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Joined: Jul 2003
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I would like to hear from those in the marriage who had the affair/OC, husband or wife. I can't get over the fact that my H was intimate with another W, shared special feelings, looked at her in the special loving way he looks at me, etc. How can he say he loves me when he did all those things with her and enjoyed them and was happy with her? He can't explain it. Says he loves me. It was a mistake. He was a different person, very unhappy with himself. Was able to compartmentalize things and not think about us. What was it like for those of you that had the affair? DId you think of your spouse? How can you say you love your spouse now? Did you think of your kids while you were having affair? Do you think of OW/OM now? How did you justify affair in your mind? How were you able to go home and look at your spouse and your kids in the face and not feel bad? I don't mean to be accusing of anyone, but my H can't seem to answer any of these questions. If you are past where I am now, maybe you can help.

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Dear FTB's,

I saw your post last night when I checked in, but was hesitant to reply. Although there are many "classic" things that WS say, do, and think, everyone is different. My hope for you is that your H will soon answer these questions for you himself. Has he read Surviving An Affair, any other books, or the principles of MB that can be found on here?

I could clearly sense your pain and frustration in this post. So, even though I cannot begin to speak for your H, I hope my answers as a WS may be of some help. Perhaps answering them will help me too, because believe it or not, they are just a few of the Q's I wish my H would ask me. He has chosen not to ask me anything at this point, in an effort to put it behind him, forget, and move on.

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What was it like for those of you that had the affair? DId you think of your spouse?
No, I didn't think of my H while w/ the om, except the rare occasions I brought up the subject of my marriage.

It was like I lived 2 different lives in 2 different worlds, and somehow was able to compartmentalize. The om lived 45 mins. away. When I drove to his house, I would put in my favorite cd, and begin the transisition in to my other life. I felt free, and happy on most of these drives, (what a joke)!

While at his house, in this relatively far away town, I felt so seperated from my life. He was someone that was not a part of my circle of friends, no one including my H knew him. I was able to fool myself into believing I could do this with no guilt, put everyone out of my mind, (yes to answer your other question, even my children). Yeah...easy to do under the cover of darkness, secrets, deceit, no light at all to expose me.

I think back on his house. Although I hated the fact that he always had his blinds closed, and it was dark and gloomy inside, I now see it as very fitting, to match what we were doing in that secret, dark world of ours.

As supposedly happy and free I felt on my drives to his house, the drives home were quite the opposite. I cried on each and every drive. It was like when I stepped into the light, exiting his front door, the guilt and the shame hit me in the face. I immediately began thinking of my H and my children, and what an awful wife and mother I was, what an ugly thing I was doing to them. However my emotions were mixed, and part of my tears were for missing the om already. I obviously didn't feel badly enough for what I was doing, since I continued the A for 7+ months.

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How can you say you love your spouse now?
I addressed this on the Recovery board in the post "Autumnday". I began w/quoting TMCM's question to me.
Posted July 16, 2003 09:47 AM
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if there is one thing I've learned it's that we don't know what we are capable of until we are challenged, for example, did you ever beleive that you would be in love with your H one year after your A? probably not, right? and yet here you in love with him once more AND being the wife he has always wanted.
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You're 100% correct, never in a million years would I have believed a year ago, even 2 yrs. ago that I could ever love my H again. If asked, I would've thought there was a higher likelihood of the Nasdaq soaring back up to 5000 in 2003!

Finding my way back to loving him didn't happen overnight, although it did happen pretty quickly. Remember the time I said I was praying for God to soften my H's heart in preparation of me telling him about the A/OC. You responded to me. Looking back I'm surprised you, or someone else didn't point out that it was ME that needed MY heart softened.

So, I would say, realizing that I had a very hardened heart that needed to be softened was the first step that I took.

Also, if you recall from when I first began posting, I mentioned how upon always telling my H that I didn't love him (pre-A), he would say that was my problem, that I just needed to figure it out, etc. I thought he was nuts, because I always wondered, "how the hell do you 'just work out' not loving someone, you can't force love, it either is or it isn't!"

I didn't know there were tools. Enter MB, I couldn't believe my eyes when I started reading the principles and all the Q & A's. Harley was saying it IS possible to fall in love with your spouse again!! The love bank scenario made complete and total sense to me.

This is what I did, even before d-day, (yes, I know it wasn't truly recovery till d-day and after):

1. I began the "fake it till you make it", by telling him I loved him even when I didn't feel it.

2. I began giving again, instead of always taking.

3. I stopped love busting. (big one for me, I stopped being combative, and disagreeable)

4. I started filling his needs.

5. I made a concentrated effort to spend 15 hrs. alone with him. I am here to say it can be done, and I am married to a workaholic! You just have to jump at every opportunity. When he asked if I would ride along to the dump, I went. When he asked if I would ride along to get salt for the softener, I went. When he asked if I would ride along to the carwash, I went. I also asked him to go mundane places w/ me, and he did. You get the picture. We also started doing fun things together again. Soon, the time did add up each week. I never counted the hours, but I know it is a lot more than ever in the past, and has made a HUGE difference.

6. I started taking better care of our teen children.

7. Last, but MOST DEFINITELY NOT LEAST, I told him THE TRUTH!!!

There is more, but this is already getting to be too long.

I did all of the above, and lo and behold, as I gave, he gave. Our love banks went from being completely robbed, to nearly overflowing.

The day after d-day when he told me he still loved me, forgave me, and wanted my OC to be raised as his and mine....I think I needed to open another account, because he did send my love bank into way beyond overflowing.

There have been some big bumps along the way, and I know there will continue to be (possibly bigger after the birth). I don't want to make it seem like all is a bed of roses. However, the steps I concentrated on doing before, now come more naturally. I WANT to do all those things, INCLUDING telling him I LOVE HIM many times daily, because I DO!! Another odd thing, I find him attractive again. I am physically attracted to my H again!!! I never thought that would happen either. Funny thing is, nothing has changed about his physique in a number of years, but I find myself attracted to him like I was in early years of our marriage.

So, I am a living breathing FWS who is here to say, that it can be done. Love can be renewed. It can be better than ever. In fact, upon hearing that there was hope of finding love again, and resoration of a wonderful M was possible, I told myself, "I want to stay in this M, but I do not want the M that it was. I want to truly love my H. I want him to truly love me. I want to live the rest of our days in harmony, and WANTING to be in this M, not being in it soley because it was the right thing to do."

Bottom line though, as I see how many "I's" I put in this post. I need to make it clear, that really it was more my H than me. My eyes were just finally opened to the kind of man he was, and I knew I was out of my mind to ever jeopardize what I had/could have with him. I just took the steps to bring me out of my selfishness. HE was ALWAYS there, NEVER leaving, NEVER giving up hope, ALWAYS waiting...for me to come back to him.

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quote:
Do you think of OW/OM now?
Yes, unfortunately I do. It is not of fond memories though, instead profound feelings of remorse and regret for what I did with him. I think it is more difficult to put him out of mind, because of the OC that I am carrying. The things I think about primarily surround my OC, and all the anxieties that go along with the situation I created.

quote:
How did you justify affair in your mind?
I reminded myself that I didn't love my H. I reminded myself that I asked for a divorce from my H, but that he would only grant it, after dragging me through the mud. I told myself I deserved it. I told myself, enjoy it now, and pay later if I have too. I basically told myself all sorts of s**t to justify it. Talk about selfishness!!

I take full responsibility though. Now I am paying for a 7 month sin for the remaining days of my life. Unfortunately, my H will be paying too, only an even higher price. I have told my H how grateful I am to him for taking on MY consequences w/ me, and also how sorrowful I feel about my consequences affecting him when he has done ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to bring them on. He has told me that the OC is indeed a huge consequence, but that he intends to honor, as well as never forget his vow to love me in better or for worse. He has said that my A is the worse, but he loves me and OC.

quote:
How were you able to go home and look at your spouse and your kids in the face and not feel bad?
I couldn't. As I stated earlier, I was able to keep them from my mind while w/ the om, but once I was back home, the guilt would eat away at me. At the time it was more so toward my children though. Ironically, and sadly I didn't feel as guilty w/ my H, because each time he said something hurtful, I would run through the justifications of my A in my mind.

I apologize once again for a long response, I could've kept it shorter if I didn't include my post from "Recovery". However, I thought your question about the WS being able to say they love the BS again was your most important one, and wanted to show you there is hope, it is MORE than possible!

I will continue to hope, and also pray that your H will answer these questions for you. He at the very least owes them to you.

I hope I was able to provide some insight in the meantime. I pray my words did not hurt. Being a WS on this board, I'm always afraid of that.

Take good care of yourself, FTB's!
~aut

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fortheboys,

I'm not the one you asked to hear from on this post since I am the BS, but I want to assure you, your questions and confusion are completely normal. And your H's responses are typical also.

If he was unhappy with himself, with his life, during that period, the "logical" response SHOULD HAVE been to discuss this with you. Or to seek counseling. He chose an illogical solution,,to seek happiness from a source outside his marriage. Which leaves you (and him) trying to make sense of senseless actions.

Are you and your H in counseling? Perhaps you could get further insight into his thoughts and actions during the affair if you had professional guidance during the discussions.

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ftbs,

Well, I can look at this on both sides of the infidelity coin and offer experience from the BS as well as the WS side.

quote:
How can he say he loves me when he did all those things with her and enjoyed them and was happy with her? He can't explain it.
First and foremost, the main mindset of someone involved in an A is of total selfishness! They don't think of anyone but themselves! And when they do think of the others the A will affect, the guilt isn't enough to make them stop! I know for myself, I truly saw someone that I didn't recognize in the mirror! I hated looking at myself, cause I didn't like who I saw, and even told the xOM that on multiple occasions! XOM was so into the excitement of the A, that he literally blackmailed me into continuing the A. Also, at that time, my H was gone for 6 months! As was the case with the first A I had! D-day was painful, but also a very huge relief! I no longer was held in limbo by the xOM threatening to tell of my other A!!!! So, to answer the biggest question of how can they do that? Well, it's completely selfishness! As Autumnday said, participants are able to compartmentalize EVERYTHING.

quote:
DId you think of your spouse? How can you say you love your spouse now? Did you think of your kids while you were having affair? Do you think of OW/OM now?
I would think of my spouse, and wonder what kind of person I was to do this!!!! I can say I love my H, because he's stayed w/me after the painful fact that I was P by and had xOM's baby(although we like to think of xOM as just a sperm donor at this point)! I would constantly think of the kids, and believed that I would loose them if the truth ever came out! I even told my H on D-day that I would leave if he wanted me to. I didn't feel worthy to be his W or the kid's Mom!!!! I occasionally do think of xOM, but not in the way that you would think. I used to worry that he'd find out about Abbi, and try to take her from me, and now I just wonder if he's ended up in some jail or dead. I have no true feelings for him at all, what so ever! My H is Abbi's Daddy, and always will be! Course, it helps to feel this way when xOM threatened my H's life!!!!

quote:
How did you justify affair in your mind?
I justified, in my mind, the fact that my H had done the same to me! Ok, not a valid excuse, but that's the way that I felt at the time. Again, there's that selfishness again!

quote:
How were you able to go home and look at your spouse and your kids in the face and not feel bad?
It was the hardest thing I'd ever done! Knowing what I was doing and how wrong it was! I honestly don't know how I did it at all, as I seemed a very different person! I really wasn't thinking of anyone else it would be affecting!

Now, looking back over 3 years ago, I'm actually greatful, in a way, cause it made my H and I open our eyes to what was happening in our M! Who knows where we would be now if D-day and the P hadn't happened?! Because if it, we have been able to re-evaluate our M, and work on making it better. I honestly wish it would have happened in a much different way, and would never condone this behaviour! But, it's what turned our M around!

To me, it's what happens when you basically turn your back on God, and try to live your life the way you want to! Everything goes down the crapper when you do things "your way", and it affects everyone around you in the worst way! To change it, you have to realize it for yourself! I can tell you that all the times my H was unfaithful, and the 2 times for me, we were the furthest we've ever been from God! Not going to church, reading the bible, living the way we should, etc....

Ok, I'll stop the sermon, but that's my experience from both sides. You can love your H again, just give him a chance, and definately look into counseling and the information offered here! Personally, I'd say it's invaluable.

Tigger

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Thanks so much for answering my questions. My husband has said a few of the same things, but I think men are often not as articulate as women are. He doen't know how to express what he felt then, especially since he is so ashamed of that time.
Autum & Tigger - your responses were very helpful to me. It helps to hear that other people can compartmentalize their lives like he could. I have a hard time understanding that aspect of the affair. It makes it a little easier for me to accept when I hear that even women could forget about their spouses and their kids while with other person - still wrong, but possible. I was seeing my husband as such a cold hearted person for doing that. I still have a hard time with it, because I am the type of person that can't lie to save my life. I couldn't come home and look my spouse and kids in the eyes because it would be written all over my face. It really does help a lot to hear from other people who have done the same thing and hear what they were thinking. I want to understand what was in his head during that time of our lives, and although he is being much more open with me now it is still difficult. The affair ended when she got pregnant 2 years ago, so it is not fresh in his memory and I think he just wants to forget. It seems to hurt him when I keep bringing it up. Thanks again for the insight - it really does help to see the other side of things.

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FTB,

I'm glad that I could help. There are many things that I don't remember as well, as it was 3 yrs ago, but I do remember how I couldn't look at myself in the mirror! I literally did NOT recognize the person looking back at me! I think that you are doing great, and keep coming here for the really tough stuff that you don't or can say to your H. Meaning stuff that could make your recovery back track! So many of us have been in your shoes, or ones of the same style, just different size(so to speak [Wink] ).

Let us know if there's anything else we can help with!

Tigger

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Tigger
Thanks. I'm glad you're still posting here after 3 years. It really helps to get some insight from someone who has been there. I appreciate you taking the time to help me through this difficult time in my life. I'm glad I found this board.


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