through his mind, that I realized that it was possible and that my husband “may” be accurately describing his experience, and not lying about it.  That was a big step forward for me.

It is hard to imagine, but our husbands don’t think of us during every moment of every day. I like to think that he does, and often play the playful “Did you think about me today?” game when we finally connect after work over the phone or in person.  Of course, then I want to know how often, what he thought…he just can’t report that because he doesn’t remember and just doesn’t think of me as often as I would like to think that he does.  He certainly wasn’t thinking of me when he was seeking her out, and if I popped to mind, I was rationalized away pretty fast.  It is amazing what the mind can do, and what you can allow yourself to do, and focus on, at the expense of all else.

We would like to think the pain the affair would cause US would have been a deterrent to the affair.  It simply isn’t.  The pull towards filling whatever that gap is, is so strong, that it trumps all things.  It is pure selfishness, unbridled.  They seek only to satisfy themselves, without thought or consideration of other people.   It’s the same reason why knowing that sex can lead to STD’s and unwanted pregnancy doesn’t stop horny teenagers from engaging in unprotected sex – the urge to fulfill their own immediate need blinds them, and their tunnel vision shows only the reward, not the sacrifices along the path.  It is the same situation that arises when one, addicted to food and what the food represents for them, gorges themselves with it, knowing full well that it is making them sick.  They do it anyway, because for the time being, it feels good.  The guilt will come later, but it will be rationalized away…”that’s the LAST time…”, or “I just needed it this one time because…”

Nothing set me off more than when my husband would say to me “I never stopped loving you”.  It was such a slap in the face, in the aftermath of the affair.  How dare he put a tender word like “LOVE” into his affair?  How dare he equate loving me with betraying me?!!?  It made no sense and would anger me incessantly.  He just didn’t understand why I would become so enraged when he’d say that.  He really believed it to be true and was trying to make me feel better.  So why wasn’t it working?  My next post will highlight how I showed him through a simple exercise why, and why he never said those words to me again.  Loving me was no longer part of that equation, and showing me how he loved me from that day forward was going to make the difference.

Stay tuned.

Resurrecting the psycho…she’s BACK!


Tell me I am misdirecting my anger. Tell me that my anger and hostility towards the OW is inappropriate. I dare you.

Wednesday morning, October 31st, my husband received the following email to his inbox. It came from his lawyers office. In his lawyer’s absence (she was in court apparently), the legal assistant forwarded to him the following email, received from the OW the day prior (names have been removed):

(It needs to be mentioned here that in the weeks following up to the receipt of this email, the psycho crazy whore discovered that legally, she was entitled to no additional money this year, over and above the amount she was given last year, after a financial review was completed on her daughter’s birthday, October 20th. Upset and likely angry at this reality, she lashed out with the email below) My clarification points are in bold italics.

Dear Lawyer,
The Corporate financial statement you have provided (which is currently under review) does not include financials for (husband’s) additional Professional Corporation and business accounts for which (husband) himself has already provided documentation of its existence. When do you anticipate forwarding that information?
(Read: I want more money, which is the only reason I had this kid I never wanted in the first place)
(There are no additional corporations in his name. He has not provided documentation of their existence. They don’t exist)

Please inform your client third parties have reported acquiring documentation of your client and his wife’s ongoing sexually deviant obsession with me. It appears the Family are so delusional in the false reality in which they have created (& force their sons) to live in, that they choose to ignore the fact that the entire downtown core has cameras to capture harassing behaviour and their digital imprint is unique. Your client has put both me and his daughter in danger by publicly providing our home address, telephone number & email address on multiple occasions. Further, the attacks by (husband) on me professionally have been well documented for years. It appears He has made it his personal mission to discredit me professionally since signing the Order in January. Third parties are understandably (given Husband’s violent history) terribly concerned for (daughter’s) safety and my own. Should they choose to provide evidence of Husband’s ongoing harassing behaviors to the appropriate authorities, governing bodies, Government agencies, Husband’s workplace, the university, and the taxation offices to protect (daughter) and I from Husband that is their choice. I have no control over others actions and I do not communicate about Husband in any way. Further, the fact that Husband a 45 year old man, regularly & voyeuristically views online photographs of his female child Nicole is widely regarded as pedophilic in nature.
Let it be known that statements of cameras capturing activities downtown are ridiculous and speak to a paranoia or mental illness. As someone with significant mental illness training, this wreaks of paranoid schizophrenia. There is no harassing behaviour being captured on any close circuit television cameras anywhere. Her desire for us to be interested in her astounds me. We aren’t interested sweetheart. Get over it. Not only has my husband not discredited her professionally, he has made no contact with her whatsoever. My husband’s violent history??? What violent history? He hasn’t spoken with you since March 21st, 2010….not an email, letter, voicemail, or otherwise. Violent tendencies? Riiiiiight. It may be of interest to readers to know that the order between them contains a non-harassment clause that they may not harass one another. What does the sending of this letter consist of? Harassment, yes. In addition, the order also stipulates that they may not speak of the relationship to third parties, and that third parties are also restricted from discussing the relationship or compromising the other. Her intentional statement of “I don’t speak about him, but I can’t control what ‘my friends’ do” is threatening to breach the order and be in contempt of court.

Please be advised I continue to abide by the Order and do not discuss Husband or this matter in any way, however I am incapable of turning my ears and eyes off when third parties provide documentation regarding Husband’s ongoing obsession with me.
And what third parties are these? Last time we checked, you don’t have any friends to speak of.

Additionally may I remind you that prior to January 2012, all information pertaining to Husband’s affair with me, our daughter, his out of control mental illness, his years of harassment, violence, misogynistic and sexually deviant behavior towards his daughter and myself, his attacks on his wife, and his own acknowledgment of his questionable reporting to the CRA and copies of said information was not confidential.
Oh the attacks feel good don’t they? Claiming my husband has a mental illness. Projection much? He hasn’t had years of harassment towards anyone, isn’t violent or misogynistic in any way. There is NO deviant sexual behaviour towards his daughter – he has never met her. He does not attack me, and has never falsified his taxes. He is an honest man with a good heart who made a mistake. Sounds like someone is feeling sad that they weren’t the ultimate winner here. The very fact that a mother places her daughter in a position within her own mind of being someone’s sexual prey, is, in and of itself, morally reprehensible. You sick fuck.

I had sincerely hoped at this point your client would move on with his life and stop dangerously imposing himself on mine. However given the overwhelming amount of evidence of his harassing actions since January 2012 (what evidence is that you speak of?), it is clear Husband is incapable of doing so. In fact his obsession with us seems to have escalated. It has been noted that Husband’s public behavior clearly supports his self reported alcoholism (really? that one is kind of funny) and unstable mental illness (here comes the projected mental illness again) which reportedly appears to cycle every 25-30 days between manic hypersexual delusional acts of grandeur and depressive, retaliatory, violent acts against me and (daughter) (I’d like to know how a man who has never seen this child, nor laid eyes on you since March 19th, 2010 has engaged in violent acts against you?) . Need I remind you reportedly your client, in December 2011 tweeted online a request for his I Phone to perform oral sex on him and in June 2012 reportedly posted a photograph online of a hotel room bed with 3 champagne glasses (which I understand third parties assumed belonged to him, me and his wife). Perhaps your client’s self acknowledged mental illness (again with the mental illness???) prevents him from realizing how disturbing and perverse this behaviour is to all everyone with Internet access who views it.
I should clarify here that the iphone oral sex reference and the champagne glasses do have a basis in reality, but have been quite skewed.
Reference 1: When my husband first got his iPhone 4S, we discovered Siri, the voice-recognition assistant that learns your needs and answers your questions. Many people had asked Siri to marry them, and received hilarious replies. We took it a step futther, and I asked my husband to ask her for a blowjob. When he did, her reply was that he’d better check with me first. I found that hysterical and tweeted it, or Facebook-posted it – I can’t recall which. Either way, the fact that she saw it proves that she is still stalking me online, and in doing so, is breaching the court order that she would no longer do that.
Reference 2: In June 2012, I traveled to San francisco with my family. Upon arrival, my friend who is local, had left us a bottle of champagne and two glasses, along with some treats for my kids. It was a great welcome gift. I tweeted or Facebook-posted (can’t recall) how fortunate I felt to have such wonderful friends who would do something so kind. In the posting, I’d included an image of the glasses, and likely the hotel room fell into the background. Correction: There were two glasses, not three, and she was never invited 😉

Your client’s ongoing obsession with me is disturbing. I now sincerely believe His terrifying January 2010 email to me whereby he stated “My dear sweet (name withheld), you are the glue that keeps my marriage together. Without your joyful free spirit in my life I would be unhappy and forced to focus on my miserable marriage to my selfish wife. I need you in my life to be happy. You can’t ever leave me. I won’t let you”.
This email was completely fabricated. He has never written that email. It doesn’t even make sense. Since when does side-pussy become the glue that holds a marriage together? This was written for one intention: so that I would read it and get worried. Just another attempt to drive a wedge.

Lawyer, I respectfully ask that you please advise your client to get over our affair and move on with his life. We had sex for a year which resulted in the single greatest joy I have ever known, our beautiful daughter. His ongoing attacks, harassment and obsession with us are criminal. He is endangering the safety of his own child and me. I sincerely hope he can one day make peace with the fact that [he has a]daughter and we can move forward in a positive manner towards the best interests of (daughter).
Maybe someone, in the “best interest of her daughter should spend more time parenting her, instead of sending completely bogus, vitriolic emails, designed to cause further harm to a family who has been through enough. Perhaps she should focus her energies there.

Separately, I may be required to work extra hours over the coming months. Please advise Husband I will forward all receipts for additional daycare costs incurred or documentation from Daycare if try are able to accommodate. I will also provide documentation supporting the hours worked.
More money, more money, more money.

Given the fact that it is your client who has intentionally dragged matters on by breaching the Court Order and refusing to provide his tax information at the required times, he will provide Novembers support cheque and payment to the daycare to me by November 1. Any adjustments will be made at a later date once his 2011 returns have been reviewed. Further, the information re his corporate returns was dated October 4, your client did not forward said information to me until October 23. Further supporting what appears to be his intentions to play games, not cooperate and deliberately not allow for sufficient time to review.
My husband has never once breached the court orders. He was supposed to provide all tax documentation by May 31at, but given that corporate taxes aren’t collected until July, this was no possible. Her side was informed of this, and agreed. Taxes were not completed in a timely fashion by our accountant, admittedly, but this is no fault of ours. He has made repeated attempts to expedite the process, but to no avail. It was finally completed a few weeks ago. Late, but done nonetheless.

Please forward his accurate financial records as well as Novembers support cheque payment to my lawyer immediately. Have your client forward November’s daycare payment directly to the daycare for November 1.
Cause it’s all about the money, money, money…..

Many thanks,
Skank whore
30 months into this ordeal…over 900 days, and we are still receiving this garbage. She is stil actively seeking to cause us harm, to cause me pain, and to destroy my husband’s reputation. When does it end? When do we get peace? When do we get a chance to heal and focus on us? According to our lawyer….never. Things like this rarely ever resolve, she says, and with someone this crazy…even less likely.
So, to all those who told me that my anger is misdirected, and that I have no reason to be upset with the woman who slept with a knowingly married man, got pregnant on purpose, and lashed out at what remained of my self-esteem, and who continues to assault my family, I ask you…upon reading this, do you really feel I have no reason to be upset? If your answer is ‘yes’, you are as mental as she is.
This email left me in a state of primal scream in fetal position. I have had it. I laid in my basement, on the floor, sobbing uncontrollably, screaming with a primal anger I think would have been hard to witness (ask my dog), and curled myself up into a fetal position. I eventually got up, called my husband, and asked him if he’d seen the email. He hadn’t. I read it to him. He was pleased. He saw it as further proof that she continues to be unhinged…and that she is showing her true colours every time. He was pleased because it spoke to the fact that she must be angry she isn’t going to extort any more money from us. For that, he is pleased. I wish I could see the optimism here, because from someone who didn’t get to fuck this cow, I don’t see many unicorns and rainbows in this letter, just sludge and venom. Needless to say, I felt better after we’d talked, booked an hour long telephone-therapy appointment with my therapist to talk about it, and am now doing much better.

A wife’s double standard


Comments left recently on the blog, in response to some blog posts that I have made, have shown me that a double standard exists between wives and a husband’s other woman.

Many comments made recently have alluded to the fact that me, as a betrayed spouse, have no reason to be angry with the other woman. I am told that my anger is displaced and misdirected. I am told that instead of being angry with the other woman, I should be directing my anger towards my husband, as if I have not already done so.

So, what I want to understand is why is it okay, in so many situations, for the other woman to be so angry at the betrayed wife? Why, for example, is the other woman in my situation so bitter and angry towards me? Most of her anger throughout this 2 1/2 year ordeal has been directed at me. She has written things in emails, designed especially for me to read. She has hidden false details of their relationship in legal documents, designed for me to find, intended to cause me harm. For example, my husband never told his affair partner that he loved her. However, in court documents, she would find ways of cloaking these comments between existing lines of text, saying things like, “and when he told me that he loved me so often,…” She knows they are false, and she also knows that my husband will see them as false. What she is banking on, however, is that I will read them and feel hurt, question myself, question my self-worth, and ultimately do more damage to me. That is her plan. She isn’t trying to persuade my husband to see a reality that never was, Because she knows that he too was present, and he will remember the details as they were also. What she’s banking on is that I, someone he wasn’t there, will not know the real truth, and will start to question my husband’s integrity further, creating more uneasiness in our marriage.

When the other woman decided to call the police, to claim harassment and stalking, she didn’t do so against my husband, she did so against me. When the other woman had to disclose the location of her daughter’s daycare, in court documents, so that my husband could pay 95% of the costs to the appropriate location, she made sure to add in bold letters, that she did not want the location of the daycare revealed to me, as she feared for her personal safety, alluding to the fact that I mentally unstable, a stalker, and threat. Further actions to cause other people, including lawyers, to believe that I, the betrayed spouse, am the crazy one. Another attack, not against my husband, but against me.

When the other woman was asked to provide proof of school attendance for herself, in order to justify the day care expenses that my husband was required to incur, She sent copies of her school schedule, purposely blackening out her student number, indicating that she didn’t feel comfortable with me having access to this information, because she felt I was psychotic, and would cause her harm or distress through use of her student number. Funny, never once expressed concern about my has been having this information, nor the address of the daycare where his child is looked after, only me.

Prior to ever wanting a restraining order against my husband, she first want a restraining order placed against me. Prior to entering the hospital to give birth to her child, she mentioned feeling uncomfortable with me, afraid for her child’s safety, and her own.

All of this causes me to ask the question “why is she so angry with me, instead of my husband?”

The answer to that, I think, would be quite simple. She didn’t get what she wanted. She wanted my husband. She lost. In her mind, the only thing standing between her and my husband having a lifetime together, with me. In her mind, it’s as if I walked into their union, and tore them apart, when in reality, that’s exactly what she attempted to do to me. Nice double standard.

I try very hard to see everyone’s perspective in this mess. Inasmuch as I do not want to enter the mind of the other woman, sometimes I feel it is necessary in order to gain perspective. As I mentioned in my last post a couple of days ago, I recently went through some of the communications between my husband and his affair partner, having the opportunity to see the way they spoke, the things they said, the way they felt. In reading this material, I discovered that my husband’s affair was not merely sexual, but it was an emotional affair as well. He mentioned to her several times how she was his vacation, his calamity, his source of peace during a chaotic time in his life. Funny, that should have been me. Apparently it wasn’t. He worried when she was upset, he claims, in his emails, to have gotten tears in his eyes, when she expressed sadness or worry, he was excited and elated for her when she had successes. He came to bat for her at work, when her job was in trouble. He expressed deep gratitude when she supported him, and it reads like he wasn’t getting that support anywhere else. When he complemented her sexually, it sounded like all that they had done was novel, him never having experienced it like that before. He made it sound like he was deprived emotionally and sexually. Is it any wonder she later called me “emotionally unavailable and frigid”?This is not simply someone who is having sex with another person, this is someone who cares about the other person. Perhaps a few weeks into their sexual relationship, when the novelty was gone, my husband no longer wished to be in the relationship, and started to feel the stranglehold. However, as his emails and text messages indicate, there was a time when he was very interested, was seeking her out, was complementing her, and was making her feel loved, approved, attractive, valued, and comforted. It is really no wonder she felt they had a future together. I don’t think she concocted this in her own mind, out of psychotic stupidity, but rather, she felt this way because it reflected what she was told. It’s right there on paper.

So, once the relationship was revealed, and my husband decided to stay with me, she saw me as the reason they were no longer together. She didn’t see my husband as having had a change of heart, nor as a liar, or a cheater, or a man who would’ve said anything to have his cake and eat it too. Instead, she saw a man who had professed to care about her deeply, and his actions show the same, until I was in the loop. To be fair, my husband’s email communications did change, prior to my finding out about the affair. He told her he wasn’t interested anymore, he told her he wanted out, he told her that if she chose to have his child, she needed to make her decisions knowing that he would not be involved. It isn’t as though my husband’s intentions, actions, and words were suddenly changed, but that is how she will see it.

So, the double standard that I see here is, “why is it not okay for me to be angry with the other woman, and asked to direct my anger towards my husband, but the same isn’t being asked of the other woman?” Shouldn’t her anger be directed at my husband? Shouldn’t she be angry for having been misled? Shouldn’t she be hurt and furious that the man who professed to care about her, love her, comfort her, value her, has suddenly run back to his wife and children, when it appeared as though he was, at times, prepared to leave them? Wouldn’t anyone in that situation feel confused, betrayed, letdown, angry? So then, once her world came crashing down around her, why not direct her anger at the appropriate source? Why not direct her vitriol towards the person who has truly caused this for her? After all, I didn’t promise her my husband, I didn’t promise to share, I didn’t go back on my word. As I am so often told by these other women, “I owed you nothing”, but in my case, that includes my husband. I didn’t owe her anything. I didn’t come in the middle of her relationship. I didn’t enter on to sacred territory and try to tear them apart. I didn’t do anything. I was completely in the dark. Exactly how I responsible for her unhappiness?

If we ask the betrayed wives to redirect their anger towards their husbands, why don’t we ask the same of these other women who are spending so much time, energy, and resources, trying to tear down the innocent women whose lives they’ve already destroyed?

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Snacking in the closet: a new setback


2 1/2 years into my healing, and I have come upon a new setback. Sometimes I feel as though I am my own worst enemy. I

n the early days of the affair discovery, one of the questions that I had for my husband was “what kinds of things did you say to her?”, “Did you ever say anything to her that expressed arousal, interest?”, “Did you ever compliment her, did you tell her she was good in bed, did you compliment her on her appearance?” These are things I had wanted to know, because they indicate to me a closeness, and an intimacy that wouldn’t exist if the relationship was “just for sex”. I guess I reasoned that if my husband was having sex with his mistress, “just for sex”, that their communications would be pretty benign, simply requests for hookups, no emotion, no attachment, no compliments, no emotional sustaining of the other person. I guess that finding out if there was any sort of emotional connection was important to me, as indicated a deeper affair, and I want to know how deep this had run.

Asking my husband those questions in the early days was fruitless, because he claimed he could not remember. I know that men and women are different, that women seek details, and that men rarely recall them. This is truly frustrating for the betrayed spouse who desperately wants to know details, and accuracies, you simply can’t get her answers. In an attempt to hide the relationship, my husband never maintained any of his old emails. Sure, there were a few here and there, mostly benign, mostly relating to work questions, nothing that was sultry, sexy, or a red flag. I’ve seen those, I’d read those, but that wasn’t what I was looking for. My husband, however, was unable to produce the emails that were sent that indicated something more. He had been very good at hiding those, even going so far as to create a fake email, and an alias. She, on the other hand, kept everything. Possibly because she wanted to use it as retaliation later, or simply because, as a woman, she kept things for sentimental reasons. Regardless of the reason, she had everything in her possession that I needed.

Last year, around this time, we were getting ready to meet the other woman in court. She had accused my husband of wrongful dismissal, and he had countered her claim with proof that she had been inappropriate in her work, had been warned, and had violated policies of their workplace which made her termination not only necessary, But justified. In attempts to make herself look valuable As an employee, and as a person in my husband’s life, she chose to print all of the emails where he had expressed affection for her, admiration for her work, genuine concern for her well-being, etc. In parallel, she also printed all of those emails which made my husband looks like the bad guy. The sex starved, horny, wayward husband, seeking out cheap thrills, and a good time with and “innocent” woman. She picked her emails carefully, not attaching many emails that were from her, directed to my husband, but rather mostly emails that were composed by him, directed towards her. Now, I am a smart person, and I realize that this is a biased and skewed representation of the emails that were exchanged. I am sure there are many emails where she expressed horniness, desire, flirtation, but she would not have attached those as they would have compromised the picture she was trying to paint of herself. I know that, I get that, I understand. However, when I came across this binder of emails one year ago, desperate for more information because my Husband was unable to provide it for me, I looked. I skimmed the pages, I flipped through them quickly, afraid of getting caught. It’s funny, my husband breaks his marriage vows, cheats another woman, sleeps with her in hotel rooms, goes behind my back, creates fake emails, creates fake meetings disguised as a work event, and I felt like the one sneaking around. Afraid of being caught, I spent no more than one minute flipping through the emails, looking for buzzwords, my eyes picking up random sentences here and there. I read some things I wasn’t prepared to see. I read some things that hurt me deeply. I didn’t, however, read them all.

Over the last year, I’ve had many instances where I have wondered what else was said. My husband, of course, unable to tell me, and possibly tired of the questions, let me to wonder if I should reopen the binder. Each time I wanted to, I reminded myself that it wasn’t a good idea, and decided not to go searching. Until yesterday.

In the process of filling out an application for my eldest child, I went looking for his birth certificate in order to provide proof of his age. My husband keeps all these important documents and filing cabinet in our home, which is not locked, which we share. Unintentionally, I came across the binder. At that moment, I became like those food addicts that come across a stash of no – no foods, And scroll themselves away in a closet to stuff their faces with something they know is doing them harm, but basically can’t help themselves. I became that person. I set my husband’s desk for close to an hour, and read every single page of the binders in detail. Every text message, every email. Every. Single. One. Some of them were familiar, having read them a year ago. I knew already what my eyes would see, but I couldn’t help myself. I figure that the pain that I’ve been through is so intense, that adding a few more details here and there won’t really matter. What I didn’t expect, with the resurrection of the pain, the humiliation, and the feelings of inadequacy that reading those emails brought to me. It’s one thing to know that your husband has been with another woman. It’s entirely another thing to read the transcript.

I became privy to some of my husband’s deepest darkest thoughts, that he had relayed only to this other woman. Some of the sentences which are burned, and etched into my mind include:

“I can’t wait to be inside you”

“I feel satisfied with you in so many ways, socially, and sexually. You do all the right things, knowing exactly what to do with me to make me feel good. I feel so relaxed when I’m with you”

“I told my wife that she has nothing to worry about. She had read some of our emails, and is on high alert for the possibility of infidelity. I did my best to reassure her that she has nothing to worry about.”

“I’m thinking about you as I work. I’m having a hard time walking around, if you know what I mean”

“I wish I could wake up beside you in the morning, and have a little dose of you first thing in the morning. That would be a little hard to explain”

“I would love to watch you sleep. You are so rarely still, it would be a rare treat”

“I like my women blonde, blue-eyed, and hot. Know anyone like that?”

“I am open to trying new things also. I’m willing to try anything that interests you. Just name it”

“You and I will go on another vacation, and have a lot more fun”

“I just feel so relaxed when I’m with you. You bring me a piece that I can’t put into words. I just feel so good when we’re together”

“I feel like this relationship is becoming more serious. It’s like we have both navigated away from the shore, and into treacherous waters. Personally, I welcome that, and look forward to where this may lead us. I don’t know where this relationship is going, and I understand the consequences, and I want to go there with you”.

There is a sharp knife blade wedged deep in my heart. Those words came from my husband. Those were forgive into another woman. At some point during my husband’s affair, he contemplated leaving me. At one point during my husband’s affair, he was willing to risk throwing away his life with me and his children, for this woman who made him feel so “comfortable”

My husband is a subscriber to this blog, and is going to read this post. My fears that he will become very upset with me for having read these emails. Not because I was snooping, or because I didn’t have the right to read them. But because I did something that caused me great emotional turmoil, that he will have seen is unnecessary. Why do something that causes yourself pain? Why do something that causes you harm? Well, when you’ve already experienced the depths of pain that I’ve experienced, and you live in the world that he has created for you out of this pain and harm, it really isn’t much of a stretch.

On a positive note, I no longer have the curiosity looming over my head. I can lay that to rest. It’s now simply a matter of working through the resurrected feelings come as a result of reading this content. I think what I need, is to go to the binder with my husband, and select the passages that break my heart into 1 million pieces. I need him to see what he has said, and the impact it has on me. He has avoided reading these emails, not wanting to go back to that place, possibly not wanting to face what you had said and done. I’m sure the last thing he wants to do Is resurrect those emails with me present. However, as part of our complete honesty, and his complete empathy for where I stand, I feel it is necessary for him to read those passages aloud, and see the great despair that they bring.

So, even after all this time, even after so many months of happiness, and calamity, setbacks can and do happen. It doesn’t mean we’re headed down a slippery slope. It doesn’t mean we’re going backwards. It’s just another bump in the road on the way to a hopefully brighter future. Now, if only I could stop the nausea and desire to vomit.

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My husband’s affair is my fault


Or so recent comments would have you think. Twice in the past two days, visitors to the blog have commented that I am not taking any responsibility for my husband’s affair, and that I should look at my own shortcomings to figure out why my husband strayed.

Interesting perspectives…but I don’t agree, nor does the literature on affairs,
nor do those who have been intimately hurt by this experience. It is a convenient thing though, to find blame in the spouse who was innocent in the matter….maybe it is just easier than looking deeper.

I posted a long comment just not on a comment left for me, and then I decided that it would make a good blog post of its own, so I thought I would share it, since comments are publicly available anyway here.

“Michele” writes:

I find your blog interesting. You are 100% willing to blame the mistress, your husband, your friends (in one of your posts you talk about how many of your friends disappointed and abandoned you) but you – yourself are 100% blameless. You are the victim. You were the perfect wife whose husband was lured away by the evil adulteress. Your husband is now perfect as he has 100% told you the truth. You had a lawyer refuse to represent you? Don’t you think that might raise a red flag that you are a little bit over the top?

I do understand that this is your blog and as such you are entitled to write whatever you want and I am only a guest here but you claim you want to allow a place for all people to respectfully post their views yet you refuse to give any weight to a view that differs from your own. An example of this is that Youngsub91 stated that as a single person she has the right to date anyone she wants. She has no legal or moral obligation to anyone yet you hold her responsible for dating a married man. Why? She doesn’t owe his wife anything. You really think that men are so stupid that they need others to force them into responsible behavior? Is the bartender responsible for the alcoholic taking that drink and stepping off the wagon? Is the casino responsible for the gambling addict?

Please understand that I am not defending anyone but everyone has a right to their opinion and you seem unable to see any other point of view but your own. You respond to many comments pointing out that their cheating husbands are still keeping secrets every time reminding us that your husband told you everything. Why? Is it to make you feel better and others worse about their own struggles?

You want women to have each other’s backs yet you freely call women skanks, sluts, whores etc. on this blog. Is that having another women’s back?

I guess my point is this – the world is not so black and white. They are many grey areas and good people make mistakes (as you can attest to as I know you believe your husband is a good man who made a mistake). In most of what you write you sound really bitter and angry and many times you have a superior than thou attitude – Is that who you are? Maybe? Do you have the right to feel superior because of what you went through? Maybe but everyone has their own shit and most people are just trying to do the best they can with what they were given.

My reply follows:

Michele,I appreciate your viewpoints, although as I am sure you can forecast, I am not going to agree with you.I don’t *blame* my friends for my husband’s affair. I do, however, point out that as a result of the trauma that came from the affair, and the aftermath, that some of my friends were no longer able to be friends with us, as it was too hard for them to look past what he did. In another case, another friend was unable to listen to the ongoing sagas that seemed to be coming one after another, after another, and distanced herself from what she probably perceived as “too much drama”. Everyone follows their own path, and not all friends were fit to remain on my path, once the affair caused it to deviate. Am I blameless for my husband’s affair? Absolutely. Did I ask him to have one? Did I lead him towards another woman? Did I suggest that he might want to take a mistress to help deal with the personal pains he was going through at the time? No. The decision to have an affair was HIS and HIS ALONE. He had alternative options available (counselling for his stress and family issues with his father, talking to me more openly about his worries and career stress, attending counselling together…), and he chose an affair. He regrets that deeply now, and would handle things in a much different way, should those vulnerabilities ever come up again.What you need to realize, perhaps, is that marital issues and affairs are separate issues, and are mutually exclusive. A betrayed spouse doesn’t CAUSE an affair. I had no part in my husband’s affair. In fact, had I had a role in it, I probably would have advised against it. I would like to share a quote taken from a page from a wise woman who survived her husband’s infidelity and who has come to be a great mentor and friend to my husband and I. Anne Bercht writes:

To every betrayed spouse: YOU ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR THE AFFAIR

To every unfaithful spouse: YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR AFFAIR

I am often asked when I appear on television talk shows, “Do you accept responsibility for your part in Brian’s affair? I answer, “I didn’t have a part in Brian’s affair, and if I would’ve been given a part I would’ve voted “no, let’s not do it.”

When I stand before God to give an account for my life, one question God will not be asking me is “Anne, why did you make Brian have an affair?”

I will, however, give an account for ways that I may have failed Brian in the marriage, but these things did not cause the affair.

For every marriage where we discover problems where there has been an affair, I can point to other marriages with worse problems where there has not been an affair. PROBLEMS IN MARRIAGE DOES NOT LEAD TO AFFAIRS. I’m appalled that I must state the obvious, but there are actually healthy ways to deal with problems in marriage!

If you are interested in reading more about her thoughts on the separation between marital issues and affairs, I would encourage you to take a look here:

http://www.beyondaffairs.com/articles/betrayed_spouse_contributions.htm

If issues in a marriage cause an affair, why is it that some marriages can be far worse off, far uglier, and far more toxic than the next, and yet never suffer an affair? Marital issues and problems are one thing, the decision to have an affair is a separate issue. Often in an attempt to make sense of the affair, people combine the two, looking for a reason to justify the affair or make sense of it. “The marriage must have been poor”, “She must not have been good in bed”, “perhaps she’d gained too much weight”, “she wasn’t a good listener”, and if you’ve ever looked to those, you are looking in the wrong place. The root of the affair lies within the psyche of the one who strayed, because s/her had a choice, and did something destructive.

Did I have a perfect marriage? No. Was I always a great listener? No. Did I always cook home cooked meals and have them waiting when he gets home? No. Did I pay enough attention to him? Not always. Did I make an effort to boost his self esteem regularly? No. Were there times when I could have done better as a wife and friend? Absolutely. We both could have. Why? Because we aren’t perfect, and marriages aren’t perfect. But just because I wasn’t always perfect, did that entitle my husband to betray me and decimate our wedding vows? Did it give him permission to sleep with another woman and impregnate her by mistake? No. The decision to embark into an affair was his, and his alone, and would have happened regardless of anything *I* did, because the affair had nothing to do with me, and all to do with him, how he felt, how he coped (or lack thereof), and the right vulnerabilities and circumstances colliding. You can try to blame me if you want to, but that would be an unfortunately hurtful thing to do, and misguided given the volumes of research into affairs, and my personal experience which tells a different story. Don’t get me wrong, I used to blame myself entirely in the beginning, as I think most people do. It was after time, therapy and much tough talks with my husband that I realized that I was not to blame, and that is when the healing could begin. I am always responsible for my half of any marital issues. I am not, however, responsible for his affair. His choice. A bad one.

To address your comment that I think my husband is perfect, I think this blog is proof that he isn’t, but by the grace of God, he is trying :)

A laywer didn’t refuse to represent me. I am not sure which context you are pulling that into, but it needs to go back into the context in which it belongs. My husband hired a lawyer to represent him against his mistress, and it was important that I was not taken on as a client as well. It was not my fight, and although it was suggested that we be listed together on the retainer agreement, that was later re-evaluated because it was felt that although our family was being terrorized and we were battling that trauma together, from a legal standpoint, the fight was not between me and the mistress, it was between them and I agreed. I wanted to support my husband, but I didn’t need to be listed in court documents in order to do that.

YoungSub is free to do whatever she wants, but like anything, people are always going to have an opinion about it. No one can stop her from engaging in a relationship with a married man, but I do reserve the right to have an opinion, and my opinion is that her behaviour (and his) is hurtful to an innocent other who I am certain would not condone their actions. A sick woman with what sounds like a terminal (?) disease, is shacked up in bed while her husband takes a lover on the side? Does she deserve that? No. I think YoungSub could easily find someone single and available, someone to love her and care for her, but instead she chooses to find a married man…why, because she embraces polygamy? Does his wife embrace it? It isn’t fair to those who will be most hurt by their actions, and I don’t agree or condone her choice to engage in a relationship with another woman’s husband? Would you want your husband taking up with someone else? Would that be OK with you? Maybe it would…but it isn’t for me, and likely isn’t for the innocent wife who doesn’t have a say or a choice.

You are right…mistresses don’t “owe” the wife anything, unless you think that people should just respect one another, respect their marriages, respect their property, respect their boundaries. If you don’t agree, then go rob a store, and take what you want without second thought to the damage you are causing and how many others will hurt because of your selfish choice. It is the same thing. As women, and as people, do we not respect each other enough to hold marriages as sacred, and not trespass? The husband has a choice but so does the mistress when she decides to lay down with a man who is married. He is vowed to someone else…and together they are sneaking around hoping to not get caught and knowing it’s wrong. They are both responsible for what they choose to do. The difference is simply that the law makes only the man legally responsible for the damages. If a friend helps another friend kill another over a disagreement, we would call that being an “accessory to a murder”. Can the one who helped defend himself saying “I don’t owe him anything. I don’t owe him any respect? My friend asked me to go along with it, and it sounded like fun, so I did”….we still call that a crime, just not when a marriage has been killed. If a woman knows a man is happily married with children, why not walk away? Why pursue and cause harm? They both know he is married…they are both assholes and should be held responsible for THEIR actions, not the betrayed wife though.

I am not sure where I have anywhere told others who are hurting that their husbands are keeping secrets while asserting that my husband is perfect. I don’t see where I have written that anywhere. Feel free to link me to the page where you feel that was stated.

I call the woman who tried to steal my husband a skunk, a slut and a whore. I don’t call ALL women that. I have the backs of all women who are deserving. This woman has proven herself to be far from deserving of any respect of mine, and that is that.

For the record, I don’t feel superior. I feel bruised, battered, decimated, desecrated, taken advantage of, hurt, betrayed…but not superior. I am just a woman who had the unfortunate circumstance of learning of her husband’s affair, and who works tirelessly every day to recover from and heal. I am just a woman rescuing my marriage. It is a pity that you read ‘holier than thou’ into my posts. I simply write what I feel. Some days I felt badly, but lately I feel pretty good, and for that I am grateful. As you said, we are all just people doing the best with what we’ve got.

Reopening old wounds in Paradise


This past week I had the opportunity to take a vacation with my family.  We haven’t been on vacation since the week before D-day . In fact, it was the first day after we had returned from vacation that my husband confessed to his affair.  Suddenly, all images from our vacation had a new meaning.  The smiling faces in our images, my husband holding my hand, cuddling with me – all of it was fake.  I’d arranged for a professional photographer to capture our family in photojournalistic images while we were there.  I’d researched who would capture our family, and where we would be photographed.  I’d planned the outfits, the timing, all of it.  Whereas normally I would be chomping at the bit to see the images from our photo session, I was suddenly less than enthusiastic.  I didn’t want to see a lie.  I didn’t want to look into an image and see something different from the magic that I’d felt in that moment – a moment that obviously meant more to me than it did to him.

Well, it has been two years since we’ve taken a vacation together, and we decided it was about time.  We are tired of living in the shadow of this hell-hole and wanted to recreate the magic we feel as a family when we are away.  We decide to revisit a location we’d been to previously.  It was an affordable place, great for kids, and warm during an otherwise cooler time of year.  I really thought nothing much of it until I arrived at the airport, and it suddenly hit me. “The last time we were here, he was having an affair with HER”.  All of a sudden, memories that I hadn’t been able to access, likely because they weren’t of any value or use, came flooding back to me.  Memories of the last vacation, what we’d done, where we’d gone, the dinners out, the family fun days, the road trips, I could see it all clearly as if it had JUST happened.  I remembered the room, the layout of our suite, the moments we had together as a family and as a couple.  It was as though I was seeing my vacation in detail from above, watching those moments unfold again, but this time with a perspective I didn’t have before – the perspective that the last time we’d shared these moments in this place, he was in the early phases of an affair that was, at that time, still exciting, new and fresh.  For all I know, the whole time we were away, he was thinking of her and their time together while he was supposed to be devoted to me and our family.  The sudden flashbacks were overwhelming, and I found myself crying on the shuttle to the hotel.

When we arrived at the hotel, I was shocked to discover that we had the exact same room layout as previously….and it made the flashbacks more intense.  I sat HERE when he and I discussed how sketchy the internet connection was. We sat HERE on a balcony JUST LIKE THIS one night after the kids were in bed.  The pool we were at looked like this, and I remember swimming and enjoying the company of a man I thought I knew,  but who was leading a secret life the whole time.  I remembered the meals, the moments, the evenings, the morning showers – all of it – exccept this time, I could see myself in those moments, deliriously unaware of what was unfolding right under my nose, and I felt sorry for the girl I saw.  What a complete loser.  What a trusting moron she is.  What an idiot that she can’t even see what is going on behind her back.  That same wife who busily folded the family laundry the night before we left to ensure clean clothes on our return, that same mom who swam with her kids and enjoyed family meals…that woman was being taken in favour of FREE pussy made available from a whore with an agenda.

I also couldn’t help but put the entire last trip into perspective, as I always tend to do with most events.  “The last time we were here, he hadn’t yet impregnated her, and he hadn’t fathered a baby with this woman”.  Had I found out about it at this point, he never would have…

I spent the entire vacation in flashbacks.  It caused me to mention her name over and over in casual conversation because she was now on my mind.  She was on vacation with me, and I couldn’t break free of her grip.  It was horrible.

I didn’t say anything to my husband about the feelings I was having.  Truthfully, I didn’t see the point.  I know our therapist would disagree, and say that I need to share my feelings of sadness and insecurity whenever they arise so that we can be together in the feelings.  However, I didn’t want to ruin HIS vacation by being a sappy, overly emotional, sad person who can’t seem to get over this, and who raises this topic at the most inopportune of times.  I didn’t want to be seen as a burden, and I didn’t want to compromise his only time of rest and relaxation by bringing HER back into focus.  I just held onto it, and it was hard.

It all leads me to wonder how long this will plague me.

My husband has told me that I need to revisit some of the places that are triggers for me so that I can overwrite the old memories with new ones.  In some small way, possibly a rational one, I could see the sense in that.  But emotionally, it really didn’t work out that way.  Revisiting places where we have been during times of his infidelity is not a simple re-writing of history.  It is a resurrection of moments that are now lies, and which no longer hold the special meaning they once did.  Having to sit at the same table, or visit the same restaurant – it doesn’t overwrite anything, it just brings back into consciousness moments that are painful to see from this new perspective.

Sometimes I just wish he could experience this pain….FEEL what it feels like so that he would truly KNOW the devastation he has caused me.

What I have been left with, after this week of vacation with my family, is a fear that I will never get over this.

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