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.

Reclaiming my safety

When my husbands years of indiscretions and lies came to surface, my trust in him, in life, in marriage, even in myself was obliterated. If you read my blog you will know that I chose to stay married to my husband after the discovery, and our relationship has been surprisingly good – dare I say rewarding – over the past year.  We have both done loads of therapeutic work and have made huge strides in overcoming the obstacles that got us to this place to begin with.  But I would be lying if I didn’t say that rebuilding trust is happening at a staggeringly slow pace.  In fact, the more time goes on, the more that I may be digressing in this area of my recovery.

I have a fear that the more sobriety days my husband has under his belt, the closer we are getting to experiencing a slip.  Addicts can get comfortable in their routine and can get lazy in their diligence to their program work.  They can get overconfident about the risks they can handle.  How often has an alcoholic who hasn’t had a drink in a year thought it was ok to go play pool at a bar…not intending to drink…thinking he can handle the temptation…only to end up in the gutter.  All humans love to fool themselves…but add an addict gene in the mix and look out.

I have made a list of boundaries that my husband is happy to respect.  These boundaries are in place to try to make me feel safe and eventually should lead to trusting him again.  However, when I have to implement one of them I feel a multitude of unwelcome emotions.  Take for instance checking his whereabouts on GPS.  Here are the feelings I go through when I push the “find my iPhone” button:

– before pushing the locate button I am triggered and feeling FEAR

– as I push it I feel ANXIOUS about the results I may get (is he really at a lunch meeting…or at a strip club?)

– when the GPS shows he is where he should be I feel ANGRY that I am in a relationship where this kind of behavior is necessary

– then I move onto judging myself as WEAK that I decided to stay with a man who hurt me do deeply

– when I have to tell my husband that I looked at his whereabouts I feel SHAME that I don’t trust him

– It all culminates with a deep sense of RESENTMENT & HUMILIATION

I have not always shared with my husband when I go through this cycle of emotion.  Usually when I look at the GPS (sometimes 10 times a day, sometimes once a week) he is in a safe place and I block the experience from my mind.  But I will start sharing with him when I feel the need to check up on him.  Together we can explore the triggers and emotions that are set forth.  It is his behavior that forced me to put these safety measures in place, so he should be a part of and bear witness to the sad and unfortunate cycle of my experience.

I realize that consistency over time should start to lift some of my fears and hopefully someway, someday I will begin to trust, at least a little bit, once again.

Growing Pains

The very reason for living is to grow and learn and develop ourselves and our relationships in a positive way.  Physically, emotionally, intellectually and spiritually.  Sometimes it seems so much easier to be lazy about change, to accept the status quo, to ignore the very hard work and live out my days within my learned comfort zone.  
 
Since the discovery of my husbands addiction and relapse I have finally and actively been working on myself.  Sometimes the work gets very painful…but I try to keep a vision of greater serenity mind to help me through those times.  My husband is also working to reach new levels or awareness and grace in his own life.  It’s an amazing thing we are both doing.
 
Lately, I have started to recognize that we are not growing at the same pace – or perhaps, because we started at such different points it just feels that way.  He lived in a dark place for so long and now that he has been catapulted into the light he is experiencing a level of joy in his life that he has never felt before.  I am sincerely happy for him.  I, on the other hand, went from my light, airy, peaceful and safe place to being plunged into a place of darkness, mistrust and fear.  Essentially, I have been buried under all the shit that my husband abandoned when he committed to sobriety.  
 
We are both going to need to work at accepting that we are each at different points on our paths.  We are going to have to be aware of resentments about this when they arise.  My husband won’t always want to deal with my mistrust or suspicions that still exist as they remind him of a time he is trying to move on from.  At the same time, I will need to control my envy that he is now living in that happy place where everything seems golden…that place where I USED to live, before his actions destroyed that.  Getting us to the next level in our relationship is going to require a lot of understanding, forgiveness and honest communication.  As the partner of a sex addict I can say that it doesn’t feel fair – indeed, it is NOT fair – but I have chosen of my free will to stay so fairness aside, I need to commit to not blaming him and not interfering with his positive growth.  Being a person who can do that proves that I am already headed back toward the path to my recovery and return to my own place of joy.

 

You can’t keep it unless you give it away…why I started this blog.

It’s a pretty universal feeling that when we see a great movie, read a moving book or hear an exceptional song we can’t wait to share it with friends and colleagues.  Multiply that feeling by 100…that is how much I want to share the experience of growth, forgiveness, hope and recovery with those around me.   
 
The day I found out about my husband’s betrayals was one of the worst days of my life.  His being disloyal was unfathomable to me because I believed that we were so in love – I adored him, I admired him, we spent all of our free time together and I felt completely safe and cared for.  In one horrible moment I went from feeling that I lived in a big beautiful world filled with trust and love to trying to survive in a tiny dark cage with no one to protect me from the pain another caused me….or from my own mind.   It was my imagination that convinced me that I was unworthy, unlovable & unattractive.  In my mind’s eye his affairs were romantic, intimate moments filled with passion, love and (worst of all) laughing at me and my stupidity.  None of this was true – but my mind could be very convincing.  I have come so far in the past years.  I am now more in love with my husband than I ever was before – it’s a truer and more powerful love – one that I didn’t believe could exist after such trauma.
 
My desire to provide some sort of relief or comfort to other women who have just lost their footing in a similar way (and to enlighten those who have no concept that the twelve step principles could apply to them) became very pressing over the past few months.    Of course, my own insecurities temporarily stopped me from acting on this desire.  I told myself that I am such a novice in the ‘program world’ that I don’t have the authority to be sharing my limited knowledge and I should wait until I can prove that I am qualified to offer some sort of help.   I certainly didn’t want to invade another’s privacy, overstep my boundaries or intrude on their personal lives without an invitation to do so.  
 
This is exactly the reason why I started this blog.  It’s an unobtrusive way to (hopefully) help others who are suffering through the pain and confusion of betrayal.   After all, isn’t the biggest qualifier to being able to help others the fact that I have lived through it, I can relate, and I care?   It’s not about giving unwanted advice – it’s simply about sharing what this experience has been like for me in hopes that my example can help another.   It is incredibly satisfying to have a dialog with people who are already on this journey…it’s a give and take of profound importance.  But to offer solace to someone who has just had their world turned upside down, that is the true service I would like to offer.
 
The 12th step specifically says “…we tried to carry this message to others.”.  If you have ever read the big book you may have noticed that the majority of the book is spent on step 12.  I am guessing that means it’s a really important part of the process!    When I first discovered the devastating betrayals in my marriage I went into a cave of my own making – with no one to turn to and an unwillingness to reach out I isolated from my friends and family.  How I wish someone (anyone) had approached me with an extended hand.  
 
I understand logically that it is simply not possible to carry any message to someone who can’t yet hear it, so perhaps it is through the power of example that I will most have the ability to help.  By living within the principles of service I will be available to others, so when they ask for help, I will be there.
 
I think there is a space in time in which people become ready to learn.  Those of us who have already walked this path have a special capacity to empathize with them.  I believe it is our duty and privilege to do so.I will continue to work my own program and to be available in S-Anon, in life and through this blog.