Amanda Name: AmandaLocation: FloridaOccupation: ManagementSpouse Testimonial: Read Pier's Story HereChildren: 1Discovery Date: Winter, January 2010Story: I married my husband because he was kind, sensitive, caring, smart and gentle. He was a unique man, not afraid of showing his feelings. He had his faults, like everyone, I was proud of him and very happy to have found him. I suspected my husband was having an affair while we were on vacation with our three-month-old baby boy. I was up nursing the baby and a text came in, it was 1:00 am. I checked his cell, which I never do. It was a message from a woman asking him if he was still in town. I woke him up, he denied knowing who the woman was who sent the text. We’d been married less than two years. A couple days after we came home from vacation I woke up at 3am and hacked into his laptop. I did a search with the woman’s name that sent the text. So this was to become the day of discovery. Dozen of emails came up spanning over two years. I got him out of bed and we ended up breaking his laptop b/c he was crying telling me not to read. The emails were like an atomic bomb but they were vague, carefully ambiguous when talking about the details of their relationship. I didn’t have proof it was anything more than an emotional affair. But a lot didn’t make sense, and I could feel there was more. He disclosed that it was a sexual affair, not an emotional affair (as it appeared to be in the emails) three months after initial discovery. Since it was clear to me that his previous story wasn’t adding up I constantly was dissecting it, he eventually cracked under my constant questioning and told me he’d had sex with her once, while I was pregnant. I knew that wasn’t everything. I kept pushing, and said I wouldn’t even consider staying in the marriage without a polygraph test. And so I learned over the next 30 days confession via the “installment plan”. It helped that at the same time I was pulling his story to pieces he was reading articles on the importance of disclosure from the Recovery Library. Week after week bits and pieces of the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, trickled out. We started reading and listening to the audio clips in the Recovery Library about sexual addiction and he also admitted he’d been addicted to porn for 10 years and that he’d had several sexual encounters with his affair partner and that he also was having sex with her online. The final piece was that it wasn’t only her; he also had a short online affair with an ex-girlfriend. After he confessed what he claimed was everything he also tried to explain that it was not emotional ever but a combination of sexual addiction and black mail. Both women pursued him, he said felt pressured into it from the start. After it started he feared if he stopped they would tell me and I’d leave him. I did read some blackmail in the emails between him and the main affair partner so I believed him a little, I wasn’t sure that it mattered, I was destroyed because it happened, period. The trickle out of information is a killer. It makes it impossible to get your feet on solid ground and start digesting your “new” reality and rebuild trust. “Who are you?” I asked this question over and over. And what do you want from me? At this point he took the initiative to confirm with a polygraph test that this was everything and there was no one else and nothing else. Life was upside down, and I had a baby in the middle keeping me with one foot in the door while the other foot was out.Struggle: Once it was all out I was quickly going mad with intrusive thoughts, they were coming at me day and night. I broke every picture of us in the house and tore up our wedding album and every piece of memorabilia we had. I would wake up from nightmares, shaking. This wasn’t my life. He kept telling me he cried every time he was unfaithful and that he always loved me but he couldn’t just stop the affairs once they started and he couldn’t stop the porn, he felt trapped in a hell he couldn’t escape. He said he felt dead and numb because of what he was doing to me, to our baby, to himself. My struggle was caring? How could I care after what he’d done? Did the details really change anything? I felt so angry thinking of all the time he spent with them, I kept asking myself why he married me if he didn’t really want to be with me? I struggled with believing his sincerity now. Who was this man in front of me? I was so confused what to believe. My self-esteem and pride were destroyed. I didn’t recognize myself. It was like I became every bad trait I’d ever had. In my head I kept thinking, “divorce him, you’re a smart, attractive, competent woman, you have a wonderful career and you don’t need to be with someone who cheated on you”. I couldn’t cry for months. Numb. Shock. Anger. Everything was surreal. It was all a lie I kept thinking. My marriage. Our relationship. And I’m a fool for staying a second longer. Hopelessness. I struggled with hopelessness. My struggle was also that the more time passed and I calmed down the more I felt staying was the right choice. But my pride was bucking like a wild horse. My husband was persistent with his story once it was all out and the polygraph test was over, and he never for a second wanted a divorce. In fact he went to great lengths to prove he did in fact love me, for starters putting up with my total insanity month after month after disclosure. And his commitment to recovery; the more time we spent in recovery (EMS Online and the Recovery Library) the better he became at showing empathy, not being defensive, self-centered or feeling sorry for himself. So it was this nagging voice in my head that said, “maybe he’s telling the truth, it’s horrible either way, but maybe you could forgive him, heal, save your family and your marriage” Deep down I still loved him. I had a hard time with feeling like an idiot for staying, how could anyone respect me for staying with someone who put me through such hell? But he continued to tell me he always loved me, he continued to love our baby and step in there I was lacking because of the depression, he continued with his recovery. He faced my family, my closest friends. I struggled asking myself how I could possibility find empathy and forgiveness for my husband while at the same time mend my broken heart.Course of Action: I started searching online like a mad maniac sure there had to be some kind of help for those in my “specialized” situation. I also wanted to learn as much as possible about affairs, infidelity so that I could make informed choices about my marriage and its future. I found Affair Recovery and took their Affair Analyzer. Shortly after I enrolled in the following courses: EMS Online: This really made me to confront my pain with my spouse. I wanted to shut him out. It forced me to listen to him, what he had to say to me. It taught my spouse how to show me empathy, and how to really feel the impact of his affairs. Harboring Hope: Harboring Hope forced me not to isolate. I wanted to isolate. Harboring Hope gave me a safe place to vent every insane thought in my head. It gave me something I didn’t know would help: companionship with others in my same situation. It gave me perspective; some of the women in my group were suffering in ways I was not. It helped get my focus off my own pain and shift my energy to helping others. Recovery Library: This gave me 24/7 support because I could be up at 3am and search for the topic I was struggling with. It also helped as a couple because we could investigate topics together so it wasn’t subjective. I could find information on my own and make decisions, I trusted this information because it was from professionals who also had lived through and recovered from infidelity. Double credibility in my book. When I first found out about the affairs, I felt like I literally lost my sanity, I felt like my reality was not real, like I was living my life through a fog, I saw people through a glass window, I was on the outside, looking in. I couldn’t sleep; I had nightmares about him and his affair partners. Depressed, severe anxiety, I didn’t know what do to…my first reaction was to divorce him, but we had a baby, that put doubt in my mind, which made living even more unbearable. I wanted to do what was right for my family, not just me. But I didn’t want to have to figure out what to do. I just didn’t want to live; I wanted to escape my life. I felt I was in limbo or hell, a switch off between the two.Lessons Learned: I learned that you have to go through the pain, not around it, you have to process it, not stuff it over and over. You can’t avoid it and the temptation for me was to try and transfer it. I learned patience and perseverance, and in a strange way, I felt proud of myself for pushing through it, pushing through the hard days, getting back on the bus when I fell off. Talking about my feelings even when I just wanted to forget this was my life. I learned if you don’t recover in a healthy way the price could be any combination of your sanity, inner peace, constant anxiety, never feeling happy again, numbing out, being consumed by bitterness and rage. If you do commit to recovery and seek help from people who have lived through it and you can take back your sanity, inner peace and eventually happiness. It feels like being set free, I still have a ways to go but I already feel like I was on the Titanic and caught a lifeboat. You become a survivor, you learn to heal and thrive regardless of the curve balls life can throw your way. It takes courage and you need a support system, in the end it’s well worth it. Especially for my son, a healthy mama is something I really wanted to give him. Recovery makes it possible.Encouragement: You can get your life back. You can be happy again, regardless if your spouse left or your spouse stayed. Help, support and compassion are available with Affair Recovery; take advantage of it. Don’t do it alone.