Love Me with All of Your Heart

A cheating spouse commented the other day on Emotional Affair Journey, saying that his wife had not yet recommited to him after his affair.  He said she couldn’t look at him without thinking about what he had one.  He says he wants to honor his wife first and foremost, even though it hurts his heart to live without his affair partner, but his wife says it’s too late for that.   Pretty standard stuff in our blogging community of betrayal and infidelity, but the part that caught my attention was where he said his “heart still hurt” for the OW.  I seem to be coming across this in the blogs more and more – this confession by cheating spouses that they long for their affair partners and love them passionately long after they cut off contact.  They grieve for the loss and have difficulty moving beyond it.  This has all probably been there for a long time and I just never saw so much of it until now.  Perhaps God sheltered me from that revelation early on because I would have had great difficulty and pain dealing with that knowledge.  It still hurts a lot.  In fact, that is THE major thing that keeps me from moving past his affair.

My marriage counselor tried to talk me out of it.  I have posted about this before, but with a slightly different perspective.  For today’s thoughts, I would like to add that my counselor’s view was that it is possible to love more than one person at a time but in different ways.  I was the family partner and she was the romantic partner, and he enjoyed sex with both of us.  The counselor said it was possible and that’s what happened to my husband.  But he said it is impossible for a cheating spouse to keep up two relationships like this and keep everyone happy, including the cheater him or herself.  So my husband had to make a choice between us.  He chose me, even though my counselor felt that he was also in love with his OW.  The counselor said he had to go through a period of grieving and he will probably always have some small residue of feelings for her, but he has made his choice and he will just have to tell himself “NO” when he thinks about contacting her.  That was not a help to me at all.  In fact, that just made it worse.  Thinking that he is still in love with her and pining away for her kills me.  It just kills me.  The comments on Emotional Affair Journey tell me I’m not alone.

My coach James tries continually to get me to see it in a different light.  He says that what my husband had with his OW was not real love.  He believes love is defined as it is written in the Bible:

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”      –1 Corinthians 13:4-7

By this definition, he says my husband didn’t love her.  It was infatuation and addiction.  It felt like love because it was a longing, but it was actually a longing like an addict feels for cocaine.  They know it’s not good and it’s not right, but they long for it.  They feel they need it.  Like addictions, there is a withdrawal period, but it is not a geniune grieving over love.  It is the brain’s response to losing the object of the addiction.

But if I really look at this definition of love, my husband didn’t love me, either.  He was rude, crushingly rude when in his affair.  He was trying to push me away.  He was self-seeking.  He sought only to meet his own needs through me and through her.  He thought nothing of my needs.  He was always angry at me for something or other during his affair.  He could remember every time I had ever disappointed him.  He twisted the truth of our relationship to justify his affair.  He threw me under the bus.  He did not protect me or trust me.  He had no hope for our relationship once he found her again.  He showed no perseverence in trying to work out whatever he thought he needed in our marriage.

What do I do with that?  I don’t know.  I could say that it was the addiction making him say and do things that were not truly him.  But before the addiction had taken hold, when he first went after her – what was that?  Did he love me then?  Did he just forget or was it buried under resentments?  Well, he has actually admitted that there were no big problems in our marriage.  He says he just never got over the fact that she dumped him all those years ago and he wanted vindication in seeing that he could take her away from the man who took her from him.  I don’t know if I believe that.  It all happened so fast when they got together.  Did he really stop to think about all that?  Or did he just feel those rekindled first love feelings?   Does he love me now?  And if he perceived his feelings for her as love, should we not accept that as love?

It’s so confusing.  James says human beings are flawed and messy and often impossible to understand.  He says we need to just accept that some behaviors are beyond comprehension.  They make no sense and we just have to decide if we can live with it or not.  That has been my journey – to look into myself and my marriage to see if I can live it.

LFBA and other bloggers have tried to help me see things differently, too.  My husband himself  has tried.  But I remain unsure and untrusting of my husband’s feelings.  That could just be the hurt talking, I guess.  In daily life, we are getting along very well these days.  James says we are like teenaged lovers – so sweet and loving and thoughtful.  He chases me around the bed and we hold hands and walk arm in arm.  Sex is better than it has ever been.  We are totally wrapped up in each other.  Outside of work, we are always together.  I have passed through the worst of the pain and I enjoy him.  My heart is warmed just to see him smile.  But in quiet times and alone times, I still hurt and I still obsess and I still cry.  I still have meltdowns when something triggers me.  Why?  I think it’s mostly because I remain unsure of his feelings for her and for me and I am still on alert for signs that he will hurt me again.

That guy on Emotional Affair Journey expected his wife to give herself fully to him and recommit to the marriage while he was pining away for his OW.  It doesn’t work that way, Pal.  If you are missing your OW, then you are not yet fully recommited to the marriage.  Her radar probably senses this.  You are the one who threw commitment to the wind.  You need to recommit before she can.  When you are over the OW and you are fully in your relationship with her, then and only then will she be able to completely open her heart again and fully recommit to you.  That’s tough, but that’s the breaks, Pal – the way the cookie crumbles.

My parents used to listen to this song and I remembered it as I was writing this post.  It’s a good way to end for today.  It describes exactly what I want to say.

Love Me with All of Your Heart

by Engelbert Humperdinck

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9wxoyHEKOWo

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28 thoughts on “Love Me with All of Your Heart

  1. DJ ….just a quick thought for now.
    You love your children with all of your heart. There is no space left unreserved for each of them. You love your husband with all of your heart. There is no space unreserved for him. Yet, physics says this is impossible. But we know it is not.
    Imagine that he does love you with all of his heart. Imagine that his actions may have been that he stopped loving himself for a bit.
    Know that it is possible. Discard OW. He chose you.

    • Not Over It says:

      Oh, LFBA, are you telling me you agree with Dr. K?

      • DJ…
        I know this is hard.
        In my comment I’m just hoping you can imagine that CK can love you with all of his heart.
        I know an alcoholic who loves his wife and family with all of his heart. All of them, 100% each. Emotions defy physics.
        But he does not love himself. The alcohol is an addiction to him to minimize that pain.
        Affairs are often addictions….not true love. But the addict can sometimes still crave that.
        People are flawed…all of us. Me included.
        The affair pain may never go away for either of you….but in those moments when you are connecting, how do you feel?
        It’s the other times when you doubt. You doubt him and you doubt you. He took away a piece of you with this….or so you feel. But really, he took a piece of himself. Since you feel joined to him, this affects you.
        But…my friend the alcoholic is sober. He chose to be. Once in awhile when he doubts himself, he craves the addiction. But he chooses and fights for himself and his family.
        I’m hoping that you can see, that the struggle with this…adn the choice of you is something for you to look on as positive. That your husband is fighting the addiction because he chose you. he is fighting against his own self esteem problem…because he chose you. He is fighting for you.

      • Not Over It says:

        Thank you, LFBA. I appreciate the time and thought you put into writing to me, as always. You certainly have given me some things to think about. I want to spend some time thinking it over before commenting further.

        Love & prayers,
        DJ

  2. aaroncrj says:

    Hi DJ:

    As you know, I share your reservations and nagging anxieties about whether my wife is with me out of an abiding, deep, and romantic love rather than comfort or guilt. It’s not that I expect her not to still have feelings for the other man or even that I don’t think she could/should feel a “love” for him. It’s that I don’t want her to think he is the love of her life or the one she would rather be with if she could do things all over again.

    These feelings contribute to my own ambivalence about whether I should stay or go. My wife opened a huge door when she engaged in her EA with her old boyfriend–one that can swing both ways. My online coach (THANK YOU, DJ!!) says such uncertainty is normal. In fact, he says it is a healthy part of the recommitment process.

    My situation is somewhat different than yours in that I still have a child at home. My coach says I owe it to her to try hard to make our marriage work–and so I am. LIke you, however, I want to stay because I love my spouse in every sense of the word and I still believe we can grow to become the couple we were always meant to be.

    Stay strong–you are my inspiration!

    –Aaron

    • Not Over It says:

      Hey Aaron, I do understand that he will likely always have feelings for her. Like you, it’s the thought that he would have preferred to spend his life with her… Thank you for your encouraging words. I needed them today.

      Love & prayers,
      DJ

  3. backonmyown says:

    I agree with your coach that the affair was an addiction. I agree with LFBA that perhaps he stopped loving himself. Now that he has realized his mistakes he’s back on track. The thing that kept ringing in my brain as I read this post was that you’re giving the OW too much power and influence over who and how you are. I could be wrong about that but I don’t think so because I’ve done the same thing for so long. Even though I no longer want D back I still find myself resenting them both for what they did. Talk about wasting my energy and my passion.

    Hang on. Time is healing.

    • Not Over It says:

      Thank you for your input, Pat. I appreciate it. I know what you mean about giving the OW power. I try not to, but recent events – him getting together with their secret group – has made that difficult again. I am struggling, but it helps to have online friends like you.

      Love & prayers,
      DJ

  4. Axl says:

    Early on after affairs are discovered wandering partners are so disengaged from reality and caught up in the fog of their affair that their reality is distorted. After some the wandering partners do have feeling that mimic addiction as they withdraw from the affair. Many cheating spouses ask themselves if they are letting the love of their life go (affair partners) when ending their affairs. As they withdraw from the affair they crave the feelings they believed were love and these feelings that are more closely related to ego stroking are addictive. Most wandering partners are in love with the affair not the affair partner.

    I feel for you as well knowing that your husband has to mentally talk himself out of contacting his affair partner. My opinion is that you are internalizing a lot of your husbands behaviors in the affair as problems with you when he was just being selfish and taking what he wanted by having an affair. I wish you well in your reconciliation and recovery.

    • Not Over It says:

      Thank you, Axl. It’s nice to meet you. I am floundering right now and I appreciate your taking the time and thought to write to me. Your comments, along with the others, are helping me to get back on track.

      I think you and Pat are right. I am internalizing too much of this. I am going to an exercise class, and then I will spend some time to think through all of this.

      Hope to hear from you again.

      DJ

  5. jewel says:

    Hi NotOverIt, I have the very same feelings, thoughts that you do. I don’t really want to ask my H as I am afraid of hearing that he does indeed still have feelings for her. I believe that he thinks very highly of her and holds her is some kind of special place. (he has told me this) I don’t think my heart could take it. But i somedays get totally overwhelmed by the pain this brings me. I get that i’m giving her the power over me. i don’t know what to do with this. I practice letting go of trying to control the outcome etc…but when I do all this ME work and I’m still left with a dark sadness, what then? where do we go with this? I am talking to God about this too….i just want it to go away.

    • Not Over It says:

      Hi Jewel,

      My name is DJ and I appreciate your comment. Sharing with friends here helps a lot. I understand what you mean about actually asking if your H still has feelings for her. My husband also thinks of her as a wonderful person who married the wrong guy.

      How long has it been since your D-day?

      Just last night, I had a nightmare and I sat in bed for a while thinking that I just wanted it all to go away. So funny that you said exactly the same thing today. I don’t know that it ever completely goes away. But everyone says it gets much better. It will come to the point that it no longer interferes in our lives. I look forward to that day.

      I’m glad you are talking to God. I didn’t for a long time. I was bitter and angry at Him as well as my husband. How wrong I was.

      Take care…
      DJ

  6. “My heart is warmed just to see him smile. But in quiet times and alone times, I still hurt and I still obsess and I still cry. I still have meltdowns when something triggers me. Why? I think it’s mostly because I remain unsure of his feelings for her and for me and I am still on alert for signs that he will hurt me again.” – I feel the same…

    I wish I can comment and blog more but I just don’t have the time, or even the energy sometimes.. A lot of things are going through my head everyday now though. Mid March, 2 years ago was when they started their physical affair and D-Day will be on Apr 4th. Even though I want to talk to him about it, I just don’t want to bring him down too. I don’t know why I feel like I have to go through this myself, but at least I have you guys.

    • Not Over It says:

      Oh, Fighter, it must be tough for you right now. I will be praying extra for you.

      I know how you feel about not talking to him about it. I tend to be that way, too. We do talk sometimes and he knows that I still suffer sometimes. Sometimes the talks are great – in fact we just had a really wonderful one – but sometimes he explodes and then we argue. My heart always sinks with every argument in fear that our marriage is falling apart. Rationally, I know it isn’t, but it often feels that way and that’s why I avoid it.

      More on that later. Right now, I justed wanted to say that I’m thinking about you, and am so grateful that we are in this together.

      Love & prayers,
      DJ

  7. Great blog! I am loving it!! Will come back again. I am taking your feeds also

  8. Buckeyewife says:

    At DDay, my husband also thought highly of the OW. He even said I’d like her under different circumstances. He eventually said she was “nice.” I told him she isn’t nice. She’s an enemy to me.

    Never again did he say she was nice. I don’t feel like she’s my actual enemy, but at that moment, I did!

    Since then, I’ve learned stupid things she lied to him about. Thank goodness he realizes she was a liar, and he doesn’t regard her highly. My heart goes out to all betrayed spouses who have a partner who still holds the affair-partner up in such a lofty position. I really don’t understand how they can do that when their relationship caused so much devastation.

    Our pastor said it wasn’t love — it was lust. He also likened the OW to an addiction, and he told my husband to end all contact. I also think my husband was in love with the feelings he was getting from the affair. My husband was not himself during that time. For some reason, he wanted to feel that way again. I was so angry that he got to go through all of those feelings again, and I did not. Eventually, I had that a bit with him, but…

    Did he love me at that time? Who knows. Did he love her? I don’t think so. Did he love himself? I’m certain he did not.

    What a mess! Will it ever make sense to any of us? I highly doubt it. Usually, I’ve resigned myself to not trying to figure out my husband could follow that path. It’ll never make sense to me.

    Hang in there!!

    • Not Over It says:

      Hi Buckeyewife,

      Thank you for commenting. I appreciate it very much. I guess it will never make sense because they weren’t being sensible.

      I thought I was done with the hard grieving and the anger, but I guess not. Thank you for your encouragement – I will keep on keeping on.

      Love & prayers,
      DJ

  9. DFB says:

    I have no sage advice to give, though it seems you have wise counsel already. I just wanted to say that my heart goes out to you. I understand so much of what you are feeling, though I only wrangled with it briefly before realizing that my relationship was over. If I were you, I’d probably re-read LFBA’s comment repeatedly. It’s a powerful reframing of your feelings that does not discount your pain. He’s good, that LFBA. 🙂

    • Not Over It says:

      Hi DFB,
      That LFBA sure is good. Our blogging community is much blessed to have him among us. It’s sad, though, that any of us are here. Thank you for your comment. I will take it to heart.
      Hope you are doing well –
      DJ

  10. Sona Yadon says:

    Wow, wonderful blog format! How lengthy have you been blogging for? you make blogging look easy. The total glance of your site is wonderful, well the content material!

  11. Not Over It says:

    Thank you, Sona. I have been here for 13 months now. The best part of it all is belonging to a community of people with similar experiences.

    DJ

  12. sandra says:

    your blog sounds exactly like me and my H and his ow. how can that be? so similar exactly I mean. seems we really have no choice if we know in our hearts we truly love them. the ow didn’t want him, he was in the way of all her others, and my H was too into her. so she rejected him. that’s when everything blew up. I go through days wondering why I’m not acting as grateful as I know in my heart I really am that it seems I have a chance to wake up and have the world be like it use to, but I know it isn’t gonna happen. if she wanted him still , my friends and family and therapists, priests, rabbis , ministers, they feel he definitely would be there still, he himself thought ‘maybe, for awhile’ what the heck , where does one go with that. Love, ? I remember when he had my back, when trust was real, and I really thought, this is love. none of that seems like anything but my hopes, dreams, prayers, now. who am I with, and how must it feel to wake up and realize,you are sorry, but that’s just the way it is. because I love him, I do wonder how that must feel. not only is this not my life , not the way I ever imagined it to be, but it isn’t his either. messed up for sure, and I feel he tries to think where do I go from here. miles, months, don’t change what he lives.

  13. Not Over It says:

    I’m so sorry you are also going through this. It is without a doubt the hardest thing I have ever faced in my life, and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone except the OW. Ha!

    In my case, his OW dumped him 35 years ago when they were dating. It seems he never got over that. But this time, in their affair, he was the one who broke it off, though they were attempting to keep up their relationship as “just friends” until I found out. I doubt they could have really stayed away from each other if I had not intervened.

    My struggle is with my gut feeling that he broke it off only because he could no longer keep up with two lives and two women, and I wonder if he chose me only because I just come with the package of security, family, and lifestyle. He says that’s not true, but he has lied straight to my face for years. I find it difficult to believe him now, and my gut feelings have not changed.

    Can I still make it work with him? Perhaps so. This is my journey.

    I’m glad you feel comfortable to share here. Keep in touch –

    DJ

    • nmwf1 says:

      hi Dj, I know this comment is a little belated, but I don’t have much time to myself lately. But i wanted to say that I was absoluly FLOORED! by the remark that your councilor said to you, that you were the family partner and the OW was the romantic partner. And that he enjoyed sex with the both of you. Really!!!! God help me, Talk about dumping salt in an already wounded pride. I hope your husband wasn’t in the room at the time. Honestly, Talk about TRIGGERS, that would have been a major one for me. If my husband and I were sitting in a counseling session and my counselor made that comment; My eyes would have Flashed RED and I wouldn’t have herd another word , i would have flown into an absolute rage and stormed out of the room and left my husband still sitting there with the counselor, and I would have left without my husband and I wouldn’t have shown up at home for hours. I know me and my breaking point. Just reading it infuriated me,and I felt your pain. It wasn’t helpful, it served no purpose, It was a stupid thing for the councilor say. Your tortured enough by the whole saga, I’m sure it made you husband uncomfortable as well if he was in the room.

      My perspective is this; I believe Love,romance,desire and intimacy all go hand in hand. To say that you are the family partner insinuates that you are just the one at home that helps hold down the fort, cook.clean.wash his clothes. pick up his dirty socks keep family ties together and oh ya sex when he needs it.

      Part of feeling validated as a woman in my husbands eyes is that he loves and desires me romantically. And to say that the OW has that part of him instead. Where the heck would that leave me? And the same for you. We fall in love, and we get married, so that we can have that part of our husbands for the rest of our lives. I’m a wife,but I’m also a woman and so are you. If some other woman has the romance and desire from our husbands instead of us than, (WHAT THE HELL IS THE POINT?) i resent that your councilor said that. It was a total insult as far as I’m concerned.

      Oh and for that guy who said his wife has not yet committed to him after the affair, and that his heart hurts living without his affair partner, . How commendable for him to honor his wife first and foremost, all the while ripping her heart out because he admits he hurts living without the OW. I got news for you pal ,YOUR A LITTLE LATE! She will never ever commit to you , not now, not ever,
      YOU MY FRIEND ARE A JERK!!!!!!!!

      nm (ps. sorry! I’m not coping very well lately and I’m exhausted)
      .

      • Not Over It says:

        Well said, NMF1. Yep, my coach James had to help me through the pain after that session with the counselor.

        I don’t think the counselor was trying to say that it was OK for my husband to do this or feel this way; he was just trying to describe to me his theory on how people in affairs think. He did say that it was wrong and unacceptable, but he said that this is what happens in the minds of cheating husbands. My husband was there for it. He didn’t say a word. He looked like he wanted to just lay down and die.

        The one who insulted me was my husband by having an affair. He didn’t just use me as a doormat. He took my life and my love and tore them to shreds and left them by the wayside to die.

        As you can see, I’m not coping very well at the moment, either.

        Take care – hope you feel better soon.

        DJ

  14. Jane Smith says:

    11 month after D day.. Everything still feels raw, and the mood swings send my head into a spin. Also, going through a frightening mid-life crisis. Our three children are growing up, 6, 11 and 13, lost our family dog, and our marriage fell apart. His affair is over but he is silent over things, and I am hurt all the time. It could be a good day that would turn totally upside down by a song on the radio, a feeling or an image in my head, and send me spinning. Everything is different.. Also, he cut off ties with his family bc they were trying to talk sense into him, and telling stuff about her that he did not want to hear. The kids’ birthdays, Christmas and all holidays are lonely and confusing bc I need to chose between him or the rest of the family. It is isolating and so sad.. very lonely and confusing a friend of mine introduce me to AJAGBOTEMPLE he was the man that help me bring back my husband what easy can i have done without he,contact he today if you are passing through hell in your relationship.Email he at ajagbotemple@gmail.com

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