The most important affair recovery lesson learned

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The most important affair recovery lesson learned post image

Photo courtesy of donireewalker https://www.flickr.com/photos/doniree/

During my recovery journey, one of the most important lessons I learned is that my happiness can absolutely not be dependent on another person, whether it’s my husband, my kids, or anyone else. I gave my entire self-worth to my husband, he was my confidence. So when he cheated, I was mentally paralyzed. Nothing felt good. It was a scary place to be. Through time I discovered why I was so depressed. My happiness depended on my husband – period. He called the shots, if he acted like I wanted to, then I could smile, if not, I was depressed. Like a drug addict, I literally had to detach myself from my dependence on him, and it was not easy, but it was possible, because I did it.

Me being dependent on him was not a good thing. He had too much power over me, and to be honest, it was not fair to him for me to put my entire happiness on his actions. That was a lot of weight on a marriage. I kept trying to get him to feed me confidence through his actions after the affair, and it wasn’t working, I felt like I was getting more and more depressed by his actions. I felt like life was saying to me – stop going to him, but I did not know where else to go, except for within.

And thus I embarked on a journey to discover me. To discover how I can build myself up. It started with doing things that I like, I enjoy. Slowly but surely I started noticing something, when I did things I enjoyed, I came home a little bit more relaxed, a little bit more energetic. I didn’t realize it at the time, but the dependence on my husband to make me happy was slowly getting replaced by my own strength.

Then something else happened. I started to see my marriage clearly. You see, when your happiness is dependent on someone else, it is hard to see the situation clearly. But once you slowly start to lose that addiction, you can see your vision is not blurred by his dependence.

This was a slow process for me took almost two years for me to finally be in a place of strength from within. Yes during the process there were times where he made me cry or where I let him shake me up, and that was ok, it was all part of the process. I took small bite size action to invest in myself over time.

I think our society expects everything to move so quickly, I would get mad at myself for not recovering quick enough. Infidelity recovery is not a get rich quick scheme, it is a slow moving process. But if you focus within, you will come out of the experience with a strength that you never knew you had.

This is why I support pushing everyone to work on themselves. You should take bite size action to put yourself first weather or not you stay married or not. If you stay married, the worst that can happen is that you will be a happier wife, because you will learn how to be happy on your own, without dependence from your husband. Which means the time you spend together can be focused on rebuilding the marriage. As women we have to fuel our own strength so that we can be in a position to give to our husband, our family, friends and children. Put yourself first, focus on rebuilding your strength, bite size action everyday towards things that make you smile, trust me, you will not be disappointed.

  • Ella May 30, 2012, 8:48 AM

    Love this post This is what I needed today! I totally looked at my self worth through my husband’s eyes — even though I know better than that. I put so much into him, that when he let me down, it crumbled. No more. I was strong before him and know I will be strong with or without him. It definitely takes time. It’s paralyzing like you said. Thanks.

    • Jewels May 31, 2012, 10:13 PM

      Thanks Ella, I am glad it helped. It’s one of those things you need constant reminding, it’s so easy to fall back on the dependence because that is what we are use to. Take care!!

      Rhonda, I know it’s tough, it is a word in progress, you might have some good days and bad, but the key is to keep pushing, keep looking forward, you will get there!

  • Rhonda May 30, 2012, 9:48 AM

    Great post and so stinkin true! Now if I could just stick to this then I will be O.K.

  • Cocobee June 3, 2012, 5:48 PM

    I really enjoyed this post! I am recently separated from my husband due to infidelity I discovered several months ago. In the heat of the moment when I caught him he begged me to stay and he seemed sincere. However, I noticed that through his behavior things had not really changed. So I told him that I was NOT going to take it anymore and compete with other women in my marriage. It has only been about 3 months now and the process is very slow and steady. I can definitely relate to your testimony because I strived to be the perfect wife and would validate my happiness through his, trying to accomodate him and put his needs before my own. He became so comfortable at texting other woman that my family members even noticed his odd, addictive behavior, but for some strange, odd reason, I couldn’t see or maybe pyschologically didn’t want to see because I knew that going to that place and confronting him would mean that I would have to face the truth, that the person who I felt should be my comforter, my solace, had betrayed me. I am an auditor so I spent several months auditing his actions and putting my money away getting myself prepared to make my move. I prayed on it and when God gave me the strength I kicked him out of the house. It is abit surreal living here alone without his ghost but I am now at peace, because I don’t spend sleepless nights wanting to check his phone to be disappointed by another text or wondering if he is really traveling for work “alone.” I have definitely been doing things I love, like getting massages, shopping (not good,lol) and exercising to get a kick ass beyonce body so he can hate on it (but really I am doing it for me, to feel better). We as women give so much of ourselves, we must protect ourselves by obtaining our own individual identities and quiet strength. My entire identity was wrapped in being married, but it also proved to be a crutch because I don’t have to be “married” or in its institution to be worthy. I am worthy on my own! I don’t knock any woman who decides to stay after the affair, however the trust issues I had coupled with his lack of concern to change and continue his actions is the catalyst for why I left. Thanks Jewels for your encouragement! I also workout to a survival mix that I put together to help me I would love to add some of its content to your Affair Empowerment songs! Thanks again!

    • Jewels June 3, 2012, 9:19 PM

      Hello Cocobee,

      Welcome to the site, it is very interested how we sacrifice so much of ourselves in the marriage. It seems like you caught on very quickly to look at his actions, not his words. You said that other people were noticing but maybe you didn’t want to see, I think that happens to all of us, it’s overwhelming to actually think that our husband would actually be cheating. My ex-husband would make me feel like a was over-thinking and/or being paranoid when I brought things up, and after a while I started to believe him, until I saw it with my own two eyes. The lack of concern to change is a huge problem, many women try to make their husband be concerned, I know I did and stressed myself to no end trying to do so until I realized it wasn’t working.

      You seem like you are headed in a great direction, doing things for you, putting yourself first, great things are in store, keep in touch and let me know how life is treating you. Take Care!!

  • JB June 4, 2012, 12:07 PM

    Jewels,
    Thank you once again for putting things into perspective. Just what I needed to read this morning. I know that many times when we are dealing with crisis in our lives we lose sight of the big picture- US! You are right- it is a process and the journey is often full of struggle and conflict, but with each passing day lessons are learned and progress is made. We just have to look at the journey in terms of stepping stones to where we are going and not ones from where we have been. Focusing on the future and what lies ahead is so much more fun anyway—so many possibilities. I know for me this site has been a true saving grace- it is teaching me to be strong in my own right and feel worthy in all my accomplishments big or small (the small ones definitely outnumber the big ones-but that is ok for me now.) I still hate what has brought all of us here, but am grateful we found one another. Being able to share, vent, and get others take on our situations is so important in healing from infidelity. I know it gives me the strength to push through the tough places and move forward in my life- the strength to be bold, courageous, and challenge myself- the strength to take chances- the strength to stop second guessing myself along the way –just knowing there is an army of women who understands me and is fighting for me and is with me each step of the way makes the process a little easier—like I have always said there is strength in numbers :) Life is full of choices and cross roads, ups and downs, sorrow and joy—each day we learn more about ourselves and become more comfortable in our own skins.
    I love quotes and this is one that I have framed in my home office. It has hung there for years, but this past year it has taken on a whole new meaning for me– Thought it was appropriate for the conversation….
    “For a long time it had seemed to me that life was about to begin – real life. But there was always some obstacle in the way, something to be gotten through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, a debt to be paid. Then life would begin. At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life. This perspective has helped me to see that there is no way to happiness. Happiness is the way. So, treasure every moment that you have. And treasure it more because you shared it with someone special, special enough to spend your time… and remember that time waits for no one…
    So stop waiting until you finish school, until you go back to school, until you lose ten pounds, until you gain ten pounds, until you have kids, until your kids leave the house, until you start work, until you retire, until you get married, until you get divorced, until Friday night, until Sunday morning, until you get a new car or home, until your car or home is paid off, until spring, until summer, until fall, until winter, until the first or fifteenth, until your song comes on, until you’ve had a drink, until you’ve sobered up, until tomorrow to decide that there is no better time than right now to be happy… Happiness is a journey, not a destination.”
    ― Alfred D. Souza
    Thank you again for your continued wisdom and this amazing forum as we all find our way to being truly happy within ourselves and moving forward in the life that we were all meant to live. I’m not waiting for tomorrows anymore and hope all of you won’t either. Peace and Blessings my friends

    • Jewels June 5, 2012, 10:40 PM

      Hello JB,

      It’s always good to hear from you, you are such a positive energy and light, your messages on the site have helped many women. You are so right that looking at the possibilities, imagining the amazing future is so much more fun than focusing on the current state. In imagining the future, it gives me something to hope for, to strive for. I love quotes as well, I have read that one by Alfred before, but every time I read it again, it’s like a breath of fresh air. Take Care and as always, thank you for your support!

  • JB June 6, 2012, 10:23 AM

    Jewels,
    Thanks for your kind words again- I check in every few days just to reflect and make sure everyone is ok. This morning I met with my running coach– yes, I know running for the first time at 48 seems crazy, but it has been a salvation for me these past months of mental healing that I have endured. He said something to me that finally hit home- as I told him that by paying him (very small amount for what he give me in the confidence area for sure) I am accountable to him and it makes me want to keep running and getting better at this new challenge in my life. He responded with ” Don’t look at this as accountability to me- look at this as an investment in yourself.” Oh! light blub moment for sure. I think for so many years I like many here lost my way in the journey of happiness- I stopped investing in me. So for today ladies, look at the small steps forward in healing as investments in ourselves- bank these accomplishments whether it be a day without tears or the day you make a decision to stay or leave- it is an investment in YOU! Keep making that bank grow and eventually we will all have what we want in life– a happy US! Until next time, Peace and Blessing to each and everyone of you—I’m here supporting you all.

    • Jewels June 11, 2012, 10:28 PM

      JB,
      Running sounds so therapeutic, and I love the concept of having a coach to help you with it!! I love what your coach said, investment in yourself. That is exactly what a coach does. It’s such a bold move of valuing yourself, saying I deserve to have someone focus on helping me. And when you haven’t invested in yourself as a regular habit, it is actually a little uncomfortable at first, or at least it was for me. It’s crazy but I would put no effort into investing for my kids or putting in extra hours for the job, but when it comes to investing in myself, in the past, it would be a serious decision, I would question the need up and down, do I really need my hair done, do I really need to attend this event? Just like you, I lost my way. But it is amazing to get back to me – simply amazing! The one true gift we can give is to show the world how to love us by taking action and loving ourselves. Virtual Hugs!!

  • Elizabeth July 5, 2012, 9:30 AM

    Hi Jewels, I just read your post, and I want to say thank you so much. My partner just told me yesterday that he has been cheating on me with a woman he supposedly cares nothing about. He broke it off with her over text while I sat there– she had no idea they were having casual sex and he was in a relationship, she “loved him” according to her text. By the end, I felt bad for her too, she had no idea and was hurt too. So, I’m in shock and devastated because he was my best friend too. I have no idea what’s going on, I don’t think I have a coherent thought left in my head. He “wants to be alone” but is being over-the-top helpful and nice.

    Your post made me realize that maybe I don’t have to figure anything out. Maybe I should just try to get back up and work on myself and whatever happens, happens, but I have put in enough effort and guilt on myself. Thank you, and hugs to you on your journey.

  • Tootles October 16, 2012, 10:58 AM

    I found out just a few months ago that my husband if 35 years has been cheating on and off the whole time..He is a sex addict and was molested by his sister for years when he was young, I understand but still don’t know if I should go or stay. He puts on a different persona so no one knows and would be completely shocked to know he was this way…I don’t know what to do???

  • Angel October 17, 2012, 10:57 AM

    Tootles, has he persued help for what happened with his sister? I know for a fact abuse like that can fester inside a man and cheating can be a symptom of the pain and confusion inside of him. The persona he puts on may very well be the “mask” abuse survivors put on in order to hide from it all. Abuse seriously hinders a persons development and causes a person to have very low self esteem. And we know some men cheat to boost self esteem. He may be using cheating as a coping mechinism,a bad choice, but he may be. I know some male abuse survivors and they all have done this,the cheating,the mask ect. Alot of abuse victims do not have good coping mechenisms and can have a distorted view of themselves. Also abuse victims usually can compartmentalise and dissasociate very well without realizing it, in order to cope.

  • Angel October 17, 2012, 11:04 AM

    Also is he being honest with you or showing any remorse? Is marriage counciling something you would both be open to and possibly individual counciling for the abise he went through?

  • Tootles October 17, 2012, 11:34 AM

    Yes he seems to be open and honest, some things are still surfacing or coming to his memory concerning the childhood abuse, but he has told me many if not all the times he has cheated as an adult. Our discussions are very open and candid almost like you would have with a good friend…He shares even the thoughts that temp him that he hasn’t acted on…yes he is very remorseful and it has come out that he has a very low self esteem. According to him he has hated this double life, he said the cheating was compulsive and very hard to control when it would come over him. Yes we would be open to counseling, we don’t really know where to start or go…

  • Angel October 17, 2012, 2:15 PM

    Tootles, I know how difficult this must be for you. Those are not just words of sympathy, I know. This is a very difficult situation and probably stems very deep. Your decision to stay or go is yours alone,no one can tell you the answer. Everyone is different and every situation is different. At the end of the day you and only you have to live with your decisions. I believe if he is being honest and is honestly remorseful,theres a chance. I believe if he is willing to be commited ti fixing the marriage,theres a chance. I believe if you can work towards forgiving him and commit to fixing the marriage,theres a chance. These are the key components that are needed. I know victims of abuse can suffer horribly if they never sought help. I know men who have been abused suffer just as woman do but they also suffer with things that can be difficult for a woman to understand. If he never had counciling he should seriously consiter it. You cannot force him but it would help him. Marriage counciling can be very helpful,it helped us very much. There are online support groups for men who are recovering from abuse,if that is something he would be interested in trying. If you are interested in marriage counciling your health insurance company can tell you if they would cover it and should be able to give you a couple therapists in your area that they cover.

  • Angel October 17, 2012, 2:36 PM

    Also if he was interested look up R.A.I.N.N. on the internet and give them a call,they may be able to find a therapist in your area that could work with him concerning the abuse. Just remember that what he went through is a painful delicate situation. He cannot be forced into therapy if he doesnt want to. Compulsive issues are common in abuse victims and can leave them feeling powerless. He still holds the responsibility of what he did,he knew what he was doing was wrong. But it may have been very difficult for him to cope with the compulsive behavior. Recovering from all of this together is no easy task,trust me, Im 2 years in. I stayed with my husband and my marriage had the same components yours did and it was no easy task,it was and is the most difficult thing Ive ever done. My marriage has healed amazingly. Weve even had articles written on us and an offer to appear on a couples therapy television show to help council others on how to heal their marriages. So a situation like yours can be healed however it is serious work. Also, God played the biggest part in our healing, I dont know where you both stand on God and that by all means is your buisness however I just wanted to mention that without God my marriage never would have made it. Recovery is a slow process but possible.

  • Angel October 17, 2012, 4:46 PM

    The decision is up to you and no one can judge you on what you decide. No one can blaim you for walking away, 35 years of cheating is,well theres no words to describe that. Then also it has been 35 years together. Chances are you have spent most of your life with this man,created 35 years of memories. Whatever your decision,we are all here for you

  • tootles October 17, 2012, 6:50 PM

    Angel, Thank you so much for your responses to me they have helped so much and helped me not feel so alone. We do have a lifetime of memories, we also have 5 children and 10 grandchildren…we are both Christians and have been since my husband was about 29 years old. We do rely on His love and mercy for our lives…This is something my husband has tried to get free from for years, even though like you said he knew it was wrong he couldn’t stop it at times. That’s kind of like the abuse he suffered he knew it was wrong what was being done to him, but he couldn’t stop her and then on top of that it felt good as a child…I do understand thus with my mind and can even forgive him, but it still does so much damage to your heart and soul…Thank you for the info and we are going to follow up on it. One thing that makes it hard is a few years ago he had to start driving ling haul semi truck…We feel it’s imperative that he gets out of that and home but worry about finances and insurance…whats your opinion on that…because I know if your going to cheat you can find it anywhere but there it is in your face day and night…Thank you again for your support…

  • Angel October 17, 2012, 8:23 PM

    You are very welcome and you by no means are alone. The pain is ungodly and what a persons soul goes through is undescribable,that is true. Now is the time to go to the Lord more than ever. Before my husband was unfaithful I thought I had God, I was wrong. I tried everything I could and only got so far and kept falling. It was not till I hit rock bottom with my depression and almost killed myself that I truely gave myself to God. I spent as much time with him as humanly possible and threw all my Faith into him. He has shown us mercy and love. Only God can heal wounds this deep. My husband barely believed in God before the infidelity but now has such a love for him he is persuing ministry. If you both believe he should find a new line of work,especially if he cheated through work, I believe its a good idea. It will help him break some of the patterns with him and probably make you feel more comfortable. Finances are hard today and everyone struggles to make ends meet. However you have to think it through well because you dont need your finances suffering on top of all the stress you already have. If he can find a job that can still provide and have him off the road more than it may be best. See, we got lucky, my husband got laid off a couple months after he cheated so he decided it would be best to collect unemployment for a while so he could dedicate all his time to working on us. Then,he had a hard time finding a job and has been unemployed for a year and a half. It has been financially very rough,but a blessing in disguise. Most people dont get their husband home all day and night to rebuild trust,we got lucky in a sense. If he wanted to cheat,your right, he will find a way. This world makes it very easy to cheat. Hes going to have to show you that you can trust him and that can take a long time. He cant lie to you and his life and privacy needs to be an open book to you. He must be accountable at all times,no sneaky behavior. I do hope you find good counciling,ot can make a world of difference. You and your husband are in my prayers. Also if you use facebook, I have a marriage page to help people staying in their marriage after infidelity. http://www.facebook.com/lovesforgiveness

  • No Moore November 6, 2012, 2:35 PM

    I feel you. This just literally just happened to me 3 weeks ago.

    we have been married for just over a year. He started a internship with a big company and he started to grow very distant from me. he just bottled up everything from me. He in the few things he said to me or talking of his past mostly sexual stuff It hurt so bad. I felt like we were spiraling out of control and I could fix it.

    Then he starts talking about a disabled friend named angie who is blissfully married. they become inseparable. He talked about stupid shit like her husband antics for her when they were upset. nothing alarming yet.

    three weeks ago Larry demands a divorce and leaves. He lied where he was moving to. he said something about this duplex his friend angie, same b*tch owns. then he said he was living in the woods. ow i know they just shacked up.

    on November 4 just 2 days ago a lot came to light.

    He and his friend angie are engaged. she is married to a man as well and both Larry and angie left their spouses the same time. she is not in a wheel chair and was in my house when he snuck into the house to get his shit. he now has his children can her mom and she loves it.

    so to my point here. have you ever heard of Kharma? it can be a b*tch. Larry got an STD from her and apparently her family, rather mad. LOL.

    God bless the powers that be.

  • SugarBear December 3, 2012, 6:40 PM

    Ok I’ve been married to my husband 12yrs now. He was my most very best friend and we shared everything with EACHOTHER very quickly,we knew EACHOTHER many yrs b4 we got together but hadnt seen EACHOTHER in 10-12yrs. Anyways,we’ve both made mistakes so I’m not saying I’m angel. But I learned from my mistakes and I couldn’t hurt him like that again EVER! We have had many do-overs but I’m the only person whom has been fighting for this marriage/friendship. He always had a way of being a good boy n saying just the right things to lay bandages over my wounds. For a yr n a half I’d been trying to catch him messing around on me cuz I KNOW HIM n his behaviors when someone else gets in the mix. This time I caught him with this girl. Of course he sticks to his lies but he KNOWS that I know the truths of things with this girl. She’s almost the same age as my oldest girl and he constantly was partying with this girl at our mutual friends homes. I’ve lost almost everything,basically I’ve let everything spiral into a black hole. He made me sit in the same room with this girl and it took everything I had not to act like a teenage crazy person and try to kill her. That day changed me forever. Everything I’ve gone through,the story is so unimaginable I can’t begin to explain. It’s permanently f**cked me up so bad I’d rather be dead. I can’t believe I’ve lowered myself to such a pathetic human being. I breathe everyday for my kids and grandson. I tried council but I end up editing out of fear. For the time being I am trapped. I fight with rage inside myself daily,I’ve lost almost 50lbs since July. Between this girl and my friend being murdered 2 doors Dwn frm my Hm,I’ve been a wreck. :'( I’ve tried so hard over the yrs to get him to open up to me again n talk to me. I don’t believe a damn thing that comes frm his face anymore. History is showing me not to. And god is guiding me n my youngest in the direction we will be safer and happier. I had a very tiny itsy glimmer of hope a couple weeks ago,like an idiot,he musta been doing those right things again n sucking me in w/o me being totally aware. Idk but then like b4 he went to his brothers n after few hrs stopped answering my txts or calls. Needless to say I went from 0-60 with pure evil until he finally commented 4hrs after evil was blowin up his phone. He wrote very little. It said don’t trip it’s not like u think. Whatever! He don’t know the dirt I’ve gotten during my evil periods consuming me. Anyhow after 3 days he came Hm of course he wntd to come Hm the whole time but had I not txt crazy things blah blah blah. Blame shifter is his game. After 2 weeks a woman we r friends with came to me and told me a lol story one like I’ve heard b4 frm other random people in the past. Almost word for word lol. I haven’t confronted him on it cuz it’s pointless! I am now realizing I settled for a player along the way and as hard as it is to choke it Dwn and swollow it I don’t want revenge anymore. I don’t want no more info frm random peeps. I don’t want anything but for him to go bck to jail as soon as they catch up with him and I’m packing everything into a storage unit,preparing my family to watch over there shoulders for him n stay safe,and I’m taking our child,hopping on a plane and disappearing until I know for sure he has moved on w/o me. He says I won’t leave him and he will find me. A restraining order isn’t gonna b enough so please dnt tell me to get one. Lol I know if I disappear he will jump into his drug n alcohol problems and be gone n moved on. I even at one point told him if he wz to completely come clean and stop lying and tell me the truth that he knows I already know that I would consider helping him go through treatment n hang on to wrk it out but that wz September n he still is doin same crap. He’s gonna be surprised when he cnt call,or visit,or find me for that matter. He used to be such a different person and now I can’t even stand the thought of him in my home,when he comes home that is. I feel like I’ve wasted 24yrs of my life on marriage. 12yrs on the first husband and 12 on #2. I try to joke and say I must have a 12yr expiration date on marriage or something lol. I feel like a complete fool! I’m absolutely humiliated and embarrassed that I’ve allowed all this shit! My son tells me,”mom it’s not a mistake that you’ve put yourself or ur kids through it all…it’s just another of life’s lessons and now it’s time for you to move forward without fear n live ur life.” Now I wonder how he became such an awesome kid/man n says he’s learned it all frm me. I felt like I’ve failed my kids n myself cuz I chose this amazing man to share my life with and he tricked me and changed into someone who only looks like the guy I married n fell in luv with. I don’t think I will ever trust enough to get close to someone again. I’m terrified of tomorrow. I ask for prayers of strength for me and my family?! I know I WILL be ok with god guiding me. Thank u for letting me share a lol bit of my story,it has helped to ease my pain n suffering on this night and one day at a time is the only way. Thank you

  • Stephanie December 5, 2012, 9:59 AM

    To sugar bear from Oregon—I feel ur pain so much right now I am trembling. I am sharing those same numbing pains…just found more evidence of my husbands affair in his work vehicle this morning. I love my kids more than anything in this world & that’s why I have put up with this–but I am becoming a horrible person because this is weighing me down. I’m so dead inside. My heart & prayers R with u as we share this unthinkable pain & unbearable broken hearts. May god lead us through these dark times!

    • Jewels December 9, 2012, 12:21 AM

      SugarBear/No Moore,

      It seems like you have been through alot with this man, and now you have had it. After a while it just gets to be too much. Too much pain, too much drama. I know you feel you will never let anyone close to you again, and I can see where you are coming from, because of all the drama. But I really think that if you take some time to be alone, and clear your mind of all the drama you consumed, you will make room for the right man. Take time to learn how to treat yourself amazing, and what will happen is in time (do not be in a rush), someone will enter your life that will treat you amazing – but it starts with you. Take care and enter the next phase of your life with joy (and you are a good mom, your son is very wise).

      No Moore,

      I am not sure if you are following the post anymore, just now seeing your comment. I wish I could say that is crazy that your husband would make up and tell you his ‘other woman’ was in a wheelchair but unfortunately, I am not surprised. I have heard men all kinds of lies, anything to distract the wife or make the ow feel bad for them. It is ridiculous. I hope you are recovering ok and moving on.

  • Leigh December 27, 2012, 7:36 PM

    I’m so glad I found this site. I am sorry to be in the same sad state as everyone, but at least I am in good company. My husband Ed, married 17 years, is not who I thought he was. We have two kids, beautiful and loving children. Exactly one year ago my life ended. I had a terrible couple of years, having taken my mom in because she had no place to go, had mild Alzheimers, couldn’t walk any more. I was taking care of her, my two kids, and working part-time. I used to have a well-paying full-time job but gave it up due to the home needs. Ed said he supported everything. Meanwhile he’d had a promotion with FedEx to a town hours away, worked very long hours…disappeared to the basement “to work” on his laptop, leaving me to take care of the kids and my mom. Well, exactly one year ago, he took Christmas week off, which he hadn’t done in 15 years. While he was home, this girl from work started calling non-stop onhis cell. He told me he was helping her out…referred to the calls as speaking with “this person,” never. Saying her name. Well, I found out the real reason too late. Lori is a co-worker he’s been “friends” with for 12 years. They got “closer” when he conveniently got transferred to the station where she works. Seems Lori is divorced with kids, with another FedEx guy on the side (this was Ed’s story). Then found as “helping her through a rough time.” Well, apparently, my “rough 2 years” didn’t compare with this girl’s needs. She would call him about everything, including her sex life, which he ate up, calling him for advice on her family, kids, everything, fully knowing for 12 years that he is married with two kids. Well, after I confronted him, he denied the affair, then I found hundreds of texts and calls to her personal cell. Then, to top it off, credit card charges to singles and porn sites, looking (as a single dad) for a “curly-dark haired, big busted, adventurous-type” …exactly how he described this Lori to me. By the way she’s 37 and I am 53. I can’t tell you the agony I went though and the pain and anger I feel, even a year after discovering the betrayals. Oh, I also caught him sexting a woman in NY…I called her and told her to stop, and when I confronted him, he said it was a fellow FedEx co-worker’s sister”…then he admitted he’d lied. Well, I am here now, after his request for a divorce after the new year, probably has his Lori lined up, or one of his sexting women. He’s still saying he’s done nothing wrong…it’s my fault for not having enough sex with him. I hope someone can comment. I feel so alone. The weight of the world is on my shoulders, having to scramble for a full-time job, tell my kids about the divorce. I didn’t mention. That my mom passed away 2 weeks ago…then I got his “divorce announcement” on Christmas. Day. Well, I’ll stop now. Just feel like I had to write someone who would understand being cheated on after being blind in this marriage for so many years. After being so trusting of such a cheater. After losing respect for a mother who would steal my husband and destroy my home…my children’s home.

    • Jewels December 29, 2012, 2:24 AM

      Leigh, big hugs to you!!!!

      I am sorry to hear about your mother passing, to go through that pain and then get divorce papers soon after, I can not imagine what you are going through. The first thing I will tell you is that his reason for cheating is lame! My husband said the same thing, and you know what, there are many things you can do other than have an affair if you are not having sex enough. Your husband needs to be accountable for his actions. I know you are not perfect, no one is, we all could be better wives and people. But no one made him lie and cheat, he is a grown man and responsible for his actions.

      And honestly, I know this is a really rough time for you, but in the end, maybe this is a good thing. It seems like your husband was toxic in the way that he has been lying and cheating, and it is time for you to explore Leigh. 50’s are the new 40’s, so you are young and have plenty of time live a full life.

      Your kids will be fine, there is a book call Divorce the Sandcastles Way that I recommend. It tells you what kids go through at each stage and gave me more confidence to deal with the situation. The best thing you can do for your kids is show them that you are human, that life doesn’t always go as planned, but that you are going to stand tall and smile again. It doesn’t have to be tomorrow, but if 6 months to a year from now they see mom glowing because she invested in herself and loved herself dearly despite obstacles, then you have done an excellent job as a mom.

      Talk to a lawyer as well to see what your rights are, hopefully that knowledge will leave you more empowered as well. I know some offer free consultations for divorce. Lori can have him, you have a better future planned, one of peace and one of joy.

  • Leigh December 29, 2012, 5:58 AM

    Dear Jewels,

    I can’t thank you enough for your kindness–your words of support and advice, The fact that you listened and took the time to write me means more than I can say. As we approach the new year, I hope to follow through with calls to find a therapist in my area, and find a lawyer who will do a free consult. As you might imagine, my part-time job doesn’t pay much. I also need to fix/update my resume. As much as I enjoyed being closer to my two girls by working part-time, I do need to get my financial future on the right direction.

    I will check out the book you suggest. I am an avid reader, yet found myself only reading “cheating husband books” this past year. I knew quite a bit of the what was mentioned in the books already, but somehow finding out that others had the same issues helped me not feel so “unique,” not only learning about men cheating with co-workers starting as “emotional affairs,” but about “Internet cheating,” singles sites, porn sites and the “need” for some men to subscribe to these and try to hide their bills, etc from unsuspecting , trusting wives.

    Well, I have to get ready to get my kids from their grandparents’ house. I’ve been hiding out in the bedroom while they’ve been away, just going to work and going upstairs so I can avoid Ed. It hurt so much 4 months ago when I overheard him talking to Lori on the phone. In the beginning I tried to listen in…now I do my best to hide so I don’t overheat anything, and don’t hear details of his outings days or nights.

    One thing you mentioned made me feel much better–50’s are the new 40’s. One thing I’ve had on my side is looking pretty good for my age. Even when I stopped getting “dressed for work,” people complimented me for looking good…must be my dad’s genes. Also, I don’t do the “fake make-up” and always smiled at everyone…till this last year…but I hope to smile again next year!

    Jewels, I thank you once again for your support. I hope that you and your family have a wonderful New Year, filled with good health and good luck with every one of your goals and dreams. Big hugs back at you.

    THANK YOU for being there.

  • Leigh February 13, 2013, 7:09 AM

    Hi everyone.
    Well, we told the girls and they took it very well. My oldest (15) said she knew from the beginning and was just waiting for us to bring up the subject–she said she was relieved. My youngest (12) also knew and talked about her 2 best friends who have dads in Canada and Florida, so “its not so bad for me” she said. Told her dad to get a nice foam mattress for her at the new place. They started talking about redecorating the house, and helping furnish his new apartment. Hope this continues, but I have to keep a sharp eye on them.
    We decided to go to a mediator, but now he’s trying to “forget” certain things like his company stock, pension & 401k! We’ll see what happens. Anyway, that’s my update…looking for a job and trying to stay sane during this sad and depressing process.
    Have to go, but my best wishes to you all.
    Leigh

  • Sonia March 14, 2013, 8:21 PM

    Jewels,
    Its true what you say… Getting over infedelity is a VERY slow process…one I dont think you ever truly get over. You just learn to accept it and try to move foward. Its been over 2 years of me finding out. I am in a much better place. Yes, I worked on myself. Soon after finding out I joined a running group and did my first 5 k. It helped build up my self esteem and helped me to control my thoughts. I had to get busy to forget. My husband saw how I was changing…I think..not really changing but finding my long lost self. After getting married my life revolved around work, kids and hubby. I dont think I ever focused on myself and my needs. I found me… The woman I used to be …I didnt realize how much I missed myself. So then we found each other…

    • Jewels March 20, 2013, 12:16 PM

      Hi Sonia,
      What a beautiful message, thanks for sharing. So many women go through losing themselves in the marriage, it almost happens organically. I love how you say you didn’t realize how much you missed yourself. Thanks for again fr sharing!

  • Diane September 15, 2013, 4:27 AM

    Hello
    I have been on this site many times and I still feel stuck… I was married 33 years and my husband had many affairs that I was blind to. We have been separated for 3 1/2 years now and he is still living with his mistress . Nobody seems to understand how the hurt is still there. I have been trying to get my husband to file 2 years of back taxes and get the divorce going. I have no money to speak of but I can’t seem to get myself together. He left his job 3 years ago, this is not the man I knew. He has no job, no health insurance, no money and is acting like a 18 year old and won’t confront any issues, just lives for the day. We have worked so hard raising our children and had so much and now we have nothing in our separate lives to speak of. I am angry that I worked so hard to get ahead and it is all gone. He spent all our 401K but out of all of this he has her, and our kids accept her and it hurts. I no it is a slow process for me but 3 1/2 years to still struggle on my part to survive. And he just lives for the day with not thinking about what he has caused me. I am not asking for him back because that can never happen but I am angry for what he took away from me. I struggle everyday just to survive and not cry about where I am. I have no job skills so I do not make much and can’t believe what I did my whole married life and have no retirement per say. I hate feeling this way at my age and how he took so much away from me. He has left me broke, no retirement and weak. You say get strong and I am trying so hard to stay strong. I do see what kind of person I was and how he had such control of my life. In a way he still has control giving me what little money he gives me every month but it is still held over my head every time he does not like what I say or do. I do believe in GOD and pray everyday for hope and I still am waiting for HOPE. I want to be my own person and would love to tell him to take what little he gives me and throw it back to him but I need the money. I have my good days and bad and can’t wait till the good days out do the bad days. Help!!!

  • Barb September 15, 2013, 5:50 AM

    I just want to say I wrote probably a yr and half ago about my piece of wrk I’ve been married to for 12yrs and I didn’t think I’d ever recover frm the treatment I got all those years but I’m here to tell y’all…happiness is out there if ya want it bad enough!!! These men,ladies,have taken enough of ur time,emotions,and lives! The best revenge is pick yourselves up,dust off and show them how happy and productive you can be without them! Let them go be little boys spreading disease and find love for yourselves! I know it’s easier said then done. LADIES I AM YOU!! I somehow one day decided I’d only allow myself shower time to cry the rest of the day I made myself find positive out of negative and eventually it got easier. I never thought I wz even capable of loving someone again. Believe it or not during this process I’ve actually met someone and he’s amazing!! I mean REALLY amazing and yes baggage creeps in now and again but I remind myself he’s not that idiot I wz married to. Lol and the sex….OMG ladies totally different!! So come on and look in the mirror…it’s not about the material crap you’ve gained n lost or the emotional or even physical scars it is about SELF WORTH! These men didn’t deserve women like us cuz we were amazing wives n mothers but believe ur stronger then u could ever imagine! Dnt waste any more of ur life in the past!! Create something fabulous for yourselves and wrk ur ass off for it if u have to cuz ur worth it!

    • Jewels September 20, 2013, 7:04 AM

      Barb, I am so happy for you, it is good to read how life is treating you so well!! And your story is so inspiring, I am going to contact you to see if you would be interesting in posting your story on my ‘positive recovery’ section of the site. Thanks!

  • Lyn September 15, 2013, 7:55 AM

    Hi my husband left me 7 weeks 4 days ago. We had been together 26 years. He came home from work had tea and sat down. He had been down for 2 weeks so I ask him if he was ok. He works 7 days a week and was always depressed about work. I always supported him and told him to open up to me. He never liked talking about problems just put them to the back of his mind and got on , well what he told me next broke my heart. He said I don’t want this anymore , I said what , he replys all if this. I said are you having an affair he said yes. Was having an affair for 3 months there started as friends and the last 2 weeks of affair had sex together. I just cried and cried. Beg him to let’s work things out but he said no it’s gone to far and he loves her. I couldn’t believe it , he walked out of home then came back a week later for his clothes. Said sorry he wishes he could have made it easier for me , he rents a flat never ow and at moment still pays my bills, but says he can’t keep doing it even though his on excellent wage. The women his with left her husband just after he left me. She as 10 year old son. My son still talks to his dad but only because he works for him and he also lets him see grandson. My daughter will not talk to her dad or allow him to see grandaughter because she ask him to be a lonely for a while to clear his head but he didn’t said he want ow. So she said ok then you lose me and my daughter. I haven’t worked in over 26 years I always supported my husband and was a house wife. Bring our kids up. Also we never had friends because spent all our time together. Now I’m left alone with no one to turn too. I love my husband so much , his cold now doesn’t speak to me at all it’s like I’m muck on his shoes and he just wash me away. People say it will not work between them both because of how it started but I’m not sure. There both now want to divorces from me and her husband. How do I cope and move on. I just wanted a chance to work on things and he just left. Please can someone give me advice

    • Jewels September 20, 2013, 7:03 AM

      Hi Lyn,
      I know you are hurting right now for various different reasons, you lost your husband, your family is torn apart, and he is now living with the OW. Even though it is still extremely painful, it’s better that he told you and left. So many women get lied to about the affair, saying ‘I don’t want a divorce, I will stop cheating’, and years later, they are still dealing with the OW. It might be over, and that is ok. I know you are scared of the unknown. Scared because you have not been alone in years. Scared because you don’t know how to live without him. BUT, keep in mind this can also be a new beginning for you. This could be a time where you focus on you and discover parts of yourself that you never explored before. This could be a time where you learn Lyn for the first time in your life.
      I know you mentioned you haven’t worked in years, go see a divorce lawyer. You have more rights than you think. This isn’t legal advice because I am not a lawyer but you can’t just stop supporting your wife because you are supporting the mistress. Go visit a lawyer, because I am sure he already did, you want to be empowered to know your rights, because you have many after 26 years.
      As far as his relationship with the OW, don’t focus on it. If they stay together, whatever, not your concern. If they break up, not your concern. Your job is not to compare your relationship and what they have. It’s in a different category. And if you focus all your attention on what they are doing, how are you going to focus on your new life? Take care Lyn, I know this is really hard for you but you will get through this.

  • Leigh September 15, 2013, 8:34 AM

    Dear Diane,
    I am so sorry about your situation. The 33 years of marriage is something that doesn’t just “magically” disappear. My 18 year farce of a marriage left me broken, especially since I was so trusting and blind until the bitter end. I am also struggling after 3 years. Just got divorced July 17 and everyone expects me to “get over it and move on” while I am so depressed and financially strapped. My ex moved out in April and I know that his girlfriend (coworker of 12-plus years at FedEx and lover who is 37 vs my 54 years) is probably now getting his “protection”. He also has so many other women he met on dating/cheating chat rooms and texting. I discovered all this (on his computer/handwritten passwords and women’s emails jotted down and hidden from me) on December 2011, while my ailing mother who had to live with us had to be sent to a nursing home. She died December 2012, while I had to do the terrible hospital thing, etc. basically alone, taking care of two kids. Well, now I find myself depressed and broke, having to cut back on groceries and other essentials, trying to tell the kids that it is only temporary. Their father cries poverty, even though he makes almost six figures. I work part-time at a church and make so little. I am so depressed and feel so “unmarketable” in today’s workforce. You say that your husband lives for the day? Well, I think this “teenager syndrome” applies to my ex, who went back to wearing his earrings, buying more “hip” clothes, boots, etc! I guess his “young chicks” like that. While I sit in my old house with no kitchen ceiling, he sits in a new condo near his girlfriend’s house. He has a pool, golf course, new furniture (vs. all my used furniture) etc. — a great bachelor pad. You don’t know what I went through which I can’t get over. He defended his girlfriend to the death, telling me she was a wonderful, caring person who would go to “the end of the earth” to support him. Saying she was a perfect mom (she has 2 kids). Well, as you can see, my heart is so broken, my spirit is broken. I walk around “numb” so the outside world sees me strong, as do my kids. Inside, I am a broken person, not knowing how to survive month to month. I write my sad story because it selfishly helps me to get it out, and so that you will see that you are not alone or wrong to feel the way you do after 3 years. There seems to be no timeline for grieving the loss of a long marriage. You should keep writing things. This website is a place to connect and try to heal. It has kept me sane many of my deeply dark times. I want you to know that you are not alone. I want you to know that everyone here prays for each other. I don’t know what life will bring to all of us, but I do believe that somehow we will all survive–we must. When you hit rock bottom, there is only one way to go — up. That’s what I tell myself every day–that I have kids who love me, that God will pull me through this long, sad ordeal. I have the good days and bad days just like you. I guess it’s the way life goes for women like us. Let us all have faith that God will pull us all through to a better life–a life where we can walk with our heads held high, be able to support ourselves and our loved ones–a better life, coming out of this stronger. My prayers are with you.

  • Diane September 15, 2013, 5:29 PM

    Hello Leigh
    It was really nice to read your post and no there is someone else many of us out there in the real world. I too put on a brave face for my kids, grandkids and co workers. I am so numb that the man I trusted with my life would have done this to me. He does say he is broke and our kids believe him and I too struggle to make ends meet. My three children are all grown and married and I get so lonely most of the time and pray for HOPE. I too am not marketable in the work force. I just cannot forgive him or her even after three years and I do not when or if I will. I now have trust issues with men and can’t seem to go out yet. My heart does not hurt anymore just empty and lonely. I too am broken inside and I do not how to fix me…. He lives here in Mass. and I wish he would just move to Ca. where he is from. We have had a lot of angry words throughout the years, the one time that I needed him the most he was not there for me like I have always been there for him. Now I see that throughout our marriage he has been unfaithful to me and I was soooo blind. I will pray for all women who have been and our going threw this. Thank you

  • jo May 17, 2014, 2:03 PM

    It’s almost 3am here and I asked him to move on in April 2012 after I found emails on his phone Xmas day 2011 and then preceding to make his family Xmas lunch all the while him not knowing that I knew about his affair. I didn’t want to ruin Xmas lunch for everyone if I cancelled. Sadly I was not snooping and thought we were happy.
    I’m still having bad days and wish the healing would hurry up and get itself over with cause I’m sick of being sad.
    It’s not that I’m unhappy every day, just the odd day.
    We had fun times like holidays but there were also dark days where a door ended up with a hole.
    Im living your story today and have know for quite a while that someone else can not make me happy. I have been travelling the world in the last 2 years trying to find a place where I belong. I even went on a trek into the Himalayas to find myself. The trip helped a little but didn’t ease my sadness. That is me just running away when things get on top of me and it’s also a break from my reality.
    I am impatient for life to be normal again but I don’t think it will be for quite a while.
    Friends have said to me go and get some meds from the doctor to make yourself happy again, but I believe that meds are a bandaid to the problem.
    My ex was having panic attacks and found it easy to get on some happy pills to stop them.
    He has found someone, 15 months after he moved out and I feel like I’m still on the same day as I found emails. Ground Hog Day.
    Why is it so easy for a man to get over a 20 year marriage, I’m the victim and it’s like it never happened to me from his point of view, I should have gotten over it by now and I should stop being so angry at the world.
    I have tired to go on dates and get an interest in someone else but I just not interested. I am happy being on my own and this had made me a bit of a recluse and have started to get separation anxiety when I leave my children with him who are now older teenagers.
    Sorry to dribble on but this helps, thanks for reading.

    • Jewels May 20, 2014, 7:24 AM

      Hi Jo,
      That is so cool that you went to the Himalayas, take me with you next time, we will have a blast lol! Everything is perspective, and my initial response from reading your story is that you simple need to force yourself to look forward, not backwards, and yes force yourself. Demand that you have an amazing life. Do you tell yourself that everyday? Every single day a couple of times a day you should tell yourself “I am beautiful and amazing, and have a wonderful life filled with joy. I deserve to be happy.” Force yourself to say it several times a day, even if you do not feel that way. You have to do this every day. When your husband cheated, you probably got into a negativity rut with all of those emotions and feelings and you are simply in need of having the positive emotions outweigh the negative (thus forcing yourself to say the affirmations everyday, no matter what). Do not feel bad that you are still feeling down, feel empowered that you are getting better everyday. It can not be wishing to be happy, hoping to be happy, you have to demand it because you deserve to be happy and move on with your life. If you do not think you deserve to be happy, then ask yourself why. Why not you? The other two things that were so incredibly helpful for me to get out of my negative rut is to volunteer and start an appreciation journal. There is just something amazing about volunteering, it is simply healing for your spirit. Trust me on this. Pick a cause and volunteer. And the appreciation journal is the same concept as earlier, fighting those negative thoughts. You are in a battle right now, and I am excited that you are now armed with a combo punch that is going to make your positive thoughts the winner. Demand it Jo, get excited about the life ahead of you. It’s like driving a car, you can drive looking backwards can you, that would be silly. And the same goes with your life – look forward. Big hugs to you!

      ***Oh and be very protective of your words “I am (have been) impatient for life to be normal again but I don’t think it will be for quite a while” You just trained your brain to think you will not be normal again for a while. Protect those words and as soon as you hear those pesky thoughts, kill them with the opposite like “I am exciting that everything is changing for the better and that an amazing new life is starting to begin” Be easy on you, everything will work out, if you believe it.

  • Leigh May 20, 2014, 8:23 AM

    Dear Jo,
    I just read your post and feel exactly the way you do. I discovered my ex’s betrayal just before Christmas 2011. We lived in the same house for a year — I would never recommend this unless your gut tells you that there is hope. In 2012 he moved to a new condo. In March 2014 he gave up the condo to move into his girlfriend’s house (she owns from a previous divorce). He lied to me and my teenage girls by telling us that he was moving with a “nice lady with a teenage son” and I should meet her for lunch to get to know her before my girls stay at the new home during visits. Well, I discovered through Instagram pics that she is one of his Internet girls I had found in 2011 while we were still married. When I asked why he lied and was crazy enough to recommend us being “friendly” he shouted that YES, she is my girlfriend and I boasted that she wasn’t the FedEx coworker I had discovered in the first place. My jaw dropped that he was so amazingly insensitive. Anyway, I am so bitter with the whole thing — him living the good life while I am grieving the 18-year marriage. I know that I shouldn’t look on the Internet but I am so curious and discovered pictures of them on vacation eating lobster, she’s wearing an engagement ring, pictures of flowers with a big card from him saying I LOVE YOU, pictures of the perfume and other gifts he gives her, pictures of them at weddings, etc. He never ONCE took me on vacation, gave me flowers, gave me perfume. My kids and I would go on vacation by ourselves every year because he “had too much work” and only went on “business trips”. Well, I am very sad and my life is “on constant hold” right now. Probably snooping for pictures of his new happy life is almost like punishing myself over and over for no good reason. I should concentrate on my own life, but frankly I don’t see a light at the end of the tunnel with my grief. I also don’t believe in pills being a solution. How can a pill mend a heart? So, I continue going through life as a “cheerful zombie” for my teenage girls. I’m struggling with my finances as always, stressed about that, too.

    I’m sorry to go on and on, but I guess it helps a bit to write it down somewhere. I hope so much to hear more success stories on this site. I feel awful that we all have to go through so much while our cheating exes have “instant happiness” immediately when they leave, while our hearts remain broken and our lives are affected for so many years. I also will never understand how easy it is for them to give up a wife and kids in 5 minutes, all for a “new, free-spirited model”. Wives and mothers work so hard to keep their homes together and happy. It’s sad that this is our final reward. I pray constantly for help to turn around my mental and emotional rollercoaster. I am hoping somehow I’ll snap out of it. I just don’t see a future other than one alone when my girls are off to college. At least I know they love me.
    Thanks to all for listening. I apologize for turning my post into a negative one. I sincerely meant to be positive…I’m normally good “support staff” and try to cheer everyone up no matter what.

    I wish everyone peace and good things, truly.

    Leigh

  • Jo May 20, 2014, 10:08 AM

    Hi Jewels,
    Thank you for your positive affirmations, I will write them down now and say them a few times a day when I feel a negative thought creeping in to my mind.
    It’s so easy to get into a negative mindset. But I know I’m better than that.
    I am usually a very positive person but Saturday was a bad day.
    With your suggestion of doing voluntary work is something I have been thinking of doing for quite a while and will look into it more seriously.
    I have encouraged my daughter to join a Native animal rescue voluntary role so I should eat my own words and do the same as I have a feeling this will do wonders for my self-esteem which is pretty much nothing atm.
    Thanks again for the support you offered me and everyone else that has come across your site. Im not sure how I came to finding you, call it fate :)

    Jo

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