So...I haven't been here for a while. I'm right at 3 years

So...I haven't been here for a while. I'm right at 3 years in from discovering an affair. It's been a rollercoaster of emotions. Lots of PTSD. Not much fighting, ya know, but an overwhelming sense of loss and grief is the best way I can describe it. It took a while for us to get on the same page, but we decided to stay together. Even got married about a year after d-day.

Thing, things are better (different), I suppose. We're 3 years into affair recovery. We've both had individual therapy, but not together... which is probably needed.
I'm feeling really frustrated lately. Pretty low at times. I don't think he's cheating, but there is this nagging voice in the back of my head now that says like, "Well, you never know for sure."
I don't know what to do with that.
And as much as I've been able to forgive and move on about that period in our relationship, I'm still haunted everyday by things he said and the way he treated me during that time. The whole thing really destroyed me. When I ask him about things he said then, he says things like, "I wanted you to hate me." So he said and did a lot of hurtful things to get me to hate him so I'd move on, but now says he didn't mean any of that stuff... I don't know what to do with all that either. I don't fully believe anything he says anymore...even when he says he loves me and wants so much for our future and happiness...blah blah blah. I just can't accept it like I once did.
I'd just like to know if it stays this way or if this is just kind of a rut in the recovery.

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Leahzan's picture
Oct 11

@freefallin I avoided individual therapy for that very reason. I knew that if I started individual counseling it would be the end of my marriage. I just wasn't ready yet. But, when our couples counselor told me to stop trying to so hard. She basically said I was trying for both of us. So, I knew it was time. If we stayed together I just couldn't sit and wait, I needed action. And, it was clear I wasn't going to get that. In my case, I knew what I needed to do, but I needed time to process the trauma and get to where I wasn't just operating on raw emotion.

sunfloweraf's picture
Oct 13

I’m sorry you have been experiencing these ups and downs for such a long time... swaying precariously back and forth between love and terror is so very painful and exhausting. Your experience seems to share some commonalities with mine, so I wondered if this article might be helpful for you, as it started a big shift for my husband and me. It describes attachment styles, and how when two people have different attachment styles, they can both want the relationship to work out, but they keep approaching it in two different ways, often using seemingly opposite strategies. One combination of these strategies is “if you could just be consistently close to me, I would feel safe and then I could count on you”, and the other is “if you could just give me plenty of space and some closeness, i would feel safe and thenI could count on you”. My husband and I work with a counselor who does emotionally-focused therapy, which has been eye-opening and supportive for both of us. A good EFT counselor provides “relentless empathy” for both people, which has been life-changing for us to each feel validated while also being gently supported to gain insight about ourselves and each other, and to learn new strategies. We have a lot of work to do but seem to be on more solid ground lately. If this article is helpful, there’s also a part 2.

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devastatedinptbo's picture
Oct 13

@sunfloweraf Thanks for sharing all the recent attachment articles. I’ve found them really helpful. It’s been quite a while now since we did our counselling with our EFT and read Sue Johnson’s book. This past few weeks I’ve been struggling. After spending a week away visiting my husband’s family for the first time in 5 years, and seeing the avoidance and dismissive traits played out repeatedly amongst most of them, I came home emotionally exhausted! We’ve had a tough couple of weeks processing that visit. I saw him regress into some old avoidance and dismissive habits, and found myself falling back into anxious and angry patterns. These articles have helped me see the cycle of detachment happening more clearly and we’ve actually had some good discussions about it all the last couple of days.


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