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Topic: Infidelity, mental health, lost and broken

25 posts, 0 answered
  1. 16ShadesofBlue
    16ShadesofBlue avatar
    12 posts
    16 November 2016
    2 months ago I accidentally discovered that my husband and partner of 20 years had a 2 month affair with a 'friend', someone who I was led to believe was supporting him through his own mental health journey and who was also trying to befriend me at the same time. I ignored my instincts that something wasn't right, other friends were telling me it was good for him. He was happy. To complicate things the same week, he was diagnosed with Bipolar2. Me finding out about his infidelity sent him to a new low. We both want to reconcile. He is now on mood stabilisers and is distraught at the trauma he has caused (he truly believed I would never find out). I am trying to be supportive and keep 'life' swimming along for our two beautiful happy children. I feel like I am wearing a mask because I have to pretend everything is ok. And I am NOT ok. I am physically not coping I feel ill, my stomach knotted, my heart hurts and now my jaw and teeth ache. I have to force myself to eat during the day and I am not sleeping well. I drop the kids at school and come home and cry. I just want to go to sleep and when I wake up have my life back. I had made positive changes this year, building my self worth. eating well and being active. Things were falling into place. But now I am scared and overwhelmed with all the things I am feeling. I have no joy for any of the activities that previously gave me fulfillment. I have an overwhelming obsessive hatred and anger towards the other woman which I know is not healthy...but I am plagued by images and thoughts in my head of their intimacy and it scares me that they will never fade. It makes me so anxious that I don't know what way is up. I feel panicked being people and I feel panicked being alone. My self worth has plummeted to a new low and I am scared I am heading into a bad place. I have had PND and there is also a history of anxiety and depression on my side of the family tree. Every morning I wake up overwhelmed with grief that it is still real and I cannot breathe. This does not feel like my life. I am disconnected. I don't feel alive. I just feel like I want to run away. I am outwardly doing all the right things (GP, psychologist etc) and everything I read tells me the way I am feeling is normal for the first 3 months and that I may not feel completely ok again for years. Please tell me it gets better. I love him. I should hate him. But I love him. I feel broken and I do not like the person I am becoming.
    2 people found this helpful
  2. JessF
    JessF avatar
    385 posts
    16 November 2016 in reply to 16ShadesofBlue
    Hello 16Shades, your emotions are very raw right now, which in line with everything you have read so far is perfectly normal! I know this doesn't make you feel any better of course. I think the way back from here is going to involve rebuilding trust and intimacy with your husband. You may not be ready for that just yet, if you are getting flashbacks of this woman, but perhaps making some plans would put you on a path. Have you considered having some joint cousnelling with your husband?

    You don't mention whether this other woman is still around... I take it she is out of the picture completely?
    2 people found this helpful
  3. Trying2BStrong
    Trying2BStrong avatar
    3 posts
    16 November 2016 in reply to 16ShadesofBlue

    Hey 16Shades,

    I wanted to reach out at tell you I'm going through the same thing right now and you're not alone. I think only time will tell if the hurt and betrayal will still be sore point or it the wound will heal and will leave a scar to remind us everyday. I thank my stars for my 2 boys they are my world and it's them alone that's driving me to grow and forgive but not forget.

    2 people found this helpful
  4. Zeal
    Champion Alumni
    • Community champion volunteers who are not currently active on the forums.
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    Zeal avatar
    268 posts
    16 November 2016 in reply to 16ShadesofBlue

    Hi 16 Shades,

    Welcome to the forum!

    First off, I'm sorry to hear about the emotional turmoil you're experiencing as a result of the situation with your husband. What he did was wrong, and this 'friend' took advantage of his vulnerability as well. I echo Jess's question of whether this woman is still in contact with you and/or your husband? I hope your husband is receiving regular professional help for his Bipolar disorder.

    You have a great deal going on in your life - with supporting your mentally unwell husband, caring for your children, running a household, weathering the intense negative emotions from the affair, and also dealing with personal mental health challenges. I am very glad you are seeing your GP and a psychologist. You are certainly doing the best you possibly can, but unfortunately you are not finding relief from the hurt and emotional distress yet. You can and will, with time and continued professional and family support. If you don't mind me asking, do you spend time with (or call) other family members, such as siblings, cousins or a parent? Keeping in touch with loved ones is crucial.

    Keep seeing your GP and psychologist. If you would like some professionally endorsed self-help resources to refer to, I recommend these:

    http://www.cci.health.wa.gov.au/resources/infopax.cfm?Info_ID=37 (depression)

    http://www.cci.health.wa.gov.au/resources/infopax.cfm?Info_ID=54 (tolerating distress)

    http://www.cci.health.wa.gov.au/resources/infopax.cfm?Info_ID=47 (self-esteem)

    http://www.cci.health.wa.gov.au/resources/infopax.cfm?Info_ID=38 (parts may help you understand more about your husband's Bipolar)

    http://www.cci.health.wa.gov.au/resources/infopax.cfm?Info_ID=46 (anxiety)

    Saving these links to your computer favourites in case you need extra info or tips is a good idea.

    Best wishes,


    1 person found this helpful
  5. Bailey13
    Bailey13 avatar
    17 posts
    16 November 2016 in reply to 16ShadesofBlue

    Hi. I can't believe how incredibly similar our situations are :( I truly feel for you and I wish there was something I could say to make you feel better or give you a glimmer of hope. I am roughly 6 months post my husband's affair and still feel totally shattered and distraught and lost and confused... I really think it's the kids that are holding us together. I can't get past the feeling his excuse for his actions is his mental health issues but that doesn't justify it at all in my opinion. And he says he feels so guilty there is nothing he could say to express how sorry he is, so he doesn't say sorry... ever! I don't see enough signs that he is remorseful, I feel like he expects me to just get over it because he's mentally unwell. I can't tell whether I still love him, or just can't let go of the idea we could get back to the way we were. Everything seems so fuzzy and I feel so very stuck, the future terrifies me. I'm scared I'll crack/snap/yell/scream and just give up and walk out one day, out of the blue. My marriage was wonderful before, so I owe it a second chance, I'm just not sure how to identify where my limit is, when is enough enough. I've survived so much and keep trying to tell myself the worst of it is behind me, but I can't help think he'll do it again should he end up in another bad patch, and I'm not sure I could handle that. Sorry I've ranted about myself, that's not what you need right now. It's just when reading your post it could've been my exact words. I hope your husband meets you half way on effort and over time it all works out for you. It's clear in the way you write that you are loving, kind and strong, you deserve peace and happiness! My advice to you is make sure your husband knows exactly what you need to heal and to move forward, his effort will tell all. I know this much because it's mine and my husband's biggest fail... we are terrible at communicating how we feel and it's making everything so much harder. All the best!

    1 person found this helpful
  6. 16ShadesofBlue
    16ShadesofBlue avatar
    12 posts
    17 November 2016 in reply to Zeal

    Zeal, thank you so much for your reply. I have downloaded all those links. I think they will be very useful. I had read the Bipolar ones when he was diagnosed and I was scrambling for information (and answers). The modules on 'Tolerating Distress' really struck a chord and described exactly how I am feeling so I think I will work through those in detail. I have lived a rather fortunate life and have never felt like this before (sure I have had facets of similar feelings when nervous/excited/apprehensive/anxious/worried etc) but this is like 85% of my waking hours and I literally DO feel like if I drive and drive or got as far away as possible I could escape it, of course logically I know that's impossible...but that's the sensation. Or like if I close my eyes it will disappear. That and also like it is something tangible and physical...I described it to my friend as feeling like vines growing and twisting around my insides...like it was something I could rip out and throw away and I'd feel miraculously better. The feeling is SO unpleasant I sometimes don't know how to cope with it other than just rock back and forth or wander around the house crying.

    I used to be very close to my parents but moved interstate when I met my husband 20 years ago. I feel we have drifted apart over the years. My Mum used to be the one I turned to for everything and we'd often have long heart to hearts...but now she is older and has her own health issues and I don't want to burden her as she would be heartbroken and I have no idea how my father would react (he is a very gentle kind soul but I think the concept of staying with someone after infidelity would be way outside his comfort zone). Mum'd want to be down here in a flash and I just couldn't cope with them here (they act more like guests than 'parents' when they stay and it is usually quite stressful). Plus although she knows something is up as she keeps asking... I am uneasy about how the information would impact their relationship with my husband seeing as we want to reconcile. (even my GP advised not to tell anyone). My sister is also interstate and has her own mental health issues and she has never really been a good support to me. More a negative as she is borderline narcissistic (gosh we're a happy bunch!!). I get on well with my inlaws but they don't know. They are local and are supportive of my husband's mental health journey...I think that's why they think I am upset (I had a bit of a moment when I last visited)

    1 person found this helpful
  7. 16ShadesofBlue
    16ShadesofBlue avatar
    12 posts
    17 November 2016 in reply to JessF

    Jess, thanks for your reply! He has not contacted her since the day before I found out and I believe him (strangely!). I gave her an 'I know, back off, he is not well' message as she was hounding him to reply to her and he was too weak mentally to go there so ignoring it. I was doing it with his permission (infact he asked me to) . It was 2 days after I found out and I was very polite and although I told her I was hurt I even wished her well and told her to concentrate on her husband and beautiful kids (Seriously!! I don't feel that way now!! I don't know how I did it!). Both she and her husband are now blocked by both of us. I have no idea if he knows.

    Unfortunately she is hard to escape totally as she is relatively local and has a few similar circles of friends. I live in fear and am quite on edge in public places that I could bump into her (it is inevitable one day, but when I do I want to be strong ...ignore and keep walking ...not cry/scream/do anything stupid...I am quite a passive person but feel I am not in a good place mentally to be 'bumping into her' at the moment!). She likes to think she is a motivational inspirational guru to other women so she is in your face with her stupid face all over social media (blocked or not she is sadly hard to avoid) and there are photos from 3rd party sources of them together participating in events that I cannot get deleted that occasionally come out of the blue and torture me...events I thought they were doing as friends but fall into the timeframe of the affair (or I torture myself with them to try and see if I can see if he is happy...so so so stupidly destructive and I need to stop that!!)

    We are looking at joint counselling but his psychologist is making communication between us very hard as she does not think he is mentally ready to discuss it or delve into the reasons or 'talk' in the way I will need to talk. I actually am not 100% confident in her guidance but he likes her and I have to trust she is doing what is best for him even if he was off his nut on antidepressants and should never have been on them (also coincides with the affair timeline) It is excruciating as I need to talk SO much and I am worried I have already pushed him to talk about things he wasn't ready for. It's hard not to when it is all I think about! It feels like I am pretending all the time. I feel like I have to lie and say 'I am fine' or 'the day has been fine' because if I say it isn't it stresses/upsets him. Then I feel guilt.

  8. 16ShadesofBlue
    16ShadesofBlue avatar
    12 posts
    17 November 2016 in reply to Bailey13

    Thank you So much for replying Bailey and Trying2BStrong. Your replies mean so much and made me cry (almost with relief I think!). This has been the most isolating experience I have ever had in my life. It's hard walking around pretending and wearing a mask all day when you are broken and hurting inside. It is exhausting.

    Thank goodness for our children hey? They force me into moments of almost feeling normal. Sometimes I worry I am too distracted or short tempered with them and sometimes I have to escape for a 'shower' or a lie down' as I need to cry... but generally they think everything is happy and normal and infact possibly think their Dad and I have been closer and happier as we have been talking more, spending more time together and doing things together. They had really started to notice his absence for a while there as he really disconnected from us for the 6months before and during the affair.

    Bailey I do agree...I try not to think about where I would be at emotionally/mentally without the kids. I prob would have hopped on a plane and run home to my parents. The responsibility of the kids and their happiness has grounded me. Don't get me wrong I am committed to reconciling with my husband. I love him. We have 20 years together. I believe our wedding vows and wanted to grow old together. But my goodness it hurts so much sometimes I have to fight the urge to disappear.

    What I can't get past is how huge the impact on me has been emotionally...it has really got me at my core. I can't understand why it is so hard to move forward...why i can't just go 'he did a terrible thing, he is sorry, he wants to reconcile, he wants to be with me, he says he loves me, lets move on, happily ever after'. I just feel totally stuck and desperately sad. Maybe it is grief for what I feel I have lost. All those things I thought were just for us forever. The intimate stuff. Our commitment for lifelong faithfulness. Trust. Love. Self worth. erghh Now I have doubt.

    His mental health scares me. Part of me is scared he is staying because he feels so bad for hurting me, I am scared he will get 6 months down the track and realise he has fallen out of love with me and crush my heart again. I think too much. I'm just scared. And sad. I'd never doubted us before....never in a million years would I have thought he'd have an affair...he's always been very vocal when friends have been hurt in similar ways. So he also feels this shame that it is not the person he thought he was.

  9. Apollo Black
    Apollo Black avatar
    329 posts
    17 November 2016 in reply to 16ShadesofBlue

    So he sees a psychologist and a psychiatrist???

    I can understand that sometimes the dust needs to settle a little for counselling to work, however it has been 2 months. Not sure if you can talk one on one with his psychologist to get a better idea of her rationale, because it seems to me that you're being sidelined here. You mentioned that you are seeing a psychologist - what does he or she say about all of this?

    It will get better, but having the other woman in close proximity is not helping you. I don't think you should lie to your husband about how you're feeling. It's complicated because of his diagnosis - I would be keen to ensure his treatment regime is effective.

  10. 16ShadesofBlue
    16ShadesofBlue avatar
    12 posts
    17 November 2016 in reply to Apollo Black

    Apollo yes I feel completely sidelined.
    He is seeing both and both on the same page re diagnosis. His psychologist has ALWAYS had me sidelined. 2 days after finding out about the affair I was called into her office and given his medication, the car keys and told what to do if he was non compliant (given all the phone numbers) because he had hit a low point. I was given very mixed messages and told he wasn't in a place to discuss anything with me yet....but in the same breath told to communicate openly with him and that he'd have to sit there and listen to me. It was hell that first few weeks thinking I would say something to tip him over the edge. This crap we are dealing with is off the scale not normal regardless of mental diagnosis. The feelings are not feelings either of us are used to having. So he also went through a few weeks fighting the diagnosis because he doesn't want to be bipolar. SO complicated/frustrating and I am trying to be supportive of his recovery. He went back to his psychologist this week and he's stopped talking again because he said until his meds are stabilised he won't be able to support me or converse about the affair or how we got to that place in our marriage. We actually HAD started talking okish over the last couple of weeks but that all got stomped on. I needed to talk last night (why I ended up in here!) and he shut me out because she told him he wasn't ready. He is seeing both again next week. I guess we will take it from there. I know I have to pick myself up and be happy in my own skin regardless...but it's hard!!

    I have had great difficulty securing regular appointments with my psychologist. The first appointment was more cathartic while she sat there nodding in horror. I am seeing her again next week. Her focus seems to be mainly mindfulness and doing fun stuff to keep distracted but yeah...I have always been the kind of person who 'never gets bored'. I just don't find anything 'fun' at the moment! It feels like my light needs switching back on!

    So far I haven't lied to him about how I am feeling (it's been impossible to hide it as as soon as the kids go to bed I cry because I have been sucking it in for 6hrs) I have suppressed wanting to talk and had to time my conversations as to not overwhelm him I don't think he knows it is as bad as it is though in my head. I am nervous again initiating conversation because of what his psychologist said. Every time I start to talk I feel 'should I/shouldn't I' and feel selfish

  11. 16ShadesofBlue
    16ShadesofBlue avatar
    12 posts
    17 November 2016
    Sorry I am having trouble keeping to the character limit ha!! It's like a water tap that's been switched on and I am not good at being concise. SO much bottled up. Thank you though because it's loosened the vice around my insides a little this afternoon. That and the sunshine. Trying not to think about all the things I needed to do today but have no energy for!
  12. Bailey13
    Bailey13 avatar
    17 posts
    17 November 2016 in reply to 16ShadesofBlue
    I feel exactly the same. It's definitely grief. I'm such a sentimental person and I keep dwelling on the fact we won't be grey and old celebrating 50yrs of being faithful to each other, that's a huge loss to me and I can't get it back, that makes me terribly sad and angry. I am at a point where I feel I never should of got married because what was the point, he hasn't honoured the promises he made that day... he's lied, cheated and neglected his family. I've had mental health struggles in the past and never thought to do such a thing to him. I don't wear my wedding ring, I told him I couldn't bare too as it's lost its meaning. If I wasn't keeping it a secret I'd probably change back to my maiden name aswell. I always felt so lucky to have him and that I'd found a committed loving man. But now I'm a bit of a man hater. I'm so angry at him, I've never so much as looked at another man and considered anything beyond a friendship, i devoted myself completely to him. I have the same terrible thought that I'll put all this effort in to repairing myself for him to one day do it again and all this pain I'm putting myself through will have been for nothing. But for some reason (prob the kids) I'm still here, trying to work out if I really can get over it or even learn to live with it. I hate the unkown, I used to feel so safe and happy in my marriage, now I feel sad and scared. But then is life outside my marriage any better, who knows. I just have to keep hoping that time (and my husband) will be kind to me. If I'm the one he supposedly loves the most why am I the one he hurt the most. Nothing makes sense and i wish i could find peace with not understanding this, because i just don't think i will. What could possibly justify it! You seem like an incredibly strong and emotionally intelligent person (i know it doesn't feel like it) but i can appreciate the lonely struggle and protecting the kids, it's exhausting and you're surviving it, not easily i know, but you are. be kind to yourself and put yourself first once in a while. I even went to a movie on my own the other day and ate a bag of lollies I didn't have to share, us, go me! Take care.
    2 people found this helpful
  13. Apollo Black
    Apollo Black avatar
    329 posts
    17 November 2016 in reply to Bailey13

    I'm really sorry you're all going what you you're going through. I hope you ate the hell out of that bag of lollies.

    it can work. It can get better. If your other half is remorseful I think it can work. If not I have my doubts.

    I admire what you're doing for your kids. But if it isn't working they won't want you unhappy. It took me a while to come to terms with that. I'm still adjusting but I have no doubt I will be happier eventually and my son will be better for it.

    just give it time. If it doesn't work it's not your fault. Trust can be rebuilt.




  14. Apollo Black
    Apollo Black avatar
    329 posts
    17 November 2016 in reply to Bailey13

    I replied but due to this forum's archaic terms and conditions the link I added probably got moderated. This post will probably get moderated because I mentioned the word "moderated".

    Anyway. Stay strong. My main intention was to say that things do get better in time. If you want to understand the trust thing, Google Athol Kay and "active trust vs passive trust"

    1 person found this helpful
  15. 16ShadesofBlue
    16ShadesofBlue avatar
    12 posts
    17 November 2016 in reply to Bailey13

    Oh Bailey sadly yes you SO describe many of the things I am feeling. I am very sentimental and nostalgic too. It all feels like it has a shadow over it now.

    I feel less crazy reading your post but I am sorry you are going through this too. It's hideous. The whole wedding thing has hit me really hard. I thought we were forever. I thought I had the fairytale, obviously I was naive. But I took the whole thing seriously and even when things got a bit disconnected over the past few months I never once imagined being with another man. If anything I imagined being alone! I even dug out our wedding booklet because I thought I was going crazy and obsessing about it but no, faithfulness is a HUGE part of the promise. The whole 'honour and protect her, comfort her, forsaking all others, be faithful to her, So long as you both shall live' and again in the proclamation '...have joined hands and made their solemn vows promising life-long faithfulness to each other' It's all there and it's pretty damn huge. It's almost like I don't 'feel' married anymore in some sense. because he broke the promise we made that day in front of our families when we exchanged rings. It hurts SO much and I feel sick thinking about it. Hope that fades. At the moment I still wake up and get a shock when I remember it's all real and my new life.

    It's the things that are lost that were just for 'us' that I can't get back. Ever. Gone. And it hurts SO much. The Wedding Ring thing cuts too...one of the first things I said to him when I got upset was just imagining him touching her while wearing OUR wedding ring made me feel violently ill. It's all the seemingly small things like that. Things that he never considered in that moment when he crossed the line. EVERYTHING feels tainted.

    I feel sad and scared too :-( I get this strange tension now talking about the future....like I am scared I don't trust the future anymore to go the path I expected. I don't feel secure. I am 95% sure we will be ok again (provided he really does still love me underneath it all when we've hashed the guts out of what happened and where we want to be) . I am holding onto that hope. I can't fully imagine it because I still can't fully believe it has happened. And it will NEVER be the same. But one day I hope to be more at peace with it.

    You take care too. It's SO tough trying to be strong! And we end up being in pain, hurting and trying to heal for something we didn't do. I like the movie idea! I am so doing that!!

  16. 16ShadesofBlue
    16ShadesofBlue avatar
    12 posts
    18 November 2016 in reply to Bailey13

    Had a bit of a dip this morning so came back in to reread. I think it's because we had a family function last night and I was exhausted by the end from having to 'wear the mask'. I had moments of almost forgetting and feeling some flicker of happiness .....and moments of intensity when I remembered (like when my mother inlaw made an innocent affair joke over dinner!! If only she knew eh?). I should be holding onto that flicker shouldn't I. Trying to ignite it into a fire. But it keeps getting blown out.

    Bailey what you said really resonated with me: "Nothing makes sense and i wish i could find peace with not understanding this, because i just don't think I will." That is how I feel at the moment. It's one thing KNOWING all the things you are 'supposed' to do to move forward but another thing actually being able to. I know I will have to find a way to be at peace and live with it. How I don't know. It feels impossible right now.

    Hope you find something nice just for you to do today. I might go look up what movies are on (one that doesn't have an affair in it lol!!!) !!

  17. Cornstarch
    Cornstarch avatar
    110 posts
    18 November 2016 in reply to 16ShadesofBlue

    It's completely understandable and natural to feel devastated, raw, angry, sad and to be questioning the relationship after a betrayal. On top of that your husband has been diagnosed with Bipolar II, which in itself is huge, because that requires life long management and can never be cured. He will be feeling so lousy about himself, we are all proud in our own way, who wants a mental illness. With your own experience with PND you completely understand how dark depression can be and why he is not able to communicate until he stabilises.

    I find it a little bizarre that his psychologist has 'always' had you 'sidelined'. Why did she/he have to take such a firm hold with you? Usually partners are welcomed into the health process as they are a central factor in a person coming to terms with, and learning how to manage Bipolar.

    You both must be stressed to the nines and unfortunately stress antagonises everyone's mental health. I think the focus really has to be stabilising, he is clearly remorseful, you used the word 'trauma' when referencing the affair. You're still together so the worst has not happened. Until he is stable he doesn't have the strength to think clearly so you can discuss the communication and intimacy issues that led him to find solace regarding his depression in someone else, down the track.

    There's a very good chance that people will find out unfortunately. When a couple is going through a rough patch they are too tunnel visioned to see that their behaviour is extremely obvious to people on the outside, we all have a degree of emotional intelligence and can join dots, affairs are very common and heaps of people know the dynamics and can smell one a mile off.

    When I was young a foolish & friends in your situation came to me for comfort, I always took their side on face value, and believed them %100. I had several people come to me with a similar situation and what I've learnt in life is that if the plaintiff is overly energised, overly angry, overly self-righteous, stomping around and not just damn sad, they in fact have cheated themselves, hope to cheat, want to cheat or fantasise about cheating. that's why they're so vigorous, because they know it is also inside of them. I guess I was gullible, dumb, young and stupid. But not anymore.

    I think you guys will sort it, everything you feel is normal.

    Health is the priority right now.

    Good Luck

  18. 16ShadesofBlue
    16ShadesofBlue avatar
    12 posts
    18 November 2016 in reply to Cornstarch

    Cornstarch thanks for your reply, To put it in context I suspect she had me 'sidelined' because he started seeing her the week before or after he started the affair (he was seeing someone else before that). She knew he was having an affair so I suspect me being there would have been inappropriate given my husband thought I would never find out. She put me in an incredibly confronting situation the day after I found out my husband was having an affair....without having any clue about my own mental health. When I called to clarify some information she was incredibly rude and condescending on the phone.

    Even when I had PND I always talked to my husband. Yes I do know what mental health is like. I have had other close family members suffer debilitating depression. Believe me. I know. That is why I also know that I am in a very bad place. I am only reaching out here as I have NOONE to talk to. I have told my closest friend as I know she would be supportive of my decision to reconcile....but there's only so much I can/would divulge to someone else.

    I have been incredibly supportive of my husband's mental health journey. Even since I found out about the affair. I have been supporting him through everything. I have tried to be compassionate, empathetic and loving with regards to his inner turmoil and his diagnosis. We HAVE talked a lot about that.

    I am not sure I am 100% understanding your last paragraph? I hope you're not implying I am stomping being self righteous around by being here? Seriously? That is what someone would think if I confided in them? An affair is something I know I would 100% never consider.

    Yes I used the word trauma. Please don't underestimate what I am going or how I am feeling. Yes I know the seriousness of my husband's diagnosis. Me coming in here was not intended to downplay the seriousness of that. Both my GP and psychologist and all the reading material I have been given (including this site) describe infidelity as an emotional trauma. You obviously think I am being attention seeking/dramatic?

    It's been 2 months with no support is really pretty far 'down the track' especially if you read up on healing from infidelity. Especially when you were borderline depressed before finding out. It's probably why I have arrived in here and my mental health has plummeted. Because I have no support and I needed SOMETHINg in order to stay in control.

    Anyway we're all different. Everyone reacts differently to different circumstances.

  19. Dr Kim
    Dr Kim avatar
    54 posts
    22 November 2016
    Hi 16ShadesOfBlue,

    Having read through this post I am struck by your strength , wisdom, compassion and clarity of expression. You really have a wonderful way with words. I found myself really feeling your mixed emotions – on the one hand wanting to be the supportive and caring wife to a man who is going through a hard time , and on the other hand wanting to look after your own needs and attend to what you feel and what you need to express.

    All the while, you have a third hand ( not anatomically possible I know! ) which is being a caring nurturing mothering, keeping a mask of happy family on for them. It’s a lot to juggle and you express it so well in your posts.

    I wanted to refer you to the wonderful work of the highly respected therapist Ester Perel . She has done a lot of work on couples and also on affairs and the meaning of them.. Look at her great Ted talk on youtube  

    She also has a great website

    One of the gems that I have taken from her work  is that most of us will have more than one marriage … sometimes with the same person ! What she means by that is that sometimes we have to accept that the “first” marriage we had with our partner is gone, now we have to renegotiate a “second” marriage and what it is going to look like.

    After an affair, it is a good time to decide if you both want to enter into your “second marriage” and if so, what will that look like? What are our needs now, 20 years after our first marriage vows? How is it different? How have we changed in those 20 years? What do we know about ourselves and each other now that we didn’t then that might make the basis of this marriage commitment different? 

    What I mean is, you cant go back … neither of you can expect to go back to business as usual after the affair. Things ARE different. But you have an opportunity to decide HOW they are to be different. You said yourself that that you cant just move on like nothing ever happened and I don’t think you should. You need to spend this time working out who YOU are, what YOUR needs are, developing the strength and confidence to express them without fear of abandonment.

    To have the belief in yourself that you deserve to have your needs met. If you keep putting yourself second in the belief that you are being “ a good wife”, you will cope for a while , but eventually you will start to develop resentments and anger  Ultimately it is our responsibility to know ourselves and then express our needs to those around us in a calm clear way. Our partners may know us pretty well… or they may just know “ the mask” or what they want to see.. It is our job to show them some more complex sides to us and then clearly state (without anger or aggression) what we feel WE need in order to feel fulfilled, safe and happy. 

    I suggest you work with your therapist to clarify some of these objectives. I know he has mental health issues, but that does not render him incapable of some discussions. Bipolar illness does not mean he has no empathy, lack of intelligence or inability to tolerate some complex thoughts.  It may mean that he will get “flooded” or volatile more quickly if overloaded with negative emotions so any discussions may have to go slow and be calm and clear… but I see no reason to proceed once YOU have sorted out your own needs and feel strong enough to present them in. It may even be a relief to him .

    I’m sure he WANTS you to be happy, and I think he needs to know that talking to him will make you happy even if he doesn’t have answers. He just needs to say “I hear you” , or “I can absolutely see how you can feel like that”. Just acknowledging of the problem is a terrific starting point. Solutions come later.

    Good luck with your “second marriage”. I feel hopeful that you can move through he chaos of this and find peace again .. but only if BOTH of you work together to create it. 

    PS therapists can really be super valuable in all of this as long as you feel they are neutral . You might need to find one that is not aligned to either you or your husband .
    3 people found this helpful
  20. 16ShadesofBlue
    16ShadesofBlue avatar
    12 posts
    22 November 2016 in reply to Dr Kim

    Thank you for your excellent post and kind words Dr Kim. A lot to ponder.

    Funny I actually ordered one of Ester Perel's books over the weekend after reading about her! I haven't had a chance to look at the TED talk but might sneak that in tonight. There is some truth for me about it feeling like the start of a 'second marriage' together. And I am very optimistic it can be better and more fulfilling even if different. It's really strange because although it's been the worst 2 months of our lives in some ways we've been closer than we have in a long time. There's just so so much going on. We definitely will seek some therapy independently of our own therapists!

    My husband is the most empathetic, caring wonderful human. He is also highly intelligent and a deep thinker. Everyone loves him and loves to be around him. He cares very deeply about helping others and even mentoring others through challenges. It's possibly part of the reason the infidelity was such a kick as it is so far from who he thought he was. It's also hard to see him struggling so much with his diagnosis. Hopefully he will be more at peace with that as his medication is stabilised.

    I have to keep reminding myself that it is still relatively fresh. At the moment I still wake up every morning and get a shock when I realise it's real.

    Anyway thanks again, I was not in a good place on Friday. Your post helps.

    I DO need to find me again.

  21. Bailey13
    Bailey13 avatar
    17 posts
    22 November 2016 in reply to Dr Kim

    Great advice Dr Kim. It's pretty much what I've been saying to my husband.. that our first marriage is over and marriage #2 needs to somehow be BETTER than the first (even though i treasured my first and was unaware we had issues). But I feel to do that i need to understand what was wrong with our first marriage. I don't for a second believe depression was the reason he cheated, me and our marriage were in the firing line for a reason. I can take responsibility for my fails if he brings them to my attention. And then I think if we become aware of those flaws and mistakes we can put strategies in place to avoid them in the future, ie communicate more etc. My husband requires a lot of ego stroking... compliments (ie I'm in trouble if i don't notice he's had his hair cut) and affection (ie will take it personally if I'm 'not in the mood' and asks for my reassurance that I still love him etc), that plus a couple of kids to care for is quite exhausting. So I think that's probably where i failed and he found all that with someone else. I'm really struggling to provide him with all that now, after he's done the total opposite for me, but I appreciate it's an imperative part of moving forward. I feel like I'm always putting in the work to reconnect when things start to drift, i wish i could see/feel some extra special effort from him, just to help me believe he still loves me and is not sticking around because it's easier than dragging us all through a separation. I feel time apart would actually do us good, but I can't bare the thought of all our family and friends finding out what happened and the reactions and judging that unavoidably happens, i think that would make the pressure feel even worse. Mind you, if everyone knew i wouldn't feel so terrified going out in public worrying someone will as me about it. i feel very stuck. If we were apart he might actually make some moves to fight for me, rather than making me feel i should simply forgive him because he has emotional issues. Sorry to rant but thank you so much for your reply to 16shades, it's helped me also and i look forward to the tedx talk.

    And 16shades I'm really feeling for you and I'm right there in spirit, in your corner with everything crossed that you find the peace and happiness you deserve! If you do find some kind of magic glue that puts all the pieces together... please share! Take care.

    1 person found this helpful
  22. Bailey13
    Bailey13 avatar
    17 posts
    22 November 2016 in reply to Dr Kim
    Thank you so much for the tedx link dr kim, i got so much positive out of it, she is brilliant! Wish I could speak to my husband with the same confidence, clarity and conviction! She knows her stuff and i respect her knowledge so much!!! I understand my husband was desperate for something better, to make himself feel better, just as she mentioned I feel that too, but I am still left with the question as to why he did it at my expense and why did he gamble with our marriage. Some ppl pop pills or do other destructive things in an effort make themselves feel better, but he was well aware he was hurting me and he kept lying and kept doing it. I don't know how to be at peace with knowing he was making conscious choices that were destroying me, repeatedly. And then one day he somehow came to the conclusion that he doesn't love her and wants to be with me. It's all so confusing. But that talk has given me some good advice and how to ask questions to get the answers that i need. So thank you again, this whole topic needs to be less taboo and this tedx talk needs to be shared widely! I'm sure there are so many of us suffering in silence because of the shame and fear of judgement, it's wrong
    1 person found this helpful
  23. 16ShadesofBlue
    16ShadesofBlue avatar
    12 posts
    23 November 2016 in reply to Bailey13

    The TED talk was spot on. Thanks again for sharing. She is a really inspiring speaker and I am so glad I've already ordered her book.

    Bailey I completely relate to what you are saying. It's still hard to accept that this hurtful thing was done repeatedly yet they say they love you and want to be with you. I want to believe but it feels 'blind' and I am so scared he will change his mind or realise he doesn't love me and it is just the remorse talking. I too have a better course of questioning after watching that. It's funny when the interview with Hilary's friend on one of those Sunday night shows came on and the interviewer was pushing 'why why did she stay with him' they went to an ad break for 'suspense'. I was really cranky at how they were editing it and turned to my husband and said....I hope they say it was simply because she loved him. I was so relieved when the friend did indeed say it was just that, and that she is an incredibly strong courageous woman for doing so. I can't even imagine the horror of something so public. The shame of staying is a real thing. And it is so wrong.

    PS if I find that magic glue I will post it here. I am still searching even though I fear it doesn't exist! Take care too. It's hideously hard and the way it makes your brain behave defies any logic thinking, You deserve peace and happiness too. Hoping we both find it again....frustrating because we both thought we had it!!!

  24. Blinky31
    Blinky31 avatar
    1 posts
    1 November 2018
    Hi...my story is not different to other stories I have read... nevertheless is new to me. 11 months ago when my father was dying I found that my partner of 9 years was cheating. According to my partner there was no physicality to it other than kissing and fondling...the had a thing for at least 2 months..my guess, because details are sketchy. There was a lot of laughing, emotional connection and lengthy discussion about all our struggles, sex life, my relationship with my child, relationship with my family and my dad's imminent death. The gist of these conversations lead them to conclude that I was a narcissist and a month before my dad's passing, my partner left me.. Needless to say my world became a rubble of pain, desilusion, hurt, humiliation, grief and loss. A couple of days later, my partner came back.. uncertain about what motivated this change. A month after Christmas I buried my beloved dad, whom I may add had lived with me for the last 16 years of his life. The last year, I have spent it dealing with my partner's alcohol addiction, drink driving charge and attempted suicide, the loss of my dad, a failing business, working 2 jobs to keep our heads above water, my son's separation from his wife...I'm not sure who or what I am anymore...at times I feel that dying in my sleep would be such a beautiful option to stop the pain and the thoughts that consume my day and fill my nights...where to from here? I guess that is my question. X
  25. Danijar78
    Danijar78 avatar
    1 posts
    7 January 2020 in reply to 16ShadesofBlue

    I know this was posted a few years ago but it has resonated with me so much and my situation the last 6-9 months. Was wondering how things went with you and your husband years on. Are you still together and how did you manage it all.

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