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Healing after taking them back (or not)

Mr. Brightside

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Has anyone ever had dreams/nightmares reliving the cheating event (or similar) to being cheated on? It's as if my body wants me to continue being on the roller coaster ride of emotions. I suppose I am not entirely without blame because I will still bring up the situation in my mind now and then, while trying to make sure I have a definite plan of what I will do if it happens again. But I am just wondering if it is normal. It definitely was a traumatic experience.

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Sorry to hear you are still suffering. How long has it been since you found out? Did you take her back?


In my instance, my ex cheated a few weeks before I was going to propose. It tore me apart, but I made it my goal that we would make it through this. It was hard to accept what happened, but the fact that I was living with the guy she cheated with (yes, my roommate) made me face the facts. I pushed back the pain, and because of that I did not get it out of my system. I should have went to counseling then, and taken my ex with me, but I thought I could do it on my own.


At time I took it out on her, not treating her as I used to, but I felt so disrespected, I felt she did not deserve 100% of me until I was ready to give it again. A few months down the line, she finds someone that pays attention to her, and makes her feel wanted again, and she begins to have an affair with him. This is the cheating that I cannot get past, probably because she ended up leaving me for him.


If possible, seek counseling. Couples counseling would be the best for this, but if she is not in the picture, go on your own. Most experts compare being cheated on with the same emotional distress suffered after a natural disaster, or post-traumatic stress disorder. Your reality has been torn away, and you question everything that was permanent.


Its been 8 months since I found out, and 6 months since things ended with me and my ex. For months I had nightmares, painfully intrusive thoughts about them together, and a lot of anger. It will take a long time for these to go away, Eventually the dreams are less often, and the pain you feel is less severe when they do. You get used to it, and it is not as shocking. I forced myself to think about this stuff, to assume the worst, so that the shock would wear off faster.


Counseling will teach you how to deal with it, and if you are trying to work things out, couples counseling would be your best bet.


Let me know if you ever need to talk.

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Yes, after the whole thing went down, I wanted to fix things of course. Since the last NC between the OM and her was April 12 of this year. The actual physical cheating and the whole disaster was back in April 2005. The e-mail contact between them has been off and on since then and I put a stop to it again this past April.


A few months after it had happened, there had been NC for a while with them and since her and I had been together for 3 years already, I proposed. We've been engaged for 2 years now (we both decided to go to grad school out of state and postponed marriage until we get back). But before we left for out of state, he found her e-mail on an alumni board I guess and they started talking through e-mail once again for some months until I put a stop to it (in April). I could definitely see his intentions, but hers were much more plutonic than back during the fiasco. Not that it makes it any difference.


She now seems to be committed to the relationship and looking toward a future with me. I think about these things are probably due to, like you said, keeping the shock value at bay. I wonder sometimes whether I am so emotionally scarred from this woman if it is even possible to get the steam engine back to full speed.


We're back home for the summer (also near where the OM lives). I've also found myself not doing as much for her as I used to, just like you describe. Not as many gifts or taking her out to dinners as much. But the strange thing is it feels like the less I do the more attracted she is to me. No idea why.


But I will look into couples counseling for when we come back before we decide for marriage. School is about 8 months left.


Thanks for the reply!

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Did you ever find out why she cheated in the first place? I hope she didn't give you the standard "I don't know, it just happened!" This is unacceptable. This is the answer you get from a child, not an adult. Anyway, it does sound as if you have made some tremendous progress and I commend you for having the strength and courage to stay. I hope you made it clear that she is allowed NO CONTACT WHATSOEVER with the OM. From what you say I believe that she truly thought she wasn't doing anything wrong when they traded emails after D-Day, and her intentions where truly platonic, however, due to the past, this is a luxury that she is no longer allowed to enjoy. The man is off limits, your relationship depends on it. Good to hear that you guys are on the up and up and hope things work out for you

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definitely make sure the OM is off limits...my husband's OW called him to wish him well on his new job after months of NC and all the emotions flooded him again...he started missing that affair the all the emotions/excitement of it...they have to maintain NC with anyone they have had more than a "friendship" with!!! trust me!!!

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Did you ever find out why she cheated in the first place? I hope she didn't give you the standard "I don't know, it just happened!" This is unacceptable. This is the answer you get from a child, not an adult.


No, her answer was along the lines of "our relationship ended in a strange way and there wasn't closure." Pretty much as good of BS as you can get. Of course I was in no condition to realize this during that time because here I was planning proposals, looking at rings while her mind was elsewhere. It did a number on me and I just wasn't thinking right. I think I just wanted it to go away no matter what it took.


I guess I still mentally kick myself because I had always told myself I wouldn't allow such behavior and look what happened. It doesn't help that Hollywood reminds us about infidelity in almost every film at the box office. It's not like I don't enjoy her company or that we don't click, because she plays sports with me, travels with me, we've even worked together in the same agency/same hours. We get along great at home and spend almost every free minute together.


I know now that if I discover any small form of communication that I am done. I told her this last time I had to tell her to stop. I guess in the past I wasn't as forceful about it enough. We'll see because I don't think we've made it an entire year without contact between them. We are at around 4 months or so now (been together 4.5 years).

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Well, it sounds as if you guys have mended a lot of fences, she seems genuine and aware that what she did has caused a lot of damage. Not liking her reasoning though, it sounds VERY selfish and self serving!!! Relationships are tested all the time and will be as life goes on, when yours was tested, well, she didn't confide her feelings with you, she got her rocks off. This is the sort of thing that will make you wonder about the future, will she have your back or will she fall like a deck of cards. I've never thought there was a good reason to cheat, ever, it only complicates matters, and well, this is a bit of a complication, agreed?


I think you have set the ground rules well and she seems to know what her boundries are, but it's like a convict who is out on parole for good behavior, they still have to be watched. Unfortunately when it comes to cheating this is something that will stay with you for the rest of your lives together, and both of you have work to do. To be honest, I heard Dr. Phil say this to a man who cheated on his wife who honestly wanted to reconcile. He told him that he would have to tell her what he was doing and where he was going at all times and deal with whatever feelings that his wife ever had to deal with (hurt, anger, frustration). Well, I'll paraphrase to make it easier;


"Sir, do you know how long you will have to do these things?"


"No, Dr. Phil, I don't."


"UNTIL!! Until she no longer feels threaten that you will cheat on her again. I don't know how long that will be, you don't know either. But however long it takes is however long it takes!! Got it?"


Just one of the side benefits when one purchases some infidelity, it comes with a free side order of mistrust!! i'm only saying this to reapeat my prioir post and to expand on Radioheader's point. These people (the OW, OM) will use this as a ploy to get back 'in'. When questioned, they can simply use the cop out of; "It was only....." DOESN'T matter!! This is simply a small price to pay to stay in a relationship with you, to be blunt, she's the one who @#!@ed up, now she has to fix it, which she looks like she has been doing.


Keep posting Mr. B, you seem to have this well under wraps anyway, but keep us up to date if you get the chance, kewl?

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I like the analogies, they seem to fit well in my situation. I still have the good and bad days as far as mistrust issues. What I am still hung up on is her reasoning and the way I had to do my own research to find things out.


I sat her down the other night because I was especially bothered after a dream I had the night before. I told her it was just a resurfacing that I had read about can happen in these situations. I also told her that it was weird that she felt she had to hide his e-mails (while saving everyone else's) if things were completely plutonic. In addition, I mentioned that we've always had the policy that she tell me if he tries to contact her again, which she has consistently broken. Last April of course not being an exception either.


Her responses make me feel bad for bringing things up, such as telling me that she thought everything was going so well and then THIS, or saying that I keep bringing this up (as if to say that this is the reason it won't go away, rather than the breakage of the no contact rule). I don't let her get away with it, but it still doesn't make me feel any better about bringing things up to help reassure me.


She did mention that, at the time of dday, she thought the grass was greener because we were going through a rough patch and he happened to come along at the same time. But now she says she realizes I am a much better catch. But then why would she continue to have talked to this guy back in April, 2 years after dday?


She also mentioned that she heard me talking to a friend of mine about her conversing with him again in e-mail just before last April. I told her that I didn't confront her because each time I had before it didn't work and I wanted to see if she would put a stop to his flirtations herself. You know, give me that security I've always looked for where she tells him what he is trying is over the line. This way I wouldn't feel like I had to separate them myself again... which I had to do anyway in the end.


I told her that I am trying to communicate with her because if I don't, she would have no idea what I was thinking. I also told her that I sometimes don't feel safe bringing things up to her because she gets defensive and blames me for bringing it up. I told her that this defensive behavior reminds me of when we went through the rough patch, which makes me leery of bringing it up for concerns of her contacting him again. Of course she said that won't happen.


So here I am, treading water in low trust-ville.

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Well...I'm almost 100% sure that my wife has gone 60+ days without contact from the guy she was chatting with. My trust level goes up and down based on our interaction and communication.


I'm sure eventually it will come back, but until I wake up one day and do not have the voice inside my head questioning her activities...there will be some distrust.

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I see. Mr. B, she needs to understand one thing and one thing alone. Like I said before in my previous posts, she needs to soothe your feelings UNTIL. If she doesn't like it, well, to be blunt, she should have thought about it BEFORE. If she doesn't like being grilled, well, there is only one person to blame for that. You had your trust thrown out like yesterdays trash, you're not the one that has to appease her (within reason). It's the other way around my friend. Maybe what you should tell her is what would happen if your postions where reversed and you had still been talking to the OW AFTER DDay? How would she react then?


I've read posts on the other site about legit spouses coming clean and as I said they literally surrender EVERYTHING!! Passwords, cellphones, plans for the day, EVERTHING. Every demand that the BS makes (and has a right to make) is accepted with a "You got it, I'm sorry to have hurt you honey" beacuse like a truly reformed criminal, you're just happy to be on the outside again and like hell you're going to #$#! things up a second time. You go above and beyond to show that you are honestly on up and up. Those are the relationships that I advocate staying. ANY selfishness seen by the WS is grounds for termination. Plain and simple!!


Folks, when a spouse cheats, it isn't your job to 'win them back'. You can't make someone love you and you can't change someone else as Mr. B put it on another thread.

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