Understanding the pain
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Navigation »Talk About Marriage »Focused Topics »Coping with Infidelity » Understanding the pain

Coping with Infidelity Relationship recovery from the destructiveness of infidelity.

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Old 02-15-2012, 10:51 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Understanding the pain

I know this post is not going to sit well with most WS here but in my opinion there seems to be a lot of difficulty understanding the pain the BS goes through after an affair is discovered. I know the WS is dealing with a lot of intense emotions such as guilt, shame, remorse, regret. But there seems to be a definite disconnect that I thought I'd address. While I am not the most intelligent or articulate person here on TAM I thought I’d try to describe the way my wife and I have come to understand the difference and how we related it to each other.

A person who has an affair does indeed have to deal with a lot of pain in the aftermath. They have to reevaluate their own identity and who they really are and their willingness to cause so much suffering to their loved ones. The statements “it’s just not in me to cheat” and “I could never do that” are in direct conflict with their actions. They have to come to the painful conclusion that they indeed are not the absolute good person they thought they were. They have to realize that there was something in them that allowed them to be selfish and cruel to the person or people they most cherished. And the scariest part is that they have to realize that since they’ve done it once they can do it again. Those self examinations are extremely difficult but necessary if the WS wants to become the person they always thought they already were and hope to actually become.

Here is where it gets hard for as much difficulty the WS has to go through they truly cannot comprehend the pain and anguish the BS has to endure. I want you to understand and remember two words. These are two very important words and it will help you to understand what your spouse is probably feeling even if they can’t express it. When they discovered your affair…YOU DIED! Let me say it again…YOU DIED! The person that your husband/wife married is gone forever. Think about a time when you lost someone really close to you. A father, mother, sister, brother, son, daughter, or spouse. Think of the grief that you had to deal with. That is the same grief that your spouse has to deal with each and every day. Every day that they wake up after D-Day you die again and they feel it again and it's just as intense. The feelings of loneliness, hopelessness, yes…anger (why did you leave me?) Can you even imagine the pain that he/she is going through? Probably not. Because you are the one that had died and they are the one that is left to pick up the pieces of a shattered life that was taken from. They are the ones that are left to deal with the loss of a loved one.

But here is the sick part. You are still here; but you aren’t! You are a doppelganger, a clone, an evil twin. You are the one that killed your spouse’s cherished love. You took the love of his/her life away forever violently and without mercy. You stabbed them, mutilated them, burned them and ultimately buried them. You are the monster that has torn up a family. You are the monster that has committed such a senseless heinous act. You are a murderer! And here's the part that most WS miss. You were aware of your actions. You stalked your husband/wife's spouse. You planned how to do it. You conspired with another murderer (the OM/OW) and you finally struck without warning and without honor. The BS was left in shock and dismay watching their cherished lover, friend, partner, confidant bleed to death in the street. They felt hopeless and helpless as the person they loved most in the world was taken from them. Their world...you...died that day.

And you want the grieving person to forgive you. Love you. Stay with you. Think about that for a minute. You, the pod person, the evil clone, the look alike murderer that destroyed the one person in life that your spouse cherished beyond all time and space want the sorrow filled, grief stricken, angry and injured beyond belief person to LOVE YOU? They had this involuntarily inflicted upon them. They had no choice. Only pain. And now you want them to choose to love you. Can you imagine going up to the person that murdered your loved one and choosing to love them?

Now you have a little glimpse into the psyche of your betrayed spouse. You also know why I always tell people that the old marriage is dead and the couple must learn to love each other as new…if they can. It is also why I recommend the betrayed spouse read “Just Let Them Go” even if they want to reconcile. Because you truly have to let the cheating spouse go in order to learn to hopefully love the new version of your husband/wife. It’s hard and it’s painful and it can only be done if the WS does everything to make the BS fall in love with them again.

Last edited by Beowulf; 02-15-2012 at 08:29 PM.
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Old 02-15-2012, 10:56 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Understanding the pain

Great post but I just wanted to touch on something you said:

And you want the grieving person to forgive you. Love you. Stay with you. Think about that for a minute. You, the pod person, the evil clone, the look alike murderer that destroyed the one person in life that your spouse cherished beyond all time and space want the sorrow filled, grief stricken, angry and injured beyond belief person to LOVE YOU?

Not all WS want to continue the marriage or to be forgiven or for the BS to stay with them.

A lot of them leave and never look back.
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Old 02-15-2012, 11:05 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Understanding the pain

You're right Jelly but I don't think he was referring to those WS.
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Old 02-15-2012, 11:23 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Noted.
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Old 02-15-2012, 11:23 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I think that was well said. I tried to tell my wife that I felt our marriage was dead our old life was dead and if we had anything going forward it was going to have to be a rebuild from scratch. It was hard for me to imagine that she did not think about what she was doing to us to me!

The range of emotions and anger that I have felt is unimagineable and is so hard to describe to anyone that has not been through it.

I do not want to look over my shoulder for the rest of my life that the person I love is not completed comitted to me but that is what is going to happen. If I stay with my wife or if It ends and I have to start again. I know I can never trust with my whole heart again.
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Old 02-15-2012, 11:35 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by mahike View Post
I think that was well said. I tried to tell my wife that I felt our marriage was dead our old life was dead and if we had anything going forward it was going to have to be a rebuild from scratch. It was hard for me to imagine that she did not think about what she was doing to us to me!

The range of emotions and anger that I have felt is unimagineable and is so hard to describe to anyone that has not been through it.

I do not want to look over my shoulder for the rest of my life that the person I love is not completed comitted to me but that is what is going to happen. If I stay with my wife or if It ends and I have to start again. I know I can never trust with my whole heart again.
I completely understand what you're saying. It is hard to express the emotions that the BS feels which I why I tried to do it here. Since starting posting on TAM I have had to relive a lot of the feelings and pain that I did when I found out about my wife's affair. But since it was 20 years ago I feel I'm in a better position with more emotional distance so I can try to put those feelings into words that will hopefully help WS understand what they BS is feeling.

And yes Jelly I was speaking specifically of WS that want to reconcile but even some who decide to split seem to want forgiveness for their actions. I understand that even less.
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Old 02-15-2012, 04:49 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Wow...

My first serious relationship ended when he passed away (suicide) almost 11 years ago. I went through counseling, went through all the stages of grief...

My current fiance came clean and told me he cheated on me while I was pregnant with our daughter. It was a ONS..well he persued this chick for a week (she knew all about me) and he slept with her and they haven't spoken since..so I guess you can still call that a ONS..

anyway...I had no idea until 3 months after it happened and when he came clean...I felt like I did when my first boyfriend died. And ever since I feel like I am going through all the stages of grief over again. Our relationship, how special I thought it was, how special I thought he was...how much I thought he loved me..all tainted..all those feelings and thoughts died the second he told me what he did.

We are still together, I hate him and love him all at once. I imagine I will feel this way for a long time to come.

But yeah...again..wow. You nailed it.
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Old 02-15-2012, 06:51 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I am at a lost for words. Great insight Beowulf
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Old 02-15-2012, 07:48 PM   #9 (permalink)
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wow thankyou , you have just but into words everything i have been feeling and have been unable to explain to hubby , I thought he had killed everything i beleaved in when really he just killed the man i loved, can iI and do I love the newer him yes but it dosn't lessen my grief for what gone.
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Old 02-15-2012, 08:20 PM   #10 (permalink)
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It's strange because I was thinking of something like this today. It occurred to me that if my soon-to-be-ex physically died, I wouldn't feel much of anything at all, besides the necessity to get my kids through it. I realized that for me, her passing has already happened in some sense... I know now that she was gone years ago.
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Old 02-16-2012, 11:27 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Awesome post. I take a lot from that even though my OH didn't have a full-blown affair. The betrayal I felt at the things he did do, the lying, secrecy and feelings for the OW did make me feel like he had died and there was someone else here in his body.

The trouble is that he thinks he still is that person from before. But to me he is not and never will be. I've gotten used to the new one. He is different but in good ways I think.
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Old 02-16-2012, 11:29 AM   #12 (permalink)
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My WS tried to kill herself a few months after I found out about the affair. She was still deep in the clutches of alcoholism and I had given up and told her to move out.

She went to rehab and came out new. She said that old person died that day and she is here to live again, no more cheating, no more drinking (sober 2.5 years now).

I see this new person and I am hopeful she has changed. The problem is she looks a lot like the cheating, drunk wife I had to deal with for 5 years. That's something I am having issues letting go.

Mahike, I completely get what you are saying. I can't find it in me to love her with my whole heart like I did before. I can't let myself be hurt that bad again and if I hold back I feel I am limiting my hurt when/if she does it again. The thing I realize is I can't truly be happy with her until I can give her my whole heart. Stuck in a rut here I can't get out of...
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Old 02-16-2012, 01:21 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Mahike, I completely get what you are saying. I can't find it in me to love her with my whole heart like I did before. I can't let myself be hurt that bad again and if I hold back I feel I am limiting my hurt when/if she does it again. The thing I realize is I can't truly be happy with her until I can give her my whole heart. Stuck in a rut here I can't get out of...
I hope I will someday be able to forgive and forget, at this point it still looks a long way off.
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Old 02-17-2012, 12:19 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Great post... I told my WW something very similar shortly after DDay -- she is a murderer of the woman I thought I was married to.

I drew a pretty harsh comparison to when she lost her mother to cancer... told her to now imagine if her mom had consciously chosen the cancer, how angry she would be. I feel it's something like that.

But I also think she killed ME. The person I was before DDay is no longer the person *I* am now as a result of all this... so she killed two people (and at least one if not two marriages).

And I resent it because I liked who I was before, and cannot come to grips with how she now views this hurt, resentful, angry, betrayed man as someone she wants to be with, when the man who I was before wasn't good enough for her not to cheat.

So it seems it is time to go separate ways. So sad.
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Old 03-12-2012, 04:58 PM   #15 (permalink)
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wow this is good. I have moments where I think I am good, then others that I feel like I may die on the inside. I constantly feel like a horrible person and can't come to terms with why I can't just forgive and forget.
I haven't considered that I died too. I have known I'm different but didn't look at it this way until now. Thanks for shedding light.
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