Steps I took to try and heal from my husband’s affair …
During the months of lies, inquisitions and pain we had become closer, closer than we had been for a long time. This was primarily because he was around me more, especially when I needed him, trying to make the situation better and putting work to one side, therefore focusing on us and healing our marriage. He had always been the person I turned to when I was upset, only I needed this comfort and I felt like I didn’t really know him at all. My emotions were going from love to anger in a split second triggered by thoughts of what he had done.
In the early days I used to write a feelings diary, which was helpful in order to see the progress made over time and to see if there are particular times of day that I struggled with negative thoughts. I also used to email my feelings that day to my husband so he could understand what I was going through in order to help me. This progress diary I have put on this website and then continued the diary for all to see. When I was looking at ways to recover from his affair on the internet, I wanted to read real stories of people who have been betrayed and healed, this prompted me to start my own website which in itself is therapy.
At that time, before I knew the truth, when I was unable to function or process what was going on in my head, I insisted we went to a marriage counselor. It was helpful for me to be able to talk to someone as my husband didn’t want anyone to know, which meant I could not talk to any friends or family. I felt like I was going crazy, every thought in my head was centred around the how’s and why’s of the affair. He didn’t see the need to be at marriage counselling and I always came out feeling like a small part of the weight I was carrying had been dealt with. We stopped the counseling before I knew the entire truth of the affair and we never went back. The only reason the counsellor was helpful for me was because it gave me someone to talk to, a few times in front of my husband. Counselling did not provide direction for me, I needed someone to tell me this is how you can deal with this.
This I have found very helpful as the Internet has a vast amount of material to read. Instead of paying for a marriage counsellor I decided to put the money into buying an online work program by www.marraigesherpa.com. This is straightforward and walks through the steps needed to get through the devastation an affair has on a marriage. This is for both the cheater and the betrayed, although my husband is not able to willingly pick this up to read, he does read things when I say you should read a certain chapter or paragraph. The website www.beyondaffairs.com has come from the true story of Anne Bercht and offers a large amount of interesting reading. Googling also leads me to forums or other websites where I can read advice, explanations or see others comments on how affairs are affecting them. It is always helpful to feel like you are not alone.
I have also started marriage counselling online with Marriage Sherpa. This has been incredibly helpful and I love the fact I have someone who I can type an email with my thoughts and feelings. My counsellor is superb and has made me think clearly and see a future, but this future is down to me and I should look to myself and do what makes me happy and strong. I let my husband into my life because I want him there, not because he is my life.
As soon as the doctor had prescribed this medication I felt so much more positive and able to cope with the demands of having a young family, my emotions were generally more stable and the shock of the affair had less of an impact on my daily life, I was able to function. Come night time I would still be crying and asking questions about the affair, with everything going around in my head again and again and again. I would cry until I was so exhausted I would sleep, my husband would cuddle me tightly, I needed this reassurance. The medication was a big help to me, I stopped neglecting my children, or thinking of suicide and I was able to stop crying so much during the day.
The anti-depressants were great for the short term, this I would say was 10 months with me. I would really like to come off them and I have been reading up on how to control depression through food. Those susceptible to depression are found to be lacking several vitamins and minerals, serotonin is depleted over time during increased stress, so I have been looking at ways that I can boost this naturally.
From what I have read so far, Vitamin C, VitaminB’s, Vitamin D, Omega 3, Chromium and Magnesium all play a great part. Omega 3 has been proven to successfully lift people in depression. Other natural remedies include St. John’s Wort, 5-HTP and exercise, all are adrenalin and serotonin boosters.
My husband has become completely accountable and transparent. I have access to his computer, work calendar and mobile phone and can check anything. He now emails all flight and hotel details to me, never goes out with the office socially and if he does I am to be invited too. If there is a client dinner, he is to email proof and let me know times and restaurant. Everything he does, he now tells me and if I am worried he reassures me. He leaves the office on time, calls me at lunch so I know who he is with and where he is going. If she happens to be in the office too, he texts me often and tells me of any interaction between them. I can also still track him if I am feeling insecure. He isn’t trapped but is taking the necessary steps to rebuild the trust I used to have with him.
The saying, “a problem shared is a problem halved” is so true. As soon as I took the decision to start talking about the affair and our marriage, to carefully selected people, I immediately felt better, the more I talked the easier life became. I could not tell my family as they would encourage me to leave my husband, and if I chose to stay would make him feel awful and undeserving for the rest of his life. I chose someone in his family who I thought would be able to help, having been through a similar situation and who was perhaps close enough to my husband that he could then have someone to talk to. I also chose a good friend who was not judgmental and in fact was encouraging me to stay and work through this situation. She was trying to see the affair from his point of view and said it could happen to anyone, that feeling of being flattered by someone else’s attention could lead all of us into similar scenarios.
One thing that has clearly helped is making time for us as a couple. The demands of children and work puts a strain on a marriage, so him working away and leaving me with the children and no one to help, meant there was little time for ‘us’ and our marriage. I was quite often tired from looking after the house and children by myself with no break and he was tired from travelling and stress. One good thing to come out of the affair is that he has realised that we need to be a couple sometimes not just a family. Up until now he has always refused a regular babysitter as it costs too much money, so we rarely got the chance to be alone. We have been on a weeks holiday without children for the first time in ten years, taken weekends away, go out at least once a week when he is not travelling, making us happier by allowing us to be a couple.
Now this isn’t cheap and I am fortunate to be in a position where we could afford this therapy. Without it I am not sure we would be at the stage we are now or even be together at all. I had three sessions, the first eliminated the negative thoughts that were swirling around in my head constantly driving me crazy and making me unable to think clearly. The second session, I asked that I be able to believe my husbands story of the affair and to stop obsessing about details, I also asked that when my husband says he truly loves me and is sorry for what he has done’ I am able to believe that. The third session, I asked that I no longer react when I see or hear her name. My husband still works in the same office as her and as I am checking all his emails and texts, her name quite often comes up, which I used to find upsetting. The therapist did some anger management treatment, so that the part of me that wants revenge on her, can be tamed.
Out of all the things I have tried, the books I have read have been informative and have provided direction and reasons. I have tried to get my husband to read some books I think are useful and although he starts them, he has not finished one yet. The books I have found incredibly helpful are,
|His Needs, Her Needs: Building an Affair-Proof Marriage||Harley, Willard F. Jr.|
|NOT “Just Friends”: Rebuilding Trust and Recovering Your Sanity After Infidelity||Glass, Shirley, Staeheli, Jean Coppock|
|Relate – After The Affair: How to Build Trust and Love Again (Relate Relationships)||Cole, Julia|
|How Can I Ever Trust You Again?: Infidelity: From Discovery to Recovery in Seven Steps||Marshall, Andrew G|
|What To Do When Your Spouse Cheats:Take Practical Steps To Survive||Richwood, Leigh|
|A Letter to my Husband’s Mistress||Rose, Bella|
The two books that have helped me the most are ‘His Needs, Her Needs’ which any marriage can read even if an affair has not happened. It is very clear and easy to read and explains the differences between what men want and women want and how to find the balance, it makes it easy for a couple to see where neglect has been occurring and offers advice on how to deal with it. The other book is ‘My Husband’s Affair Became the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me’. A true story written by Anne Bercht. Although the story of the affair is far worse than my experience it shows how she dealt with it and what her husband did to help her overcome the trauma. Like us, they had a good marriage and an affair still happened.
I have also made my husband listen to the audiobook ‘How to help your spouse heal from your affair’. I have listened to this too. There are 15 things a betrayer should do in order to help heal the betrayed spouse. I was always telling my husband what I’d read and what he should be doing, it didn’t really sink in to my husband until he had listened to this, it made him realise he wasn’t doing enough. Making him listen to it was only two hours over two days, he would never have read this book as it would be too time consuming, an audio book he could listen to while on a plane etc without having to concentrate or carry anything extra.
I have tried almost everything I can think of to enable to make sense of what has happened and I continue to ask why.
Self Help and Self Appreciation
Ok – so this is a bit extreme, but I got rid of my baby belly and got a completely new flat tummy by having a tummy tuck. It does make me feel amazing and I have lost two dress sizes, I am now more confident and walk tall, as a result I get a lot of male attention!
Now with the au pair’s help I am less tired and not running around after children so I have more time for myself. I normally hate massages but I had a deep tissue massage that really helped eliminate the stress from my back and shoulders. I also go the tanning shop, I know it puts you at risk of skin cancer, but the warm feel relaxes me, the vitaminD helps get rid of stress and the tanned look makes me happier.
I have also taken to painting my nails often, wearing more heels and dresses and generally taking more time to have pride in the way I look.