Adultery used to be a foreign language…

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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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19 Responses to Adultery used to be a foreign language…

  1. Tryinghard says:

    Hello Trisha
    I found your blog thru Shawn’s blog. I admire her for being so positive but I just can’t help thinking that she got all her fear and hatred out of her by going after jaymee et al so vociferously . I sent the OW an email after she was fired and my H told me the whole story, well at least his whole story. Before that I confronted her at work, which was pretty ugly since he threw me under the bus in front of her. We have been working on reconciliation for 20 months now and I still have a huge barrier. He has never told her he was sorry he had the affair with her. Never said it was the worse mistake of his life as he has professed to me. He told her a divorce just wasn’t worth losing everything. I want him to set it right with her that he is with me because I am the love of his life and always has been. I want him to say he lied to her when he told her personal things about me. I want him to tell her what a whore she is for not refinancing her house and paying him back for helping her rebuild it. He won’t do it. I’m tired of wanting that anymore. I feel if he earnestly did this I could start letting go of the hurt and pain and shame he has inflicted in my life and on me. He says he doesn’t want to give her the satisfaction I say he’s a chicken shit. If he can’t do this I don’t think I will ever get over this pain. I’m really thinking of calling it quits but I do love him and we have been married 38 years and it would be like liquidating a corporation. Actually it literally would be liquidating a corporation as we own our own business.

    I too am tired of the constant obsessing and parsing of words. Hearing the same lame excuses. I too wish there were a rewind switch but there isn’t and I am married to a stupid person who lies and cheats. Now I’ve seen changes but are they permanent, who knows right?

    • momof6boys says:

      38 years…wow! That’s a LONG time…I have difficulty contemplating divorce with almost 9 years of marriage, but I can’t imagine facing this 38 years in. I am so sorry for what you are going through. 😦 And I totally understand your desire for your husband to say those things to the OW. I would LOVE for my husband to tell her he just used her because she was easy and convenient, and that she wasn’t worth it! But the thing is, whatever your husband says to the OW, it won’t change what happened. And really, that’s what we want, isn’t it? To rewrite the past, somehow change it. How awesome that would be if we could! Honestly, even if he were to tell her everything you wanted him to say, she probably wouldn’t believe it and would probably just think you somehow made him say those things. She’s going to believe what she wants to believe. But her opinion, about ANYTHING, is meaningless. More important than anything is your husband proving to YOU that she was a mistake and YOU are all that matters. He can say it to her but those are words. He needs to show you by his actions that he is committed to his marriage and intends to be faithful to you. It IS really hard, when we see that are husbands have made changes, because I wonder the same thing, is this for REAL? Is this a permanent change, or will he go back to his old ways eventually? And if he does go back to how he was, will he be even better at hiding what he is doing? I am terrified to trust again! I don’t want to be made a fool of, again. But I guess at some point, if we have seen consistent and lasting changes, we have to start giving back that trust. It’s easier said than done! I’m definitely not there yet. We have to give ourselves time…and our husbands just have to be understanding of the fact that we need that time. They are the ones who violated our marriages; now it’s up to them to prove that they have changed, are committed to those changes, and are eventually going to be worthy of our trust again.

  2. betrayalsurvivor1981 says:

    (I’m on a word-limiting phone that allows me to post only “snippets”) Trish, I love your blog; your responses to…

  3. betrayalsurvivor1981 says:

    2) Shawn’s blog; & yr 6/18 comments to me on Bubsy’s 6/17 Silver Linings blog post! Like You, I’m a Christian with…

  4. betrayalsurvivor1981 says:

    3) trust, forgiveness & grudge-holding issues. Thankfully, God is merciful. You’re the Lord’s GEM, Trish! If an…

  5. betrayalsurvivor1981 says:

    4) adulterous, lying, murderer like King David was “a man after God’s own heart,” then the Lord CERTAINLY understands…

  6. betrayalsurvivor1981 says:

    5) betrayed spouses like us whose thoughts & actions don’t always line up with our faith in Him! Hang in there Trish. πŸ™‚

    • momof6boys says:

      Thank you! I appreciate your encouraging words…it means a lot to me, because I’ve really had some bad days lately, when I feel like I’m just never going to be ok again. It is so helpful to me to have support in dealing with this, although I hate that there are so many of us in similar circumstances! But at least we can all be there for each other to help get through and survive this mess…

      • betrayalsurvivor1981 says:

        Hey, Trish, thanks for the kind words! We’re here to support you as you are here to support us. I agree with you that there are absolutely too many of us in this “Betrayed” category, and a plethora of blogs written by betrayed spouses. On the flip-side of the “Betrayed” category there are a few bloggers in the “Wayward” category who are encouraging to me, because they’ve proven themselves to be truly remorseful and repentant. They’re willing to move heaven and earth, bulldoze mountains, and part the Red Sea to help their BSs heal and to work with them to rebuild their marriages that have been desecrated by adultery.

        Unfortunately—percentage-wise—there are FAR more blogs written by betrayed spouses than by REPENTANT wayward spouses. And there are FAR TOO MANY blogs written by OWs who appear to be arrogant, remorseless, and even PROUD to be either currently sleeping with someone else’s husband, or had been doing so in the past (until the wayward spouse was caught or peremptorily confessed).

        Two of my favorite repentant wayward spouse blogs are: http://www.whyhaveanaffair.wordpress.com (Bubsy’s husband), and http://www.fulfilledentrepreneur.wordpress.com (a WH who had a 3-year affair with the same affair partner, involving MULTIPLE DDays. His FINALLY fed-up Wife kicked him out last August, but a sincerely remorseful and REFORMED FE has been RELENTLESS in trying to win back his Wife’s love & her desire to remain married [she asked for a divorce just recently]). I’m rooting for FE, because—as many psychologists have asserted—WHs like FE OFTEN end up being the best spouses to someone else (when their BSs have—rightfully and understandably—insisted on divorce). Frankly, I want to see FE’s Wife reap the benefits of a reformed husband, because SHE is the one who endured the devastation and hell of FE’s blatant and continuing adultery with a brazen OW who was CERTAIN that when FE’s Wife finally kicked him out, he would come running to the OW “with bells on.” (He actually did, initially, but after a few days he made it clear to the OW that it was his WIFE he loved and wanted to spend his life with—NOT the OW!). Who knows: if FE’s Wife divorced him and then met someone new, the new guy could end up having an affair, also. As the risk is always present, *I* personally would rather rebuild a marriage with a WILLING, REPENTANT, and REMORSEFUL spouse than to take a chance on someone else. As of today, Mrs. FE has very recently attended several MC sessions with FE (at his desperate request). It looks promising—at least I hope so! πŸ˜€

        We’re all in this together, Trish. I’m pulling for you and your husband as you two continue on the arduous journey of rebuilding your marriage! πŸ˜€ πŸ™‚ πŸ˜€

  7. bombladoze says:

    Awesome post πŸ˜€
    I feel like im doing well with the triggers… just taking one at a time, im managing to work through each one without spinning out of control lately, a few of them can get me down for a couple of days and im finding the reason for that is is that i cant always put my finger on what the thought or feeling behind the trigger is right away… while some are clear and obvious, some of them can be quite a bit deeper and need digging out…

    i also hear similar things about all my reading and information gathering, that its just fuelling the triggers… all that tells me is that i havent found the right message that teaches and allows me to let it go… its been great to have all this information out there, learning how others cope with the same things is definitely helpful to me. ive also realised that i dont have to share every piece of information with him. its just for me, and my process.

    • momof6boys says:

      I find it encouraging hearing about others who are further along in the healing process…it gives me hope that maybe I will get there…at some point! The triggers just really get me down sometimes. They can take a day that was going pretty well and just send it into a downward spiral. I don’t know how to change my thoughts because it seems like the harder I try NOT to think about whatever triggered me the more my brain keeps wanting to go there! GRR! If I try thinking about something completely different it sometimes helps a bit…that is, until that next unwelcome trigger comes along… ;-/

  8. bombladoze says:

    very encouraging! especially on the days when hope feels underfoot!

    i think ive been doing a lot of reframing with the triggers… trying to ‘re-interpret’ events somehow… some days i even try and rewrite them completely… it does help a little, with certain things, but im not really comfortable with it overall. i keep thinking its just a fancy way of lying to yourself! but then i figure my brains already tricking itself so why not trick it a little more? im allowed, its my brain! lol

    the way ive been thinking about it is this…
    theres the thing that actually happened, the way you perceive and interpret what happened, and how you feel about what happened… i cant really explain how im using that… but it helps to keep me focused on me…

    theres also all the versions of myself, the me i think i am, the me others think i am, and the me that i think others think i am… the first one is the only one that matters.

    so pretty much everything is the way it is because of the way we see it, and everybody sees things differently…

    in the early days i was even trying to convince myself that the affair wasnt an affair because we had actually separated… but that was stupid because i would be triggered by all the times i was left alone or lied to! that was a dumb one.

    it doesnt always feel right, but it gets me through the rough spots.!

  9. brokenjoan says:

    Hey to Trisha and everyone else, I just found your blog,there r so many out there, which makes what I am going thru somewhat even scarier, there r so many people dealing with this hell. I found out just 9 months ago that my husband of almost 48 years was having an affair with a woman he met on line in of all places pogo games. As u can tell by the length of our marriage, when the right whore comes along nothing matters, not family or breaking long held vows. I don’t feel as though I have moved forward at all, even though he is trying his best now to get me back, my reasoning is why didn’t he try and fix whatever he thought was wrong before having an affair. Any advice from any of you would be most welcome. Thanks from brokenjoan

    • momof6boys says:

      I wish I could tell you why he didn’t try to fix what was wrong instead of cheating, but the truth is, I have the same question. And there just isn’t any good reason why. It doesn’t matter what kind of shape your marriage was in, it doesn’t matter if you were a terrible wife or the best wife in the world…your husband made the decision to cheat, and he was wrong. Period. I’ve asked my husband a million times why and he said at the time he justified what he was doing in his mind even though he knew he was lying to himself. Our marriage was in a vulnerable place, an opportunity to have sex with a whore who made herself aggressively available was right there, and instead of being the man and husband he should have been and turning his back on that situation, he chose to cheat. There just isn’t any good reason why. And, if you’re like me, all the reasons in the world will never truly satisfy the questions your heart has. Because it HURTS. Adultery is cruel, selfish, destructive, and life-altering. Your marriage will never be the same. You won’t ever forget it. But if he is truly remorseful and is going above and beyond to show you he has changed then you can overcome this together. He MUST be transparently honest. No secrets, no more lies – it is up to him to PROVE he is worthy of your love, respect, and trust. He has to earn your trust back in every way possible for as long as it takes, without complaint, because he is the one that made the choice to destroy the trust you had. This isn’t something that has a quick fix. You won’t get over it in a few weeks or months. It takes time – how long is impossible to say because everyone’s journey is different. I would strongly recommend marriage counseling. Just know that you aren’t alone. Whether you stay in your marriage or whether it ends, you have people here who can help support you and encourage you, or just listen to you vent. Sometimes we just need to rant and rave. Because this situation sucks. But you CAN get through this, you CAN survive. We are all in this mess together! πŸ˜‰

      • brokenjoan says:

        Thank u momof6boys for responding u r so right I have so many questions and even when he answers them I keep asking them over and over, I don’t know I just feel like he holds some details back, either that or I just can’t quit bringing it up. I know he is sick of talking about it, it has been 9 months since d-day, but I feel he should have to talk about it whenever I want to, and I don’t care how selfish that sounds, I am too hurt right now to think straight.
        How can a man feel he needs to talk to someone, but instead of coming to his wife, he finds it easier to tell the most personal details of his life to someone he just met? My husband gave the sob story that she paid more attention to him than I did, said everything he wanted to hear, blah,blah,blah. I am sure all of u have heard the same story from your own dirt bag.
        All I know for sure is my feelings for him will never be the same, our marriage will never be the same and neither will our grown children, it has devastated all of us. It just goes to show no matter how old a man gets he can’t keep it in his pants!!!
        I hope we all can at the very least survive. Thank u for your kind words. Take care. brokenjoan

  10. momof6boys says:

    I have done ( and still sometimes do ) the same things – I ask questions I’ve already asked before, I want every possible detail, I want to know ‘why’, and ‘how could you’. It is NOT selfish for you to expect him to talk about it with you whenever you need to. He needs to do everything he possibly can to help you heal. If he’s holding back details it may be because he is trying to spare you. My husband was dishonest for a year and a half about what actually occurred, which was VERY damaging, because how can you begin to heal a relationship where someone is still lying? Your husband needs to know that holding back ANYTHING is deceptive and will prevent trust from being rebuilt. That being said…I’ve heard others say that sometimes it’s better NOT to know every single detail. I wanted to know EVERYTHING. What they did, where, how, etc. I wanted every last detail! The problem with this is that once you know it, you can’t UN-know it. If you are like me, you already have the mental movies playing in your mind of your spouse and the OW. Knowing every detail can make this worse. Make sure that whatever you ask, you really want to know. Our counselor had told me that the details shouldn’t matter – they had sex. Does it really matter how and where, and all the other details? It doesn’t change the fact that they had sex. It can’t be undone. And isn’t that ultimately what we wish for, that this could be undone? I would love to be able to look at my husband and think about all his positive qualities, without his infidelity hanging like a storm cloud over everything. No, you will never feel the same about him. This will always be a painful memory in your family’s history. But relationships can be restored. He has MUCH work to do on his part. But he can still be the husband and father he is called to be. Don’t give up. Even on the darkest days ( and I know those days well ) there is still hope for restoration and healing.

    • brokenjoan says:

      Dear momof6boys, there r some days I think it can be restored, on those days I think about what a
      wonderful husband and father he was before he had the affair. He told me one time when we were talking that it seems a shame you can be a good man for most of your life but go in the wrong direction one time and everyone forgets all the good u did. If I wasn’t in so much pain, I could see his point, but all I can think is we were both living in the same marriage, he cheated, I didn’t, I know that may be a rather black and white point of view right now but it’s the view I’m looking at.
      We have been married for 48 years this July, so I will admit the honeymoon days r way behind us, but that is one of the ow weapons, she made him feel like he was 16 again ( his words). He was at a very weak time in his life, fearing getting old and thinking is this all there is now that I am retired, so when she came along she boosted his sagging ego with a bunch of lies. After reading their instant messages, it was very plain to see that she was the one that instigated the sexual meetings, only two in the 15 months they were together, because we lived hundreds of miles from her, so most of their sex was via their web cams, which he said was better than the actual sex. Why do they all say that? Do u think its true? Well I guess it doesn’t matter other than the fact they would still be lying.
      Sorry I am going on and on, sometimes I just can’t stop. Thanks again I like talking with u. Take care. Keep in touch. From one broken heart to another. brokenjoan

      • momof6boys says:

        My husband’s circumstances were similar…the OW was clearly the aggressor and initiated the sexual relationship. She was willing and available at every possible opportunity, and in her messages to him on Facebook she would go on and on about how amazing their sex was, what a great lover he was, how much she wanted him, etc. OF COURSE after reading all that trash I was convinced that sex with her must have been out of this world amazing! But he told me it was nothing special, very ordinary, it was fast and over quickly, and the main appeal for him was that he was getting a lot of it whenever he wanted it. He says it in no way compares to what we have because he had no feelings whatsoever for her ( she said the same thing, it was not a love relationship, just sex ) and he was basically using her the way she was using him. It’s hard to believe or understand. I asked him why he kept going back for more if he felt guilty and wanted to stop ( the sexual part of the affair occurred several times a week over a month or so ) and he said because he was getting sex, no other reason. Even lousy sex was still sex. That makes no sense to me! But I’m not a man, and as bad as things have been at times, I have never cheated on my husband or really even wanted to. I considered having an affair out of revenge but I didn’t do that either because I knew ultimately it would make me feel worse about myself, and it wouldn’t make the situation better at all. There’s no way to make it fair or even the score, you know?

        Truth is, we’ll never really know what the sex was like between our husbands and their affair partners. I’m sure there was the excitement of being with someone new and different, my husband has admitted that as being true. But ultimately, great sex or horrible sex, it doesn’t change the fact that it was WRONG sex because it wasn’t with their wives. You can drive yourself crazy wondering what it was like for him with her and doing all the mental comparisons. I know, I still do it at times! But try not to, because it only keeps those mental movies going. It says a lot that your husband is trying to work things out with you and that he regrets what happened. No matter what the sex was like in person or on the web cam, he knew it was wrong. Maybe he is telling you the sex wasn’t that great because it really wasn’t. Maybe he doesn’t want to hurt your feelings. Would you really want him to say it was better with her? I have demanded total honesty from my husband, but I have to say, when I asked him if it was better with her, if he had said yes, I don’t know if I would have ever been able to get over that. I would feel like I could never measure up. If our husbands wanted to be with their affair partners they would have left. I think your husband and mine realized how perilously close they have come to losing everything they hold dear just for some cheap dirty thrills….and I think they’ve realized that it wasn’t worth it. AT ALL. It doesn’t take the pain away. It doesn’t lessen the severity of what they have done. But our marriages can heal. Give yourself time. I know that even 2 and 1/2 years after his affair, and 10 months since he told me the entire truth, this is still a very difficult and painful struggle. But the way I feel today isn’t as horrible as the day I discovered the affair, or the day he admitted everything that happened. 5 years from now if we continue to work on healing we will be in even better places then we are today. I don’t think this pain will ever disappear completely. But it can, and will, get better.

  11. I guess that’s all I can hope for that it will get better, at this place in time that seems unlikely.
    Maybe he is telling the truth about the sex, I don’t know, because right now I don’t believe a
    word that comes out of his lying mouth. I had to dig and find out most everything for myself,
    only when he knew I had found the instant messages did he start confessing more. Unlike
    your husband, my husbands affair was also an emotional one, so at some time during his
    affair he thought he was in love with her. I told him that is so hard to understand, married for
    47 years and he meets someone on line and a few months later he thinks it’s love, really,
    are all men that stupid or just the one I married?
    He does seem to be truly remorseful, and it’s sad but I don’t care. At this point I don’t know if
    I love him anymore, I don’t know how I feel about him, mostly disgust. I guess it seems worse
    because we are grandparents, you’d think when a man gets to be his age he would be smarter,
    not dumber. Now I fully realize the meaning behind that saying, ( he lost his head over a piece
    of tail). So is that what we all do, accept it and keep the son of a bitch? Our children say they
    just want us to be happy, but with him or without him, I really don’t see much happiness left for
    me.
    It just hurts so much, that after all these years, sex with a stranger meant more to him than his
    wife and children. I guess being a woman I will never understand that, because I could never
    have hurt him by doing something like that. It’s sad to say but I loved and trusted him too much,
    I won’t make that mistake again.
    Well I guess I vented enough for tonight, thanks for listening. Hugs to my new cyber friend.
    Keep in touch, brokenjoan

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