Ramblings From My Journey

affair recovery-survivors blog-chase-ramblings-if i am to sruvive, then i have to keep facing the darkness head on, and refuse to succumb to the temptation to try and sweep it away

Two years ago, I had my first d day. Wow, how my life has changed since. I find myself fighting darkness again lately. Perhaps it's the anniversary, perhaps its fatigue, perhaps it's a little bit of a lot of things… so I write to clear my head. This blog is simply the ramblings of a betrayed man in the weeds.

We recently moved. Some events in my working life late last year instigated a domino effect that resulted in my professional world scaling down in a good way. My wife and I made the decision to move from a very large house we had lived in for over a decade into one half its size. The home in which we raised our children, lived what I thought was a dream marriage, then experienced its fall, is no longer where I rest my head at night.

The way these events fell into place really made this transition feel like a God sent opportunity to hit the reset button, simplify life, and truly begin to focus on starting over. I have spent the last several months throwing away the old, and buying new. Parts have been redeeming, and parts have dug up old painful bones. As the smoke settles, I think I am beginning to see a glimpse of my new reality. It has its perks, but it definitely ain't all rosy. This truly is a daily struggle, even now... While I suspect it will get easier with time, I am beginning to accept that the effects of my wife's betrayal are lasting and, to some degree, will linger a lifetime.

A few months ago, I wrote about how I had come to the decision to stay. I had hoped making this commitment would help push me through some of my lingering doubt and move me into a more present future. The opposite has been true. While my wife continues well over a year of consistent empathy, remorse, and newfound humility, I find myself feeling trapped... She feels grateful... I feel stuck...

You see, the old me, the confident guy who sought out impossible challenges, thrived on achievement, ambition, and success would've been so judgmental of the new me... this guy who is choosing to be married to a woman that so easily dismissed and mocked him. I am still struggling to accept that some professional opportunities, political aspirations, and future plans may no longer be in my best interest as the threat of exposure and the damage it could bring my children is too great. I have spent the last 2 years feeling the daily pain of contemplating my wife having sex with other men and I'm tired.

Don't get me wrong, the programs and therapy work. EMDR has been a powerful tool and the triggers are much more tolerable and manageable. But the reality is, in all my group work and the many relationships that I've developed with betrayed men on a similar journey over the last 2 years, I am yet to meet one who has stayed with his unfaithful wife and no longer triggers at some level during sex – and some of these men have been more than a decade out from discovery. I have had highly qualified, well intentioned counselors tell me these men exist, yet none have been able to introduce me to one. The consequences of the selfish and immature acts of infidelity are still constantly evident... at times even overwhelming... even now, after years of constant work.

Through this process I have developed friendships with a number of betrayed men on similar journeys. One group of these men communicates often and recently the conversation turned to the loss of the feeling of a special bond with our wives and the loss of that "loving feeling" we all seem to experience. I value this group's thoughts greatly. Many are much further down the road than I. It left me thinking, I am not even sure I know what love "feels" like anymore. My new perspective is love is a choice, not a feeling, but I do miss the desire to pursue her. I have chosen to act in her best interest by staying to raise our children, providing financial and emotional support, therapy resources, protecting her as best I can from exposure caused by her humiliating acts, even when her actions practically destroyed me. At times, I am attracted and aroused by her, at times I am repulsed and pity her, at times it all mixes together simultaneously and leaves me withdrawn, broken, or angry. Once again "feelings" prove fickle and unreliable. One of the members of the group who is often wise in his insight noted trust had to rebuild to a high level before the desire to pursue her returned in earnest. I like that thought and perhaps that is in my future....

While there are resources to help, nothing can erase reality, it can only be accepted. I have to learn to live with being misunderstood by many I consider friends. My choice lies in perspective, but the positive choice, the one that draws me closer to His purpose for my life, is not always easily ascertained... nor swallowed and believed....

So, what is the point? Why tolerate it all? Truth is I do not have a choice. While I am sure my newly recovered wife, free of the bondage of all her secrets, could easily find a new relationship without all this baggage and likely enjoy more uninhibited admiration and desire from another man, I will carry the struggle of overcoming being defined by this forever. If I am to survive, then I have to keep facing the darkness head on, and refuse to succumb to the temptation to try and sweep it away.

I am not sure of much these days, but I am certain that complacency will breed the self-contempt shame needs to overcome me. I'm tired but I know I cannot stop. Shame is powerful. It cannot be easily dismissed. It is demanding and impatient. It lies and manipulates and can squelch joy in an instant.... But it isn't real... it isn't authentic... and somewhere deep down in all this darkness I will find the power inside me to truly put it in its place. To that end I patiently aspire.

Meanwhile, looks like my counselor has a cancelation tomorrow... so I press on....

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The Long Night

That’s where we are right now. I wish I couldn’t know EXACTLY how you feel, but I do. And all we can do is choose to believe that nights, however long, always yield to the break of day. There’s others like me in the dark with you. Let’s keep going.

You've been missed

I know that you are a betrayed husband ... and I a betrayed wife ... but we are on the same time path and I have been wondering where you're at in your journey since your decision to stay.

I haven't made the decision quite yet to stay. I find myself constantly looking for real estate, rentals, new jobs, etc. I keep saying that I'll know if the right one comes available but really I think I'm juts continuing to pain shop because I keep thinking maybe something will come along that will make me feel excited about the future again.

I appreciate your statement that your wife could easily go find somewhere else that would be a new start. I believe that maybe that's the only thought that keeps me here. My WH could easily go start over a new ... but he hasn't. And then the demons rear their ugly head and remind me that he hasn't because the OW isn't available to him.

I hate this path we're on. I want to find that #unicorn that everyone assures us exists - the person who isn't triggered years out.

One day at a time right?

Yep!

This process of recovery forces us to have to truly find our own two feet and learn again to stand on our own, whether we stay married or not.

Chase

Meet the Unicorn

I couldn't help but respond to this line: "I want to find that #unicorn that everyone assures us exists - the person who isn't triggered years out.". Because that would be me.

My heart goes out to you. Such a difficult, ugly path this is to walk along! And having little to no hope makes it even lonelier, doesn't it?

It's probably 5 years since the first D-Day. 3 since the last. And this has been one of the strangest, most remarkable things that I honestly didn't expect: these last several months without triggers. About a month ago he gave me his phone to take on an errand because mine wasn't working. And an hour after I got back home I realized that it had not even occurred to me to check his messages. That's the level of safety I can feel these days. And I never, ever expected to be here. I thought it was a burden I'd have to carry forever.

So, yes. It's possible. Maybe, someday. And it will be so good.

Good to hear of your success!

To healing!
Chase

In truth

I am so sorry for the pain you’re experiencing I too know it well. Kindred spirits unwillingly encamped in the crappiest club on earth.
I can only offer a bit of a revelation I’ve had recently that has changed how I feel. Not how my marriage is, but this is about recovery for all parties.
It came like thunder into my heart and head after experiencing years of triggers, sleeplessness, etc. essentially the total package I hadn’t ordered or signed for. I have stayed but it was for my family that I did. My children were not going to be collateral damage if I had anything to do with how this was going to play. However, in my heart and my soul when disclosure came; for me my marriage was over. Now for the interesting part of this too familiar experience.
My marriage was over. Sad, horrible but finally accepting it and not trying to rationalize the irrational, beating the dead horse and figuring out how I could fix it, just putting that chapter in the shredder has actually lifted me out of the crazy I had been living everyday.
I am still here, still married but am taking my time. I went back in time and took my peace back, that relationship had stolen the very essence of my spirit.
I know I deserve better, I am working to find it in the marriage I have but fully realizing I can not revive the dead one nor do I wish to.
It has helped to end the struggle and bleeding. To start “dating” my husband again. It’s starting over with new eyes. Clearer eyes at that. Where it goes, no one can know but I am honoring myself in the process.
Prayers for you and your journey to reclaiming your peace. You deserve it back.

With time

I think with time, I am feeling more detached from my spouse. It is not a purposeful emotion, just an evolution if my feelings. Some days I feel pity for my husband. Not sure if that is good or bad.

thanks for your post

I was happy to see your new post. I look forward to them and can certainly relate in some ways. While I am a betrayed wife, I have experienced many of the feelings you so eloquently explain. My old self would also have been very judgmental of the woman I have become- one that stays in a marriage to someone who betrayed her. It is hard to abandon that old self, feelings, and judgments that were part of our past. Thank you for your honesty and keep writing!

I miss that 'lovin' feeling'

I miss that 'lovin' feeling' too. I don't think my wife will ever grasp the entirety of what I have lost... of what we have lost.

Thanks for sharing your story Ramblings from my journey

Recently my youngest daughter told me, mom you sure have seen a lot of movies. This comment stemmed from searching through an endless bunch of movies trying to find something to watch that we haven't seen before eventually I gave in and saw a repeat but this made me realize I spent a lot of alone time when my husband had his affair and my daughters comment gave me a flash back. I say thanks for sharing your story because a lot of what you said is relatable. The memories I cannot erase, being stuck. We never did counseling life simply went on and we went on with it but day by day I realize I have not moved on, I have not healed. I stumbled upon Affair Recovery while surfing the Internet and it has been a tremendous help. I share them with my spouse but he's had no reaction, I don't even know if he watches the videos. Your story touched me and I want to thank you for sharing. Where I am right now I honestly believe our marriage has ended, we are now two people who happens to live together and have a family together but we are no longer husband and wives.

You’ll get there

You might not feel like H&W now, but that is today, and maybe tomorrow, but don’t give up hope. Take comfort in knowing the old marriage died. And as you eventually do move on, heal, grow, and get back to being the best you, you can start to build the new marriage.

Thankyou

Thankyou for sharing your heart as I’m guessing it’s not easy to be so vulnerable. I especially appreciated how you spoke of others criticising you for staying. I’m sorry. Just so sorry. I am the ‘FORMER’ unfaithful wife and although every story is unique it remains that there is unbearable pain on both sides. My husband and I have 7 children together, I’ve been a stay home homeschool mom for 23 years and I do know how it feels to feel trapped. Different than what you described, yet similar too. It’s interesting because all the pain you express I could ditto it- but on the other side of the story. Pain. Shredding pain like I NEVER knew existed. I’ll soare you the details of my story but I will say it’s left me in a pool of blood I cannot imagine being healed of. My husband has held me in his arms COUNTLESS hours as I have wept and cried and suffered. Has he suffered too? Of course!!! You know that all too well. The pains of adultery are so severe. And yes I also believe the children are worth staying for. Again I’m so so sorry. I pray one day we ALL will dance in freedom and wholeness. One day
To healing. :-(

Thank you

I appreciate the comments and the personal support offered. One of the things I noticed when I first started blogging was I only wanted to write when I was in a positive space. Usually right after a breakthrough or a positive transition, I felt the need to reflect and share. While positive encouragement is important from the resources on AR, I wanted to make sure I also illustrated that the pain and darkness is real and understood.

As I expressed in this blog, Ive been dragging a little lately. Regardless, I wanted to write about my current state as I wanted to illustrate how progress is not linear. As we all know, this is a back and forth/up and down, "crazy making" process. The biggest criticizer I have encountered thus far of my decision to stay is me. The good news is that guy has been inside my head tearing me down as long as I can remember and this process has allowed me, for the first time in my life, to really identify him and begin to work on him. That is the voice from which this blog came. While that voice was loud the day I wrote it, putting these thoughts on paper had a way of dampening his negative influence.

We all had many problems prior to dealing with infidelity, it just can be hard to remember that when we are deep in the weeds of recovery. While none of us will ever get to the point of "pain free living," I do hope the new found self awareness will lead to a greater richness in our days.

Fading Memories

I'm 6 1/2 months out from D-day. I've completed Bootcamp and EMSO. We're currently in Married for Life and I'm in Harboring Hope. I guess I list all of this to convince myself that I'm doing everything possible. But, nothing can stop the thoughts. Here's something I wrote a while back. It pretty much explains where I am inside.

Fading Memories

 The memories may fade
 But they never go away
 The memories may fade
 But they’re here to stay

 Forgiveness can be given
 Apologies can be accepted
 Hands can be held
 Bad thoughts can be rejected

 As time goes on
 And life weaves its way
 Memories can fade
 But they never go away

 I carry them with me
 Wherever I go
 They’re always there
 I’ll always know

 I push them aside
 So that I may smile
 They stay in the shadows
 But only for a while

 They sneak up behind me
 And catch me off guard
 They tear at my heart
 Without any regard

 Time heals all wounds
 That’s what they say
 The memories may fade
 But they never go away.

I am glad to hear you are in

I am glad to hear you are in the HH class. While I have been through much coursework and individual counseling, the HH course has been one of the greatest tools for my healing. The triggers are the worst and darkness can seem to come from nowhere sometimes but the feelings always end. Too healing.
Chase

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