After an affair, your life doesn't belong to you anymore. For over a year, I couldn't control my own thoughts.
The turmoil in my head was viciously repetitive but savagely random. With this blog, I began to exorcise the demons holding my head hostage.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

"The Flinch"

Thought he would be home by noon.  Nope.  I had to squrim for another hour.  When he walked in the door, I was sitting at the kitchen bar with a print out of all the phone call records next to me.  I'd highlighted them.  (I had time to kill)  I'd marked days when he was obviously with her.  It was easy to tell because those were the only times when there were no calls.  I can't remember how the conversation started.  I can't really remember much about it at all.  I think I said, "Tell me everything and DO NOT lie to me."

He started telling me how he had been spending time with this girl.  I still didn't realize that it was Jaymie and that I'd met her more than once.  Told me she was only 24 and that he had told her he was only 54.   Thinking back, I heard very little of what he said.  It's what he didn't say that was alarmingly loud.  He never said, "I won't see her again."

I told him to get out.  He was shocked by that.  Can you imagine?  Not sure what he thought was gonna happen. Maybe he thought because he came home and told me the truth (or his version of it at that point) that I'd just find a way to get past it, right there and then.  I explained to him that it was what he didn't say that bought him a ticket out the door.  I really didn't want him to leave.  I kept thinking about my kids.  So, for my kids, I gave him a chance to stay.  "Call her right now, in front of me.  Tell her you can never see or speak to her again.  Then, you can stay and we'll try to figure this out."  Without even a minute to consider his answer, he told me that he couldn't do that.  He needed time to work this out his own way.  That pivotal moment in my life has become known as "the Flinch".

This is when I think I experienced the second layer of shock.  What in the hell?  How could he NOT call her?  What does that mean?  Just thinking about it now makes me swallow hard.  I challenged him.  Why can't you do it?  What is the issue?  Tell me, damn it!  Over and over.  Finally, he looked right into my eyes and admitted, "I have deep feelings for this girl."

And it just keeps getting better!  You could have knocked me over with a feather.  This man loves me, at least he has always claimed to love me.  We had a great marriage.  We were the couple everyone else wanted to be.  Does that sound like self-deception?  We sure lived the illusion, enough that I thoroughly believed in our indefectible union.  It's a huge part of the puzzle.  That fact makes the curves on the coaster bank much harder.  How can he be in love with me but want to be with her?  It took many hours of therapy to make any sense of that particular piece of my new reality.

It was time to face telling the kids.  He had to go.  I couldn't stand to look at him.  Never have I felt so many emotions at once.  Agony, despair, rage, confusion and utter disbelief all pulsed though me like acid, burning and melting my heart.
God, help me.  What would we tell our children?


Anonymous said...

Omg, I m in the throws of this very stage right now! I could've written this word for word. I am glad to have some perspective now. TY TY TY!!!!!

shawn thewife said...

Welcome, Jody. Can't begin to tell you how sorry I am that you're here and reading. The situation we find ourselves in is impossible without support. You will find that here.
If you relate to the Flinch, you must be very close to your DDay. I know how confusing and painful it is. It will get better. You will be stronger. It takes a long time, but it will happen. I promise.
For now, please take care of you. Consider counseling.
Please check in again. Share your story, ask questions or just rage and vent. We will be here for you.
You can email me privately from my profile page anytime.
Hope & hugs, Shawn

Anonymous said...

Shawn, I just wanted to say that this blog entry was the hook for me, I have followed your comments ever since. The situations and first thoughts and feelings soooo incredibly similar. I also wanted to comment on how interesting it is that you wrote the post "The Flinch" on my actual D-Day. I was probably discovering my husband's pathetic poem to her (he wrote me hundreds over our 20 years together, mostly in the first 10) at that very moment.

shawn thewife said...

Anonymous: I'm so sorry you had to read the same pathetic crap I eventually found. As you know, those words of love haunted me for a long time. Sometimes, I guess they still do.

The FLINCH was mind blowing to me then. I kind of get it now. Now I know about the Fog, about the addiction to the high of infidelity. But, that day, DDay, when Richard said he wouldn't call Jaymie and break it off right then..he might as well have said...the sky is turning green and the grass is now blue. The utter disbelief would have been the same.
Hope you're healing and on the Road back to Happy.

Anonymous said...

"I have strong feelings for her"... That's what he told me 3 weeks ago, when I found out he slept with the dumb social worker at the place where we both work/volunteer. We've been together for 9 years but married for only over 1 year. The very day after he slept with her, he actually tried to break our marriage... he told me he accepted that our marriage was a mistake. I knew there was something else. So here I am, not knowing what to do with what I thought was the most honest man I could find. Life gets so dark... and what it annoys me the most is that I can't still fucking believe it! Yes, we were going through hard times, but he would not be capable of doing this to me... oh wait... I'm only 27, so this makes me wonder, if we stay together, what will happen in a few years when I'm not as attractive, IF we have kids... marriage will bring its own challenges and we already have a huge monster... can't afford therapy right now... so many questions, and mixed feelings, so much pain..... thanks for writing this blog!!

shawn thewife said...

((Anonymous)) I'm very glad you found us. It is nearly impossible to deal with the heart break and shock of infidelity alone.
Please visit The Healing Heart online support forum. The link is at the bottom of my blog under Support & Compassion Found here.
The wonderful members of that site have many years of experience helping betrayed spouses find their way after DDay. It's a safe place full of understanding and empathy. That forum showed me how to begin to heal.
The only other thing I can add now is this....most therapists advise you not to make any big, life altering decisions for at least six months after a trauma of this magnitude. Take this time to care for yourself. Do what you can to be extra kind to you. Your moods may feel so out of control that you might wonder if you will ever feel normal again. It is so very hard, but you will heal. It just takes a very long time, so please be patient & gentle with yourself.
If we can help you in any way, just ask.
Hope & Hugs, Shawn

Anonymous said...

Hi Shawn. Thanks for your blog. I'm sorry that you went through all this, but at the same time it helps me to know that I probably will survive this and be a stronger woman.
I just found out about my husband's affair 2 and a half weeks ago. After 12 years together and 5 years of marriage, he suddenly said 'I've been cheating on you'. And no, he did not come clean. He got busted by my brother who forced him to tell the truth to me.
Anyway, what hurts more is that he has been with her for 6 months only but he already said I love you to her and admitted yesterday that he still thinks about her (despite cutting off contact with her when I found out). I am trying hard to forgive him and for us to get through this. But at the same time, it's difficult to go on when I know that he still has feelings for her...

shawn thewife said...

Anonymous: I am so sorry for your struggle. I know that pain and it always squeezes my nearly mended broken heart when I read comments from other betrayed spouses suffering as I did.
For a year, I focused on the fact that Richard had feelings for Jaymie. It took me a long, damn time to learn that those feelings were never real. It's just the Fog. Richard felt love because love meant the affair wasn't just about sex. It made him feel better about it. Less guilt! He told Jaymie what he thought she wanted to hear to get what he wanted, attention, admiration, ego stroking and of course, lots of sex. As he spoke the lies, he began to believe them himself. Convincing himself that there was actual love made it easier for him to cheat. He wasn't selfish…he was in love! He lived in his fantasy world built on lies. Real love is based on pure truth.

Don't try to deal with all of this turmoil alone. Please go to The Healing Heart Support forum. The link is at the bottom of my blog. You will find many others there that are riding this Roller Coaster from Hell right along with you and many more than have been on the ride and survived.
It is so much easier to find your Road to Happy when you walk with others that know the way.

You can also email me privately anytime.
You're not alone.
Hope & Hugs, Shawn

Marci @ CrookedHookCreations said...

I am so sad. This is my story but I don't want to accept it. I hate my life

shawn thewife said...

Marci: This may be your story today, but it won't always be like this. Read on. I hated my life. I hated myself. I hated Richard. I hated Jaymie. I overflowed with animosity. I thought I may be in pain forever.
I healed. Healing will happen for you, too.

The Road to Happy is out there. You gotta do the work to find your starting point.
You've found friends here that will do our best to show you the way.
Hope & Hugs, Shawn

Anonymous said...

Thanks Shawn your story may just be my salvation. My husband cheated and I'm trying to find my axis again .


Anonymous said...

Hey. I am at the 6 month point in discovering my husband's affair. I discovered when I saw a picture of him with his "girlfriend" at Summerfest 2 days after our 20th wedding anniversary. Great! I am a professional. Ph.D. in psychology. But I didn't see it coming. I went after him tooth and nail when he came home that night. But you know what? It was the wake up call he was looking for. Six months in, I still struggle some days. We have 2 daughters, one still living at home an home and in high school. But we're still together, and what makes that possible is that he is REMORSEFUL. Like some of you have written, I asked him to call her that night and put her on speaker phone. He did. I'd called her earlier that day and spoke to her, so her voice was not unfamiliar. I called her to get the full story before I confronted him, because I knew he'd minimize. Since then he has been an "angel" and we're working every day on making our marriage better than it was before his affair. Not his first, I discovered. In a 12 month period he had TWO sexual affairs, and one emotional affair. Yes, some days I wonder what the hell I'm doing giving this man a second chance. But I ask myself the BIG question: do I love him. And the answer is yes. Then I ask: Is he remoreseful and does he recognize the value I bring to his life? He seems to agree that "home" with me and our daughters, is always where he wanted to me. If you'd like me to share more of my experience and what I've learned, let me know. :) Samadmz (some days dazed and confused. :)

Anonymous said...

I am relieved I found your blog. I am embarrassed to be in my situation and I would rather talk to complete strangers than my closest girlfriend. I can't believe I lived with a man that lied to me for over a year. I don't recall exactly how he said it but he did say she was someone who was going through the same marriage difficulties as he was and that she was a friend. But I knew there was more to it than that.
Today there is so much more cheating going on over social media. I first discovered that they were texting and sexting close to 16 hours a day. After I caught him and confronted him about the text messages I saw on the phone bill I thought he was done. Well, he was done texting but he was not done with her. I recently found out that the very next day they started using Messenger, which can not be traced on cell phone records. He also lied to me and said he did not work with her but I found out he saw her everyday at work.
One of the hardest parts about the affair is that even though I caught him, confronted him, and attended counseling with him he continued the lies with me never finding out. I look back now and know that there were signs and I am mad at myself for not ever questioning those signs.
He said she started asking him to leave me and because he knew he still did love me he tried ending the relationship with her. She became upset and threatened to tell me everything. She finally saw the two of us together one day and saw how we were together, holding hands, looking happy together (mind you I didn't know he was still with her) and he said she became jealous and angry that he could be that way with me. He told her he still loved me and that it was over between them. She continued to send him messages on Messenger and he started ignoring them. She did what she said and contacted me. She told me some things and I, once again, confronted my husband about her. That was one week ago today. I have moved out of our home (we have no children together) and we are talking a bit each day. I will see what today brings, then the day after that, and so on. AJ

shawn thewife said...

You do not have to struggle alone. Please visit the Healing Heart message boards. There you will find support, compassion and total understanding from others going through exactly the same pain. The link is at the bottom of my blog.
I know your wound is fresh, but please believe will get better.
You will heal. You may come out the other side with a stronger, happier marriage than you ever thought possible.
I know this because it happened to me.

The Healing Heart can be your salvation as it was mine.
You can ask anything. Rant and type away. Leave some heartache in cyberspace!
Or just read. It truly does help knowing others have been through this deep betrayal and survived to tell the tale.
You can also post here anytime. I will do my best to be your personal GPS system on your Road to Happy.
Hope & Hugs, Shawn

Winona said...

OMG YES. The stupid poetry. He invalidated ANYTHING he had written to me because he wrote the same crappy poetry to her, said the same things to her. The Flinch happened late angiht for us, after overhearing a drunken phone call from him to her. The night before we were to celebrate the birth of our son. The next day I know he was hungover, miserable, and I did not give a crap. I elbowed him in the ribs and said "suck it up. today is about OUR son. I don't care what you are feeling or how you are feeling. You deserve to feel like shit. SO pretend to be having a good time for our son's sake, because that's what I have to do and I'll be damned if you get to miserable because yoru affiar was found out." I had to remain upbeat and positive for our son as we headed out for the day. I had to be chipper and happy while I saw him text her while out with us and I had to carefuly couch my words and watch my tone. I texted him, sitting 3 feet away "Who are you texting?" -"Just a friend". "Don't lie to me. It's her. Stop it. You are out with your FAMILY for your son's birthday. SHE will just have to wait. WE come first".

It will be 2 years in March of 2018. I am still dealing with the fallout, while he complains about why we can't get back to "the way things used to be", about how it's been over 1 1/2 years how could I STILL be upset. There are days I want him gone, out of my life forever. There are days I miss him even when he is sleeping right next to me. I cannot trust him, I'm not even sure I love him. Because he will do nothing for recovery or reconciliation. Oh he talked a great game all that summer, but then I discovered he contacted her the very first night I was away on a long planned much looked to trip for me. He blew it all up. All the progress we had made. The trust that had been rebuilt, the inroads to healing. He destroyed them in one night and then in trying to cover it up and in lying about it. I called him every name in the book and told him if not for our son, he would be kicked from our lives entirely, that he has proven to me he is not to be trusted, that she was still in his mind all those months and that I felt utterly disgusted by him, that if he ever wanted to earn my trust back, he had a trainload of work to do. Well over a year later he still hasn't done much. He still doesn't make time for us, make an effort for us. Things I asked him to do and that he [promised to do when he agreed to everything he could to heal us. Liar. He expects me to 'get over it' without us doing any reconciliaiton and recovery work, or any personal work. I am given pathetic excuses when what we need is effort and care.

I can be friendly with him for the sake of our son, but most nights, I cannot even sleep in the same bed or room with him. I don't want to be in the same room with him unless it's a family activity night. I distance myself because he has shown me how little WE mean by arrogantly declaring this past summer that he refused to read anything more, or watch anymore videos, or do any personal work. I told him then we are effectively through and you are nto to be trusted because you first promised to do whatever it took to heal us and are now refusing to those these small things I ask. We're done. WHen you're ready to get serious about us, let me know. In the meantime, I will raise our son, when he graduates and is settld into college (5 more years) I'm out.