Dealing with "triggers" after husbands emotional affair! Help!

Karen - posted on 04/09/2013 ( 5 moms have responded )

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A year and a half ago I read a "good morning darling" text on my DH phone that he left on the table. My discoveries crippled me. It wasnt just a few, there were online profiles,secret email, sexting, phone conversations that went on for a few years, the xxx pictures-the works! Before I could process anything, here comes his stalkers and tormentors because he changed his phone number. It was and still at times a nightmare for me. After hours of DH telling me he made mistakes and was sorry and the anger and blame game...we decided to work things out and rebuild our marriage. For the most part things have been good. I feel like there was alot that went under the rug, he tells me he cant remember ANY of it or the lies he told and tells me we cant live in the past... When we hear of other relationships ending and he comments on how stupid the man was, I get angry. Certain songs that he shared with the OW, that were ours- when he plays them, I get upset. There are expressions that he uses but shared with the other women that trigger me. I have several triggers. I point out to him that it bothers me and why. He says hes sorry but then forgets after a while and does or says it again. Ive gotten to the point that Im reluctant to tell him that Im hurting because its always a negative outcome- before we can resolve, theres anger. The lack of complete transparency bothers me and he thinks we are doing great and all is fine with the world. We dont talk about it at all and when I do try he gets angry, threatens to quit his job, starts feeling bad and so on. I know this is a tactic to make me stop. I feel because he didnt answer the questions- that Ive got stuck right there. Building trust back is taking time and days its difficult for me. I know I have left out a great amout of detail and I do plan to write our whole story. I just need new ways to deal get past this for now. I did go to counseling for a while but she focused on me not helping me cope.
We are in our mid to late 40's
DH is a wonderful man, caring, supportive, patient.
He is a great provider and a great dad.
He's still my love
He does have great qualities and communication about everything else in life is great.
He just got real stupid there for a while. Hes worth the fight and struggle but sometimes I feel like Im doing it alone.

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Brooke - posted on 04/12/2013

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Hi there! First of all, I feel for you. I have been in this exact same situation. Fact of the matter, men are thoughtless jerks. My hubby never got that there were certain things that set us back, even when we were trying to work things through. He would accuse me of blaming him forever, and not even trying. Even now, I still have moments when my throat closes and I get 'that' feeling in my chest. With the tactic about getting angry and threatening to quit his job etc.. HE was the one who screwed up, and he has to deal with the consequences whether he likes it or not. Too bloody bad if he feels sad that you don't trust him anymore. You say that you don't believe he is still cheating... Then just remind yourself that YOU are the one he chose. He could have ended your relationship and went with her, but he didn't, because he knows that you are awesome and worth keeping. Remind yourself that she didn't know the 'real' him, you do, and that makes you a very important person in his life. You don't want to bring it up all the time and make him feel as if he is being punished over and over, but he also needs to understand that it is going to take time for you to feel safe again. Sorry about the epic. Hope you feel better and more secure soon.

♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 04/09/2013

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Unfortunately, honey, he put a "band-aid" on your relationship by pretending to work with you, but the lies are continuing, and his getting angry every time you want to talk about things is a clue: He's still cheating. He's living in his "perfect" world. A wife who thinks he's all about "fixing" the relationship, and a mistress who knows darn good and well that she's still around, and smirking about it the whole time.

If he will not sit down with you and a mediator, start filing paperwork and protect yourself and your kids.

You can't just "cope", which is why your counselor was not focusing on helping you "cope". Coping overlooking the behaviour and moving on "for the sake of the marriage". That's not living, that's plain wrong.

Give him the choice. Counseling, or attorneys. His answer will tell you everything that he's not man enough to say to your face.

Stand strong, my dear! You are your own best support, and your children's only advocate. I wish you the best of luck

Raye - posted on 04/21/2015

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It is EXTREMELY difficult to get past a cheating spouse. I would not be able to do it. Most couples who do it successfully actually divorce first, then rebuild the relationship and trust and get remarried. That way, it's more of a "clean start" so to speak. But, not everyone can do it that way, understandably when kids are involved and such. But here's the thing..... If you bury the hatchet, don't leave the handle sticking out. You have to forgive him for both your sakes. If you're sure he's no longer cheating and he's tried to do everything you've asked, then what more can you ask for?

As far as him remembering every little thing that you've told him was a trigger, men's brains aren't really wired that way. I'm not making excuses for him. I've learned some hard lessons, myself, about men. They actually just do not think the way we think, and if they fail to see the importance of something, it flies right out of their head almost immediately. They don't have enough space in the card catalog of their brain to hold all those things.

So what has he swept under the rug, not been transparent about, and questions he didn't answer? Details of his cheating? Why do you need to know that? That's torturing yourself. If you have access to his phone and communications now, and he's sharing with you now, then you should let the past be the past. Trust is something of a catch 22... you have to trust to know if he can be trusted... because he can't show you that your trust is well placed and prove himself to you if he doesn't have that trust to begin with. See what I mean? It will take time. And he should have to earn it. But if you really want the marriage to work, you have to start letting the past go and have a little faith in the effort you both are putting toward your future.

There's a thing called Double Jeopardy in law. It means that a person can't be tried twice for the same crime once the verdict has already been made. Your husband was found guilty and has cut ties with the OW, but you are still putting him on trial and judging everything he does. What else can he do to really prove to you his dedication to your relationship?

Effie - posted on 04/21/2015

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5 months ago I found a "Hey there hottie" between my husband and a co-worker. At the time I was due with our third child and ended up finding approximately 9 months of sexting between them. I didn't think I could ever stay with him after the betrayal, but I also think he is still a good father and does love me despite the egregious lack of respect for our relationship. We have been in counseling and it was helpful, but not every therapist is. I still find there are times when progress we have made gets sidetracked by triggers and its a dangerous downward spiral. I don't know how long it takes or what the outcome will be, but I want to keep trying. Hang in there, it's not easy and there are no guarantees but I have faith that there is still the possibility to treat each other with love and respect after getting wounded. I have found that it's important to honor yourself and the pain you are feeling because it is valid and quite frankly, warranted. However, you have to find the line between honoring and dwelling on it. If you need to express your anger, do so, but understand that directing it towards each other will only drive you further apart. He needs to know why your anger hurts you, then he can understand it and avoid re-injuring you in the future and vice versa.

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Karen - posted on 04/09/2013

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Hi Shawnn! Thank you for your reply. I do feel like there was a band-aid put on our relationship. I dont believe that he's still cheating. We have full access to each others phones. And he's rarely ever on the computer. He has put a lot of noticable effort into our mariage. Made every change I ask for. I'm not one to give ultimatums but I will sit and talk to him or try and go from there. I just need advice from ladies that have been in my position on how to handle "those days"

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