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, June 4, 2013

Rockin' the Boat

This post is more than a little self indulgent, excessively long, discombobulated and I apologize in advance.
My intent was for this next post to be about my continued pursuit of making Jaymie's life suck hard.  I am ready to put it out there.  You think my behavior was bad up until now, you're right, but it got worse.  I wanna confess my sins.  Get it over with already!

BUT (I swear there is always a BUT!) My last post feels unfinished.  The little eye opener in the garage and the comments from all of you regarding the incident, has got me rolling in turbulent water.  I'm gonna reach for the "Rocking Boat" metaphor because of a recent post from  Rescuing my Marriage.  The post was called Patching the Life Raft.  It spoke to me on so many levels.  For one, she writes about needing to talk about the affair, share the misery with the masses just to lighten the load in a sinking ship.  This is one of those times for me.  Since Richard's early morning apology, my blissful boat is rocking in mild swells with a few intermittent rogue waves thrown into the mix, keeping me ever vigilant, just waiting for my marriage to spring a major leak.

I know you want me to finish the Crazy Town story of a Year after the Affair and I will!  I'm no quitter!  (Probably one of the main reasons why I'm still married.  Quitting is failure in my eyes.  I relate best to Toughie Pants, remember?)  I just need to utilize this pseudo soap box for my own selfish purposes right now.  My dinghy is rocking and taking on water.  I need help bailing!

Affair recovery is not for the weak at heart or of stomach.  We all know the Roller Coaster from Hell metaphor.  That sucker required lots of anti-nausea medication! (not to mention Xanax and wine)
That image works perfectly for describing my first year out.
The rocking boat better portrays how I envision forever after DDay.  My mind's eye beholds a little skiff with two slat boards benches.  (Picture the boat in Life of Pi and shrink it by half) On one of the splintery boards sits Richard and I occupy the second.  When we lean toward each other with love and in the true spirit of healing, the little dinghy seems adequately safe and buoyant as it drifts along in a peaceful ocean.
That's how it's been (mostly) for months.  Since the recent reveal of the additional regret, our stability in the marital waters has faltered.  It's not drastic, mind you, but it's disconcerting.

Most of you wonderful readers have not traveled as far on the Road to Happy as I have.  By your emails and comments, I have come to realize that you relate more to my past story than present dilemmas.
However, you possess very large, open hearts and even if you're not familiar with the turbulent waters I'm about to describe, I know you'll have sage, valuable advice.

You know I was mildly freaked out by the "I'm Sorry".  You also know I asked Richard about it and his explanation was less than enlightening.  "I just felt like saying it."  Seriously, for a lawyer, he's not the most articulate guy when discussing infidelity trauma.
He doesn't explain himself because he hates talking about he affair.  Most betrayers don't want to look that closely at the damage they caused.  I know that.  I get that.  But, when a big wave slaps the side of the boat, I feel the need to stand up and shift my weight...back and forth....really stir it up.  The tempest in rough seas.  Sheesh!  Your comments in my previous post told me not to make a big deal out of the spontaneous apology.  I didn't...with Richard.  My busy brain however is an entirely different story!

Richard called me at work last Friday.  Said he was getting off early and wanted to come by for a drink.  (Love that I have an awesome bar with fabulous margaritas right in front of my store!!) I hesitated.  At work, I don't think about the affair, but Richard calls, and on this day, I think of nothing else!  CRAP!  I guess my pause was longer than it should of been.  Richard said, "What's the problem?  You don't want me to come?"
I couldn't recover from my mental constipation quick enough, ", that's not it...I'm...uh..."
Richard got tired of waiting for me to shit or get off the pot.  "Whatever.  I wanna drink.  I'm coming.  You can join me if you want."
Feel the boat wobble, pitch and roll?
When he got there, I had intended to sit my ass down and quit rocking the damn boat!  I was gonna walk right up to him with a smile, a hug and a kiss.  I did that, then I pulled down his shirt that was riding up and began brushing the dandruff off his shoulders.
He looked right in my eyes, and almost snarled, "Don't fix me.  I'm fine.  You don't need to fix me."  Whoa!  Richard was doing an Irish jig in our bobbing boat and it almost threw me over the side!  I backed off quickly as my eyes welled up.

I haven't been very touchy-feely since then.  For me, when the waters become choppy, I pull back.  Richard needs touchy-feely.  He needs to be wanted, desirable.
When I pull back, he gets sullen.  That pisses me off because I want to be able to have a private moment from time to time in our little boat when I need to without worrying about him feeling all sorry for himself.  Is that too much to ask??

Suffice it to say, the last week has been a challenge for an amateur sailor,  like myself.
Here's what I consider to be the looming tsunami....Will I be on hyper alert for stormy seas for the rest of our marriage??  All couples rock their boats from time to time, right?  Why does any unkind word or a couple of days with less affection than normal cause the sour bile of sea sickness to rise up in my throat?  Am I still afraid our marriage might capsize?

I'm in this trip for the long haul, but I don't wanna live in unsettled seas.  The effort is exhausting!  I can't let every tiny change in the weather agitate our vessel.  I need to find a way to navigate around the nasty weather so our little love boat can drift along tranquilly.
Time to call on my readers, my Coast Guard me stop rockin' the damn boat!


BS said...


I was on my way out and will post more tomorrow.

I wish I could help you "not rock your boat. The truth is I can't stop my own boat from rocking.

In many ways my husband treats me far far better now than prior to Dday. Yet, I go through the same feelings in the same situations that you have described.

Still, his coping mechanism when the waters get rough have proved to be to seek out an OW for approval and ego strokes.

My coping mechanism was never to do that. I had requested counseling in the past, in the pre-affair days, when we had silly spats, but he always refused.

Sending hugs

Sending hugs,

Anonymous said...

Shawn, Though I'm one of those readers that relates more to where you were the year after DDay, I can so relate to today's post! First, I'm the anonymous poster from the last round of conversation that said you probably wouldn't get any more satisfaction from a follow-up discussion about the spontaneous apology. I hate to tell you I told you so sister, but I've seen it, felt it, and had it happen enough times now to know that our men struggle to go there, when they do it's sincere, but we might be better off to let it be....not for them, but for us. That way we can focus on the nice feelings we get from the apology, not the disappointment of a follow-up response like "I don't know, just felt like it..." Not that I don't agree with all the others that you should be able to talk about it if you want to. By all means, you should, and you can, your guy and mine are willing to do whatever we need to make this right (lucky us), but it's just that you shouldn't expect the follow-up discussion about the apology to offer you the same high and healing that the apology itself did. When it doesn't it’s not their fault, it’s ours, because that's when our brains go into overdrive. I've been disappointed that way more than once or twice, and I always tell myself not to go there again. I think we would do well to remember that shame has a way of making a person, even a typically articulate one, speechless. And, “I don’t know why” is not a satisfying response, but it’s all they can offer sometimes. As for the spontaneous phone call and offer to meet up for drinks....could it be that Richard felt lighter after that moment in the garage, just like you did for a minute, then felt inspired to make another spontaneous and light-hearted move to invite his wife for drinks? It's a romantic gesture in my opinion. Too bad that little voice in you (I have one too) kicked in and began to question motives. Maybe he hoped that it would end in some flirtation or sex, not, as it often goes, being met with a skeptical eye, then straightened up and fixed....ego suddenly deflates and the good feeling is gone. I'm really speaking as mush to myself here, I have not heeded my own advice, but try every time to handle these moments better. Last thing is that I really can relate to the boat-rocking metaphor. We just had a discussion last night about forgiveness and what it means to each of us. The very thing we said is that we will know we have reached real forgiveness when life's challenges, like waves that rock the boat, don't dredge up the sour stench of the affair. We didn't go "boat metaphor" instead likened it to a "chink in the armor". One year in and I will have a bad day at work or with our children, and it's like it weakens my optimism and positive outlook just enough to let all the hurt and insecurities about the affair back into my life. I feel like when I can truly forgive him a bad day will not bring everything into will simply be just that we get through together.

Anonymous said...

P.S. I wish we could help you, but I think this might be an underlying fear we all have about our marriages post-affair, especially of the mid-life crisis variety....That a little boat-rocking, whether it be of our own doing as we attempt to heal from the damage done, or from life's struggles, might be too much for our wayward spouse to bare...having shown their weakness and lack of coping skills once already. I know I have that fear still (or perhaps its doubt about my husband's innate qualities), but then again, I might also fear the boat rocking because I sometimes doubt myself and my ability to forgive completely. Just something to think about....

Anonymous said...

Ok, here is my 2 cents. I was going to comment on your last post about the apology but did not. My post was going to say that I think that a random unsolicited apology is probably the one that means the most. I think Richard saw you on that day and everything you represent to him and he honestly felt sorry for what he had done. In that moment he probably realized what he could have lost.

Some may disagree with this but I think you have got to give Richard a break. Yes, he did wrong, no doubt about it. No, he should not have to keep being reminded of it.

Your true path to happiness includes his happiness as well, dont forget that.

Calm your waters Shawn.


Amie said...

I just found your blog and I can't tell you what a relief it is to read that other people are going through the same feelings and emotions I am after finding out my husband has been having an affair. My husband says he's in love with her and had to leave me (his pregnant wife) and 2 year old daughter so he can be alone and decide what to do with his current situation. Also btw, he has another daughter which he had with his first wife too. Thankfully she lives in SC and were in MA but they did used to work together and ironically she is/was married too. I'm not sure of her situation but her and my husband continue to talk ever single day at least twice a day and it just bothers me to no end that he will not end it with her!!

Another Betrayed Wife said...

I don't think "rocking the boat" is necessarily a bad thing. You are feeling unsettled for a reason. That needs to be addressed to quieten your mind. You and Richard are in this healing process together. Trust your intuition as to what you need from Richard and communicate it to him. That is the only way past the obsessing and if he values your peace of mind, he will understand.
All the best,
Another betrayed wife xx

strong survivor said...

I think the compassionate person trying to come out of me with regards to infidelity can see that someone who has betrayed the one they love in the way they have, often feels like it will never go away. Only in a different way that we do. And I, like you, am honest to a fault sometimes in how I feel - which rocks the boat.

My husband has an amazing sense of humor. Before affair (BA) he and I joked about sex and it was titillating and fun. After affair (AA) I am constantly reminded that this is how he charmed them. And he can't turn it off - he tries - but at 56 years old a tiger changing stripes is hard to fathom.

So those triggers that they themselves have created are making them tired of the fight, I think. And the whole idea of becoming vulnerable to them again is a trigger for us. I haven't finished it yet, but Brene Brown wrote a book about becoming vulnerable and that is the path to being happy.

The problem is that, for me, it's hard not to just go to the "You created this mess, asshole, now you have to deal with the fallout" place when they feel frustrated in the battle. And that, in itself, is what rocks our boat. We feel, at least I do, that they are giving up, so why the hell am I working so hard?

The slightest show of frustration on my husbands face makes me want to throw in the towel. And when I look at it like this - it's not fair to him. He is working hard. If I sense frustration, I have to regroup before making assumptions on whether or not he is done trying.

I'm almost 5 years out. Still trying to heal. Still trying to regain some intimacy. For some I have met through the journey, they can forgive, heal and move forward without the slightest hesitation. I wish I worked like that. I wish I could not have my mind go to the fragile place very time I get a call from him out of town on business.

In fact, I would pay big bucks to change the way I heal. But we are all different. With different paths. My problem is that my path requires my constant attention - I can't seem to just forge ahead. Trying hard every day, though. Blogs, like yours, help pave the way.

BS said...

Here is the thing that bothers me about Richard's spontaneous call at Shawn's work place and invite for a drink.

It was kinda' disrespectful of her time.

If she were sitting at home eating bon bons that may be different, but she was at WORK for cripes sake. It was rude of him to expect her to drop everything because he wanted a drink or even some romance.

Then later when she did a loving thing, like straighten his shirt, he gets balky like a teenager who is angry at his mother for being affectionate in public.

Why does he assume, she was trying to fix him rather than just touch him in an affectionate loving way.

When I pick lit off my husband's suit, it is never to fix him, it is just a way that I show affection and caring.

The reason why Richard's reaction bothers me may be a projection of my own situation, I admit. But I want to put it out there, anyway.

My husband told one counselor that he loved the way his OW would be at his beck and call.

He would text her to meet for lunch, dinner or drinks, and she would always jump through hoops to change her schedule.

Of course she would, she WAS sitting at home eating bon bons.

Also, She was married to a hard working loyal, attractive, by my standards, husband whom she thought was not attractive enough to meet her standards and with whom she no longer had sex, because in her words, "her husband disgusted her" She admitted, she only married him for his money.

In one post after dday, I read that Jaymie did something similar. She immediately changed her schedule to meet him when he called saying Shawn knew about the affair. Jaymie went out of her way to mention this.

Maybe we have forgiven, but forgiving is not forgetting. We will never forget nor should we.

We are also not necessarily lucky that our husbands are willing to work on the marriage.

The women who are lucky are the ones married to loyal men.

We betrayed spouses are left to forever feel we are or were not good enough, to wonder if our husband's immature coping mechanisms will allow them to cheat again, when feeling upset about some minor issue in the marriage.

When I chose to marry my husband the reasons why were because I thought him loyal and trusting and someone who respected his wife as an equal.

His affair partner, a total ditz, showed me otherwise.

I saw the emails, they were hot for each other. Hot in a way a longterm wife can never compete.

Sometimes I worry that my husband is addicted to that new relationship rush, due to immaturity and unrealistic expectations of marriage in general.

In my case, the lucky one in this affair is the OW, who suffered no loss from her dalliances, she was outed as a serial cheater, yet her husband stayed with her and is spoiling her ever more, in order to save his marriage.

Lastly, there was a recent study that showed that being too accomodating in a marriage may ruin it.

The OWs husband is a case in point. He pampered his wife, yet she cheated.

The counselors say I was the more giving person in my marriage, yet my husband cheated.

I am still giving, now, but I also express my emotions and needs more.

shawn thewife said...

To All of you helping me bail out my boat:
I'm off to LA for work today, so I gotta make this quick but I wanna clarify a couple of things.
The Friday afternoon drink thing is almost a weekly deal. We try to have a couple of fun hours together before we head home after a long work week. So, the call from Richard was normal...typical.
When I straightened his shirt, I was trying to fix him. The damn shirt looked like it belonged to our son!! Way too short! PLUS...not sure what shampoo the man has been using but he had some serious dandruff and the shirt was black!! EEEWWWW! So, I tugged, I brushed, I did what I do....I fix stuff.
That said....when he snapped at me for "fixing" him, I took it hard. I pulled WAY back. I was quite chilly actually. I just get so scared of being hurt again that when we have a little uncomfortable moment, I always start thinking too much. My brain goes to...Is this why he cheated? Was I too this? Was I too that? I KNOW! It ain't about me, but STILL I rock the boat.
Gonna write more later, but for now....duty calls.
Gotta go power shopping for my store! Fill it up with pretty things for the customers. make those cash registers ring!!
Thank you for having my back...AGAIN!
Hope & Hugs, Shawn

shawn thewife said...

Dear Amie: I had to take a moment to welcome you to our little support group. I am so sorry you had any reason to find us, but I'm glad you did.
Please remember the most important thing is to take care of you right now. Have you considered IC? It can be true salvation during the first few months after DDay. I'd also suggest IC for your WH. Someone needs to help him figure out why he is making such horrendous choices. Then, MC for both of you if what you want is reconciliation.
Also...Please visit the Healing Heart message boards. The link is at the bottom of my blog. The people there saved me. They get it and want to help.
You're not alone, Amie. We know your pain and this is a safe place to vent, cry, ask name it. We'll be here.
Hope & Hugs, Shawn

BS said...


You wrote: "When I straightened his shirt, I was trying to fix him. The damn shirt looked like it belonged to our son!! Way too short! PLUS...not sure what shampoo the man has been using but he had some serious dandruff and the shirt was black!! EEEWWWW! So, I tugged, I brushed, I did what I do....I fix stuff."

I am glad that you have this excellent insight into why you fussed at Richard's clothing.

I now understand why Richard was upset, He wants you to love him even when his shirt is too short or he has dandruff on his shirt. I get that, I do.

I understand why you felt hurt, but the good news is that as least now he is communicating rather than lashing out maybe with an affair.

One thing to remember, in the OWs eyes, he was perfect.

All affair partners are perfect because the two people never get out of the honeymoon phase.

As I know you well know, it's all about the anticipation of the date, getting dressed to go meet them, thinking about each other when they are apart, until they get to see each other again in their stolen moments. The stolen aspect making it all the more exciting.

I have stopped fussing about the small things (different issues with us, but similar in many ways) with my own husband, but I have to say, I feel some resentment about needing to do this after being married for so long and simply because he had an affair.

Shouldn't we be able to express OURSELVES. Doesn't a really good friend or family member tell us when our slip is showing or our hair is messed up in the back.

It's good to have someone clue us into those things we may be unaware of.

If sweating the small things had bothered my own husband enough to choose to have an affair, agreeing to counseling would have been a far more productive way to express himself and to ask me to change my ways.

I do feel that in many ways the betrayed spouses, both men and women, are the ones who eat crow, even though we really didn't do anything near as wrong as an intimate betrayal.

When someone else noted doubting their ability to forgive enough to let go of all the hurts and insecurities, I realized that I am not sure I can let go of them, either, and in the end, even though our reconciliation is going well, I may still choose to leave him.

The doubts about him cheating again, the self doubt, the slam to my self esteem, the humiliation of the betrayal, and I am sure you all get it.

The bottom line is that just as Richard likely wants you to love him as he is....too small shirt, dandruff and all, we betrayed spouses also wanted our husbands to love us as we were.....whether that be a fixer or whatever.

Anonymous said...

What are you holding on for? This is going to continue until you are effin' tired of trying. Are your kids grown? If so, don't ever think that divorce is not an option. It is. And it can be a beautiful thing and has been for many, many people. I hope the boats stops rocking for you because it is no way to live.

shawn thewife said...

Whoa!! Anonymous?? Are you new? Richard has proven himself to be in it to win it. I'm the one that rocks the boat. I'm the one that still struggles from time to time with focusing on NOW and not bringing THEN into every little thing that happens.
Divorce was an option the first year after DDay, but Richard wouldn't have it! He stepped up. He was one determined SOB. He did all the heavy lifting in our recovery that first year. I just went crazy. This post wasn't about him. It's all about me healing at my own pace and sometimes I need a little back-up from my friends.
So, please don't worry about me! I'm gonna get right back on the Road to Happy and keep on walking. I know my little boat rocking detours are gonna diminish the farther down the road I go. Time is my friend.
I hope you're on your Road to Happy, too.
Hope & Hugs, Shawn

Sowearentperfect said...

I just found your blog and read your last entry after having a complete melt down yesterday...I feel much to the same point looking forward to reading back on your older entries. My husband had an affair a year ago in April, someone we knew well :(. I have stayed because I am not one to give up, I just woke up yesterday so tired of hiding what I feel because Im shut out when it gets brought up. I have lost so much more than I ever imagined. Maybe not the things everyone can see...but definitly my insides...more than anything I want to get over what happened to grow from it...but without talking it out i dont know that i can get there.

BS said...

We betrayed spouses all are quite aware that divorce is an option.

In my case, due to the length of the marriage, it would hurt my husband financially far more than it would hurt me.

I know it's an option. My spouse is working on being a better man, and I am hoping I can stop rocking the boat and let go of my doubts an insecurities.

A new relationship will likely make no difference.

One thing I learned from the betrayal is that we should never trust anyone 100 percent.

Stay alert, and ask for what we need and insist our husbands set boundaries.

We are not forced to stay, we are choosing to stay.

Erica said...

I think I rock the boat as a way to test if my H is still committed to staying in the boat with me. Will he jump ship or stick with me through choppy waters? I don't do this often but when I'm feeling down or insecure I find that I bark at him for no real reason, almost as a way to prompt him to say the 'I don't know what you're doing right now but I love you and want to work through this together' stuff. No idea if your rocking is similarly motivated but just throwing it out there in case there are any affinities. And speaking of affinities, I live in LA! If you're up here again and fancy a quick drink please let me know!

Anonymous said...

UGGHHH! I've had a bad few days, rocking the boat too and I can't stop. It's almost like I do it to see how committed my husband is now to fixing our marriage. I guess somewhere in me I'm still insecure enough to think I can push him far enough to quit on me again. If I'm capable of running him off again I WANNA KNOW what that point is. Sad isn't it! I can't stop myself today. Let my anger out on him via phone call late last night. My relapse, need to shake things up, has come from a few days of incessant triggers...husband out of town for work and I couldn't accompany him this time, spending time with my family and reminescing about the past few summers...last year's wine festival was a great time though my husband's absence was felt, as that was the time of our brief separation, and my little boy says, where was dad then mom? He knows he wasn’t WITH us, but he didn’t understand why. I want to scream...he was out fucking a mousy-looking 24-year old kid in her ratty college apartment! Instead I say, "I don't know buddy, I think he was at work...but he will definitely be there this year..." Then I stop for this morning's coffee. Fucking unfortunate thing is that I am a coffee-holic, stopping every morning at Starbucks and it's ALSO a fucking trigger! Right after I asked him to leave our home, we run into each other in the drive-thru line at Starbucks the very next day. Shortly after that we started meeting there for coffee, sat in the parking lot nearly every morning and talked about our relationship. He sat right there and told me the affair was ended, and they were not talking anymore.Went on to say that he knew it was never about her, he just wasn't ready to come back home yet...wanted to work on himself and his career. Turns out he hadn't ended it then, too much effort to back pedal I guess. So, all that heart-to-heart with me in the first 2 months following my discovery of the affair was still a bunch of bullshit lies. I stared at that empty parking space for 10 minutes this morning before driving coffee got cold! It took two more months, 4 in all, before the affair was actually ended, and two more trips out to fuck her after I KNEW though he lied through his teeth to all of us! Granted I did kick him out of the house, so I probably made it a bit easier, and he might have even thought that we were headed for divorce so why the fuck not have his cake and eat it to? Best he can offer now is that he had no intention of having a future with her, was coming back around to seeing me for me, but went out to see her anyway because he was being selfish. Read: I thought I would get my dick sucked one more time before I mustered up the energy to fix the mess I've made of my life and yours, and I knew that wouldn’t involve sex anytime soon.

Anonymous said...

Triggers everywhere and I feel so tired right now. I am now 18 months past D-Day (for those that do the math, Merry Christmas to me!); but only 1 year into our reconciliation, as I had to endure the 4 month fog that followed my discovery….his pathetic attempts to justify it all by revising our 20 year history together to be the mistake as opposed to his year 1/2 long affair with that turd of a person. God it was I'm left with the scars of all that shit said. That and some pictures of her rat-face that I would love to delete but still can't for some reason. Best he can offer now is that he didn't mean the hurtful things he said to me, doesn't even remember saying half of it, and that he was confused.Compared it to being in the dark. I’d say he would have had to have been to have sex with her! Now he says "I'm his family, his best friend and the love of his life, and I always have been though he fell down for a bit of time." Fumy thing is that I knew how crazy and untrue the fog-talk was…that’s why I held on. But now, insecurity causes me to doubt what I know in my heart to be the truth.
Can't I just let that be good enough? Today I feel like dragging those ugly bitch-whore pictures out and making him look at what he did and reflect on what he almost lost. Somehow I know that would be a mistake though....hurting and angry today...almost feel like jumping over-board and finding a deserted island…at least one with out the fucking triggers!

Susan WG said...

Hello there Sowearentperfect...I think we all feel your pain and have been in the same kind of melt down. I'm a little over 2 years out and the one thing I've learned is that everyone who's been on the betrayed end of the affair wants answers and explanations and disscussion. It seems that all the betrayers want to move on and never talk about it at all. I recommend the book After the Affair. She talks about discussing the affair as a trust building exercise and getting the hurt feelings out as "excising a cancer"

Reading this book and following Shawn's journey along with understanding I am not alone in the terrible pain of recovering from the secrets, lies and betrayal are helping get my head from exploding.

It's a long and difficult path but we're out there to help and listen.

shawn thewife said...

Sowearentperfect: Your situation is horrible to be sure, but not without hope. I was completely lost at a year out. That's when I started this blog. I was fresh outta ideas on how to heal. Writing this blog and finding the Healing Heart message boards put me on the Road to Happy. You can get there, too.
Have you been in MC? If your WH isn't working to help you heal in the way YOU need, my guess is you haven't. If he won't go to MC, then you should seek IC. Wanting to move on, to get over it is something we all have felt. Being crushed emotionally is exhausting and debilitating.
From here on are not alone. We will help you. Please check out the Healing Heart. The link is on the bottom of my blog. You're gonna find comfort there and you will heal. I promise.
Hope & Hugs, Shawn

shawn thewife said...

Erica: You hit the nail on the head! So many readers said the same thing! We are testing the cheating bastards! It's like pulling hard on a rope, tied way up in a tree that you wanna swing on...better yank it first, be sure it's secure! Otherwise, you might jump, fall and bust your ass!
Normal, but really asinine if you think about it. Why can't we just let ourselves be happy?? I say we just remind ourselves that is OK to be happy. Life is short. Wasting even one day yanking the rope shouldn't be tolerated. No more yanking!! I wanna jump already!!
I'm in LA every month for work, but it's a day trip. I say you should take a little vaca to San Diego!! I'll buy you a margarita, Chica!!
Hope & Hugs, Shawn

shawn thewife said...

Anonymous: UGGGHH!! I get it! Big, fat fucking lairs!! They deserve to be living in a rocking boat, full of holes being circled by sharks!! Here's the problem with that...we're in the fucking boat, too. We deserve to be happy, safe and loved.
The trickle truth shit is brutal. It makes recovery even harder. It's the one step forward...a mile back scenario. Shitty. You can overcome it. If your WH is truly remorseful and is doing all you need to help you heal, LET HIM. If he knows this is a very long marathon, not a short sprint, you'll find your Road to Happy. I hope you're in MC. Good communication and total honesty are key. A good therapist can help so much with that.
Try to stop pushing him. Stop looking for his breaking point. (I know...practice what I preach, right?) Focus all that negative energy into finding out what will make you happy. Healing takes three parts...yours, his and the marriage. Start with you. That's really the only part we can control. Taking control of your own happiness might just give you the strength to begin to heal your marriage.
We'll be here for ya. You do not have to struggle alone.
Hope & Hugs, Shawn

shawn thewife said...

Anonymous with triggers everywhere: For what's it's worth....the triggers never go away, you just start caring less about them. At first they rule your emotional state. Eventually, you conquer them...for the most part, anyway!
There are constructive ways to let your WH know that you're hurting, ways that encourage him to support you. MC can go a long way to teaching you how to communicate those needs to him.
I always recommend MC to heal the marriage and IC for both spouses. For you, to help heal the pain and confusion of all you've lost. For WH, to help him understand WHY he cheated so he will never do it again. Counseling isn't the only Road back to Happy, but it sure makes the trip easier.
Wicked shitty days are gonna happen. We gotta have a bit of Little Orphan Annie in us for this journey. Sing it with me....The Sun'll come out...tomorrow!! Seriously, it will get better because we won't have it any other way!
Take care of you!! We'll do our best to help.
Hope & Hugs, Shawn

TryingHard said...

I relate to each and every word all of you have said in this thread. I am two years out this August. D Day was March and yes he moved out. By May he said it was over. Started MC June 1, moved back home June 23. By Aug 1 he admitted it only just ended the day before. Call it the fog, denial, one last blow job, fear whatever, I'm tired of finding the euphemisms, reasons, excuses etc. We too have worked hard, did the whole MC and IC(well me at least), talks, trips, gifts, great crazy sex, you name it. I see changes and it is not that I don't trust or do trust, I am skeptical and he has given me every reason to be skeptical. I agree that maybe you should have just smiled and said "I know, I'm sorry too" and moved on and then just sorted it all out in your own mind. What works for me is my favorite mantra, "I don't care". Now that may sound awful and cynical but really caring and parsing every word and gesture brings misery to me let alone any "road to happiness". Matter of fact I have given up on being "happy", I am working on being satisfied and primarily satisfied with myself. The other fact is the infidelity is now a PERMANENT part of our marital history. Just like the good times were, are and will be. It will NEVER GO AWAY no matter how much time passes. I have accepted this. My biggest question is do I really need to live with this??? For today, yes, but there are some and many days and more frequently I am deciding that maybe I can't. My MC too said that I always needed to be aware because my H has proven he is a very deceptive person. THIS FACT WILL NOT CHANGE. It is part of his attitude, values, and beliefs. He's too old and those beliefs are part of him the same as his eye color won't change. I'm not saying he's going to cheat again, but if history is the best judge of the future, I know he is more than capable. I too "test" him by "rocking the boat" almost daring him to leave me.

TryingHard said...

I used to make sure my H always looked the best. Bought great clothes, ironed everything immaculately, made sure the nose hairs and ears were trimmed, beautiful meals on the table, clean house, fat, happy and sassy wife at home catering to his every need. Well guess what, that was MOM. No more of that scene. When we "brush them off, straighten their shirts" that's Mom to them. Now the girlfriend could have done that and been perceived as "cute" but not us. Too much history. I iron but now it is when I can get around to it. I'll cook but only when I feel like it. Food just isn't important to me anymore so I don't put myself out just to please him. I'm not his mother and he doesn't need taking care of. PAIN CHANGES PEOPLE.

Shawn, I pull back too when the boat is rocked hell I pull back just because I need to. I need to look in the "rear view mirror" to make sure I'm going in the right direction for ME. I think this is good, we have to look out for ourselves. Quit thinking that what you do might make him cheat again. He cheated because he could and wanted to, not because of something you did or didn't do. Do not make yourself his doormat and I am not saying HE is making you a doormat, I am saying we can't make ourselves anyone's doormat. He was being rude with his "fixing" comments. We call that the "fat third grader" and quite frankly, oh yes you fucking do need fixing! You know I think they really do want to please and impress us. It makes them feel good. That's why they had an affair. They could please and impress the OW, it made them feel good. They were on a real ego high during this time and now that everything is out in the bright, sunny, ugly, light of day not only are they not on that ego high anymore, but they are lower than when the started the affair with shame, guilt, embarrassment, and remorse. I believe they also realize that no matter what they do, they can't "fix" it or change it. Surely he has put himself in your shoes and questioned had you done what he did, would he or even could he stick around!

TryingHard said...

Holy cow, I din't know there was a limit on what I could comment on and I didn't know I had written so much. Sorry, but I worked too hard too hard to get my thoughts out only to delete it.

Hugs to you Shawn

BS said...

Trying Hard:

I really relate to your post. It is exactly the way I feel.

No more being Mom to my husband. It was my way of showing love, but he did not appreciate it.

No more worrying about our bills. If I want something I buy it. During his affair I was sitting at home like a fool being cautious with my spending, yet he was out spending like a drunken sailor on the OW.

Now it's his turn to be cautious with his spending for our future.

I no longer hire all the contractors to fix things around the house he could easily fix, and interview three or four to get he best price for the job.

I did that and all it did was give him more time to meet his OW, while I sat at home.

Now, I just ignore broken faucets and toilets and such and he calls and waits home all day for them to show up and if he wants the best price, he can interview three contractors.

Also after DDay one of the really fog brained things he said to me was that she was always dressed perfectly and he liked that.

When I pointed out she was on a date, he agreed, but the stupid cruel oblivious-to-the real-world-words had already escaped his fog brained lips.

Now, I spend money on clothing to ensure I am always dressed perfectly. I didn't prior because I was concerned about spending too much on clothing.

Some people, none of whom have experienced an affair in their marriage, have told me I am being spiteful, but I don't see it that way. I see that before I was a foolish doormat.

His OW was a spoiled pampered lazy brat, and he was sooooo hot for her. So, I don't knock myself out thinking he will love me more, if I remain his doormat. And, If he doesn't, I, too, have decided I just don't care.

Despite the affair, I am still nowhere near as spoiled and selfish as the very average looking OW was to her husband, who by the way still adores her, despite her affairs, and treats her like a queen, still.

That part was an eye opener to me, too. The OW demands to be treated like a queen and everyone jumps through hoops to comply, her husband, her prior affair partners, and my husband included.

It's so sad that I have to be less nice, for my husband to appreciate me.

Susan WG said...

Wow, every day I am so amazed at how similar all the stories are. Trying Hard and BS...I always believed that being "mom" was what being a good wife was. I was the care-taker, the one who made sure everything got done, remembered holidays and birthdays, ordering prescriptions and appointments, reminding, following-up, fixing. I worked 2 jobs. 7 days a week and spent the life insurance from my dad's passing to pay off his credit card debt not knowing I had paid for the cash advances for the hookers, hotels, restaurants and Victoria Secret panties he gave them as gifts.

A turning point for me was when my therapist finally answered my question, "Why did he do this to me?" with "You don't fuck your mom. Stop being his mom."

I think I am at a similar point where you both are...I would like for our marriage to be successful and I believe he wants that as well, but if we don't survive I don't care. I continue to make an effort to be honest with him and myself and it is a daily struggle to keep my head above the crazytown waters. It is so true that the infidelity is now a permanent part of our marriage and he has proven himself to be such a manipulative liar I won't ever trust him 100% again. That's the giant scar on our relationship and the price he paid for his giant ego stroke. It's sad, really.

The truth for me is, some days I care and some days I'm doing an Irish jig in the boat trying to flip it the f over. 2 of the whores he used on a regular basis were because he thought they were "fun"

Fun? Really?

Today I feel like grabing him by the collar and asking him if he'd like to try some of my fun.

(Insert picture of Evil Clown here)

Anonymous said...

Shawn, I can relate. We're two years out and every now and then (not too often now) I have a trigger day. I don't want my husband to think I'm insane. I don't want to talk about it right away. I like to process what's happening in my head before I open my mouth. When I back away even slightly, he knows right away. Then I find myself worried backing away will push him away. Thankfully, he's a persistent man. He will ask what's wrong and pry me open but at the same time know when it's too much or too soon to ask.
The biggest trigger for me has been the last few months. We live in a small community. We're military. We don't have the option of moving. It BLOWS to have to live in the same community as your arch nemesis and her weaselly husband. I have maintained my sanity involuntarily. I wanted to go bat shit crazy but I also feel a disgusting need to be better than her. Only Jing that stopped me from jumping off the deep end was a disgusting sense of competitiveness.
Anyway, she's having another baby she assuredly won't be able to handle with her husband. I'm actually irritated at how happy they seem. I know it's wrong. But it's been a huge internal issue for me of late. She's due any day, looks like a cow, yet I find myself feeling inferior and bitter.
Sometimes life throws you a curve ball. But those of us who are too stubborn to quit will come out of it. Two years is not that long. A lot has happened in two years, but it's a short amount of time. It takes a long time to heal such deep wounds.

Anonymous said...

I have just found out that my partner of eight years had an affair with a colleague. I found out when he ended it and she, furious, send me their email correspondance. I am so furious hurt, confused and generally screwed in the head right now... I'm glad I found your blog - it helped me to see that the craziness in my head is not so unusual.
I still love him.
i want to forgive him.
He wants me to forgive him.
I just hope that I'm capable of it... I feel awful and so so broken right now.

shawn thewife said...

SusanWG; You wrote that you had this conversation with your therapist:

>>A turning point for me was when my therapist finally answered my question, "Why did he do this to me?" with "You don't fuck your mom. Stop being his mom."<<

Oh, no...that won't fly on my watch! He didn't do this because of anything you did! Cheaters have issues they need to OWN. They cheat because of many things but it ain't about us! We could be Stepford wives or raving Loons...they can love us or leave us...they don't need to cheat on us.

Honesty moving forward is the only way to get out of CrazyTown. I'll never trust Richard 100% again. Hell, I may not trust anyone that much ever again, but that's OK. We can be happy and utilize the skill set we have gained as betrayed but verify, Babe. Keep the radar moving.

Everyone has good and bad marriage days, even from marriages where there was NO adultery. I just try to make the good ones out number the shitty ones a little more all the time. When I slip on the Road back to Happy, I come back here. You all pick me up. I wanna help do that for all of you, too!!

BTW...scary evil that visual of one of us taking it to the cheaters!! LOL!
Hope & Hugs, Shawn

shawn thewife said...

J: You don't have to try to be better than the OW...all you gotta do is breath and your better than her! The OW is not worth any of our energy. Hating her takes too much effort. Who gives a rat's ass if she's happy, miserable, alive or taking a dirt nap? For us to heal, it just doesn't matter.
In my world, Jaymie is as insignificant as a popcorn fart in a wind storm. (except that I need her to finish my story!)
You don't have to compete on any level with OW. Let her go and focus on NOW. What is your WH doing for you NOW?
You're so right. 2 years is just a flicker of time. We all heal on our own time frame. My time frame is as long as I feel like I'm moving forward MOST of the time, then it's all good. I'm leaving CrazyTown in the Rearview mirror.
Hope & Hugs, Shawn

shawn thewife said...

Trying Hard: You got it! On some level, buried deep to be sure, I think when we have a less than happy moment, he might cheat again! Not really because I think I did something to make him stray, but I start to think....Oh, crap...Is he unhappy again? Is he overworked? Is he feeling old? Freaking out about retiring? Is he OK???

I gotta get over worrying about him!! He's gotta take care of HIM...I mean psychologically and behavior wise. I'm still gonna try to "fix" him from time to time. It's what I've done for over 30 years. However, if he prefers to be seen in public with dandruff all over his shirt...fine by me. Just stand on the other side of the room because I'll have to pretend I don't know him.
;-) Hope & Hugs, Shawn

Anonymous said...

Trying Hard: so many factors come into play about why affairs happen. YES AFFAIRS CHANGE YOU, whether you are the betrayed or betrayer, the mode of reality is permantly altered. If your husband is truly deceptive he will not change (unless some life altering event happens) He will not change if he is a serial cheater, has the financial means and opportunity to then he will continue to find new supply sources.

Susan.....It worries me you have given up being happy. The mantra of "I don't care" is a huge concern for me because that is where I am. The only people I care about are my children and immediate family. I feel stuck in a place of self loathing, depression, anxiety, A LOT of anger at myself and others. I try to have the attitude of I don't care, but it comes at a cost for me. When I stop caring, I stop feeling because the pain is too much, the walls go up and I let NO ONE in, not even my husband. I essentially disengage from my marriage and that indirectly hurts my kids. I walk around as a shell of a person, I am NO GOOD to NO ONE, not even my kids. It weighs heavily on my mind, the future of me and my marriage will not survive because I am unable to let go of my anger. I feel like I am in a continue cycle of I give a rats ass to I want scream.

You sound like a nurturer, that is a good thing especially when it comes to children. I was raised to believe by parents that there was no prince in shining armor to rescue me, so go to college, get a job and support yourself. Don't ask for help and be independent. I know though that I am a people pleaser, I enjoy helping others and also because it feels good to be acknowledged for helping others. It seems from your post that your husband related to you as a mom. Google Madonna / Whore Complex, very interesting.

Susan did your therapist talk to you about your husband being a serial cheater / narcissist and you being co dependent? You are the giver and your husband is the taker?

TH..... Sounds like your husband was fulfilled by how he saw his reflection in the OW's eyes and that is a definite ego stroke. So how does one recapture that reflection of good will, ego boost, admiration WITHIN the marriage. How does one become both the Madonna / Whore?

It seems men are like little boys, they need constant reassurance (without prompting) that they are our knights in shining armour. They want to feel needed (not in a meal ticket way), desired, appreciated and respected. This is what I have had to learned the very hard way. I basically never wanted to burden my husband with a thing, not even me having an orgasm. LOL. My ever independent thinking was I can take care of myself on ALL LEVELS. I didn't allow my husband to take care of me and didn't take care of myself in a healthy way. I tried to be everything to everybody while working 14 hour days. BS, I too was conservative with money, doing my own nails, coloring my own hair, but what I have learned that we need to pamper our selves from time to time, but do it in a healthy way.

Bottome line, affairs are selfish, they are escapes from reality, from the daily routine and stresses of life.

Shawn you and every betrayed person have every right to feel the way you do. I tried to find in your posts, but how was your marriage before you found out?

Thank you for reading.

shawn thewife said...

LovefromItaly: The shock of DDay is traumatic. It can knock the strongest person to their knees. The Road back to Happy is very long. Don't expect too much from yourself too soon. When something like this happens, you're brain can't even process it all at first. I recommend IC. It helps so much!
If your WH is willing, MC is crucial, too.
You're not alone. Those of us that have been there, felt your pain and come out the other side can offer support. We care.
Hope & Hugs, Shawn

shawn thewife said...

Anonymous that asked:
>>Shawn you and every betrayed person have every right to feel the way you do. I tried to find in your posts, but how was your marriage before you found out?<<

My marriage was better than fine, great actually. We were the couple everyone else wanted to be! It was Richard that wasn't fine. He had always had a bit of a selfish streak,not with money or stuff...but more like a self entitled type thing.
But, really? It doesn't matter how the marriage was. Even if the marriage sucked eggs hard, cheating is NOT the answer.
And, you're right. We do have the right to feel whatever we feel. I just hope we FEEL like we deserve to be happy, whatever that looks like.
Hope & Hugs, Shawn

Anonymous said...

Hi Shawn,

i just don't get that, your marriage was really good (hopefully even better now) and yet he had an affair. I find that bewildering and scary. So with that being said are you glad you found out the truth? Would you have had more respect for Richard if he came to you about the A without being forced to disclose and end things with the OW? Would your healing process been different or faster. I have read where some wives turned a blind eye to infidelity, just as long as they didn't know and it didn't impact their lifestyle. Similar to ignorance is bliss mentality.

Did Richard believe as long as he withheld information from you he wasn't hurting you? Again reading about men who enjoy being cake eaters. Present the happy homelife to society / friends / church but get to have the secret spice or feeling entitled to their slice of happiness.

What are your thoughts?

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

I cant tell you how many times I have looked at other couples and wished we were just like them. Only later to find out their many issues. How we appear on the outside to others is not always how we really are. Has Richard continued to seek therapy. If his self issues are in fact the only reason he cheated, how can you ever trust him again if he has not dealt with those. Also, were these the same reasons you cheated on him years ago? Ive always heard it is harder for a man to get over his wife cheating than it is for a women to get over her husband cheating.


shawn thewife said...

Hi, Anonymous: You don't get it?? Join the club! Adultery is a mind blower all around.
As hard as recovery is...I am so glad I know what Richard did. To fix a problem of this magnitude, you need to know what you're dealing with. Do I think it would have been better if Richard had come clean before DDay? Can't answer that definitively. He did confess his other 3 times cheating in the last 30 years. I don't think it matters how you find out your loving husband is a selfish pig. Its a massive kick in the gut and healing is a war with yourself.
Richard said he never really thought about me getting hurt. His thinking was convienent compartmentalization. Lots of cheaters think that way. For Richard, it was all about HIM. Feeding his ego was paramount. So, I guess you could say he thought what I didn't know wouldn't hurt me. He did say at one time, "I had no idea my affair could EVER hurt you so deeply." The reality of the aftermath caused him massive guilt and self-loathing. Took lots of IC to fix him. He was quite broken in so many ways.
He tries to hard to be attentive to me now. He watches me for warning signs that the boat is gonna be rocking just as I watch him. The bottom line...we both watch for the same reason....we want our marriage to thrive. We're finally on the same page and working to stay on the Road to Happy permanently.
Good questions. Thanks for commenting.
Hope & Hugs, Shawn

Anonymous said...

Thanks Shawn :)
I know I am better ;)
Some days she just really grates my mind. We're doing well. I have no complaints. It just hits me sometimes.


Susan WG said...

Wow, it's nice to be a part of the conversation and I check in every day to see what's going on here and what is being said. It's wonderful to have support and, I'll say it again, I am overwhelmed by how similar all the stories are and by how comforting it is to know that when I have the evil clown fantasies, I'm not crazy at all!

The flip side of that is sometimes when a reader is typing up a quick response it can come off sounding not at all the way it was intended. It's difficult to have conversation without inflection, body language and gesturing with my hands!

I absolutley DO NOT accept responsibility for what my WH did or any of the stupid, selfish decisions he made. I never did. We've talked about that lots and it always comes round to the same thing I've heard here so many times...he felt entitled, he felt like he deserved it, it made him feel young and studly and way clever because I never questioned his whereabouts or why our money was always disappearing.

Was I co-dependent? You betcha. Am I now? I can be if I let my guard down. I've spent a lot of time in IC and gone to painful places within my soul to learn about me and how I contributed to the disfunction that our marriage was before. Please notice the difference...I accept my part in our marital difficulties and part of that was always being the "mom" to his Peter Pan.

In the last few weeks since he's moved back home things have changed a great deal in that part of our lives. If he leaves a mess in the living room I don't go behind him and clean it, he does his own laundry, takes care of his appointments, cleans the kitchen every evening after dinner. I know this sounds silly to many of you but for me, this means he's growing up and I'm learning to let him suffer the consequences if he decides he'd rather be a little boy.

The really crazy thing about all this is, our children always understood the idea of responsibility and consequences. They are grown and out of our house and lovely young women, I can't understand why I had one set of rules for them and another for my WH?

Anyway, one positive I have gained from this piece of shit I've lived through is that I have a deep strength I can pull up from inside when I need it. I can make it on my own. I won't fall to pieces and be forced into poverty if my marriage doesn't work out in the end. 3 years ago I never could have said that.

To from Italy...please be kind to yourself. Everyone here has been in the exact spot you are in now and it is indeed shit to wade through. It's not fair, you didn't deserve this and you will find your way.