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Discussion Starter #1
I'm new here and would like to have some advice as the offending party, if possible. Some background: My wife and I have been married just short of five years, no kids. We have had a good marriage except for the sex department. It was good at first, but over time, things waned until there was nearly nothing over periods of months. I have a high libido and and love sex. Our limited sexual encounters over time often became very frustrating. I attempted communicating about it, but in hindsight, probably didn't follow up enough. We didn't communicate very well about it.

I was friendly with someone online who lives overseas (I live in the U.S.) before I met my wife and remained friends with them after I was married. After a while, that friendship turned into a cyber-affair, with us sending nude or near nude photos to one another and having sexual chats. My wife found out about the chats and emails a little over a month ago (mid-June 2011). As you can imagine, since then, things have been anything but good in our relationship. I immediately severed ties with the ow and removed her from all of my online life.

My wife was ready to leave and I begged and pleaded with her to stay. She asked me to not sleep at our apartment to give her some space and a chance to think and I complied. I have a space to go to, but have to come home to shower.

She is devastated, as am I. I've brought a world of pain into our relationship, along with the loss of trust and love from her and it hurts constantly. All I encounter now are understandably cold looks and little to no conversation. The love she had for me prior to the discovery is gone and all that's left is a shell of a marriage/relationship left.

She has basically challenged me to give her a reason to stay and I have been doing everything that I can to do that. As mentioned above, I am no longer in contact with the ow, my wife has unfettered access to my computer and has always known about my social networking habits, so that's not an issue. I know that she has been checking up on me and the ow because of my browser history. My wife has agreed to go to marriage counseling with me, but isn't ready yet. I have been scouring the web for information and books about what I can do to regain her trust after having had an affair.

My main concern is figuring out how to earn her trust again. The pressure I feel is immense and I have developed anxiety and sleep problems because of it. I really do love her, although she doesn't believe me. I have been open and have answered all of her questions as best I could. I feel like nothing I do or say will ever be enough again. I've destroyed the bond we once had and I'm not sure if she will every come to love and trust me again.

I guess I'm here looking for any kind of suggestions or anecdotes that might help me find my way towards some possible direction with this. Thanks in advance.
 

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It sounds like you've done the things that need to be done immediately and that you genuinely want to reconcile - that's good. Have you taken full and complete ownership of what you did? The issues in your marriage will be mutual, but cheating is 100% you. You need to own it, she needs to see you own it and take accountability. Beyond that be patient. Give her the whole truth. Answer her questions as she has them, even if you've answered them 100 times before. Never ever get aggravated at her for wanting to cover the same issue multiple times - as long as it's productive for her do it gladly.

The answer to her challenge? For me it would have been, "because I love you and I am truly sorry for what I have done to you and our marriage, and I hope you truly love me. Give me the chance to fix what I've done and prove that I do love you."
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for your reply. Yes, i do and have taken 100% responsibility and have told her as much. I have answered her questions with honesty and whenever she's asked. I have told her numerous times that I'm truly sorry for what happened and remain committed to rebuilding our relationship, if that's what she ultimately wants. it's still too soon to tell. She could changer her mind. Thanks again.
 

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In my opinion, because my husband did something similiar to me recently .... You don't stop loving your spouse. You may be angry, hurt and initially in shock but you don't just stop loving them. More like you lost her respect and trust. Sigma has it right, answer questions without getting frustrated and reassure her that you love her. I'll add that I have all my husband's passwords to computer, FB, and emails. I have full access to his phone as well. May sound very invasive of privacy but it has helped take away some of my anger knowing he is trying. At first my husband didn't want to talk about it, just wanted to move forward but after he read my journal (grrr ) he saw just how much pain he had caused and now is pretty open about it. Just today he asked me if there was anything he could do to prevent 'triggers' ... and throughout the day reminds me he loves me. This kind of pain takes time to heal and the trust has to be restored by you, the offending partner. Actions always speak volumes compared to words.

It just takes time to heal and trust is not something she is going to give back to you right away. That doesn't mean she has stopped loving you, it means she is very hurt and rightfully angry. You sound very genuine and remorseful and I think in time she will be able to work through her initial feelings and the two of you can grow from there.

I was asked how I could stay with a husband who had an EA .... my response "I committed to loving him for better or for the worst" .... doesn't mean I didn't think about leaving him initially, however after my initial shock I knew my love for him is unconditional and while he has changed our relationship forever, I still want him by my side because like you I believe his remorse is genuine and I put my faith in him that he now realizes the consequences of his actions.
If I am wrong, shame on me.

Marriages do survive infidelity .... I wish you and your wife luck.
 

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Understand that she has suffered severe trauma, and will not (and frankly should not) simply or quickly forgive and move on. It will take time, if it happens at all, and she will never forget it.

She needs to re-assess the entirety of your marriage in her own mind, because what she thought, believed, and trusted she had is in fact now dead...and unfortunately, you're the one who killed it. So it's sort of like she's dealing with the loss of a loved one (your marriage), and you directly caused that death.

As she assesses your time together, it all now feels like one big lie, a fallacy that you had a "happy" marriage, even if you actually did. She's sorting through this, and will take time to process. All the time, she's trying to figure out "Can I ever really trust him again?" I will tell you, the answer is "no" -- she can't and won't ever completely and fully trust you again the way she did before. A casualty of your actions, unfortunately. So then she's got to decide if she can live within a marriage that doesn't have that trust. And only she can determine the answer to that...in the meantime, as you're doing, you need to demonstrate as much as humanly possible how great every other aspect of you and your marriage can be and will be moving forward.

I told my WW to never stop acknowledging her regret and remorse, to find ways to tell me she's sorry whenever she's feeling that way, even if she thinks I don't want to hear it. Recognize that this is the first thing she thin ks of when she wakes up, and the last thing she thinks of when she goes to sleep, and literally hundreds of times a day whether she wants to or not. It envelopes and takes over; be a willing participant in that process, too, but also be prepared to simply leave her alone to deal with it in solace if she wants that.

Recognize she wants an answer to a question that you probably can't give her ''Why?"

If at all possible, urge the MC to start asap. If nothing else, it will help to structure your communication about all the emotions swirling through both of your heads.

Good luck to you.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Recognize she wants an answer to a question that you probably can't give her ''Why?"
Thanks for sharing your insights. I know that there is no instant forgiveness (if any) and moving on. All I can do right now is manage the hurt and setbacks that come up.

Just earlier this morning I had another reminder of just how hard this is and will probably continue to be. She's furious with me. Her "Why?" was in the form of, "Did our marriage mean so little to you?" I had no answer, but expressed deep remorse and regret about everything. I feel completely helpless because nothing I say or do is helping and it seems likely to stay that way for a while.

I'm going to bring up MC again soon to see if she might be ready for it or not.
 

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All you can do is understand that she is trying to process something she believed would never happen to her and she is venting. Just be there to console her, don't get defensive when she attacks you, and tell her you love her and that you are sorry. Repeat repeat repeat. When she attacks don't push her away with defensiveness - pull her in with love, support, understanding and remorse.

It will be this way for a little while but it will get better.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I would ask her directly what you can do to earn her trust back. It's not something that will happen overnight. Listen to her, validate her, and put into action what she wants.

Find the reason why you did what you did. Get into counselling, offering your wife to go to marital counselling.
I have asked her directly what I can do to earn her trust back and so far, she's only asked me to not sleep here and to let her know when I was coming and going. As mentioned in my post, I have broken off all contact with the OW and my computer is an open book.

I know why I did what I did and have acknowledged that. I'm looking into counseling. Thanks for your reply.
 

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TM she stills loves you very much. The depth of her pain is related to how much she loves you. If she were indifferent that would be another story.

You seem to be doing all you can to make this right but it will be a slow process. MC is not a choice it is a must. I think you should take the initiative and make the appointment. If she dies not go you start alone. She will join you eventually.

You have a great deal of work to do in your relationship. You already know what you did to scotch things but before your this affair, your marriage was in trouble. The lack of intimacy. You are responsible 100% for the affair but you and your wife are each responsible 50% for the state of your marriage before the affair.

After atoning which I think you are doing, your wife's forgiveness is not the only endpoint. Working on the underlying marital issues to form a close bond is the end point don't forget that.
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All you can do is understand that she is trying to process something she believed would never happen to her and she is venting. Just be there to console her, don't get defensive when she attacks you, and tell her you love her and that you are sorry. Repeat repeat repeat. When she attacks don't push her away with defensiveness - pull her in with love, support, understanding and remorse.

It will be this way for a little while but it will get better.
Yeah, I know that she's trying to process everything and I'm doing all I can to show her that I love her. I don't get defensive but I'm having to try and manage my emotions and not fool myself into thinking that I've made more progress than is real at this point.
 

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You have a great deal of work to do in your relationship. You already know what you did to scotch things but before your this affair, your marriage was in trouble. The lack of intimacy. You are responsible 100% for the affair but you and your wife are each responsible 50% for the state of your marriage before the affair.

After atoning which I think you are doing, your wife's forgiveness is not the only endpoint. Working on the underlying marital issues to form a close bond is the end point don't forget that.
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Thanks. I'm trying to keep the overall marital issues in sight, but right now, all I can focus on is working through this initial phase and then dealing with the other issues.
 

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I think you priority is spot on. Just don't let the other part slip under the radar. It is equally important to prevent this from ever happening again.

You have not been totally honest with her in the past. You were desperately lonely and you did not share your feelings. You have to keep each other in the loop. She has to feel safe to tell you what she needs and you need that too. When the time is right you will have to have this conversation. You will need to tell her how you were feeling and I expect she will be equaly honest with you. That's were you will start form a new and better marriage.
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She's furious with me. Her "Why?" was in the form of, "Did our marriage mean so little to you?" I had no answer, but expressed deep remorse and regret about everything. I feel completely helpless because nothing I say or do is helping and it seems likely to stay that way for a while.
The thing is--no matter what your answer to WHY is... it will never justify what you did in her mind to her. You will have to accept that. But do try to explain "why" as best you can.



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My husband had EA too. I never thought it could happen to us, but it did. I wish you luck in rebuilding your marriage; mine is better than before! It is still hard to understand; I also asked him how could he if I was important? I had a lot of anger and so much deep hurt. It will take her time to process it all. After almost a year since end of EA, I still need my husband to reaffirm his love for me. We now communicate better, have more fun, more great sex, and just appreciate each other more! I now know just how much I love him; it never occurred to me not to forgive. I will never forget, and I don't know that hurt will ever completely go away. We do now have a deeper bond that developed along the journey to healing! Just take it one day at a time; she will have good days and bad days. I still do too. Your marriage will be stronger if you can rebuild it; good luck!! Patience, honesty, and love are the keys!
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Understand that she has suffered severe trauma, and will not (and frankly should not) simply or quickly forgive and move on. It will take time, if it happens at all, and she will never forget it.
This is so true. She will forgive but she will never forget. You need to remember this and actually be a better husband to her than you were before. That means letting her know you appreciate her, your relationship and the union you have. Sounds like you are doing the right things but always remember, once bitten twice shy. You can NEVER give her a reason to doubt you again. Trust is earned over time but can vanish in a second as you have seen.

Best of luck to you
 

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This is so true. She will forgive but she will never forget. You need to remember this and actually be a better husband to her than you were before. That means letting her know you appreciate her, your relationship and the union you have. Sounds like you are doing the right things but always remember, once bitten twice shy. You can NEVER give her a reason to doubt you again. Trust is earned over time but can vanish in a second as you have seen.

Best of luck to you
Thanks, yes, I'm keenly aware of how raw things are and how quickly they can change. In quest to be a better husband than before, I have taken on being much more present and more clear in how I communicate with her, in addition to listening better.
 

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Ah... maybe I'm just confused, but didn't you have the EA because you were in a loveless sexually dead marriage?

What exactly are you trying to salvage here? You're trying to earn her trust again... to get back to the not having sex relationship?
 
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