In search of hope, finding darkness

Not a red-letter week for me. Therapy, audio books, self-talk, none of it seems to be resonating or sticking, am I and my marriage doomed?

I have been going over my feelings about deception. H has been trying his best to right this horrible wrong and for some reason, none of it is making a dent in my ample armour. He has been performing tons of acts of service, helping, building, spending time. I see it, I appreciate it, but I still look at him differently, wary, distant, hurt. What am I doing wrong? I have been so incredibly sad and have been feeling so displaced from my life. Even in the most normal mundane daily life we have, I look at him and everything ties back to his cheating. Riding in the car, chatting and doing errands, seems so right yet wrong. All I can think about was his ability to do mundane and normal, all the while he was cheating, sexting, making plans to screw others, spend his time elsewhere. His lies practiced with no remorse, not a skip in his step no hint my life was on the rails. It has only been 4.5 months since his last cheating episode, how does he just give it up? Why was his compulsion so impossible to control and now he just does it with no issue?

I feel actually as times passes that I am losing ground, not making forward steps. Losing sleep, nightmares. I can’t bring myself to turn to him for affection and comfort even thought I need it so badly..oh how I do.

Thoughts of the others have resurfaced this week as well, I want revenge, I want them to suffer…SOMETHING!!!!! None of these thoughts feel like me. I keep reading all the blogs, about recovery, rebuilding, they are so full of hope and I can find none. It’s within me that the deficit lies, he is trying, he has hope, he wants to stay married…..

I recently asked Dr. W if people ever really do get past this kind of hurt, this ultimate betrayal. Her response was a bit non committal. She said “people learn to live with it”, as if it’s some ugly chair you put into the corner..you hate it, but you just learn to live with it in your space. Not sounding ideal to me. She told me people decide what is more important. Some stay for the kids, some for finances, some for status in life….and I guess some stay because they are so in love?

I feel like the longer I think this way, the possibility of my marriage surviving  diminishes..probably a wrong thought but how long can we go without intimacy, deep connection, trust? I find it impossible to tell him how I feel, exposing my feelings to someone who has acted with such horrible disregard for them in the past.

Shitty blog…I’m sorry…just a feeling…and as Ekhart Tolle says, feelings are not reality, we don’t have to believe every thought or feeling that wanders into our brains….

PS still not smoking…at least that is one step forward….now to figure out how to wrangle the others . Encouraging words welcomed and needed this week!!!!

 

 


16 thoughts on “In search of hope, finding darkness

  1. II…you are processing and in the process.
    You can tell Dr. W that I did not stay because I learned to live with it, or because I decided x was more important than y.
    I was prepared to leave, and allowed myself that option. Completely.
    I didn’t decide to stay, with certainty, for nearly a year.
    But what I did do was dig…dig…deeply. Deeply in my soul and being. Dig and expose the desperate pain. Allow it to surface and hold it in my hands and grieve it. I had to let HUSBAND see it, and watch how he handled it. I expected him to dig and to become open and transparent and share, not knowing if I’d be there for the moment or the lifetime.
    We invested in a new language in our marriage, and baby step by baby step, threw out the old and created the new.
    I’m allowed to grieve even now, if a wave of the old pain rushes over me, which it occasionally does. He, and the new we, embrace the grief together.
    Don’t sell out intimacy and connection. If you stay, make it because you find a new and more vibrant connection.
    Oh II, you are so fresh and new in this journey. Just celebrate that you are able to breathe. That you are able to open your eyes. That you are able to not run away.
    Don’t worry about tomorrow…please…just get through this very next moment with authenticity and truth. Your direction will unfold, as will your healing. Your own healing, and the potential of your marriage.
    I’m thinking of you, and am thankful for you. HUGS.

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    1. Thank you again for your words, I have been thinking about them. I awoke at 4 am with bad thoughts and distance between H and I on my mind. He keeps asking me what he can do to make it up to me, to repair my heart and I just don’t know. I am not sure he has the depth to heal me and us. He tries by doing things around the house, being transparent about his whereabouts, doing acts of service for me, and while this is all nice, none of it is making a dent in the horror of the lies and deception. He asks me what he can do to make it up to me, I have no idea how to answer that.

      I appreciate knowing you have made it through, and your words of encouragement…I know I will find the answer one way or another, I am just still so angry that I have to fight this fight, I feel I was forced into it and I have not made peace with that.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Well, I’m not sure if this will really be “encouraging words”, but you can take from it what you will.

    My wife and I have recently separated due to the revelation of her affair. We started having issues a few years back, where she withdrew from me and told me she wasn’t sure if she wanted to be married anymore. We had been together a long time, and had a family, so I figured this was just a “bad time” (from in good times and in bad) that we had to get through together.

    I tried to be supportive as she withdrew physically and emotionally, until eventually we were nothing more than roommates who co-parented. Still, I figured we would get through it. And we stayed in this crappy limbo spot for 4 years.

    Then I found out there was a long term affair, and it changed everything for me.

    She withdrew a relationship from me, and went elsewhere for it. Which to me meant, I had been used – for family, safety and security.

    So we separated, and when we did I told her that she’s left me nothing to hold onto. Right now, all we have is children together, and history. IF she ever wants more than that, it will have to be her showing it to me, and proving she wants that. Because I have no intention of putting in any effort anymore, for someone who is willing to use and manipulate me.

    And there is no way in the world I will ever allow her to live with me again unless the relationship is FULLY repaired in a way that works for me first.

    Baby steps, sure. But not while living together. I won’t be used again, and I would need to believe she actually wants to be with me for ME (not for family and safety/security).

    I’m also not going to wait long. I’ll give her a few months to get her sh*t together, and if she can’t? Then that tells me she will NEVER be able to prioritize me, and us. That tells me she will always take the easy road, and put HER first. And I can’t be an “option” or a “second choice” ever again.

    Even after what’s happened I love her, and always will. But I need to love me even more.

    So in some ways it’s up to her. If she can show me, and CONVINCE me she actually wants us? Then I would be willing to work with her. But I will never accept her version of “baby steps”, which is her controlling the situation and doling out little scraps of affection occasionally and thinking that will be enough for me.

    I want to one day have a healthy relationship, and if I can’t have it with her then it’s time for me to move on.

    You’ll find what’s best for you, and when you find it you will know it. Just remember to always love and respect yourself at the same time.

    Like

    1. Thanks Zombiedrew2, it is scary how similar our stories are. As I have read your comment I kept nodding my head as in “thats what happened to me”. He figured I could be replaced I guess, back then…for a relationship that was easy and had no issues…(fantasy land). I do love and respect myself, I know my worth on this planet..I know I am a “good catch” on so many levels. I wish the answers were more clear what I should do and I am hoping with time they will come forward in a significant way. I do tend to mentally rush myself to get on track one way or another.

      You sound so strong, I admire that. You sound determined and firm in your stance on the whole thing. How long have you been dealing with this?

      Thanks for responding to my sos..I really appreciate hearing from you….

      Like

      1. How long have I been dealing with it? Well, I guess that depends.

        The day she told me she wasn’t “in love” with me and she wasn’t sure she wanted to be married anymore is 4 years ago tomorrow.

        We had been together 14 years at the time, and have two children together. So I was pretty blindsided (there was no real warning that anything was wrong), but I figured this was an issue we could figure out together. After that day, she immediately changed. And the kind caring person I knew was replaced by someone who was always angry at the world (for no real reason) and withdrew from me completely.

        I suspected an affair at the time, but was never able to prove it. And really, she didn’t seem to have much opportunity to be having one. So I figured we were dealing with some sort of depression issues or something. I tried getting us help, counselling, reading relationship books, trying to understand what I had done to contribute to the issues and then make things better. But she was never really invested, and would never put in any effort.

        For the past 4 years, things have sucked. No intimacy – physically or emotionally. We became roommates who co-parented – because that was all she would give me. Really, I put up with it for far too long, but I thought I was investing in “forever” here.

        Then a few months back I found out that yes, there had been an affair. And oh, by the way it had never ended. So the past few years, while I have been putting my heart and soul into her, and into us – she had been using me and focusing on her. I told her she had been playing me the past few years, and she denies it. But I think that’s just her rationalizing that to herself. Because to withdraw a relationship from someone, refuse to try and improve anything, and then go somewhere else for the relationship behind my back? Yeah, using me is the only description I can give. I was safety, security, and family. And that was it.

        That realization truly changed EVERYTHING. Why in the world would I put in any effort for someone who thinks it’s alright to do that? To treat other people like that? Yes, I still think there are depression issues that have contributed, but this wasn’t one night of drunken poor choices. That I could probably excuse. This was multiple years of calculated deception.

        Integrity means everything to me. And when the truth came out, it destroyed my image of everything that she was, and we were.

        Especially when, similar to what you said – there was no remorse. When the truth came out she seemed more angry at being caught than anything else.

        If I had done something like that (and I never would), once the truth was out I would do everything in my power to make things right. Genuine remorse, full disclosure, attempts at repair. That was what I needed from her after the truth came out. Her level of responsibility and accountability would have been the main factor in deciding if I could give this another chance. And I got nothing.

        It took me two weeks to get her out of the house after that. My kids never need to know “why”, but I made it clear to her the kids need to understand that this is on her, and is not something I ever wanted.

        I wanted her. I wanted my family. I wanted forever.

        And instead I was manipulated and used.

        So yeah. 18+ years, two kids. But in my mind, it’s over and all we have now is history.

        I am a good person. I am a good father. And I tried my damnedest to be a good husband. I woke up every morning and actively chose her, and us. While for 4 years (at least) she woke up and chose only her.

        I deserve a shot at someone loving me back the way I’ve loved her all these years. And I wish things were different, I wish I could keep my family together, and I wish the person loving me back was her. But it’s not. And I deserve a hell of a lot more than she’s given.

        That’s not to say I would close the door 100%. It’s a shitty situation, but I don’t think it’s ever too late. I think no matter what has happened to people, people CAN let go and trust CAN be rebuilt.

        But both people have to want it. And that’s where her reaction to the truth became a deciding factor for me. It showed that, whatever happened to her (and I don’t understand it, because this is NOT the person I married), she is not in a position mentally and emotionally to choose anyone but her. She’s become self-absorbed, and seems to be completely lacking in empathy.

        So I think she’s likely a few years and a lot of therapy away from being able to engage me in a healthy relationship.

        I’ve effectively been single for 4 years, and I see no reason to believe I’ll ever find the person she was – the one I married and the one I lost. Because of that, I have no intention of waiting.

        I’ll give it a bit of time for the dust to settle, and then I’ll try a dating website or something (which scares the hell out of me as I haven’t dated in almost 20 years). But I know I have a lot to offer, and I want a chance at finding a partner in life, instead of someone who will use me. Someone who believes the same things I do, and understands that “we” is just as important as “me”. And someone who will see me as a priority instead of an option.

        All the best…

        Like

      2. Zombiedrew2 again, so much of your story mimics my own, almost exactly with similar timelines. When he told me he was unsure if he wanted to be married, I twisted myself into a knot trying to repair, all the while, even through all of our counselling, prescribed date nights etc, he was seeing the OW (plural). The seamless lies haunt me, when I go back and connect the dots. There were things missing from our marriage, and I have to take ownership of those, but the missing items were not mine alone, it takes two. It only takes one to destroy trust, and ruin a very fixable relationship.

        You do have a lot to offer, you are emotional, introspective, passionate and have such a strong moral compass. You are extremely well spoken. What good woman would not give her eye teeth for a man like that. You deserve to be loved and you will be. Lucky is the woman who finds a man that wants to choose her every day.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. btw, thank you for the kind words. I haven’t heard anything like that in a long time.

        I believe those things about myself, but when you are rejected and discarded it becomes hard to believe them sometimes.

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      4. I know how you feel, sadly, no one should ever be made to feel like that but it happens. I felt discarded too, it was horrible. I felt like no one would want me when we separated, I had just turned 50, had not dated in almost 20 years…it was a huge part of my therapy. I felt like I had given him my best years for nothing. Everyone told me I was crazy to worry, said I was beautiful ( I don’t at all look 50), smart, successful…but the words did not help much. What did help was going out and giving it a try. My therapist has a funny saying, one nail pounds out another…and its the truth. If you have decided to move on and even if you are still a bit on the fence, go out on a few dates, it will help. I went out and in a short two weeks met four lovely men and ended up dating one of them for about three months until my H resurfaced. It took away the worry, it took away the fear and it was replaced with a bit of excitement and hope for my future life.

        First one is usually a rebound relationship but you never know.

        Again, you sound so wonderful, and sensitive and sensible!!! From your photo also very attractive, remember the words you said to me, this is HER disfunction, it has nothing to do with you or your worth…

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Hmmm, as you can probably tell from my comment, things are still feeling pretty raw, and I’m feeling very betrayed.

        You are right that I am firm in what I believe – as I said, integrity and treating others “right” means the world to me.

        So I guess my only attempt at advice is, you said you love and respect yourself. NEVER lose sight of that.

        His decisions were HIS decisions, and they reflect on him, not you. No one can tell you what the right decision for you is, that’s something you need to decide for yourself.

        I do think anything can be rebuilt, and the past (no matter how ugly) can remain in the past.

        The real question to me is, what are you to him in the present? Is he ACTIVELY choosing you? And if so, is it because he realizes he screwed up and he now know YOU are what he wants. Do you believe he will be able to choose you everyday for the rest of his life?

        If the answers to that are yes, I would always give someone another chance.

        In my case however, what ever happened to my wife – she doesn’t seem able to choose me. For her, I’m a fallback, an option. She has this broken notion of what love is, and she’s looking for everlasting movie love with romance and passion. Hey, I would love that too – but to me that requires both people to build it in, with their actions every day. And with kids, and just life, it can’t always be like that.

        I’ll always be an option to her, never a priority. So for me, in order to love and respect myself I need to move on.

        Like

      6. I can tell you are still raw, we all are, just wondering if the raw ever subsides. You are entitled to be raw.

        Integrity means everything to me as well, I am trying not to lose sight of my self love. I know I can choose to leave at any point, I am not trapped in the financial sense, we have no children. I am trying to give it the proper amount of time to see if it can heal. The “it” is my anger and sense of injustice, my hurt soul, my betrayed self. I worry for him if I decide to leave as well. I question what love is and do I know it when I see it.

        Does he “choose me” every day, I am not sure, I think so but there is still a whats in it for me attitude as well to a degree and I am wondering if thats okay. He is doing acts of service around the house and for me. He knows he screwed up but apologies have gotten less the more we move from D-day and I still need them unprompted probably daily (does this make me pathetic?). He is willing to talk when I bring it up and I do think he is being transparent, but still guards what he is thinking and feeling. We go to therapy and he participates although less open there as well. I don’t know if he stays for security and safety or because he wants us. I wonder how he could want us when we are in such a sick mess. I have a hard time showing him affection now, I try but I have to push myself to do it even though I need affection, it feels counterintuitive to reach out for someone that has betrayed you so badly. If there is ever emotional or relationship talk, it is me that initiates it. I feel bad that I withhold my physical self.

        He returned to me because the life he left me for was not as he had expected. The women out there, not of the same quality as me on any level…I feel like a back up plan although he swears thats not the case. He says he realized what a huge mistake he had made, and that I was wonderful and compassionate and beautiful and accomplished….how does someone just realize that after going so horribly wrong? We have limped around for two years together after our separation, solved nothing, worked on nothing, brushed it mostly under the rug. I just found out three months ago about all the cheating so now what was a HUGE hurt when he left, is now even bigger and festering in my heart.

        I keep feeling like he purposely hurt me, it feels like he just lied and cheated to get back at me for things in his world that made him angry, for things that were missing in our marriage that he had no idea how to fix. I thought we were pretty great together, but we had hit a rough patch. I also knew, he had an inability to emote, that he his emotional intelligence was not the same level as mine and I was okay with that through our marriage, however I longed for a deeper emotional connection, more romance, more talk, more seduction….and I was willing to give those things up because we had good things in so many other areas. It galls me that he just focused on what he was not getting, instead of what he was…and that he acted on it in such a despicable way. You are so right when you say life just can’t always be like that…all sex and romance and togetherness. Shit gets in the way and to me it is truly how we handle our love at that time that counts. To me love is about doing chores, helping each other, taking care of kids, just muddling through life and taking happiness in the mundane as well as the excitement. Its easy to be in love and act that way when there is no pressure!

        That is where my heart sits at 4am.

        Liked by 2 people

      7. Geez, this sounds SO much like my own life being mirrored back at me. Change a few little details, and I think I’m you and your husband is my wife.

        “When he told me he was unsure if he wanted to be married, I twisted myself into a knot trying to repair, all the while, even through all of our counselling, prescribed date nights etc, he was seeing the OW (plural). The seamless lies haunt me, when I go back and connect the dots.”

        Yeah, I know that feeling all two well. After telling me she was unsure if she wanted to be married we stayed in this crappy limbo state for 4 years. It took me a years to get her to counselling, she was just completely apathetic. Was clearly unhappy and not invested in “us”, but wouldn’t do anything to improve things. At the time I thought she was just dealing with emotional issues. Similar to what you say about your husband, she always had issues with emotional intimacy/emotional intelligence. I had always wished for more, but accepted her for who she was. Now that I know an affair was going on even then, when I go back and connect the dots I feel stupid, and used. I saw what I wanted to see, and was blind to what was there.

        You say “I worry for him if I decide to leave as well”, and I’ll admit to those same exact feelings. In fact, that’s a big part of why I didn’t do much for the 4 years. As stupid as this may sound, because I loved her and was worried about her, I felt if I left she would probably self-destruct even further. I guess in some ways, I was trying to protect her from herself and hoping that I would somehow be able to get through to her, and have her find the woman who had fallen in love with me years before. Adding kids to the mix just muddied the waters, as I wanted to protect them and keep my family together at the same time.

        The revelation of the affair, and length of it changes everything though. Emotionally, she’s a mess. I know that, and I can accept that. Due to that I could *almost* accept an affair if it was a one off. I would hate it, but would be able to intellectualize it. 4 years (at least) of calculated deception though? VERY hard to come back from. I’m not saying it’s impossible, and I think I would be capable of moving past it. But with her emotional state, I don’t think she is. I would have to be the one doing all the work – she would avoid everything and just try to pretend this never happened. I don’t think she’s capable of a healthy relationship right now, and after this I can’t wait for her (especially when I don’t have any reason to believe it will ever change)

        I think there WILL come a point where she will want us, but even then I think she will always be looking over the fence and wondering if there is something different, something better. Some ways to have all the “good” parts without ever having to do the work on the harder parts. She wants easy, and sometimes life isn’t easy.

        So many similarities here, I feel for you.

        Good luck

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      8. Good luck to you too, you are on the path and so am I. We sound so similar, I think as sad as it is there is a formula to all of this…we are not the exception but the rule. I feel stupid, used. The fact that you know you are capable of getting past things under the right circumstances makes me a bit envious because I doubt that about myself daily. Keep in touch, great chatting with you, hope you don’t mind all the back and forth.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. … I have talked about it all with my husband till I was blue in the face, we are still together and its been years. He has stepped up and is being a better person but what he did – is done. There is no taking it back so that is why I agree with your therapist that betrayed spouses that stay …just learn to live with it. Now my question to you would be…can you live with it and be happy and Fulfilled?? I don’t even have these answers for myself…so good luck!

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    1. T, I wish I knew how to answer the question you have for me, most days the answer would be no, days I scream internally that I can’t live with the betrayal…my mantra is give it time. I know I have to be honest with myself and my H if I finally realize it will never work in my mind…but it is early days and I also don’t want to sell myself short. He is doing the work along side me, I don’t know what we are capable of….

      Are you any further along in these years since D-day?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I guess one thing I would caution for both T and InfidelityInspection is to set a certain timeline, and tell yourself that you will re-evaluate where you are at that point.

        A (huge) mistake I made was, I let time continue to pass, and when I would get frustrated with the lack of progress or changes I would accept it when she said she “wanted things to get better, but she just needed time”. I let her string me along, and months became years. All the while nothing actually improved, and I just got used to the “new normal” of a cold, loveless marriage.

        After a while you start to get used to it, and it stops hurting as much. But that doesn’t mean it’s healthy, or normal.

        It took the revelation of the long term affair to make me realize how bad things had gotten.

        When things are falling apart gradually in front of you, you don’t really see it. And it’s not until you can get out of the situation for a bit and see it with fresh eyes that you can truly see what has happened.

        So in your situations if you’re seeing steady progress, great. I would have stayed forever if I had that. But if all you have is promises of someone wanting things to be better, and no real changes, be cautious.

        I trusted because I wanted so badly to believe. I saw her as she was, and as I wanted her to be. And the fact that I loved her so deeply blinded me to who she had become.

        Liked by 1 person

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