Rick Reynolds, LCSW

Rick Reynolds, LCSW
Founder & President, Affair Recovery

Understanding Infidelity: Helping the Unfaithful Start Recovery

As a young man of 5, I made a choice that proved to be quite painful. It happened while visiting my Grandmom in Snyder, Texas. It all began when I noticed a wasp nest hanging from Grandmom’s plumb tree. As best as I can recall I’d never seen a wasp’s nest before. Being naturally curious, I had hoped to dislodge it and examine the contents. Being vertically challenged, however, made the task at hand somewhat difficult. I finally happened upon what seemed like a promising solution when I found a hammer in one of the kitchen drawers. In hindsight, I now realize that after my first few misses it would have been wise to abandon my quest, but never one to be discouraged I continued hurling the hammer in hopes of fulfilling my dream.

Eventually, as luck would have it, (or maybe as bad luck would have it) I succeeded in hitting the nest and knocking it down. You can imagine what happened next. A wave of angry wasps came straight at me. I ran as fast as my short little legs could carry me, but it wasn’t nearly fast enough. I must have had twenty stings before I managed to get back into the house.

Last week’s newsletter reminded me a little of that experience. Obviously, I wrote something that stirred up a hornet’s nest. I grieve over the pain I caused many of you who are dealing with betrayal and hope you can move beyond the pain created by the article. As one of our mentor’s told me after she read the article, “If I had read that early on in my recovery I would have been really pissed and know I wouldn’t have reacted well.”

That article received more comments than any before and for that reason I thought it might be good to clarify. I promise, I’m not trying to knock the nest down. I only want to help with the hurt and confusion that comes from recovering from an affair.

In the article I was not saying that self-deception ever justifies an affair. Becoming so self-centered that you fail to consider both your mate and the devastation of your choices reveals a total absence of love. It’s frightening when someone becomes so self-centered that they deceive themselves into thinking they are somehow justified in their self-exaltation while despising others. The person in that state of mind is dangerous and as long as they possess that mindset they are incapable of meaningful relationships or recovering from an affair. Self-centeredness is void of love and can only act in self-interest not in the interest of another. It lacks courage because it can’t think of anything but self-protection.

There is a huge difference between loving someone and being committed to stay. Love always acts in the best interest of another and choosing to stay but not to invest in your mate by dealing with betrayal is far from love. Love compels us to consider the best interest of others, not just what we want.

I do believe people can see the error of their ways and change or I wouldn’t be in this business. But until they can see their problem (not their mate’s problem) and have a desire to change nothing will happen. Continuing to justify the affair by blaming one’s mate brings no progress and offers little hope.

In the comments someone asked “How do we keep it from happening again?” It begins by taking personal responsibility for what you’ve done. If you feel your mate is to blame for what you did then you’ll never change. To change, you have to be willing to do the work. Half measures will avail you nothing in the process of dealing with betrayal. You have to actually believe change can happen. That’s why community becomes so important. Most of us don’t really believe we can change, we only wish we could change. Until we find others who are like us and who have what we want, it will be difficult to believe it could actually happen. That’s why having a community of individuals to work with becomes imperative when recovering from an affair. Personally, I never believed I could change until I met someone who had. I never believed I could be happy until I met someone in similar circumstances who loved their new life. Knowing it was doable made it possible. Finally, you have to take the steps necessary to replace old destructive patterns and with new patterns of health.

Again, I’m sorry for the pain I caused. I pray for your healing. Please let us know if there’s any way we can help you in recovering from an affair. If you’re ready to begin moving forward please go and check out our online courses. There is hope and change really is possible .

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Comments

thank you

I am not sorry you wrote what you did last week. It really helped me open my eyes to the person I was at the time of my affair. I now realize it wasn't all my husbands faults that drove me to my crazy decisions, it was all me I made that choice. I kept finding every little fault of his to justify what I was doing and that was so wrong of me. My affair wasn't long ago, we are just now trying to put the past in the past. I have learned alot from your articles even know at times I didn't want to hear what you had to say.  So although you may have stirred up a hornets nest, you helped me out alot, along with my husband. So I thank you for that.

Molly You are very welcome :)

Hi Molly,

I'm very glad you responded, you are very welcome. Pease make your voice heard to those in your same position on this site. Comment often, show the stubborn people that there is such a better life on the other side of taking responsibility and breaking through the lie's. Talk to them from your point of view of any struggles you had making the change or transition like them, but how amazing it feels to break free of the deception and live in truth. They need to see you and a whole army of those who are setting that example of meeting their sickness straight on and being excited to find the thing that has caused so much grief and pain in their life. I just know that it’s so very different for people who have been unfaithful to here others who have been there to say "I know where you are now, I've been there, but let me help you get where I'm at now, it's the only way, it’s the right thing to do, and you owe it to yourself and spouse to step up to the plate and have the courage to swing as hard as you can and get in the game"... something like that anyway :) You have a very powerful responsibility now and I'm so very happy to see you accept it and are CHOOSING THE RIGHT! We need more people like you in this world when we make mistakes to turn it around big time, and use that mistake as the wakeup call and fuel to do a complete 180 and make a miraculous change. Thanks again and thanks to your husband as well for his courage to stick in there and be a great example of what true commitment.  Give him a huge kiss and hug (maybe more than that J)  He is deserving of being someone you hold up and value more than any person on earth for his strength, be his biggest sheerleader, and he’ll return it to you too.  God bless you both J

I thought your article was one of your best!

At a certain point the political correctness (or whatever you call it) in phrasing words carefully as to not offend others ends up taking away from being able to be specific and direct. People who have caused harm to others need to be humbled to dirt and know they have sinned about as bad as you can sin, not to mention know they need to pay the price to those they have hurt, and earn their way back. They need to know they did the ultimate in hurting not just anybody but the ONE AND ONLY PERSON you said you would never hurt like that. They have to see that they are a hazard to themselves and have lost the light inside that God offers. But the problem is the very sickness, the very addiction that led to such sin that got them in to the mess (the flaxen chord) is still in control. You would hope they could shake it off just like that, and some do when they get the wakeup call sent from God as he compels us to return, or they get cought red handed, but most unfortunately and sadly do not. They then go to playing a victim roll when cought and play on the heart strings of others and abuse what compassion is. Those wanting to follow God's teachings muscle up the courage to fight and not quit and continue to be abused and mistreated as the betrayed spouse continues to avoid responsibility, make excuses, justify actions and intentions, blame their way to such a degree that they're lost completely and have no way of seeing black from white.  They've lost their moral compass which balances us and keeps us on the right heading when we are led astray.  ITs the thing that balances us with not thinking about ourselves but those we would hurt and destroy with such selfishness.  Like a ship lost at sea with no mast, rudder or sail they simply go wherever their emotions (the tide and waves) push them. They are cowards and liars to themselves and others and continue to do things similarly after finding out what they did.

Like criminals, when society shows leniency towards them without sevier and harsh penalty they are never are healed or corrected. Most are only upset they are caught and then put on a show to act sorry and know they can play on the heart strings of compassion to help them in their criminal state to ease, reduce and even eliminate the penalty. It's no different with many unfaithful people. The fact they could even consider being unfaithful shows such mental illness and internal problems that stem from their upbringing and failed parenting that for them to take responsibility is truly not even in them. The immaturity they possess is that of a hurt and lost child, since we know most of our children would never do such things like being unfaithful as they know right from wrong and would never consider such evil. Sadly these adult children have less maturity in controlling their emotions than the majority of our children, and the selfishness they possess usually led by the inability to even consider controlling their emotions that lead to poison like anger and resentment, that then lead to being a victim of their emotions and out of control. The light has gone out in them, and like an animal that can’t control its instinct the body has taken over and the spirit not strong enough to overcome, or even dead inside waiting for God's compelling trials to bring them back to the truth and humility. 

If we are always so compassionate to these people, like criminals, we only aid in the self-deception and disillusioned mentality. They will stay in an area of grey where they can't distinguish black from white or keep their mind from looking for reason to justify and blame to avoid shame and guilt, which brings us to repentance and seeking forgiveness with all that we have in us to those we have betrayed and destroyed. The body fights giving up sin and addiction so it does not lose control, it fights and forces our desires to go crazy with feelings that make it near impossible to recover. The spirit inside is there and able to come back but if we let them manipulate and deceive us and themselves, we'll help them bury that spirit even more, and perhaps for good. If we all take the approach of demanding more from ourselves and others and renewing our commitment to responsibility to do what’s right regardless of it being difficult or even seemingly impossible, we would stop wasting time treading water, or worse falling off a cliff, and losing family after family in this world of selfishness. We could get to where our fight is one that makes REAL progress. Don't stop the STRONG fight Rick, we need STRONG leaders, which doesn't mean no compassion but strong love, free from weakness to get people to perform for themselves and realize how lost they are.  Weakness is not of God and does bring progress/  Weakness stems from fear and fear is a controlling mechanism keeping us stuck and walled off from Gods light!  Scary stuff people, stop arguing what happened to allow an affair and just own up with all you got.  Be devestated with your own actions so you can destroy the destructive ways that led you to this unthinkable mess and ultimate sin.  What lies on the other side however is freedom, hope, love, commitment, compassion, honor, forgiveness, strength...all the things of a wonderful life to cherish.  Why would you chose to stay on the side you're on when we all want a life we can cherish, just make one with the people you promised you would all along.  Make it right.  Theres nothing you could do that too much trying to repair such horrible pain that has been caused.  Few hoever will get this and understand as the self deception and lies are to strong to see truth and follow it without a fight.

Dirt

I see what you're saying, but if you treat people like children they probably will act like children. I'm not saying you squash them and keep them down, but I have a great deal of experience with this and can tell you it takes a sick mind to be unfaithful and it requires serious action to correct it. Look, when someone is an addict typically they have to go to rehab which is an extreme way to isolate themselves from the substance they are addicted to. They make these people step out of denial, excuses and rationalizations by having them stand one by one and say "I'm Bob and I'm an addict" just to make it tangible and stop the lies through owning what they are struggling with. They then isolate this person from the rest of the world to get them thinking straight and get them off the drug through a controlled environment. There's no leaving the compound they are under constant supervision. Can you force someone in to this same approach when it comes to infidelity "no"... It's their choice, but since when have their choices been sound choices if they were capable of having an affair? I mean the sin next to murder is serious stuff! And anything you do to down play that only plays in to their mental illness and selfishness.

What I didn't say to do was to condemn unfaithful spouses to such a degree that they hate themselves, I said to be tough with them cause you have to be. If you don't you won't be able to help them. Tough love is true love. It's not love cause its easy or cause I feel like it, its love cause I'm committed and they need your help. You can't help them if you appeal to their sickness and self-deception. If you do, it will all be over or fake which will lead to it being over too. The more damaging thing is letting that sickness exist. It doesn't change overnight, it takes time, years even... but if you both meant it when you took your vows you'll do it the right way. If they don't see how terrible it is and pay for it, they'll do it again or do it in another way.

In the rare case when they snap out of it so obviously and they start going through a complete change of heart and demand to pay for things and not be let off the hook, then we don't have to be the one's holding them accountable, they're doing it themselves. But that is so rare! Those kinds of people almost never allow an affair to happen in the first place.

Again I didn't say have no compassion just don't let the sickness kill the process of what they must go through. It has to be very hard for them making it back or they aren't worth taking back because they just aren't committed and you'll continue to struggle. It does take patience and wisdom on the faithful spouse side though because it hurts to have to be cheated on and then to be the patient and faithful one leading things back out of the mess, but it’s the right things to do.

Jake you said if we both

Jake you said if we both meant our vow when we took them we will do the right thing.  I say if my wife meant her vows when she took them I would have no need to be on this site.

Dirt

I hope you are ok. Your message was short, but I could feel your pain. No one is perfect - we are all human. Infidelity is always a bad choice. To survive infidelity, the betrayer also has to understand why he took that dangerous pathway. But at the same time, the remorse and self-hatred can be dangerous. The family is already damaged, but to have someone actually physically harm themselves because of the remorse just adds to the pain. So you are correct, being reduced to dirt after an affair requires additional assistance that is not always available.

Trying to understand

Last weeks newsletter was controversial for sure and I had a little trouble with that one myself.  These are always good articles however, and I forward them to my unfaithful husband each week.  I cry so much.  D day for me was almost 8 months ago, and there are some days I feel as devastated as in the very beginning.  We have been married for 36 years and I never saw this coming.  My husband is a private investigator and travels quite a bit.  He is retired from the military and from the sheriff's office in my home town.  So in 2004 he helped a female investigator get going in the business and they traveled together quite often.  He developed an emotional attachment to this woman - - a woman whom I knew and thought was a friend of our family.  He also started looking at porn.  In the fall of 2005 his conscience got the best of him and he came to me and confessed.  I was very hurt of course.... but we dealt with it ourselves and didn't get counseling.  Then I had several years of bad luck with my health.  Sickness, surgeries, lots of pain with head and neck issues and bad disc's... Lots of cortisone shots - with one in particular that has permanetly damaged nerves in the occipitals in the back of my head.  To this day I cannot even lay down on a pillow without pain and I deal with headaches 24/7 literally.  I thought my husband loved me enough to help me through all of that.  On the outside he did, but just this last March I found out about an affair he had in 2009, and another affair just this past January, and when I found out he was trying to solicit sex with some woman he knew back in high school - - - 50 years ago.  This womans husband sent me their facebook messages.  That is how I found out.  And the affair he had this year in January was because HE went on Craigs List to solicit sex - and of course some slut answered his dispicable ad.  It is true we didn't have much of a sex life - - I was too sick and in pain most of the time.  We talked about that fact...and I even ask him how he was doing with not having sex.... he said he was okay with it and didn't want to ask me for sex becasue he didn't want to hurt me any more than I was.....I told him he would not hurt me.  And he had erectyle function difficultities and I truly thought he was not interested, so I did not press the issue so I would not embarrass him.  I DID think of him.....and he DID NOT think of me.  He became that self-centered man and justified sex outside our marriage because I was sick and he wasn't getting it at home it would be okay for him to get it elsewhere.  He didn't think of me or the consequences...he didn't think he would get caught and I would never find out.  He was one of those people who could go to church and cry during the worship songs and raise his hands in worship.  It was all a lie.  And I've had to scratch and fight for every scrap of information I've gotten.  Talk about dissapointed.  My life is forever changed because he was so selfish.  We are in counseling and trying to reconcile.  I am the one having trouble getting my mind wrapped around what he did and how he chose to walk out of our marriage.  It overwhelmes me at times and I cry for 2-3 days in a row.  I don't know what to think about a man who would do this.  I've been angry, grief stricken, sick at heart, and all of the other things.  He says he has always loved me and says he wants only me....  then WHY did he do it??? And KEEP doing it??  I don't understand, and I hurt so much.  These newsletters do help though.  I am sadly not alone in the emotional turmoil of infidelity.  It is unbearable.  We have 3 grown kids.  Our 2 boys are married with their own families....and they know - - because of circumstances of life we had to tell them.  Our daughter is unmarried and also lives in the same city as us and one of our boys.  She does not know and she cannot ever know....she would not handle it well at all.  Somehow by the grace of God, she knows we are in counseling, but does not know the reason - - she thinks it's just because we were not getting along and are trying to fix things up that way.  What a nightmare.

Dear Rick,Your message was

Dear Rick, Your message was justified, despite stirring up a wide range of emotions (if I am any barometer to this) and what I suspect were strong responses. I have repeatedly told my wife since discovering her series of inappropriate behavior and shortly thereafter, her affair- that I can deal with the truth- even if it is heart-wrenching and angers me for a period afterwards upon learning of any particular details. What I found COMPLETELY unacceptable was to have the truth hidden- to be 'shielded' from the truth- like I had been for so long. I can deal with the truth- as difficult as it might be to hear- it is better than being kept ignorant from the reality- unknown details lead to far too many suppositions on what went on regarding the details of the affair- whether they be accurate or not. In my case, the real challenge has been to deal with the difficulty of the timing of her affair. She met with her AP 2 weeks after the death of my mother- a true force of nature for her siblings, an incredible mother for her children, and a grandmother taken far too soon... The effects of the timing of my wife's affair will linger so much longer than will the impact of what she did. How can someone really be so crass and unfeeling? It is hard to imagine and to ever be able to understand how one could get over this: when I was experiencing the most horrible emotional turmoil; in my life, my 'beloved's' thoughts were with someone else- and likely for months afterwards. So Mr Renyolds, when I read about your suggestions regarding forgiveness- while I can understand the need to go there, let's just say that I have great difficulty getting to this point. I hope that I will, but it still seems like a bit of a stretch at this point. And I do have hope- why? Because I see the efforts that my wife is making- to try to understand what led her down the road she chose to follow, despite what I thought was a fulfilling marriage. I see the extreme remorse, the guilt and shame that she feels I believe is real, and it is difficult to see her struggle- despite what she did to us. I have put my faith in our psychologist to help guide us through this nightmare, but groups like this do help as well. They help me understand that I am not alone in my struggle to deal with her affair, and also help me realize that things could be so much worse. Thank you for your dedication to helping others.

Confused about "the work"

Hi there. I really need some help understanding what "work" I need to see my unfaithful husband do? He had an 18 month emotionally bonded affair with another married woman. He considered leaving me and our 3 teenage boys. He actually moved out and tried to leave. He found that he was miserable and asked me to work on our marriage. He has done some counseling both individually and together. He suffers from extreme anxiety and truly hates talk therapy. In all he's probably had about 30 sessions. He is also talking to our Pastor. I have read extensively about adultery/mid-life crisis (which I believe my husband had). I share with him by sending articles and talking on a regular basis. My husband does not want to to more therapy. When do I let that go and rest in the process? I do believe he sees that the adultery was 100% his. I get frightened that he will never be able to do enough "work".

Husband turned around only because I found out!

During my husband affair, he said he told his " friend" that he loved his wife and told me that he never stopped loving me and that he takes full responsibility for his affair. He pleads for forgiveness and is full of thanks daily for giving him a chance to make me " the happiest woman ever". Drawing from your analysis of the unfaithful one, it's clear that infidelity is not an act of love and it's not something you do to someone you love. Intuitively knowing, though without evidence, I had asked my husband to end his affair if he is in one. He shrugged and gave no response. A week later I discovered evidence from sexts the OW had sent months ago saying how she could not help thinking of him having sex with her. He had also called her a few hours before discovery. Prior to this I had asked him to put more effort into making our marriage, more time with each other, and would hold his hands on outings and really trying to put more romance back in but he would look look distracted or be defensive instead. He agreed to make more effort. He confessed to have continued the affair because he enjoyed the conversations with the "friend" who called him "honey" and he saved her name as sweet heart, though she meant nothing to him and it could have been any other woman for all he cares and he can't explain how it happened. He used this woman since he admitted to having no romantic feelings for her so what is to prove that his attachments to the marriage is not because i am useful somehow, he is the sole provider. Story/reasons sucks! I am struggling with having to accept the affair was just an adventure and that he would have continued the affair which he described as then EA because he had stopped the sex with her 6 months before my discovery. He is so in love with me now and all mushy and running circles to please me just because I found out. Before then he was intolerant and condescending in the relationship. How am I to believe that a man capable of doing the things he did really ever loved me before, during and after the affair? I feel that he is desperate not to let go because he is strongly attached to the marriage. He repeats daily his love for me but I can't help being cynical. What does he want from me? He became good because I found out!

Response to your Husbands behavior

 

Rick is spot on with this last article... Just remember your husband has something in him that’s a problem. If you looked at the affair as a side effect or symptom of his internal issues (likely stemming from childhood upbringing and parenting) you would see he is doing what you would expect someone that’s lost and lacks the moral compass and understanding to self-regulate. It's like an addiction. It makes no sense, it hurts you and in others. It’s not healthy or beneficial and always is done regardless of what it does to you or how you hurt the ones you love. That’s what an addiction is. Addiction’s typically are people trying to medicate their pain. Many of which are internal/emotional pain that they don't even realize is there or where it's coming from. They are just off inside and lack the perspective to know they are off because it’s how they've lived most of their life. Or its their programming they return from childhood later on in life that is taking over their mind and body. If you took your vows seriously you'll know that you said you would be there for this person even when things got difficult (and it doesn't get any more difficult than this) none the less don't let your pride overpower the need your husband has to help him heal. Don't just patch things together though. Be direct and if he wants to make things right he'll be willing to do what you ask of him. He needs to reinvest himself completely in to finding out what his internal problems are and fixing them. He needs to be willing to go to the ends of the earth so he can prove to you he's willing, but equally important is to put time in to something that he won't want to lose because of his personal investment in to that. He needs blood, sweat and tears in to this. Hard work is good for us all, it helps us appreciate what we have and gets rid of the weakness and selfishness that laziness, excuse making and justification bring. Like a muscle being trained to get stronger so does his love and commitment to you. Be strong, fair, patient and wise and help him get where he needs to in his mind. Right minds make right choices ;)... Best of luck to you!

 

Husbands are stupid :(

Gary Smalley puts that into perspective when he says that husbands are dumb and fail to understand women (jokingly of course). What he does not make light of is how he talks about how men fail over and over again to meet their wifes' emotional needs. He talks about harmony and disharmony. His books have been an eye opener for me (a husband) to realize that I was a jerk to my wife for years. My wife warned me time and time again that I wasnt meeting her emotional needs by being grumpy, disrespectful to her, wanting sex without being nurturing and getting upset when she wouldnt give in. The list goes on and on and because of that she continued to drift further and further apart. I provided for her physically and financially and I honestly loved her but I wanted things my way and I dishonored her in many ways. She ended up looking for someone on a chatroom to fill her emotional needs and what started out as friendship turned into an affair (doesnt it always) that lasted a very long time and surprisingly enough because of my pride, I missed all the signals and never knew until I was working on her computer and found evidence.I was crushed. She had honestly fell in love with this other man who treated her like a queen. Of course it was all in lies or even it was the truth, but he was married and he wouldnt end his marriage to be with my wife. She wanted to leave me but she was afraid. Its been 1.5 years since I found out and long story short, it took this devastating knowledge to give me a wake up call to want to change my selfish ways. I was the one that caused her to fall in love with someone else. I dont know if I can ever forgive myself for causing the love of my life to fall in love with another man. I dont think I could ever forgive myself for the wrongs I caused her. The only thing we can do is make things right by treating her with the respect and love she deserves. To put God first and her second and the kids third and myself last. To work hard and providing her the emotional needs she deserves. Yes, it sucks and the pain is unbearable but I have faith and if God wants us to be together, let no man or woman tear us apart. I believe in the Gary Smalley books. I started with "How to win your wife back (before its too late). I am now on "Keys to a loving lasting relationship" (which to me is a hard read). I believe in counseling. I believe in praying together. I believe in honesty and no more lies from either one of us. I dont know whats going to become of us but I do know that recently things seem to be getting a little better. Truth be told, the enemy wants you to break up and be miserable but I also believe if you're strong in your faith, that this might not happen. One thing Gary stated in his book was no marriage is perfect and it could end but if you put God first it will show people what you're really living for. I think this blog is awesome and its really helped me a lot but there are other things you and your husband need to be doing together. Your husband needs to stop his behavior and if he refuses (disharmony) then you've done all you can. He needs to love and respect you. After all, he was the one who chose to marry you. Good luck and prayer be with you

re: husband turned around.....

I am so sorry that you are going thru this.  I am also going through something very similar and have some of the same thoughts that you do.  As far as I am to believe, my husband was involved in an EA that did not graduate to anything physical, no touching, no kissing, no meetings.  But there lies the question, if he was involved in an EA and was able to get away with this deception for a full year, then how do I believe he didn't touch her, kiss her, sleep with her?  I believe he is omitting a lot b/c he is self protecting and too worried that any more will send me over the edge in deciding how to move forward.

I think (not 100% sure) the EA ended several months prior to D-day.  She moved out of the area and was no longer working at the store they originally met and developed the bond.  Again,  not sure b/c he is relucant to offer much and minimizes the EA.  Of course, he continues to refer to her as 'just a friend,' it was 'platonic.'  But he kept her a secret.  He has never had the need to keep any 'friend' a secret from me.  He sent her flowers.  Her phone number was a saved contact. 

I believe strongly that he has failed to love me.  His actions demonstrate that.  A person does not lie and give his attention, time, flowers to another person not his spouse if he loves his spouse, simple as that.  We made a commitment to each other.  Simple as that.  I have been upset with him plenty over the 20 plus years of marriage but I was still committed!!!!  He loves himself only and this proves it.

He is also being super nice, accomodating, complimentary, and wanting to work on the marriage.  Why?  B/c I found out and he needs me.  Divorcing him will be a financial strain on him and bring him momentary shame with his family and work and friends.  It will be another of HIS screw ups and add to his track record of pushing away the people that matter the most in his life.  In the course of two of our conversations I brought  up the fact that not once has he mentioned that he still loves me.  I have yet to hear those words.  In fact, he told me that when the OW suggested they start a 'real' relationship he told her that 'it wouldn't work b/c of the age difference.'  He didn't tell her that he was married, loved his wife still, didn't want to destroy his family.  It boiled down to 'age difference.'  Really?  Nevertheless, not once have I heard him mention the word LOVE.  Not once has he mentioned commitment. 

Even after bringing this up, this desperate man has yet to utter those words.

I can't figure this all out either.  I am interested more on your perspective, as well as the perspective of others. 

 

In the same boat

I am new to this site and after reading some of the posts... I realize what I am feeling is normal.  I found myself connecting with a lot of what other have written.  My husband denied everything until I found tangible proof... then he apologized up one side and down the other... at first. 

I had suspected something was going on for a little over a year. This was with a woman who attended the same church we had for a number of years before we moved on to another, for unrelated reasons.  Even though we no longer attended the same church, we still stayed connected by helping with different outreach programs and fellowship events.  My discomfort with their behavior at functions was noticed(giggling, touching, wandering off together) and was answered by being told I was unjustified in my thoughts and reaction.... I was being jealous and rediculous.  The tune changed when I confronted him with tangible proof...  a picture of her in a hidden folder on our laptop computer and emails sent to an email address belonging to her, but one not shared with other church friends.  At that point, he became apologetic.. telling me how much he loved me, still found me attractive and did not want to split. Still in shock from the admission, I tried to remain calm, but informed him we would no longer have any dealings with our former church and he was to cease ALL contact with her;email,text, phone,cards, in person - period.  I also wanted counseling. He agreed to the cease contact, but the counseling got a resounding NO. Within a few days, apologizing turned to whining....  he missed his "friends" at the other church. (mind you, I never asked him to stop contact with any of them outside of the church building)  He doesn't understand why he can't remain "just friends" with this other woman. Really?!?  He said he found her "interesting". Whining then turned to anger and pouting moodiness.  The first initial talk was surprisingly calm.  He answered my questions with what I thought were honest responses.  That changed when I went back to him a little later with more questions.  He openness turned to hostility. He "thought we were done with that" and told me "I should move on".  From what I thought was a solid marriage - even having been told that on many prior occasions from my husband, I was now informed was in trouble for years... from a laundry list of things he didn't think I did well enough around the house to a money/loan issue that took place 5 years prior between my husband and my daughter... it was all my fault we were where we are now.  Right.  Up until 4 months before I confronted him, he was attentive, affectionate, and what felt genuinely caring to me. I was the same with him. Our intimate life was never an issue.  Then it all abruptly changed.  All intimacy and sex was gone. Affection and attentiveness turned to demeaning critisism.  His work days as a plant mgr grew longer and longer till the only time I saw him was when I woke him up in the morning and said goodnight. When I questioned his hours, he chastised me for questioning... informing me his workplace was struggling in the current economic conditions and his other responsibilities were just as demanding - church and one other volunteer office he holds.  Funny how he is spending more time at home now since all this has come to light.      

During a recent conversation, he said again that he doesn't want a divorce.  He has been married before.  In the conversation of professing his love for me, he also said he knows another divorce would ruin his current standing in our church and in our community.  Since then,he has been acting very attentive and almost overly affectionate.  It makes me feel his is putting on an act to keep me happy because he fears losing his position at church and in the community more than losing me.   

He reluctantly went to one counseling session with me, but was wasted time.  He had minimal participation in the session and made it clear he wasn't there of his own accord.  I feel he talking to and is getting suggestions from someone.... I will make a point with him that he totally discounts.. then will come back in a few days and apologize and agree,  but his reasons are not sounding like his own words... does that make sense? 

I'm not convinced he has completely ended his contact with the other woman. He doesn't let me near his cell phone, keeping in on his night stand while he sleeps and reattaching it to his belt loop - pulling on his pants as soon as he gets out of bed in the morning.  It remains on his hip throughout the entire day.  When he showers, he undresses in the bathroom, keeping the phone with him.  I have his home email password and we share a laptop, but when I check the history after he's been on it,  he's cleared it. When I question why, he says it's to keep the processor speed up.  I found out from the IT guy at work... not so.  I have no access to his work computer.  He is expecting me to "trust" he is complying with new found fidelity.  I am struggling with trust right now.  Should I ask him to hand over his phone so I can open it and look at his contacts, text messages... etc?  Is that what him being "transparent" means?

He said he had been in counseling in the past and during those sessions, the counselor told him confessing EVERYTHING isn't always the best thing to do... if it only causes more hurt to the other person.  This was the response I got when I asked him to spill everything.  He had said I was reading more into things than what was there, so I asked him to tell me.  He won't.

I love him... still but am confused and hurt.  Where do I go from here?  I pray a lot and ask God for wisdom and a clear head.    

Inspiring

Dear Rick~

Your words & articles are very inspirational & have helped me a great deal.  Please don't apologize for laying it all out there.  Sometimes we all just need to hear the truth.  Thanks for sharing your truths so we can all heal & have hope that there is a life after this devastation.  I know for many people it's too soon & they too will discover that it takes a strong person to look outside of yourself.  I know that in order to heal we have to forge ahead & forgive.  I agree that this is a huge task---I still have reminders 3 years later but God willing, I love my husband.  I hope & pray this makes us more courageous & loving & more aware.  3 years of counseling too.  God bless you and your wife for giving us hope that we can go on.

Sincerely,

Teresa

 

baby steps in Jesus

Praying to keep walking in faith and trusting Jesus,

Pain and Honesty

One of the things deceived spouses ask for is honesty and as the deceiver this is so hard to give up front because we know the continued pain this delivers and we just want it to go away and get back to life as we know it which to heal is not possible. Rick this article may have hurt feelings but it was honest and that is what people need. I understand the tiptoe approach we want to take and not stir that nest but the pain is nothing compared to when the nest was knocked down and our spouses received the ultimate sting of D-day. To get through this it will hurt for both parties and sometimes just seems like too much but after each obstacle something brighter seems to emerge. Please continue with your honest approach as your not justifying anything just trying to bring some understanding even if it is painful.

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