You know, you are right about my part in pushing her away. I haven't talked as much about what I did to contribute to her adultery. But it is very important to point it out.
The truth is that I was cold and unloving to my wife for many years. I could never understand why she did not want to cooperate with me in my efforts to make more money and create more financial security for us. I said many things to her, now that I reflect back, that were mean and insensitive. Over the years I made her feel less and less important to me.
We were intimate once or maybe twice a week, but sometimes would go for several weeks without sex because I was just too busy or too tired or whatever. I would always try to justify my actions by talking about how important it was for me to focus on our financial future.
One time that stands out, (and she and I have talked about this) I was involved in a part time multi-level type business. I could net get her to support me and I was growing increasingly frustrated with her. We were laying in bed talking (arguing) about it one night and finally I sat up and said: "If you will not support me in this business, I will find someone who will!".
Oh how I wish I had never said that. Even when I said it I felt sick inside.
As we talked about that one particular conversation, I realized that it was shortly after that event that she finally gave in to the guy that was pursuing her.
That was just one thing but there were many other times when I said things to her that made her feel like I didn't care about her anymore. I take full responsibility for my part in driving her into the arms of the other man. On the other hand, I know that she is still responsible for her actions.
One thing I notice with most of the people that post on this forum who are hurt by infidelity is that they are unwilling to acknowledge that they did things to contribute to the problem. To those people I would say, think back to the early years of your marriage and courtship. You were both in love and most likely would never have considered cheating.
Adultery is created by a long period of grinding away at your mates sense of value and being loved. People who feel special, loved and valued by their spouse usually don't have any need to go anywhere else to feel loved and important. The fact that I was able to recognize what I did to her and admit it to myself and to her, made it easier (not easy) to forgive her. When she heard me confess my inadequacy as a loving husband and then declare my willingness to put her first in my life, it also made it much easier for her to forget about the other guy.
It just seems real simple to me now. If I will give my wife what no other man can give her, she will never want another. So far that philosophy is working for both of us.
Yours is an amazing story and I greatly appreciate you posting on here. Your outlook with respect to God is something that saved my life - literally - at D-Day +1. And although I have always been churchgoing, my convictions always had doubt. It has taken me until being nearly 40 to see the light.
Although my story is not quite the same as yours, my initial reaction was the same. And when she confessed everything to me she was also uncontrollably sobbing and shaking. I have never, in 17 years, seen my wife anything remotely close to the way she was that night.
And I too understand my role in this mess. (Although many people live in less than the best relationships and do not cheat)
I also was eager to forgive - and still am.
My wife also has been doing every possible thing to make things right.
And like you the hardest thing for me has been what it has done to my sense of self-worth. It has flattened it.
Now to the moving on part...
How do you gain trust
How do you push those negetive feelings aside
How do you accept that your life has value - self worth
How do you know your wife just didn't stay for the stability
Yours is without doubt the best post I have seen on here. I can see myself throughout...
While I think it's okay for you to self-analyze what you did to contribute to the adultery, I think it runs a fine line of obsessing about what you did wrong, almost self-improvement-gone-pathological.
I find most of the time adultery comes down to the one of the 7 Deadly Sins:
Anger - "revenge sex"
Lust - "there's a nice piece of #$@ and I want it"
Sloth - "I don't want to work on the current relationship or don't want to confront my spouse so I'll just do this. It's easier to just sleep with an ex-lover."
Gluttony - "I have all my physical and emotional needs fulfilled by my current spouse but you know what? I just gotta have more."
Greed - "The more, the better."
Envy - "I envy what that guy has. I covet it. A beautiful wife. I think I play house with her."
Pride - "I feel so low about myself because of my spouse. This will show everyone I am desirable. I am a great person."
Now, that being said, if you did contribute to "sterilizing" the marriage by withdrawing intimately, that is/was a serious problem and I am glad you recognize that and how serious it is. Hopefully your wife can figure out which one or more of the above contributed to her 12 year affair.
Thanks for your positive comments and encouraging words.
I will attempt to answer your questions as best I can.
"How do you gain trust?" (I am assuming you mean how can you trust her again)
On the advice of a good pastor friend of mine, I told my wife that if we are to restore our marriage, I reserve the right to ask questions for as long as I need to until I know everything that I want to know.
For approximately six weeks I asked her so many hard questions that she willingly (but painfully) answered. Where did you meet with him? Where was I? Was I out of town? Did you sleep with him in our bed? Did he talk about me? Did you talk about me with him? Did you ever go to him while I was at home? What were you thinking about me? Did you love him? Do you love him? Did he tell you that he loved you?
I would remember times when I was out of town overnight on business. I would ask her if she was with him on that particular date. Did she ever go out in public with him?
I would ask her all kinds of questions but I never asked her about graphic details. I am smart enough to imagine all of that and did not want to put her or myself through the pain of those kinds of questions, but she did tell me some details that I did not ask for.
A few times, I came home from work and she would tell me: "I have more to tell you". My heart would start racing. But I would sit down and she would tell me, and she would cry and I would just sort of stare off into the distance. I never called her names. I never raised my voice to her, but she knew how I felt.
Through this process, I began to believe that I could trust her. Do I still have doubts? Of course I do. But love and forgiveness is not possible without making yourself vulnerable. At some point I realized that you just have to do your part and be willing to take the risk of giving yourself to her, knowing that you can only be happy if you give your heart to someone and have faith that they will do their part.
My wife calls me every day if she leaves the house for any reason and she calls me again when she gets home. This was her idea but I like it. If I don't answer when she calls (which is most of the time because of my work), she leaves a message.
I am constantly building myself up on the inside these days. I listen to good Bible teaching to and from work every day (Joyce Meyer is excellent by the way).
My wife and I read the Bible together to each other every morning before I leave for work. We have done this every day since approx mid July 2009. It is not a drudgery. It is time we cherish. We take turns getting up and making coffee. One of us brings the coffee to the other in our bedroom and we have our time together.
When I am not at work, I am with my wife. She wants it that way and so do I. We love spending time together. I changed jobs so that I could have every Sunday off so we could go to church together. My income has been lower because of it but we are adjusting and we are much happier.
I could go on and on about the changes we have both made out of DESIRE to do so and not out of fear. But to answer your question how can I trust her again? I WANT to trust her as long as she proves to me that she wants to be trusted. And she is doing that. And I am glad.
This is a very long post and I want to answer your other questions and I will in the next day or two.
God Bless you and your wife and I will pray for you both.
It's not rocket science!! The spouse having the affair has to want to stay and make it work and the spouse that was cheated on has to find a way to forgive and forget!
Sounds simple we all know reality it definitely is not for most. Without reading everything the key is you "forgave and forgave quickly" and your wife wanted to make it work. So often that is not the case at all!!
I find your story to be incredibly positive and genuine. I think the combination of your self awareness and both you and your wife truly wanting to change and improve your marriage is what makes this work.
In one sense - and I think you know this - the fact you have been so forgiving and loving makes your wife look at you in wonder and think - what can I do for this incredible man.
Originally Posted by bestblu1
You said in your post:
"I find most of the time adultery comes down to the one of the 7 Deadly Sins:"
Just curious. What is your experience with adultery?
I don't know if you are still around this forum or not, but I took a little sabbatical from forums for a while, but will now attempt to answer another of your questions: "How do you push the negative feelings aside?"
The answer to this question depends on where you are with who you are. For me, one of the first things I had to do was come to terms with "where does my self worth come from?". I had to realize that first of all, I could not spend the rest of my life trying to get what I needed from someone who could never give it to me.
This can be a lifelong struggle. By that I mean, my wife, as much as I love her and want her to only love me, I am at some point going to be disappointed and hurt. This is true in any relationship that I have with people.
I had to turn my mind and my heart toward God and how he values me and would never let me down. It may sound like a cliche to some. But the reality is, that as I have decided to learn more about how important I am to God, I am a stronger man.
This experience I have gone through with my wife's infidelity has forced me to work at becoming stronger on the inside and build "real" self worth as a person. I don't just do that by trying to think positive thoughts. I do that by reading what the Bible says God thinks about me and how much he values me.
There is no person on the face of the earth that can do that for me. They will either betray me, hurt me, leave me or some day possibly die, and then what do I have. If my sense of value and self worth comes from that person, I am extremely unstable.
Don't get me wrong, I am not saying that I don't want to feel loved by my wife and special to her. I am saying that I will always be vulnerable when I give my heart to another person, but if I know who I am to God, I will still make it and I can still be happy.
As far as the negative thoughts go, I have learned that I can not resist them. I have to replace them. I try to keep my mind busy by focusing on my future. I have interests and goals in my life that I think about and I work toward. I have to "on purpose" do my very best to look forward and not backward.
I have to make sure that my life is right and work on improving my areas of weakness. If I just think about how much I have been hurt (and I have been hurt more than you know, there is much to my story that I left out), it becomes nothing more than a horrible downward spiral emotionally.
If you are a Christian, than you know that you have an enemy. That enemy only has one way that he can hurt you. He attacks your mind. Sure people in your life can become a tool that is used against you, but you can't control people. You can't control how they feel about you or how they treat you. But you can control the thoughts you choose to dwell on.
I was driving in my car one day about 3 or 4 weeks after the revelation of my wife's affair and I was giving in to the negative thoughts and feeling really depressed.
Then the thought came to me that the thoughts and the pictures they were creating in my mind were my enemies. Those thoughts have a mission in my life. Their mission is to destroy me. This was one of those "eye opening" defining moments for me. I can still remember the intersection I was stopped at when I realized this.
From that day till this, anytime those thoughts come to me of what happened, I recognize the thoughts as an enemy that wants to destroy me. They don't go away immediately but they have way less lingering affect and I am able to move on within a matter of minutes.
I don't resist the negative thoughts as much as I "replace" them with better thoughts. Thoughts like how much I am looking forward to reaching some of the goals I have made for myself and my wife. I think about how much I look forward to watching my grandchildren grow up and being an influential force in their lives.
Something else that I did (we did) is changed some of the routines in our life that are reminders of the old life of unhappiness and pain.
I even changed jobs eventually because the schedule I had to keep interfered with the time that we needed to be together and rebuild our marriage. We are selling our house and moving to another area because of the bad memories that are triggered by certain areas and people that are nearby.
I guess, to sum it up, negative thoughts will never just go away. You will have to work to replace them and remove the things in your life that may trigger them. You will have to train your mind to focus on the future and your goals. If you don't have any goals than you need to get some.
There is no secret memory or psychological process for getting rid of thoughts that hurt. You have to work at it. My way may not be the way that works for you, but you have to figure out a way to get your mind off of the self pity and the hurt and move on.
A side note to this is, if your wife has expressed a desire to change and you sense that she is truly sorry for what she did, it will be much harder for her to forgive herself and move on if she senses that you are not able to forgive her and move on.
You have what it takes to get over this. Even if your wife does not change, you have to. I can say all of these things to you with conviction because I know how you feel.
I am not some psychologist or therapist that is presenting you with some sort of pop psychology that sounds good. I am living this and I have been hurt to the core. No one reading this can accuse me of being insensitive or unreasonable because I am walking in your shoes.
Some might say things like, "I am not going to put out all that effort to forget and forgive and move on. I'm not the one who cheated!"
Ok. You have a right to feel that way. But how badly do you want to be happy again? This is no longer about what your wife did or needs to do. This is about what you need to do to feel good about who you are and where you want to be in life.
I feel like I am rambling now so I will end this post.
Great post and I am happy to read your successful story!
Here's a question tho' in my case. I had admitted my share on creating the environment which leads my H to his infidelities (yes he cheated on me more than once). He didn't show any remorse or apologize wholeheartedly at all. He kept dangling my mistakes in the past as a way to justify his affairs, I was bending over backwards to try to save my marriage but he keeps denying having any affairs (while I have tons of proofs). I'm exhausted and has been seriously thinking that this is useless in the last few days.
Any words on my case would be highly appreciated. Thank you!
I can only tell you how I responded to my wife and how I would have responded had she not been willing to repent and display true remorse for what she had done.
I had very solid proof that she had been in this relationship when I confronted her. If she had never been willing to admit it and express her desire to change, I would not have been able to stay with her. I think too much of myself to willingly be a doormat to someone who would not show enough respect to me to accept my forgiveness and make at least some kind of effort to make things right.
That's just me. I'm not saying that you should think like me or do what I would do because you know your situation better than anyone.
Bestblue, thanks for your reply.
I believe I am on the right path then because like our counselor said until he transparently put an end to his affairs (which he still haven't done) then there's no way for us to even try to work on this marriage.
I'll be going to our apartment (I moved out) to pick up the rest of my stuffs tomorrow evening. Thanks again, your story is really inspiring even when my own marriage can't be saved you are giving others hopes and faith in their darkest times.
My wife and I have been married for 30 plus years. We have 5 children and 3 grandkids.
In July 2009, I discovered that she had been cheating on me for about 12 years. We have recovered and are doing very well. It may seem hard to believe but it's true.
If there is anyone who sincerely wants to overcome the pain of an adulterous relationship, I may be able to share some things that can help you. The things we did to get our marriage back on track are working for us.
I really believe that our story can help others who truly want to restore their marriage and trust. Let me know if you would like any advice.