Keeping it from my family

I just talked to my sister on the phone and it reminded me that I wanted to post about the pain of keeping my husband’s affair from them.  It has been a very difficult part of my journey.  I tend to be an outgoing and friendly person, but my personal support system consists of just a few very treasured people.  They would drop everything to come to my aid, and I would do the same for them.  I chose not to tell them about my husband’s affair because they would hate him forever.  Since we are trying to work things out, I’ve decided it’s best not to tell them.  But that has come at a price.

It has been easy in some ways because I joined my husband in a new city just a couple of years ago, and my closest friends and family are back in our old city.  So we don’t physically see each other very often anymore.  It’s mostly email and texts and phone calls.  So it’s not too hard to keep the elephant in the room covered up.

My brother and sister, however, know something is wrong.  They have each visited me a couple of times during the past year and noticed I was not quite myself.  I tried to be, but when the pain was a constant weight on my spirit it was hard to be as light and quirky as I usually am.  They tried to fish around to find out what was wrong, but gave up.

I have some difficulty keeping up a long conversation with them.  I do not keep up with news and entertainment as much as I did before.  My life was consumed by the affair for the entire past year.  The only things I read concerned affairs and related topics, or work.  I’m only now starting to come out of that, so there was nothing much I could share with them.  They told my daughter that I seemed less involved with life.

I think they both feel slighted that I don’t share whatever it is that is bothering me.  I have never kept anything from them before.  It has caused a bit of a strain between us.  So in my attempt to maintain my husband’s relationship with them, I have damaged my own.  Yet again, I pay the price for his crime.  I know it is my choice, and I intend to stick with it.  It’s not so hard now that I am finally feeling more like myself again, but I feel pangs of sadness at this.  It’s another sense of loss.

But if I am completely honest, I have to admit that it’s not just for my husband’s sake that I keep this quiet.  I am humiliated by his affair.  Rationally, I know that I don’t need to feel this way, but I can’t get rid of it.  I don’t want anyone to know.

Not sharing with the people who normally support me in all things – — it feeds that sense of isolation and loneliness.  But I still think it’s for the best.  For me and my situation anyway.

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12 thoughts on “Keeping it from my family

  1. Akthough you may not want to give them details, letting them know that there have been challenges in your marriage which have weighed on you,,,that you and hubby are working through things…that you are not meaning to shut them out but feel that this must be resolved first etc….are all valid.

    You do need support NOI. They already know that something is wrong and it may make both you and them feel better if you open a little of your challenge to them.

    You can let them in without betraying your feelings, trust or turning them against your husband.

    Maybe ask your online coach about this?? and/or your therapist,
    Peace to you
    LFBA

    • Not Over It says:

      Hey LFBA,

      I do so appreciate you! I did talk to my online coach and he agreed with you. I have already talked to my sister and she was so relieved that I wasn’t dying or something. I told her that we had been fighting so much that we almost split up, so we were going to a therapist. She didn’t push for more, and things are much better now.

      Thank you!

      DJ

  2. whydidhecheat says:

    My advice to you is do not tell anyone especially your family. I did and I regret it to this day. I told my mom and in return she told my siblings. I now dread seeing them for the first time with my husband since they found out. You see the thing is you will be able to forgive move on and restore your marriage. It is harder for family to do that. Only confide in a counselor or trusted pastor or minister. Good luck and hang in there. Just know it truly is no ones business but your own.

    • Not Over It says:

      Hi WDHC,

      I did include your advice in my decision. I told my sister only that my husband were fighting so much that we needed mediation from a therapist. I was surprised that she accepted that. I would have thought that she would have probed for more info – like what we were fighting about. But she didn’t. So things are ok for now.

      Thank you for weighing in on this! It is good to hear other people’s experiences and what worked and didn’t work. I appreciate that.

      DJ

  3. Holding On says:

    I feel very similar to you. The only ones that know are my husband, a couple religious leaders, our counselor, my boss, and online sites that I have shared my story with. It does make me feel very alone to have very little people supporting me through what for me has been the hardest challenge I’ve ever lived through. It is very difficult that the only person to really talk with (husband) is the one that would love to NOT talk about it.

    I live away from my family, but a few months out from D-Day I wrote an email to my parents and brother and his wife and told them that I was going through a really hard time and would love to have their prayers. It was amazing the difference that made, just coming out with enough information that they would know that everything wasn’t “fine.” And I really felt that their prayers did wonderful things for me at that time. And are probably still doing great things.

    I would suggest, like LFBA, to share something with them. I think just admitting that you have been working through a really big issue this past year, something you aren’t comfortable sharing specifics on, but wanted to let them know, since you have felt their concern. I think it would help take a burden off you and also help with your relationship with your siblings.

    I agree that it could possibly be very damaging to let them in on the facts, especially if you are trying to forgive and continue on in your marriage. I didn’t want to taint my husband in my family or his families eyes. And I, like you, am very shamed over this.

    • Not Over It says:

      Thank you, Holding On. I appreciate your input. I have taken everyone’s advice as I’ve said in other comments. It’s much better between my sister and me now. I still miss talking things out with her, though…

      DJ

  4. Robin says:

    I have been were you are, especially with my family, and the feelings your post raised actually were strong enough that my original response to you turned into a post of my own. I agree with LFBA – if they love you and know something is wrong, but you don’t share anything with them, they are not only hurt, but also imagining the worst – and marital difficulties are definitely not the worst!!
    Much Love, Robin

    • Not Over It says:

      Thank you, Robin. Yes, I have told my sister that my husband and I are in counseling because we were fighting so much we could not deal with it ourselves. And that’s all I said. She accepted it and did not probe for more. And she said she was relieved that I was not dying or something. So we are in a much better place with each other. It’s still sad for me, though. I cannot share with her like I used to. This is just how it has to be. Another loss among the many, many as a result of his betrayal.

  5. […] post is actually one I started as a comment to Not Over It’s Keeping It from My family. I wrote enough that I decided to make it a post, and then decided that maybe background was needed […]

  6. Not Over It says:

    Thank you, Robin. I’ll head on over and read your latest post. I think I told you once that I’ve read your blog from beginning to end. You are a great writer and tell your story in a compelling way.

  7. Foolish Woman says:

    Last March I wrote a very similar post about this same thing so I can really empathise with you.

    This is a difficult time of year for me, being the third anniversary of my husband’s fall from grace, but I have to say it’s all getting a lot easier with a bit more distance.

    I hope you all manage to have a really good Christmas and that 2012 will bring healing.

    • Not Over It says:

      Foolish Woman!
      I read your “Adieu” post and was happy for you. It’s hard when that anniversary time comes around, isn’t it? Hope you have a merry merry Christmas and that 2012 brings much happiness to your marriage.

      I appreciate hearing from you. Your blog was one of the first I read and it helped me understand some of what was happening to me. And now you give me hope that it will get better.

      Thank you!
      DJ

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