There is a big difference between being sorry and being changed.

“There is a big difference between being sorry and being changed.

To be sorry means to feel bad. It’s a temporary little prick of the  heart.

But change only comes when we’re repentant. Being repentant is a deeper  conviction to actually correct and transform our behavior—our habit—our wrong  tendency.”                                                                         

These lines were part of a devotional called “I Quit” from Proverbs 31 Ministries.  The piece had nothing to do with affairs or forgiveness, but these lines within the article jumped out at me.  I believe this is the reason that many betrayed spouses have difficulty moving on and letting the past go.  Either the cheating spouse is not sorry or is sorry but not truly repentant.  In either case, the betrayed spouse takes a serious risk by letting go.

Truly repentant cheating spouses will make the time and do the work to affect real change in their lives and in their attitudes.  The effort resonates in the marriage and the betrayed spouse can reach out in the hope of being safe and secure in the love of their spouse.  A new foundation is poured and the new marriage takes shape.  The wounded hearts of the betrayed spouses are cared for and healed.

This has been my hope for almost 19 months.  But is my husband repentant?  It seems like it depends on the day and direction of the wind.  And that means that the answer is no.  I know he is sorry, but…


49 thoughts on “There is a big difference between being sorry and being changed.

  1. Kris Washington says:

    DJ what you speak of is GODLY SORROW: For the kind of sorrow God wants us to experience leads us away from sin and results in salvation. There’s no regret for that kind of sorrow. But worldly sorrow, which lacks repentance, results in spiritual death. 2 Corinthians 7:10.

    If this is any consolation to you, my husband also showed he was sorry but NO GODLY SORROW for quite some time. It wasn’t that he didn’t have it, it was that he didn’t show it.

    What I’ve learned through my own circumstance and the research I’ve done and the people I have “counseled” in my ministry lately is people who conduct themselves in adultery are usually “emotionally retarded” for lack of a better word. Emotionally immature. That’s why they found themselves in the mess they were in. They didn’t know how to deal with EMOTIONS whether it be mid life emotions, unhappiness, boredom, lack of whatever luster they felt was missing and so they went in that direction. We ALL at one point have felt those things (if not all of those things) at one time or another but we all don’t wind up in adultery either. It’s a sign of emotional immaturity and some people, a lot of people who are like this, then also struggle with SHOWING mature emotions like repentance, sorrow, etc etc. It doesn’t mean it’s not there it just can mean it’s masked by the lack of maturity to know how to SIT with those emotions for long and process them.

    I’m still waiting for some things my husband should do to “make up” for his sin of adultery and abandonment like apologizing to our children for their hurt and sorrow. I know he does hurt for it and I know he is sorry for it but to TALK ABOUT IT and SIT WITH THOSE THOUGHTS OF WHAT HE DID TO THEM is too much for my emotionally immature hubby right now.

    God is good though – He has a plan and when we bring things to Him, He will work through it all for our good and our glory. God says He intends for us to have NO LACK in our lives and that means emotionally, relationally, spiritually, financially – He means in EVERY AREA so I know with my husband being this way, having this lack of maturity in his emotional self is lack and God wants to heal him from that. Therefore I know it will be done. I just have to take it to Him and leave it there at His feet.

    Praying for you DJ and also for your hubby to be completely healed and whole in his emotional welfare 🙂

    • Not Over It says:

      Hi Kris – It makes sense that people who have affairs are generally emotionally retarded. Otherwise they would choose a different path. The ones who remain emotionally retarded are the ones who are sorry but not repentant. And because they are emotionally retarded, they cannot give their spouses the safety and security needed to heal.

      If and when they finally grow up, they experience empathy and real compassion and, finally, real repentance. Then they can learn and change and create the healing that betrayed spouses are so longing for.

      It seems to me we are essentially saying the same thing. It would be nice if cheating spouses would learn to trust in God. Then they would learn how to repent and how to help their spouses heal, and it would all happen so much faster. That’s just not happening in my home.

      Your husband remains emotionally retarded, but you have healed through God’s grace. That is a wonderful thing. You are an inspiration.

      I appreciate your prayers. Only God can change my husband’s heart. He may have to knock him around a bit (!), but only He can push my husband to make it happen.

      I pray for you and your family, too.


  2. recover3 says:

    I read that same devotional and those same words stood out to me too. My husband was really sorry and he did show some repentance. But it comes and goes. He tries hard but sometimes it becomes too much for him and then it takes it toll on me.
    Its hard to deal with – but I keep reminding myself that he is only human and its unfair of me to expect him to never make mistakes. God hasn’t given me the divine right to judge other’s for their sins and especially not my husband.
    I hope you get what you need soon.

    • Not Over It says:

      Hi Recover3 – I love Proverbs 31 Ministries! They bring words of comfort straight from God into my heart.

      In my mind, my husband’s affair was much more than a mistake. It was six years of waking up every day and making the decision to continue betraying me. It was a life choice and a demonstration of his selfishness and immaturity. It tore me to shreds and changed our family forever.

      I have made some major mistakes in my life. But I have never done anything that I knew would tear my family apart and shatter my husband’s heart into a million pieces.

      I’m not saying he doesn’t deserve forgiveness from me. I agree with you that cheaters are only human and all humans fail sometimes. As Christians we are called to forgive. But I am saying that for me to heal and for my marriage to thrive, my husband needs to step up to the plate and help and show me that I can rebuild trust.

      There are so many betrayed spouses who stay with their spouses and seem to move on with their lives, but still hurt and still cry and still suffer anxiety when triggers come up. Maybe there would be more of us who could heal if our spouses were truly repentant and helped us in the journey.


      • recover3 says:

        You are so right! My husband doesn’t always understand just what it takes for me to heal.
        Strength to you – I sadly, but truly understand the hurt and suffering you are going through.

  3. As much as I hate to say it, sometimes truly repentant and the guilt that ensues causes an emotional disconnect in their psyche. It’s like the food addict who loathes that they keep gaining weight, and becomes so self loathsome, that they eat more.
    I struggle to give any cheating spouse this degree of understanding…but it is a truth of human nature. People with self destructive attutudes are just that…they hurt others and ultimately they hurt themselves. The catch 22 is often that the worse they feel about it, the more harm they cause.
    The problem is that some people simply cause harm deliberately because they are self absorbed. It is often hard to tell the difference. This is where the power of intent comes in.
    I don’t know your husband DJ….and you may think you don’t know him sometimes too.
    But what do you think his intent is? Is this painful for him such that he shuts the doors on it so that he does not have to face himself?
    or…is it more superficial?
    Counseling, Discussion, role-play…all may have a part in finding the truth here.
    Peace to you

    • Not Over It says:

      Hi LFBA – I had come so far in rebuilding trust with my husband, and in the course of a few days, he has torn it all down and I am again reeling in pain and resentment. I really feel I don’t know him anymore.

      But as much as I hurt, I don’t think he deliberately hurt me. I do believe it is very painful for him and he does not like facing it. I don’t think he had any idea what he was setting himself up for when he hooked up with her again. Then again, I think he is more sorry that he got caught than he is truly remorseful for what he did.

      He is now refusing counseling of any kind. He says he doesn’t need it, but he doesn’t mind if I go alone.

      Impasse. Again. The x-ray apron is firmly in place. Again.

      Hope you are well, my friend.

    • nmwf1 says:

      Dear, LFBA, What you are saying here is very interesting to me and i have been pondering it for a while, This sort of pertains to me in that i am the one who can’t let go of what happened. My husband is very remorseful of what he did, aside from a few mistakes he makes in helping me get through this, (for instance, he really wants to avoid any mention of it, if he can help it ,because i usually have melt downs which causes him extreme guilt and pain.) He is very loving and understanding of the way I feel, he knows he hurt me very deep and very much wishes he could take it all back. He always tells me loving things on a daily basis to make me feel special and loved in every way. I know he just wants to make things right. So in saying this I can’t understand why I can’t let go of the pain and resentment.that I feel. i seem to go through cycles of emotions,jealousy and hatred of the OW, anger towards him, extreme pain, sadness, feeling sorry for myself, moments of happiness, you name it. i know my husband is sincere in his feelings for me and I can always respond to his needs and to his loving gestures, and I do the same loving gestures to him to, i let him know how much i love him and that he is my whole world. But triggers are a big problem for me, I can sometimes brush them off; However, some times I cannot and it usually turns out disastrous. When a bad trigger grabs a hold of me, I can’t fight the feeling in a rational manner, I resent what happened and let my feelings fester into a full blown rage with my husband. Hence I’m in pain, I want to cause him more pain, it does cause him pain and then it causes more pain for myself, it is a vicious cycle and ( It is a very catch 22 situation for me) i don’t want to loose him, I know he doesn’t want to loose me and yet i feel i keep sabotaging my own happiness.I keep beating myself up because of it. I know the man cannot change what he did. So in reality there is only one answer that anyone can give aside from sorting out feelings constantly, Is that the reality of it is;, is we have to learn to live with it. Plane and simple. But this topic was very helpful as it made me see what I am doing, Self destructing. Thx….

      • This blog has been so helpful on my journey. NMW1, we are living nearly parallel lives. It has been almost three months since Dday and I just can’t seem to break the cycle of rage, hurt, pain, etc…you name it. My husband is also remorseful, tells me he loves me and other things to try and reassure me. I am just angry. Praying for us both!

      • Not Over It says:

        I hear you, NM. I even hauled off and hit my husband a couple of times during the first few months… in the arm – not so I would hurt him – just to release the overwhelming pain and frustration. I have never in my life hit someone like that. I even swore at him. I never once in my whole life used the f word until D-day. I used it several times after that.

        When did I stop? Hmmm… I think it must have been after 7 or 8 months. But everybody is different.

        I feel like using some colorful language right now. Things are not going well. I’ll post about it soon.

        Love & prayers being sent to you –

      • Not Over It says:

        Hi Exercisegrace – I’m sorry to hear you have also had to join our community of betrayed spouses, but I’m glad to have connected with you here. It is without a doubt the most difficult I’ve ever had to face. I have thought that I was coming out on the other side a couple of times, but those of us who stay married are not just dealing with our own healing – our healing is intertwined with that of our spouse, and wayward spouses are notorious for being emotionally retarded, as Kris Washington said above. Hope it goes more smoothly for you…


  4. SHAPE says:

    This is a wonderful quote. I looked up the Proverbs 31 website and put my name in to get their daily email. I know my H is very, very sorry, but is he truly repentant – I’m not so sure. Like notoverit, some days he seems to be but others not so much. Maybe using this quote is a way I can talk to him. I don’t know. It is so-o-o very hard for me to bring up anything. I feel like we talk about everything else but his affair. Sort of like the elephant in the room; we just keep dancing around “pretending” there are no more issues. I know his shame and guilt come into play here, and he would just as soon “forget” it ever happened. I don’t think that will ever be possible.

    • Not Over It says:

      Hi SHAPE – Yes, I love this quote. It has brought a lot of thoughts that were floating around in my head down to a short and simple statement. Please be careful with it, though. My husband and I are probably closer to divorce than we have ever been, and part of the reason was a big fight we had over repentance. He isn’t. Not really.

      Hope your visit with your daughter and her family is going well…


  5. All I had to do was read your title and I was already screaming “YES, Exactly!!!” in my head. There is a huge difference between the two. I feel like my husband has been in that limbo of being “sorry” without truly being changed for quite a while. He seems to be finally going in the right direction, but I can just hope that it continues. Thanks for your words that spoke right to me today.

    • Not Over It says:

      Hi Beautifulmess7 – it tends to work like a spiral – back and forth, but each time getting a little smaller, a little better. I pray it gets better quickly for you.


  6. SHAPE says:

    It seems there is a common theme we all share in the triggers we have, the ways in which we take 2-3 steps forwards and 1-2 steps backwards, maybe even 3-4 steps backwards and wonder when we will ever feel joy again and not think about how we were betrayed. I have the same issues with my H being loving towards me, but I still think there is something missing; something he gave her and can’t give to me now because we are not newly “in love”, not in an illicit relationship, and maybe it just isn’t so exciting any more. But we do share stability and a deeper love than I am sure he ever could have with her. But I feel I am entitled to the passion and excitement we used to have together and that doesn’t seem to be there anymore. Maybe I just want too much.

    Sometimes I don’t think I will heal until HE can ask ME (without my bringing up anything) how I am doing, have I had any triggers that day, are there any questions I still have. I would love for him to bear his pain, shame, and guilt and take an interest in how I am really doing. I feel like he had all the fun and good times with her, and now that it is over and he is remorseful and sorry (repentant, I am not sure), he doesn’t like to talk about it because of his shame and guilt. But what about the pain I went through while thinking there was something going on, not being sure, and finding out that he had lied to me on several occasions when I asked him questions. It was only when I accidentally saw an email he sent her that I had my proof. It would have been better if he had been the one to tell me first. I think on the whole, it is the lying that is the hardest part to get past. I feel I have forgiven him, but certainly not forgotten – and I need him to “take the bull by the horns” and “man up” to ask me how I am doing. When he can do that and endure his pain by listening to my pain, I think I can move on quicker.

    My days (17 months out) are better – but I still have many times when I think of them together and more so the loving emails and words of endearment that I saw. Words that he has never said to me. They sound fake, but he said them to her, and it makes me cringe when I think of him being so eager to email her. Writing this even kind of brings that all back . I’m away from home right now for a few more days. My wish is that when I return home he would really ask me how I am doing – but I think he will still act like everything is just fine if I don’t say anything, and I am loath to say anything because of the whirlwind of emotions and bad feelings that then erupt. Is there no end, ever?

    • Not Over It says:

      Hi SHAPE – I’ve been mulling over all this stuff, and as I said to Exercisegrace, I think it’s often so difficult because our healing is intertwined with that of our spouses. And cheating spouses are cheating spouses because they are often handicapped in dealing with relationships, so that makes healing all the more difficult. Sometimes I wonder if it wouldn’t just be easier all around to do this on my own.

      Hope all is well with you.


  7. SHAPE says:

    I read the following on a BAN (Beyond Affairs Network) post, and I think it is very relevant to our healing and why we have a difficult time with it.
    I edited it slightly to make it gender neutral– “…a lot of cheating spouses put the ownership of the affair on us by expecting us to be “OK” so the relationship can move on. The cheating spouse (CS) “OWNS” this. It is not any different than being severely physically injured and needing to be cared for in order to heal and recover. The CS has to be active in the healing before recovery can take place.”

    I’m not sure my H would agree that he “OWNS” the problem, although he does know its because of what he did that I have the reactions I have to things he does or doesn’t do. And he does acknowledge that he caused me this pain. But I think admitting that he “OWNED” the problem would require him to step it up a bit, dig his head out of the sand, and inquire as to how I am doing and desire to want to hear what I have to say, even though it is painful for him to do so. That would be owning the problem in my book.

  8. aaroncrj says:

    Hi DJ:

    I am sorry your pain continues in this way. I have been crazy busy and haven’t had much time to keep up with your posts, but I do want you to know I am still thinking of you and your husband.

    Things for me are at an interesting place. Almost 10 months out from D-day, I am much stronger than I was even three months ago. I have just accepted a great new position and we are preparing for a big move for our family. Not all is roses, but there are fewer thorns than before.

    Stay strong and be well.


    • Not Over It says:

      Hi Aaron – good to hear from you! Congratulations! Sounds like things are looking up for you – I’m really glad for that. The cheating spouse plays an important in recovery and healing, and your wife must be trying her best. That’s not the case in my house and that is problem. I am much stronger and no longer fall deep into that hole, but healing is hard when your spouse resists change.

      Thank you – I am strong. Just the marriage is questionable at this point.

      Take care –

  9. Hi DJ. This is such an interesting post. I’m thinking about this difference you laid out and it seems like there might be even more categories. But, essentially, I have to agree that sorry for hurting your partner is different from, ‘I want to change’.
    The perpetrator has to find a reason of their own to make an internal shift.
    I think that someone can be so sad in the face of all the pain they caused that they never do it again. But, that still isn’t the same thing as a new committment.

    • Not Over It says:

      Hi Paula – sometimes it seems my husband wants to change, and sometimes he doesn’t. He makes it very difficult for me to move forward. Sometimes I feel that I could move towards healing faster if I were alone. I dont’ know. It’s still hard.


      • nmwf1 says:

        Hi Dj, I sometimes think it is impossible to heal from this kind of betrayal no matter what you do. Yes being sorry and being changed is two very different things. But in my case I do believe my husband is sorry and he has also made a huge change with in himself, but so have I and my change was not a productive one. I went from a happy, trusting, loving, caring, confident person in my marriage, To a very unhappy, jealous, hurt, angry, resentful person. What is sickening is that i do love the change in my husband now, I can see he truly does not want to be that person who betrayed the one he loves, he wants to be the man I fell in love with and more. I just wish I loved myself now. There is no balance. .

  10. NM, big hugs to you. I could have written this. I am still waiting for some of the change but other than that…..
    I don’t like who I am right now. At all. My confidence in myself as a woman or even a person is gone. I feel like a quivering shell of resentment and self-loathing. That’s the part I don’t understand. How I can dislike myself so much. He cheated and I feel so unworthy.

    • nmwf1 says:

      Hi Dj, Don’t know if you will get this before your trip, but I hope you have a nice time, but anyway, a quivering shell of resentment is exactly the word for it.Thx Who the hell am I , I just don’t know. I’m not the wife he had before this happened, I was a rational, nice, down to earth, spontaneous, adventurous, fun loving person. WELL NOT ANYMORE Now I’m an emotional bomb always waiting to go off. Now I wake up hoping that a trigger won’t snap me into a crappy mood. i just want to be me again. not some lunatic who can’t help but sabotage happy moments with destructive thoughts of his affair. Hope you don’t sabotage your happiness on your trip. I hope it is pleasant and therapeutic for you. And I hope he doesn’t spoil anything for you either. Have a safe trip!

      • SHAPE says:

        Like you, I was easy-going and happy – always willing to see new things, meet new people, etc. Now I find myself without enthusiasm for some of my previous hobbies (sewing, playing the piano, volunteering, exercising, and reading–unless I am reading books about how to get through this mess). I find it hard to concentrate at times, especially when reading for pleasure. My mind wanders. I make myself exercise almost every day, both at a gym and walking at home. Strangely enough, walking is the one activity I do with my H that we did prior to and during his EA/PA. But I do see a difference in how he talks to me now when we walk vs. when he was in his EA/PA fog. It is better now – he seems more relaxed, but I still fear he may hide things from me. Just a basic fear, I guess. I am trying to get beyond it, but it is hard when it is so difficult for me to ask any questions or have a conversation about what happened. Only occasionally do we ever bring it up, and then it usually ends badly.(which is probably why I don’t like to bring it up).

    • nmwf1 says:

      Hi Exercisegrace,
      Betrayal in a relationship kills your self worth and destroys your self esteem . It truly does make you hate yourself, I think maybe because when you love someone so deep and you build your whole world around them, you trust them to protect you as you want to protect them back. you devote every ounce of your being to them and expect the same in return, then one day out of the blue, everything you knew to be true suddenly comes crashing down and that wall of protection that you counted on, was the very wall that you slammed into. You begin to hate that you couldn’t see what was going on, you start questioning all the decisions you made along the way, ignoring seemingly subtle signs at the time, dismissing them as nothing. But after the fact seeing them as clear as day and suddenly you hate yourself for being such a fool. . Could we be so blind to what was going on, did we just go along looking at our little worlds with rose colored glasses? Somehow we had ourselves convinced that it would never happen to us. Our relationships are so solid and strong, our love bond could never be broken. (No way, Not us,) But we were wrong, and we hate ourselves for being so F****** GULLIBLE!

      • squaremommy says:

        I have had to read your response several times, so I could answer without crying. Once again, you are EXACTLY right. I feel like I am lying crushed underneath that wall. For me, I COULD see (to some extent) what was going on because they worked out of our house. I cried, begged, pleaded, counseled him that she was interested in him. I warned him. Little did I know, my warnings were all months too late. I was lied to repeatedly, daily. Deceived cruelly to believe that I was the one who was “paranoid” and “crazy” for my suspicions. But as you say, many signs are seemingly subtle. Taken individually, they don’t mean all that much. When they snowball together and roll down the hill over you, it is crushing. I do hate myself for being so gullible. I am appalled at what I put up with for so long. But again, hindsight is 20/20 and it wasn’t until too many things snowballed that even began to believe we might be in REAL trouble. Again…. WAY WAY too late. But when I hate myself, I also tell myself that I have to stop beating myself up. I loved my husband. I believed in him. I trusted him completely. I honored our marriage vows as sacred, and assumed he did too. Yes, I made some mistakes along the way, but so did he. He made the choice to try and “solve” HIS issues in the most destructive way possible. I won’t EVER take any ownership of that. If there was such a huge issue, he could have fought for me the way I fought for him when he was in his affair. Oh how much better it would have been if he had been able to sit me down and say…..this is what I am feeling. But you know what? I don’t even believe he was feeling so negative about our marriage until he met someone that began to work spin on everything, and encourage him to believe things were much harder and irretrievable than they really were.

      • exercisegrace says:

        oops that was me below. it logged me in on an old account and I don’t know how to change it!

  11. nmwf1 says:

    hi shape, on this subject, you are just like me, you think about it all the time, but you have a hard time bringing it up no matter how much you want to, usually because they happen to be in a good, or loving mood and you don’t want to spoil it. I have a lot of trouble about this because i want answers still and by the time i bring it up, I usually have worked myself into a frenzy and like you, it turns out disastrous.The timing just never seems right, I feel if I could talk about it with him for more than just one day in a roll, I would feel like i was able to be herd, but by the time i have a conversation about it with him , it turns into a meltdown because I feel he isn’t getting the just of how deep the pain is, then we usually have emotional sex then the next day its as if everything is ok again, for him maybe, but for me it stays with me for a couple of days. Then it subsides for a while but usually comes back with a vengeance. I wish there was a simple thing to do or say that would just make it all go away. But that’s not realistic and so the roller coaster continues.

    • SHAPE says:

      Hi NM–
      Yes, we definitely have the same actions/reactions to this problem of not being able to easily bring things up. I am just never comfortable with it, as even if my H handles it okay (which has not always happened), I end up feeling unfulfilled. But this past weekend, I did bring up a couple of things, as we were discussing our new Smart Phones and the accompanying cell phone bill increases. It sort of lead into the issues of their previous phone calls (we’ve changed his cell number), and went from there. The conversation went okay, but I tried really hard to keep it to about 2 items rather than a whole list of things. this seemed to work better, and I got some straight answers. But again, even though he seemed okay, I felt he still didn’t always “get it,” and told him that in order for me to heal (which he would love for me to do), that he must “get it.” I did not say this in anger. I think I am angered out (unless I find out something new), but I am still hurting and cry easily when talking to him. The next day he was fine, and I was still in some turmoil, but by Monday, I was much better. I know I am this way for awhile. It does seem like I can go longer and longer between my “needing to talk.” But there are still a lot of questions I have.

      I recently read two meaningful statements in a fiction book (one of the very few I have been able to read recently that is not relationship related). They made an impact on me, and I will pass them along. One is: “Healing hurts…but hurting heals.”
      and the other is: “Determine to find one thing every day that YOU make happen. Purposefully DO one thing that brings you happiness every single day in a very conscious way.” I am going to try doing this, no matter how small the thing is, to bring some personal happiness to myself. Not sure if I will be successful every day – but I am going to actively look for something small I can do for myself that I really enjoy.

      It helps to know that so many of us share the same roller coaster feelings – I don’t feel like I am so alone when I know this is what others are going through as well.

      • Not Over It says:

        SHAPE and NM – I am often the same way. Bringing things up often ruins the day or night or whenever. But not bringing anything up makes me miserable. So it’s a balancing act of how much and how often to say anything and how often to keep my mouth shut. How I wish he could be encouraging about it so that I could heal faster. But I think he’s going to fight me on this forever.

      • First let me say I admire both of you for your restraint! I am having the exact opposite problem. I cannot seem to keep my mouth shut. We can be having a good time and something pops into my head or I see something or whatever and I have to say what I am thinking. I know at this point, three months out, we need to have more positive interactions and less negative/affair centered interactions. I know it is not helpful for him to be reminded daily (and if I am honest, sometimes multiple times in a day) of his transgressions. I do believe that he loves me and he is truly sorry. I will say though, that I think some of his sorrow has to do with how my sorrow makes HIM feel about HIMSELF. I am very conflicted. I know he would really like to just move on and forget it all. He admits it was all his fault, but he wants it to be done. Sorry. I have known for three months. He ended it a year a half ago. We are just in veryy different places in terms of healing. I need acknowledgement, and he needs to forgiveness and moving forward. Kind of enough has been said, alright already mentality. I have told him repeatedly that when he gets defensive about my pain/hurt/questions/anger/etc…. it just makes things worse.
        DJ, I totally agree with what you said below. bringing things up often ruins the day. Then I am kicking myself for not just “letting it go”. Keeping it to a good day. But then again, why should I have to stuff this pain and hurt down inside? And to chase it around in a circle again, I know that I am not someone that is very loveable right now. I am asking to be pursued but when he does, it often ends in an affair discussion with me venting my hurt and pain. So not attractive for rebuilding a healthy, loving relationship. And for one more time around the loop….I am NOT the one that caused this. Why do I feel so much responsibility to modify MY behavior to fix it. Ugh.

      • SHAPE says:

        To all–
        So many of us have the same feelings about stuffing our feelings or exploding – doing some of both and sometimes doing them both on the same day! And it also seems like our cheating spouses have the same feelings – wanting us to “just move on and get over it.” Even though my H does seem to sometimes “get” that I can’t just get over it (it will be 18 months later this month), sometimes I see him roll his eyes when I try to explain my triggers. I think if he could offer to “come clean” with details that plague me (and these pop into my mind randomly) without my asking and his saying, “I’ve already answered that,” or worse yet, “I don’t remember” (when I think he probably really does), I would move on quicker. I know it takes time, and I am better, but I still have such ups and downs.

        And, exercisegrace, you are so right when you said that your sorrow makes HIM feel so awful about HIMSELF. I know that to be true with my husband as well. In fact, a little less than a year ago, he met with an attorney to draw up divorce papers because he said he couldn’t stand seeing the pain I was going through and thought I would be better off without him. He never went through with it and told the attorney to close the file – he never even finished filling out the paperwork. And, to boot, I found out he did this when I was checking on his computer. So once again, he didn’t tell me – I had to see it, just like I had to see his loving email (I only saw one, but there were many) to his affair partner in Dec 2010. This was another D-Day as far as I was concerned. I was once again devastated that he didn’t think he could stand HIS pain of seeing my pain enough to work through it. It’s all so terribly hurtful. Like all of you, I long for the day I don’t think about this and have triggers.

        I really do feel, like many of you, that I wish he would ask me if I have questions and be ready and willing to answer and listen, rather than my having to try to find a “good” time to bring something up – which is usually when I have had it and can’t “pretend” anymore.

        It helps to know we have such similar feelings. but I think it will take much longer to get over this than the amount of time of their affair. They knew each other about 18 months, but the “specialness” of their relationship together was probably about 12 months. Obviously, I am not over this at the 18 month time period, and I suspect it will be 2-4 years before I heal, if ever I do completely.

  12. Amy says:

    As I read this and the comments I am filled with pain for you all. I have been there. Relationships are so complicated and hard. I am single now. I saw my ex yesterday for the first time in a year and didn’t burst into tears. I was surprised. I did have a slight urge to speed the car up just a little to scare him, but I didn’t. But I laughed at my meanness rather than crying so I thought that was a better response. You’ve touched my heart. Prayers for you. I know it hurts.

    • Not Over It says:

      Thank you, Amy. I am always thankful for friends, old and new, in our blogging community. Sounds like you are moving forward in your life. I’m glad to hear it!

      • Amy says:

        It’s hard. I think when we have life-shattering experiences it can throw us for a loop. It did me for a long time. I hope you move happily move forward. I know it is hard. Hugs!

  13. nmwf1 says:

    Hi Dj, nice to see you back, as you can see none of us can take a holiday from any of this. Anyway that is my biggest problem with my husband right now is that I want to talk about it, and he goes along most of the time up beat as to keep me upbeat as well, Its hard to break the ice. The only time we ever talk about it, is when I let it bottle up inside and become moody. he won’t ask at first but, i will say something small and he will say I could tell something is wrong.. And I will then tell him I want to talk and he will tell me ok. I just wish he would ask me once in a while, so i don’t have to always feel like the Villon. The other day though, I had gone to counseling and afterwards I was talking to him on the phone and he asked me how am I doing and I told him I was a little overwhelmed right now. Then he said, OK well we can talk about it when I get home,I love you. And I said; we don’t have to talk about it if you don’t want to. (just said it as a gesture) He was quick to say: (In a sort of somber voice OK ) and then quickly changed the subject, to a more pleasant conversation. I think he was afraid I would have a melt down or something.

    • DJ says:

      Hi NM – I don’t know how to get cheating spouses to understand that they need to accept what they did as much as we need to accept it. That means facing it, not trying to pretend it never happened. After it has been faced and dealt with, I believe it can then fade into the past of both spouses and the new life can be wonderful. But if it is not faced and dealt with, it will forever haunt their lives and their marriage.

      I see the possibilities in Anne Bercht’s husband Brian and in Linda’s husband Doug. They faced it head on and dealt with it. Brian and Anne are farther along and they don’t even feel pain anymore. Doug and Linda still feel pain sometimes but each time they face it and work through it together. How wonderful if our husbands could face up to it in that way. My husband won’t even look at it. I’m glad your husband is willing to try, even if he has a hard time with it.

      Hope your weekend is going well… remember to take care of yourself and do something for yourself each day. You are so worth it, NM. I just finished a four-hour stint at the exercise club. I’m going to eat something and then take a long hot bath.

      Sending you love & prayers,

      • I pray for the day that this will all fade into the background of our lives. For the day when the pain is more of an echo and not a clanging bell in my ear. I pray for the day that I don’t think about her/them AT ALL. I believe with time and hard work that day will come but I don’t believe it will come soon. I just read in a book that healing takes, on average,the same amount of time that the cheating spouse was involved in the affair. For me, this would mean a little over a year, and I think that number horrifies my husband. He actually said he feels like this is going to taint our relationship forever. Took every ounce of self control not to start screaming and crying. Consequences: I will never trust blindly again. I will never assume that our relationship is so great and so strong that it is impervious to outside influences (and that goes for me as well as him, I’m sure I am MUCH more vulnerable at this point) I don’t see myself ever sitting through a movie about two star crossed lovers who finally ditch their hapless spouses and find true love and live happily every after and everything works out great. There are much tighter boundaries than ever before. No lunches alone with a woman. Ever. I feel entitled to pick up his phone and scroll through it anytime I want, and I have no problem (and NEVER have) with him doing the same with mine. I have nothing to hide.
        He tells me I don’t have the same “look” in my eyes. I don’t love him the same, he feels that I am pulling away.
        my response was, well I feel like you pulled my wedding ring off of my finger and put it on hers for a year. now you want to put it back on my finger and pretend it was never gone.
        Ugh. I pray for better days.

  14. nmw1 says:

    OMG! exersisegrace, are you sure you are not related to me? LOL I’m sorry, I’m not laughing but, honestly this sounds like something I would say.
    Anyway, I don’t know about the healing time frame thing, don’t believe it cause, my husbands affair only lasted 3 or so months and D-day for me was nine months ago, (what the hell is up with that?) If that were true I should have been over it 6 months ago. But I can assure you, I’m not anywhere near healing. I’m still in the broken record stage. The one that come’s with images that you can’t get out of your head, still in a bit of disbelief and trauma of it all, jealousy for the OW, anger, and relentlessly torturing myself, searching for answers and sinking into a sea of pathetic self pity. And I don’t know how to get out of it. No I think you need to stop reading that book because who ever wrote it obviously has never been in our shoes. They need to go back and do some more research and rewrite it. I’m not kidding.

    • NM, I am certain we are related. Perhaps even twins. I am almost four months in, and I feel all the same feelings you mentioned above. But I keep being told I am “wallowing” in it. I am not “looking forward”. I spend to much time thinking about the affair and not enough time thinking about the future.
      Admittedly, I give her too much power. I think about her far to often and believe me she is NOT worth it. She loses in every comparison. Somehow that makes it worse sometimes. Her? Really?
      I also have come to believe that there simply are no answers. I have tormented myself too, read pretty much every affair book on the market, can recognize and name an entire list of things that made him and our marriage “vulnerable”. But at the end of the day, there is NO acceptable reason to cheat. Period. He had options and didn’t exercise them. There just isn’t going to be answer that magically makes either one of us go AH HA!! That’s why! Now I understand!!!
      Nothing makes any of this ok and nothing really makes it more palatable. My husband is here, I am here….TODAY. We are working together trying to fix this mess. Trying to rebuild a relationship. I pray for that while I believe he prays for me to just “get over it already” and move on. Forget, stop talking about it and get back to normal.
      That is Gone. The real question is, Who is willing to step up and do the hard work of healing and rebuilding? It can’t be done by one person alone, and I believe that it can’t even be predominantly done by one person.
      In the meantime, I try to live my life with dignity. I remind myself that through this whole sorry mess, my mantra was “live your life with integrity”. I always did/said/acted on what I thought was right. I fought for my marriage, I worked hard to correct the things he said I needed to work on (some I agreed with, some not so much) and I tried to live my life to please God, not man.
      Now it’s his turn. we’ll see.

  15. Not Over It says:

    Geez, if it takes as long as the affair for the betrayed spouse to heal, I’m in for a REALLY long haul. My husband’s affair lasted six years.

    • nmw1 says:

      well Dj, i was no help, cause if you went by my calculations. you have about about 18 or more years. Sorry, I know I’m not funny here either, but if we don’t have a little humor once in a while, we will sink the other way. (and we all know how tired we all are)…hang in there.

    • Four months in and I was really hoping to be in a better place emotionally. Had to be out of town and stay in a hotel for the first time since D-day. The trigger of this (OW traveled on business with him) was overwhelming. If my daughter hadn’t been along, and I needed to keep it together for her, I think I would have slept in my car.
      At this point I think I would be satisfied if I could go ONE day without thinking about this mess!

      • Not Over It says:

        Oh my, EG – that would have been overwhelming for me, too, at four months out from D-day. Business trips are still a huge trigger for me.

        I think it will be a long time before you can go a whole day without thinking about it. In November, when I was just past the one year mark, our marriage counselor asked me how often the affair came to my mind. I answered every few minutes – possibly 10 times per hour. This was not wallowing, but just how often passing thoughts of it came to mind. He said that was excellent progress. I was surprised. He said that most people still think of it just about every minute of the day at one year out. My goodness.

        For me, serious physical movement that requires concentration is good for taking my mind off of it for a while, and also for lifting my spirits. I do martial arts and zumba and I focus on perfection of form. It helps a lot.

        Sending you love and prayers,

      • SHAPE says:

        I find myself thinking about it more often than I would like. I go to exercise classes–adifferent one–almost every day, and being with others helps a lot. I am retired – so do not have the “escape” of work to help. However, I find that my 1 day of volunteering also helps, because I am around people and answering lots of questions. My worst times are when I am alone in the car driving that I tend to think of all the times they emailed, made phone calls when my husband knew I wouldn’t be home. At times it still makes me afraid NOT to be home when I know he is there. Even though we have changed our home phone and his cell phone, I still think about how sneaky they were and the lies that were told when I asked some questions – and then how naive I was to believe those lies! These are the things that really plague me now, I think. I am quite sure they don’t have contact now; but I just hate that I could believe all the lies that were told to me. and, of course, there are still triggers that can just come up at a moment’s notice. It’s like a dagger in the heart when they happen–shortness of breath, pit in the stomach, etc., etc. They don’t happen as often, but they are still devastating when they do.

      • Not Over It says:

        Me, too, SHAPE. Being alone without something to focus on is not good for me, and I am also afraid of what he does when he is alone. For my husband, most of their contact occurred at work on his office phone, and I have no way of tracking or checking up on that, so I have had to just accept that. But when he works late, or goes in extra early I go nuts. At these times, my mind goes haywire and I forget everything I have learned and I can sometimes fall apart. I am getting better at remembering the techniques and things to move my focus to something positive, at least for a while.

        My coach tells me to turn around and face down my fears and triggers. Take them apart and analyze them. It is helping, little by little. You have to be in a good place in recovery to be successful at it, but it does work, one baby step at a time.

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