Our Story is So Much Worse

Every time I send someone to the site for hope, insight and perspective, eventually I’ll hear from someone, “But you don’t understand, our story is so different……” Or another one is, “Well in your story, he or she was sorry for what they did, my spouse is not.” Or a classic is, “But our story is so much worse.”

While I understand the pain you may be in, those that have poured their heart out here would argue that their story was excruciating in every sense of the word. They would also tell you that though the stories may have some changes and some twists and turns, the fact is, it was the worst for them.

The fact is, many of you are seeing your story right now as you are living through it. The chapter may not be closed yet. Every great story has at least one rough chapter, sometimes two or three. This may be that rough chapter. To decide about the whole book right now would be a mistake for some. As Rick says, “You can’t tell the end of a story by the way it begins.”

I know some of you have already experienced divorce. I’m truly sorry for that, and I know it hurts at the core of your person. I pray you are able to find hope and healing for what you’ve gone through, and I’m sure you’d love to have been able to see restoration, if your spouse was safe, and willing to stop acting out. Your life still has purpose and meaning and value, though your road is unique I’m sure.

Those that are in agony right now may think your story is worse, but I don’t think that’s the dominant issue here. It may have some unique elements about it, but for the betrayed spouse, I’m sure they’d tell you they couldn’t imagine feeling worse about what they have felt, or are feeling.

But for those who would think “our story is so much worse,” I’d invite you to consider that you probably don’t know the entirety of those stories you are comparing yourself with. You probably don’t know all the twists and turns or the things that weren’t shared in the hundred word blog that was on the site.

Sometimes we want to think our story is worse so that we can minimize someone else’s story, and remain stuck. Sometimes, we want to think our story is worse so that we have an excuse to quit trying, fighting, believing and pushing ahead. It’s also not uncommon for us to want to think our story is worse so we can justify giving up. I felt that way too, so please don’t feel any judgment, but only associated grief with the pain you are feeling.

For those that have the chance today, push on. Get the right kind of help. Do what you can, with what you have, to find the best expert resource you can to see if your story can change. Then, and only then, if your spouse is not safe and unwilling to change, perhaps that chapter needs to close.

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Barely holding on to myself.

I really don't know what to do anymore. My wife and I have taken the EMSO several weeks ago and are supposed to be participating in the Married for Life Program. She doesn't seem so interested in participating anymore. My wife also took HH. We've both been unfaithful. I've played the role of the unfaithful since discovery (June 2013). I did a lot of horrible things and I really wish I could take them all back. Even before we were married I was such a scum bag. My wife knows about all of my affairs and inappropriate behaviors, back to when we first started dating and even before that.

We still fight and argue. Her main problem with me is that she feels that I am not there for her when she is going through serious hurt. I admit that I dread her emotions because they are usually accompanied by name calling and yelling. Sometimes I'm able to listen to her and talk to her without expressing my own thoughts or feelings. I start to have a problem with listening when she begins to yell and raise her voice. I try to point it out as to explain that yelling doesn't help me listen and I understand that she is hurting. I feel verbally abused when she continues to yell and name call. Am I wrong for asking her to stop yelling? Am I "not being a man" for not being able to take the what I would call "verbal abuse?" To be honest I don't know anymore because it has become the norm for me to here that I am not a man and that I am weak and that I should take it.

To make matters worse I sometimes begin to yell and name call when we can't seem to stop arguing. I say things I regret and I feel awful and try to apologize immediately. I really don't want to hurt her anymore and wish that I could just listen to what she has to say and answer all of her questions to the best of my ability. I am not trying to hide anything, I have been forthcoming with all of my answers and I'm always seeking God's help to assist me with all of this.

She knows about every single detail of my most current and hurtful affair; more than she would like to know. And she knows all the details about my other infidelities before we were married. Sometimes when I answer her questions she will interrupt me and correct my answer based on how she feels. Usually the question is along the lines about how I felt or why I said or did something to or with someone. I think and pray and respond--and she interrupts and answers for me. This leads to an outburst of emotion. She at this point now feels that I have said what her worst fears are in response to her question. This frustrates me and I try to answer the question, but its usually too late at this point. I want to break this cycle. When she answers her own question for me by stating how I must have felt I don't want to agree with her when she is wrong, but I do want to empathize with her by understanding that my actions made her feel that way. It's just very difficult for me. Am I wrong for feeling frustrated?

After her discovery of my affair in June months went by and I continued to act out by contacting my AP and even seeing her a couple of times. I'm holding on to no secrets now, in fact all secrets were divulged or discovered before we begin the EMSO. In September, my wife told me about her affair. An emotional affair that began I'm not sure when--and ended, well again I'm not sure when. After the EMSO program a few weeks went by and my wife contacted her AP. She told me about it. And she also shared more information with me about her unfaithfulness. Some things that really crushed me and made me question her even more. Mainly why she didn't tell me before we started the EMSO.

Even though I usually don't want to talk about her affair I think about it constantly and it really hurts me and sometimes prevents me from wanting to go on with the marriage. I was actually okay with her affair and very forgiving until she contacted him after the EMSO. Now forgiving her has been very difficult. She doesn't really show any remorse over her affair nor for contacting him again. She is so focused on me being there for her and listening to her and loving her and being a man and sucking it up. She explains that she's given me so many chances and I've done nothing with them. She says she contacted him because I wasn't there for her. This is such a big WOW for me because that tells me that she doesn't care about what she did.

I know this comment has been everywhere and it's not so much directed at your article expect that I'm indirectly saying that THIS situation is the "worst." Even though I know there are worse things in the world. I just really don't know how to hold on to this marriage anymore. I want my family. I have gone to several counseling sessions and regularly attend celebrate recovery programs once a week. My wife has gone to a total of maybe 8 counseling sessions and no longer attends. I'm not perfect and I've done some horrible things, and I continue to yell and get angry too. I apologize and ask for forgiveness and I'm trying to be there for her.

Please pray for my family. I don't know what to do. I feel confused and very lost.

confused and lost

rp920, that's a lot. i'm so glad you reached out for help and perspective and shared. you're not the worst for sure, but it is a challenge and it's the worst for YOU for sure. for starters, it's not uncommon for couples to attend an emso program, THEN, yes THEN come to an ems weekend. there is something huge about being with Rick and John and Leslie. each therapist has between 20 and 30 years of experience dealing with infidelity and have all been through infidelity themselves. ALSO, there is something paramount about seeing a therapist who has been through infidelity as well. they get it . they understand it.
if i were you, i would get a session over the phone with Rick, or john, or leslie. You can reach them at 512-346-9299 (scheduling office) and tell them that i sent you, the therapist not just pat the receptionist, so they know you've been on the site and doing your part to heal. if you're desperate, id cal them, or come to an ems weekend asap. its far more impacting than the emso. i can guarantee you that and so will the staff. to get help on how to get your wife to consider coming to the ems weekend this article may help on how to get your mate to cooperate: https://www.affairrecovery.com/dealing-infidelity-how-get-your-mate-coop...
you're story is very familiar as I've seen mutual offenders in a situation get stuck. but i truly believe you can find hope and momentum. its not hopeless, but right now you're stuck. so if you want momentum, you need the hail mary and i think the ems weekend and/or time with the ar therapists is the hail marry. something is not working and she is stuck on one thing, and you are stuck on another. very very very normal. more normal than you think. it's also somewhat common to relapse after an emso or something like that. happens from time to time my friend.
i think at some level, she needs some things unlocked and addressed inside of her. probably same for you, and though effective the emso wont get at them like the emsw will.
also, there is a book called Fight Fair Rick had my wife adn i read years ago. it was good. leveled the playing fields a bit and helped establish some momentum. but that's more peripheral right now, not the central component.

thoughts rp920? I'll check back often to see if you've responded.

it's all so desperately sad

I know everyone has a terrible story to tell and we all feel consumed by our own problems and the situation we have created for ourselves and our families (I speak as the cheating spouse here).
Samuel how did you find the courage to continue through the pain? I am afraid I don't have religious faith to help me so I have to do this on my own. My husband is quite rightly so so hurt and angry and cannot begin to comprehend why I have put us in this position. There does not seem a good answer for us because every choice we have seems to have problems - nothing is working out for us at the moment.
We live abroad so we can't attend ems weekends but we do attend counselling but it barely scratches the surface of what is going on. I am desperately trying to read books and get help through consulting this website and others but I am doing this on my own. I want to repair the marriage but I fear we cannot. I feel so guilty and horrible for what I have done, I am scared to annoy him and I feel close to tears all the time. How do I find the inner strength? How did you find the strength?

sad cheater

sadcheater,
thanks for the reply/comment. you are correct it is gut wrenching. it will test every ounce of your inner resolve. for starters, i wanted to be with my kids. they were the most important element in my life, at the time. yes my faith in Christ and my hope in him were pivotal. but I also wanted to do everything I could to be with my kids and ultimately samantha. unfortunately, there may not be a point where your husband will say "i know exactly why she did it..." if you were to point blank samantha on it, she would say something like 'well, it was the perfect set up, my husband was addicted to applause, this girl was looking for a hero to admire, life was crazy, i was having kids and preoccupied with them, and samuel was insecure and unhealthy and gave in." i mean, it's almost NEVER a simple answer when it comes to the why(s)...of why we cheated, or cheat. although, the website will help tremendously. if he, andyou can, are members, you can read a ton of articles that are on the site which will give excellent insight into the why's, and how to heal and move forward. the membership to the site is pretty cheap and you can cancel at any time, but you have to be a member to read about 70% of all the resources on the site. how much have you both read on the site? it will be instrumental for sure. you may also consider seeing rick via skype or over the phone, if the time difference works. you can reach out via skype and see about a couple sessions that way. it will take sacrifice for sure, but it may be worth it.
this is probably harder for you both since you don't have a plan or a proven pathway to hold on to. without that, you are kinda hit and miss, do what you can, but it doesn't gain any momentum. it makes it worse in some ways as it only exacerbates the situation as there's not any momentum or direction to it all. it can get very muddy and very disjointed and it heightens things. i do think, honestly and truly if you can get some pathway in place you can minimize the frustration and collateral damage and start to heal, but it will take some creativity and strategy for sure. anything else I can speak to or help with?

saving marriage on your own

So I am going to join the site so I can read more of the resources. That's a good idea. I don't know if he wants to - I have sent him links to things but I rarely get any feedback.
The problem is as you say the clear pathway. We are not in a position where we are both saying "lets try to save this marriage and see if we can work through this".
He does not feel as if the marriage can be saved. He feels he could never trust me again and despite the efforts I make to show in small ways I can be trusted it's barely scratching the surface. He trusted me so much. He believed in me so much and now that I have let him down I don't think he feels he could ever trust anyone again.
So essentially we are just marking time - he's doing his best for the kids but ultimately does not believe there is any future for us and we should split up. We are writing off many years of good marriage before my horrible mistake. But I don;t know if I can continue on my own trying to see what we can do. I just don't have the strength to do it. Every comment every look from him I take so personally and to heart it's just so difficult to carry on

sad cheater....marking time

what we encourage couples to think through is more of an approach which says "before we just end this marriage and walk away, let's SEE what our options are? before we give up and end it, let's merely see what hope there is....if there is none, then we walk away. if we can gain some traction and find hope again, then perhaps we have a future together. it creates more safety this way, rather than just assuming we are going to save the marriage. many times the betrayed spouse feels safer that way and doesn't feel as though the unfaithful is running them over with 'lets save the marriage, move on, and put this behind us.' when we create a safe place of 'lets visit our options,' often times they are more open to that. not a guarantee, but when we say 'lets go save the marriage, ' they usually retreat or fight against that as they don't feel empowered and don't feel as though they have any option and they don't want to be bullied.

additionally, i'd encourage you to continue to remember to absorb the pain of it all due to your choices. its a hard statement, but part of you owning what you've done and empowering him to feel free to do what he needs to do to heal, will help him see your empathy. he will interpret your passionate attempts to save the marriage as overpowering him, or manipulating him, or the like. i know it's gut wrenching, but unfortunately you cannot control what choices he makes due to his pain and the best thing you can do is love him and care for him as he will allow you too, but to not chase him or overwhelm him, as he will only pull back most likely. when he does give you a chance to share or talk, it is then that you must strike with how much you love him and want him and will do whatever it takes to save the marriage and allow whatever space he needs to heal. does that make sense?

Thanks

Samuel, thank you for the response. My wife and I are currently in an up swing. I believe we will look into the weekend program. I think we need it. I agree that we are both stuck on something. Life is moving so fast for us and I think we sometimes don't take the time to figure out what makes us stuck so when it comes to a head we fight and argue then just make up. I feel this pattern (what we learned through emso materials) is causing us to harbor resentment. I will continue to move us coward as best as I can. Thanks for the pointers and encouragement.

Is my story even worse

We have been married for twenty one years. My husband has always led me to believe he shared the same faith and values one of these being do not look at or seek temptation which could lead to an affair. We promised each other never to keep any secrets and deep rooted issues from each other. He has proved and shown me how devoted and true to was to me. He has never given me cause to doubt him. I trusted and believed him in every way and I respected him for who he was he was my life. I loved him in every way. Like all married couples we had our problems and troubles which were also a part of our married lives. No we are not perfect and yes I have failed him in many ways. I could not believe my husband would ever cheat on me. Little did I know he was actually doing exactly that. Hiding things from me and playing games with me. My husband was slowly turning into a monster before my eyes. He was making out and pretending he was someone he wasn't in front of me and others. I was the one who caught them together in our spare bed room late at night. They had been seeing each other for two months. Needless to say I am shocked horrified shaken and numb in every way. I no longer have any feelings. I do not feel any love. I no longer trust him or respect him. My heart is totally crushed and broken and my spirit is crushed in every way possible. Their affair is now over. She has moved away. He has told me has realized what he did was a terrible mistake. He was lost and confused and now sees it was me he loved all along. It is seven months since D day. I still have stages of shaking, still have rages and I am still confused to how anyone can say they have a love and respect yet use them for their own gains. This site really is a blessing. Reading what others have gone through has helped me to understand a little and they have helped me see I am not alone. Yes I do thank God for this site it is a blessing and an encouragement in every way. I have found someone who understands what and how I am feeling.

Betty...21 years

Betty, I'm terribly sorry to hear your pain and hurt. i feel it for sure and I get it. I would encourage you to seek expert help before you throw 21 years away. this type of misery can be overwhelming. 7 months is no time at all my friend. it's really not, especially if you haven't got the right type of people/professionals/experts involved. it makes a difference more than you know, when you have the right people in place. like samantha, you're dealing with almost a double betrayal. a betrayal by your husband, but also by a friend and it's painful beyond measure. but there is hope for you and for your husband to get it and come out of the fog. you can't do it on your own and you can't do it without a pathway to recovery. its just too hard and too difficult and the pain is incapacitating in many ways. it's a day by day journey. AA had it right, one day at a time. i'm so glad the site is helpful and encouraging for you. i pray you find peace, day by day, as you walk this out. i hope we can help you in as many ways as possible.

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