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 3, 2014

Making Your Day Better....Yea, Right!!

Someone sent  me an email this morning.  Subject: Making Your Day Better.
It was full of Hallmark card worthy snippets, accompanied by an applicable, placid photo intended to motivate the reader to search their hearts for Serenity Now and to turn any sad-sack Eeyore into a positive Pooh Bear during a read that could be completed on the crapper in a snapper!

Nothing like Instant Inspiration before breakfast to bring out the sarcasm in me.

Why I didn't hit delete as soon as I spotted the sappy subject line escapes me at the moment.  I guess I was still a little drowsy so I scrolled down the page, as I pursed my lips and squinshed up my face in  a flagrant indignant expression sure to make any Mom warn, "Keep it up and your face is gonna stick that way!"  I was way into judgmental mode.

I know you have heard me preach like Polly Anna.  I know I lecture on attitude and owning your happiness.  I rarely miss a chance to encourage a betrayed spouse, stuck in a DDay quagmire, to focus on what is good in their lives.  Hell...I just wrote about that in my last post, Lost & Found.
So why am I being such a Negative Nelly about potentially beneficial, uplifting messages?

Because one of them struck a sour chord in me.  I might have to take a hard look at myself today and for the next few weeks.  This is the flowery blurb that made me think...and I hate that!



Well, Crap!  These 8 simple words seemed to be screaming, "Shawn!  I know your brain still goes there every damn day!  What's up with that, Sister?"

Let the meeting begin...HI,  I'm Shawn and I'm a betrayed spouse. I'm over 4 years post DDay and I'm more than positive that I made the right choice to stay and repair my marriage.  Reconciliation was the path for me.  No doubt.  BUT...me thinks I missed a section of the healing highway.  I ignored the overpass called "forgiveness".   If forgiveness was to be found on the high road...that would explain a lot.

Sure, I rationalized that sorry is just a word and forgiveness isn't tangible.  Actions are the only way to know beyond a reasonable doubt if your wayward partner is truly penitent.  Time is my friend and as it passes, my heart will be repaired.
Readers ask me all the time.....How much fucking time are we talking about???
How I wish I knew!

Why can't I say I forgive Richard?  Why have I fought the absolution option for so long?  The quote above tells me my unmerciful heart is the reason my cynical brain replays fragments of Richard's time with She Who Shall Not be Named over 4 freaking years ago!
Does the heart really wield that much power over the brain?  I always thought it was the other way around.  I lived (past tense??) by the credo that mind over matter and genuine confidence can save the soul.  I didn't need no stinkin' forgiveness!

Today I'm admitting I still think about IT at least for a few minutes everyday.  Something pops into my head about IT with no warning and seemingly no trigger to provoke the memory much more frequently than I am willing to accept.  Maybe it isn't about WILL.  Maybe it's about absolution.
I'm asking you AND myself....Does the answer to releasing my mind from occasional Brain Worm bondage require me to open my heart?  Please ponder this question with me.
To lighten my heart, do I have to forgive?

40 comments:

Lisa Comperry said...

To me this is similar to losing a limb..
How can we not think about it every day..In some ways it doesn't matter if the person who caused our loss was sorry or not..We find good ways to get past our loss, but the original damage is still done.
Forever..
We are all unique in how we survive..
I love your strength and strategies in healing and that you share your wisdom with others :-)

strong survivor said...

I am 6+ years out. I have forgiven him.In fact, I took seminars on forgiveness. In the beginning I forgave waaay too fast. Then trickle truth forced me to take it back - out loud. I think I have lived my life since the affair in the only way that works for me - some days it's good, other days it's bad. Focusing on what makes me happy, going to school, working, loving my 4 kids, etc. works well if my brain worms stay the fuck away. I think my problem is that HE is my trigger. I'm living and staying with my trigger. Part of the problem, for me, is that he can look ahead in the road and not see the bump I will come across when he should have, in order to protect me from it - which is what he is supposed to do - it's part of our agreement in staying together. I can't force him to 'see' the things that will cause me pain but I want him to be better at it. And part of it is, he doesn't want to bring up something that will cause me pain. So even if he is aware that he is traveling to a certain city on business, he won't bring it up because he's afraid. That is my problem - it's a vicious circle: he's afraid to bring up something that will hurt me again (due to his affair) so he doesn't mention it, I get triggered by it and wait for him to talk about it, he doesn't (again, because he's afraid of hurting me) and I talk about it so it is always me bringing up THE subject. On the rare occasions that he did foresee an issue and talked about it, it had no power because I felt loved and looked out for. I am reading about training your brain to be happy - our brains definitely keep the end of the record skipping because it is a comfortable pain. But sometimes, no amount of work will completely erase that scar. I wish I had some sage words for you, but I struggle too. Maybe just knowing that we are all sort of living parallel universes with regards to affairs might help - we are all in this together. I wish my sense of humor could take me away when I felt bad about it. Sometimes I think the deeper the hurt, the happier you thought you both were, the more completely blindsided you were by the affair, the harder it is to recover, the deeper the scar. I know it's like that for me. Strength for all of us.

Anonymous said...

Shawn
I have been following your story for the last two years and many tears.
I'm conflicted, sometimes I'm grateful for the affairs ( two with same woman) it never went all the way yet it hurts like it has. Sometimes I think of her and feel more powerful while being intimate with him. We have 2 beautiful children post affairs, I wouldn't change them. This time I think he is truly repentant , there's so many layers to an affair, the most difficult ones are the triggers some days there isn't any others everything is a reminde. Sometimes I think I go back because I enjoy the anxiety, having to fight for him others I feel like driving there and fist fighting this woman to the ground, but I'm too classy for that.

Shawn, enjoy what you have right now the past is gone , the future is uncertain. Enjoy your family you are alive , you have your health, it was a moment, you got eternity xx from down under

Steph said...

You know you made the right choice to stay should never have a BUT after it. "I made the right choice to stay, BUT" is not 100% knowing that choice was RIGHT. 4 years out, the storm has long gone and calmed & you are realizing it was not about you or Jaymie. It was about selfish Richy poo. There is a BUT and will always be a BUT because you know you were worth more than the hand he dealt you. As long as you stay in the marriage, that BUT will remain. It took me 3 long years of BUT to finally leave. Glad I did. And have never looked back. The BUT in my sitch no longer matters and hasn't mattered for over a decade because I was worth more, I am worth more and I always will be worth more than a BUT.

shawn thewife said...

Steph: My BUT is that maybe I need to go another few steps on the path to true forgiveness. Its not a BUT about my choice to stay. I thought I made that point clear. Since you misread my intended meaning, I'll try to explain further.
No doubt I didn't deserve the hand he dealt, BUT he deserved a second chance because he earned it.
I'm glad you made the choice that worked for you BUT please don't judge others by yourself.
Hope & Hugs, Shawn

shawn thewife said...

Lisa: I love what you wrote.
"We are all unique in how we survive."
No doubt about it.
Hope & Hugs, Shawn

Steph said...

No one is judging you shawn, I am speaking truth to you. There is a difference. You can either take it in or you can continue to live in denial. Unicorn land is always easier if you are addicted to pain.

We did a poll on SI a few years back, about 120 BS participated in it. The question was, do you or will you ever trust again? Not one BS said yes, not one.

The other poll asked, did you or will you forgive your WS? 89% did not forgive 11% forgave. There is hope for you Shawn, a small percentage of hope, but possible. Good luck.

Anonymous said...

As strong survivor puts it so well.."HE is the trigger ".

I am also in a very similar situation.I believe that we betrayed spouses , who stay back , are always looking to find that something which would erase all memories of betrayal.If only we could forgive, or if we have , maybe we havent done it in the right way , if only our spouses took care of the triggers , if only they were remoresful enough, if only they were sorrier..if only..if only....

What I have come to feel is that as long as I am with him I am not ever going to forget.Even if I leave these betrayals will always be a part of my memories , but maybe if I got a life without the cheater in it I may have a better chance at forgetting.

The cheating has changed the betrayed spouse in a manner that cant be undone.He cannot unfuck the OW.

The mind will keep replaying old memories till I make new ones..memories which do not have the cheater in them.

I understand all this but I am stuck..am unable to let go of my life with the cheater.

I just have to learn to accept that I am never going to be totally free of all the OW my husband slept with.

Forgiveness or no forgiveness.

Contrition or no contrition.

julet said...

As a proponent of forgiveness, my opinion is YES! Find a way to forgive - take the plunge. Doesn't mean you need to then just trust 100% like before the A, two different things entirely. I think that forgiveness needs to happen whether you stay or leave. If you stay it's essential to both of you and the marriage. If you leave, it's essential to you. Both are essential to kids, too. I think a lot of people confuse what forgiveness really is, or maybe forgiveness means different things to different people. Forgiveness is not denying that my H was not responsible for hurting me. Forgiveness is not excusing the act. But it is letting go of the resentment, the bitterness, the anger and sadness connected with the act. The person you are forgiving can appreciate it or not, that has nothing to do whether you should or not.

I've looked at it all ways. I'm a Christian. Forgiveness maybe isn't something anyone deserves, but we all need it at some point. Maybe I wouldn't need it for adultery, but for other stuff for sure. So there's that. As someone in the medical field I think about the health benefits of letting go of grudges. By nature I'm the queen of second chances.

Will I fully trust him again? Maybe, maybe not. Has nothing to do with why I forgave him. Two separate issues. Do I still think about it? Yup every day. Sometimes more, most days less. It definitely doesn't hurt like it did. In fact, like others, there were so many positive changes that came about because of the A, as a couple and as individuals, that I've reached a place where I believe God allowed it to happen for my/our growth. Yes, I do believe bad things happen to good people and there's a reason for it. For sure.

I've accepted the fact that my H will never ever understand, fully, the pain he caused me. But, I believe it caused him pain that he has to live with forever as well. And there was a point where I told him it was important to me that he forgave himself. That was one of our best conversations! There's a Bible verse - in a newer translation that talks about this. It says, Adultery is a brainless act, soul-destroying and self-destructive. How more accurate can that be? Don't you think Richard thinks about it every day too? Men just don't talk about it like women do. Just like you say, strong survivor.

Lastly, I read a lot about forgiveness too and one of the best things I read put it this way. You cannot feel your way into an act, but you can act your way into a feeling. Meaning you may never 100% feel that your H deserves forgiveness, or that you want to, or that the H somehow got some crazy get out of jail free card. But if you just do it, actively, eventually you will feel it. And it will be freeing! In the same way like who really wants to exercise all the time? But you do it and after wards you feel great about it. Same concept. That spoke volumes to me.

At two years out, in spite of bumps along the way, I do not regret my decision to stay, to repair or to forgive. I think I even forgave the OW. Maybe...;)

D Ward said...

Shawn,

Do you believe in the word of God and Jesus Christ Our Lord? All things are possible through him who strengthens us. I think that 'down and out' feeling continues because there may be a disconnect with the Lord & your faith. If you don't have a solid relationship with Our Father, life can take your mind and heart to some scary places.

Best wishes and Meery Christmas to All.

Applegirl said...

Hi, Shawn---
I am 7 months past DD and, like you, have decided to stay and work on the marriage. My husband has pretty much done everything humanly possible to repair the damage, with the occasional screw up of the "not this again" lament when I relapse into emotional havoc.
My heart is far from healed. I've tried therapy, and I've tried taking matters into my own hands (the revenge fucks)---top no avail. I think about his affair many times a day. Strong Survivor's words about the healing being harder when you are completely blindsided seems true.

Your question about forgiveness is one which I struggle with as well. I don't believe I can truly do it, even though I would like to. It makes intellectual sense to me that if I forgave him, I might be able to at least have some peace of mind again. I know forgiving and forgetting are separate matters, though.
I think I'm going to have to face the fact that his selfish, hurtful behavior that resulted in a six month love affair, has changed me forever in a worse way. I feel very hopeless and sad to admit this.

SusanG0924 said...

Hay Shawn...you should read How Can I Forgive You by Janis Spring. She also authored After the Affair, which certainly saved my sanity.

I'm going to say no, you do not have to forgive the affair. Some things are not forgivable and lying and cheating on your spouse is one of them. I know my WH isn't a bad person. He has a lifetime of issues he refuses to address and has an addiction he won't admit to. I love the man in spite of these things but I will never give him forgiveness for putting me and our children through the hell he caused.

Of course it pops in to my head every day of my life. How can it not? I've learned how to not let the thoughts take over but they are a part of what makes me who I am now...a much wiser and stronger woman.

Anonymous said...

A pox on anyone who would suggest that a betrayed spouse should leave... or stay. All of us who have been betrayed get to make this decision for ourselves.
On forgiveness, I like what Tammy Nelson has to say --http://w ww.huffingtonpost.com/tammy-nelson-phd/sex-and-lies_b_4288277.html --

"Forgiveness is not the answer. Forgiveness is organic and happens over time. The need to forgive bogs couples down and leads to hopelessness. How does the partner who has been betrayed forgive their partner for betraying them? The power imbalance after an affair is so great the person who has been cheated on and lied to will have no choice but to take back their forgiveness on days or in moments when they feel they have nothing else to empower them."

So, nearly five years later, as far as forgiveness goes, some moments yes, and some moments no, it's not so easy to be forgiving. It's my call. I get to decide. As my WS has quit wanting forgiveness, quit expecting me to turn a corner already, it seems there have many more days where I feel more healthy and whole. Thanks for all your honesty, Shawn!

Anonymous said...

Hi Shawn,

I'm glad you continue to blog after finishing the story of the affair. I have followed you faithfully since my DDAY in 2012. I am nearing three years out. And, I'm glad I'm not alone in thinking about it every day still, though I am sorry that you do too. Sometimes my husband almost convinces me that doing so is not normal or healthy. Of course he has a vested interest in putting it behind us. His shame makes it hard to talk about, but we do, whenever I need to.

I don't know how I feel about forgiveness. Like others that have posted here, I initally offered it up quickly. Basically as soon as I saw my husband cry like a baby, which he rarely has. (I'm soft like that). But, anytime I take a step back, have a bad trigger, or vent some anger (which I still do on occassion) my husband will tell me that he does not feel forgiven. To him, he equates the fact that we still have to talk about that shameful time as evidence that I have not. I don't know if that is true, but it's how he feels. Then again, I don't know what forgiveness means to me or him entirely. I dont' think it means never talking about it. It might mean finding compassion and understanding for his imperfections, and how he could have done what he did. If that's part of forgiveness I found that, and felt it earlier on in our reconciliation. If I'm being honest, it's harder to connect to that compassion right now though. Sometimes I now feel more at a loss for the why of it all. Sometimes he also expresses that it seemed so crazy and out of character that the why is even harder to identify now.

At any rate, maybe forgiveness means that I keep more of those times I do think about it everyday to myself. This might be an act of compassion for my husband, because I know he sometimes feels brow-beaten by my anger, and insecure in my committment to the marriage when I "regress" into discussions about the past after a long period of calm. Your questions are good to ponder....

Does the answer to releasing my mind from occasional Brain Worm bondage require me to open my heart?

I think it would for me. And this is a daily decision I try to make and uphold. Sometimes I succeed. Sometimes not.

To lighten my heart, do I have to forgive?

This to me is a chicken-and-egg argument. I might see it more as forgiveness creating lightness. So, maybe the active decsion is not one of forgiving someone else; but opening up oneself to another.

In other words, We might actively choose to be open/vulnerable. This requires some level of acceptance regarding our fears (of rejection, abandonment, repeating same mistakes, being made a fool of, etc.). This choice creates the best environment for forgiving acts to flourish. As we BS's are fond of saying, actions are more important than words. Maybe forgiveness then is different for all of us. The words, "I forgive you" may be the same, but the actions are specific to our relationship with our spouse. In my case, my husband has told me what forgiveness would feel like to him. So, this would manifest in better management of my anger, better filtering of my thoughts, and real effort to maintain respectful and productive discussion about the affair rather than resorting to brow-beating and shaming him with the embarrassing details, her ugly photos, etc. which I still occassionally do.

Since those moments make me feel awful about myself as well, I'm sure I would feel lighter, as would he.

Well, this will probably be a New Year's resolution! Thanks for starting the reflection. Happy Holidays.

Lisa Comperry said...

I think I will begin to lose the resentment as soon as I get my wayward husband out of my daily life..Once the chaos of divorce is over...

I have yet to cross that physical separation/ divorce bridge...


I can't afford my own housing yet...I don't feel prepared to jump into divorce proceedings without having some faith and support in place first..


The first day, and the months following D -day , my impulse was to try, again..I thought my WH and I could make positive changes and create a better life together..


My WH had a new job and was making progress there..Typically marriage had been all about me carrying the heavy load emotionally and economically.

I couldn't rely on my WH to do simple things like replace an unsightly broken toilet or flooring in our house.

My WH was very needy and demanding sexually, to the point of not giving me a moment's peace..I felt like I was never enough..


Attitude is everything in repairing married life after the devastating betrayal of infidelity..The Cheater has to find it in him or her to be humble, kind and respectful his or her partner if he or she wants the partner to feel motivated to try again..


So yes, I can and will forgive WH..I think I am already forgiving myself.. With that said, I cannot take the WH back, or attempt to fulfill his expectations of married life..


Because.. his... attitude... sucks..

Michele said...

I have commented on this blog a few times and although none of your readers have any respect for me they have been respectful. I only comment when I think I have a slightly different point of view to add. I am an OW who eventually married my AP. We were both married when the affair started and both left our spouses to be together. I initially told my husband almost immediately when the affair started. It took his wife over a year to learn about it and only because she figured out something was wrong and checked phone records. There was a six week period where he sat on the fence, still living with his wife but telling me he was leaving, yet telling his wife he hadn't yet decided what he was going to do. She contacted me by text often during those six weeks. She told me a lot. I learned that he had lied to me many times during our affair. I know it will be hard for most readers to understand this but I learned that he actually cheated on me with his wife. I don’t just mean sex because I was never stupid enough to think he wasn’t also having sex with her but the emotional stuff. He took two separate family vacations, one he told me was just with his daughter and the second he told me he went by himself and actually invited me to go at the last minute, I assume knowing I could never arrange it so quickly.

My point is this, I do feel betrayed too. I know you are saying “boo-hoo” for you. You knew what you were getting yourself into and a betrayed wife has no choice, it just happens to her but the feeling is the same. I totally trusted and loved him and ended my marriage for him, put myself in a horrible financial position for him and he lied and cheated on me. I could not unleash my anger on him at time as I wanted him to choose to be with me and I knew his wife was making his life miserable everyday so if he was ever going to choose me I had to be a softer place to land.

After we were married and started settling into everyday life I found that if we had a minor fight I would blow it out of proportion to the actual issue because I had a lot of built up anger and resentment. It caused a lot of issues in our first year of marriage.

I know this is a long story but I just want to make three points:

1) Take comfort in the fact that the other women is most likely just as tormented by the affair as you are and I know the majority of you are working it out with your husbands so you are the one laying in his arms at night – not her.
2) Even if you can’t stop thinking about it and all the lies he told you can pretend that you don’t and eventually you won’t be pretending. Once I stopped bringing up all the times he lied to me I began to be able to think about them less and less and eventually was able to live with the very few brain worms that pop up now and them.
3) Give him credit for picking you. He could have left – it would have been a lot easier in many ways but he chose to stay with you. He was able to pull himself away from the drug (an affair can be the strongest drug in the world). That is not easy. I am not saying bow down and kiss his feet for staying but as an OW I can tell you I used every opportunity to build him up while it seemed that his wife was only knocking him down. I know I knocked down my first husband – I had gotten to a point where he could do no right in my eyes. Now in my second marriage I make sure not to get in that same rut. Instead of complaining that he used every pot in the house to make dinner I tell him how great dinner tasted and how I appreciate him helping out.

Part of why I was able to forgive was because I realized we had both given up so much to be together and we truly loved each other but did not want to make the same mistakes we made in our first marriage. Maybe it helped that this was a second chance for us so maybe it would be helpful to think of life after an affair as a second marriage

Lisa Comperry said...

I seem to be full of opinions today, lol..Two partners make a couple...Hmmmmm..How do these partners respect each other/ How do they accommodate each other?..History is unique whether good or bad..It is up to the couple to decide whether the history between then is good or bad in whether they have the strength to go on...As a couple...

Anonymous said...

Be grateful that he chose you?

Give him credit for picking you ?

Wow.

Just wow.

Who is he?

The axis on which the planet revolves ?

How about he chose the OW since his wife was givig him hell /his wife kicked him out?

How about he chose his wife because dumping OW is easier than leaving a marriage because of all the legal/financial issues involved ?

Call me cynical , but for a cheater the choice is made solely on the fact of whichever is easier.

I do not think love ever was or is in the equation.

Lisa Comperry said...

I do agree that many cheaters do what is easier..You are right, for these people love has nothing to do with it...These are the same cheaters who are assured that they will be able to cake eat their way thru life ..They get away with cheating because either their partner is unaware or is simply too tired to care...

BS said...

I am a bit late to reply. I was out of town.

Still, I have not forgiven, and I never will.

Just like strong survivor, I at first was too eager to forgive an extramarital relationship I learned my husband was having.

Upon discovery, he described it as a dalliance and a fling.

I later learned through trickle truth that it was so much more than that.

It involved emotional, physical and financial infidelity. Upon learning the depth of the affair, the fact that he tried to dismiss it as a fling, still enrages me.

Because I was too quick to forgive, I also found out that my husband was still in contact with the Outsider. Just talking, but still.

I think NOT forgiving may be a good thing. It's perhaps a form of self protection, and also forgiving to soon seemed to give my husband the green light to continue to deceive me about contact with her and a other things....another computer, a secret bank account, a credit card with the statement going to the office.

Not only have I not forgiven but I have told my husband that I will NEVER trust him again. I think that's normal and maybe even healthy after learning of an affair.

He had my trust, prior to the affair, and he abused it.

We are doing well. We are still together. Some aspects of the marriage are better.

Nevertheless the affair has let a scar and ugly scar and that scar causes me to everyday devote a little bit...actually too much... of think time to that stupid selfish behavior that my husband just had to engage in during his mid life crazies.

He is sorry, he regrets it, he even talks of being embarrassed about being that guy that had an affair.

However, the damage is done and it can never be undone. Our marriage will never be the same.

I have grown to accept that. I don't think I will ever stop thinking of his affair.

My husband has said numerous times that he does not want to be that guy who cheated on his loyal wife....but the fact is....he is that guy. Nothing will change that.

BS said...

Even if a betrayed spouse divorces their spouse, many I talk to still have not healed.

To believe they have healed by ending the marriage is simply another form of unicorn land.

I see these people who have divorced their cheater are still posting on numerous forums claiming they are so deliriously happy after leaving their cheater.

If leaving their cheating spouse had healed them, they would not still need to reinforce their decision on various forums.

I don't think one needs to forgive to continue in the marriage.

Leaving your spouse and remarrying someone knew is also a risk, because that new spouse may also cheat. I never thought my husband was the cheater type, but he did cheat.

Remarrying is no more or less a risk than staying with a repentant cheating spouse.

In fact, I feel safer staying with the devil I know.

The cheating was out of character for my husband and he sorely regrets it.

IMO, he already got his ya ya's out.

A new guy may still have those ya ya's locked inside. So whether I stay or go, once being bitten I will still be shy about someone having an affair behind my back, no matter how good and loyal and dependable they appear.

I don't believe forgiving or not forgiving is going to make a difference in my mindset going forward, whether i stay or divorce my cheating spouse. The mind damage of being deceived has been done.

IMO, people need to do what feels right for them.

I feel no need to forgive bad behavior. I can move past it and learn to live with the pain it caused and often still causes, but I don't need to forgive to do that.

As for worrying about a cheating spouse cheating again, my husband has often expressed the fear that I will now meet someone who makes me feel safe and leave him.

And you know what, he SHOULD be worried about that, it's always a possibility, now.

Prior to his affair, never. No one could have shaken me loose from my marriage. But now, it's definitely a possibility. His affair has destroyed some of the fierce protective loyalty I felt toward him and our marriage.

That thought keeps him on his toes, IMO. And, it should.

As for whether or not to take a cheater back. IMO, that depends on the way he/she behaved in the marriage as a whole.

If he/she was a lout, and lazy, and the loyal spouse always has to feed the cheating spouse's ego to keep them happy and was always doing all the giving, then, yes, let the lout go.

When one spouse is a giver and the other a huge taker that's not a marriage, that's slavery

Staying after and affair, is really a personal choice only the person living in the marriage can discern.

My husband was always a good husband who never prior lied or cheated. It' tough to hide cheating in our town, that's how I found out about his affair...gossip.

My husband also has changed and there have been many improvements on his part in our marriage. If there weren't, I would be gone.

The OW did stroke his ego, and he claims he found it amusing, albeit eventually somewhat annoying, he says. It seemed phony and sappy to him.

At first he enjoyed the easy no strings, sex on demand she offered.

Still the double life was beginning to be too much work and not as enjoyable as initially and he found the OW to be a bit dippy. She was also becoming too demanding of his time.

One thing I do know, if I did divorce my spouse, I could never go into a new relationship with someone who had already lied and deceived a prior spouse.

IMO, that would be a waste of time. I would rather be alone, if I could not at first have the illusion that my new spouse, after divorcing a cheater, was the loyal type.

Porscha said...

Well said anonymous.

Anonymous said...

Well said, Shawn, and others here who give true meaning to the word love by giving a reformed wayward spouse a second chance. Keep up the good work, Shawn, and I like the song you chose to play in the background of this blog.

shawn thewife said...

Anonymous: What song?? There's a song? I can barely post and comment. I did not put a song on here. Weird......
Thanks for your kind words and filling me in about the mystery song!
Hope & Hugs, Shawn

Anonymous said...


This was one of the most honest things I've read in blogs. Really admirable how you are willing to search in yourself and on this blog for answers, I think this is a great inspiration for everyone who has ever had to deal with the darker sides of life.

I've got no answers. If I look back on betrayal that I have been through myself: I eventually forgave and my heart was lighter afterwards. But I'm not sure if the two are interconnected. But that betrayal has been a while (it was my best friend sleeping with my then on and off fiancé and years later she is still one of my best friends - and he is too, though the engagement was off).

I think you could ask yourself: why not try it? What do you have to lose in trying to forgive?






Anonymous said...

Shawn:

Yesterday when I landed on your web page, a song began to play. It was "Our Love is Here to Stay." I thought for sure you put it there. I never heard it prior. Hmmm. Veerrrry weird, but so apropos and kinda' cool given the content of your blog. Way cool.

Here are the words to the song and performed by Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong:

Its very clear, our love is here to stay
Not for a year, but forever and a day
The radio and the telephone,
And the movies that we know
May just be passing fancies
And in time may go

But, oh my dear
Our love is here to stay
Together we're going a long long way
In time the Rockies may crumble
Gibraltar may tumble
They're only made of clay
But our love is here to stay

But oh, oh my dear
Our love is here to stay
Together we're going a long long way
In time the Rockies may crumble
Gibraltar may tumble
They're only made of clay
But our love is here to stay
Its here to stay
Its here to stay
Its here to stay.

Anonymous said...

Michele I have no doubt that the OW also feels torment and pain, however, it doesn't compare to the pain the betrayed spouse is feeling. The spouse is blindsided, forced to face the betrayal and lies. Wondering how he could come home to her every day with these secrets and lies between them and still sleep with her and celebrate anniversaries and holidays, all while sleeping with another woman. The OW knows he is going home to his wife, and probably still having sex with her, yet she makes the choice to stay and allow him to be with both of them. The spouse does not make this choice. She does not knowingly allow her husband to use her while continuing to sleep with another woman. This happens to her behind her back. If she had been given the choice, the affair would have ended one way or another. I feel sad that a woman would allow herself to be used in this way and give the man all of the control.
You did the right thing by telling your husband right away that you were no longer committed to your marriage. You released him to move on and find someone else, hopefully without destroying him completely. You saved him from having to deal with months/years of living a lie, and being made a fool of; questioning his intuition.
You didn't do the right thing with the WS though. You allowed him to continue stringing you both along until his wife found out on her own. For one year you and the WS kept her trapped without being able to decide for herself if she wanted to stick around. You chose to stick around, waiting for him to make up his mind, she didn't. She spent months questioning why her spouse seemed to be losing interest in her and picking at everything she did. In order to allow themselves to cheat the WS has to find fault in their spouse; they can no longer do anything right, so while they dip their feet in both sides, they destroy their spouse’s self esteem little by little, finding fault with everything, without the spouse understanding why.
You could have forced him to make a choice; and refused to see him as long as he was still married. But you were afraid he would choose her. You said you could not unleash your anger on him at the time as you wanted him to choose to be with you and knew his wife was making his life miserable every day, so if he was going to choose you, you had to be a softer place to land. This is upsetting to me and just proves that the affair is a fantasy, not reality. Did you ever think that maybe he (and you, the affair) was what was making his life miserable and making his wife miserable. The OW creates the illusion that she is better for him; that she is perfect. The OW suppresses her true feelings and tries to be the Stepford wife in the hopes that he will choose her. She tries desperately to show him that she is a better woman and would be the perfect wife; always willing and available when he wants sex, never yelling or getting angry when he disappoints her. Always on her best behavior, creating the impression that his wife is inferior. Meanwhile, while you are playing fantasy wife with him, she is at home cooking his meals, cleaning his house, doing his laundry, looking after his kids, taking care of household bills, even picking up the slack for him, since he’s not home enough to mow the lawn and take care of his regular chores, while he’s off banging the OW.
For all the OW/OM out there or those who are considering getting involved with a married person, understand that most of what you want to believe about the marriage and the spouse are not true. Most of what the WS tells you are lies made up by the WS to allow them to continue the affair, to rationalize that they’re only doing this because they are not happy, their spouse doesn't understand them. In their current mental state, they probably even believe it themselves. But know that it is not true, they are also not meeting their spouse’s needs and in time the same things that bother them about their spouse will bother them about their AP.
SL

Anonymous said...

This posting was very timely. I feel like I've gone as far as I can go in my healing until I forgive; not him, but myself. Forgive myself for not seeing it, not catching a clue, not understanding what was happening in my own life, in my own marriage, for being played the fool time and again, for trusting without question and on and on. I think, to me, forgiveness will be when I can stop with the "would've, should've, could've, if only." I know I cannot change the past, but I still spend too much of my time wishing I could. Forgiveness, for me, will be when I let go of trying/hoping/wishing I could make the past be something different than it was. I am not saying that I will be glad it happened, absolutely NOT. I am not saying that I wouldn't take the offer of the magic genie telling me that I could have that magic wish. No, I am saying that I will stop wasting so much of my thoughts and time wishing for that magic genie that just does not exist. Letting go of the "would've, should've, could've, if only" that rule my brain, my world, my life; that is what forgiveness will be to me. TL xx

strong survivor said...

Anonymous is spot on about the OW/OM. Michele, he didn't 'cheat on you', he was married already. Whatever sick twisted way you want to think about it, a spouse being with his wife is NOT cheating on the OW. My only hope for people like you is that the same hurt can eventually come your way tenfold. In many instances, a WS's life is not as horrible as they may portray to the OW/OM - in fact, they portray it that way so you will continue to sleep with them and stroke their ego. UGH

amanda said...

We don't forgive because it gives us a sense of control. The former wayward knows we don't forgive therefore they are on their best behavior, paying attention to us, doing things for and with us us they never did before, trying to maybe hopefully one day receive that wonderful gift of forgiveness.

We betrayed think, If I completely forgive, he won't have to be so attentive any more and very well may slip back in to his old ways and we can't have that happen. In our minds,

Benefits of forgiving: Trust, comfort, knowing
Benefits of unforgiving: attention, doting, met needs

You simple don't forgive because you simply still don't trust that your wayward won't slip back into old behaviors.

Trish said...

Trish
I am over a year since finding my H was involved in something, nine months actually knowing he had an affair. I was trying to heal from a lie the first few months but knew there was more..

I have decided to stay with my H because I know he loves me and realize its himself he didn't love. However, these thoughts do NOT help with the anguish that comes with the realization that he wanted someone else.

I have been stuck moving forward and was looking for something when I came across your blog and WOW did it hit home. I am thankful that I see there is light thru this darkness and what I am feeling is part of the "NORM" after an affair.

Because I was feeling stuck and would have good days but then have those days be overshadowed by the thoughts of them together and the words he said to her. I thought possibly I was telling myself that maybe I made the wrong decision to stay with him. I didn't understand or don't understand why I keep torturing myself with these thoughts but after reading all this and the comments I feel again that I am on the right path and I am very thankful that you have shared your story for all of us trying to survive the unthinkable, the person you love most betraying you...

Cche said...

Today is my Dday one year ago. My hands are shaking typing this. I'm sitting outside my daughters school waiting for her
Today I feel numb.
The last year was the worst of my life. Hopefully my worst ever. I feel hollow. Do we run out of emotions? Maybe I used them all up.

Dday. The day I learned I was married to a stranger. A year later I have learned more about myself than him. The thing that is mind blowing to me is that if I hadn't mentioned it, he would not have known what this week meant. What this day was. How do they do that? I envy it almost. The ability to block things out. To conveniently forgot to save yourself the discomfort of remembering the pain he caused. That is a skill I do not have. My super power is caring about how other people feel. That is why this year has been Hell. I feel horrible for the little girl in me what was hurt, rejected, and betrayed. Taking care of her the last year has been my distraction. My fWH will never fully understand the impact of his actions.

Camilla said...

Hey shawn,

Was wondering how you were & how you holiday went. Hope you are feeling better.

shawn thewife said...

Cche: The first anti-versary is a vicious, ugly day for most betrayed spouses. We worry ourselves sick thinking about it as it approaches, then BAM!!.... the anti-versary arrives and we almost feel obligated to wallow in our grief, to validate how miserable our lives have been thanks to the selfish dip-shits we married. We punish ourselves with every detail of the affair and each monumental struggle since DDay.

It's next to inevitable. But...guess what?? It's over now, Sister! You have a brand new fresh year to look forward to.

Unsolicited advice ain't worth a lot as a general rule. We all have to find our own path, our unique Road to Happy, but I will offer this:
It always helped me to focus on what my FWH was doing for me NOW when THEN started to eat away at my forward momentum.
And use friends like the ones you can find here and on SI and the Healing Heart. Sometimes, just purging poison into cyber space can release a shit ton of demons.
Glad you found us.
Hope & Hugs, Shawn

shawn thewife said...

Camilla: I feel fine. I felt fine when I wrote this last post. I just have moments where I question myself...a lot.
Before DDay, I didn't do that much. I was almost always sure of my choices, confidant in my decisions...now...I harbor more self-doubt than I like to admit. Maybe I need to blog more!! Clear the ole' noggin'!

I'm a little messed up, but my life is basically good. My marriage is good. Richard is ever so grateful for his second chance. My family is together, very happy and we had a lovely holiday.
You are such a doll to ask! Hope your holidays were wonderful, too.
Hope & Hugs, Shawn

Steph said...

BS SAYS: "One thing I do know, if I did divorce my spouse, I could never go into a new relationship with someone who had already lied and deceived a prior spouse.

IMO, that would be a waste of time. I would rather be alone, if I could not at first have the illusion that my new spouse, after divorcing a cheater, was the loyal type."
_______________________
However BS, you stayed with someone who lied and deceived you. There is a difference? I love your blog Shawn however the level of delusion and denial of some of your readers are at an all time high.

BS said...



Step Steph steph:

You so missed my point. Please pay attention.

My point was and is:

Why leave a reformed cheater who is now treating you better than he has ever treated you because he is grateful for a second chance, for a newby spouse who may cheat.

But, if you are spiteful enough to refuse to give your long term mate, one you already have a history with, a second chance, at least when you pick someone new, at least then, marry someone who at least is not already someone who cheated, so you can have the short term feeling that this newby, no history, won't cheat, until he does. ;)

The level of delusion among people who claim to love this blog, yet obviously don't get it is astounding.

suzanne said...

Hi I'm suzy-q. I have read your entire story plus comments in a few days. I'm a few days past anti-versary #3. Although I am not totally recovered and have relapsed in the obsessing/rehashing department over the past month, I am happy to say I've come a LONG way since crazy town. We are still together and have a brand new baby. We call her our reconciliation baby! I will share more of my story in a later comment I think. Today, the topic is forgiveness. I will tell you about a website that has helped me so much in that department. I felt like the unforgiveness in my heart was killing me. She said "Not forgiving is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die!" What s truth that is. It really is for you and not for the other person. It really just says I don't need vengeance anymore. I will never forget it. I will never condone it, but I don't want to carry a cross that I was never meant to bear. The website is Goasksuzie.com and it is a wealth of information. I loved reading your story and I hope this can help some of you as much as you have helped others.
Love and Stuff,
Suzy -Q

Rosalba said...

Hi, I just discovered this blog and all I have been reading has been pretty helpful.

I had a lukewarm marriage of 20 years, my husband had always loved me more than I loved him , we had a lot of problems because he has always been a big drinker and partier. Over the years we had lots of conflicts over these Issues and there were lots of times I considered leaving him. However I hung in there and built a beautiful family with three kids.

In 2014 I got cancer, leukemia, and almost died. He was there by my side through all the process, chemo and finally a bone marrow transplant which finally saved my life. This process took in all 16 months in which I couldn't have any physical contact with anyone.
When I started getting better I realized he was seeing some other women and I confronted him. He got physically abusive and denied it even though I started finding evidence everywhere. He finally admitted having had sex with 2 women because of the physical need which I couldn' t address because hell, I was fighting for my life at the time



I was so fragile I couldn't leave him and he finally apologized and told me my cancer had totally freaked him out and that "somebody" had been there for him at the time.

I decided to stay with him but he continued to drink a lot and lie to me and last December (2016) I discovered he had continued seeing the two women he had been cheating with... I found a message in which he was telling one of them he wanted to be with me and recover his family.

I left him for two months but I am back with him again..

This time he seems to be really sorry and determined to never stray again but I feel all the weight of getting past this falls solely on me... Its me who has to accept if not forgive what he did to us, its me who has to keep mantaining our family together and I am starting to feel as if nothing really ever will change.
I have a 15 year old daughter with severe depression , she has even tried to commit suicide, and I know for a fact all of what's happened, starting with me staying with my husband despite all the abuse, has really affected her.

Yet I can not seem to find the strenght I need to finally leave him. I keep having hope he will change.

I need my family together at all costs.

I ' ll appreciate any advice you can give me.

Rosalba

shawn thewife said...

(((Rosalba))) Your story tells me you are a woman of rare strength! Your decision to hold your family together is admirable. Please give yourself credit for doing the best you can.
I hesitate to share too much advice, but I hope you will take this to heart: YOU and your daughter deserve to be treated with respect and love and kindness. You should demand it, expect it and accept nothing less.

Please visit the Healing Heart message boards. There you will find very special people that will be there for you with compassionate support and invaluable insight. You can read, ask questions or just rant away! Just knowing you are not alone can be a huge step toward finding your Road to Happy.
The link is at the bottom of my blog.
Take good care of you and your daughter.
Hope & Hugs, Shawn