A blog for both the cheater and the cheated upon.

I certainly don’t claim to be an authority on the subject of marital infidelity, but I do think I offer a unique perspective on the subject.   My understanding arrived first as the unknowing wife who was cheated on – repeatedly – by her sex addict husband.  Second, as the lonely, confused woman who sought comfort in an affair in order to escape the pain of my husbands actions.

Many of those who follow my blog are women who themselves have experienced the unimaginable pain of discovering their husband has been unfaithful.  Another significant group of followers are men who are married but cheating on their spouse.  Interestingly, I also have women following my blog who are the the mistresses of married men.  I appreciate that there are people from all sides of this complicated subject reading my posts.   I have no ill will toward any of these people and I sincerely hope that once in a while something I say resonates with each one of you.

This diverse audience is the reason that I write in equal parts from the viewpoint of both the hurt wife and the cheating spouse.  It’s natural to just want to read the parts that you personally relate to – this selective reading provides support through familiarity but not necessarily any growth.  I encourage everyone to read both sides of my story, perhaps by doing so one can begin to find some empathy or understanding toward the other parties involved.  Trying to understand isn’t the same as condoning lying and betrayal  – but by examining the flip side of the situation I believe we can start to move closer to the goal of healing.

Here are some of the feelings that I have experienced over the past 10 years through my discovery of my husbands addiction, his acting out, his relapse, my affair and our recovery.   If you have felt any of these feelings then I suspect many of my blog posts could be of interest to you – no matter which side of the affair you fell on:

Humiliation, disgrace, embarrassment, denial, apathy, pity, anger, hatred, loathing, rage, contrition, revulsion, guilt, superiority, shame, wrath, resentment, pity, indifference, compulsion, disgust, preoccupation, fixation, anxiety, obsession, passion, longing, craving, desire, loneliness, controlling, fearful, comprehending, powerlessness, forgiving, compassion, understanding, gratitude, empathy, tolerance, trust, love.

How badly we crave what we don’t really have…the allure of our lovers

I am always astonished by my mom’s insightfulness.  We were speaking recently about how desire inevitably ebbs and flows in long term relationships.  During the conversation I mentioned that in my relationship with my ex-boyfriend the physical desire for him never wavered.  In fact, I said, it grew and grew over the years and when we finally broke up it was at it’s height.  I used this personal example to ‘prove’ that the curse of long term relationships to destroy passion wasn’t always the rule.

Once I finished telling her my thoughts she responded with an observation that had never crossed my rose colored mind.  She said “the passion lasted because you never really had him”.  Wow.  That is absolutely true and it took me over 20 years to learn it.

This is the ex I have written of before.  We met when I was 23 and were together off and on for 12 years.  We were serious for long stretches of time, then would break up, and eventually would find our way back to one another.  Sometimes the break up lasted a day, sometimes a few weeks, and once it lasted almost 2 years.  This is also the ex that I had an affair with once I learned of my husbands infidelity.  This “affair” was mostly emotional since he lives in another state but it had it’s physical moments as well.  I finally ended it for good almost 2 years ago.  21 years after I met him.  But my mom was right – I never really had him.  I always knew that he could walk out the door the next day.  I felt insecure in the status of our union and anxious about our future.  I never truly was able to depend on him and when I did he usually let me down.  It was that thrill and that uncertainty that kept the flame alive.

I think this is the case with most affairs as well.  We feel a heightened sense of passion because we know at any time the person is going to be pulled from our grasps.  We desperately cling to the moments we can hold them, touch them, see them.  And we are left longing for him/her in those long lonely nights when they are not with us.

This is a horrible way to live.  Always worrying that it’s the last time you will be together, wondering if the feelings are true, imagining them with their spouse and their families, knowing deep down that if they really wanted to be with us they would be.   We go days without hearing from them and our anxiety builds with each hour -then comes the thrill when they reach out again and this act calms all of our insecurities while setting us up for yet another round of passion followed by loss.  It’s a painful cycle.  We want so badly to believe in the fairy tale ending.  But at some point in our adult lives we need to accept that fairy tales are not true.  We do not have them.

If it’s hard for me to stay true…it must be almost impossible for him

I have been worried more than normal lately – worried that my husband is cheating and lying again.  It may be related to my knowledge of his having multiple ‘program’ friends fall off the wagon lately.  When I hear about these men who have been acting sober but who have indeed been cheating and acting out for a long time it reminds me of the pain I went through last summer.  It was almost a year ago that I found out that my husband who I believed was sober was in fact lying for 6 of the 6 1/2 years that he claimed to be sober/loyal/faithful.  It was heart wrenching and humiliating and is a place I don’t wish to return to.  I know full well that the only way to guarantee that it won’t occur again is to leave him.  So far, I have been unwilling to do that.

The 12 step program clearly states that I can’t control his behavior.  I respect & understand why that is true.  But is it a coincidence that lately when he has a business lunch his phone goes off line or he simply doesn’t answer my calls or texts?  Could this mean that he isn’t where he claims?  It’s a frustrating question for a wife to ask – and one that I shouldn’t have to.  But I am married to a sex addict so it is the path I have chosen and these worries are a part of my daily life.  All I can do is to share my feelings with my husband and keep doing the work that has gotten me this far.

A part of my fear stems from my own occasional feelings about wanting to ‘act out’.  I know how hard it can be to resist the urge to do something that I have made off limits.  Everyone who has ever tried to diet knows how difficult it is to stay on the right path – no matter how badly you want to.  Craving is a universal feeling, but is taken to another level for an addict.  A few months ago I struggled with an almost overwhelming need to contact my ex.  I shared this with my husband and my therapist and when I succumbed to that desire I told my husband about it.  So if I, a non-addict with every desire to be a part of a faithful marriage, can stumble and give in to a ridiculous whim it seems pretty likely that my husband can do the same.  As always, all I can hope is that he can tell me before it spirals into something that neither of us will be able to manage.