Avatar universal

Recovery after Betrayal

Seems like this group hasn't had any activity in a couple of years, but I thought I'd take a chance and post.  

Long story, but I'm a betrayed wife with 7 children ages 20 down to 8.  I can no longer afford a therapist.  I am in need of practical how to steps to find myself, and my self-confidence.  I need to pick up the broken pieces and get them out of the way so I don't step on them any longer, feeling more pain.  

Sometimes he seems to be working on our marriage, other times he poops all over it with comments like, "We're all like a bunch of roommates, we're not a family".  There is the possibility that he was in one of his foul moods because he'd rather be somewhere else AGAIN.  My 13 and on up kids have an idea of what's going on and my 13 year old asked me to protect the innocence of her younger brother (11) and sister (8)...basically asking me not to leave.  My older girls have seen me trying to keep composed, though I feel like I'm holding back the waters behind the damn, tears well up in my eyes and they seem to know my difficult delicate situation.

The weight that I had taken 2-1/2 years to lose came back in 1.  Ugh!  

Guess I'm looking for a road map, step-by-step list, as to how to mend myself, gain confidence, and do what I need to do.
9 Responses
Avatar universal
Oh my gosh.  I am so sorry about your situation.  I have witnessed everything you are going through and it leaves me feeling sick.  I am not for sure how to go about this, but I will give you the best advice I can muster.

I put my beautiful, wonderful wife through this very same thing.  I watched her agonize, struggle to find solid ground.  I watched her try to wade through the ultimate betrayal and I caused it.  

We began seeing therapists real fast because we decided that we were worth fighting for.  We were seeing a therapist together and each one of us was seeing a therapist on our own.  It was expensive but our marriage was worth it to both of us.

To repair a marriage after an affair is the hardest thing in the world.  Everything that a relationship is made of has been completely destroyed and there is no quick fire way to rebuild it.  Trust is shattered, and what is a relationship without trust?  It could take years, many years to build that trust back up... or, it may not be possible.

From my perspective (your husbands as well), I had to completely come clean to every detail about the affair and it was hard to do.  I watched what it did to my wife and I wasn't sure she could take it... I should have spilled the beans all at once but I didn't and that added to the agony.  As well, I had to be a complete open book.  I gave my wife permission to check my phone, gave her all of my passwords etc so she could check up on me and see that I was flying right.

I had to answer the same questions, time after time and I had to do my best not to lose my temper over it.  I had to stick in there and prove to my wife that I could be her support system again.  I had to let her be mad, I had to let her cry and I needed to let her remind me of the pain I had caused....  I had to earn back her respect.  I had to earn back everything that a relationship is made of and it was a hell of a lot of hard work.

I needed to show her that I was committed to us.  And by that I mean that I had to do everything the therapists said I had to.  I needed to do all of the work to win her back understanding that she held the cards now.  She could call this all off at any time regardless of how I felt or how much work I had put in.

A lot of men who did what I did, don't have the energy or the where with all to stick to this and do all of this work.  I'd suggest that your husband has some issues that he needs to get squared away and that is probably something couples therapy wouldn't address.  It takes completely exposing himself, looking like an a$$-hole (excuse the expression) and getting humbled and a lot of men won't do that to themselves.

For me, it was easy because I really wanted my marriage.  I didn't care who I had to tell my story too and I didn't care how big the fight was.  I wanted my family and I wanted my wife by my side for the rest of my life.  Fortunately enough, she wanted that too.

I'd suggest that you still try to see a therapist.  You've got wounds that need healing.  I think it would be more than fair for you to ask your husband if he is really in this, if he still wants the marriage.  If he does, he HAS to do the work necessary and it may take years.  And for you?  You may not have forgiveness or the ability to forgive (I understand it, totally) and without that, you're going no where.  

My wife and I are 4 or so years down the road now.  I can tell you that she still thinks about it very often.  Not every day, 100 times a day like she used too, but it still crosses her mind.  Its simply not easy to let go of that betrayal.  I make sure I tell my wife I love her at the very least 10 times a day.  I do some special things for her, so she knows that I am thinking of her all of the time, like making sure we have HER favorite cream in the fridge for her coffee.  I've taken on doing some of the household chores to lighten her load.  

There is so much work, just thinking about your situation makes me anxious.  It's like a tornado, trying to sort through the rubble of a marriage after an affair.  Its not easy.  It can't be easy.

I swore that I would do all I could to help people after we got through this and I depended on a lot of people here, even though I was the offender.  I needed to hear from the offended what was necessary.  

So, if there is anything I can do to help you, you can get a hold of me here.

I wish you peace.

Avatar universal
Hello I just read your heartfelt comment to this lady now and wanted to reach out to you. Your efforts as a betrayer are honourable and very similar I think to my husbands. If I could, I'd like to ask you a personal question would love to hear your perspective.

2 years ago I found out about my husbands affair with my best girl friend. We were very close couples socially, and my girlfriend and I were best friends for over 11 years. We shared everything, raised our kids together - shared every detail of our lives. I'm still reeling from how she could do this to me and my family. The affair was 8 months. Under my nose and I missed it.

The past 2 years have been a whirlwind but we truly are closer, more in love and committed to our family. The first year after the affair was hard - we did so much work on the marriage -  but it felt so good to be back in love with each other in a deeper way. Through lots of counselling we learned to look at why it all happened and how to make a better life together. Sex that first year was phenomenal. The last year it has been great but not as intense. Now things are changing. And I need help.

My husband says he likes to pleasure me and is very flirtatious via sexting about it but rarely actually does it. Today he left for a golf trip for 5 days and I initiated sex but he couldn't hold an erection. My feelings were terribly hurt and I felt that old insecurity coming back. In my mind, if he couldn't get hard enough for sex, why didn't he try to at the very least pleasure me so that I could be satisfied for the next 5 days? I went down on him, he got an erection, then went to close the door to the bedroom (kids) and came back with a flat tire. I probably didn't handle it well as I started crying and feeling very sorry for myself. But as you probably know more than anyone - a betrayed wife has a lot of baggage in and out of the bedroom and its hard to have a clear head about malfunctions. All I could think of is - he probably was always hard for her - and he probably always went down on her. He gave me lots of love, affection, I'm sorry, I love you, etc. But I wasn't absorbing it. Then he left for his flight.

Can you offer me any insight? He has never had any communication with his mistress since the day the affair was revealed. He has assured me countless times she is not in his thoughts, his dreams, his mind whatsoever. He doesn't like to think about the affair any longer - it is something he's deeply ashamed of. He's never failed to reassure me and he's always very patient just like you.

BUT. She had the body of a model and fake boobs. I find it very hard to get over this. Its always in my head in the bedroom. Can you tell me do you have flashbacks? Have you ever been impotent and was it because of a passing thought you had of your affair person? Is this something you could even verbalize to your wife without hurting her deeply? Can you ever really lose the other person from your mind?

Ive read a lot of ED stuff and stress, etc. He uses the stress card. And I'm not afraid to admit that he doesn't seem too embarrassed about going soft. And not really overly apologetic. I know I'm supposed to be more loving and comforting but because of the affair its impossible. If he can't engage in sex from time to time, why isn't he engaging me in other ways?

Avatar universal
I am so sorry this happened to you.  It is a miserable thing to endure.  I'll try to get to your questions in order, so bear with me.

Do I have flash backs?  No, and let me elaborate.  Through therapy, I found out why I had the affair.  For me, it was a severe depression disorder.  I also re-found everything I ever found appealing about my wife again.... and then some.  The affair was based on a bunch of lies and this woman would tell me anything in order to keep me occupied, and it worked for a while.  When my mind cleared, I saw the writing on the way.  My wife is and was the woman of my dreams and this woman didn't hold a candle to my wife anywhere.  Just not the same caliber of human being.  When I realized that, it was easy to just be rid of her.  

What I do flash back to is the hurt I caused my wife.  Looking at her after I crushed her with the news was just horrible.  My wife who had pretty much been my hero was reduced to mush, because of me.  Watching her struggle for basically a couple of years was so hard because I knew I caused the hurt.

There have been one or 2 times of not being able to maintain an erection, but it had nothing to do with the affair.  In fact, it was well before the affair.  I was in the worst physical shape of my life, depressed beyond anything I ever knew....

Is this something I could verbalize to my wife without hurting her deeply?  Yeah, I believe I could.  

Can you ever lose the other person from your mind?  That is a difficult one because I have put that person away.  She means nothing to me and is partially to blame for the grief I caused my wife.  The only time I think about her is when the affair is brought up, and then I don't think of her in a good light.  I see her for the nightmare she really was.

As for the "why isn't he engaging me in other ways?" question, I don't really know.  I guess it could be any number of things.  I don't know him or anything about him, so I'd be guessing and I don't think that is fair to either of you.

As you mentioned earlier, the sex.  We too were going at it and it was as intense as it ever had been, but sometimes it seemed forced and I don't know how enjoyable it was for my wife even though her libido is and has been miles beyond mine.  But what did come out of that period was honest discussion about our sex lives, what we both wanted or expected and then we kind of taught each other "how" we wanted things.  That again rekindled everything and it got even more intense!

But, something we learned in therapy was that the frequency of sex was liable to fall off, and it has as we both became more comfortable within ourselves again.  We work opposite schedules so that works against us a little.

So, hopefully you found this information useful.  I'm more than happy to keep the conversation rolling.
Avatar universal
You have no idea how much you have helped. Thank you so much for taking the time to write to me. If I may, I would like to reach out to you from time to time. I'm so happy for you and your wife. You're both very lucky.
Avatar universal
Please do, and you can reach out in private message form so all of your laundry isn't out there on the line.
Avatar universal
Thank you, brice1967, for your reply.  It seems that my husband believes he can fix himself.  He says he doesn't need therapy and I realize that he needs it, for HIS issues.  Since my last post, he has moved himself into the room that was set up for my mom's holiday visits.  Sex is next to nothing again.  

Someone suggested that I get noticed.  Start working or doing things for myself.  Do things for me.  Get a job so I have my own sense of security because I really don't feel secure.  My name is not on anything.  I'm not on the house property as owner, or the lending company, or the stocks....or the business we own.  The only thing that my name is on is our marriage certificate, and bank accounts that have no money in them because he controls it all.    

What do you do when you have children that need you at home, but you need to be out there earning some safety net, yet are too afraid to do anything?  Yeah, I need therapy, I know it.  These ugly infidelities, broke everything.  I'm broken.  He seems to have checked out.  Says that we're just a bunch of roommates.  My kids, especially the older ones, feel that he is the problem.  They've seen him yell at me for no reason.  My kids have waited for me at the end of the hall to give me hugs, and stay with the younger ones because they are afraid he will hurt them.  They've all been hurt by him in one way or another..broken promises.  The mentally absent father that expects them to run to the door when he comes in, just like when they were 2 yrs old, yet has ignored them for years.

What do you do when most of your marriage was a lie?  He has been having relationships via computer, work, Craigslist, since 1998...4 years after we got married?  I'm thinking that he doesn't know what love is.  Before I told him that I knew everything, when the subject of marriage and renewing vows came up at church, I asked him why he married me.  The answer was not "because I love you".  He felt he had to take care of his obligation.  (I conceived our 1st child before marriage and he fell in love with her)  That obligation grew x 6 more kids.  I sometimes feel that I should not have married him.  But then, I wouldn't have these wonderful kids that do love me just about as much as I love them.   Can't go back to what I thought we had, and he doesn't seem to want to make the effort.  Some think I should leave...just take everything and go in one fell sweep.  Some say that I'm doing the right thing, staying, keeping to my vows.  (In sickness and in health...)

We don't have a working oven to bake meals, 1 pot and 1 pan to make a meal for 8 because he threw them all out (sized for a single person or a family of maybe 4), he controls the money yet doesn't bring home proper food for us (he's surrounded by food all day) cuz he says the kids waste it.   Wish I could win the lottery right now.  I really need money.  And there's Christmas...can't even bake a turkey if I had one, right now, let alone get a few presents for the kids.  (And they don't ask for much, either.)

Sorry...it's just one of those days where it's all just getting to me.
Avatar universal
Oh man.  Again, I am so sorry to hear about all of this.  I hear my wife's voice in so much of what you're saying and feeling right now.  I know how lost you feel.  I know how broken you are.  it's a shame that your husband cannot get around his ego in order to step up, do some therapy and see where else this goes.  Doing nothing I'm afraid means nothing gets resolved.  Nothing knew, nothing better will ever come of the situation unless it is all addressed.  

I know that sounds helpless, but its not completely helpless.  Doing some things for you is essential.  Making an exit strategy in the event  things don't change is what needs to happen.  You've got to be able to go somewhere when your gut tells you to.  You have to have money and a means of leaving and moving forward.  It probably starts with employment, and there are things you can figure out about the kids still at home.  You might need some help from a friend or family member.  But I am guessing the help is there if you look for it and ask for it.  I'd also guess that there is a program within your community that helps women in the position you find yourself in.  I'd almost guarantee it!  I suggest you do some research.  Help is out there.

Your husband has a long way to go if he wants things to work out.  Not paying this the attention it needs is a critical mistake!  This does NOT go away!  

And about your vows....  do not let anyone pressure you to stay "because of your vows".  I know your vows said something about sticking it out no matter what, but I'd bet a dollar that it also said something about fidelity and taking care of each other.  Controlling the money, paying the bills is not taking care.... there is a lot more to it and if he can't figure it out, why would you stay and be further mistreated?

You have to work on you.  Its important to remember that you only control you.  YOU get to decide what you do, where you go.  YOU have a lot of choices and YOU need to understand this.

Avatar universal
Hearing it, and knowing it, and really really disappointed in how things are turning out to be.    :(        
Avatar universal
If I can, I'd like to comment on your original post.  I'm going to tell you this because your husband sounds a bit like I felt at the time.  

I kind of felt like we were room mates.  Honesty, I felt inadequate.  I didn't think I was a good father and not much of a spouse.  We were occasionally doing "family things" and having fun doing them, but most of the time I was wallowing in my own depression.  My wife asked me a thousand times "whats wrong" (well before the affair) and I just couldn't answer it.  It was like the words were not there and I was trying to convince myself that there was nothing wrong.  Sadly, everyone in the house knew... even my youngest.  

I was diagnosed with a major depression disorder and asked by my physician to see a therapist.  My doctor and I discussed my situation and I ended up feeling better.  At least I had a diagnosis....  I waited until I nearly ruined everything before I went and got help.  

I said for years "I don't need therapy".  I did, but on a subconscious level I knew I didn't want to go see a therapist and them him/her my whole life story because I thought a therapist would say, "your problem is illegitmate and youre a loser" and then I would walk away like a bigger a-hole than I really was at the time.

And, part of what he may be thinking is, how do I repair something that I destroyed?  Trying to be a support system for someone you've destroyed is a difficult thing.  Everything is different now.  Way different.  Trust is gone and what is a relationship without trust?  

I hope you find some peace.
You must join this user group in order to participate in this discussion.

You are reading content posted in the Infidelity Group

Didn't find the answer you were looking for?
Ask a question
Popular Resources
For people with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), the COVID-19 pandemic can be particularly challenging.
A list of national and international resources and hotlines to help connect you to needed health and medical services.
Here’s how your baby’s growing in your body each week.
These common ADD/ADHD myths could already be hurting your child
This article will tell you more about strength training at home, giving you some options that require little to no equipment.
In You Can Prevent a Stroke, Dr. Joshua Yamamoto and Dr. Kristin Thomas help us understand what we can do to prevent a stroke.