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Teleseminar recording is now available – Come listen!


Betrayed spouses…if you missed the opportunity to hear the teleseminar that took place this past week, on Tuesday night, February 5th, you can now hear it online.

Anne Bercht invited me to join her on the call this past week and share my story.  Those who have been following my blog know it well, but if you would want to listen in to the discussion that was had, click on this link to be taken to the recording, and think of attending future ones live, or just enjoy listening to past calls on the beyond affairs tele seminars page. 

 

 

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Seek out like others


Being betrayed by an affair has to be the most devastating thing a person can go through.  It has been said that the pain that comes from someone betraying the most intimate part of your life is far worse than going through the loss and death of a loved one.   Seeking appropriate support is necessary.

What is appropriate support?

Well, that definition will be different for many, but for me, it was in finding people who would support me without judgement and equally importantly, would support me without putting my husband down.

I had made the decision to work on my marriage and to heal it after his betrayal.  I knew I needed people to talk to, but I didn’t think bad-mouthing my husband was enough.  That was surface shit, and I needed deeper.  I wanted people to hear ME, listen to ME, heal ME….tearing up my husband was just anger-management, not healing. It feels good in the moment, but long term…it’s crap.  Besides, I’d made the decision that he was worth fighting for…and if they didn’t stand by that choice, they weren’t good enough to let into the “circle of trust”.

Shirley Glass calls these friends, “friends of the marriage”.  They are friends who will stand by you and your partner, helping you navigate the journey without suggesting separation, bad-mouthing the other, or sabotaging your efforts at regaining intimacy.  They can play devil’s advocate – sure – but in the end you need to feel like they do so only to help you clarify, not to dissuade or influence you.

I lost friends as a result of my husband’s affair.  Now, I may have lost these friends anyway, but it was the beginning of the end.  In one friend, she was unable to see my husband positively, and I felt the tension every time we were together.  I knew it would never be the same.   In another friend, my husband’s affair and the resultant conversation from it took up too much space in our friendship.  I was in the heat of the pain and needed to talk, and I am sure I talked about it a lot.  The main problem here?  She is an unmarried friend who doesn’t have the same insights into marriage and commitment that I have.  That statement would no doubt be perceived as condescending by her if she read it, but the simple fact of the matter is that until I was married, I too thought I knew what it takes to make a marriage work.  I had no idea.

Finding “LIKE” others means finding those who are like you.  Find those who have gone through it, or who are going through it.  They will listen.  They will tolerate your rehashing of the same sticky point over and over, and help you move past it.  They will offer invaluable insights.  They will be patient.  They will not judge.  They will care.  Have more than one.

Attending support groups, like the ones offered through Beyond Affairs Network (BAN) are a great resource to find local people who are willing to meet and share their stories.  The support feels great.  You aren’t alone, and there are those living within your city going through the same stuff who want to hear you.

Attending seminars and talks, reading books about infidelity, or seeing a therapist TRAINED IN AFFAIR RECOVERY are crucial too.   I mention the latter in capital letters because a therapist isn’t enough.  You don’t want someone who just sits and nods their heads. You want someone who understands the devastation after an affair, and how to navigate your feelings with you.  The same goes for marital therapists….they need to be AFFAIR RECOVERY TRAINED.  Otherwise, you are getting marital therapy, and that isn’t what you need right now….right now you need crisis management around an affair. The marital work comes later.

No one can understand your pain who hasn’t been there.  Many times, often our spouses – the ones closest to us – don’t even understand it, so how can we expect a friend to?

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Finding “Like” others is helpful….I’d be so bold as to say it is crucial.  Surviving an affair is hard.  It is even harder alone.  Please reach out.

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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Rebuilding Trust after an Affair: A guide for the Wayward Spouse


Trust is nothing more than ‘proven behavior over time’.  When an affair devastates a marriage, trust is completely broken.  How do you go about restoring trust in the aftermath of one of the greatest devastations a person can inflict?

First and foremost, if you are going to confess an affair to your spouse, you might as well tell him/her the ENTIRE truth.  I told my husband in the wake of the discovery of his affair that I wanted all of the information on the table.  I wanted to know who, when, where, how often, what, and most of all, WHY.  That last one was the one that took the longest time to unravel, and truth be told, it isn’t often one that the wayward spouse even knows the answer to….until they do the work involved in uncovering what made them seek a relationship outside of their marriage, and that takes time, introspection, and therapy.

The most important thing for me, in the initial days, was the reassurance that I wasn’t going to be knocked off of my feet again.  I lost all footing when he confessed his affair.  I hated the feeling of helplessness that brought, and I reasoned that I would rather know the truth, no matter how devastating, in one fell swoop than receive the truth in small doses, each time being knocked to the floor.  I reasoned I was already on the floor, you might as well throw it all at me, because once I get up, I don’t want to be knocked over again.  So, you may as well give your spouse what they need to know, if you are even going to admit to your wrongdoings.  There is no point in half-way.   Either you tell them, or you don’t.  Obviously, it is better if you do, but my point is simply that trickle-truth (truth that trickles in slowly, one drip at a time) only results in a reduction of trust when you slowly confess to things you earlier denied.  Laying your cards on the table face up, and doing so early will win you major points.

A betrayed spouse is going to have tons of questions.  How many questions s/he has depends on the person.  Some people crave to know every last detail, while others are satisfied with less.  I, for one, wanted ALL of the details.  I didn’t like knowing that my husband had a little window of life that I didn’t have access to, or know about, and I wanted as much information and knowledge of his affair as he had….as she had.  Whether you ask for the gory details earlier in the process or later, remember that you are responsible for the information that you receive.  Do not ask a question that you are not prepared to hear an answer for.  If you can imagine hearing the worst case scenario and you feel incapable of handling that truth, perhaps it is best to wait on that particular question, but table it for another time.  Answering all of the questions that a betrayed spouse has shows honesty and a commitment to the process of healing. Showing patience for his/her constant re-hashing of details, and perhaps even asking the same question again and again is necessary.  We repeat the questions because our brains are trying to synthesize all of the information.  Repetition allows the information to penetrate to an area where we can then understand and deal with its content.  Just like children, it helps us learn to repeat.  It also helps us to test answers against prior responses to gauge truthfulness, but it isn’t USUALLY done on purpose as a test…that is just a side bonus 🙂

Owning your mistake, amidst such shame is not an easy task.  I don’t think I would have the ability to do it.  I am not strong enough of character to manage that, I don’t think.  Having your mistake brought up again and again is hurtful to the one who has betrayed.  Not only because the wayward spouse needs to re-examine his/her flaws under a microscope again and again, but because s/he needs to see his/her spouse struggling with the information, hurting, and trying to piece themselves back together again.  You cannot rush a healing process. It is a process…and it isn’t a straight line.  In fact, some days you won’t remember the last time you took a step forward as it seems each time you do, you take three backwards.  It is frustrating, but stick with it.  Invite the betrayed spouse to ask questions, and be patient with him/her.  For me, asking a lot of questions made me feel needy and burdensome.  I worried that if I asked too many questions, my husband would find me unappealing, and leave me.  Of course, that was when I still believed that the reason he’d had the affair was because I was unappealing in some way and that it had something to do with me. It wasn’t until much later that I learned (through repetition and re-exposure to the idea) that it had NOTHING to do with me.  Be patient.

Actions speak louder than words.  Show your spouse that you are committed to their healing.  Attend marital counselling and DO THE HOMEWORK.  Attend individual counselling also.  Give your spouse password access to your phone, your emails, your text messages and your voicemails.  Give your spouse complete access to check these as they need.  You need to be an open book now, at least for a while.  Don’t be surprised or angry when you feel s/he has looked through your personal communications.  After all, it was your actions that landed you here in the first place, and you haven’t been a stellar example of honesty.  Regain trust by removing all doubts by providing complete and unrestricted access.  Tell your spouse when you will be late, and provide your whereabouts.  Take pictures to prove your plans, if needed.  Your spouse is going to be on hyper alert for a while.  Offer these things before they are requested, it goes a long way towards showing you can be trustworthy.

What you say and what you do are two different things. They should both be the same, but one weighs more than the other.  Words are simply words.  Actions speak. In fact showing us through behaviour will carry more weight than telling us the same thing ten times.  Maybe more.

That brings me to the reason I made this post in the first place.  While standing in the Chinese Theatre in Epcot Centre at Walt Disney World a while back, I came upon this plaque on the wall:

 

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Facebook


I wanted to let all of my readers know that I have just started a page on Facebook devoted to this blog, and this journey. If you are on Facebook, I would like to invite you to like my page which is entitled “Rescuing My Marriage”.

You will notice when you search for that page, that two pages of the same name come up. That’s because I had started one, and then realized that I hadn’t used appropriate capital letters in my title, and attempted to start over, not realizing it would have created the first one if I hadn’t completed before step process. Nonetheless, one of them has followers, the other one has none, and you will obviously want to Like the page that has existing followers.

The page is currently blank, Avitts I have not added any content yet, but will be using the page to advertise new blog posts, to share quotes and words of comfort, to share cartoons which appropriately mock women who choose to engage in this horrid lifestyle.

Please join me on this page, and I look forward to interacting with you there also.

Free tele seminar tonight on healing the betrayed spouse


If you have just found out that your partner had an affair, welcome to the club.  It is the club that no one wants a membership in, and one in which many of us have been thrust, unprepared.

There has been no greater pain in my life than the discovery of my husband’s affair.  I’ve since lost my mother, and the pain of that didn’t even touch the pain that was caused by the humiliation and betrayal exacted on me by someone who professed to love me so deeply.  I can close my eyes, and go right back to what that felt like.  Some days, I still feel it.  I don’t think that will ever go away.

For those of you who struggle with how to move on, whether to move on, how to heal, and what your spouse’s role is, I invite you to attend this free tele seminar, offered by Anne and Brian Bercht, the former is the author of “My husband’s affair became the best thing that happened to me”.   From their site:

COMPLIMENTARY TELESEMINAR: TUESDAY, AUGUST 7, 2012

Topic: How to Take Your Life Back after you’ve been betrayed
Date: TUESDAY, AUGUST 7, 2012
Time: 6:30 PM PACIFIC/ 8:30 PM CENTRAL/ 9:30 PM EASTERN
Dial: 1-626-677-3000
Access Code: 688685#
Hosts: Passionate Life Coaches Guy & Tammie

Guy & Tammie will also be discussing how the unfaithful spouse,
if pursuing reconciliation, can help the betrayed spouse heal.
They will discuss dealing with low self-esteem, blame, shame,
obsessing about the past and how to really learn from the pain and
have the best life you can…what does that journey look like and
is it even possible.

To listen to the tele seminar all you have to do is call the number
listed above at the scheduled time, and enter the access code
provided when prompted. You can choose to sit back and just listen,
or you can ask a question when the opportunity is presented. You
can remain anonymous by using a first name and your state only …
and we don’t care if you make it up, it’s just nice to have a
way to identify you if you do choose to speak during the seminar.

If you can make the time, these teleseminars are a great place to realize that you aren’t alone.  They give you ideas to start out, and even if you are well on your journey, I just find the company of others in the same boat comforting.

A ray of sunshine coming my way


I have to say, I am really looking forward to our retreat weekend in a few weeks. Really excited. I feel really hopeful. I haven’t felt that way in a long time.

Not only is the weather improving, I find my spirits lifted recently. I’ve decided I am taking 4 months off of work to focus on me. In the wake of the affair, I was unable to have planned for the chaos, and had weeks of clients and projects booked. I couldn’t cancel them, and had to plug away at work, pretending nothing was wrong. I’ve never, in these 2 years taken any time to focus on me. I’ve gained 15 pounds, and look older than I’ve ever looked. I feel haggard and worn down.

I want to lose the weight. I want to take some classes. I want to do things for me that I enjoy. I think I deserve it.

Frankly it is all a bunch of sunshine coming my way and I am really excited!

“My husband’s affair became the best thing that ever happened to me”


Within days of my husband’s affair being disclosed to me…or perhaps within mere hours, I immediately went into lock down crisis mode.  I am a resourceful person, and I needed  help.  I needed answers.  I needed anything to make me feel as though I was moving things forward.  I went online and turned to google.  I searched for things like “infidelity and co-workers” and “how to get over an affair”, and anything you can imagine to search, I searched it.

I remember looking through the pages that my search turned up, and seeing the words “My husband’s affair became the best thing that ever happened to me”.  I shook my head in disbelief.  What the hell is she thinking?  How dare she take something so painful and traumatic and say that it was the best thing….how dismissive of me, my feelings, this reality?  I peeked at the link once or twice, never taking the time to dig in because it wasn’t what I needed (at the time).  I passed it by many times, but my point is that it kept popping back up.  I’d google, and there would be Anne Brecht’s book, and her website, claiming to have been saved by her husband’s affair.  It sickened me sometimes, but most of the time I would ignore it.  Two years later, I am in a different place, and I “get it” now.  I see where she is coming from.  I couldn’t see where she was because of where *I* was.  My perspective was too fresh, too wounded, to raw.  I wasn’t in a place where I could see there being ANY benefit to an affair.  It was devastating, how could there be positive anything?

Last week, I was contacted through this blog by a woman (Wendy) who has been through an affair.  Not only was her husband unfaithful, but hers also fathered a child with his mistress.  I will tell you, that is a rare thing to find.  In as much as I have received a lot of support and understanding from women and men who have been struck by this, few of them had the additional layer of a child born of the infidelity.   She contacted me, and we’ve been talking through email the last few days.  I can’t tell you how pleased I am to have had this connection made.  Someone to talk to who understands it.  She gets it.  Totally and completely.

I asked her about her therapy and what she found helped.  As it turns out, she attended a marital seminar developed by Anne Brecht, you know, the woman who thought her husband’s affair was the best thing that ever happened to her? – yeah her.  I immediately went to the website, and started to read about their seminars, and their help for couples.  They have survived infidelity and come out the other side.  They now help others to do the same.  Recently, Anne and her husband appeared on Dr. Phil:

So I spent some time on their site today and listened to some of the teleconferences that they have.  They are free to call in for, and they have a schedule of discussion topics and you can sign up for notices of upcoming calls.  If you, or someone you know needs support, please pass along the information. I will share it at the bottom of this post.  I listened today to a woman who, along with her husband, serve as mentors in Anne and her husband’s marital retreat weekend seminars.  For the first time since my husband’s affair, I HEARD the voice of someone who has experienced this.  It was no longer just black words on a white page.  This woman exists, she feels, she has experienced it.  For the first time, I felt as though I am really not alone and that there ARE real people out there who are going through this.  There are people out there who understand.  It sounds cliche, but I really for the first time felt connected.  Now. I’ve not attended a support group, and so perhaps this is why I am coming to this feeling so late, but it was so nice.  I cried at my desk, and then took a long walk.  I felt better though than I have in a long time because it felt hopeful.

So I emailed Wendy to ask her more about the seminars she attended.  She told me that it was unlikely one would be in my city, but I could travel to a nearby one.  In searching today, I looked on the site, and low and behold there IS one coming soon where I live and I was beyond thrilled.  I emailed her right away to tell her about it, and she replied “SIGN UP!” and I did.  I emailed my husband, told him about it, he went to the site, and was 100% game.  Now, it means leaving the kids for a weekend with ongoing childcare.  My husband and I are hard pressed for childcare having no one reliable with whom to leave our children.  Thankfully one of my friends stepped up and has offered to live at my house that weekend with her son, and look after my brood.  I could not be more relived and indebted to her for her sacrifice and help.

I am really looking forward to this weekend. It will mark the first time my husband and I have spent a weekend away from our children, but I think it will be for the very best reason – the saving of our marriage.  I think we’ve come very far so far, but I think we have more ground to cover.  I think this will also help my husband to find the support of other Wayward spouses who can share their stories, understand his struggles and offer him the support he has been lacking.  Let’s face it, I can share the story and get support, he can’t always count on that.  He was the one who strayed, he is the “bad guy”, and not everyone takes too kindly to what he did.   My own mother never forgave him  before she passed a few months ago.  He will always live with that.  So, from his perspective too, I think this weekend will be very healing, and I am looking forward to it.

For those interested in the information, the website is http://www.beyondaffairs.com and for the free tele seminars, go to: http://www.beyondaffairs.com/teleseminars.htm

Needless to say, I can now understand what Anne meant, that I was unable to see because I hadn’t EARNED the perspective.  I say earned because I’ve put in a lot of miles, a lot of tears and a lot of work to get here.  I’ve earned the ability to see for myself what she meant.  Through facing their issues head-on, they both had to grow and turn to one another in order to make their marriage stronger.  Having faced this, they communicate better, are more connected and closer than they have ever been.  While Anne acknowledges that his affair was the most DEVASTATING thing that has ever happened to her, she also wants her reader to know that with the work put in, it has also taken them to this wonderful place that they wouldn’t be in had they not faced the issue at all.  In essence, his affair forced them to make changes.  As she says, “you can either be bitter, or be better”.  I think I will opt for option 2.  I am trying.

“Get over it and let it go”


In talking with people who have been through this, and those that haven’t, I’ve learned something rather interesting, and witnessed a disparity.   Unless you’ve been through this, you cannot have the appreciation for the depth of the pain that one feels when this happens to them.  What’s worse is that in your assumption that you do know, you may say or do something that causes them additional pain and suffering due to your lack of sensitivity.

I’d heard of affairs a lot.  I’ve read of affairs.  Heck, I’d even experienced affairs first-hand from an arm’s length.  Marriages of my childhood friends have ended over affairs.  Family friends have, in my adulthood, confessed to me that there had been infidelity in their marriages.  My father was unfaithful to my mother, at least three times that I am aware of…probably more.  I learned of it, I shrugged my shoulders, and yeah, I felt bad for her, but I knew it was her business, not mine.  I assumed she would feel sad. I assumed she would feel hurt.  I assumed to know a lot of how she felt because I could imagine it – or could I?  What I didn’t realize, until recently, is that until you are IN this, looking in from the outside, you can convince yourself that you understand, that you “get it”, and that you have an appreciation for the suffering.  Trust me when I say that you don’t.  You don’t even have a clue.  Assuming that it hurts a lot isn’t even scratching the surface.  It is just common sense, but doesn’t show any true appreciation or understanding.

I had someone recently use the words “let it go”, in relation to the hurt and suffering caused by my husband”s infidelity and the ongoing attempts by his ex-mistress to cause me emotional and legal distress. It was this person’s hope that I would be able to “let go” of the hurt that I have been carrying, and lift the weight from my shoulders.  I am sure the comment was made in good faith, with great intentions, but hearing it made me think that that they really may just not “get it”.

The best that I can describe the experience of living with this situation, is that of being diagnosed with a life altering, but non-terminal disease. You will never look at the world the same way again.  Everything you see, do, feel, say, experience, is all filtered through the lens of this new reality.  It won’t kill you, but you will wake up many mornings wishing it had taken you in your sleep so that you wouldn’t have to wade through another day with the oppressive thoughts and experiences that come with it.  There will be days when you wake up in the morning, and for a brief moment, a transient time, you will awaken thinking that it had been a dream, and that it never happened.  A lightness and glow will come over you, and for a brief moment you will believe it, until reality comes and pours a bucket of ice water over you.  For a moment there, LIFE WAS BEAUTIFUL.  Food will taste different, things will feel different, you will BE different. Never again will you wake up carefree and open…because instead you will wake up plagued and haunted.  Living with this is what I imagine living with Cancer to be like. You wouldn’t tell a cancer sufferer to “get over it”,or that you hope that she can “let it go”, would you?  Why is this considered any different?  Someone is irreparably hurting, their life forever altered, and their days continuously plagued by the onslaught of this reality, and yet you hope that they can “let it go”, or “move on”, or “get over it”.

Personally I can’t “get over it”. It’s too hard. It is in my face ALL THE TIME.  The best that I can do is to learn to live WITH it.  Part of learning to live with it is to adapt to the new reality that is my life.  I need to adapt to the idea that the money that rightfully belongs to my family, to my children, is being given to a dirtbag whore who didn’t have the common decency to stay out of a married man’s pants, but who feels entitled to take, take, take.  I need to adapt to the fact that because she refuses to get a job, her “income” is deemed so disparate to that of my husband that he is responsible for 90.5% of the additional child care costs, while she pays 9.5%.  I have to get used to the idea that a woman used my husband to capitalize on the “free ride” of having a baby and having it COMPLETELY financed for her (She pays less than $10 from her pocket per month for this kid).  I had to adapt to the idea that I could, at any time, receive yet another call from the police because she is once again making up stories designed to get me in trouble with the law, placing herself at the forefront of my mind, or both.  I need to adapt to the idea that one day, this demon spawn may show up on my front door wanting to know her father, spurred and encouraged by her mother to do so.  I have to adapt to the idea that my children may one day be made aware of the existence of a half-sister, and either be angry at us for not disclosing it, or disgusted by the infidelity.  Either situation is not good.  I have to adapt to the idea that I no longer hold a special place as being the only woman to carry my husband’s children.  I now forever share that, as the title has been stripped from me.  I have to adapt to the idea that this will never go away, it will never resolve, and I will always wake up faced with the prospect that THIS DAY may be one to present more hurdles for me where this situation is concerned.  I can not rest, I cannot become complacent, I must be ready for battle at any time….because she comes out of nowhere, and wants me to suffer.  It is not a way I wish to live – it has been placed on me, and while I will never GET OVER IT, or LET IT GO, I will perhaps learn to LIVE WITH IT, and that will take a lot of time, therapy, and self-love.  I really wish it were different, and trust me that I am doing my best.  I still have to talk about it from time to time, but I rely on my therapist for that. I don’t want to burden friends and loved ones with this enormous weight all the time.

So for those who have never been through this, you will undoubtedly one day meet someone who has.  Be a good listener.  Take the time to listen and care.  Don’t allude to being tired of hearing about it, even if you are.  Sadly, the statistics bear out that if you haven’t been through this, you will.  If that is the case, before it does, wake up every morning and take a mental snapshot of your life.  Give thanks for all that you have, remember the beauty of that moment, and soak it up completely, because when it changes, it changes forever, and you can’t go back.

Perspective


Sometimes it takes me a day or so to mull things over.  Some time to massage the details, and then come up with how I really feel. With the events of the other day having sunk in,  I think I have it.

I feel great.  Really, I do.  This has been a nightmare 2 years, and for those who have never experienced this, I really hope that you never do.

I am sure there are readers who’ve read through this blog, the details of the hurt and the struggle, and whose first thoughts were “Why the hell are you choosing to stay with a scumbag who cheated on you?”, and you wouldn’t be wrong in having those thoughts.  Those thoughts echo the very thoughts that I would ask myself when I woke up in the morning and stumbled to the mirror.  I can understand the confusion my decision brings to others.  I can also understand the anger it likely brought to those close to me who didn’t want to see me hurt, again.  I know that my mother held a great deal of anger towards my husband – he betrayed her little girl.  He betrayed our family.  He disrespected the vows that he took when we married.  Sadly, my mother passed away before she would ever rectify those feelings with him.  My mother was also reacting out of transference because she too was betrayed by my father – several times.  To her, it was something that was destined to repeat, so to watch me stay caused her angst.   Until you experience this firsthand, you have absolutely no way of knowing the decision you will make in the aftermath of an affair.  6 months before my husband revealed his affair, a friend of mine told me of hers. She had slept with another man behind her husband’s back.  I was sick.  I was disgusted.  I thought to myself that if that ever happened to me, I would walk.  And then it did happen to me, and I stayed.  Some may view my decision as ‘weak’.  Others will view it as “strong”.  It depends on how you see things – the perspective you have, informed by the experiences you’ve had.   Relationships are complex. They can’t simply be dissected into even little pieces, each of them a small reflection of the bigger picture.  No, instead they are messy, the edges are jagged, and the components that make up the whole are very complicated.  It is never as easy or as straightforward on the inside as it appears on the outside.  It goes to show that you really can’t judge a situation until you have been in it.

Looking back over the last couple of days, since the legal matters were all tied up, I feel a tremendous sense of relief.   Yes, I was initially quite angry at the thought that this whore would be receiving additional money from me, money she doesn’t deserve, money that comes out of the mouths of MY CHILDREN, and straight into her pockets so that she can continue to remain unemployed, living off the hard work of others, feeling entitled to it because she pushed out a baby…oh wait, no she didn’t – she had a c-section to preserve the integrity of her vagina. Shallow much?   It’s right up there with her fake breasts which I’ve heard really aren’t anything to write home about, which look awkward, and which don’t fit her body at all.  I guess her physical fucked-upedness has just met her mental fucked-upedness. I think it’s always a good idea to be consisent, don’t you? 🙂

After receiving countless emails from those who read this blog from all over the world, I’ve been given such support and a positive outlook, and I can’t thank you enough.  I loved Pippi’s comment on the last thread that mentioned that yes she has our money, but so what?  We will make more.  She is right.  It is only money.  It isn’t something that can’t be replaced.  It is meaningless.  She can’t have our love for one another.  She can’t have our bond.  She can’t have our family.  She can’t have our happiness.  We are immune to her.  The financial impact will be minimal in the end, and will simply stop the legal bleeding that has been going on for months.  The payout for her is massive.  $27,000.00 is more money than she makes in a year in her job.  She, as seems to be the case with many of these low-life mistresses who see $$$ and decide to put out, she is a low income earner.  Hell, I earned more money in my part time job in university than she does in her professional job.  My salary today is well over 20x what she is capable of earning.  Why is that important?  I mention this only because the financial impact of what she has received (and I don’t say the word “won” because she hasn’t won here), is not that severe.  We will manage just fine, and in the end, would have paid far more for the same end result: having her OUT of our lives.  She is now just a yearly set of cheques made out in advance, and a yearly tax review.  On a day to day basis, she will no longer grace our dinner table conversation, although I am certain we will still enjoy the jokes at her expense.  They are too funny to pass up.

I am glad I have come to this place.  It feels new.  It feels like I’ve arrived.  It feels like I’ve survived.  I feel like I’ve won.  So…..”Yay me mother-fucker!”*

*Yay me is an expression the OW used quite often in her written tormenting emails to describe how she would prevail over me, and how I would be suffering in the days to come, but she would be unscathed.  Yay me was her way of inflicting pain and torment.  Today, I offer it back.  Eat it bitch. 🙂

Stronger than ever in the wake of his affair

Stronger than ever

 

 

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