FoneLab help needed - Talk About Marriage
Coping with Infidelity Relationship recovery from the destructiveness of infidelity.

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post #1 of 34 (permalink) Old 01-29-2020, 11:54 AM Thread Starter
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FoneLab help needed

Went to my first counselor meeting with my significant other last night to address why I can't get over feelings of insecurity and distrust after his continuous emotional affairs. I felt ashamed and embarrassed for not knowing why I just can't put it behind me like he has. He doesn't want to share details of all of the affairs because he compares it to picking at a scab and it will reopen the wound. I have no scabs on this wound. It's still wide open and bleeding, to use that analogy.
He is grieving too; I do understand how much it hurts him to have hurt me. So I guess we just need different paths to process and heal. Why is it that I have such a need for data? It's like I want to see a Smoking Gun. Like driving by a dead body and needing to look. It's so painful, but there are just so many unanswered questions. The fact that he doesn't want to share texts is the biggest red flag.
I purchased fonelab but it doesn't seem to be recovering deleted texts. I know he is deleting texts because he removes conversations from only the women contacts. I know which ones they are. Well there might be more but I know of seven of them anyway.
I wish I could pay someone to walk me through the proper way to use fonelab. The YouTube video says plug it in and it will automatically recover. It's not that simple. I must be doing something wrong. I tried Dr Fone as well, and that was a joke. I should have read the reviews first. Do you folks have any other suggestions? It's been going on since April of last year. He says it's over, but he has said that before. I want to trust him again.
If anyone could private message me and help me through this process, I will gladly reimburse you for your time. Just tell me your favorite restaurant and a sizable gift card is on its way. LOL

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post #2 of 34 (permalink) Old 01-29-2020, 11:57 AM
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Re: FoneLab help needed

If he is still deleting texts, then you don't need fonelab. You need a divorce lawyer.
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post #3 of 34 (permalink) Old 01-29-2020, 12:34 PM
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Re: FoneLab help needed

This is not what you asked for, but it is what he should be doing if he is remorseful--not rugsweeping, minimizing, and talking about scabs.

Don't know my source, it has been updated at times. 'Tis long, but you will recognize the feelings and what you should be getting.

************** Understanding Your Betrayed Spouse -for unfaithful partners.****************


They discovered your adultery. You ended the affair and promised you’ll never cheat again. But the stress from their emotional devastation lingers. And you don’t see much change – at least, not as much positive change as you expected. Many times, any visible changes are for the worse. You observe them bouncing back and forth like a ping-pong ball, moment to moment, from one emotion to the next. They’re unpredictable. There’s no discernable pattern. Their nerves are frayed. They can’t sleep. They can’t eat. Their thoughts are obsessive. Intrusive visions and flashbacks assault them without warning. They cry at the drop of a hat. They feel empty, used up, exhausted. The stress consumes their energy and their life until they feel like there’s nothing left. It’s terrible.

It’s an ordeal for you to witness their tortured, depressed and angry states, and what’s worse; you don’t know what to do. You’re not alone. Unfaithful spouses never dream they’ll get busted, so when confronted with their adultery they’re always caught by surprise; first by their partners’ knowledge, then by their intense agony. Indeed, unfaithful partners never think about what they’ll face “after” until after. The fact is: Though they inflict it, adulterers are unprepared for the onslaught of their spouses’ overwhelming emotional distress. Is this real? Is this permanent?

As you watch them sink lower and lower, wallowing in an emotional abyss, you wonder where the bottom is, when they will hit it, and if they will ever ascend from it and return to “normal.” You ask yourself, “Is this real?” Then you ask, “Will this ever end?”

The simple answers are: Yes, it is real. And, yes, it will end. But recovery takes a long time, often years, and much depends on you. Can you be remorseful, apologetic, loving, patient, empathetic and soothing over an extended period of time? Can you commit to openness and honesty at all times – and forevermore being faithful to your spouse?

Be honest with yourself: If you can’t or don’t want to get over your affair, if you don’t feel shame and remorse, and if you can’t generously provide appropriate support to your spouse, then now is the time to consider ending your marriage and spare your marital partner further pain. (If this is the case, you need not read any further.)

But if you have put the affair permanently behind you, if you feel and can freely express your remorse and shame for your unfaithfulness, and if you can commit to supporting your spouse through their excruciating anguish, then you have an excellent chance of rebuilding from this disaster you’ve wrought to a happy, satisfying, caring and loving marriage. The following is intended to help you help your partner, and in turn yourself, through this horrible time and jumpstart your journey to recovery.

Three foundational facts:

1. What you’re seeing in your spouse is a normal reaction to a life-changing event.

2. Your spouse needs to grieve for as long as it takes in order to recover and heal.

3. You can be a positive influence on their recovery.

Now, go back and reread them several times. Let them really sink in. When you can repeat them without looking, continue.

Your first mission is to learn.

Learning about your partner’s myriad reactions to your betrayal allows you to recognize, understand and properly respond to them as they occur. Doing so will help you get through
this horrible initial stage, which can last a long time.
Below you’ll find a little of what your spouse is probably experiencing. They may shift from one reaction to another, or they could experience multiple reactions concurrently. And don’t be surprised if they return to previous states many times. Where applicable, we’ve added some tips to help you to assist your partner through this. In some cases, however, there may be little for you to do except to simply “be there.”

Most importantly, remember at all times: Your infidelity has traumatized your spouse. Act accordingly.


DISBELIEF: They expect to wake up any minute from this nightmare. It can’t be true. They don’t believe it. This is natural. They trusted you and don’t want to believe you did what you did. It is common for this to occur in the very first moments of discovery. (Note: If some time elapsed between the discovery of your affair and the confrontation, you may have missed this when it happened, but it is also possible for your spouse to return to disbelief.)

SHOCK: They are numb and often seem dazed. Their emotions are frozen. Their senses are dulled. They go through the motions mechanically, robotically, but can’t seem to apply sufficient concentration to their day-to-day lives.

REALITY: “Oh my God. It really happened.” They feel they’re getting worse. Actually, reality has just set in. It’s as if a ton of bricks just fell on them and they’re buried beneath them. They don’t know where to turn, or can’t. Don’t discount the likelihood that they feel shamed by your infidelity. So, they may be reluctant to seek support from friends and family. Be available to them for emotional support and encourage them to talk freely with anyone they choose. Suggest therapy as a means to help them through their trauma, but never accuse them of “being irrational” or “acting crazy.” Be supportive and encouraging. Commend them for seeking help.

CONFUSION: They’re disoriented. They can’t think straight. They become impatient, disorganized and forgetful. More frequently than usual they go to a room to retrieve something, but once they get there they can’t remember what it was. This is very upsetting to them. Bear with them. Be gentle and be helpful. Help them find their misplaced purse or locate their lost keys. Know that they will eventually come out of the fog. Also be aware that their confusion, as with other states listed here, may be set off or magnified by certain “triggers.”

PHYSICAL SYMPTOMS: They may sleep or eat too little – or too much. They may suffer physical aches and pains, numbness or weakness. They may feel unusually tense and develop headaches, abnormal tics, twitching or shaking. They may feel sick to their stomach and vomit, or their digestive system may react with constipation or diarrhea. Weight loss is common. Usually the symptoms fade gradually. If these symptoms persist, make sure they check with a doctor to rule out other causes. Encourage them to eat well and to exercise – but don’t nag. You might instead take control of their diet by preparing healthy, well balanced meals. If you don’t cook, take them to restaurants where you know they serve nourishing food and, if necessary, order for them. If they’re not exercising, initiate taking long walks together. It’s a good way to ease them into a healthy exercise regimen, which is always a good stress reliever, and will provide opportunity for you to begin constructively re-establishing your relationship.

CRYING: Deep emotions suddenly well up, seeking release as crying, uncontrollable sobbing and even screaming out loud. Allow them their time for tears. They can help. So can you. When they cry, give them your shoulder. Hug them. Help them through it by gently encouraging them, to “get it all out.” Be certain to verbalize your remorse for causing their pain. They need to hear this from you. (Note: Right now, genuine, complete and repeated apologies are the best “general use” tool you have in your repair kit. That is why you’ll see many more references below. Read “Apologize” in Section 2.)

SELF-CONTROL: They control their emotions to fulfill their responsibilities, or to simply rest from the pain. Self-control can shape and give rhythm to their grieving, but be on the lookout for constant and rigid self-control. It can block healing. They need to reduce their emotional pressure to regain equilibrium. Allow them to vent when it happens. Be aware: Too much self-control means they are storing up much anger and will release it powerfully, like floodwaters breaking through a dam. So don’t be alarmed if they suddenly lash out at you, your affair partner, or even themselves. Understand that the release of anger is necessary to heal. Though it may not feel this way to you when it happens, it’s beneficial.

NEED TO KNOW: They will ask lots of questions. Their curiosity may be insatiable or it may be limited. Different people have different needs and tolerances for information, but they need information to process their trauma, move through it, and move past it.

Let them set the agenda. Whenever they ask a question, whatever they ask, answer honestly and sufficiently. Refusing to answer gives the appearance that you’re still keeping them in the dark, that you still have something to hide. Do not hold anything back. If they discover later that you omitted or hid details, or if the facts they discover don’t match the story you tell, they’ll feel betrayed once again. Follow the delivery of each new piece of hurtful information with an apology, and soothe them with another promise that you’ll never again be unfaithful.

WHY: They ask, “Why did you do this?” They may or may not expect an answer, but they ask repeatedly. If they do want an answer, provide it –honestly. Even if the question is rhetorical, it is a cry of pain. And each time they feel pain, it should be answered with another apology. (I can’t stress enough how important this is.) Be aware: Even if they are not verbalizing this to you, they are still silently asking the question “Why?” over and over and over again.

INJUSTICE: They feel it’s all so unfair. You invited danger, you took the risk, but they suffered injury. They want justice and begin to think like a vigilante. They may harbor a secret desire to do harm to you or your affair partner. They may want to get even by having a “revenge affair.”
Understand that the aftermath of your unfaithfulness is an agony you have thrust upon them. Meanwhile, despite your betrayal and deceit, and the shame you feel, you and your affair partner may retain fond or even loving memories of your affair. One of my patients described her feelings of injustice this way: “I feel like a rape victim watching helplessly as the jury returns a ‘not guilty’ verdict. Then, the assailant looks at me, points his finger at me and laughs all the way out of the courtroom. How can this possibly happen?”

A sad truth of infidelity is: It is unfair. Of course, there is no “justice” that can come from this. Betrayed spouses generally settle into this realization on their own, but they need to know that you understand how this plagues them. (Note: Read “Share your feelings of guilt and shame” in Section 2. It explains the best way to help them through their sense of injustice.)

INADEQUACY: Their self-esteem is shattered. They feel belittled, insignificant, and often even unlovable. Just as you would crumple a piece of scrap paper and toss it in the garbage without a second thought, they feel you crushed them, discarded them, and didn’t give them a second thought, either. So, they question their own value. They wonder if you truly love them – or if anyone could. They need to know why you now choose them over your affair partner, even if they don’t ask. Make your case convincingly. Be generous, but be genuine. They’ll know if you aren’t, and false flattery for the purpose of mere appeasement will only hurt them more.

REPEATING: Over and over again, they review the story, thinking the same thoughts. Do not attempt to stop them. Repeating helps them to absorb and process the painful reality. You can help them get through it by answering all their questions truthfully and filling in all the gaps for them. The more they know – the more they can repeat the complete story – the faster they process it, accept it and begin to heal. If the story remains incomplete or significant gaps are filled in later, they may have to start the process all over again.

IDEALIZING: Sometimes they remember only good memories, as if their time with you was perfect. They long to live in the past, before the affair came along and “messed it up.” Assure them that you, too, remember the good times, and want things to be good again. Remind them that you want an even better future, that you are willing to work at it, and, most importantly, that you want your future with them – and not your affair partner.

FRUSTRATION: Their past fulfillments are gone. They haven’t found new ones yet and don’t seem interested in finding any. They feel they’re not coping with grief “right” or they feel they should be healing faster. They don’t understand why the pain returns again and again. They wonder if they will ever recover and feel better. You can help them by verbalizing what they need to hear even if you don’t or can’t fully understand it yourself. Be empathetic and assure them that under the circumstances they’re doing okay. Remember that despite how much you have hurt them, you are still the one they chose as their life partner, for better or for worse. You may still be their closest confidante. As incongruous as it may seem, don’t be surprised if they choose to confide in you over others.

BITTERNESS: Feelings of resentment and hatred toward you and your paramour are to be expected. Don’t be surprised if they redirect much of the anger that’s really meant for you toward your paramour. This is natural. It’s actually a way of protecting their love for you during the early stages. By restricting their anger toward you, they allow it to be time-released, and only in smaller, more manageable amounts. Expect their anger to surface periodically, and give them plenty of time to work through it so they can eventually let go of it. Understand that until they’ve worked through and exhausted their anger, they cannot heal.

WAITING: The initial struggle is waning, but their zest for life has not returned. They are in limbo, they are exhausted and uncertain. Indeed, life seems flat and uninteresting. They are unenthused about socializing, perhaps reluctant, and they are unable to plan activities for themselves. Help them by finding ways to stimulate them. Plan activities for them around things that hold their interest and bring joy back into their life.

EMOTIONS IN CONFLICT: This is one of the most difficult manifestations because there is so much going on at the same time and their feelings do not always synchronize with reality. The most succinct description was provided by the late Shirley Glass, PhD: “One of the ironies of healing from infidelity is that the perpetrator must become the healer. This means that betrayed partners are vulnerable because the person they are most likely to turn to in times of trouble is precisely the source of their danger.” The inherent conflict for a betrayed spouse is obvious, but Dr. Glass also recognized how difficult this balancing act can be for a repentant adulterer: “On the other hand, [unfaithful] partners sometimes find it hard to stay engaged with their spouses when they know they are the source of such intense pain.” The key, of course, is to stay engaged nonetheless. Be supportive and remorseful, and above all… keep talking. Read Dr. Glass’ book.

TRIGGERS: Particular dates, places, items and activities can bring back their pain as intensely as ever. It feels like they’re caught in a loop as they relive the trauma. It is emotionally debilitating.

Triggers can cause days and nights of depression, renew anger, and can spark and reignite nightmares, which may make them fear sleeping. Triggers can cause them to question if they will ever again experience life without the anguish. Get rid of all the reminders immediately: Gifts, letters, pictures, cards, emails, clothing… whatever your spouse associates with your affair. Do this with your spouse so they are not left wondering when those triggers may recur. Never cling to anything that bothers your partner. It leaves the impression that your keepsakes and mementos, or any reminders of your affair, are more important to you than they are.

Attend to your partner. Learn what dates, songs, places, etc., are triggers for your partner. Pay attention to your environment: If you hear or see something that you think might be a trigger, assume it is. Each occasion a trigger arises is an appropriate moment for you to communicate a clear and heartfelt message that you’re sorry you acted so selfishly and caused this recurring pain. So again, apologize and let them know how much you love them. The occurrence of a trigger is also a good opportunity to express that you choose them and not your affair partner, which is important for them to hear. If a trigger occurs in public, you can still wrap your arm around your spouse’s waist or shoulder, or simply squeeze their hand, but verbalize your apology as soon as you are alone again.

It is very important for you to understand and remember this… Triggers can remain active for their entire life. Don’t ever think or insist that enough time has passed that they should be “over it” because another sad truth of infidelity is: Your affair will remain a permanent memory for them, subject to involuntary recall at any time – even decades later. They will NEVER be “over it.” They simply learn to deal with it better as they heal, as you earn back their trust, and as you rebuild your relationship – over time.


Make certain you’ve killed the beast: Your affair must be over, in all respects, completely and forever. You cannot put your marriage in jeopardy ever again. Your spouse has given you a second chance that you probably don’t deserve. That may sound harsh, but think about it this way: Despite any marital problems the two of you experienced, you would certainly understand if they divorced you solely because of your adultery. So assume there will not be a third chance and behave accordingly.

This opportunity you have been bestowed is a monumental gift, particularly considering the anguish you caused them. Treat this gift, and your spouse, with care and due respect: No contact means NO CONTACT OF ANY KIND – EVER.

GET INTO THERAPY: Most attempts to heal and rebuild after infidelity will fail without the assistance of a qualified therapist. Make certain you both feel comfortable with the therapist. You must trust them and have faith in their methodology. Talk about it: If of you are uncomfortable with your therapist at any time, don’t delay – find another. And if need be, another. Then stick with it. Save particularly volatile topics for counseling sessions. Your therapist will provide a neutral place and safe means to discuss these subjects constructively. Every so often, think back to where you were two or three months earlier. Compare that to where you are now and determine if you’re making progress. Progress will be made slowly, not daily or even weekly, so do not perform daily or weekly evaluations. Make the comparative periods long enough to allow a “moderate-term” review rather than “short-term.” Expect setbacks or even restarts, and again… stick with it.

APOLOGIZE: “Apologize, apologize, apologize.” You cannot apologize too often, but you can apologize improperly. Apologize genuinely and fully. Betrayed spouses develop a finely calibrated “insincerity radar.” A partial or disingenuous apology will feel meaningless, condescending or even insulting, particularly during the months following discovery. Your spouse will feel better if you don’t merely say, “I’m sorry.” That sounds and feels empty. Try to continue and complete the apology by saying everything that’s now salient to your partner: “I’m ashamed I cheated on you and I’m so very sorry. I know that my lying and deceiving you has hurt you enormously. I deeply want to earn back your trust – and I want so much for you to be able, some day, to forgive me.” Right now genuine, complete and repeated apologies are the best tool you have in your repair kit.

REALIZE YOUR PARTNER WANTS TO FEEL BETTER: There is so much they have to deal with – pain, anger, disappointment, confusion and despair. Their being, their world, is swirling in a black hole of negative feelings. It’s agonizing. They wish it would stop, but they feel powerless to make it go away, which worries them even more. Remember that they can’t help it: Just as they didn’t choose for this to happen, they don’t choose to feel this way. Beyond all the possible feelings described in the section above (and that list may be incomplete in your spouse’s case), even if they don’t understand them, they do recognize that changes are occurring in themselves – and they are frightened. As terrible as it is for you to see their ongoing nightmare, it is far worse to live in it. Periodically assure them that you know they will get better, that you are willing to do everything necessary for them to heal and to make your marriage work. Reassure them that you are with them for the duration--and that you intend to spend the rest of your life with them.

HIDE NOTHING, OPEN EVERYTHING: While they’re greatly angered and hurt that you were emotionally and/or sexually involved with another person, they are even more devastated by your secret life, your lies and deception. They feel no trust in you right now – and they’re 100% justified. If ever there was someone in the world they felt they could trust, it was you – until now. Now, they have difficulty believing anything you say. They are driven to check up on everything. Let them--even better, help them. Overload them with access. The era of “covering your tracks” must end and be supplanted by total and voluntary transparency.

You must dismantle and remove every vestige of secrecy. Offer your spouse the passwords to your email accounts – yes, even the secret one they still don’t know about. Let them bring in the mail. If you receive a letter, card or email from your paramour, let your spouse open it. If you receive a voice or text message on your cell phone, let them retrieve it and delete it. If your friends provided alibis for you, end those friendships. Do not change your phone bill to a less detailed version or delete your browser history. Provide your spouse with your credit card bills, bank account statements, cell phone bills and anything else you think they might wish to check. Immediately tell them if you hear from or accidentally run into your affair partner. Tell them where you are going, when you’ll be home, and be on time. If your plans change, notify them immediately.

The more willing you are to be transparent, the more honesty and openness they see and feel, the more “trust chits” you’ll earn. Replacing your previously secret life with complete openness is the fastest and most effective way to promote trust, even if it feels unfair or uncomfortable. Think of this as the “reverse image” of your affair: Your affair was about you selfishly making yourself feel good. Now, rebuilding trust is about selflessly making your partner feel safe with you – and you were certainly unfair to them. Keep in mind that eventually they will trust you again, but you must earn it and it will take time.

SPEND LOTS TIME WITH THEM: Assume that they want your company at all times. The more time you spend in their sight, the more they will feel a sense of safety, if only for that time. There may be times when you feel they’re a constant, perhaps even an annoying presence. Just remember that they need to be around you – more than ever. If they need time alone, they’ll let you know and you must respect that, too. Knowing where you are and who you are with reduces worry, but expect them to check up on you. Don’t take offence when this happens. Instead, welcome the opportunity: Think of each time – and each success – as receiving a check mark in the “Passed the Test” column. The more check marks you earn, the closer you are to being trusted again.

PHYSICAL CONTACT: They may or may not want to be sexual with you. If not, allow sufficient time for them to get comfortable with the idea of renewed intimacy and let them set the pace. But if so, don’t be discouraged if the sex is not optimum. They’re likely to be low on confidence and may feel self-conscious or inept. They may even act clumsily. This can be offset by lots of simple, soothing physical gestures such as hugging them, stroking them softly and providing kisses. You might try surprising them sexually. Try something new. Choose moments when they don’t expect it – it can feel fresh again. On the other hand, don’t be surprised if their sexual appetite and arousal is unusually heightened as some partners experience what’s called ‘Hysterical Bonding.’ Also be aware that during lovemaking they may suffer intrusive thoughts or mental images of you and your affair partner, so they may suddenly shut down or even burst into tears. Again, apologize for making them feel this way. Express that you choose them – and not your affair partner. Reassure them by emphasizing that they are the only one you truly want.

SHARE YOUR FEELINGS OF GUILT AND SHAME: If you exhibit no shame or guilt for hurting them, they’ll wonder if you’re truly capable of being sensitive, caring or even feeling. They may see you as callous and self-absorbed, and question if it’s really worth another try with you. But if you’re like most people who have badly hurt someone you truly love, then you certainly feel shame and guilt, though verbalizing it may be hard for you. Of course, some people do find it difficult to express these feelings, but try. You’ll find it provides a great sense of relief to share this with your partner. Moreover, do not fail to realize is how vitally important it is for your partner to hear it, to feel it, to see it in your eyes. It’s a building block in the reconstruction of trust and the repair of your marriage. Do not underestimate the power of satisfying their need to know that you are disappointed in yourself. Your opening up about this will help them feel secure again, help them to heal, and help you heal, too.

LET THEM KNOW YOU ARE HAPPY WITH YOUR CHOICE TO RECOMMIT: You probably think this is obvious, but to your betrayed partner, precious little is obvious anymore. They will wonder about this. Do not make them guess, and do not make them ask. Just tell them. If it doesn’t seem to come naturally at first, it may help if every now and then, you ask yourself, “If they had betrayed me this way, would I still be here?” (Most of us would answer, “No,” even if we can’t imagine being in that position.) When people give second chances to others, they really want to know that it’s meaningful to, and appreciated by, the recipient. So, express your thanks. Tell them how grateful you are for the opportunity to repair the damage you’ve done and rebuild your marriage. You’ll be surprised how much this simple, heartfelt act of gratitude will mean to them, and how it helps to re-establish the bond between you.

HERE’S A GREAT TIP: You will find it’s particularly meaningful to them when they’re obviously feeling low, but they’re locked in silence and aren’t expressing it to you. Just imagine… In their moments of unspoken loneliness or despair, you walk up to them, hug them and say, “I just want you to know how grateful I am that you’re giving me a second chance. Thank you so much. I love you more than ever for this. I’ve been feeling so ashamed of what I did and how much pain I caused you. I want you to know that I’ll never do anything to hurt you like this – ever again. I know I broke your heart and it torments me. I want you to know your heart is safe with me again.”

These are beautifully comforting words, particularly when they’re delivered at such a perfect
moment. You can memorize the quote, modify it, or use your own words, whatever is most
comfortable for you. The key is to include, in no particular order, all six of these components:

A statement of gratitude. An expression of your love. An acknowledgment of your spouse’s pain. An admission that you caused their pain. An expression of your sense of shame. A promise that it will never happen again

Unfaithful spouses often report that this most welcome surprise is the best thing they did to lift their partner’s spirits – as well as their own.


HOPE: They believe they will get better. They still have good days and bad days, but the good days out balance the bad. Sometimes they can work effectively, enjoy activities and really care
for others.

COMMITMENT: They know they have a choice. Life won’t be the same, but they decide to actively begin building a new life.

SEEKING: They take initiative, renewing their involvement with former friends and activities. They
begin exploring new involvements.

PEACE: They feel able to accept the affair and its repercussions, and face their own future.

LIFE OPENS UP: Life has value and meaning again. They can enjoy, appreciate, and anticipate events. They are willing to let the rest of their life be all it can be. They can more easily seek and find joy.

FORGIVENESS: While the memory will never leave them, the burden they’ve been carrying from your betrayal is lifted. Given what you have done, the pain it caused them and the anguish they lived through, this is the ultimate gift they can bestow. They give it not only to you, but to themselves. Be grateful for this gift – and cherish it always.
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post #4 of 34 (permalink) Old 01-29-2020, 01:41 PM
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Re: FoneLab help needed

You are seeking data to help validate your sanity.

Which is what happens when you’re being gaslit - which is being lied to so your version of reality becomes distorted, so you can be controlled.

It is maddening.

The solution isn’t data. You know what reality is.

What you need is for him to be open with you about reality instead of trying to manage your perception of it.

He is not reconciling with you. He is manipulating you.
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post #5 of 34 (permalink) Old 01-29-2020, 03:39 PM Thread Starter
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I have come to this post many times throughout the day. I have no words that are appropriate enough to express how grateful I am. This nightmare has made me question my sanity on a daily basis. He has always been overly affectionate and adoring of me. I just can't make sense of it. It makes me feel like I'm losing my mind. Looking for red flags I missed, checking my calendar for dates that could have caused him to seek outside affection, I have been a complete mess. I feel like you have saved me and I am indebted to you for your generosity in validating a total stranger in need. Thank you.
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post #6 of 34 (permalink) Old 01-29-2020, 03:43 PM
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Re: FoneLab help needed

Please read this:

Gaslighting is a tactic in which a person or entity, in order to gain more power, makes a victim question their reality. It works much better than you may think. Anyone is susceptible to gaslighting, and it is a common technique of abusers, dictators, narcissists, and cult leaders. It is done slowly, so the victim doesn't realize how much they've been brainwashed. For example, in the movie Gaslight (1944), a man manipulates his wife to the point where she thinks she is losing her mind.

In my book Gaslighting: Recognize Manipulative and Emotionally Abusive People - and Break Free I detail how gaslighters typically use the following techniques:

1. They tell blatant lies.

You know it's an outright lie. Yet they are telling you this lie with a straight face. Why are they so blatant? Because they're setting up a precedent. Once they tell you a huge lie, you're not sure if anything they say is true. Keeping you unsteady and off-kilter is the goal.

2. They deny they ever said something, even though you have proof.

You know they said they would do something; you know you heard it. But they out and out deny it. It makes you start questioning your reality—maybe they never said that thing. And the more they do this, the more you question your reality and start accepting theirs.

3. They use what is near and dear to you as ammunition.

They know how important your kids are to you, and they know how important your identity is to you. So those may be one of the first things they attack. If you have kids, they tell you that you should not have had those children. They will tell you'd be a worthy person if only you didn't have a long list of negative traits. They attack the foundation of your being.

4. They wear you down over time.

This is one of the insidious things about gaslighting—it is done gradually, over time. A lie here, a lie there, a snide comment every so often...and then it starts ramping up. Even the brightest, most self-aware people can be sucked into gaslighting—it is that effective. It's the "frog in the frying pan" analogy: The heat is turned up slowly, so the frog never realizes what's happening to it.

5. Their actions do not match their words.

When dealing with a person or entity that gaslights, look at what they are doing rather than what they are saying. What they are saying means nothing; it is just talk. What they are doing is the issue.

6. They throw in positive reinforcement to confuse you.

This person or entity that is cutting you down, telling you that you don't have value, is now praising you for something you did. This adds an additional sense of uneasiness. You think, "Well maybe they aren't so bad." Yes, they are. This is a calculated attempt to keep you off-kilter—and again, to question your reality. Also look at what you were praised for; it is probably something that served the gaslighter.

7. They know confusion weakens people.

Gaslighters know that people like having a sense of stability and normalcy. Their goal is to uproot this and make you constantly question everything. And humans' natural tendency is to look to the person or entity that will help you feel more stable—and that happens to be the gaslighter.

8. They project.

They are a drug user or a cheater, yet they are constantly accusing you of that. This is done so often that you start trying to defend yourself, and are distracted from the gaslighter's own behavior.

9. They try to align people against you.

Gaslighters are masters at manipulating and finding the people they know will stand by them no matter what—and they use these people against you. They will make comments such as, "This person knows that you're not right," or "This person knows you're useless too." Keep in mind it does not mean that these people actually said these things. A gaslighter is a constant liar. When the gaslighter uses this tactic it makes you feel like you don't know who to trust or turn to—and that leads you right back to the gaslighter. And that's exactly what they want: Isolation gives them more control.

10. They tell you or others that you are crazy.

This is one of the most effective tools of the gaslighter, because it's dismissive. The gaslighter knows if they question your sanity, people will not believe you when you tell them the gaslighter is abusive or out-of-control. It's a master technique.

11. They tell you everyone else is a liar.

By telling you that everyone else (your family, the media) is a liar, it again makes you question your reality. You've never known someone with the audacity to do this, so they must be telling the truth, right? No. It's a manipulation technique. It makes people turn to the gaslighter for the "correct" information—which isn't correct information at all.

The more you are aware of these techniques, the quicker you can identify them and avoid falling into the gaslighter's trap.
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post #7 of 34 (permalink) Old 01-29-2020, 06:24 PM
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Re: FoneLab help needed

I read your initial post. Here's my thoughts:

Your pain (as his victim) is 5,000 times greater than his. Him being uncomfortable talking about his cheating is a consequence of his decision to cheat (don't let him avoid the consequences).

You shouldn't be in counseling as a couple because he's the one with the texting addiction (not you). Since you're paying the bill - limit your role is to observe his conversation with the therapist as to why he cheated and how he can make himself a safe partner. Do not allow yourself to be pulled into a discussion about why you can't forgive and forget.

Do not marry him anytime soon until you feel safe. Insist on a prenup to protect you because he is high risk.

Do you know of his previous relationships? The best predictor of future behavior is his past behavior. I'm guessing he has a history of using women (while showering them with love bombs) until they kick him out.

People with nothing to hide - hide nothing!

Every partner/spouse has a right to feel safe from infidelity - he failed. It's entirely his responsibility to make you feel safe. It's not up to you to trust him (that's no longer possible since he's a liar) - it's 100% up to him to find ways to rebuild your trust (including proactively recovering his deleted texts!).

Texting in general (and sexting) is addictive. Studies show that texting triggers the same feel good chemicals in the brain as drugs. Texting makes him feel young, smart, handsome, successful (all the things he lacks in real life). Therefore, you should view him as an addict. He will lie and deceive you in order to get his fix. And even if he quits for a week or month or longer - he's at high risk to repeat (only he's now learned to hide it better).
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post #8 of 34 (permalink) Old 01-30-2020, 09:25 AM
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Re: FoneLab help needed

He wants to sweep it all under the rug because that’s easier *for him*. You aren’t dealing with a remorseful cheater who is willing to do whatever you need to reconcile. Ask yourself why that is.
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post #9 of 34 (permalink) Old 02-01-2020, 01:03 AM Thread Starter
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"Do not allow yourself to be pulled into a discussion about why you can't forgive and forget."

How can we move on if I can't figure out how to forget? The daily triggers make me feel insane.

I don't know you all, but I will be forever grateful to all who have commented. Your kindness makes me feel I am not alone.
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post #10 of 34 (permalink) Old 02-03-2020, 04:33 PM
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Re: FoneLab help needed

You are not alone...nor the first or last to walk this path.

It takes time (lots of time) for you to heal. Everyone heals at a different rate (there is no right or wrong). Remember you're the victim.

Some would have kicked him out immediately. He should be grateful that you are giving him a chance to prove himself before you make a final decision.
AND IT IS YOUR DECISION TO MAKE (there's no right or wrong).

It's up to him to fix the damage he caused. Judge him by his actions not his tears or words. If he can't rebuild your trust in him (or you just can't take the pain of uncertainty any longer) - then kick him out.

He's moving on because he IS NOT the victim (you are). He basically ran you over with a truck and now expects you to get up and forget?

Do not interpret his tears and/or grief as being for hurting you. Why? Because the act of pressuring you to forgive and/or forget (or objecting to reveal the details because it 'hurts' him) reveal that he's not really grieving for hurting you but rather he is: selfish, entitled, and lacks an understanding how his sexting hurt you - and destroyed your trust.

Don't put the cart before the horse.

It's too soon to forget because you can't forget until he does the hard work of fixing himself (not just empty words & promises) - and making you feel safe! And that takes months and likely years of total transparency (and avoiding any suspicious or flirty behavior).

In the interim, see the counselor alone just for your healing. But also attend his sessions to observe his progress first hand.

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post #11 of 34 (permalink) Old 02-03-2020, 04:38 PM
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Re: FoneLab help needed

Originally Posted by Naivenomore View Post
"Do not allow yourself to be pulled into a discussion about why you can't forgive and forget."

How can we move on if I can't figure out how to forget? The daily triggers make me feel insane.

I don't know you all, but I will be forever grateful to all who have commented. Your kindness makes me feel I am not alone.
You should NEVER forget, you can however, with enough time and work on his part, learn to forgive. You DO NOT want to forget because you don't ever want to put yourself into that type of situation again. You now know what he is really capable of.
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post #12 of 34 (permalink) Old 02-03-2020, 08:20 PM
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I just wanted to say I know your pain as any of us that has been through a betrayal does. I am 18 months in from DDay and this is the most difficult journey I’ve ever been on. My husband still works with his affair partner so my wound it wide open!!! I only found this resource recently and I am so thankful!!!
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post #13 of 34 (permalink) Old 02-08-2020, 10:54 AM
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Re: FoneLab help needed

Naivenomore ... how are you doing?

Is he still acting like his 'regret' at being caught (and having to discuss his behavior) is equal to the devastation he caused you?

Ignoring what he says or how he feels - what is he actually doing every day to make you feel safe again?
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post #14 of 34 (permalink) Old 02-08-2020, 04:12 PM
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Re: FoneLab help needed

Originally Posted by Naivenomore View Post
How can we move on if I can't figure out how to forget? The daily triggers make me feel insane.
Time, patience, and work.

The crappy truth is that you will never forget, and trust me, you don't want to. I know that sounds ridiculous. Of course you want to forget all about it! The memories, knowledge, and triggers SUCK. Wouldn't it be nice to push the erase button and move on with your life? Sure it sounds nice but it's really not what you want. Attempting to forget is a guaranteed way to be hurt again.

I had so many triggers when I found out about my wife's affairs. A year later, a lot of the things that used to trigger me no longer do and the big, lingering triggers have gotten easier. Do they still suck? Yes, and they may never totally go away but they DO get easier. It takes time and work. If you do the work, you will learn how to handle those triggers better and that makes a world of difference.

You CAN move forward with the knowledge of the past. At some point, you will have to accept that the past is the past and that it cannot be changed. You will choose to move forward with THAT knowledge and acceptance. You cannot, however, move forward together unless you are both willing to put in the work. Which, from what you have written, it doesn't seem like HE is willing to do.

In time, whether you stay together or not, you will need to forgive him. You can forgive without forgetting. You can forgive without reconciling. You can forgive and boot that person out of your life. And you can forgive without a speck of remorse from the person who hurt you. Forgiveness is for you, not the person who hurt you, and it is a process. No one should be telling you when to "get over it". There is no timetable for when a person should forgive or how long it should take. Don't think about it as "forgive and forget", instead think of it as "forgive, but don't forget".
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post #15 of 34 (permalink) Old 02-11-2020, 12:23 AM Thread Starter
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I want to thank each and every one of you. I think I would have gone insane without you. Even now when I try to sort out details, I feel guilty for not being able to move on. I keep wanting to find a Smoking Gun because I no longer trust my own instincts. I know he is frustrated with me because he is trying to focus on all of the "positives." Yes, there are many good things about our relationship, but now I wonder if it was all a facade. I know that he is hurting too, he likes to remind me of that. I don't know how to erase the scenarios going on in my brain, there are just so many triggers.
I've tried to read everything I can get my hands on regarding rebuilding trust. The more I read, the more doubtful I get about our future. I do believe I have forgiven him. I feel like it would have been so much easier if these had been physical affairs. I feel betrayed and violated that these other women knew intimate details about me, my children, my life, yet I knew nothing about them.
He is remorseful. He said that last time. The difference is, he now finally agrees that what he was doing was harmful to all of us, including the married women.
There are still all sorts of excuses, Probably still a lot of lies, and me ending up still feeling guilty for not being able to focus on the positives and the future like he is so easily able to do.
What does rebuilding trust actually look like? What are the actual practical steps toward rebuilding trust that is lost. I do love him, but I don't know if I'll ever believe him again.
A little background on the financial status. I'll try to be concise. He quit his job when he moved in with me. I have made a lot of sacrifices to be financially comfortable so now I am starting to feel resentment about supporting him and paying for everything. He now is a day trader, which is scary to me because it feels like gambling. I am not a gambler. I gave him start-up money, it's gone. I think he genuinely believes he's going to actually make it big someday and make it all up to me, but I'm financially prudent. I have a hard time believing him. I own my house free and clear, so I don't know how to ask him to contribute. I have told him in every passive-aggressive way possible that the dynamics of our financial situation make me very uncomfortable given the trust issues I now have. I feel like a sugar mama, only younger and more attractive than him. It does make me feel like I'm going nuts.
I believe that he wants to go cold turkey on this behavior, but it was clearly a big part of his life, long before I ever knew him. Our two years together have been quite blissful, like many new romances. What happens when things actually do get tough for us? Will he resort back to old behaviors? I suspect so.
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