The Loneliness of It All – Part 1

Wikipedia defines Loneliness as a complex and usually unpleasant emotional response to isolation or lack of companionship.

Upon disclosure, I’m quick to share that we lost all our friends with the exception of one or two. Samantha had two friends that stayed and I had one. The backdrop of our lives though, was perpetual community. There were people in our house almost every day and night, and we were surrounded by people. I was almost never alone, with the exception of when I traveled on planes or when I drove to meetings.

Poor me I know.

When the affair came out, hundreds of people vanished. Friends we had known for over 10 years were either told to stay away so we could work on our family or that we didn’t want anyone around us in such a tough time (which is a total lie). Our lives were turned upside down and the lives we knew for 10 to 12 years were gone and the best thing we could have had was loving people to support us and stand with us, especially Samantha.  

Just yesterday I was working from home and was listening to a song which instantly brought me back to the lonely and depressing times we walked through early on. Within a few minutes I wept at how alone we both felt at one time. Samantha was actually much happier that we had relocated and left so many people behind, including the affair partner and the affair partner’s family. I however, was devastated and was in many ways miserable. It was like I was bipolar. I loved the fact that I was in the same house as my three kids and Samantha, but I was so alone and knowing I caused this isolation was even more cause for shame and self-hatred.

Infidelity is just that, isolating. If you’re an unfaithful you don’t want to tell anyone for fear of being labeled every bad name in the book. It’s not dinner party or little league game conversation. If you’re a betrayed you also don’t want to tell anyone for fear of the labeling or the pity or the sense of shame that betrayed spouses can feel, or the unsolicited advice many choose to give. The potential labeling from stupid people who have the nerve to think you were a bad spouse or why else would they have cheated? Or, if you’d have just done this, then they wouldn’t have needed to go outside the marriage.

What’s worse is it’s almost impossible to find a safe place or group of people you can find to talk to and not be told what you should do or how you should feel. Not to mention the unending pressure and ridiculous amounts of opinions of people who’ve never had to go through this agony and how they know what they would do. The “if it happened to me this is what I would do’s” are just about enough to make you want to take a long drive and never come back.

Another group of hurt people can also lead you down a dark path. Even therapists who have been betrayed before can do damage. If their marriage didn’t work out due to infidelity or the like, it’s hard for them to find objectivity in their candor without having inclinations towards divorce. You may disagree and I understand that, but if you knew the amount of people I’ve talked to over the years who have experienced therapists who have unresolved issues, it would shock you. Additionally, you’ll find comfort in knowing that Affair Recovery has had a long, very long, longer than you would imagine, list of therapists who have had to come to them for help and healing and insight to their own affairs or addictions.  

Where do you find objectivity? Where do you find a safe place? What is a safe place to begin with? Tomorrow I’ll be posting some examples of safe places as well as a list of what the unfaithful or betrayed are tempted to do when they are lonely. 

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Confused and Lonely

Hi Samuel - such a great post today. Really hits home the intense emotions both sides feel. I have been reading your blog for sometime now. I discovered my husband's affair about 6 months ago, and I tell you we both feel alone. The withdrawal from his AP has been really bad - he is depressed, feels lonely, and misses his one true love - but I am is best friend (or so he says) so he expect me to support him. He has laid all the blame on me for his affair. I have taken responsibility for what my part in our relationship problems, but I think that is unfair. I felt just as alone ad felt my needs were being unmet as well but I didn't cheat. How am I responsible for his actions?

I have some questions I hope you can help me with?
1) How did Samantha help you with your withdrawal?
2) Since your affair ended, have you ever seen your AP or spoken to her or was it cold turkey right away?
3) I don't think affair love is real - if it was, why hide it and lie about it. But my husband say it is real. While you were in your affair, it probably seemed real and for all I know, maybe they are. But would you agree that affair love is incomplete?
3) If he loves her so much, why doesn't he leave me to be with her? Why continue to put me through this pain? Aren't I worthy to have love and happiness too? Through your posts, it seemed that your affair made you so happy and you had little love for you wife - the same as my husband. What he would tell her about me during his affair, you would think he would leave right away. But once everything is out in the open, and you have a chance to be with your AP, why change your mind?

I apologize if these questions are hard to answer. Know that this blog has been a source of comfort for me.

AW...answering your comments

you're very kind for your comments and for responding. I'm happy to help in any way I can. It's normal for him to blame you, as he has to to justify the affair to himself. this six part series will help explain more about that just below: https://www.affairrecovery.com/newsletter/founder/why-we-commit-betrayal-with-infidelity https://www.affairrecovery.com/newsletter/founder/thought-processes-that-lead-to-affair-and-betrayal-how-could-you-part-two https://www.affairrecovery.com/newsletter/founder/moral-justifications-unfaithful-spouse-uses-to-have-affair https://www.affairrecovery.com/newsletter/founder/infidelity-doublespeak-and-distorted-comparisons https://www.affairrecovery.com/newsletter/founder/betrayal-the-secrecy-factor https://www.affairrecovery.com/newsletter/founder/affair-dehumanization-and-blame Additionally, he's trying to blame you to not have to take responsibility for his actions as IF he admits that he is at fault, he would have to own it and he's just not healthy enough to own it right now. it's ridiculous to blame someone else for our actions, but that's what we do to satisfy the need to self deceive ourselves to then justify the affair to make ourselves feel OK. does that make sense? the articles will help with that. Also, here's a great article on shame which will also explain more: https://www.affairrecovery.com/newsletter/founder/infidelity-recovery-understanding-the-paralysis-of-shame here are some answers: 1) How did Samantha help you with your withdrawal? well she was furious. she didn't. she didn't want to and wasn't going to. i didn't express much of my sadness or my detoxing, but it is very real. i had one friend to talk to about that and I talked to the Lord about it to be honest. it was tough, but i knew that me sharing that with Samantha would only drive the knife in deeper so we didn't talk much at all about that. 2) Since your affair ended, have you ever seen your AP or spoken to her or was it cold turkey right away? due to the situation, it was cold turkey literally over night. it was incredibly hard, but i did it. with God's grace and a good friend to talk to, i was able to do it. i knew that if my wife knew that i tried to reach out, she would end all chances at restoration and recovery so i stayed as far away as I could for fear of hurting her more and losing my chance to stay in the house with her and the three kids. 3) If he loves her so much, why doesn't he leave me to be with her? Why continue to put me through this pain? Aren't I worthy to have love and happiness too? Through your posts, it seemed that your affair made you so happy and you had little love for you wife - the same as my husband. What he would tell her about me during his affair, you would think he would leave right away. But once everything is out in the open, and you have a chance to be with your AP, why change your mind? he probably is talking a big game, feeling sorry for himself and really doesn't have the guts to leave. do you have kids? it may be the kids keeping him home. that's ok if it is, as it's impetus enough to get him into recovery. you need to read these two articles my friend, they will help with tough love and perspective: https://www.affairrecovery.com/dealing-infidelity-how-get-your-mate-cooperate-without-being-controlling and this one for sure: https://www.affairrecovery.com/newsletter/founder/is-your-marriage-pleasing-versus-loving See what you think after reading these articles and we'll keep the discussion going. Also, keep in mind he's not healthy right now and to think he is being absolutely honest with you is a stretch. but, if you'll give me some more insight into the situation I'd be glad to help in any way I can.

8-10 months post dday

Hi Samuel -- I have a question for you too... We're somewhere between 8-10 months post dday, depending on what you consider dday. My unfaithful husband was dealing with withdrawal, some depression (which went untreated), and tons of resentment and anger towards me. He does seem to be releasing that resentment and anger towards me, but I feel like its only when I'm doing well. For instance, just 5 minutes ago, we were having a question about our finances for our taxes. I asked him a legimate, in context of the conversation question, that had to do with the affair also. He starts doing his defensive dance of saying loudly, I don't know. I don't know. I don't know. When he could simply answer the question. I feel it's unfair that he treats me kindly primarily when I am doing well and not flooding or talking about the affair, and then when Im flooding or angry or talking about the unfair, he goes awol on me again.

At this point, I'm tired of it. But we have kids. And they are beautiful. And they are so much happier with him home and believing we have an intact family. I don't know how much longer to hold on. I guess my questions are:
1) How long is just too long to wait for the unfaithful to stop treating me angrily when the affair comes up, but treats me well when I'm on my best behavior? Why should I have to perform for him?
2) He is content with his spirtual walk, which from my perspective is nil. He says he doesn't want to be a better person, or a better Christian, and God is fine with their relationship too. He just think he doesn't need to bear any fruit. But I know that his spiritual journey is also personal between him and God. How can I be expected to stay in a marriage where he doesn't value me in the way Christ intended him to, and he already broke our sacred covenant through his affair?

If you have any opinions, let me know... Thanks.

mom of 2.....some thoughts...

1) How long is just too long to wait for the unfaithful to stop treating me angrily when the affair comes up, but treats me well when I'm on my best behavior? Why should I have to perform for him? this is more of a question that I think stems from what type of help you're getting and receiving. You shouldn't have to perform for him at all, but if he's not received the proper type of help then he'll most likely stay in shame and keep making it about himself and not you. some of my blogs will help for sure on that, but it's probably due to shame. as the pain shows up he then feels ashamed of what he's done so he gets angry. he's probably angry at himself more than you but takes it out on you rather than himself as he's not able to be safe enough to just own it and allow the spotlight to be on himself. this is highly normal but unless it's addressed it's probably not going to go away. does that make sense? 2) He is content with his spirtual walk, which from my perspective is nil. He says he doesn't want to be a better person, or a better Christian, and God is fine with their relationship too. He just think he doesn't need to bear any fruit. But I know that his spiritual journey is also personal between him and God. How can I be expected to stay in a marriage where he doesn't value me in the way Christ intended him to, and he already broke our sacred covenant through his affair? well, i think you have to ask yourself how long you'd like to stay and wait it out. if the right help hasn't worked and helped him find a place of honor for you, then you may have to begin asking yourself how long you can tolerate it. i think what Rick says is always helpful which is we're after progress not perfection so do you think he's making any progress at all?

Thanks for writing back.

Thanks for writing back. That's a good point you bring up - that its about progress not perfection. Yes, some progress, very little, but some. Sometimes I wonder at what point I'm being selfish if we separate, after he's made some attempt to change for the family -- but not for our marriage. Am I being selfish by changing my kids life through divorce? I know it's not a question you can answer per se, but thankful for your posts and comments.

Thanks for the reply Samuel!

Hi Samuel-

Thank you so much for the reply. It was very helpful and your follow-up posts have been extremely beneficial as well. Over the past month, I have really been able to take a step back from this nightmare I am living in and get myself healthy - I have completely neglected myself in trying to be the perfect wife, but I am slowly realizing "nice-ing" my husband back to me isn't going to work. He is too far deep.

A little background - we have three kids and have always been a strong couple and family. I know this is true as he still is telling me that I am his best friend and no matter what happens, he needs me in his life. It takes every ounce of restraint to not fire back - "well, you have found the perfect woman! Why would you need me in any capacity." But I don't because then he was just continue his blame game that I am a horrible person. He also keeps saying that if I truly loved and cared for him, I would respect that it is hard for him to give up his affair partner. His affair started during my third pregnancy - it was a horrible pregnancy and I was bed ridden for four months on top of having two little ones to look after. With this stress, we emotionally checked out from one another and he fell in love with a coworker - but again everything is my fault.

It has gotten to the point where he has told me that he sees that they can have a strong relationship and she helped him through his stress. He was so worried about me - she kept him calm and he will always be grateful to her. He doesn't understand why I say that if he does decide to move in with her, that I told him I would take the appropriate steps to divorce - he doesn't understand how that could be the end and how I don't have the strength to wait to see if the relationship with her could work out. He also gets mad when I say our communication would be solely kids-based. "I can't go to you with my problems? I always thought you would be there for me." Is he serious when he says these things to me?

Anyways - I guess what my question is - people say this is a fantasy? A fantasy that I can't compete with. If he does decide to return to the man I used to be married, am I always going to lose? If we are able to rebuild our marriage to the "best it's ever been" is he still going to hold his affair and his affair partner in a higher regard? Can you still look back at your affair and your affair partner and have good memories? Do you have positive feelings for your affair partner? My husband says he will always have loving feelings for her because she helped him when she didn't have to - she showed him love when I neglected him. It's been 7 months - I am starting to think he is speaking the truth and his fog is reality. He won't let me go because "he needs me" but I think I am getting to the point where I need to let go. I have never been so disrespected and he acts like I am the one who should help him.

Anyways - I guess I still got a little emotional - thanks for all of your work and helping us. It is greatly appreciated!!

for AW

thank you for posting. looking back, I do have positive feelings for my ap, but i have sobered up and reality has set in. i understand now that it was fantasy and based upon escapism ya know? it wasn't real life, but i'm not ever going to hate her or look back upon her with hate as I did care for her. but, i realize now that it wasn't the totality of what life was like and is like and the fact is, she's someone i did love, but was led towards out of deception and confusion. you'll not always lose if he comes home and IF he gets the right help: not at all. but if he comes home and doesn't get help, the fact is he may be looking back for a long time and wondering what would have happened if....or what would life have been like if....so he needs the right support if he does come home and he needs expert care to help him. sure my ap was attractive and sensual etc, but my wife is who i want to be with and if find her off the chart sensual and alluring and appealing. i have an understanding of what real life is like and that affairs are fantasy and as i've gotten healthy and sobered up as I alluded to, sheesh, i find my wife so much more incredibly appealing and desiring and i want to be with her. not anyone else and especially not my affair partner. sure, on a rough day or when life's pressures are are hard, i'm tempted like any man to run and look at porn and escape or what have you, but i'm older, wiser, healthier and i realize the temptation and how it's an illusion that any of that will help me. i hope that helps and makes sense?????

It does make a lot of sense -

It does make a lot of sense - thank you Samuel. You have been a great help - more than you know. I certainly would expect the unfaithful to have some positive thoughts of there AP (especially if it was a LTA, like my husband's and yours), but looking back at the AP as a life option and always thinking "what if..." would be a huge deal breaker for me. I know that my husband is still in the fog and is only here because it's the right thing to do. I just wish I knew when that will change to him being here for me. Do you recall how long it took you to realize you were still in your marriage primarily because of Samantha and not just your kids? I guess I need to put my foot down and say I will make it without him. During all of this, I didn't realize how strong I can really be and I refuse to be taken for granted anymore. I didn't marry him to be his best friend - I married him to be more than that. If I get one more text saying he needs me in his life, even if he ends up with her, I am going to scream. This is just all so unfair.

coming out of the fog

AW, i think it took six months to about a year or so for me to come out of the fog and really begin to own up to saving the marriage not just for the kids and seeing the greatness that was in samantha all over again. don't let him have his cake and eat it too my friend. let him know you are an all or nothing deal and that while it may take some time to get healthy, you deserve all of him or none of him and getting help is what will help ease the pain and the hurt he is feeling from the loss of the ap. without the right help, he will stay stuck and it will only make the pain worse for you. you deserve fidelity or at the very least 'fidelity-redeemed' and if he's not willing to get help to get unstuck, or he's not willing to take steps to break away from the ap and the residue from her, that you'll be moving on, on your own, strong, content and fulfilled.

I hope you have

I hope you have been doing well. I haven't commented in awhile since you were so helpful a few months ago. It seems my husband is coming out of the fog a little bit. I have pulled a 180 and I think it hit him hard that, yes I will be loving towards him, but I will not be a sounding board for him to get over his affair partner. This leads me to a nagging thoughts in my brain. He tells me that he now understands what is real and what we have is real and that his affair relationship wasn't complete. But he does say he has positive feelings and will hold onto good memories and that he did love her. I read so many blogs where the cheater says it wasn't real love and it was infatuation and think back to their affair and affair partner with indifference. I don't want him to hate her, but is it too much to ask to look back on the affair as something that broke my heart - why is so adamant about holding on to those memories when it brought me to my lowest level? I ask because you say you did love your AP and that you do think back and have positive thoughts about the AP? How do you say that and in turn, can prove that you are safe to your wife? How does your wife deal with it when you say that? I am having hard time believing that he can be safe - if he has all those positive thoughts and feels that it was actually love, won't he just fall back into the affair if he runs into her. PS - I know you are safe and it is wonderful all the things you have done for your wife. I just ask because we are not as far in recovery as you guys. Maybe I will get to the point that it won't bother me that he says those things?

what is real and what to be thankful for....

AW, thanks for your post and asking your question. truth be told, if I said those things to samantha, she would probably tell me to get out of the house, and that if i was soooooooooo happy with my ap, that i should go be with her. she would not tolerate tht at all, nor would most women that I meet and talk to. the truth is, those things are absolutely hurtful and quite honestly, is just stuff you don't say to your betrayed spouse. i think you're right, if he has such a high opinion of something that devastated you, i would be concerned about him regressing, or continually longing for her or even relapsing. it's just not appropriate discourse for his marriage and i think i'd probably suggest you take a bit of a hard line approach with him and let him know that he's either here with you, or he's there and there is no in-between. id probably let him know that this isn't going to be a safe place or sounding board for him to express his longings or his 'love' for his affair partner. he probably needs deeper help my friend. i mean to be honest, i think he needs to take hope for healing on the site, or he needs to think about seeing someone professionally who has been through this and help coach him through the conversation of it all and through the process of moving forward. i'm not saying he's relapsing or that he would for sure relapse, but i am saying, that type of conversation and dialogue scares the heck out of me for you and what he is trying to do or how he is approaching his time at home with you. he may be saying that for a variety of reasons, but i would suggest you say to him that that needs to stop or else you don't feel safe and that things may not work and there may be a change coming if he's goin to be in the home and in the marriage having such pleasant thoughts about his ap? i hope this helps and makes sense and isn't too trite or direct. if it is, i'm very sorry and i hope the truth of what i'm saying still comes through and resonates with you. as always, thanks for commenting and reaching out.

ALL ALONE

I have been very blessed. I have some dear dear friends that has stood by my side during the past year since discovery. They where there which ever way I wanted to go, heal the marriage or leave. We all actually gathered together and out of 9 ladies, 5 of us had relationship in our lives that had been directly effected by affairs. That is a sad statistic. So I have had support. But my husband has none. He was the betrayer and other than his younger brother (who has cheated and his marriage survived but is AWFUL because they used the sweep it under the rug and pretend it never happened method) he has really no one. Some of that is because the few people he was honest with where so harsh and ugly that he just climbed into his shell. He did not have a lot of close friends before the affair, but the friends he had where life long since he was a teen. Now most days it is just me and him. Don't get me wrong, that helps with the whole trust area, but I think he needs male friendship. True honest friendship. He best friend in the whole world was his twin brother, who has totally rejected him and says that my husbands past behavior has discussed him and that my husband brought shame to the family name. I just say really??? Cause from my view point my husband was just carrying on a family tradition. Both grandfathers cheated, and their father married his affair partner. But everyone was lead to believe his dad meet her after he was divorced. We have since found out she was the reason for the divorce, but he was not caught before hand. Anyway I hurt for my husband and I know he needs friends. I need for him to have friends. Could you offer any male advise or suggestions for me?

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