“No man is worth your tears, but once you find one that is, he won’t make you cry.” -Anonymous
Journal Entry: June 11, 2014
D-Day was exactly five months ago today. I have been in one form of therapy or another for nearly the entire five months since then. I have been in intensive trauma therapy for approximately 15 hours so far, as well as individual 50 minute therapy sessions locally approximately one to two times per week for the past two months. Some of the therapy has been traumatizing, some has been wonderfully enlightening and helpful. I will keep plugging along until I get my happiness back. Not sure how long that will take. Here are some of the things I have learned so far:
1) My childhood was not bad, I am not a bad person, or a bad wife. What my husband did, and what my husband is, has nothing to do with me. He was broken when I met him. I hope he truly wants to fix himself, otherwise, I will move forward without him.
2) I thought I was an incredibly strong person. I quickly found out my strength, as an adult, was partially reliant on the integrity of my perceived life partner of the past 30 years. After learning that the fidelity, honesty, and respect I thought I had from my partner was a facade, I quickly crumbled. I am gaining my strength back without the faulty support of my husband.
3) Affairs do NOT only happen in unhappy marriages. My husband was not unhappy in our marriage. He will tell you that himself. He never thought I would find out, so he never really contemplated the consequences of his actions. Like, if my wife finds out about the horrible things I am perpetrating on our marriage, I will most likely lose my 30-year relationship with her as well as the respect of my kids, and… he just kept right on thinking we would never find out, for 15 years. Unfortunately, since he decided to embark on such a disastrous relationship with a horrifying woman, we did find out.
4) I now also know that men lie to their mistresses and apparently they generally all tell very similar lies like, my wife doesn’t love me anymore, my wife is too busy with the kids to notice me and I am lonely, it’s like we have a business arrangement, or we don’t have sex, or my wife doesn’t like sex (who would marry someone that doesn’t like sex???), or my wife isn’t as good at sex as you are, or I love you, or I would leave my wife if it wasn’t for the kids… I don’t want to be a deadbeat Dad. Gee, convenient that all these men married women who didn’t like sex, weren’t good at it, or suddenly fell out of love with them. And how selfless that all these guys are so set on being great Dads and that is why they don’t leave their family for the mistress. Sure. Whatever.
5) I had never really pondered what I would do if my husband cheated on me, because I ignorantly thought he never would. I would have assumed that if my husband cheated on me, it would have been because he fell out of love with me and into love with another woman and was too cowardly to be honest about his feelings. Since he always seemed madly in love with me, and we never stopped making love, or sharing intimacy, or being partners, I never assumed he had fallen out of love or would need to cheat with another woman. I would not have guessed that he was a sex addict. Not in a million years. I did not even know what that was.
6) I always thought that if a man was going to cheat on his wife, it would be with a younger, prettier, fitter, nicer, basically better version of his wife. I have now come to realize, this is certainly not always the case, especially with my husband. What a fool. I have told him numerous times that he is an idiot. If he was going to risk everything, why risk it for a broken down, angry, older, smoking, alcoholic, single woman who lives in a slum. Not only was she angry and manipulative, and blackmailed him for years, but when he called it off, she called me, and now stalks me? WTF? Why? This just does not make sense to me and I guess one of the many things that enable me to truly believe my husband is an addict. I am not making excuses for him. I know he is a cheater. He put in the Craig’s List Ad. He kept going back to her. He is fucking nuts!
7) I cannot change my husband, no matter how much I want that change and no matter how much that change is required for our marriage to continue.
8) Sex addicts are like any other addict. The addiction is just as powerful and just as insidious. Sex addiction is a life long battle.
9) I believe my husband has the inner strength to be the man he wants to be. Time will tell if he truly wants to tap into that strength, the road less traveled, or whether he will choose the easier and less noble path.
10) The cracks in our marriage that are caused by my husband’s lies and betrayal can never be fully repaired. We will need to build a new relationship based on brutal honesty and respect in order for our marriage to continue.
11) I actually do have the strength to be betrayed again and keep moving forward, however, I will not continue moving forward with my betrayer.
12) I need to learn to manage my pain so that it does not reach the explosive point at which I feel like self-harm is the only way to relieve it.
13) My mental health and physical health are the highest priorities in my life.
14) My true happiness comes from within me and only I have the power to allow myself to be anything other than happy. I do not need to be married to my husband to be happy in my life. I am happy with myself.
15) As a human being, I am able to feel abject disappointment and sadness, and live with fear every day, and still move forward.
16) I have an unlimited capacity to love people, even people who have wronged me.
17) I am a survivor. I will survive. I have survived.
8 thoughts on “Things I have learned after five months of trauma and a boatload of therapy”
This post is awesome. It sums up everything you know now and how you should go forward and it resonates exactly with what I was taught in the retreat I stayed at for 3 weeks. But……darn hard sometimes to remember this when emotions take over.
Took me a long time to get out of H what it was that attracted him to his women. I pretty much have pics of all 15. They were not more glamorous or thinner or intelligent ( def not that) the quality that they had was they liked my H , they liked him because they were sad lonely people and he would give them a tad of attention because he is a flirt and next thing you know there is attraction. They like him cos h gives them attention which they are lacking and he likes them for the SEX ….. Hope of sex or chance of sex or talk of sex or fun of a chase but the women were all lonely and pathetic.
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CK, I recall watching a private investigator in my country, speaking on television a while before I found out I was with a cheater (I’m pretty sure before he was cheating, and we watched it together.) This very attractive late 40s (then) woman said that in her 20 years of private investigation, she had extremely rarely seen an OW who was better looking, or “better” than the wife. It shocked her a little at first, as she said, “Hollywood sells us the idea of cheating as glamour, younger, prettier women, who like more adventurous sex, none of that is true, in almost every case, the men I investigate are having affairs with older, sadder, fatter, poorer women than their faithful wives.” It is rarely a case of an “upgrade.” At the end of the day, unless you are absolutely loaded, and lucky enough to somehow appeal to these “upgrades” most of them are smart enough, or have enough self worth to NOT fuck a middle aged, sometimes slightly paunchy, maybe bald/balding, grey/greying older man. This PI said that it no longer surprises her, and that she can see how pathetic these men really are, giving a good life up, with a woman who loves/d them (potentially, they usually get caught) for a downgrade.
I love your list of what you have learnt, and your clarity and strength is very telling this early in on your journey.
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Thanks so much for your comment. This whole situation is confusing to me, but this is one thing that truly boggles my mind. When I saw a picture of the OW (and eventually saw her in real life, from a ways away–for a future post), I was blown away, and not in a good way. As I said, she is older, heavier, not well kept or well dressed, and she is mean looking. I am normally a very happy, very confident person with a high feeling of self worth. Of course this kind of trauma will temporarily tear confidence to shreds, but at one point, I asked if the other women were thinner than I (there were three of them). I have struggled with my weight since I was 14 years old… and even now am struggling with 30-40 pounds of extra weight (fat), but I am still happy with myself. This is my battle and my husband has never complained. Of course in my beat down state, I would go immediately to where I am most vulnerable, and feel bad. But, my husband has admitted I am by far the thinnest of the bunch. At first I thought he was just trying to make me feel better, but then I eventually saw pictures of all the women. My husband does prefer curvier women in general (me not being one of those, just chubby), but the bottom line was he was seeking the low self esteem these women carry around, it just happened to come in a larger package, which was just fine with him. They were looking for love and nurturing, my husband was looking for a fix.
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I have a similar issue. I am curvy and about 10kgs heavier than I feel I should be. My “friend” who was his AP is tall, lithe, flat-chested, legs to heaven. Same self worth triggers. Same crap triggered by other people’s shitty choices even though I know better than to compare 🙂
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Yes, it is natural to go straight to ourselves for blame, but if I have learned nothing else, it is that this is my husband’s failing, not mine. I feel split in two. Part of me knows I am not at fault for his indiscretions, but part of me still goes to that negative place without “permission.” I’m a work in progress too :).
These are great. So much wisdom, strength, and courage you have. I love number 14 – 16 especially.
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Thank you so much. We are all on a journey and have a story to tell. We want to be loved, and needed, and feel passion. That reminds me, I need to go finish getting caught up on your story!