I was shocked and at a loss for what to do, but I thought I should give him space
to work out what was bothering him.|
years ago, I had been married 18 years when my husband (we were both then 40)
started behaving strangely - I could only think he was having a mid-life crisis.
He started seeing a therapist to work out what he said were his "own personal
problems which had nothing to do with me but had a bearing on our marriage"
and he soon insisted on getting divorced. I was shocked and at a loss for what
to do, but I thought I should give him space to work out what was bothering him.
Against my wishes, he moved out of our house to an apartment nearby and, about
2 months later, I found out that he had been having an affair with his secretary.
We were divorced about 2 years ago, and our 4 children (ages 11-17) seem to be
adjusting for the most part, although they occasionally still have questions about
what really happened between the two of us. I never told the girls what I found
out, and after the divorce he lied to them and told them that he just then started
seeing her. In December he married his secretary, and moved out of our neighborhood
to live with her.
I still don't understand how he could have done this to
me and our kids, and I try not to let it bother me that he feels he has gotten
away with it, but it apparently still does bother me.
I have had to deal with
more than just his betrayal:
1. loss of income - In addition to no longer
being a 2-income family, I used to work in his office also, but he fired me, and
so I have spent over 2 1/2 years looking for a permanent job
2. reentry into
the singles scene - it's not easy, but I'm trying my best
3. loss of a partner
in raising the kids - He doesn't act responsibly, and he has turned into the fun
parent, often making me out to be the bad one.
of our friends and all of my family (aside from my kids) know what really happened,
and I have had much support from them, while he has lost friends (those who know
week, I was at a wedding where he showed up with his wife (the first time that
I saw them together since their wedding), and at the sight of them I felt tears
well up in my eyes and I had to leave the building for a few minutes to calm down.
I had thought I had gotten over this.
I was in "family therapy"
for 2 years after we were separated, and much of the work done there was about
the kids (sometimes with the kids), but much of the work was also about me - I
deserve better, etc. I now realize that I put up with a lot being married to him.
For example, he didn't support me enough in my career and didn't satisfy me sexually.
Another way to put it is that I sacrificed a lot being married to him.
know that I'm better off without him, and that there is a world of possibilities
out there for me. At 43, I'm still young enough to remarry, if I meet the right
guy, and to enjoy many years of happiness. In the meantime, I enjoy spending time
with my friends, watching my girls grow up, and doing work for a few clients (when
I find them). After being married for 17 1/2 years (the last year of which was
a cross between a soap opera and a nightmare) I have been adjusting to this new
life, but it's not easy. I still feel sad and helpless at times, such as at that
wedding last week.
Is there something that I don't realize or haven't accepted?
Is it just that I need more time to get over what happened?
I would appreciate
the benefit of your experience and to hear your opinion as to what I may still
be going through emotionally. Logically, I have known, since before the divorce,
that he's not worth crying about, I don't trust him and don't want him back. I
don't understand what about him bothers me - especially his smugness whenever
I see him (which thankfully isn't often).
Am I experiencing betrayal trauma
(which I read can go on for 2-4 years)?
Also, can you recommend any sites
that I can go to for information? Many of the sites that I have seen discuss repairing
a marriage after a betrayal, so these aren't really helpful.
Thanks so much,
A. Sarah: I am sure every relationship that
we experience has an effect on us whether it be good, bad or indifferent. That
is why it is best to take a break after a divorce rather than instantly jumping
into another relationship. Hence the term carrying baggage into the next relationship.
One common mistake made by divorcees is buying into the idea that we were just
married to the "wrong person". As a result, we convince ourselves that
happiness lies in becoming involved with the "right" person and often
prematurely move into a new relationship. Before seeking new relationships, get
to know yourself again. This can be a great time to reevaluate your life goals,
as well as, what you may want in a future relationship.
Very often people who have been with cheaters have trust issues; they just can't
initially trust again. This is really hard on their new partner who is a trustworthy
soul also. They can't believe it -- where is this person coming from -- why are
they so insecure and afraid to commit.. It can take a long time to recover from
the damage of divorce. So many emotions can rise to the surface. We are all human
beings and have to work through our emotions such as hatred, fear, self-pity,anger,
etc. Why does this happen to a good person like me? We may regret choices we have
made or feel guilty about our past actions. As long as regret and guilt are unresolved,
it is difficult to move forward. As we look into the New Year, it is important
that we do it through resolution of the past. I am sure if you knew why he did
this to you it would help (and it would help him in his new relationship). One
has to realize and accept that the relationship is truly over and can never be
the way it was again. Doing the groundwork for forgiveness that includes naming,
claiming the injuries, blaming, balancing and finally choosing to forgive in steps
that liberates you from the past. Even your children may have trouble entering
into committed relationships of their own fearing the relationships will end as
their parents' did.
I certainly wouldn't tell my young children the reasons for the affair when they
are young -- they have a tough enough time when they are young. In the long run,
your children will be the winner if you suppress your anger which you have against
your spouse. Remember your spouse is your child's parent and you should never
do anything to under mind their relationship unless the child is in imminent danger.
More importantly it is best to be in a friendly, positive nature with your ex
at all times. Please read Divorce and Children.
When informing the children of an impending divorce, the parents should not divulge
such details as infidelity and should not blame one parent or the other. A possible
approach is to present the divorce as a solution to the family's problems and
an end to the fighting and tension that has filled the home.
is very much like recovering from the death of a loved one. Your reaction to betrayal
is yours. The dangers you face in each stage are getting stuck in the feelings,
fears, betrayal, etc. and prolonging them. Part of the challenge throughout this
process is to experience the natural process of grief, rage, and letting go, while
at the same time realizing that you do need to take back some of your power. Your
feelings and thoughts are not the boss (even when they seem to be!) You are the
person doing the work of grief and creating your life. Know that it is common
to move back and forth between stages.
you can do is move on when you are ready. You can make a difference in your own
life, that you can create a fulfilling life for yourself after this experience.
You begin to make plans. You take more action. You try new interests and discover
more of your strengths and talents. You develop areas of yourself that you thought
were weaknesses. You feel some fears, but you go forward in spite of them. You
move out of focusing solely on the past. You move from pain into possibility.
You begin to let go of thoughts, beliefs, blame that keep you locked in the past.
You discover more of your own power.
That is good you have family and friends
to turn to. Perhaps some divorce/survival groups on Yahoo can help you as well
as SassyPinkPeppers.com.Take your time and have fun. There
is life after betrayal.
Regards - AskMaple
to be Free of Guilt and Resentment - Divorce as Friends
and resentment are states of mind that destroy love and create suffering. They
seem to be caused by what happened but they're not. They are caused by how you
relate to what happened.Fortunately,
since you created them, you can also release them. Heal
your relationship, one human being to another. The recovery process can be very
fast or it can take years. To have it be fast, take the following steps:
a new life.
matter what has happened in your past, your future is always a clean slate. Now,
more than ever, you have the opportunity to create the life of your dreams.
first step in creating your life is to find what you want. How do you want your
life to be? What do you want to have? What do you want to do? Get clear on what
you want. Then start taking the steps you need to have your dreams come true.
willing to feel your hurt.
a breakup, you are likely to experience waves of hurt. This isn't bad news, this
is good news. This is true because every wave of hurt is an opportunity for a
deeper healing. Whenever you feel sadness, that hurt is coming up to be released.
If you allow the hurt, like a child, the hurt will come and go. If you fight the
hurt, you'll push it back inside.
allow yourself to feel your hurt.
Whenever the hurt comes up, reach in and grab as much of it as you can. Let in
the feelings of being worthless, not good enough or not worth loving. Cry if you
can. Let the hurt come and let it go.
you allow yourself to cry and to feel your hurt, you not only heal the hurt of
the moment, but you also heal hurt from your past. You gain a little more peace
of mind and life works a little better.
audio set walks you through the process of healing the hurt, ending the cycle
of conflict and restoring the love, not as husband and wife, but as one human
being to another. You will learn how to let go, communicate, forgive and how to
take the conflict out of resolving issues. You will learn how to heal your relationship
and if necessary, how to part as friends.
out these essential
audios/cds/books on how to move on with your life.
Melt Your Mans Heart