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I am a devout Christian and pride myself on listening to God's direction in my life.

I have been married 15 years. On September 25, 2021, I found out my husband had an affair over the course of five years with one of his co-workers. He ended the affair in 2019 and I found out two years later when her husband exposed it to me after becoming upset that my husband was reaching back out to her. I was devastated and wanted to leave right away. He asked me to stay and work on our marriage. We got a counselor and started marriage counseling sometime in October.

I am only still here for one reason - God told me to stay. I don't want to stay. I would be so much happier if I walked away and just became single - it's less work, less complicated, less emotional. I have to deal with so much hurt, anger, and shame when I would rather just be free and walk away from my marriage. I know I would not feel these emotions if I was no longer married. I am simply here because of God. I can't even say I am here because of our children - we have three of them - two teenage boys that we had in marriage and a 21 year old girl who I had before marriage but has only known my husband for a father.

I am conflicted between my flesh and my spirit. Marriage has always been hard for me. I am very independent. I love being by myself. I rarely get lonely. Most of the activities I enjoy, I don't enjoy with my husband but with other friends. I have personally been guarded about protecting myself from having an affair - I don't have any male friends, I can't stand it when people hit on me, and I always made sure men knew I was married so they wouldn't cross the line. If I have any needs that my husband can't meet, I just meet those needs myself or with my close female friends. I don't really have many strong needs other that domestic support (which I have met by teaching my kids to be better contributors in the household) and recreational companionship (which I have met through my friendships) but one of his biggest needs is affection and intimate conversation so when he and his female co-worker became best friends, it was downhill from there. In short, I feel like he was weaker than I was at avoiding an affair. It really pisses me off that I did all this work to avoid having an affair and he just easily gave into one. I have such little respect for that.

But here I am - in a marriage that God wants but I don't because staying is too much work and not even worth it for me. I have had plenty of conversations with God "why ask me to stay here when I have every right to leave since your word says adultery is the one allowable reason for divorce?" The answer I hear in my spirit, "I know things you don't know. I see things you can't see, just trust Me through this.". But there is no real love in my heart. My husband could die tomorrow and I would move on within a few months. Maybe I have a fear of vulnerability so I keep him at bay but whatever the case, my heart is not really in this marriage and when I found out about the affair, I so desperately just wanted to be free from it all and leave - I had tried hard enough and failed; it was time to be free. Prior to D Day, I had worked hard to try to be more loving but nothing ever stuck. I would talk to so many of my friends asking them to pray for me because I knew my husband was miserable and I wasn't soft enough, caring enough, loving enough but the sad thing is I really love who I am but who I am is not loving enough for who he is. He prayed for a strong woman and I think he got more than he bargained for - what he really needs is a meek, soft, affectionate woman. Ironically, a couple of weeks before discovering the affair, I recall telling one of my friends, "I better figure this out or he is going to find someone else," not realizing that he had already had an affair. How naive of me! He used to be out until past 2 am and I suspected nothing. I completely trusted him. Silly me. Never knew my Christian husband could lie so well.

I don't know how to have a great marriage if I don't really love my husband. I am just here out of obedience to God and I am just going through the motions to try to save my marriage because I want to be a good Christian. So much of my life is lived out of obligation. Is going through the motions enough? Will I eventually have love for my husband? Is it worth staying in this marriage out of obedience to God?

I recently had surgery and part of me hoped I wouldn't make it out alive just so I could be free from this work called marriage. I know that's sad. But I'm still here so I guess I have to make this work.

Here's an entry from my journal this morning which kind of sums up how I am feeling right now and the reason for this thread: "Before I found out about the affair, I struggled to love him, to consider him. I had so many starts and stops and feared that if I didn't fix myself soon, he would find love elsewhere. I didn't realize how late I was to that conclusion. After finding out about the affair, I could finally be free. I could just walk away; he did commit adultery after all, didn't he? Your Word says that's the one valid reason for divorce but you told me to stay. Why when I struggle to love him? Why ask me to do that when I can easily be by myself. What are you trying to teach me God and why do you have to teach me in this way - through this embarrassing and damaging experience. Me a strong-willed, independent, confident, beautiful woman staying with a man who has cheated on her though I could have my pick of men to be with. This is really frustrating God. But I am here because you tell me there is something you know that I don't know so all I can do is trust you through this."

Now you see my dilemma. My flesh wants to leave, but my spirit says listen to God. Please help. I am especially interested in Christian perspectives.

Other issues I have but can discuss later: we haven't told the kids (I want to); he is running for political office (I contacted MB Radio about this situation and it was covered on the podcast); I have a ton of triggers because he had his affair partner around my kids, at my work events, had my kids calling her god-mom, and around my friends; his brother, sister, and three of his best friends knew about the affair while it was happening so I also feel betrayed by them, and so on. Lots of issues to work through, but the main one is I don't really want to be here and I have every reason to leave so I'm angry with God. Should I perhaps separate instead of divorce? I wonder if that will make me feel better.

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Welcome to MB and I'm so very sorry for what has brought you here. I think you will find that God has lead you to MB. Dr. Harley is also a Christian and has practiced for years to help save marriages.

When was you letter read on the show?

Have you exposed his affaire to anyone?

Has he started living a life of complete transparency?

Does he still work with the OW (other woman)?


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Evil thrives in darkness. Do you really think it is a good idea that your husband is running for office with such a big secret that will surely come out?
Should a godly man not put the healing of his marriage first?
Are there any people who he respects and who may be able to influence him to stop his affair?


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Originally Posted by BrainHurts
Welcome to MB and I'm so very sorry for what has brought you here. I think you will find that God has lead you to MB. Dr. Harley is also a Christian and has practiced for years to help save marriages.

When was you letter read on the show?

Have you exposed his affaire to anyone?

Has he started living a life of complete transparency?

Does he still work with the OW (other woman)?

Thanks for your response BrH. My letter was read on the show on February 2, 2022. On my side the affair has been exposed to my parents, my sister, and about six of my closest girl friends. On his side: his brother, sister, niece and nephews, and about 4 of his closest friends know. Our pastor also knows (my husband told him about the affair a couple of years before I found out). We have a married couple who has mentored us over the years and they also know. When he decided to run for political office, I also asked him to tell his Campaign Chair. She said "if your wife supports you then so do I - your personal marital affairs are not my business." He hasn't explicity told anyone else on his campaign team except he has told them they cannot pitch him as a "family man" (my request) and I will not be actively involved in his campaign. On the OW's side, her husband knows (her husband is actually my husband's godfather whom my husband confided in about his affair and then his godfather fell in love with the OW and ended up marrying her after the affair ended. Now my husband and the godfather are estranged - it's a real Jerry Springer show - I can't believe I'm wrapped up in this crazy mess). Some of the OW's close friends also know as well as her mother. To my knowledge, her teenage children (who were close with my husband) do not know.

We have NOT told our children. I would like to tell them over Spring break, coming up in April for our School District. He is concerned that telling the kids will affect his relationship with them and make it more difficult for him to parent. He also feels it will just focus on his mistake instead of all the other marriage problems we've had outside of the affair (like my neglect of him). I told him, we don't only have to present the affair as the problem. My biggest reason for wanting to tell the kids is that I don't want them to ever do this to their wives. It is such a painful experience. My H is the product of an affair. His father cheated on his wife multiple times. My H says "I am not like my father. I am not a womanizer." and I tell him "you might not be a womanizer because you had an affair with one person while he had it with multiple, but you still repeated his mistake" I personally think my H's infidelity is worse because he was in a relationship for 5 years!

Regarding transparency - my H knows I go through his phone and I read his journal online and he doesn't stop me from doing these things - though I do them when he is sleeping. His phone is not locked, he tells me where he is going and who he is with but after the affair was revelead, I found out that the OW had reached out to him once and he picked up the phone, then she had reached out to him again on social media and he responded. For some stupid reason, he believes that if she is reaching out to him then it's not him doing something wrong. Or if he simply replied with "thanks" or "you're welcome" then it's meaningless. A month ago, he admitted she had reached out to him on social media to tell him about her daughter getting into the high school of her choice. He responded, "congratulations". I told him I was glad he was honest with me but he should have no contact with her whatsoever. I asked him to block her on social media. He did though begrudgingly because he thinks of me as being too controlling in general.

Thankfully, she doesn't work with him anymore BUT she works at a school that partners with his organization and they have run into each other before for work-related activities. Right now, he is on a leave of absence because he is running for office. The greatest risk is that the OW's daugther attends the same after-school program as our son and there is a chance to run into her that way. We still have to figure out how to put precautions around that especially for events. Fortunately, our son is old enough to come home by himself after school which reduces our chance to run into the OW. This is a very good after school program so I don't want to take my son out of it but telling our kids about the affair could help us be on the same page and plan precautions as a family.

I can't wait until this pain is behind me. I still can't believe my husband lied to me for so many years and had this woman around my children and my friends! So disrespectful.

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Originally Posted by happyheart
Evil thrives in darkness. Do you really think it is a good idea that your husband is running for office with such a big secret that will surely come out?
Should a godly man not put the healing of his marriage first?
Are there any people who he respects and who may be able to influence him to stop his affair?

The affair already stopped in 2019. I don't know if you meant to say "are there any people who he respects and who may be able to influence him to stop his run for political office?" If that's what you meant, then I must be honest to say I was so shocked that my pastor, who knows about the affair, supports his run for political office. I don't think people realize just how damaging an affair is and how two-faced you look when you can lie and cheat on your spouse and then go in front of others as a public official. But then I realize that this situation is very loud to me but not loud to others. We accept so much nonsense in Christiandom.

My H has always wanted to be a politician. I am not really against that but I think the timing is terrible and then after I heard Dr. Harley's response to the e-mail I sent him, I now realize it's actually a profession that is ripe with infidelity. Not ideal for a marriage that is trying to mend. But my H feels that he has put off running for office because of his personal fears and that this is his opportunity to face his fears. He also feels that he is still putting his marriage first - he now offers more domestic support, we are in marriage counseling, when he is home, he spends time with me. We are definitely below our 15 hours of UA. In fact, his phone is often ringing and he is trying to be on the computer at the same time as with me because the campaign has so many demands. I am a workaholic too - run my own organization. We definitely need more UA especially because I don't feel the love for him I need to.

My main approach with the campaign is to just stay in my lane - take care of my household while he does his campaign. I think God is trying to teach him something through this so I am just going to be still for now but I secretly pray and hope that he doesn't get elected because that will just be one more thing to deal with. Ugh.

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Originally Posted by Flesh vs. Spirit
...after I heard Dr. Harley's response to the e-mail I sent him...
What was Dr Harley's response to the points you put to him? Did you explain your internal conflict in much the same way that you've explained it here? I would be interested to know his advice.


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Dear FvS,

as much as I hate to say it, your husband reaching out to the other woman so recently is a huge red flag. Are you sure you have all the information you need to monitor if your husband contacts other women?

Dr. Harley promotes being transparant - and in cases like yours, he would usually advise that you have some precautions in place that your husband does not know of, so that you would catch any conversation with other women early.

It is very positive that the other woman's husband contacted you, or you would have been none the wiser. Do you have any independent information sources to verify what your husband has told you about the affair and can you rule out that there have been others?

You are absolutely right, that his political carreer would take lots of time away from your relationship. Did the two of you have the time to fill in the emotional needs questionnaire from this website? It is important that you are in a good place needs-wise, before taking on other venues, especially when you are workaholics. As a fellow workaholic, I can totally relate grin.


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Thanks for your response and question SC.

Dr. Harley's advice was that my H should drop out of the race and find another way to benefit the community because affairs are common among politicians due to the nature of their work. Dr. Harley was a political lobbyist for some time and he observed there was a lot of infidelity in politics. He also advised that my H needs to expose his affair to the people who asked him to run so that they will be fully aware that could come up. I said the same to my H. He only told a couple of key people connected to his campaign. There is one person in particular who is putting her neck out for him and he has not told her. Not sure what she would say. If I were to push that he tells her, I think he would feel I am just trying to humiliate him. It's kind of too late now anyway; she's already won him a major endorsement.

When we told my parents, my father asked my H if he was still willing to continue his campaign knowing he did not have my full support. His response: "if I lose her, it will not be because of my political campaign. It would be because I lost her a long time ago." In short, no matter the advice, my H is not budging. His whole thing is about conquering his fear to run and not putting it off anymore.

But again, I have peace with the whole political campaign; I think my job is to stay out of it. I have expressed to him how I feel. I told him that this is an area where we are in violation of the policy of joint agreement. I don't support his run for office but I do listen to his frustrations and I am here for him though I won't do anything out in public with him because that is too fake. I think I also have peace because I feel God is using this experience to refine my H in some ways and I don't think he will win. I know it's terrible to not wish him victory but I honestly don't know what I will do if he does win. It's in God's hands. The primary election is on May 17 and I'm just going to stay in my lane until then. We will see what happens.

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Dear HH,
I am pretty sure there are no other women, just the one. When I broke into his journal, I read every single entry from the past three years and there was only evidence of the one. Once he found out I accessed his journal, he was so upset but if I hadn't done that, I wouldn't have found out he had lied to me about contacting her.

Unfortunately, my H is a very private person so although he doesn't keep things from me, he also doesn't provide information freely. I have to ask for it or find it myself. I've been talking to him about that lately. His main issue is he feels unsafe giving his heart to me because he feels I will just use knowledge of his emotions to trample over his heart. I must admit, I haven't been a very caring person in the past and I have always been less vulnerable than he so he didn't always used to be this way. He became this way over time to protect himself. We both have a lot of work to do.

I haven't spoken to anyone else who knew to corroborate his story because honestly, talking to people who knew about the affair hurts me so much because I feel so betrayed by them AND my husband. So the only direct account I have is from my H and he has told me there were no other women and he is always very proud of that fact - "I have only been with two women in my life, you and her." I think it's the one thing he uses to differentiate himself from his father who has multiple affairs.

The one thing I plan to ask him to do is not to have any female friends outside of our marriage. I think that's a condition that made his affair possible. I don't believe in having male friends, but he thinks he can handle having female friends. Now that we see he can't, I think that would be a reasonable request for me to make of him. No female friends outside of mutual married couples? Is this too controlling? I am really hoping that we can read SAA together so that these suggestions don't feel like they are just coming from me, but rather from Dr. Harley. He feels I am too controlling so asking him not to have any female friends would be considered a controlling move.

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In September 2021, I found out my H had an affair from 2015 - 2019. One of the questions I asked my H when I found out was "who knows about the affair?". He named several people in our network, including his brother, sister, two of his best friends, and our pastor but he told me that they found out after the affair had ended.

When I broke into his journal, I found out that some of these individuals knew during some of the affair, including his brother, sister, and one of the best friends. I also found out there were other people who knew while the affair was going on - a former female colleague from work, turned best friend and a couple of his nephews, one of which he had asked to cover for him one day when he was helping the OW (that made me so upset!).

Now I find myself so angry with these people. I feel betrayed by both my H and these individuals. I know that their allegiance is to them and if someone confides in you that they are having an affair, your hands are tied because you are there to support your friend and not tell his wife. You can encourage him to confess his affair and break it off but it's up to the cheater to do the right thing.

But now, I don't want to see any of these people or talk to them. I don't want to be in the same room as them. It makes me angry to think of them calling me "sister" or "auntie" or "friend". It makes me want to scream, I am not your sister, your aunt, or your friend. You are on his team not mine so don't ever come to me again like we are okay. You didn't stand up for me and I want nothing to do with you.

The dilemma is I am trying to survive this affair and recover my marriage so what do I do about the betrayal I feel from the people who knew but did nothing? The people who were part of his lie? Are my feelings normal? If I reconcile with my husband, does that mean I also reconcile with these people I feel hurt me? Am I focusing on the wrong thing since it's my H who caused the pain I feel not really them? I just feel like no one stood up for me and it bothers me so much. Not sure how to get past these emotions. Will my heart soften once my H and I have recovered our marriage?

Please help. How did others deal with people in their lives who knew about the affair while it was happening but did not (or could not) intervene?

Thanks for your support.

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Merging threads, please stick to one thread so posters can follow.


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Originally Posted by Flesh vs. Spirit
I am a devout Christian and pride myself on listening to God's direction in my life.

I don't know how to have a great marriage if I don't really love my husband. I am just here out of obedience to God and I am just going through the motions to try to save my marriage because I want to be a good Christian. So much of my life is lived out of obligation. Is going through the motions enough? Will I eventually have love for my husband? Is it worth staying in this marriage out of obedience to God?
I didn't feel that I could respond to your post until I found out what Dr Harley had already advised you to do. I've listened to your radio show now, and I feel much clearer about the issues.

First, I notice that Dr Harley did not directly address your statement that you are staying with your husband because God directed you to do so. Instead, he said that you need to make a decision about staying or going. He said that the worse course of action would be for you to stay but to be emotionally divorced - to be there physically but to give nothing to your husband. This wasn't because that would be unfair on your husband, but because it would be the most unhappy of all the outcomes for you.

Dr Harley did not say that because you believe God has directed you to stay, you must stay.

As you say in a later post, Dr Harley advised your husband to give up plans for political office, partly because that field is rife with infidelity, partly because he has shown that when he can be alone with a woman he will forget that he is married to you, but mainly because it would hurt you. You would worry all the time that he was doing this to you again, and that is not good for the marriage and not good for you.

Dr Harley is very protective of betrayed women, and he tends not to be in favour of their fighting to rebuild a marriage in the presence of a reluctant husband.

You might say that your husband is not reluctant because he has given up the affair (and reached out again, I note), but the fact that he will not consider the affect that it has had on you in his decision to enter politics is, frankly, despicable.

He put his own interests first when he had the affair, and he is still doing so. I don't think you should stay with him under those circumstances. I think you should write again to Dr Harley and tell him what you've told us here about giving up being out of the question. I think he would advise you to separate, because this man is not making it his priority to protect you. Instead, he asks you not to kill yet another of his dreams. That request is so cruel and insensitive that there are no words to describe it.


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Originally Posted by Flesh vs. Spirit
But now, I don't want to see any of these people or talk to them. I don't want to be in the same room as them.
And you shouldn't be in the same room with either them OR your husband. You need to separate from him, and when you've done that (this afternoon) separation from them will follow.

I wouldn't normally say this about a man who has only had an affair with one person, but if you stay with him, your husband will be unfaithful to you again. He doesn't think much of the marriage you have given him, and he has used this already to have a long, deep affair. He is now like the alcoholic who previously got drunk only at home, who is now seeking a job in a bar where they serve free drinks to staff. You would not expect an alcoholic to resist in that circumstance and you shouldn't expect your husband to resist the frequent opportunities for affairs if he goes into politics.

He might be determined that that isn't the case, but that isn't the only point. The main think he should be considering if he is serious about rebuilding with you is that you will be hurt every minute of every day that he works in that environment. Your hurt alone would be enough to stop him running for office if he were serious. It isn't stopping him because he isn't serious. In fact, I'd go so far as to guess that he isn't confident that his marriage will last for much longer, and he isn't willing to lose this dream for something he doesn't even believe in.


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Originally Posted by SugarCane
[quote=Flesh vs. Spirit] Your hurt alone would be enough to stop him running for office if he were serious. It isn't stopping him because he isn't serious. In fact, I'd go so far as to guess that he isn't confident that his marriage will last for much longer, and he isn't willing to lose this dream for something he doesn't even believe in.

You are on point here. I do think he doesn't trust that I will stay around and because I can "leave any moment", he feels that he should move forward with his dreams because why give up on those if there is no guarantee I will be around anyway. I can't blame him. Due to my high emotions I keep going back and forth, leave or stay. I told him this wound is still fresh and I haven't healed. Although his affair has been over two years, I just found out about it 7 months ago and I'm still dealing with the trauma of it all.

SC, I appreciate all your feedback and I will reflect on it and pray on it, especially the separation piece. I am very conflicted there because I have caused my husband a lot of harm in the past (basically he feels he has been in a loveless marriage that revolves around me). I would agree that I am more of the taker in our marriage and he is the giver, but regardless, if we are going to save our marriage, we can't do things as we have done them in the past. I am still trusting that God can restore this broken marriage. Thank you for your support.

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Originally Posted by IrishGreen
Merging threads, please stick to one thread so posters can follow.

Thanks for merging my thread. I am new to the forum so not sure of the best way to post. If I have different questions related to my situation, should I start a new thread or just continue to respond to my original one? For example, right now I would like to post a question about whether anyone had regrets telling their children. I am specifically looking for people who might have regretted telling their kids (I don't want to do it the wrong way and I want my husband and I to be on the same page regarding telling the kids). If I just add this question to an existing thread, how do I get applicable people to respond to it?

Thanks

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Originally Posted by Flesh vs. Spirit
I would agree that I am more of the taker in our marriage and he is the giver...
Someone who had a 5 year affair in his marriage can't possibly be described as the giver! Having an affair is the very definition of taking!

What did you do to him for all those years that makes you accept responsibility for your bad marriage? Could you describe how you behaved, and how you felt when you were doing it? Why were you so unmotivated in your marriage?

Without what you describe as your command from God, would you have left him over the affair and his lukewarm reactions ever since?


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Originally Posted by Flesh vs. Spirit
[Thanks for merging my thread. I am new to the forum so not sure of the best way to post. If I have different questions related to my situation, should I start a new thread or just continue to respond to my original one? For example, right now I would like to post a question about whether anyone had regrets telling their children. I am specifically looking for people who might have regretted telling their kids (I don't want to do it the wrong way and I want my husband and I to be on the same page regarding telling the kids). If I just add this question to an existing thread, how do I get applicable people to respond to it?
The issue for people who want to respond to your posts is that they need to know your recent history in order to understand the context of your question. Speaking as a poster, I find it time-consuming to have to find someone's older threads and read them first before being able to return to the current one to answer the question. If someone were to start, say six new threads for each question (and we have so many questions when there has been an affair), I would find it very irritating to have to read a whole series of threads before I could reply.

Your questions are basically about the one situation. You are asking about the different steps you need to take, but you are in the same position that you were in last week, dealing with the same aftermath of the same affair that brought you here. There is no need to start a new thread for each question.

On exposure: I'd be very surprised if anyone were to post and tell you they regretted exposing to their children.

I recommend that you read
this thread about exposure. it has collected together years of experience from many posters. There is a section in it about exposing to children.

I want to warn you that you must not seek to be on the same page as your husband about exposing, to your children or to anyone else. Your husband is unlikely to ever be on the same page as you about exposing; if he had his way he would not allow you to expose at all. Who wants their shameful behaviour to be revealed to people that know and love them, especially their kids? If you try to do this from the same page, he will try and water down what you are trying to tell the kids. He will agree to your saying something like "Dad made a mistake, but he is not doing it any more and we are okay now". The "mistake" will not be explained and the harm he has caused you will be glossed over. He might even try to say that in some way, the affair was your fault because the marriage was bad. Watering down and justification defy the purposes of exposing, which are to get support for you, to warn your children of the identity of the other woman, and to give them an education on the immorality of affairs. They know this in theory but they need to see at first hand the hurt that the affair has caused you for it to really mean something.

I hope also that the Exposure thread will cause you to reassess the people to whom the affair is already knowledge. When you wrote to the Harleys, Joyce didn't think that you could have exposed because of the way you worded something. However, on this thread you have spoken about the number of people that know. The thing is, their "knowing" is not the same as your having done a proper exposure. If you did not tell them yourself, and if you did not ask for their help to talk to your husband about his wrongdoing, you should consider doing this properly now.

You told us that OW eventually married your husband's godfather, and that he and his godfather are now estranged. I hope you realise that you and your husband can now never see his godfather and wife again, because your husband must do total non-contact with OW for life - that is, if you are to recover your marriage.

However, as I said, I don't think you should be trying to recover your marriage because your husband is not showing any desperation to keep you. I still think you should write to Dr Harley with the information that he refuses to give up politics.

It strikes me that your husband has not been trying to rebuild his marriage at all. It was you who wrote to Dr Harley, and you who are here now trying to do the work of rebuilding, while your husband tells you he will not give up his political dreams, has recently tried to restart the affair, and is upset with his godfather for marrying his lover.

His behaviour, post affair, is appalling.


BW
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In an answer to your question about telling the kids. Please read Exposing to Children


FWW/BW (me)
WH
2nd M for both
Blended Family with 7 kids between us
Too much hurt and pain on both sides that my brain hurts just thinking about it all.



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Originally Posted by BrainHurts
In an answer to your question about telling the kids. Please read Exposing to Children

This was super helpful. Thank you so much.

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Originally Posted by Flesh vs. Spirit
Originally Posted by BrainHurts
In an answer to your question about telling the kids. Please read Exposing to Children

This was super helpful. Thank you so much.

You’re welcome.

Are you going to tell your kids?


FWW/BW (me)
WH
2nd M for both
Blended Family with 7 kids between us
Too much hurt and pain on both sides that my brain hurts just thinking about it all.



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