Bleeding the pain out or rehearsing old pain

My marriage coach, Coach James, is always guiding me towards deeper understanding of where I am in my healing and where I want to go.  I am  a stubborn mule at times and at other times I am a sponge for new ideas – as it is with all of us, I guess.  Coach James is patient but always pushes me to think things through.  The other day he wrote this:

“So here’s an interesting thought.  Some theories say that pain must be bled out.  Others say that at some point, rehearsing old pain keeps the ghosts close.  After all this time, what do you think?”

Yes, James, I am probably your longest running patient in online coaching history – Lol – but I could write a whole book on just this topic.  Should I call it “He’s All In Me, Too?”  (Reference to the name of General Petraeus’ affair partner’s biography of Petraeus:  “All In.”  SHAPE and I think that’s just hilarious.)

Of course, we know that Coach James, as my favorite expert in the field, has his own opinion on the subject, but this is how he keeps me thinking and moving forward.  He gently asks me to think about things.  I love it.

My husband firmly believes that all this blogging and writing to Coach James is keeping me close to the pain.  He is always after me to just stop it all.  I refuse, but I also go to some lengths not to blog in front of him.  It seems that it keeps him close to the pain just to see me blogging about the pain he caused.  But that’s his personality.  He is not communicative and to him, sharing his pain with others just keeps it at the forefront.  He wants to bury it and not think about it.

I have read many times where bloggers or readers feel they need time away from sites where newbies frequent, or from infidelity blogs altogether.  Reading the fresh, raw pain of a newbie is often difficult for us old-timers.  It brings the pain up close and personal again.  Does it bring it too close so that we can’t let it go?

And yet we all know that we have gotten great comfort and peace from sharing with others here.  We understand each other like no one else can.  I have moved forward by leaps and bounds through the relationships we have all forged here.  I would not have made it this far without each and every one of you.

But researchers and experts tend to fall into believing it’s one way or the other.  Which is it?

I’d like to hear what you think.  Are we “bleeding the pain out” by sharing and talking over time?  Does it really help? Or is it better not to “rehearse the pain” and keep it at the forefront of our minds by talking and sharing about it?  I’ll voice my own opinion along with you in the comment section.


54 thoughts on “Bleeding the pain out or rehearsing old pain

  1. Liberty says:

    DJ…..this is so weird that you wrote this today. My H and I were talking about this very same thing yesterday in our daily morning discussion (i say discussion H says fight LOL) H says I am keeping the pain going by reading and blogging. He begged me to go one week without visiting any websites or reading any books. Hmmmm…..

    Well, I am here today so what does that tell you?! But I am not planning on telling him.

    I personally think it helps me to know that people have gone thru the same thing, or similiar. I like knowing what works and what does not work. It makes me feel “normal” that what I am feeling someone else described to a T.

    I may be a “newbie” 5 months now, but I have learned that I am stronger now than I was 3 months ago, I have learned there will be good days and many bad days, I have learned when to ask questions and when to be quite. I have learned forgiveness is fricking hard! and forgetting is even harder! But I have learned this from you and all that post.

    I have learned that I will never look at my H with the same trusting eyes again. I have learned that trust may never come back. I have learned that I may never feel secure again. I have learned that the person you love the most in this world can and does betray you….This I have learned from my H.

    So, I think my H has caused and contributed more to my pain than any website or blog.

    • Not Over It says:

      You are one smart cookie, Liberty. You have already come to understandings that took me a long time to grasp. I could not see outside that deep, dark hole to grab onto the realities about many things.

      Like you, I leaned on the words of bloggers who had experienced much before me. A few of them are still here, but most have healed to the point where they don’t feel the need to blog about it anymore. Some of them still visit here to help us along. I keep their blogs on my blogroll so that people can see the history and process that they went through, even though they don’t blog anymore. If their blogs are still up, though, they will answer if someone comments on it.

      And then there a couple of them who did not blog for a long time, but started posting again when they came to a place in life where they needed to share again. This is one heck of a long process. I think we will forever need some occasional time to reprocess and come to a new place of understanding about our marriages and our lives.

      Good point that your husband caused and contributed more to your pain than anything else… in my husband’s case, I am beginning to see that his guilt is so great that he runs from it. So I try to be gentle and reaffirming and I dont’ blog in front of him. He now recognizes the notification chime I use for WordPress, though, and he gets all huffy when he hears it on my phone. I guess I’ll change it… again.

      I’ll comment more a little later… I have some things to do right now.

      Thank you for your comment and your insights, Liberty.

      Love & prayers,

    • exercisegrace says:

      I am familiar with this! We are almost nine months out from d-day, and I have been reading certain blogs for a little longer than that. It seems like these things go in phases. My husband was initially very supportive of me reading blogs (I don’t write one….yet!) and actually bragged on me to our marriage counselor and said he was proud of the hard work I was putting into understanding both sides of the story. (I read a few wayward blogs as well, good insight). My online counselor (mmmmmwwwaaaahhhh!! DJ, you rock the recommendation!!!!) also thought this would be good for me, for all the obvious reasons. Support, not feeling alone, seeing that people DO get through this, etc. After a number of months went by, he seemed to think I should be “further along”. That perhaps I needed to stop spending so much time reading books, and reading blogs. So I actually did step back for a week (that was what I offered up) and it didn’t help me at all. I can’t say that I was a ton worse, but I was angry at our next marital session. I told him he was fortunate to have a wife who was willing and eager to try and understand this spectacular hell she had been thrown into unwillingly. I told him that I could be asking him to leave, and telling him that I don’t KNOW why he did it, and I could care even less. Would that reality suit him better? I told him I had been put through three years of pure hell. Drug along on a brutal journey. Never once was I consulted. He and his affair partner made all the decisions. The game was played by their rules. Well, I told him, this is MY journey now. I get to decide the path. I HAVE chosen to heal. I HAVE chosen to forgive (work in progress) him, I HAVE chosen to understand the vulnerabilities that caused this to happen, I HAVE chosen to stay in the marriage. I HAVE chosen to try to rebuild it into something even better and stronger. The tools I need to do all that are up to ME. Of course, I lean heavily on my marriage and individual counselors’ advice as well. But I think you get the picture!

      • Not Over It says:

        Hey EG – I think that during the whole first year, I never felt a need for time away. That usually happens in the second year. The pain lessens and you realize you are spending so much time talking about your husband’s affair and reliving the pain each time, that you are really “rehearsing the pain” so that it stays at the front of your mind, never having the chance to fade away. There is a balance that is different for each person, a time to share and talk, and a time that you need to be quiet and reflect alone, and also a time to just do something else for a while. For me, I only need away time occasionally.

        You are doing a great job at working through this mess, and I’m glad your husband is on board, at least for the most part. He is just reacting to his guilt and shame when he sees you blogging.

        Hope you are off to a good week. I was away for much of the weekend, except for actiing as referee between NM and Mad Cow, and I see you have a few more comments here… looking forward to catching up with you.

        Love & prayers,

  2. hiddinsight says:

    I think you are totally right about your husband feeling shame when you blog. He doesn’t understand, and he doesn’t have to. But you need this for you. I’m so glad you were able to explain it to him.

    I think you will have moments when you will be processing, and you will want to share and be understood by others who have been through it. Other times you will need a break, because you will be triggered. But other times (and this is the best part) you will realize that you will be encouraging someone else and not even realize that you have moved into a position of comfort and encouragement for someone who is going through what you have been through. You will remember the pain, but you won’t feel it like you used to.

    Only you can answer this question. Just listen to what your heart says. No one else can decide this for you.

    • Not Over It says:

      How blessed I am to have such a wise friend here online. Hiddinsight, you have a gift.

      I answered my coach with very similar ideas to yours:

      “For me, I think it’s a combination of both theories. There have been times when I’ve needed to talk about it a lot, in order to bleed it out. There have been other times when I knew I was rehearsing the pain and making it worse for myself. I needed to be away from it for a while to let my mind focus on the positive things in my life. These times do not run in a straight line from one to the other. They spiral around and around each other. Sometimes I need one, sometimes the other. Seeing which one I need is something you usually pick up on. You make little comments about it and it makes me think. Sometimes I think you are wrong and I keep on doing whatever it is I am doing. Most of the time you are right and I have to refocus.”

      Seeing which one I need is something Coach James picks up on. He make little comments about it to get me to stop and refocus

      You’re absolutely right that encouraging someone else brings me full circle. It’s still a little hard sometimes when their story is full of triggers for me personally, but it’s a little easier to come back from it each time. The more I share, the easier it gets. If I had I had to stop because I was rehearsing the pain, then it would fester and I would never recover. If I indulged in it all the time, I would never remember that life can be fun and that I have something to look forward to in life.

      I have this really amazing coach who tells me that we need balance. I always try to listen to him. Many thanks to Coach James, and many thanks to you, Hiddinsight. As we like to remind each other, we have both come such a long way.

      Love & prayers,

      • hiddinsight says:

        Yes, absolutely. I am soooooo thankful that you have found Coach James. Not everyone who is going through this has a coach who can see destructive patterns and offer another solution towards healing. But I believe so strongly that we all need it. Different levels, different times, maybe. I wish there were more people out there with the ability and willingness to help out in this way. Shhhh…don’t tell anybody, but I emailed my counselor today and asked him if there was some way I could help out. It’s so much more than “penance” to me…it breaks my heart when others are not doing well, but to be able to encourage…is more than I could ever deserve.

        Thanks for all your kind words. Sometimes I marvel at the miracle of being able to interact like this.


      • Not Over It says:

        Same here. Hugs to you, too…

  3. kayboo24 says:

    I am new to blogging and I told my husband from the beginning. At first I wasn’t going to, but quickly realized that keeping anything from him would be taking steps backwards and not moving forward. I don’t want him keeping secrets from me so I must not keep any from him. As I suspected he was on the fence about this, he sees how it coud be both a good and a bad thing. Depends on how you approach it. The one thing I know is that I am a different person now, I am forever changed by his actions, just like becoming a wife, a mother, many things have changed me over the years. This is no different.I do not feel today the way I did 6 months, or a year ago. It is a process, healing from an affair, and I believe we owe it to ourselves to do what we need to accomplish this.

    • Not Over It says:

      So true, Kayboo. We need to do what is necessary to move forward and heal. And it can be both good and bad. It’s good that we share and learn from one another. We give and receive validation for our feelings and our pain. It can be bad if we don’t use this validation to heal, and instead never move away from hashing and rehashing only the pain and we never give ourselves a chance to heal. We just need to remember balance in all things.

      I’m glad you are fitting right in with our blogging community. Hope all is going well…

      Love & prayers,

  4. SHAPE says:

    Like many others who have responded, I think we need to do both. It depends for me on how I am feeling. At times, I know I have needed to read the blogs, maybe not even respond, but at least read them. They help me to know we have more similarities than differences in how we deal with this and affirm for me that I am responding in a “normal” way. Also when I hear about how the guilty spouse reacts in similar ways to how my spouse reacts, it is comforting to know he isn’t the only one who tries to “bury it,” is “ashamed of himself,” and not really communicative either.
    Then, there are other times that I don’t want to read about it and want to take a break from it, but that is more rare. I think I get more help from reading about how others are dealing with this, where they are in their journey. Reading their progress helps me to make progress as well.

    • Not Over It says:

      Hi SHAPE – Yep, I guess we all need both. I like what you said about it being more rare to need a break. I think that’s very true, at least for me it is. I do need breaks, but not that often. It is more often the case where I need to get it out and talk about it.

      And yes, I very truly am blessed by reading about others and how they are doing. I just commented on a new blogger’s site – ishappinesspossible. He is trying to make things right with his wife after his affair. It’s so nice to read positive things about a wayward spouse.

      Hope you have a pleasant night, SHAPE…

      Love & prayers,

    • exercisegrace says:

      Very well said. there is a need for both. In the beginning there was just howling pain, and I did little else other than read blogs and “after the affair” type books. I grasped a few life preservers (DJ, you are one of them) before the pain and grief and hurt pulled me completely under to a very dark place. Other times, I know I need to step back a little. I know that keeping the pain too close, is like hugging a ratty, stinky security blanket. To let it go entirely would feel like free-falling to me right now. Liberty, I hear you above when you say you don’t see him with the same eyes. I am so there. And so broken-hearted about it. I know my husband deeply regrets what he did. He keeps telling me that his love for me is the same as ever, and that in fact he appreciates what he has in our marriage and our family now more than ever. He says that it scares him to think about what he almost threw away.
      Those words should bring tears to my eyes. They don’t. I received them silently. He knows (because he asked) if my love for him has changed. I looked at him very calmly and said: I have never stopped loving you, I fought for you for three years. But my love for you HAS changed. It has been wounded and damaged in ways I am not even sure I could explain. It’s beyond the issue of trust. It’s beyond hurt. He stole so much from me and gave it to another woman. So much that will never be just mine again. I can forget for hours at time, and then something triggers it and it comes rushing back. A horrible hideous realization.

      • Liberty says:

        Exercisegrace…..I am really relating to your comments tonight. How can it be okay for a few hours and then so bad again! I had a bad day and everytime I look at H I get so sad and angry. I have asked him a dozen questions today….I don’t know why!

        It certainly is a rollar coaster ride for sure. I just hope I get to the point of more good days than bad. I wish I could look at him and not remember what he did.

      • exercisegrace says:

        Liberty, I wish I had an answer. Our journey has been one step forward and then two or three back. Some nights I want to cuddle up to him t o fall asleep and other nights I sleep as far away from him as I can get. I keep picturing him letting his slut spend the night on business trips with him. UGH. Sometimes I look at him and think WHO are YOU?
        I have a self imposed two day waiting time now for questions. this gives a chance to see if I “really” want the answers or if its just part of the hurt and anger bubbling up. I also imagine what I am going to do, feel and say with this new answer.. How it fits into my world now. Sometimes it helps (reality was not as hot as my imagination.) Sometimes it hurts.

        I long to see him as the man I fell in love with 30 years ago. But right now those feelings are either gone entirely, or so buried under grief that they simply are not accessible. I know it makes him sad. I Know it hurts him. He says he just wants me to be happy. That he’d do anything to make me happy. he asks what he can do or say to help me. He wants our old life back, the old me back. Ii told him she is dead. He killed her in the basement guestroom while he was doing his slut. I told him I don’t know what is left inside except tremedous pain, but I can’t give him the love I used to give him. It’s not there. That makes him so sad, and when I start to feel sorry for him, I am crushed by the reality that he CHOSE this.
        I could take a metal baseball bat out into the driveway. Everyday for a year I could beat the snot out of the SUV. At the end of hte year would you feel sorry for me if i sit around and whined that my beautful new car didn’t look so hot anymore, and barely ran. That I wailed about how much I wanted my brand new beautiful car back? Pity welling up in you yet? Prolly not. Choices. Choices.
        My counselor says that not everyone has a strong moral compass. Not everyone has the same level of inner strength. You may not believe it but the betrayed spouse is usually the strongest person in the marriage. In spite of all that life threw at us, we chose NOT to cut and run. That’s something to be proud of. Something to hold on to.

  5. Susie says:

    I am post three years from D day. And I am not over it! I read something about affairs, emotional growth, healing, recovery, depression, narcissim, etc. etc. just about every day. I don’t write much or share my story, I’m not quite sure why. But what I do know is that I have learned so much more from you and all of you other survivors out there, than I have learned from my own counselor. I have learned that my feelings are normal, that the stages come and go, that other people have triggers, songs they can’t listen to, and I can go on and on.

    For my own selfish reasons, I hope DJ that you continue writing. I come to your site just about every day because I relate to your wisdom and feelings. But if you choose to not continue I will understand. There was a point where I could not go to counseling anymore.

    There is one thing that my counselor said to me after each session and that was, “is there something we should’ve talked about today that we didn’t?” This always got me thinking. I would go home and think what does she think I should feel? What should I be telling her that I’m not? Is there something I’m hiding that I don’t know? Anyway, it would get me looking deeper into myself. That is one thing that this site does for me too.

    My husband does know that I read and journal my feelings just about every day. He has never asked me to quit, but I’m sure deep down he would like it ALL to just go away. I feel this is because he does not understand the depth of the hurt and pain that he has caused. I don’t hide my journal or my books or my feelings about anything. He deserves my honesty.

  6. Susie says:

    I had just finish my two cents and something came to my mind. Most of us are keeping our husbands secrets. And here there are no secrets. We are in good company to release all our pain. Maybe that is why we all continue?
    Have some fun!!

    • Not Over It says:

      Hi Susie – good to hear from you again! Some people don’t feel a need to share their own story – they just need to feel like they belong to a group that shares their feelings. It seems that is you, and I’m glad that you are a part of our community. When you do share, it is always something that I can relate to, and you always say something that makes me smile.

      My husband would love for me to quit and never mention anything about his affair ever again. You and I know that’s not possible. For me, our blogging community is a win-win situation. I share, everybody shares, and we all help each other get through it. I find that so reassuring as I face my husband’s affair, which is a complete no-win situation.

      I love how you say that we are keeping our husbands’ secrets, but here there are none. It’s very comforting. I think I will sleep well tonight.

      Thank you!

      Love & prayers,

  7. kali4ever says:

    I don’t think you can bleed out the pain when it is ongoing, nor is it really old pain then…just familiar pain. I am almost 2 years out from 3rd D-day and last contact (as far as I know), and I am feeling worse lately, not better. I am aware that my H still feels that he had an emotional connection with OW that he does not with me, so he remains ambivalent although he is also extremely frustrated that I am not “over it.” I can’t be over it as long as I know he still idealizes his time with the OW and compares how he felt with her with how he feels with me. I feel H loves me but that I am not his “one,” and that breaks my heart anew every day. At some point I should probably move on, but that is also unimaginable to me because he has been the greatest joy in my life and I don’t want to say goodbye to him. But now I am feeling such pain, and I don’t know how to make it go away. I don’t want to be someone he settles for or stays with because he doesn’t want to hurt me any more than he already has. I think we know when we’re done with these blogs and forums. Until then, we should feel our feelings and keep sharing I think.

    • Not Over It says:

      Hi Kali – good point. My coach was indeed referring to an event that is in the past, but for many of us, it is not entirely in the past.

      It seems that the affair fog and the idealization of the affair partner can continue long after the affair is over – maybe even forever if the cheater does not study and look into themselves. They need to figure out how they could do such a grievous thing and how to better themselves in the future. In this process, they usually come to see that the affair partner is not so special and that the life they thought they could have was nothing more than a fantasy, a puff of smoke that went poof. Their real life spouse is most often where they can live the dream. Hiddinsight, who was the wayward spouse in her marriage, did a wonderful post on that subject last week. She is living a wonderful dream now with her husband. Have you read it? Here is the link:

      You sound so much like me, Kali. I have felt the very same way. I’m still working through that, and yes, because of that the wound does not heal.

      Hope you are doing well, in spite of the pain. I don’t have as much pain as before, but I struggle with depression. A very good thing I am doing for that is directing our school’s Christmas program. It was dumped on me but I am finding it to be very fulfilling. I am singing Christmas songs all day long, and it’s hard to remain depressed when you are dancing and singing about Jesus and Christmas.

      Love & prayers,

      • kali4ever says:

        DJ – thanks for your reply. Every time I read your blog, I feel better, and it reminds me that despite the pain of being human, I am really thankful to be alive. And the link you shared captured that feeling perfectly, even though written by a wayward spouse. In the end, as others have said, we are not all that different…just struggling to make sense of the world in the best way we can.

        I had somewhat of a breakthrough with my husband. I think I finally FELT (not intellectually understood) what he is missing with me, and although it scared me to death, I felt compassion for him, and a deep desire to grow, not only for him, but also for myself. I grew up in a less than emotionally healthy environment (father was “functioning” alcoholic and mother was enabling but extremely angry and defensive most of the time). I realize that in high-stakes conversations, I always default to the hurt little girl, lashing out while also trying to protect myself. The result of this is that my husband’s feelings never get fleshed out, he always (or mostly) has to react to my issues. He is yearning for emotional dialogue that is more balanced, and more tenderly loving. And I realize that I desperately want that too!

        While his affair was indeed a fantasy overall, I see now how it nourished him in a way I have not been able to, and that helps me forgive him. I am scared about learning a new way to relate, and whether I can really learn to do it, but also determined and hopeful, and thankful that he loves me deeply and wants to be on this journey together. He knows he also has his “shadows” to acknowledge and work on, so we’re trying to learn and grow together. Scary but also exciting!

        A lot of my insight came from reading the book My Lover, Myself by David Kantor. I would highly recommend it!!!

      • Not Over It says:

        Oh, Kali – I am so glad for you. I have to admit I cried when I read your comment yesterday – I even copied it and sent it to my coach. He wrote back, saying, “Wow, Kali’s feelings are A LOT like yours. That must have stung.” It did, but in a way that made me feel validated.

        It gives me hope to read your comment today. In my case, my husband is the one who had a dysfunctional childhood and he lashes out the way you say you do. I had a difficult childhood with a disabled dad and stressed-out mom, so I tend to want to make everyone happy all the time. While that can have its positives, it also keeps me from sharing my pain easily. You wouldn’t think so to read my blog, huh… and my husband thinks that when I do show my pain, that I am just torturing him. He doesn’t see how it affects me in every way, in every area, in every moment of my life.

        We will make it, Kali. I’m so glad you have some direction on this. I will pick up a copy of that book… thank you.

        Love & prayers,

    • kali4ever says:

      DJ, There was no reply button on your response to my last comment, so I hope it is OK to post this follow-up note here….I was touched that you cried when you read my post and also sorry that I made you cry! I often feel like you have expressed exactly what I have been feeling too.

      One thing I realized that s that I need to be gentle with the hurt little girl “shadow” inside me instead of being angry and punitive with her. She already feels bad enough about herself, so being angry with myself for one of my “episodes” only makes it worse. Now I am trying to reassure this shadow instead of being angry – to remind myself (and the shadow) that I was a good and innocent little girl, and my father didn’t pay much attention to me because of his own issues, not because anything was wrong with me. So I remind myself (and this shadow) that I was and am deeply loved, not just by my husband, but also many other people, and that I can listen to difficult emotions without losing it. I hope to be able to catch myself before I go too far down the rabbit hole, but if I mess up, I am going to be gentle with myself, pick myself up, and try again.

      I am also trying to think about the little boy inside my husband (am even carrying a picture of him as a little boy on my iPhone) to remind me that he has his own shadows to contend with and that I need to be gentle with him and his shadows too. Maybe this might help you understand your husband’s reactions better too. While he will have to take responsibility for his own “shadow work,” being gentle and reassuring with him as he learns to heal himself may touch him in a profound way.

      And we do need to remind ourselves that our husbands voted with their feet, that at some deep level they knew (and continue to know) that we are the real thing, not their affair partner (by the way, my husband’s affair partner was an old girlfriend too…yuck!). We stayed to work on ourselves and the relationship when it would have been much easier to walk away – we are the strong, loving women they need and want!!

      You and the other posters are in my thoughts, and I am sending much love your way!


      • Not Over It says:

        Your comment came out in exactly the right spot. Good one!

        I understand your point. I sometimes see the little boy in my husband, afraid and alone in his guilt and shame, desperate to feel needed and respected again. I think I’ll go look for a picture, too, of when my husband was a little boy. Great idea…

        Love & prayers to you, too –

      • exercisegrace says:

        What a great idea….a picture. I really like that. I do at times feel tender towards my husband, but I think my own pain drowns it out. He CHOSE this. I did not. The fact that he came back to me on his own, while I suspected an EA, but did not know it actually was EA/PA and I never “caught” him, means something to me too. He chose me. But then the very next thought in my head was……well, didn’t he “choose” me 25 years ago when he married me?
        Sorry, I am struggling lately. It seems like a never-ending rollercoaster ride.

  8. Doug says:

    Interesting subject and certainly one that hits close to home. There have certainly been times (many in fact) that Linda and I have both wanted to stop blogging all together. Reading and re-reading the pain and suffering of others really can keep our own pain top of mind. This can especially been an issue for Linda and as a result she has backed off just a bit. She reads the comments and forum posts, but doesn’t comment herself quite as much. Instead she chooses to help others with her mentoring and writing.

    Over all though (as we head into year three of doing this), our blog has been extremely therapeutic for each of us. We both continue to learn and grow as a result of it. We have discussions almost daily on issues and comments that arise from our site. Nine out of ten of those discussions are beneficial to our relationship.

    One never knows for sure, but I venture to guess that if we never did the blog, read the books, bought the programs and communicated with others in the same boat, our marriage may have ended three years ago.

    I also think that every cheater should read at least one blog regularly as there is so much to learn and understand about how cheating affects a person. This can possibly be the impetus for them to begin to look within and make some necessary changes in their lives.

    How long we continue to blog is a question. At some point we will feel that it is time to stop. We have no desire to become the next Ann and Scott Bercht – doing weekend intensives and such. Though Linda has said often that when her teaching days are over she would like to be a counselor/therapist. We shall see!

    Sorry for the ramble.

    • Not Over It says:

      Not rambling at all, Doug… it’s very interesting to read your perspective on EAJ. I’m glad it has been beneficial to you and Linda. It certainly has been for me. So you think you would probably not be together today if not for starting up the blog? I also think that if I had not found EAJ at the very beginning – just a few days after my Dday – that I would have left before trying to save my marriage at all. As a newbie who was reeling in shock, your site showed me that divorce was not my only option, and that there was help and support for people like me.

      I wish my husband would read about infidelity and, like you said, actually read some blogs. My coach mentioned just yesterday that he hopes my husband reads my blog so that he will understand how I feel. He has read it a few times, but he can’t handle it. He either gets really angry or really depressed, and he shuts down. I guess I don’t hold much back.

      Linda would be an awesome therapist. So would you.

      Love & prayers,

      • Doug says:

        Hey DJ, Thanks for the kind words and all.

        I’m not saying that we would not be together today solely due to the blog, but also because we did so much other self-therapy – books, programs, etc. However, the blog (among other things) helped me to get my head out of my ass completely and has been an invaluable source of support and therapy ever since.

        Keep up the good work!


      • Not Over It says:

        Ah, sorry, Doug – oversimplifying your comment. I understand. Yes, in my case as well, EAJ gave me the start I needed and it helped to shape my progress, but I have done much to work on myself and my marriage. Books, blogs, counseling, online coaching – they have all helped. I have a special spot in my heart, though, for Emotional Affair Journey, Coach James and Marriage Sherpa, and my friends here on my blog. How grateful I am to have found you all.

        Thank you, Doug, for your kind words as well. It means a lot coming from you.


  9. wallybear12 says:

    I love your references to All In and petreaus my husband just cringes when I make a comment about this public scandal too close to home I guess.
    I personally have found that I am helped by reading the blogs and the more I read and go through the process the less pain I feel.
    There are times I take a break.
    I don’t listen to my husband about it because he is not doing what he can to help me, if he was I would be further along, so I don’t take his comments as helpful advice.

    • Not Over It says:

      Haha … All In, huh? I’m laughing again just thinking about it…

      It seems a lot of husbands don’t do what they should to help repair the damage that they caused. You’re absolutely right – I will no longer take my husband’s comments as helpful advice.

      Thank you!

  10. When I found your blog I think I posted to you about your title. The same thing is relevant regarding this topic.
    I would say more, but it seems understood that it is not one or the other, but both.

    You do not get over this, you go through it. By going through you will bleed out and you will need to staunch the flow and then it will resume. Eventually most of you will stop bleeding out and you will no longer have a need to return to a support group–at least not as a victim.

    I have made a career out of this. But I do not blog about my situation–other than to reference it in examples. I blog to educate and guide others, to answer their questions and lead them to understanding. I did my bleeding out. That is done, but I’m not gone.

    • Not Over It says:

      Yes, RCR, I remember your comment about Not Over It. We will never be over it but we can work through it. My coach says he sees a change in my writing and he thinks I am moving away from being the victim. Sometimes I fall back there, but I am moving forward.

      I’m glad your bleeding out is done, and you have made something positive come out of your experience. I remember reading your comments often on EAJ. You are an great example to others.

      Love & prayers,

  11. Paula says:

    As with all the others, there is balance, and need. You need somewhere to bleed, but you also need balance, and to know when the “bleeding” is not slowing. I think, as we progress along this journey, we go through many, many stages, and sometimes, the blogging, and sharing, fair pours from us in torrents, and at others, we are quieter. I came to the realisation that going over and over and over the pain, and the past, was becoming detrimental to my mental health, and so made some changes (asked him to leave, stopped constantly looking for a magic pill to “fix” it) in order to change my habits, including my habits of mind. This helped ME, I am not suggesting it will be the answer for everyone, not at all. It gave me time to re-group, re-think who I am, what I want, and what value I was going to place on myself in the future. I valued myself pretty highly before his affair, but in the aftermath allowed myself to become somewhat of a victim, and I didn’t like her one little bit! Re-connecting with him since, has done a lot of good. He took quite some time to fully feel my pain, he was pretty good to start with, but it was from two years out and on that he truly made himself vulnerable to me, and was able to express himself, and his love for me in terms that made sense to me, and felt truly heartfelt. I found sometimes it did me good to sit with the pain, alone, to truly feel it, instead of pouring it out to strangers online! Not to dwell on it, or wallow in it, but to feel it, allow it to settle, to help me come to terms with it. Probably doesn’t really make a lot of sense to many, but I needed to give the constant blogging a break, as I felt it was like running around like a mad thing, panicking, somewhat, when I needed to remain calm, keep a cool head, perfom CPR and call the ambulance, lol. But, I am still here, too 🙂 and doing okay….

    • SHAPE says:

      Your comment that it did you “good to sit with the pain alone, to truly feel it, …. not to dwell on it , or wallow in it, but to feel it, allow it to settle,” helped you to come to terms with it brought this quote to mind that I read a few months ago: “healing hurts…but hurting heals.” I have often repeated that quotation to myself as I was “feeling the pain” and “sitting with it alone.” Sometimes that brought relief. But at other times the need to read that someone else felt this same kind of pain and betrayal was of great comfort also. I think there is probably a need to have both options that we can turn to.

    • Not Over It says:

      I also love the way you put it, Paula. I spend a few minutes every day, just sitting alone with my pain. Sometimes it’s not very painful anymore, and sometimes it hurts like heck. But at no time does it hurt like it did at the beginning.

      We are all moving forward. I love it.


  12. nmwf1 says:

    I stopped blogging for a short while, not that long ago, I think it is an outlet to talk about the things that are bothering you without having to reiterate them on a daily basis with your spouse, who is well aware of how you feel, but even they need a break from it all. I blogged anger on Doug’s blog about the real reason why men cheat. I said that I did not want my husbands affair to be a part of my marriage on a daily basis like his and Linda’s seemed to be. (even though it clearly has made its mark) but a blog is a place to vent without keeping it at a constant for front to your life., blog and get understanding from others opinions. And give your mind a break, IF ONLY FOR A MOMENT. If I did not vent here, my marriage would be in turmoil all of the.time, because I let things build up in my mind, Sometimes i explode on my husband and sometimes I run to the computer. Anyway it seems to help at times.

    PS DJ, If Luck was a raindrop,I’d send you a shower, If Hope was a minute I’d send you an hour, If Happiness was a leaf I’d give you a tree, And if you need a friend, you’ll always have me.
    That is what we are all here for, people who understand and create a bond.

    • Not Over It says:

      Oh NM – you made my day. I am so blessed to have you and everyone here as my comrades in our journey.

      Hope you have a wonderful weekend… is your husband home already?

      Love & prayers,

      • nmwf1 says:

        Hi Dj, My husband had to work thru the weekend so that he could come home on Tuesday for Thanksgiving Holiday. (thanks for asking) I was feeling down last nite as you can see, I wrote comments here. Maybe had a bit of an attitude. I’m sorry at this point in my healing, I do not share the same compassion for those mentioned as HTRA does. I don’t believe the AP’s would hesitate for a minute to do the same thing all over again if given the chance. I feel that my husbands E AP would jump at the chance to have my husband back in her life. So no I don’t feel that way about them at all. They simply have no morals what so ever. They don’t care about who they hurt or step on to get what they want, and they certainly don’t care about what pain they caused you, and they certainly don’t have compasion for us either. You know it and I know it. Intimately it is our spouses decision to honor and love us, we cannot keep them from infidelity if that is what they choose, it is what we choose to do with the information that is our decision. It is our spouses actions and remorse and love that keep us from thowing in the towel. And for me, loving this man since i was a teenager, and sharing 34 years of a wonderful marriage with him, and haveing two wonderful kids. And my first grandbaby. I loved my life before this happened, And I still want to grow old with him, he is the love of my life, and he shows me everyday that I am still the love of his. This glitch in our marriage will pass, but not without pain, and resentment issues that I am working on. Thx Dj just venting again. Feeling alone today… Have a good day.

      • Nmwf1,
        I share your feelings…I think.
        Some alienators are without remorse or empathy for their actions. Some may feel remorse as they commit them or upon discovery. But so many others are too selfish to care for the pain and damage they are causing—along with the betraying spouse.
        Do I share compassion for them? That is a goal of mine—and I may at times succeed and at others fail. But I do not let me compassion cloud my judgment of the situation and their place in it. The alienator in my situation faked a pregnancy to get Sweetheart to come back to her the first time he left. Later she threatened indirect suicide and later we had to have the police remove her from our property. She was not worthy of trust and I doubt she is worthy of trust now several years later. I believe she is damaged and possibly a borderline personality. Her morals are questionable and her only goal throughout the infidelity was to steal Sweetheart. I pray for her. But I think it would take a lot for her to ever feel genuine remorse for her actions and become a trustworthy in any relationship. That is sad.

  13. This is what I wrote the first day I started blogging: I decided to journal my journey because I believe that all things do work for good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose. Some day God will use the brokenness for His glory. Someday maybe I can help someone else walk through their pain and maybe someone will read this that can help me make sense of all of this and show me hope that this marriage can be healed. I still hold this as true. I have found that even though everyone of us have different stories we all share the same pain. I also blogged knowing some day I would write a book about this and blogging helps me keep my thoughts in order. I have also learned a lot reading other’s blogs and received comfort and hope through comments received. I don’t think I will be here for a long time but who knows. When I was doing a particular weight loss program, I blogged almost every day. When I reached my goal, I blogged through transition but finally chose to stop. My husband asked me yesterday if I still felt like I needed to blog or if I was getting close to stopping. He knows that blogging has always been therapeutic to me and he knows that I came here for support but I have moved along very quickly in the healing process. Not that I have arrived. I can only live one day at a time but I keep my eyes on the goal………what can be and what lies ahead.
    When I read new bloggers stories my heart is moved and I feel their pain, but miraculously I am not feeling my pain anymore.
    The most awesome thing that has happened to me here is the compassion I feel towards those who are the waywards and the “other women/men”. As a betrayed spouse I didn’t think I would ever even read their blogs be cause I was angry at what each represented. But curiosity go the better of me.. It hit me the other day that we are all messed up broken people trying to figure out this thing called life.

    • Not Over It says:

      I have also been able to empathize with some waywards here. Most of them did not wish to hurt anyone, and they are people just like my husband. I would hope that people would be kind to my husband even if they found out what he had done.

      Love & prayers,

  14. nmwf1 says:

    Its kind of a catch 22 cause “most” spouses who cheat didn’t wish to hurt the one they love, but they did. Although you can empathize with them because of there remorse and shame ,somewhat , it doesn’t change the fact that they had little regard for any one Else’s feelings at the time of their affair, hind site is 20/20 its a shame they couldn’t see as clear before they stepped over the line. Actually they were not naive. They could see just as clear, they just ignored it.

  15. nmwf1 says:

    I wanted to say, aside from this blog, nobody knows what has happened in our marriage, not our grown children, not other family members, not friends, not anyone we know, I kept it private because I did not want anyone to know, I will admit, pride is part of it, I do not want to look like a fool, or have people wander why i couldn’t keep him happy, But most of all as painful as this experience is, I still love my husband very deeply and I did not want anyone judging him for his infidelity either. I didn’t see the point in letting anyone know, it would only make our healing process that much more painful than it already is. ( its not about saving face),. I just didn’t want anyone asking me things about what was going on in my marriage, it just gives them something to talk about behind our backs. This is a private matter, that him and I have to overcome. That is why this blog is truly a blessing.

  16. nmwf1 says:

    By the way H,T Rise above,

  17. nmwf1 says:

    Opps! sorry, HTRA, anyway it is nice that you are a forgiving person and have faith and hope and all. ( i might be a hypocrite) but so be it., First of all , I DO have some compassion for wayward s, only for the remorse they feel and the pain that they are clearly in for betraying the one they love. I do not have compassion at all for them for having made, a piss pore decision of cheating. However I do not have ANY compassion what so ever for the other Men/Women in the scenarios. I can say that I feel compassion for my husbands pain, when he looks at me with sincere regret and remorse for what he did. , I feel nothing but anger and disgust for the other woman who knew she was messing with a married man. .And all others who get involved with married people. They know its not right ,(But they have NO FUCKING MORALS). . ( not that the wayward do either) but i am married to a man who became wayward, I have to live and deal with that every day, But shame on all of them, (Wayward and the other men/woman) . All they do is cause tremendous pain for those who are faithful. We are messed up and broken people alright, but its because others caused it. And I for one still hate what they all represent, ITS CALLED PAIN!!!

    • exercisegrace says:

      nmwf1, I have to agree. I can have compassion to a point. We are all human and flawed. But here it is……most people would never knowingly hurt a child, right? But when someone gets involved with a married man (or woman) that is EXACTLY what they do. Most of these cheating spouses have kids (of whatever age) who get hurt in the process. It takes someone who is willing and able to check whatever morals and values they have, at the door. I will never understand why someone would choose to get involved with a married man. And the “it just happened” excuse is just that. An excuse, and a poor one. They choose to flirt at work, they choose to send texts, emails, skype, facebook messages, and whatever other forms of digital communication they use. Knowing EVERY step of the way it’s wrong. But they choose to be selfish. They ignore what it is doing to the cheating spouse’s family. My kids used to cry and beg me to tell them that their dad wasn’t going to leave. It really was hard on them.
      Personally, I would be insulted if a married man hit on me. I have said it before, but it’s worth repeating. I don’t need to poach someone else’s relationship to get a man. I am quite capable of finding and building a relationship with someone who has the freedom to do so. I don’t need to take table scraps and live my life as a shameful secret.

      • Not Over It says:

        I love it! I’m going to turn your last paragraph into a post in the near future.

        On compassion – absolutely, EG. I vacilate between feeling compassion and feeling like I want to haul off and hit something.

        In the case of cheaters who are not remorseful or who continue in the affair after the spouse finds out, I have no sympathy. Your husband’s ex-OW and my husband’s ex-OW are among these.

        For those who managed to get their heads out of their asses, I empathize. Doug at EAJ, Scott Bercht, Rick Reynolds – they are among these.

        I think our entertainment media sends the message that you cannot help who you fall in love with and what you do when you are attracted to someone. It gives people the impression that it can’t be helped. That is crock of s— to me. That can be a whole ‘nother post, too.


  18. nmwf1 says:

    No actually its called SHATTERED LIVES!!!!!!

  19. Paula says:

    nmwf1, I do envy you that no one knows. Our whole town, and then some, know about my partner’s 15 month long sexual affair with a single “friend” of mine. Yes, feeling the fool, feeling like I have been so judged by so many (gosh, she must be a dragon/slack in the sack, STUPID, etc…..) I have lost almost all of my friends over this, mostly I believe because of that judgement. They are scared of me now, scared in case it is contagious. Scared to be around a couple who have had such a blow. Judging me as weak because I stayed with this cheat. It has been a hard part of this journey for me, as I was a very social, fun-loving person. We have been together twice as long as most of our contemporaries, 25 years soon, most of our friends are 10 years or less (we were young!) My partner has also been ostracized by many. In some ways, it has been good. If people are such poor friends they cannot support us through this, and admire our love and strength in staying together, and working through this pain, I’d rather they were not my friends! We “get” each other, we always have, we’ve always been close, very close, and my partner says he is kind of glad, as we are able to spend a lot of time together again. We really do share a very special bond that has been severely damaged byt his actions, but it’s still intact! That is not to say that our lives have not also been shattered, I will never be the same again, and I would have liked to be, we had it all! The new version is lesser, not better, like some people say/think. I still grieve that loss daily.

    • nmwf1 says:

      Hi Paula, We all have skeletons in our closets and this one is mine. Sounds like you live in a small town, so do I, Really people in small towns love to talk, well gossip is more the word. And family is even worse, because most of my in-laws have opinions about ever one else in the family, they love to gossip about the others. And I was not going to fall prey to that. And certainly not give them the satisfaction anyway because my sister in laws, and my brother in laws have all had there share of problems in there marriages and they pretty much let everyone else know the details. They have always been somewhat jealous of my husband and I. My side of the family, lives in other parts of the country, but my son who’s 23 still lives at home cause he is not married and we deal with cattle and stuff. My daughter and her husband and my new grand daughter live about 5 miles from us, I chose to not tell my kids because I did not want my husband to have the added shame from them. Even though I was angry enough at the time, I did not want them to have a shattered image of their father, what good would come of it except pain and worry. I also didn’t want them to feel compelled to give me advise, because it would just bring turmoil. It just wasn’t worth it to me, They would never look at their father in the same way. I did not want that. The only thing that every one would ask about was how I was losing so much weight. I would just fib to them and tell them I exercise a lot and went on a diet. Neither of which is the truth. Stress is the culprit. I stay away from everyone when I am having trouble coping,(maybe they suspect something, maybe they don’t, but they can guess all they want.) I do have a problem with self esteem though, so it bothers me when everyone tells me OMG you lost so much weight, you look so good. ( If they only knew) (i would be proud, if the reason wasn’t so painful.) Anyway I was never in terrible shape but I was about 40 lbs overweight, I went from a size 14 to a size 6. Thanks to good old stress. But one consolation i guess is that the other day, my sons friends tried to guess my age and they all thought i was about 39 or 40, That made my day since i am 53. Anyway enough about that. So anyway; As you know Dj’s daughter found out by mistake, because she did not realize that she was home in the downstairs basement apartment. when she had a raging melt down with her husband upstairs. i know that was painful for her. But in your case it sounds like the people around you knew before you did. is that the case? I would hope not. That would be even harder to deal with than finding out yourself and then other people finding out. Anyway have a good one. just venting as usual.

  20. Paula says:

    nmwf1, thanks, yes. Thankfully no one knew about the affair during it – that would have really broken my heart all over again if my friends knew, and didn’t tell me! My partner was very, very discreet. This woman lives in a city 3 hours from our small town, but I went to school with her, same year (she is a year older than me, I was pushed ahead a year) in this same small town I came back to live in after travel and uni. They never met in, or anywhere near the town, all very cloak and dagger stuff, as he said, that was how he “got away with it” for so long, by being EXTREMELY careful. She was my friend, and therefore it made it easier, they just pretended nothing was going on, so he would talk to me about what she was up to, where she was (she travels internationally a lot for work, and we were all “friends” – yeah, right!) she brought her small son on holidays with us, many times, at my request, all normal here, see! So there was “nothing to hide” as such, except that he was f^*&ing her. When he ended it, and she realised he really meant it, she told everyone, including me, via text message. Psycho thing that she is. So, everyone immediately thought I was an idiot. My children do know, because 10 months out, we separated, and I had to explain it in very kind and loving tones to the children still at home, and of course the one grown up and gone (they were gonna talk, and they go to school in this same town!) I explained lovingly that he had got himself into a terrible state, had a breakdown, and made some hurtful (to us all, including himself) decisions, that he regretted very, very deeply, and that we all still loved each other a lot, and it wasn’t about blame, or lack of love, that I had tried my very best to stay with him, because I still loved him, despite me thinking that I could never love someone so damn selfish. They were encouraged to talk to either of us wiwth any concerns. I wish I hadn’t been so exposed. My heartbreak has to have been obvious, the weight loss, the lack of social interaction, etc. I do feel like a fool, I wish I didn’t, because I did nothing wrong except trust this love of mine. (And his skanky friend, lol!)

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