After the Affair Paranoia

Now that my spouse has cheated, I am getting a little paranoid. In some ways, I think it makes sense for me to feel this way. He kept seeing her while I was thinking we were “working on the marriage,” after all. I feel so used, and at times I feel like a fool. The lack of trust after the affair is my main issue, not the act of having sex outside the marriage. My Trust and cheating post talks more about these trust issues.

I am going crazy trying to figure out whether or not I can trust him again. Anytime he is out past 10 p.m. I get literally sick to my stomach. If he has to run an errand during the day, I think, “Is he really going to the store, or is he going to see her?” Not a day goes by where I don’t question if he is lying to me when he walks out the door. There comes a point of no return after so many lies and so many disappointments. I wanted to fight for this marriage so bad, but every sign is telling me that it’s not going to work. I believe in marriage, but I will not sacrifice my own sanity to stay married.

All of these reasons are why I have mentally checked out of this relationship. I cannot live the rest of my life in this paranoid state. It is not healthy for him or me. Unfortunately, I don’t have the money to leave right now, so I feel literally stuck, as I talk about in Cheating and economy.

The way that he cheated on me angers me, and I don’t think I can get over the anger and still be with him. It’s sad to say, but now that I’ve chosen not to work on the marriage, when he leaves the house, I am not sick to my stomach as like I was when I was still dedicated to working on the marriage.

Men, when you cheat on your wives, think about how they will feel. Don’t have sex with the OW in your house; don’t trot the OW around like you are not married. We eventually find out, and it is devastating.

28 thoughts on “After the Affair Paranoia”

  1. I’m in the same situation some what as you. He was lying while we were in counseling. Telling me it was over but he was still with her. I to am always paranoid he is with her or someone else. I’m driving myself crazy. I want to trust him but have caught him in too many lies in the past. When he gets caught he still will not own up to it. He has moved out which makes me feel more at peace but I want him to come back home. I’m afraid though, afraid I will be back to snooping. I just can’t do it again. I need strength.

    1. Hello Kim

      I am not sure if he is back home again, but I really want you to think about why you want him back. You mentioned that he has constantly lied and is still with her, but you want him back, which leads me to believe that maybe you are afraid of being alone?? Which is very common. What you have to think about is if you can be happy with him. I know for me, with all the lies, I just couldn’t be happy with him anymore. To hear from him that it’s over and for him to still cheat is hard to feel good about yourself after that. So just think about how you feel and make that a priority in your life. I wish you the best!

  2. My husband of 26 yrs was kind enough to sleep with my best friend . I have never experienced so much pain. If not for my son I don’t know what I would do. Threw him out and he is living with his mom. We have been seeing each other on weekends but he is still sending off signals like turning off cell phone and deleting all calls / msgs. I am financially dependent and having difficult time coping with my entire life being altered in a moment.

  3. Barb,
    I too share simular pain. Difference…my husband has been cheating on me in his travel world for 14 yrs of our 30 yr marriage. He travels so his “wrecker” would meet him on his business trips. Taking our youngest to college made him explode w/his guilt. He spent 3 weeks telling me he would end it and has not been successful. I forced him to leave (hardest thing I have done as I still love this SOB!) He too is trying to live at his mom’s on her coach. He is losing everything as his friends are my family. He has no one but his Mom and our 3kids who too are very hurt by his deceit. My life has turned upside down, inside out. Where do we go from here??

  4. I don’t know. Started therapy for the first time in my life. It helps. You sound like a wonderful person. I sometimes think distancing myself is the answer. How else can you heal ?

  5. Barb,
    Where do we go? How do handle the first few days finding out what has happened? People start shouting lawyers, finances and I am still hurt beyond function! How do the tears stop? Just when can I can angry? Oh time…but how does one function until time passes?

  6. Barb your friend was no friend! She was only thinking of herself as he was. The pain will be around for a very long time…Unfortunatley…You will cope the only way you know how. Each of us coped differently, I stopped eating because I felt like throwing up everytime I thought of him and her and food never stayed down. I lost 45lbs and started having panic attacks daily. He saw what he did to me but it still continued for 4 yrs. After 1 year of barely eating I finally said I need to be here for my boys not him. I am now back to my healthy weight and working on my family responsiblities. There sometimes is just NO real answer to it all! I have been married for 24 yrs and all this happened 4 1/2 yrs ago. I still think of it daily and sometimes wish I divorced him but I didn’t. That was my choice and no one elses.

  7. Lisa,
    Funny you bring up eating. I too can not eat at this time. I go to work and function as it is a job I have had for 12 years (almost the whole time my husband has been having a affair) but a job I know. All I think about is him. What is right I don’t know? I know what he has done is wrong but he still is in his selfish web and I do not see him coming out of it, either? I am looking for advice on how to handle today, until you get to the “take eachday”. I can not sleep,eat and only go to work because the silence is worse at home. I need advice…PLEASE!

  8. Carrie, My two sons were 13 and 16 at the time my husband cheated. Work was my only place that I could almost hold it together. I had to take 1 week off just to try to pull myself together but I didn’t do to well. Most of my customers knew something was wrong I was red eyed for months. The weight loss was fast! People thought I was sick, but that would have been easier to handle than an affair! My husband also felt NO remorse he thought since he was self made he deserved anything he wanted. But if I did this too him he would have thrown me out on the street. Double standards!! I did eventually loose my job because I couldnt concentrate and I was in banking. So I lost my job and my dignity all because he wanted to F*** younger girls than me. As I have told my story before my husband is in AA now for Alcohol and Sex addiction! The two go hand in hand along with the porn sites that shows men younger girls than their wifes. My husband actually thought a 18 year old would want him he was 48! My husband after 4 1/2 years finally gets it, how much he hurt the family and me. If I could do it all over again I would have divorced him it would have been easier I think? But what about the pain I would then have caused by the divorce? Maybe that’s why I stayed? Ther is NO right or wrong answer to all of this do what you have to do to survive! Even though you will cry uncontrollably at nights and not sleep for what seems months. I think I got about 2 to 3 hours a night for 3 months. This is a great site to VENT and feel your not alone! Keep us posted if you like.

  9. Lisa,
    Your support in a vent does mean something. Yes, crying I just cry so much. Who knew that a broken heart really does physically hurt?! Over the course of this month he has told me bits and pieces…2 wks ago he spilled. He has been having a affair for 14 yrs while he travels. Then comes home to me. I never had a clue! He tried for 2 wks to break away from this women but her continued stalking and phone call to me and his 91yr old mother was not enough to make him stop. Even her threats to my kids was not enough to make him see the emotional blackmail she was doing. He swore he would not call her but her continued phone calls and his “heart” (as he says) he must follow. So after 30 yrs of marriage I have lost him. I forced him to leave this past Sat. hardest thing I have ever done. I cry always have not eaten since, sleep really?! I contacted him today to see if I too can go to counseling as I am afraid of myself. I just don’t understand…I do not know how to go forward. He’s happy (I assume) and I am sad,alone,depressed and desperate. I come home from work at 4pm and go to bed after a few sleeping pills since if I sleep it does not hurt as much. I am scared….even of myself!

    1. Carrie and Barb,

      It seems like both of you are in the devastation period, which is often the most painful experience after the affair. You can’t think straight, have a difficult time eating, and you don’t know if you are going crazy or you are in depression (my free ebook might help).

      First, I always recommend no major decisions during this stage, no lawyers, ect, because your mental state is not ready for such discussion. Now is the time to let it be, meaning don’t force anything, you mind needs to just think about the traumatic event and calm down in this period. You can’t control your pain right now meaning you can’t wish it away, it’s too deep. The best thing you can do right now like Lisa suggested is talk and/or write. If you have friends, talk to them. Writing is a very good healer, so write even if it is a personal journal. Let your emotions out, and slowly but surely, you will get through this stage, we all have got through it and you will as well. If you don’t feel like talking to your husband, and he wants to talk, don’t talk. I guess what I am saying is vent, make how you feel a priority, and last but not least, for both of you, realize that you are not alone in this new phase of your life, you have support during your journey.

  10. Please get counseling if only to vent! I too felt lost and suicidal even though I thought I could never go to that dark place. I thought I was too strong of a woman to let anyone do anything to me. You are at you weakest right now, think before you do anything! Don’t think of him think of you other family members they would miss you! I have two sons and my parent are still around it would have hurt them the most! You can keep going even through the pain! Only take the pills when you need some sleep and no more than needed. I too have stared at the bottle of pills and wondered? He has made a choice but he still may change it just be prepared but do not dwell on the hope. Keep us posted

  11. I guess here is where I write. Lastnight I get a text from “my man” saying, “I maybe right that she is emotionally blackmailing him”! DUH! But again I fall into the pattern of “hold on”…because I still want this love of my life. So my heartaches continue. Why is it I can not let go after such emotional abuse? In my heart I do believe he does love me but he has lust and brain wash from a home wreaker. Everyone, meaning his friends,kids,mom, family and of course me have tried to tell this man we know what he losing…but he still is clouded. I can’t seem to get thru to him. So I hurt, and I do believe he is hurting but still not clear. I can not find strength to move forward or beyond thoughts of hope. We are suppose to talk tonight and I worry that I will grasp on again and then fall again. The roller coaster ride will continue, just how much can I handle? Seeking advice…..

    1. Hello Carrie,

      I know how you feel. I just felt that if I could convince my husband to understand how much he stood to lose (me, the house, the kids, our family), then he would wake up and stop the mess. People tried to talk to him, but it was like he didn’t want to listen. Looking back I now know that I can not convince him to do anything, he has to want it for himself. Sadly, my husband woke up, but by the time he did, I was too hurt and it was too late, I was drained and couldn’t take anymore disappointment. Some men do not show their emotions well, they put up a wall and act like they are ok when they are not, which may be the case with your husband. Take it one day at a time, do not force the outcome of any conversation, and try to rest your mind (I know it’s hard to do).

  12. Well ms.jewel im one of those wifes who stay.its about 1yr.ago oct. my husband cheat.he called it a fantasy.he met a transexual that looked exactly like a women.till this day its hard to trust him or believe him.im so depressed and traumatized over all this.im still in pain.i never thought he would ever cheat especialy with a transexual.i was sooo blind.i feel till this day not women enough…it hurts.from all this im on depression meds. since this happened.i love my husband very much but sometimes i feel that we are not ment to be.till this day i still dont know if i could ever trust him and if he really does love me.pleeease help me.family isnt there the way family should.i need advise…..i need help.im not as sure and confident as i use to be.again plz help me.

  13. I have been with a man for three years now. We have two children together, 2 and 4. He has cheated on me several times, at least what I consider cheating. Twice, it was a sexual relationship, where he gave me an STD while I was pregnant with our youngest child. The second sexual relationship I just found out about a few days ago. The other times he was “cheating” was when he was sending pictures and texting with other women about how he wanted to “be with them”, “loved them”, etc. He could have even possibly been in a sexual relationship with one of them. I’m not sure. Anyways, I do not know what to do now. I don’t want to take my kids away from their father. I want my kids to have both of their parents living under one roof. Not having to go every weekend to see their dad. But I also don’t think I can ever fully trust him again.
    We talked last night and he changed his number, deleted all the women and pictures out of his phone, blocked his facebook page (all of which he has NEVER done before). He told me I was free to go through his phone whenever I want, but I don’t want to have to do that. The only reason I found out about it this time was because my daughter was playing a game on his phone and she handed me the phone with the texts LOUD AND CLEAR. He was in love with this last girl. I read the texts about how he loved her, wanted to be with her, didn’t know how to tell me about her because he didn’t want to lose his kids.
    But now he says he is willing to really try this time. He said the other times he told me we were going to work on it he really wasn’t trying, but that this time was going to be different. I want to trust him damnit. I want to believe him. But I just don’t know if I can. What should I do? I want to leave, but I want to stay. I need to leave, but I need to stay. Not only do I not want to put the kids in the middle, but I don’t have the money. And last, but certainly not least, I don’t want to be alone. I just don’t want to have to raise these two children all by myself. I want to have him there to help me. He is an excellent father. The best. But he is a sorry ass boyfriend/husband/man. If I do stay with him, how do I build the trust back up? If I leave, how do I deal with the stomach ache and sinking feeling in my stomach.

    1. Mallory,

      We all have been in that predicament, not wanting our kids to go through the pain of a divorce. That is why this is one of the most difficult decisions you will make. We want our kids to be happy and not experience pain, but at that same time, do we do this at the cost of our own self?

      What I have learned though my experience is that best gift you can give a child is to teach them how to be happy. Teach them how to handle and live life, and sometimes that means how to handle life when things do you not go your own. It’s ok for kids to learn at a young age that things do not always have a fairly tale ending. When I look at most of the people that I respect, and that have accomplish great things, many of them have gone through adversity.

      But it’s touch, I never wanted to be the divorced mom raising my kids alone, never. But at the same time, I didn’t want my kids to grow up in a family where there was such sadness, anger and pain. No matter how much you try to shield it, kids know.

      You speak of a pit in your stomach, I feel that pit comes from betrayal, not the betrayal of your husband, the betrayal of yourself. There is something that is part of your current reality that is not in alignment with your values, and it is really getting to you. It’s important to figure out what that is, and try to resolve it, once you deal with the conflict, I think the pain will go away. Take care, you will do what is right for you to do at this particular time, just remember no matter what, your happiness, wants and needs are important, and should not be pushed to the side. Take care, hugs to you!

      Claudia – Sorry I missed your note, send me an update if you can!

  14. Well, we have been working on it since I found out. The main problem I am having is throwing it back in his face and questioning him about every little thing. If he doesn’t answer the phone when I call I will think he is with her. I have read online resources that tell how to bring trust back into the relationship. I just do not know how to keep my mind from roaming and having thoughts of both of them together or to keep throwing it in his face. He knows he messed up and I really believe he wants to try now. but I know if the situation were turned around and I was trying hard to fix something that I wouldn’t like if my spouse kept bringing it up over and over again.

  15. Okay, I know this is mainly geared towards women recovering from an affair. But I am a man recovering from an affair my wife had. As I read all these entries, I became misty eyed because I feel the exact same way.

    She has admitted her wrongdoing, taken responsibility, and wants to rebuild trust. But it still kills me. One moment, I feel okay. Then the next moment, I’m overcome with paranoia. I’m scared to even leave the house not knowing whether or not she’ll chat with someone who has become inappropriately close with her via text or e-mail. I’m scared to death to be away from her not knowing what she’ll do behind my back. Even now, she’s in our room taking a nap, and I find myself paranoid that maybe she’s texting someone. I can’t live like this. I just want it to go away.

    1. Hi Andrew,

      Thanks for coming to the site. I always opening and warmly welcome men posting, many have, but they are so scattered that it is hard to find them. The pain of the affair and the emotions are truly universal. I know exactly how you are feeling right now, I was right with you. But at the end of the day, I got so wound up I started having health issues. I had to give it up. I ‘gave’ my paranoia to the universe and said I can not bear the burden of trying to find out, so life, you let me know if he is still being faithful, give me a sign. A week later, I found my answer. I know it sound a little out there, but that is exactly what happened. I wish you well, and I wish you the peace and sanity of knowing, there is no way you can watch her every move, at some point you will have to let go and trust that life will give you all the information you need.

      Also, how is she acting? Is she willing to be transparent with her electronics? That plays a big part? Is she understanding of your pain? In order to rebuild the trust, the party that cheated has to be willing to work hard to restore trust. Best of luck to you, without knowing it, women that read this will have hope that there are good men out there! Hugs to you!

  16. It’s so hard to move forward after something like this. It will get easier if the trust building continues. But it will always be there — at least 2 years after. That is what I’m finding. When he doesn’t answer the phone at work or isn’t as loving as usual, my mind goes “there”. I suppose it always will. And that is the new reality. I do try to relax and let fate take over. I guess we just try to protect ourselves from future hurt. Texting/FB/emails really make it tough. It would be hard to trust someone new too. I’ve had it happen to me and I see it happening to so many others out there. Such a lack of integrity — or maybe it’s a case of such a lack of self-esteem that’s taking over people. It’s sad. My H has been totally transparent and so attentive since D Day 2 years ago. I believe he has changed for the better – though he still doesn’t communicate that well. But better. It’s just hard because there are no guarantees and when I see people getting together in movies or on TV I always wonder if he thinks of “her.” It’s the blow to our self-esteem that we need to recover from. That is where the anger came from for me. Best of luck Andrew — it does get better with time assuming she keeps up the work with you.

  17. I found out about the cheating towards the end of Oct 2012, about 8 mos. ago. Actually, I found out the first time in 2008, I found letters to some women, very detailed sexually. I told him what I found and he promised me that no sex was involved, it was all online. I believed him, forgave him and we sought marriage counseling, it didn’t help, because as I found out later in Oct. 2012 he was still cheating and it was sexually. I found out a lot through out the next few months that he started cheating only after a year of marriage, we’ve been married for 10 yrs. it’s been extremely tough, my husband is a sex addict, he has slept with at least 24+ women in 9 years of Our marriage. It started at a Massage Parlor and ended on my 10 yr. anniversary when I was at work. This is the most difficult part, my husband is 44 yrs. old and he slept with a 23 yr. old woman who was like a daughter to us and a friend to Our sons. She came on to him, I kicked her out of Our lives because she lied to me about having cancer. She started texting my husband and convinced him to steal my pain meds. for her. An entire year of this and than she decided she wanted to sleep with an older man and told him she wanted to be treated like a Princess. So, what does my husband do, he gets her an hour massage, picks her up and takes her to a beautiful hotel, registered as husband & wife, in the room he has sprinkled the bed with rose petals, has champagne , chocolates, some drugs she requested and a present, lingerie, something he’d never bought me in the 13 yrs of being together. My 10 yr anniversary present, nothing, but he spent around $700 on her and it was on Our anniversary. This is devastating because she also gave him genital warts and now I have the chance of getting Cervical Cancer. I’m still with him, he’s my best friend either way and I still love him, but I am still having paranoid thoughts and triggers. He keeps asking me what he can do? I told him tonight that he just needs to keep showing me that he loves me, and he does. We even moved to another City, 10 hours away. I’m on disability and he’s looking for a job. We’ve been having a great time together, we decided to make this a new start. But, now that we moved, he’s no longer going to SA meetings marriage counseling and seems to have just put it all behind him. He gets upset with me when triggers happen and when I become paranoid. How do I trust again? He seems to think that I should be over it by now and start fresh with all the lies and cheating behind me. My God he scr**d 24+ women (when he traveled for work) and slept with one of our neighbors for a year and a half (no emotion’s, just sex. She had a boyfriend and was married too!) and than the Family friend who was like a daughter to us, even calling us Mom & Dad. I’m still wrecked. I’m trying everything, but my heart is still hurting, I’m insecure & paranoid. So much has gone on, I’m not sure how to deal with it any more. Can anyone relate and tell me how you’re taking care of yourself , I need advice really bad, please HELP ME!! I’m so lost and so is he, he doesn’t know what to do either and ends up being frustrated and mad.
    Help!!!!
    Ellen

    1. Hi Ellen,

      Thanks for reaching out. Here are a couple things you can tell your husband. The first is on average it takes a couple of years to heal from this. Triggers are common, he has cheating the entire marriage, so it is not something you get over in 8 months. You will continue to have triggers, you will continue to doubt. It is normal. He can help by not getting upset with you by the triggers, and instead ask questions to help uncover the source of the trigger. Trust has to be rebuilt from the ground up, he has to be willing to make investments everyday to build that foundation. It could be simple things like calling to tell you he is going to be late, or being transparent with phones/emails. Again, in a normal relationship this is not needed but once you break the trust, you have to rebuild it. His transparency can help.

      Last but not least, he has to be willing to really understand why he has cheating for 10 years. If he does not understand why and can not process it, he is bound to repeat the past. This is where the work comes in. If he wants to help, he has to get back into therapy. Tell him to buy some books on relationships that have some exercises you can both do together. It will be grueling at times, but at times it will be amazing, because in doing the work, you will both uncovered things about each other. In doing the work, slowly but surely he will start to build back the confidence for you that maybe he has changed. But no hard work, no transparent investments, and not digging deep to uncover why he cheating for 10 years equals slow progress. Overall the process is slow, healing from this is no ‘get rich quick scheme’, it takes time and effort. If you are not in individual counseling for yourself, I recommend that as well to help you process your own emotions. I wish you well in the journey!

      Jewels

  18. Hi Jewels,
    Thanks so much for the response! It’s been a rocky road lately, being evicted from Our home because the Owner of the house wasn’t paying his mortgage, just keeping Our money and having to move 8 days after major surgery, I wasn’t supposed to lift or move my arms around at all. My husband was very irritated with me about this, because, first of all it was a breast reduction and he felt like he was stuck doing it all, which is not the case, I packed and loaded, and we decided to relocate over 500 miles away, I thought this would help with the triggers. Not completely, and I’m still insecure and suspicious because he is constantly going through my stuff. I finally told him that he’s only doing this to find something on me to make himself feel better. He actually agreed, but he still does it and I want him to stop. He has read all my diaries from junior high on, journals and letters. He even started to write down the names of the men I’d been with and the dates, why? This was 20 years or more before we even knew each other. He goes through my phone, reads my texts and goes through all my e-mail. I say have at it, but I feel violated and some stuff I’d like to be private, especially if a friend is writing me about a problem. How do I handle this?
    I’ve had my issues with substance abuse and Our old Therapist agrees that he’s in deed a sex addict and knowing addiction is one reason I’m staying, plus I do love him, 14 years and my sons love him, he’s my best friend too! This is so difficult, I’ve been asking him questions, and he always says he can’t remember, they meant nothing, no names, etc. But, when I asked him out of 24+ women he has to remember some? I asked him, “there had to be women that you remember cause they were really good or bad? Beautiful or Ugly and what did they talk about and how does one just write each other almost 15 times and not know what is said? I seem to really need some answers and I told him that I don’t want major details, just a short version. Is this healthy for me to ask? Because its driving me crazy, why?i seriously want to be inside his head and get some answers, maybe a hypnotist? I have been insecure about myself for a very long time and people don’t understand why, depression and chronic pain and I don’t like my body! I have finally after 3 years of changing therapists and going off like 10 meds, feel myself again and he sees it too! I’m happier and I’m social again and I like to go out. Well he wants to go to these “Adult Swinger Parties” and the rules are, no men, they may touch me, but he wants me with women so he can watch or join. I’ve done this once, but have been to at least a dozen parties. He is very attentive than of course, but isn’t any way attentive like that when were at home. He used to treat me like a queen, I feel as long as he gets his way, he’s satisfied! I call it SELFISH!!
    When I question his affairs he gets very iterated, and he demeans me, bringing up my issues. He asked me to quit drinking, I quit, he said get a job, I did ( a very low paying job) and little did I know it was because he was going to kick me out and I needed to have the funds. He said he needed some time, I said sure, I’ll go to my Moms for a week or so and what does he do he goes to a Gang Bang, wow, that was disturbing, painful and heart breaking! than I tell him I’m ready to come home, he says “No” it’s not your home anymore, he has pulled some fast ones on me and so many lies that I never know if he’s telling the truth or not, cause he’s good at it. I didn’t know about the Gang Bang until I caught him. I’m the complete opposite, I can’t lie, I think it was a childish way to get rid of me, no courage to face me. But, I talked my way back and here we are, now in San Diego trying to start over, a new beginning, he even bought me 2 wedding bands to renew our marriage, but I’m supposed to pick the date, I told him he needs to take charge, I’m not doing this again, surprise me, if that’s what he really wants. Jewels and ANY BODY out there “””H*E*L*P””” please????
    We decided to have our own meetings 3 times a week for 2 hours to ask and answer questions. Any ideas for us to use? Topics? Games? Worksheets? He has already listened to 2 audio’s and started a book, I think he needs to be educated on the victim, his wife and how it affects them.
    Thanks so much, it’s been a long haul and your just getting a piece of it!!
    Any advice would be so appreciated!
    Sincerely,
    Ellen

  19. Ellen, Wow you have had a tough time, no doubt about that. I am not married to a sex addict, but my husband did cheat on me and I understand the pain of betrayal and the struggle of rebuilding trust in a marriage. I can’t imagine how much you have had to endure. You are a very STRONG woman for sure. My husband and I too had time set aside for conversations. It was suggested by my therapist. The thing that I did was write down all my questions, concerns, needs, etc.. before hand, that way we didn’t get off topic and my questions go unanswered. It helped me keep things organized in my head. Another thing we did was set goals for ourselves. Personal goals and goals as a couple. We needed a plan, something to work towards rather than just dwelling on the affair. After more than 27 years of marriage , it seemed silly to me, but you know it turns out it wasn’t. We needed to redefine our relationship and ourselves to make it work. Another thing that it helped me with was, I had to be firm with my deal breakers (the things that were so toxic that I would leave without question or explanation) and make him understand that I was 100% going to stand by what I knew in my heart was best for ME..not us …but ME! I had to find courage to leave the marriage if he didn’t meet those expectations from me. I had to rebuild trust and HE had to help me. Not by talking, but by his actions and honesty. It was hard, and still is some days, but I have grown more in the last 3 years than the previous 46 all together. I can finally say it feels great! And I’m proud of me for standing my ground and putting my needs first for once. I think that may be why you are still struggling with your H’s addiction and you are so frustrated by his actions. Sure, He needs to understand the pain and hurt he has caused (that will come when he stops being selfish and finds empathy…some never do until everything is lost) , but more importantly he needs to understand that YOU are not going to tolerate this behavior anymore. If he continues to lie, cheat, Gang Bang (oh my), etc… And all you do is get more frustrated, then he will continue to do that, with little or no regard to your feelings… he is an addict, but he is not unaware of what he is doing. You cant make him make the right choice, but you can demand that there are certain things that will not be tolerated or accepted in your life. Like I said earlier I am not that familiar with sex addiction, but you do know that YOU can’t fix him. He has to be willing to do that himself. That is his journey, not yours. Your journey is to heal yourself. Heal from the pain of his infidelity, heal from your surgery( hope you feel better soon), heal from your own addiction (which by the way…kudos to you! ….be proud of that.. I do know how hard that is… My father was an alcoholic.). From an outsiders point of view and honestly that is all this is… You my friend need to stop focusing on him, his actions, his recovery or lack there of, and start focusing on YOU! I know it is hard, but until he really, and I mean really wants to help himself he won’t. In the mean time, work on YOU alone. Find something just for you to make yourself feel better about YOU! For me it was yoga and running. For you it could be anything from walking in the park, taking a class, volunteering for a good cause, joining a group or club, etc… You need something just for you. Something you always have desired in your heart, but never tried. You are such a strong woman to have overcome alcohol, survived a sex addict, a move, etc…give yourself something that you want… a gift to YOU for your strength and progress! Once you start focusing on you, you will get your answers that you are so desperately wanting. Maybe not from him, but you will know…the little voice inside of you…your self confidence will start chatting…it will tell you what you need to know to move forward. Trust me on this. You will either see marked improvement in his behavior (through his actions), or you won’t … Then you can make decisions from there on what to do next. Until you do this, you are going to continue to be frustrated and hurt by his behavior. Infidelity takes us to our knees, it strips away all self confidence and self worth. You have to get that back, and the only place that can come from is YOU. You said you were unhappy with your body, so was I. I woke up one day and decided I was going to take the advice from one of the ladies here and do something. I was in so much pain, I felt ugly, tired, sad. I went to a yoga class, free at a local yoga studio. It changed my life, really it did. Not the yoga that day, but the experience of putting me first. I met a new friend and while it was a little uncomfortable to be outside my comfort zone, I forced myself to do it. To this day, I am still friends with that woman and she had no idea that her kindness towards me that day ….did more for me than she could ever imagine. The universe will give you what you need to heal if you will just allow it to by putting yourself out there with pure intentions… That is seeking truth, honesty, and happiness for yourself…. And not depending on someone else to supply that for you… Your self worth lies inside you, not your relationship with your H or anyone else.
    All that being said, you don’t have to stop working on your marriage, but that is secondary in your healing. Priority is you! I know in my case, my H saw changes in me, he saw this new strength emerging from within me, he saw this transformation not only in the physical (which by the way feels GREAT), but also the transformation of my soul. I was on a mission to heal ME.. Hell I was on a mission to FIND me! He took notice, he worked harder on himself, he helped me rebuild my trust in him, he answered all my questions honestly-always , even if it hurt, he fought for our marriage, he even told me he was terrified that he would loose me 🙂 And you know, that felt nice…it felt nice to be in charge of my own happiness, it felt nice to focus on me and not his bad behavior (which I couldn’t control even if i wanted too) , and eventually we found our way to an amazing marriage- better than we have ever known or could have ever imagined. An honest marriage, one where we are both committed to never having to experience infidelity again. It is all hard work, it is all a struggle, and it all takes time, but if you put yourself first you will always come out ahead, no matter what happens to the marriage. I will never go back to the way it was before, I wouldn’t even if that was a choice. I like the new marriage, but I love myself even more! Don’t rush things by trying to force a recommitment ceremony, you need to be ready for that. Your hesitation seems to me like you are not ready… it doesn’t feel right to you… well then DON’T do it! Do only those things that feel right for YOU! What I do know is you can’t force healing if you ever want to be whole again. You are skipping something important and your hesitation is your clue that it is just not time for that step yet. If he wants to rush this so badly, then step back and really examine why. Does he want to move forward because he really feels that way? Doubt it, he’s still out doing selfish things. Does he want to do this because he just wants to put it behind him? Maybe, but it isn’t that easy and he isn’t being honest with you or himself. Maybe he just wants to do it so he can tell you when he once again fails to control himself, “I recommitted to you, what more do you want? I’m trying.” Will that be OK with you? NO, of course not! I can tell you want a relationship that YOU are comfortable in and where you have a true committed partner. He can’t set the standards for what YOU want. He can’t make you feel something you are not. Just like you can’t make him behave differently or better, he can’t force your feelings to be something they aren’t…. Stand proud and convicted to your needs and wants! You are strong and worthy of being treated that way…don’t settle for anything less!

    I didn’t mean for this to be a dissertation, but I wanted to share what I know worked for me and has worked for so many here. Those that come out of infidelity with their souls in tack, found it within themselves – not in their partner. Really search deep within and set your deal breakers in place, find strength to make YOU the priority, and I promise you will never regret it! Good luck my friend… Peace and blessings along your journey – JB

  20. Hi JB,
    WOW, I want to thank you for taking the time to share with me all your advice
    And being open and honest, even when you (I) really don’t want to hear it, I must in order to get through. I now have a few more pages of notes that are very worth it!
    I have done a lot of what you’ve advised and than went back to the old habits, finding that they aren’t working as well as I thought.
    I have written down questions for him to answer multiple times and he answers about 70% of them. I asked for answers on some questions that could’ve been answered, but I think he needed more time. Maybe to think up a lie or he truly couldn’t remember. I’ve even duplicated them by wording them differently, to see if I got the same answer. I know, it’s deviace of me, but unfortunately I did get different answers to some. He’s a very good liar and I’m one of faith and trust, but this whole situation has changed me. I’m still caring and giving, but I don’t trust many people. Too many loved ones have sided with him, because he looked like the victim not me. And he let that happen, it gave him more reason to cheat. “Oh poor Tom, look what he has to put up with, a drunk who does nothing, poor guy!” Even one of my own sons told him to leave me, because of my behavior. Little did they know that my depression got worse when he started cheating & drinking and the worlds worse Therapist too! She told me that I was so messed up I could never work again and kept adding more and more pills to the regimen I was already taking, making me a Zombie. So I drank to feel something if anything.
    Our setting a side time hasn’t been working out the way I wanted it to, but I decided its his suggestion and mine, but he needs to initiate it, not me! If this was about my addiction, I wouldn’t expect him to get the ball rolling. This is very frustrating, because YOU ARE ABSOLUTELY RIGHT, I’m doing all this research and work on his addiction to understand it better and he’s stopped. He was doing great before and when he was, he had more empathy and patience with me. Now he just wants to speed it up, thinking that this is all done and over with, it’s NOT!! He seems to think I don’t know him as well as he thought I did, because he refuses to be considered an addict. And if he is out of control, he knows now and it won’t ever happen again, he’s lying to himself. No one wants to be an Addict! He feels that he had this problem for I don’t know how many years, longer than we’ve been together. He told me that all men do this, hahaha! I grew up with 3 older brothers and ALL their friends, I think I might have found one playboy in their room, that all 3 shared. He’s been looking at pornography since he was around 11 yrs. old and had sex at the age of 12 or 13. He is the first of many men I’ve dated to have hàd this addiction. I think he finally agrees, maybe?
    It’s great that you brought the issue of Our recommitment ceremony in your response, because just today we decided not to get a minister, a Captain, etc… To marry us again. We decided to do it alone together. And the more I think about it you are so right on about it. We aren’t ready to do that yet, not with so many issues still not resolved. I want us to be in a beautiful atmosphere so we can discuss my questions and his too and continue to find Our true selves and what Our relationship means to us. Too much has gone down since and it must ALL BE RESOLVED!!!
    I will keep you informed if you’d like me too? And please feel free to continue with your advice and your life experience . I am feeling VERY GRATEFUL at this moment to have you be so kind to take time out of your life to help me on this very painful time in my life.
    Thank you so much and may God Bless You
    Sincerely,
    Ellen

  21. I am so lost…don’t even know where to begin. Here I am 98% sure that my fiancé didn’t physically cheat with anyone but 100% sure he was watching porn sites, skyping women, and talking with old flings via gmail chats etc… I just found out the week of thanksgiving 4 days after my best friend was killed in a car accident. Later found out he was emailing these women on the night she died while he was at work and I desperately needed him. I decided to take him back because I have not been completely perfect either…I am guilty of flirting or giving my sons father (my ex of 7 years) false hope and my fiancé new about it. I pushed and pulled and my moods were up and down and I think I broke his spirit and he eventually just stopped opening doors for me, talking tome the way he used to and just being distant…im not perfect but I think why I behaved the way I did was because I didn’t give myself enough time between relationships. I left my sons father after 7 years of his lying and cheating and abuse and only 6 months later was dating my now fiancé. it has been almost 2 years since we started dating. He was talking to women in that context for several months that I know of. Now im obsessed, always looking at his phone, wondering what he is thinking when he sees other women, getting his passwords to all his social networking sites and emails…im so paranoid and I don’t want to live like this but I strongly feel love for him…he claims he is in love with me too and that he will never hurt me again but then just days ago I found out he was searching nude pictures of some model on his phone. I keep feeling like im just going through the motions, being needy and over jealous and over anyalyzing until eventually he does something again that starts it all back to square one. Even if its not physical, its dis honest, I have straightened my act up a lot and I do everything for him. but I wonder will he ever treat me with the love I feel I know I deserve? or will he always fall short of my expectations? are my expectations too high? or too low? Is my low self esteem going to destroy our relationship or is his? he is down on himself a lot because he is not in the career he wants, and is out of shape. He also expresses that he would like it if I were sexually with another man so he could watch. I don’t know how serious he is but I feel so strongly that he is holding back more sexual desires…not telling me that he might to want to be with other women sexually…I don’t agree with that, he knows that so now is he just faking that he doesn’t need that? im so torn, I don’t know what to do. If I stay we could have the chance at a beautiful life together…im still young 29 but I want to be married and have children, then I read these posts and im like ” this could be hopeless. I don’t want to end up with a divorce” im not sure what counseling will do, if someone cannot fight there sexual desires is that something you can ever control? Help :'(

  22. I have been married to my wife for almost 11 years, and we dated for 8 years prior to that. As a 20-something year old guy when we first got together, I was an idiot who gave into temptation and fed my pathetic male ego by cheating on her. I regretted it the moment it happened, and did not deny it when confronted, begging for her forgiveness. She “forgave” me, but for years I beat myself up over it, and I would find out later that she in fact did NOT simply forgive me, and had been harboring resentment for it since. A few years ago, she admitted this, along with no longer having the same respect for me as she once did, and also mentioned not being “in love” with me anymore. I talked her into going to marriage counseling, and she hated being told by the counselor that a lot of the hangups she had, along with a lot of our marital issues, were her doing, not mine, especially if she was dishonest about having forgiven me and was deceiving me all those years. While I was guilty of things like my clutter in the house, sometimes letting little problems overwhelm/irritate me more than they should and not contributing to household chores like I needed to, in other areas I am a good husband and father, the primary breadwinner, the technical know-how, the supportive person, the creative energy, a good listener, a generous lover and someone who does not react or say things out of anger. I took responsibility to get help for my teen/early-20’s issues (my jealousy, my temper—never “physical” but easily irritated and sometimes quite condescending), and with marriage counseling, I hoped that she would see that she was responsible for holding onto the past and totally ignoring who I was now and my efforts to be more like the person she thought I was in the beginning, and who she wanted to be with. She hated having the counselor tell her this as well (she suffers from accountability issues, loves to gaslight and even when she is the aggressor she still plays victim, but don’t use the “N-word”, “narcissism”, around her unless you want to cause her to become violent, I kid you not). After several sessions, I THOUGHT the counselor was getting through to her, and while she admitted that (and I quote) she “didn’t like a stranger telling [her that she was] wrong”, she claimed things were “getting better for her”. There was noticeable improvement in our day-to-day life, and when she told me she thought we could quit counseling because we were (quoting again) “doing well and things are getting better”, I conceded. Bad mistake.

    I’d spent the next couple years thinking everything was getting better, but then she started getting disconnected/detached and lethargic, and she told me she was fed up with the clutter in the house in which we were living at the time (which was small, yet affordable and cozy), and I, in an attempt to make her happy, let her start looking for a larger home. So with triple the mortgage (AND still paying on the other house, which thankfully, I have a friend renting to offset the expense a little), we moved, and although I detested the move, along with several very costly repairs (wiping out all my savings in about 2 months in 2015), I got her the house she wanted. And I thought I did well. I even started picking up more chores around the house, have been the one to take our son to school every day, am the primary one to stay with him when he’s sick, and have taken our family on multiple vacations to spend time with them, try to build a better unit, etc. I shave my head because she thinks it’s sexy, and if it wasn’t for that or my nice arms, she wouldn’t have anything to compliment me on physically, but I groom well despite not being fit or thin, and I haven’t let myself go any more than she has in the past decade. I thought I was becoming an awesome husband and father. I thought I was worth something.

    Then came the talking in the sleep, muttering of another man’s name (a traveling representative who she works with on occasion), the secrecy and guarding of all electronic communication devices, and the soulless, 1-2-3 sex adding up to my discovery that my wife was carrying on an emotional affair with that coworker (she still refuses to call it that, even after all the CYA, secrecy, denial of “feelings” and even after finally fessing up that he told her that were his wife not in the picture, he would be “interested”) for over a YEAR. Yes, this guy’s married, with 3 kids, in NC, and he and his wife are devout churchgoing types, and his wife remains oblivious. In the past several months, based on his wife’s social media posts, he has done a remarkable job of kissing her ass, keeping his activities on the DL, and even going out of his way to seem more loving and attentive than ever. Did I mention my wife forbade me to contact this other guy’s wife OR him (or his employer, for violating fraternization policies), or she would leave me outright? She is more worried about protecting him, and her other coworkers who egged on the affair than protecting my son and me. And I’m sorry, but venting and exchanging advice with other people who are in unhappy relationships is like taking someone out for drinks after your Alcoholics-Anonymous meeting. What makes it worse is the guy is doing to his wife (AND his kids) what I did to my wife, but somehow she still doesn’t see him as a piece of crap…yet I was a piece of crap for doing it to her before we were married or had any children. How in the hell does that make sense??? Plus, to add insult to injury, dude is shorter and more overweight than I am (looks just like Manny from “Modern Family”, actually), and he and my wife really don’t actually have anything in common at all more than she and I (less in some ways that would normally irritate her immensely, what with his outspoken “right leaning” politics, churchiness, etc), aside from their field of work and their mutual disrespect for their marriages. So I’m at a loss. You’d think if someone was gonna’ step out, they’d at least trade UP. Or even laterally.

    She just recently told me she loves me more than she had for a long time, but that we’re not “compatible” and she’s no longer attracted to me (although she could not give me reasons or explanations for either). Now she’s even unfriended me, my family and most of our mutual friends on Facebook, changed all her passwords again on all her devices/accounts, and still has contact with all these toxic, horrible people who have disrespected me and my family, including OPP. Since they are “work relationships”, she pretends she cannot end them. I have even suggested that the other guy needs to request a transfer at his job, and that ALL correspondence be silenced. But then I’m out of line and just being “paranoid”, according to her. She crushed my trust, hiding things for years, and then acts as if I am not allowed to be paranoid or question her trustworthiness. She claims what I did (when I had my affair) was worse, and in a strictly physical sense that’s true. But my argument is that years of hidden resentment, a total lack of compromise and a year and a half’s long emotional affair outweigh a 2-week physical affair; or at the VERY LEAST, we should be able to start clean since we’ve both wandered, calling it even-Steven. Difference is, I’ve cut ties with EVERYONE who has ever crossed a line and tried to tempt me. Blocked them on Facebook, blocked phone numbers/emails, etc. She won’t cut ties all the way, citing “work” as the excuse, and I’m not supposed to wonder. I found out about her affair almost the same way she found out about mine (snooping on my computer, which was before we even moved in together, so it wasn’t even under her roof), but somehow in her mind I was in the wrong for “snooping” (on devices I bought, on MY internet account, in MY house, etc), and she will see it no other way. She claims to want to make things right, and wants to “fall in love with me” again, but when she can’t/won’t tell me WHY she fell out of love, or what about me made her no longer be attracted (aside from the only things she has mentioned, like my clutter in some areas of the house, scratching my privates in front of her and the occasional lip-smacking while eating…REALLY???), how can I work on anything? And what about HER? How demanding should I be, or how strongly should I assert MYSELF in what “I” want for a change? I don’t think it’s fair for me to have to be the only one bending over backwards compromising while she skirts around making any adjustments of her own for me, not making any noteworthy or even noticeable changes to better “us”.

    I have seriously thought about just telling her I think it’s time we go on a shared phone account (so we can BOTH see who calls/texts who, when, etc), and share all our passwords to all our accounts/devices (as I have nothing to hide, and if she doesn’t, why wouldn’t it be fair?). Not for babysitting or spying, but as a mutual insurance that neither has a single thing to worry about. Granted, there are ALWAYS workarounds (as her “friend” had utilized apps like Skype and WhatsApp? to circumvent phone logs, but she swore she didn’t know why he wanted her to use those apps instead of texting/calling), but it’s far less likely to happen when there’s some mutual accountability. I don’t like giving ultimatums, but when a guy has done so much to grow up and has spent the past decade and some change bettering his shortcomings only to end up feeling like all those efforts were for naught, it makes life miserable. I have been on the brink of suicide, and frankly, being accused of being paranoid from someone who does nothing to ease the paranoia aside from tell you how “wrong” your presumptions are (someone who disregards psychology and has a problem being told SHE is wrong, mind you)…it just eats you alive. I don’t want to even think about divorce, and I can accept her initial faux pas as even a form of “payback” for my shenanigans in the past. But at what point do you draw the line in the sand and say “this needs to happen, or you need to get out of my house”? How do I get across that hey, we have BOTH now abused the privilege of “privacy” and hurt the other, so let’s switch to an open-door policy on everything? How does one make such a request that appeals to both a cold heart and a closed mind? I know I am not the most handsome by far, but I am artistic, intelligent, witty, grounded-yet-fun and generous. I know I *could* find someone else if need be. But I don’t WANT to. I shouldn’t HAVE to. I just want my wife to rediscover what she fell for in the first place, stop sabotaging our present and future because of our past, and start seeing me as an equal instead of an “oppressor” one minute and a floormat the next. Any suggestions? :/

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