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.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Infidelity Inquisition

I guess I had a bit of a flair for the dramatic that night, sipping wine while the huge California sun dipped beyond the horizon.  I managed to keep a straight face and gaze deeply into Richard's eyes, knowing full well I was gonna rock his world right after sunset and the potential Green Flash. (I have yet to witness a Green Flash, but good friends that I trust don't want to make me play the foolish tourist, assure me it exists.)

"I want a divorce."  Cool & calm as a judge issuing a death sentence.  How can I convey to you the look on Richard's face?  I doubt he could have looked any more shocked if I had whipped out a set of thumb screws and proceeded to attach them to his finger tips squishing them like grapes. There was a moment that felt like time had been frozen.  He almost looked through me, not at me.  Then, he began to nod.

"Wow.  You sure had me fooled.  I thought this night was supposed to help you heal."
I convinced Richard to take me on the Tour de Trauma by telling him that I needed to face these potential triggers in order to put them behind me.
What a frickin' crock.  No way I was ready to "Let it go" or "Get over it".  I could tell you that my intentions had been honorable when I spun my story for Richard.  With minimal effort, I might even fool myself into believing that I dreamed of reclaiming my life that night by fast forwarding through the time and places he was with Jaymie.
But if I wanna be able to look myself in the mirror later, I gotta say....the whole night was about torturing him, stretching him on the revenge ringer rack.  The tour was also about getting answers to the questions...what did he do with Jaymie?  Where did he take her?  What did they talk about?  Getting the answers, while subjecting Richard to mental torture was not a singular event.  Much of our lives evolved around the infidelity inquisition.

Funny word..inquisition.  It's good to be inquisitive, but an inquisition has nothing but negative connotations.  When I asked to see the places Richard spent time with Jaymie, I did so under the guise of being inquisitive.  I must now admit, once I strapped Richard in for a question and answer session, I became a member of the Catholic church hierarchy and he, a heretic.  When my morbid curiosity was in high gear, I would dare say, Richard would have preferred to be tied to the rack and stretched until his shoulders were separated from his arms.  Unfortunately for Richard, he had already admitted his guilt.  There were no good answers that would grant him freedom from the agony of an inquisition.

Like me, I'll bet you hoped and wished that getting one more answer to the million questions would surely place you on the fast track to recovery and reconciliation.  A few of you might be cut from the same vindictive cloth that covers my soul, but most of the betrayed spouses I have come to know, sincerely believe answers beget healing.  

Some disclosures will help you heal, but others may haunt you forever.
I know I repeat myself, but this is one crucial little factoid....we can not be expected to understand or even begin to comprehend what will lessen our pain after DDay.  But...when you ask questions...remember the tarnished golden rule:  Once you know it, you can't UN-know it.

Most of us will act out in some way as the distressing information becomes more available to us.  I was vengeful and uber-angry.  Others may remain despondent and deeply wounded for months.  

Hear ye...hear ye!  I declare any reaction to DDay to be A-OK.  Absolutely, positively hunky-dory under the circumstances.  I was as crazy and confused as James Carville at a pro-life rally, but I have made peace with my extraordinarily bad behavior, much I have yet to admit to you.  I just don't think any jury would convict me.  If there was ever a reason for an insanity plea to hold up, infidelity is surely it.

I knew my true intentions that night.  My plan was all about hurting him like he hurt me.  

Repetitious factoid number two: We can never hurt them the way they hurt us!  Lashing out, drawing blood feels good for a minute, maybe even an hour if you land a really vicious punch, but it will never compare to the blood letting caused on DDay.  Any wrong you do to him will always remain so much less than he why waste the effort?

Nearly two years later, I've been taught a lot by generous souls that have come successfully out the other side of the black hole of adultery.  I'm trying to share some of these mighty epiphanies through this blog as I continue to absorb them myself.  Two big ones are's another:  If your wayward spouse gives you as much as you need, regardless of your meteoric rise on the crazy meter, if he steps back and let's you run the freak show that has become your life...he might just deserve a another chance.  He might be worth forgiving.  Let him up off the rack.


Anonymous said...

"Hear ye...hear ye! I declare any reaction to DDay to be A-OK. Absolutely, positively hunky-dory under the circumstances. I was as crazy and confused as James Carville at a pro-life rally, but I have made peace with my extraordinarily bad behavior, much I have yet to admit to you. I just don't think any jury would convict me. If there was ever a reason for an insanity plea to hold up, infidelity is surely it."

You get an amen from the choir on this one sistah!

shawn thewife said...

LOL! Alleluia! Love preachin' to the choir! It's an easy way to bolster my confidence!!
Hope & Hugs, Shawn

kris said...

oh man, you are a brave one but oh so right on... nothing we could subject them to is as bad as what they did to us...not just the physical, but the emotional ties to those little girls (my dh's other is 20 yrs younger)and the lies and deceit that they told and did...there is hope though, thanks for reminding us! Love your posts!

shawn thewife said...

Hi, Kris! I was no braver than any betrayed spouse that chooses to stay in the marriage and risk having their heart trampled again. My actions were not brave...most of my crazy ass behavior happened to hide the hurt.
I acted all tough because I was too afraid to face the pain. That's not brave. It's merely a defense mechanism.
But, as I matter how we react after DDay...All is acceptable!! No one gets to tell us how to find our way back to happy. Every road is just as good as the next.
That said...mine was NOT the best path! Please don't use my map if you can possibly find another!!
Hope & Hugs, Shawn

Patty said...

Shawn, We love your blog. I am the betrayed wife and my two very best friends are holding my hand through it all. Together we await your next entry like kids waiting outside the bookstore at midnight for the next Harry Potter book, We each call the other when you post a new installment. Riveting! You are so brave and I can relate to every word you say. You are hilarious and honest.

some questions:

How did you handle the previous affairs you learned of?

Do,your kids know about your blog?

Do you think there is a fundamental defect in men who cheat? like something they are lacking? or are they just selfish babies?

Did you ever think of turning your blog into a book?

Many thanks!

Your Fan Club in Ohio

shawn thewife said...

Hi, Patty & friends!
Your words are too kind. If I have made you laugh during such a difficult time, I am very grateful!
I will accept the premise that I write from truth. I think most betrayed spouses cling to honesty like a life vest in rough waters. But, brave....not really.
I began writing to find a way to move past the anger and grief. I put it all out there selfishly. Didn't care who read it or what damage it might cause. That's not brave, just a desperate attempt at self-preservation.
Now...about your questions. Tough ones that will require me to speak truth I have not shared yet.
Richard's first two affairs didn't really phase me. They were over 20 years ago and back then, I cheated, too, twice. It was nothing but emotion at all. Doesn't make any of it right, but to's a wash.
The hooker in Vegas counts. That was only 5 years ago. We had kids. We were so happy. But, that was also just about sex and only one night.
He worked hard to get in Jaymie's skinny jeans. It took months. Jaymie was mostly about sex, but the emotion that developed, love that he imagined or really felt in the fog, was so much worse. So, I guess I let the others go, except for in MC, because the Jaymie thing was so huge, I couldn't take anymore. It was like having multiple wounds. You gotta treat the massive, hemorrhaging artery first, then you can deal with the concussion and multiple contusions.
My 14 year old son found my blog about 3 months ago. As awful as that was, it sure opened the flood gates of conversation. He always wants to know whats up with all situations, even adult ones that don't concern him! We both spoke with him. I asked him not to read anymore. I explained that this blog was my therapy. It was private and very important to me. I assured him he could ask me anything, anytime, but please respect my private diary/blog. Richard tried to explain to his son why he was such a pig.
I asked Richard the "defect" question. It doesn't matter what we think. That kind of insight can only have real meaning if it comes from the waywards. Richard said, "I think it's more about being selfish. I convinced myself that men in my position deserved mistresses. It was how I saw it. That's just selfish, not an innate defect of any kind."
My blog into a book??? I can't fathom it. I have a few wonderful readers here and that blows my tiny little mind!
Thanks for reading & commenting. I hope you are on your road to happy. Good friends have much to do with finding the path.
Hope & Hugs, Shawn

Anonymous said...

Shawn, I just read your entire blog, I'll be checking out HH and After the Betrayal.

I'm 9 months out from DDay, Jan 27th, 2012. I feel I am 180 out from you situation. They were involved for a few months before he told me. I showed my hand right off the bat on every occasion I came across something. All leverage lost. The reason I found out was because her H discover evidence and forced my H to confess. They, the OW and her H were very close friends of ours, spending copious amount of time together my 6 yo son grew up almost believing their girls were his big sisters. I can't tell you the devastation. The only thing in my favor is they live a little over an hour away. He moved out 2 1/2 months ago, he needed space and time. He does not seem remorseful, just angry. I don't know if they are still seeing each other, I asked that he not see her or have any contact with her but I know that has been disregarded. I know because I talk to the OWH sometimes. He was better at keeping his sources of information secret. Shawn, I'm so lost and discouraged, I love my husband regardless and our son deserves better from us. I believe we can recover but he is so distant right now. Like you, I don't understand how it was better to choose to cause all this damage than to man the fuck up and really talk to you wife about what was going on with he. I also don't understand how my once good friend, my sister, could betray our friendship. How could she not say no, or say something to me or kick him in the balls. He I can't foolishly justify his actions but her, I was never anything but kind, loyal, and generous to her and her family. The OWH feels the same way about my H. Ok enough of my story, there is sooooo much more...

I just want to say, thanks for sharing your story, I wish my husband were willing to try. I will continue to follow you story and wish the best for you. You have help me so much over the last 2 days.

shawn thewife said...

((Anonymous)) I'm so sorry for your pain! I am very glad you found this blog because now you will find loads of support and compassion on HH & After the Betrayal. Use them both...a lot! Seriously, the people on those message boards will be your best friends.
If your WH isn't remorseful over 6 months past DDay, you might want to consider using the 180 program. Here's a link that's easy to read:
If you both hope to reconcile, you will need MC. If your WH won't participate, you should be in IC for yourself. This is a very long, hard road. You have to take good care of you right now. You can't control how your WH behaves, but you can take back your life. We will be there for you.
Hope & Hugs, Shawn

Anonymous said...

Thanks Shawn, unfortunately I did all the wrong things; begging, pleading,guilt trips, anxiety attacks, uncontrollable crying, the list goes on. We were in marriage counseling for 7 month, from the start, both in IC. A few months back we had to cancel a few due to scheduling conflicts and he stopped his IC because he felt, from something I said in MC, I thought his IC was undermining our MC work. When I tried to reschedule he stated that it had been a breath of fresh air. I agree that rehashing weekly was keeping everything raw and tension high. I tried to schedule with a new MC but he's not ready for that. So right now my life is on hold. The first month he was living away I was still on the crazy train a bit, but my Dr finally got me on a 2nd AD and I've chilled out considerably. Since the beginning of Sept. we only discuss business and our son. He initiates most contact and if there is something I don't want to discuss I don't respond. There is not much else I can do for a 180. I plan to give it some time before I bring up MC again. I'm far better as far as the depression, lost 50 lbs so far, got a new look, exercising, taking art classes. Reconnecting with old friends. BTW, he's angry at me about all the changes I've made. He asked with anger through tears "why did it take this (the A) have to happen for you to change. This is such a complicated story. The very short version is that I was in a depression (severe) for many years, I neglected him for many years, he made a very bad decision and many people were injured. He completely ignored our 16 anniversary, yep I was crushed, but didn't let on. He recently asked about the holiday coming up, that was one of those emails I ignored. I don't want to believe he won't be home. Also, I make no decisions that will concern his off work time, for months I was making the decision to go see our friends, not knowing that I was facilitating their A. That way he's absolved, it was always my decision. Anyway, I keep hoping that he'll come to his senses, and those things no longer need to be worked out.

Sorry for my ramblings, sometimes it helps to let it out again, I'm tired of using friends that know and lying to friends that don't know. I think maybe I'm impatient. If he is still in contact with her we can't reconcile because he's still wrapped up in her. That will delay this process. Almost all the timelines I see are years. Truthfully, I wouldn't be here if not for my son. I probably would have left town and filed for divorce. I hate that people may be looking at me like I'm some weak willed foolish girl. Even though I love him, i never stopped, if my son were not in our lives I would not have allowed this behavior in myself.

I don't know what else to do, I'm just waiting and fantasizing about what damage I could do to the OW, so many plans I've devised. But I could never hurt her daughters or H by attacking her, everyone I would expose her to (her parents) know what happened, they knew before I did and her H talked to everyone in their neighborhood. Oh did I mention she moved out too, about the same time my H did.
This is so stressful, sometimes I want to know everything and sometimes I want to know nothing. Yep, I'm lost...


Stephanie C. said...

"Remember, once you know it, you can't un-know it". I couldn't agree more. At nearly a year and a half out from dday, I only wish I knew less, not more. I think of how lucky the OWs husband is...the affair is over and he will never have to experience the pain of knowing his wife was fucking (and in love with) another man for nine years of their marriage!! (unless I flip my shit and decide to tell him, but why? She is so miserable with him, and he cheated with her while married, so all's fair, right?) I agree, Shawn, all of those details are in our brain to stay, and it is nearly impossible to prevent ourselves from being tortured and sickened by them on a daily basis.

If I "inquisition" my husband about anything anymore, I ask about the bad times with her. Why is he so happy to be done with her? The lying, her drunken tantrums, her demanding rants, her fucked-up family, her neediness and insecurities. All of these and more, are the details I want to know. They reassure me that he is sorry, he feels stupid and used, and he is done with her and with even the slightest thought of ever having an affair again. The sordid details of the actual hookups I won't be asking about anymore; not worth the pain.

shawn thewife said...

BunnyLuv: Glad to see you on Healing Heart. The members there will be a great source of comfort and experienced wisdom.
It will get better.
Hope & Hugs, Shawn

shawn thewife said...

Hi, Stephanie:
Even if I had known the "Once you know it, you can't UN-know it" rule, at the beginning of the trauma, no one, not even the Dalai Lama or the Pope, could have convinced me that rule should be considered very carefully before proceeding. I was determined to know it all!
Now, I know WAY TOO much! Even two years out, I still have questions from time to time, but I rarely ask them. Older and wiser, I guess!
So glad you're coming out the other side.
All the best.
Hope & Hugs, Shawn

Erica said...

Hi Shawn - I thought I had read all of your posts but perhaps not all of the comments! I didn't know, for example, that Richard had had previous As, nor that you had too. It sounds like the A with Jaymie was the kicker, though, in part because he developed feeling (real or foggy) for her. Would you feel comfortable talking more about this? I'm 21 months from DDay... things are A LOT better but still tough. My H's A was with a co-worker that he barely liked... it was purely for the sex (or, rather, the high that he got from thinking that she wanted him... he wanted to be wanted)! I once said that I wished it had been an emotional A with love but no sex, in part because someone can 'take back' love (I thought I loved her/him but in looking back I didn't really) but you can't take sex back! There's no 'I *thought* we had sex but I was mistaken!' As you might be able to tell, it's the sex part that kills me so much. My H is remourseful as one could be and doing everything under the sun to repair things. I don't exactly feel stuck because I do think we're making progress, but I'd love your perspective on some of this if you feel like sharing. You share A LOT :-) but understand if this isn't your cup of tea!

Erica said...

By the way, I don't in any way want to imply that I think an emotional A is 'better' than a physical A. It all sucks! My statement that I wished it had been love with no sex was merely a desperate attempt to try to accept than an A happened but wishing it were different. No one A is better than another - they're all just plain rotten.

shawn thewife said...

Hey, Erica: Nothing is off limits here,but I'm not quite sure what you're asking. I agree that emotional affairs or physical affairs viciously damage us all the same. I just said for me...I first found out about the sex. It wasn't until nearly a month later that I found the emails, the passionate love filled emails. Those put me over the edge.
If you want to talk about Richard's previous As or mine...just ask away! If you want to talk about how to deal with knowing the sordid details of Richard doing Jaymie all over San Diego, I'll talk about that, too.
I gotta be an open book if this blog is going to help anyone at all...including me.
Hope & Hugs, Shawn

Erica said...

Shawn - Good question - what *is* my question? :-) I think it's maybe this: How did you get over/work through "Richard doing Jaymie all over San Diego"? For me the equivalent is how do I get over Ben doing [insert psycho's name] all over Philadelphia? I intellectually 'get' all the setup and reasons this mess happened - why he wanted to be wanted, what was lacking in him, how our relationship created a context that enabled him to feel deprived, etc, etc, etc. We're both fairly smart people who have now been in intense therapy for almost 2 years now so I intellectually 'get' it all, but I nonetheless still feel halted by the intense hurt that he had actual, real, putting-his-pen_s-in-that-crazy-girl-over-&-over-&-over sex. How did you work through the sex part?

shawn thewife said...

Wow, Erica! You give me way too much credit! You assume I got over it and that I can answer that enormous question!! So sorry, Sweetie. No can do.

I will say this much...maybe you were right when you said I worked THROUGH it. I still wonder what it was like when he was with her, but I damn well don't ask anymore. I don't wanna know anymore! That, in itself, was a huge step forward for me. I guess the only thing I can share is that I work at focusing on NOW. How I feel when he touches ME now. Be in the moment. Focus on how your FWH treats you now, touches you now.
My therapist taught me a trick that I thought was asinine at the time, but damn if it didn't work.
When something undesirable pops in your it out with this mantra.."I don't need to think about that now. It will not help me to think about that now."
Stupid simple but effective.
I hope that helps a little!
Hope & Hugs, Shawn

Erica said...

What?! You can't give me the magic pill that makes it all okay? ;-) If only we could provide that to each other, right? But we - this community of great women working through some awful stuff - do certainly help! I too no longer ask about the details, and that's progress for me. Once upon a time I was obsessed with every minute detail - where, when, how (ugh-painful), what did you say, what did she say, what sounds did you make, how long did it last, etc, etc. Heart wrenching stuff but I felt like I just HAD to know, maybe to know what I was dealing with, maybe to make it real (I struggled to fully accept that this had happened), maybe to take down the veil of mystique, maybe to feel like that witch doesn't have anything on me (i.e., there aren't secrets she shares with my H). Who knows, but the endless questions dominated a good portion of my post-affair life and that sucked!

I try really hard to be in the moment, and will definitely try the "I don't need to think about that now. It will not help me to think about that now." mantra. These damn mind movies always have a way of forcing themselves in before/during/after sex and it just sucks. Grr...

Thanks again for your thoughts, Shawn. I appreciate your openness and dialogue.

shawn thewife said...

>>>What?! You can't give me the magic pill that makes it all okay? ;-) <<<

A Sarcastic Sister! I like how you roll, Babe!
Hope & Hugs, Shawn

Erica Chao said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Erica C said...

Shawn is there a way to contact via private messenger or email?

shawn thewife said...

Erica: On the Homepage of my blog under 'Here's the Deal' you'll see a link to my Blogger User Profile. Click that. That takes you to my Google+ page. On the right side are the lists of those in my Circles. Under that, in very small print that I am not able to change, it says ...Send Shawn an email.
That will connect you directly with me via private email.
Let's chat!
Hope & Hugs, Shawn

trendsworld said...

Females Absolve Infidelity Quickly, Men Do not… for more information.

On the other side, only one in ten men would keep with a woman who had strayed, based to a review. a UK study found that more than six in ten women would absolve two relationship mistakes which include unfaithfulness, excessive flirty habits...

Anonymous said...

Lying to me was his addiction....lying to myself was mine. Words that came to me when I woke up this morning. Hmmm could be the title of my next book!