After trying to expose the affair to OMW, we had no more drama or surprises or any signs or indications of the affair continuing. (and believe me when I say that I was obsessively checking) I will have to give my wife heaps of credit for this time period. If she went out for a 10 minute excursion to the store to get milk she would call and tell me. If she hit traffic and would be 4 minutes late, she would call. While she was out of work she would get on IM and chat with me a good chunk of the day while I worked at the computer. As I stated to Lord Mayhem in the post above, my wife even excised herself from all of her work friends (and was cut out by one first).
It was a truly confusing time as much as real solid improvements were being made I had a hard time coming to terms with everything. For starters my confidence was shot to hell.
I consider myself an educated and intelligent person. I've always have been able to process and learn things quickly. Yet I had this very strange duality occurring in my own head.
Emotionally, I felt I was to blame. I kept wondering, "What was wrong with me?" "Why would my wife choose another man to lose sleep with, confide in and have sex? Was I that bad or unattractive, was the OM a better lover, do I satisfy my wife, etc etc etc etc etc etc?"
Logically, I knew that the affair was her fault. It had little to do with me and my behavior and mostly to do with her poor choices. I knew this and understood it.
It was reconciling the two sides that I had trouble with.
It took an incredible amount of mental effort to cease being so passive aggressive and walking on eggshells in fear of losing her. I think the thing that helped me the most was seeing and hearing about her fear of the same.
Yet through all of her tears as she cried that she was sorry that she hurt me and wish she could undo everything, etc, there was that part in the back of brain screaming, "IF YOU FEEL SO BAD AND SAY THAT YOU LOVE ME THEN WHY DID YOU DO IT?!!!" "WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY?!!!"
And then there was the paper thin level of trust that I had for her.
I must've asked the same questions at least 50 times, waiting to see if the story would change and she had intercourse as well or had plans to leave me for good, waiting to see if the other hammer would drop, waiting to hear that there were other affairs prior to this, waiting to hear that she did this because she hated me or that OM was a better lover/person, waiting for the worst. (the worst never came)
When you have expectations of the worst, it becomes increasingly difficult to trust despite their efforts of being completely transparent and never finding anything to contradict what they say.
The best healing factor in all of this was time-
and I don't mean time to forget, because it's obviously still fresh in my mind or else I couldn't recall all of this with such detail.
I mean time as in...
time spent with each other- we were spending more time with each than ever before
time spent talking- putting aside our half hour sessions, we really talked about a lot of things and as a result we really had a better way of understanding one another and our needs
time bonding physically- sex was amazing and out of this world and we would have sex 6-8 times a week during this period. ( I even started to get sore down there, LOL)
time doing things together that we both enjoyed- as weird as this sounds, I think stumbling across a band we never heard before really helped us bond. My wife likes prog rock/alternative music and I like jam band/improv rock (ie. phish). While the other will listen to the other's music and be fine (IOW it was not like we hated each other's music but wouldn't go out of the way to listen to it) we never had much of a commonality in music tatses. Then we came across a band that was a weird mix of prog rock, alternative and improv. This band became our favorite band together and we have seen them in concert now 4 times. The band being a hybrid of what my wife and I liked in music became a symbol of our new marriage.
sorry for digressing so much here, getting back to my point- what was happening was that we essentially falling in love all over again in a new light and that damn affair probably gave us that jump start that we needed. I was really enjoying our marriage again.
But like I said it was a confusing time of polar opposites-
That damn affair was still hanging over our heads and just as I thought we were getting past it and things had improved greatly, I hit the wall around the 6 month part.
tomorrow- part 9 6months to one year
wednesday & thursday- one year til now focusing on a particular topic that will come from right field (and will be very uncomfortable talking about and no I didn't have an affair)
friday- a reflection of what I learned, what I should have done differently, and the 2 year anniversary of dday
Didn't mean to post anything- oops! I am glued to your story- so glad you and w so good almost 2 years out! I know my H and I are on the right track. I still feel myself questioning how could he if I was good enough, but only on bad days, which are luckily now few and far between Posted via Mobile Device
The hard truth is that the majority of people end up flying blind in dealing with affairs. I guess that's why it's so damn frustrating on the boards that when you can actually offer your experience to help someone else and they still make the same damn mistakes. (and equally satisfying when you can actually help someone willing to listen like Sham for instance)
Echoes aren't supposed to come back stronger
6 months to 1 year post Dday
From a logical perspective, things were looking really good by this point. There was no signs whatsoever that the wife had continued her affair or contacted OM and no signs OM tried to contact her, the wife got her masters and was also out of the house doing her internship during the day and getting proper sleep finally. (her being at home during the day while she was doing her final semester was a trigger for me as her and OM met at my house during the day while I was at work) Our talks were very fruitful and communication was at its best ever in the marriage, sex was also still truly amazing. I was having lots of fun with the wife and our love seemed stronger than before.
Yet I was in a deep depression and dealing with obsessive behavior and an ever growing sense of paranoia.
I mean WTF? Why was this happening to me? Why can't the right side of the brain catch up to the left side? I felt so unbalanced up there that I was probably wandering around in circles since my head tilted to one side. (okay so this a weak attempt at a metaphor)
The paranoia was overwhelming at times and I use that term because the fear was never founded in anything and often twisted to fit my ideas of how she could work around the "checkpoint system" I had set up with VAR's, keyloggers, etc. I truly believe that I ever wish to have an affair that I probably could get away with it. I have thought of so many ways and scenarios that my wife could have used to avoid detection. From burner phones, to codes, to fake facebook accounts, from phone cards hiding numbers, and I even thought that some spam she received in her email looked suspicious and began scouring her spam messages for possible communication.
To give a good example of my behavior and obsessive thinking at that time- one morning I went to grab a new tube of toothpaste. We keep the unused hygiene items in the linen closet that's in our bathroom that's located right next to the shower. I noticed that the panel on the wall adjacent to the shower that opens up to allow access to the pipes was slightly ajar. I was so hypersensitive to anything that seemed out of place that I immediately thought to myself, "Hmmmm...that would be a perfect hiding spot. I wonder if my wife did have a pay as you go phone if she would hide it in there." I then grabbed the flashlight and did a 3 minute detailed search of that 2ft x 2ft area that was reachable from the closet and found nothing but schmutz and an old 7up can that was probably left there when the house was built.
And that would actually be considered somewhat "normal" behavior- but I obsessively checked that damn cobwebby and dusty nook each morning for close to a month.
Each time I found nothing at any of my convoluted theories I would then feel relief and shortly after feel horrible and depressed. The only time I would feel good when was I around my wife and I held back on telling her how bad I got in my searches and paranoia. The paranoid side to me said to hold it back because IF she was still cheating then you need to stay quiet.
I inherently knew this wasn't good and at first I tried to blame my behavior on my bipolarism and tried switching meds. But that didn't work and I started to google for help and found an infidelity support board.
While the people who visit both this board and the board I initially found and started to post on will easily recognize who I am (and I know of at least two people based on the same screen name) I prefer to keep it separate and will not name that board. Both boards have their niches and strengths and weaknesses. I will admit to using this board much more frequently recently as there are more posters and responses are more frequent as a result. I found this board due to something said about this place on the other board.
When I first encountered the other forum I read for a bit and saw the stories of betrayed spouses and quite honestly, most of the stories seemed much worse than mine. I also noticed the success rate seemed low, there were maybe 3-4 posters claiming they had repaired their marriage and lots and lots of sob stories. There was one thread that seemed to go on forever and the poor guy just seemed frozen and never acted. In my mind I called this guy Hamlet but I soon realized that there were a lot more Hamlets out there (both men and women).
In a way, seeing how these Hamlets were just destroying their souls by not putting their foot down because of the fear of divorce I gained some confidence in knowing that I did some things right. I also was able to look back on the affair and see the same patterns and the fog that my wife exhibited. It also put my own story in a good light compared to most. I felt that my problems weren't so bad compared to what was going with these betrayed spouses dealing with serial cheaters and compulsive liars. I also gained a lot of information on the psychology of affairs and general stats that I wanted to know.
The one thing it lacked was that I didn't see anyone posting about what I was going through during this time. So, I butched up and made my first post.
Just now, I actually went back and read my first post
Not only did I hold back from wife about how truly awful my paranoia was I held back on the forum too. My post mostly talks about my fantasy of traveling back in time to cause more havok, and I was so hurt at that time that I wanted to hurt her more back then.
This last part of the post is interesting however-
Frankly, I'm tired of being the victim. I want the relationship to be equal again and I want the trust back. Complete and utter trust is the only real thing missing right now and let's face it, that's still a big cog in the machinery of a successful marriage. Maybe I'm just being impatient, maybe I'm in a downswing of my manic-depression, maybe these feelings are what a normal person feels. I have no idea really and I sense I'm rambling now so I'll stop for now.
This really speaks to the dichotomy of my feelings. I was reaching everywhere for answers.
Over the next few months I was able to get some help from the other posters not only by their responses but by also being able to help others and interacting with the endless parade of betrayed spouses.
As the months flew by I calmed and stopped looking for the boogeyman. I also came to the realization that my new founded paranoia was rooted in the fact that things were indeed improving and that was a scary thing to me. Back when I first uncovered my wife's affair I was fully prepared to divorce her. Our marriage at that point was stale. Now that the marriage was going so well I then became deathly afraid of losing it. After all, losing her was a much more real possibility in my mind than it was 7 months prior-my wife was a cheater. During this time on the forums, I learned about what it takes to heal from infidelity and I utilized it to strengthen my own resolve and marriage and for that I am grateful.
Like you, I went through the Hypervigilance stage. I thought I would be like this forever, eventually after months of not finding anything, and her completely remorseful behavior, it began to wear off. I began to feel safe again, and trust was slowly being rebuilt.
Gotta love that hysterical bonding sex! Too bad it didn't last.