” How’s that working for you? “


During marriage counseling, that phrase came to be Pastor W.’s most famous line…and the words that really made me grit my teeth. I guess my expectations and the reality of counseling didn’t exactly match up. What I wanted and expected was that we would talk about all the horrible things my husband did and our counselor would have nothing but kind words and sympathy for me.

Reality check! While we did discuss my husband’s transgressions and what he needed to do to make permanent changes and earn my trust back, we also talked about me, and how maybe, just maybe I wasn’t a perfect saint of a wife. What?!? But I’m not the adulterer! No matter what I did wrong, cheating trumps all my minor,petty misdeeds, right?

Well, yes…and no. While I will still argue that cheating on your spouse is probably the absolute worst, most devastating thing you can do, does that mean that anything I did wrong was irrelevant and didn’t matter? NOPE. Of course I knew that…but in the midst of dealing with adultery, who wants to hear about what THEY might have done to contribute to the problems in the marriage? Not me, anyway.

But the truth is, I DID contribute to the sorry state that our marriage was in when the affair occurred. I’m not saying in any way that my husband was justified in having an affair. He CHOSE to cheat, and it was a stupid, rotten, selfish, incredibly damaging choice. But we got to that point where he was so vulnerable TOGETHER. He was not being a very good husband…but neither was I being a very good wife. I wasn’t feeling loved, I didn’t feel like I mattered. And so I in turn rejected him and made him feel unwanted. Why didn’t we talk about what was happening? Why couldn’t we just TALK to each other? Because our communication flat out SUCKED. We were speaking but not listening…and then we just stopped speaking.

If there is anything I have learned throughout this whole ridiculous mess, it’s that the lines of communication HAVE to stay open. If you aren’t talking to each other, your marriage is at risk. If there is a problem, deal with it. Don’t let it fester and turn into something bigger. Share how you feel. Say what’s on your mind! Don’t bury things, don’t keep secrets, and don’t start confiding in someone else ( especially someone of the opposite sex! ) – confide in your spouse. Our spouses should be our best friends. They should be the ones that know us better than anyone else. Don’t give up! And don’t ever stop talking to each other.

And so I’ll close with the Four Rules of Communication that Pastor W. drilled into us and had us memorize. We have these taped on the wall above the computer as well as our bathroom mirror.

1) Be honest!

2) Keep current!

3) Attack the PROBLEM, not the PERSON!

4) Act, don’t react!

Number 3 is my nemesis…I can be very verbally aggressive, I admit it! I can hear Pastor W.  “How’s that working for you, Trish?” All I can say is I am a work in progress…and I still have a long way to go…😉


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Adultery used to be a foreign language…


After my husband’s affair, I became all too familiar with several terms that those of us in the same ‘club’ know very well. Terms like ‘trickle truth’, ‘hysterical bonding’, ‘triggers’…I would love to go back to the days when those words would have just been words, words with no familiar and personal meaning.

Triggers…that is probably what I wrestle with most at the moment. We are 2 and 1/2 years out from his affair and about 9 months since my husband was finally completely honest ( to the best of my knowledge ) about everything that happened. I thought that maybe the triggers would start to decrease in number and frequency. But it seems like, although they still come in waves, they are getting worse.

My husband thinks reading blogs and self-help books for adultery makes things worse for me. In a way, he’s right. I read about dealing with his affair, and I’m triggered. I read blogs posted by others who are in the same boat – I’m triggered. But what my husband DOESN’T understand is that avoiding these things wouldn’t stop the triggers. They are everywhere, they are constant, and they are unwelcome and vicious. I can’t even go to church without being triggered. It’s RIDICULOUS.

So…what to do? Yeah, I try to take my thoughts captive, think about other things, all that stuff. But you know what? I’m EXHAUSTED. I’m just really tired of being triggered! Maybe that sounds stupid. It feels stupid to me that I struggle with this so much! But whatever the secret is to beating the triggers, I can tell you I haven’t figured it out yet. And some days I am filled with despair thinking that this is just never going to get better.

I didn’t want to be a member of this ‘club’. I know none of us did. I don’t want to speak this language! I want to hit the rewind button on my marriage and go back to where the flirtation between my husband and the OW first started…only this time he realizes that he’s treading on dangerous water and puts a stop to it. He realizes he’s playing with fire, and he doesn’t want to get burned. He realizes he loves his wife and family and doesn’t want to destroy what he claims to love so dearly.

But we don’t get to hit the rewind button. We don’t get to delete crap like this. We don’t get do-overs in marriage. If there was only some way to make potential unfaithful spouses realize what they are sacrificing when they choose to cheat…if only they could see the wreckage and the aftermath of their selfish, self-serving choices BEFORE they insert their genitals where they don’t belong. I could ‘if only’ until I’m blue in the face. But it’s irrelevant. The damage is done. And now we pick up the shattered pieces and try to fix the mess our unfaithful spouses created.

Or we don’t.

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” Where there is anger, there is always pain underneath. ” ~ Eckhart Tolle


I’m having an ugly day. I don’t know if there is any particular reason…it’s just one of those days. earlier today I was rereading a section in a book called Hedges By Jerry B. Jenkins. It’s about ways that people should put up barriers to protect their marriages from adultery. None of it is shocking or earth-shattering….it’s common sense stuff really, but it makes you think about some of the things we do that seem insignificant but actually have the potential to lead to issues if we aren’t aware. Anyhow, there are questions to discuss with your spouse. ( My husband has read part of it but not all, and I guess I could make a big deal out of it and guilt him into reading the whole thing but I want him to WANT to read it. ) So, I was asking him questions about attraction. Then, that flowed into Questions About The Affair. I asked him what kind of things he said to her when they were ‘just flirting and joking’, before the sex started. I asked him how joking had even turned sexual with her ( especially if he wasn’t attracted to her ). The response was something about oh well, it was just kind of crude humor like guys do with each other even though they shouldn’t. I said ok, well, since she obviously isn’t a guy, what do you mean? What sort of things specifically did you say to HER? He said he was trying to think…and I got annoyed. Because once again it’s more details that he just can’t seem to remember. I don’t expect he remembers every conversation, word for word. But he seriously can’t remember any of the ways that he ‘joked’ around with her? He can’t remember at all??


When I’ve gotten angry on other occasions about him ‘not remembering’ things he says that a lot of it is that he has worked to put all of that out of his mind and he doesn’t WANT to remember. So why is it that I can’t do the same thing? Because I would like nothing more that to completely forget that he cheated, and go on with life and be happy. But I can’t forget!!

Some days, even though I don’t believe in divorce unless absolutely necessary, I think it would be so much easier to kick him out and move on with my life. Except that we have 6 boys to think about. It’s not all about me. I can’t be selfish. Does it matter if I’m happy or not? I have better days and happier moments. But the days when the pain consumes me make me want to crawl into my bed, pull the covers up over my head, and never come out.

Today is just a bad day, I guess.

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” Mom if you are reading this… “


I found a note earlier today left for me by one of my 3 oldest sons. It said , ” Mom if you are reading this remember to pray “

It caught me completely off guard. And when I stop to think about it, how much praying have I been doing? I’ll be honest – not much at all. I call myself a Christian, I profess to believe in the Bible…yet prayer is something I have truly struggled with, probably off and on for many years, but most intensely after the discovery of my husband’s affair. I have been angry, so very angry at God!!! Why did he allow this to happen?? What is the purpose in all of this? If he is a God of miracles, why didn’t he stop my husband before things went as far as they did? Yes, I know all about free will, blah blah blah. I DON’T CARE. If he can part the red sea, if he can cure illnesses and raise people from the dead, how hard is it to prevent the utter devastation of an affair?

I wonder if my children see my internal conflict with God…maybe it’s written across my face and I can’t hide it. Do they see me as a hypocrite as we sit in church together? Do they see my honor the Lord in words but not in my actions? I know the right words to say. I know how to give ‘Biblical’ answers. But when it comes down to living what I say I believe, the truth is, I really suck at it.

I don’t trust God. There, I said it. I believe in him. But I don’t trust him. My family has been through so much junk. Maybe I’ll go into it another time, I don’t know…the list is lengthy, and I am just so tired. But irregardless, my husband and I have been through THE SHIT together. So, I guess, I thought if I had anything, at least I had my husband. At least we were in it together, us against the world. If we had nothing else, we had each other. But that was a lie too. Because the life I thought I shared with him wasn’t reality at all.

So whichever child left me the note, he is much wiser than I am. He knows what I need better than I do. I do need to start praying, and stop running away from God. I need to start trusting and believing that he has a plan for me in this whole stupid mess. I need to stop relying on myself and rely on God. I know what I NEED to do…but I’m not so great on the follow through…

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Casualties of the Infidelity War…

I guess because of Mother’s day, I’ve been reflecting on my personal journey as a mother, from the birth of my first child in 1997, to present day where my youngest has just recently turned one. I’ve been thinking about what kind of mother I was when I began, and who I am now…how my own mother was and how I am similar and yet different…the things I am proud of, and the ways that I feel I have greatly failed.

I think one of the worst consequences of my husband’s affair have been how my sons have been directly and indirectly affected. I never told any of them anything, although the oldest 2 are aware that my husband was unfaithful because of overhearing conversations ( and fights…and me screaming and yelling…). They don’t know any particular details though. The younger boys are just too young to understand, but I’m sure they are aware that there have been problems and issues between their father and I. At times the tension in this house has been so thick that one could cut it with a knife. In any case, each one has been affected by this. I am ashamed to say that one of the main ways is through me. I have never been a pillar of patience. I’m not known for being easy going and laid back. But ever since the time around my husband’s affair, I have found it 100 times more difficult to not get angry over the stupidest things. I yell at the slightest provocation. I get easily annoyed and I snap at them. Sometimes, I just want to run away because I feel like I can’t take anymore. I’m not the mother I’m supposed to be, the mother that my sons need…many days, I feel like I am a contender for Worst Mother In The World.

I wonder…what am I teaching my sons? Am I showing them what it means to be a forgiving spouse? Are they learning that when they marry, their wives may hurt them, in big and small ways, but they can survive through their struggles and build a stronger marriage…or am I teaching them that it’s ok to be unfaithful because their wives will ( or should ) forgive them and move on? Will they abuse their wives’ trust? Will they treat them like doormats? Will they be faithful because they have experienced the pain that infidelity has brought into their lives? Or will they cheat because they think this is what men do?

I struggle with my feelings, every single day. I want to be the mom my boys deserve. I want them to see marriage as a blessing, and I want them to see my husband and I as an example of a strong, happy marriage. Is it already too late for that? Will they ever see past what has happened? I don’t know. And how can I expect them to? Because I’m still unsure of the outcome. As much as I believe my husband has changed, as much as I believe that he regrets the affair and has no intention of cheating again, I can’t say that I trust him. I can’t say that I believe in him, that I think he will always make good decisions from here on out. When I look at our future, whereas before I could envision us growing old together, sitting in rocking chairs on our front porch, watching our grandkids play…well, now the future is like a big, blank canvas. I would like to think that what we’ll end up with is a life as beautiful as a painting by Van Gogh, but I’m fearful it will instead be like a caricature by an unknown, untalented artist… a joke, a waste of energy and a waste of time.

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The problem with porn…

Let me start with a disclaimer…if you like porn and believe it’s harmless, you probably shouldn’t read any further, because what I have to say will probably piss you off. If you like porn, I’m not judging you. What you do is your business. But what I share is what I have experienced, and the opinions I have formed because of said experiences. So here goes…

I hate porn. I think it’s demeaning, perverted, and encourages men to view women as objects instead of people. Porn is not respectful or caring. It is about selfishness. It is about lust. It is about using people. It creates unrealistic expectations. Most married women, especially those with kids, do not have gigantic boobs, or perfect perky breasts. Most of them to not have flat as a board tummies with zero cellulite on their hips and thighs. Most do not sit around waiting for someone to come along and screw them, or spend their days pursuing men for sex. Most women do not pant and moan and scream and spend the entire time during sex having one continuous orgasm. Porn is FAKE! REAL women want to be treated with respect. We want our husbands to love us, and appreciate our unique beauty, stretch marks, imperfect breasts and all! Sometimes, we don’t want to have sex, and that should be ok! We want to know that when our husbands are being intimate with us, they are being intimate with US, and only US! I know many will disagree with me, but if you are having sex with your spouse and thinking about someone else, you are CHEATING. If you sit at the computer lusting after naked women, masturbating as you fantasize about them, you are CHEATING. If you think that porn is harmless and won’t eventually or in some way have a negative impact on your marriage, you are kidding yourself.

My husband began viewing porn as a teenager. He came across some magazines of his step-father’s, and it all started there. He knew even back then it was wrong, but as a teenage boy curiosity won out. As he grew older, and the internet became an option for porn viewing, he would wait until his first wife was asleep, and stay up at night to look at porn on the computer. They had a normal sex life; he wasn’t being deprived or not having his needs met, it was just something he was drawn to do even though he felt guilty about it and kept it a secret. Eventually they divorced. We met, were together for 3 years before we married, and have been married for almost 9 years. I had no clue that he was even looking at porn on the computer. He had spent many years becoming very adept at keeping his secret hidden. But as our marriage progressed I knew something was not right. I told him many times over the years that I felt like he treated me like a piece of meat at times. I felt like he was very disconnected during sex, and so more and more I grew disinterested in sex, and then began to dislike it. I felt like a ‘hole’. I felt like I was merely a receptacle. And so, because there was very little intimacy between us, he became more susceptible to infidelity. All the while, he was still viewing porn, and every so often would try to stop. He would last maybe a few weeks and then go back to it. He will be the first to tell you that years of porn were a factor in how he viewed sex as something he was almost entitled to, and how he viewed women as objects to be lusted at. He said because of this it made it easier to get involved in an affair. It wasn’t until he almost lost his marriage and family, and everything came crashing down, that he realized selfishness and stupidity of his attitudes. I discovered his porn addiction a few months after the affair occurred, and as broken as he was about the affair, the same and guilt of his years of porn consumed him. But the thing was, once everything was out, he said he felt so much freer because he wasn’t living with secrets anymore, and he wasn’t enslaved to any of it any longer. It changed everything for him, and it changed him…for the better.

When he stopped lusting after other women and stopped looking at porn, and started to clear all the junk out of his mind, he began changing the way he treated me. He now treats me with so much more respect. He connects with me. He doesn’t treat me like an object. He is different. So don’t tell me porn is harmless, that it doesn’t damage people’s minds and marriages. I’ve witnessed it first hand. While porn is not the cause of his cheating, and he has never tried to use it as an excuse for infidelity, both he and I agree it was a factor in the slippery slope that led him downhill towards adultery. He didn’t wake up one day and just decide to cheat. He spend years being desensitized towards women with his porn addiction. He didn’t have good boundaries in place when it came to dealing with other women in public and the workplace. He filled his mind with trash – garbage in, garbage out. He used our marital problems as a justification to cheat when the opportunity presented itself. All of these things were factors, not excuses, in what made him more vulnerable. So I’m not pointing the finger at porn and saying, yes, porn is completely to blame! Porn made my husband a cheater! Um, no – my husband CHOSE to be a cheater. But porn helped create a screwed up mindset.

Someone today told me that ALL men and women fantasize about others, it’s NORMAL. And I’m trying to control my husband by not ‘allowing’ him to view porn. Porn helps ‘spice’ up marriages. Well, no, not ALL people fantasize about others – I don’t. And I bet many others don’t fantasize about anyone other than their spouse. If you have to think about someone else to have sex with your spouse, you have a major problem! Just because some, or even many people do a particular thing does not make it right or normal. Many people steal, lie, do harm to others. It’s not ok, no matter how many people do it! And my husband CHOOSES to no longer look at porn, because he likes the person he is now much better than he was. He no longer desires to look at other women, because now that he is free of his addiction he is fully satisfied with his wife, and ONLY his wife. We don’t need porn to spice up our marriage – why should anyone need to look at other people having sex to make sex with their spouse better? Your spouse should be enough for you – they should be all you want, need, and desire! If you are wanting, needing, and desiring others you are asking for trouble, and you need to figure out what is lacking in your marriage, or what is lacking in yourself that you can’t seem to be satisfied with your spouse.

Our marriage is far from perfect, and we will be working on healing from my husband’s affair and porn addiction for many years to come. But, I can honestly say that he is a much better person than he was a few years ago. He has changed for the better. I hate that it almost took losing everything for him to grow up and be the man he should have been all along. But maybe, for some cheating spouses, that’s the only thing that will serve as a wake-up call.

OK, I’m getting off my soap box now. Like I said, this is just my opinion. But it’s based on what I’ve dealt with and seen. Maybe your experiences are different. All I’m saying is don’t automatically assume porn is harmless because ‘everybody’ looks at it, or because society accepts it. Do the research for yourself. Porn addiction, and the damage that porn does to the mind is staggering.

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“We often confuse what we wish for with what is.”

The other day I found a card laying by my bathroom sink. My husband is not very big on cards, so when he actually purchases one, and, more importantly, makes the effort to write something heartfelt and sincere, it touches me. He might pick out a cared that is for  a completely different occasion than what he is giving it to me for, but he makes his choices for a reason. I think it’s sweet.

So I opened the card…it was lengthy, even for him – he is usually good for a few brief sentences and then he’s out of words. But in this particular card he had written a few paragraphs. It was very emotional, intense, apologetic gut-wrenching and heart-tugging…I was completely moved. All I could think was, he GETS it. Even after all this time…over 2 years since the affair, 8 months since he admitted the entire truth of what had happened…he actually GETS it. He feels this pain intensely, he still fears the damage is unforgivable…it’s not that I want him to suffer. OK, that’s not entirely true, in some ways I DO want him to suffer! But I just want to know that he fully and completely comprehends the horror that this mess has been, and that he is regrets his selfishness and is sorry for the pain he has caused.

I had been a little upset with him that day, not over anything in particular, it was just one of those days where the triggers were constant and abundant. But this card, even though the day was almost over – it made my day. So when I woke him up so he could get ready for work, I thanked him. I let him know how much I appreciated it, how much his words meant to me.

He said, ” Oh, that was an old card from a few months ago. I guess you never read it. “

UGH. I told him leaving it for me to find, like he has done with other cards, felt like a misrepresentation. He told me it wasn’t his intention, otherwise why would he have told me? He had left it for me a few months ago and said I had tossed it aside because I was angry. It fell behind the laundry hamper and he had just found it. He said he had meant everything he wrote. And I believe he did. I guess I was just disappointed. Maybe that sounds really stupid. It’s just that I thought he had just written those words to me, that these were thoughts heavy on his heart. I’m glad he felt that way when he originally wrote it…but I want to know that he still feels that way NOW. He says he does…but it’s not the same thing to point to something and say, yeah, that’s how I feel, as opposed to directly expressing those feelings. I know guys are generally not that great at expressing feelings and emotions. But you know what? That’s what I need. I need reassurance. I need apologies. I need heartfelt remorse. I need huge, elaborate, grandiose expressions of love. I need to know he is IN this, for the long haul…for life. I need to know that he will never do something like this again. I don’t expect perfection. I know he’ll hurt me, and I’ll hurt him. It’s inevitable. But I need him to be faithful, with his body, mind, and heart. For me, it’s nonnegotiable.

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