I have never posted anything to this forum, in fact I just found it tonight because I REALLY need someone to talk to.
Here's a recap - sorry it's so long:
Married 21 years, together for 26. We have 3 kids. We had 5 years marriage before our first was born and they were good at first. Then my husband started complaining about his job and the world was against him - nothing ever went his way. He complained constantly but never did anything to change the situation. He didn't look for a new job or fix whatever wasn't working right for him. It started consuming him and taking over every aspect of our lives. I gave up friends, we stopped getting together with people, everybody was an idiot. Any time I wanted to talk about something, it always ended up being about him and how things were never right for him.
I am a glass is half full kind of person and I started getting involved in activities that would keep me away from the constant negativity. Had I been older and wiser, I would have realized that he needed the kind of help that I couldn't offer, but I was too young and selfish and feeling bad for myself. Unfortunately one of my activities ended up being an affair with a co-worker in another state. It lasted about a year and a half until my husband and I decided to have kids. I believe my husband knew about the affair, but we never talked about it openly at the time. Lots of stuff happened after our first was born and after I ended the affair, I only had phone contact with him a couple of times, the last of which I was very rude to him.
It became very apparent after our second was born, that my husband knew about the affair but didn't want to bring it up out of fear of losing me. And I didn't bring it up because I was completely ashamed of what I had done and didn't want to fess up to my infidelity. Because of that, my husband started drinking and drank for the next 12 years, the last 3 of which he drank very heavily. He was laid-off twice in 3 years and that contributed to his drinking. Now, I know I didn't put the drink in his hand, but was the other main cause.
Those 3 years were horrible for me. I was basically a single parent. He was mean to me and the kids (never physically or verbally abusive, just mean). We would have company over or his/my family and I had to do everything, plus sometimes entertain as he wouldn't even show up. We basically stopped any physical interaction as I couldn't get past the drinking and he didn't make any effort.
We always celebrated our birthdays with quite a bit of pomp and circumstance, but on my birthday I didn't get a "happy birthday" from him, a card or a gift. He took the kids on a half-a**ed shopping trip to buy my presents the afternoon of my birthday. Then he went to bed and I took care of homework, dinner, carpooling, etc.
Just after that, he was arrested for driving under the influence with our children in the car. It was a wake-up call for him and me. Plus, it was very expensive for us. We had to tell our families and it was very shameful for him. He was terribly embarassed for his behavior and stepped-up and went through treatment/AA and all the other requirements. He has accepted his responsibility for what he has done and things started getting better after a number of months.
Over the years, I thought about the guy I had the affair with - more so during my husband's heavy drinking period - but never contacted him. Although I always felt bad for being so rude to him during our last conversation. It nagged at me that I could be mean to him when all I should have said was that I didn't want contact with him. Once things started getting better between my husband and I earlier this year, I wanted to finally close that chapter in my life. I felt that I needed to apologize for my rude behavior and close the door. I found him on Facebook and sent a message to him apologizing. He responded and said he understood. He also said he had no regrets about our affair. I sent a final note back to him saying I had no regrets either, when I actually wished I had never started up with him. I had put a strain on our marriage for years. I should have left well enough alone and not contacted him again. It was a stupid thought for me to think I needed to apologize to him. Shortly after that, my husband finally confronted me about the affair from 16 years before. I told him whatever he wanted to know. He asked about it and when the last time I contact him. I was truthful and told him about the emails and showed him the ones that were still in my in box. I have never seen my husband as angry - and the anger is still that strong 5 months later.
We go back and forth between him saying he forgives me and then a day or sometimes hours later, he gets quiet and disappears into our room. Then he blows up at me again, sometimes saying some very mean and hurtful things (which I NEVER did to him after he got his DUI) and then says he just wants to forget what I did and move on. I told him early on that I would even the playing field and tell our friends and family about the affair, so they wouldn't think ill of him since that was the contributing factor for his drinking. But he says he's worried it will get back the the kids and that would be the worst. He also wants me to contact the guy I had the affair with and tell him that i regret everything and wish it never happened. I just want that door closed and don't ever want contact with him again. But I will do it if I really need to.
What I'm struggling with these days is the rollercoaster of emotions. My husband sends me confrontational and hurtful messages at work one moment then apologetic and loving messages the next. My responses to his first messages are always wrong and throw him into an angry rage. We don't talk about it at home because we don't want the kids to hear - they are always around because it's summer. So we do this all over email. I never know which husband I'm going to wake up to, get home from work to, or go to bed with - the emotions change so frequently, I just can't keep up. I've actually had some suicidal thoughts. I'm struggling with what to do to prove to him that I want our marriage to work. He says I need to make amends and I'm trying - no more contact with the other guy, making every effort to show my love to him and support him when he has his down periods. I take whatever he dishes out with, hopefully, humility. I know I made a huge mistake and could have ruined our marriage, and I have told my husband that. I just don't know what else to do - anyone have any ideas?
I would send the no contact letter (or email) as your husband wishes. I also would also recommend an evaluation for your husband and/or yourself. If you never know if you're coming home to Dr Jekyll or Mr Hyde, he might need some help <3
Some of the I love you/I hate you is coming from the usual turmoil that goes along with the discovery of an affair. Even if he's suspected or known for all these years, the fact is he's repressed it and is therefore only just now beginning to realize what happened and dealing with it. There is a period in which the person that was cheated on is conflicted and can't decide if they love you and want to stay or hates you and wants out.
But the way you describe it sounds like more than just that usual turmoil. I think perhaps some counseling is in order. I hesitate to tell you to ask him to go to counseling, because that's likely to set him off again. But perhaps the suggestion that you two go to marriage counseling would work, and if the marriage counselor sees signs of other issues, he/she could suggest he see someone separately.
I also agree that you should send the e-mail he wants you to send. That could be contributing as well. Your refusal to send it could be making him feel as though perhaps you want that door left open so that you could resume the affair if you chose to. The e-mail would give him a small amount of reassurance, a little piece of mind that this is over and this guy is gone from your life. You know why you don't want to send it, and it's not that your reason isn't sound, it's just that he's not in your head, he doesn't know what you're really thinking, and he needs that little reassurance. The point of the e-mail is to establish no contact, so you could legitimately put "Please do not contact me again" in it and never have to hear from the other guy again. And most e-mail providers have an area in which you can block e-mail addresses from contacting you. Send the e-mail and the block his address. Problem solved...with that one anyway.
I am betting when he saw the email from you saying that you didn't regret it, now he thinks that you honestly don't and that you aren't sorry for the pain that you are causing him over it. That would be how I would feel if I saw that message.
Definately sit down with the H, write a no contact letter and let him read it and send it to the OM. That is the only way this is going to heal. Another issue for him is going to be that you didn't want to hurt the OM's feelings, but you had no problem hurting his. ( that is how he is going to feel, not saying its true)
What are you guys doing to work through the affair? Are you getting counseling? Have you both laid out new boundaries with each other??
I'm glad you found this forum, Maddy! I agree with the others that learning the truth of your affair starts an emotional roller coaster of back and forth feelings. Showing remorse and letting him work through his emotions are both on target, in my opinion.
If you are having suicidal thoughts, I would definitely see a professional that can help you work through the feelings you are having. They may suggest seeing your husband at some point so that may be a way to bring him into the fold if that will help you both move forward.
Another suggestion would be to buy a book (there are many but After the Affair is a good one)...although it would be meant for your husband, it might give you insight as to how he is feeling and it will show you are trying to understand where he is at emotionally. You might also offer it to him when you are done if you think he would be receptive...especially if you tell him you cannot possibly know how he is feeling but he might be able to relate to a lot of stuff in this book...
It does take time for the wounds to heal...at some point, I hope he will forgive you ... for both himself and you as it brings peace ... but he needs to really be ready to forgive or he will continue to flip-flop. It can take several months or a few years to really be able to move on.
Have you two sat and discussed your marriage...sounds like you've talked about the negative stuff from the past but have you talked about making changes going forward (other than stopping the bad stuff)? What can help you get close again is to start spending fun time together, date night once a week, where you can relax and laugh together.