Letter to Exercisegrace

Exercisegrace asked for help today, and I wrote a response.  After posting my comment, however, I thought that I should turn it into a post so that more of you can see it and offer your own suggestions for coping with infidelity at 5 months out from D-day.  Here is our exchange from today:


I think I might have just driven my car straight over the edge. We seem to be reaching critical mass here and i just don’t know what to do. To be fair, he IS trying. To some extent I push his efforts away and punish him. I am just stuck right not in the hurt, pain and anger. I can’t seem to push the affair far enough away from me, even for short bursts, to have an enjoyable day. I know he feels constantly reminded and constantly kicked. That is true to some extent. I should be able to enjoy my life without letting this crap dominant pretty much every waking moment. Can someone please please tell me how to get past this point? If I don’t we are going to end up apart, and I think that would be awful. We both want this to work, we are both willing to try, we both love each other but right now it all seems like too too much.

OH EG – it’s too soon for that! Is he so convinced that you should be able to move forward already?

I was thinking yesterday when you commented about your marriage counselor that he was probably not doing justice to your marriage. It’s hard to find a good counselor for dealing with infidelity. Rick Reynolds at affairrecovery.com is adamant about that. He says you need to find someone who specializes in that. A general psychologist or an LMFT will often use generalized methods that are supposed to work for a variety of issues. The thing is they don’t always work for infidelity.

Focusing on what you want and where you want to go, controlling your thoughts and all that — sure, that all has to done, but it’s too soon to expect that from you. To your injured brain, that is ridiculous. That’s like telling a child, “That’s ok. You burned your hand on the stove yesterday, but go ahead and play there today. It’s not hot today.” It may very well not be hot today, but should you be telling your child that? Will your child immediately trust that it’s not hot? It will take proof and a period of testing it out before your child would trust that. Is it a good idea to do that? No way. We wouldn’t even consider telling a child that it’s ok at any time to play on the stove. Our brain understands infidelity at this same level. Your brain is doing its job of protecting you. It will take time to reprogram it to accept the relationship that caused such harm. Even if you know you love your husband, your brain will do its best to protect you from harm until it is convinced there is no more harm there. That takes a good long while.

Look at Linda from EAJ. She is about three years out from her D-day, and she is again going to counseling. She has lingering issues. Her subconscious brain has not let go of the need for self-protection.

All that said, you do need to get anger under control. Vent it out on things that won’t hurt your relationship. There is a time and place to show him your anger, but daily bashing is not going to help. I told you yesterday about how I vented with music. Right now, I vent with music by Adele. Her music has an anger and hurt in it that just lets me vent it all out. And then I am better. I don’t know if you can relate to her kind of music, but try it. Here’s a link to a YouTube video of her:

Another thing would be to find a new activity that you can do together without the opportunity for blowouts. For my husband and me, that was exercise class. It is good to be something new because it will not have many triggers associated with it. I still had to hold back tears in class for a long time, but not anymore.

I’m just throwing out thoughts that are popping into my head. Every relationship is different, but these are things that I have learned along the way that work for us.

Praying for you, my dear EG –


13 thoughts on “Letter to Exercisegrace

  1. wallybear12 says:

    I reread my journal at the 5 – 12 month mark and the pain I wrote about was intense it does lessen over time… When will it go away? I don’t know it’s been 2 years now and I still struggle some days more than others.
    This is my second marriage, my first marriage to my high school boyfriend ended in divorce, I knew he had an anger problem and so it shouldn’t have surprised me but one day he took it out on me.
    Five years later i trusted myself to trust again he promised me he would never hurt me… and 12 years later I find out about his EA. the pain is worse than the physical hurt I felt with my first husband, the pain is not on the outside but on the inside.
    I had no clue no idea nothing to prepare me.
    And now I don’t trust myself or him.

    • Not Over It says:

      Thank you, Wallybear. EG needs to hear from others about how we felt at 5 months and I appreciate your taking the time to look back.

      Sounds like we at much the same place… I just spent some time cuddling in front of the TV with my husband. It felt “right.” But I wanted to cry at one point as a thought invaded the moment – does he really want to be here with me, or is he just trying to make the best of it? I didn’t say anything, but the thought made me sad.

      Hope all is well with you right now…

      • wallybear12 says:

        Most days are good….
        At church I was listening to the message and wondering does he “hear” the message of is he just going thru the motions of being there?
        Yesterday I was thinking what would my day… life be like not being married to him? and it was a sad thought.
        Thank you for everything you do, I found your link from Doug and Linda site.

    • exercisegrace says:

      Thanks Wallybear12, I have kept a journal too and as i read back over the past few months I can see the changes. Slow, but there. There is a little less anger, what when the rage comes it is balanced by more insightful entries. Pain and confusion seem to be the main themes.
      I am so very sorry for what you are dealing with. Trust becomes such an enormous issue. right now,I feel that it is just as hard to for me to relearn on to trust MYSELF as it is to trust HIM. Much of my anger is directed at ME for not listening to my instincts. Not trusting my suspicions. I remember reading on one board that a woman installed a baby monitor camera, and that’s how she caught them. I remember thinking how BRAVE! What a genious!! I definitely would have caught my cheater much sooner too. But then, what would the outcome have been. Divorce, I am pretty sure! But at the same time, I cannot bring myself to say its all worked out for the best, and this was the way it was meant to be, and blah blah blah. I hate what he did more than I ever have hated anything. And the pain feelsl unending. Praying for peace for everyone here. What a great group of supportive people!!

      • Not Over It says:

        Hi EG – Oh yes, trusting yourself is as big an issue as trusting your spouse. My husband’s affair lasted for six years – how dumb could I be? But I am also sure that if I had found out earlier, we would be divorced today. My husband had to go through it in his own time and come to his own decisions about his love life and his home life. If I had found out earlier, he would have felt cornered and would not have left her. And I would not have put up with that and life would be very different today.

        Is it better this way? Like you, I cannot say it has worked out for the best. Nothing can justify the pain and suffering we go through. But the pain will get better, EG. It will. I still have pain, but not to the same degree. Take some time and let the pain wash over you and through you. Feel it. Sing it. Write it. Whatever it takes to express it, do it. And it will get better. It will better faster if your husband works through it with you, but even if he won’t, you can still do it. You are strong. I can sense it in your words. And we are here with you. We are indeed a great bunch at supporting each other. Write here all you want.

        Love & prayers,

  2. Oh DJ, you made me cry and cry with this response. I don’t deserve such love and care. Thank you for allowing me to come here and vent and share and cry and hurt. Bless all you wonderful women and men for sharing your wisdom. For being real about what works and what doesn’t.
    Yes, he really does expect me to focus much more on the future. I love the analogies you used. My brain IS in a protective mode. I trusted him fully, unreservedly. He had my whole heart without question. Nothing held back. Now every day is a struggle, triggers lurk around every corner. I can be smiling one minute, and I will hear a word spoken, or a song on the radio or some stupid billboard we drive by and the smile fades from my face in a moment. Nothing feels the same. He says he wants our old marriage back and I told him it is gone. I told him with hard work and the grace of God, we will build a better one. He accused me of not loving him like I used to (after assuring me he DOES love me as much as before) and I told him he correct. I DON”T love him like before. I know he hates what he has done, I know that he has shown genuine remorse. However, that doesn’t erase the three years of hell that i have lived through. Only time and effort on both our parts will do that. I am so thankful for all the support here. Yes, music has become a great way for me to release my emotions too. I really needed to break away from this stupid little cartoon pet rescue game that I played obsessively in the early days of discover, LOL. Reading used to be a great love of mine, and the library a favorite place. I haven’t set foot in our library since before d day, and reading is very, very hard. First, the book must be chosen carefully for obvious reasons, and even then my attention span just isn’t what it needs to be. I have read pretty much every affair related book out there and now I think its time to take a break from that type of reading. blessings to you all, and DJ thanks for the love. you are my lifeline!!

    • Not Over It says:

      Thank you for your kind words. We are all helping each other, EG. You make a real difference in my life and my recovery, too. You bring up issues that require careful thought and consideration, and I have gained much from the insights you share. All of us here bring much to the table. We are a great bunch!

      I also had difficulty reading anything but affair related books for a long time. In fact, it has only been in the past month that I have gotten better about that.

      Your husband needs to win you back. That is not going to be easy, and it shouldn’t be. He needs to understand that. How might you get him to understand that? I have not been very successful in that regard, either…

      Emotional Affair Journey has had some interesting discussions related to this. I will post about it tomorrow.

      Hang in there, my friend…

  3. As usual DJ you always have wise things to say to others who are also in pain. I just want to comment on the music, specifically on Adele. Singers like her have a great way with expressing their pain of their past and yes, I definitely did relate. A few months after giving birth to my baby, I was lost and sad and I did turn to Adele. She made me cry and cry, and she was more like another presence there while I let it all out. I love that album, not only because I can relate (DJ, I relate most to “He Won’t Go”) to all her songs, but they are just really really good songs. I do notice that my mood affects my song selections. When I just feel so down and low, I listen to Portishead’s “Roads”. The slow beats and the sad rhythm expresses my sadness every time.

    Be strong, as always, and thinking of you.

    • Not Over It says:

      Hi there, Fighter – I listened to “He Won’t Go” and loved it. It’s good for a day when you need to pour out the sadness. I’m in angry mode right now and listening to stuff that lets me vent it out. “Rollin’ in the Deep” is great for that. I think I’ll do a post on music… thanks for the idea!

  4. exercisegrace says:

    Definitely going to try out some of this music. Music has always been important to me and can give voice to my moods. I guess I have been avoiding it lately because of all the sappy love songs that just knot my stomach and make me feel triggery.

    • Not Over It says:

      Oh, for a long time I couldn’t listen to the radio at all. Too many triggers. I couldn’t watch TV or go to the movies or read novels, either. Even the news was too much. So I started making YouTube playlists of things I could listen to. Uplifting songs, neutral songs, Christian songs, children’s songs…

      I still can’t listen to many love songs, especially “their song” or others that they sent to each other. But I can listen to revenge songs and heartbreak songs now. That’s why Adele and similar artists are good for me right now.

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