D Day – December 10, 2015 – 7:30am
There she was. My worst nightmare had come alive. I was looking for pictures to make a calendar for a Christmas gift for my husband’s mom and ended up in the wrong folder called “TO FILE”…and there she was. Pictures of my husband’s attractive work colleague. Pictures of her in her kitchen with her dog. I was initially confused. What was she doing in my hard drive pictures folder? This clearly must be a mistake.
Then the next picture was the back of my husband’s head and the back of her head…side by side romantically…in an infinity edge pool of a private resort villa…looking at the sunset. My heart froze, a huge pain filled my stomach and my chest got extremely tight. My heart was pounding where it felt as if it was trying to burst out of my chest. I could feel myself trembling. I think I stopped breathing.
The next picture was of them lovingly looking into each others’ eyes…the next of them intimately kissing…tons of pictures of her posing, lots of her perfectly beautiful ass, close-ups of her ass, far away shots of her ass, many of them in their luxurious bed with crumpled sheets, before, during and after sex…her body dotted with lotion before sex…her body glistening after sex…him looking at peace clearly after just having an orgasm…her naked beautiful body opening the black out lining curtains…opening a bottle of Champagne…and so on. He looked so happy. It hurt so much to see him in this state of happiness, with someone else…and NOT me.
My hands were shaking. I couldn’t think clearly. Was this really happening? My husband of almost 12 years, my love and “life partner” for 16 years…was having an affair with his co-worker. I NEVER thought he could be the man to do something like this to me. I honestly and sincerely thought he loved me way too much to ever be able to hurt me like this. A reality I wasn’t prepared to discover and accept. I quickly grabbed the hard drive and drove to work. I don’t know how I made it safely to work as I was compulsively trembling the entire way and was in complete shock and disbelief. I was like “Barney on crack.”
I frantically searched through this “TO FILE” folder and found several other images from other romantic escapes they had over the past 18 months. I also found another folder called “INFINITY BOOM”. The few images in this folder were killer for me. Images of them looking lovingly into each others’ eyes and intimately French kissing, kissing each others’ cheeks and necks while one lovingly looks into the camera. Taking turns for each others’ selfies. He used to look like this with me. (I later learned that this folder name symbolised the never ending amazing feeling that is like a fist pump exploding “boom” that they get when with each other. The way their love made them feel about each other. Infinite.)
I screengrabbed some of the intense images and printed them. I calmly called my husband and asked him to come and meet me at my office on his way to work from the gym. I had no idea what I was planning to do or say, but knew I couldn’t hold this discovery in as we had a fully packed social weekend of our kid’s birthday celebrations that were starting the next day and then his parents were coming to stay with us for a month. I knew I had to deal with it head on immediately as this wasn’t something I couldn’t hold in for several days. In hindsight, I wish I had thought this moment through more carefully, although I am not sure of what I could, would or should have done differently.
He met me in the parking lot. I ran towards his car with my heart bursting out of my chest. I was so nervous as this may well be the very last time my husband and I would be together. I wasn’t ready to accept that. I didn’t have a game plan. I got in his car with the papers rolled up in my hand. Now what? He seemed a little concerned, but had no idea what I was going to talk to him about. He asked me what the papers were and I told him they were work related. I turned towards him in the car and sincerely told him that I loved him. He sweetly said he loved me. I asked him to kiss me (as I wasn’t sure if this would be our last). We softly kissed each other. He then became worried and asked what was wrong. I took a deep breath and said “I know about everything”.
At first he played dumb and asked innocently about what. I told him I saw all of the pictures and then unrolled the papers. He glanced at the tits and ass kissing sexual images that were jumping off the page at him and immediately grabbed the papers out of my hands, crumpled them up and hastily pleaded for me to understand that they “broke up a year ago, but it was so hard to stop”… OK… I believe this was supposed to make me feel better. He desperately complained how I had left him all alone when I went away with the kids for summer vacation. (The poor soul! I have been left alone for almost 9 years and he foolishly flings this excuse at me? Pathetic!)
Then he begged me not to include her and her husband and to leave them out of it. Who said anything about them? Why wasn’t he focused on “us” and the potential end to our beautiful world together? The hurt, pain and irreversible damage that he and they have both caused.
He hastily reacted with more pathetic half truths / half lies, but at that time I thought they were all true. He broke down and cried. He made tight fists and kept hitting his forehead while I remained cold and quiet. Not because I didn’t feel anything…I think I was just still in absolute shock from it all. He begged me to not leave him. He said they had stopped seeing each other in mid September and he was trying to work and focus on us. That he had felt really good about how we were getting “better” and asked if I had noticed the improvement in our relationship. I guess he did! I was clearly clueless.
I wasn’t sure what to do at this point, but knew I still loved him very much even though I was utterly devastated and in complete disbelief. We both had to go back to work and pretend everything was OK, but I knew from that very moment that our worlds would never be the same ever again.
I had asked him for one favour before we parted which I do believe he had kept…and that was to not tell her I knew until I figured out what I was going to do. Again I had no plan. He agreed. I trusted that he would do this for me.
I went back to my desk in a daze and spent most of the day looking through all of the pictures on his hard drive. He kept calling me throughout the day hoping that I wasn’t leaving him. Meanwhile I found had more romantic pictures of all of their trips made together. One of them was during the week when I was made to believe he was in another country working. Two of them were when I was on vacation with our kids and he was meeting up with us in two weeks. More images shared with each other. Naked and sexy images of her that she so lovingly had sent him. Lots of images from all of her trips while she was with her husband. Pictures of our holiday trips that he had sent to her. Some sexy and cute messages riddled with little cute hearts drawn on her hand and teenager like notes with bubble hearts and cute words, and tons of her dog…which by the way we used to dog sit for her. In fact, there were pathetically more pictures of her and her dog and lots of pictures of himself in the bathroom mirrors, gym, elevators…anywhere with a mirror (who was this guy?)…than there were of his kids and me. ALL of these hundreds of sexy and loving images of my husband with another woman…and her dog…all seared into my memory bank for ever and ever. So very sad. Where is the man that I fell in love with?
This was a full on love affair for the past 18 months and I apparently have been the biggest fool as I had no idea our marriage was in this bad of a state for him to allow this to happen to us and to disrespect and hurt me this way. I honestly never thought he would ever allow himself to hurt me like this. He knew that this would devastate me. Yet I wasn’t ready to walk away. I honestly had no idea what to do next.
That weekend was the most intensely emotional time of my life. It felt like the end of my world. I had never felt pain like this before. It was filled with lots of tears from both of us, him apologising over and over, begging me not to leave, telling me that I was his “ride or die plan”, “the love of his life”, that he had made a “big mistake”, that it was only a small “blip” in our lives, that he didn’t know what he was doing as he was “stuck in a bubble”, that we would get past it, that we were “meant to be together”, that I must give us and him a chance to prove his love to me and convince me to “not give up on us”. Saying if the tables were turned he wouldn’t leave me. Really? He said that if I left him he would spend the rest of his life “fighting” to get me back. Lots of repeated tears and anger drowned with my questions…lots of questions. Never mind that she is 18 years younger than me, pretty with the bluest eyes, most perfect body and flawless ass. Some of which I don’t have and was feeling extremely inadequate after seeing these pictures.
I have never felt such low self-esteem from seeing all of the pictures of her and their love affair. I have never hurt this much in my entire life. Now what? What was I to do? Do I give up and never look back? Should I run, stay, fight for my marriage, my kids, our family, our love?…I had no idea.
Having an affair was always a deal breaker for me. This was a strong principal of mine from day one. I always told myself that I would leave if this was to ever happen to me and if I was ever disrespected by any man. However being married with kids changes your life principals. But I should do something shouldn’t? Do I temporarily move out? But where do I go? My home town is “millions” of miles away. Who can I stay with? What do I tell the kids? I didn’t want to alarm them until I knew what to do. If I leave will it drive him back to her? Did I want to risk that? Are they still together despite his claiming that they are over? What do I do? I was completely lost and felt totally hopeless.
He had asked me what “my terms” were for me to give him a second chance. My terms? What were my terms? I of course frantically read several books and online articles on affairs and the biggest advice was NOT to make any hasty decisions for at least six months to a year as I will not able to think clearly at this point of my trauma. The next piece of advice was to insist that he immediately cut off all ties with her, get access to all of his media accounts for him to show his willingness of transparency, do not move out as separation may not be a helpful step in rebuilding and to request for an apology in writing to explain why he think it happened and why he deserves another chance.
I told him I wanted her totally out of his life despite the fact that they worked together. I asked for all of his passwords to all media accounts to help build back trust. I told him to reach out to me on a regular basis and remind me that he cares as he works away from me and the kids during the week. I asked him to publicly show me how he loves me so I know he is proud of me in his life and means it. More so for her to see as well. (Lame I know.) I also asked for the official apology in writing convincing me why I need to give him and us another chance. I know…demanding aren’t I?
I decided to stay put for now. As mentioned earlier, we had social obligations to tend that weekend to for our kids’ sake and then his parents were arriving to stay with us for a month until after Christmas. I held on for me first and foremost and also for our kids. At least that is what I told myself and truly believed.
I went to see a therapist on the third day from D Day 1 who abrasively told me that I needed to “grow up”…that this was a “gift” for me to make my marriage stronger. My husband and I also went to see her a week later and she then told me that I needed to accept that he “could love more than one person at the same time and be physically and intellectually stimulated by another woman”…that “one person could NOT fully meet the needs of another person’s needs”. Lovely! Let’s just say she is no longer my therapist. Too harsh for day three for me!
Life went on.
We continued amidst drowning in my never ending questions and tears from overwhelming heartbreak and pain. I was obsessed with dates and times. I became a detective. I printed all of my whats app messages and emails between us and then synchronised them with all of the pictures’ dates and times. The conversations between us during these affair trips were just as loving and sweet as per the usual. But they just showed me how good he was at lying to me. So disappointed to learn this about him.
Now EVERYDAY when I open our blackout lining curtains I think about the photo of her perfect naked body opening their private luxury resort villa blackout curtains…with her head tilted back so happy and sexy – when they had slept in late from their all night sex that made him late in talking to us on the other side of the world. So of course he had told me “that morning” he had slept late because of the “black out lining curtains”. Which now are a trigger for me every morning when I open mine. 😦
My husband gave me lots of answers for me to absorb making me feel like he was telling mostly the truth. However he would then slowly admit to more lies and reveal more truths. This was a painful, evolutionary, emotionally exhausting and frustrating process for both of us. This process is called “Trickle Truth” – one of many new terms I have learned since discovery.
He told me that he hadn’t been looking for anything. That it had just happened. Clearly his ego and “appendage” needed food that I was no longer feeding him sufficiently and passionately. Ironically I thought I was his biggest fan…but obviously my unconditional love and being his number one cheerleader just simply wasn’t enough. Let’s not forget about my physical and emotional needs too despite the fact I have been holding our kingdom together while working full-time and taking care of our kids and home while he commutes weekly for the past 7 years – literally ALL by myself.
Through a lot of constant, intense drilling and persistence he had finally admitted to sleeping with her on a work event trip in Italy the previous year…of all freaking romantic places. Then he slept with her several times after supposedly at her home when they returned. How they had gone away on three romantic trips to places nearby where we live. How he had fallen in love quickly and spent a lot of time at her home in her husband’s bed. How he had unprotected sex. How she had given him the bracelet that he had been wearing for the past year and a half. He took it off and gave it to me only for me to see that it was from Tiffany’s…and other clothing gifts that he wore around me. He said he had only given her headphones. He swore. I believed him. I wanted to.
A f#cking Tiffany bracelet! !?!!
As more truths were revealed I learned she had chosen our dog that we had adopted from a rescue centre, that she had given him other gifts, that he had read her favourite book on her Kindle…when he had told me it was from his work. (That one hurts big time!) The list continues.
Approximately two months had passed with continued fighting, doubts, major low self-esteem, chest pains, loss of appetite, lack of sleep, uncontrollable crying, a lot of head nodding back and forth in total dismay and shock and more never ending questions. I was beyond depressed and wanted to just simply disappear as the pain of existing was just unbearable.
He had a couple of emotional breakdowns on me where I had to help pull him through them. Not sure how he gets to have these and I have to continue to be strong for the both of us. In one of them he sat hopelessly on the kitchen floor and sincerely asked me “what if I can’t love you the way you want to be loved?” I couldn’t understand this as all I asked is that he stayed with me for the right reasons, because he loves me and not just because of our kids. And even this he makes me doubt.
February 12, 2016:
Time was painfully passing. I was not sleeping. Not eating. Snapping at my kids uncontrollably. I had lost a lot of weight from not having the will to eat. I looked like a skinny zombie with permanent dark and puffy circles under my eyes from daily crying and no sleep. My frown marks were also becoming permanent as I was in a constant state of sadness and despair. Still overwhelmed with all of the above, drowning in depression and trauma…playing the images and his words over and over in my head on a permanent loop. I got used to this state of being.
There were also tiny moments of hopefulness. Never doubting my love for him and still wanting to fight for us. I continued to read as much information as possible. Several books on affairs, articles of do’s and don’ts. Doing hypnotherapy, breathing and mindfulness workshops to try and help shed this negativity from my sub-conscience as much as possible. Trying my best to stay strong and not go over the edge. Finding this WordPress world of Betrayed Spouses and was inspired by their own stories of survival with or without their spouses.
Then on February 12, 2016 – he finally gave me the long awaited, requested well-written 10 page official apology letter. It only took two months to write it! At first he wanted me to not bother reading it as we seemed to be having a good moment towards healing. However, I wanted to read it. I had waited too long for it. So he read it to me. He first educated me about the “trickle truth” concept…how it takes a while to admit the truths as it is human to want to minimise the hurt from revealing the truths all in one go. That it seemed better to ease the truth out so it was less painful for me to receive and accept and avoid any permanent damage. As if this wasn’t enough to do that. He also strategically advised in this first section that the hardest part in recovery is how you deal with the matter going forward and how it could either make or break the recovery stage of a marriage. I assumed this was a warning of what this letter was going to reveal.
He told me how they had gotten to know each other late at work, how she needed help and advice (like a baby bird) on how to get settled in this new town, etc. How he had offered her rides home being the nice guy that he is (as she conveniently lived near us), how they had shared a lot about each others’ lives through pictures and stories. He strategically made it a point to remind me throughout the 10 pages that he had NEVER stopped loving me at any time during the affair and how he had repeatedly told her that and he was never leaving me “NOR THE KIDS”. How she knew this and she had “supposedly” felt the same way about her husband. How he had never shared any negative stories of me and our marriage to her. How he had never thought our marriage was in danger…but the attraction for her had revealed “the cracks” in our relationship.
Meanwhile all this time I was ironically waiting for “my turn” while I had held our family together while he worked abroad and commuted weekly for almost seven years.
Then the “real” truth came out like a freight train running into a big ass brick wall. How she had invited him into her house and he had accepted, how she offered him a glass of wine and how she had changed into something more comfortable (of course she did!!). How he saw her in a new light, how it had changed his feelings towards her and he was officially both mentally and physically attracted to her from that moment. How they had spent that evening talking and drinking wine and that they had kissed goodbye at her door and from that moment he knew he wanted more and couldn’t stop thinking about her. Never mind that I was waiting with our kids for him to come home from work on ALL of those nights…week after week…feeling sorry for him that he was working so hard and had to come home late all of the time. Falling fast asleep on my lap as he got home. Fool that I am! (This explains why he was really “tired” all of those times.)
He continued to say how he couldn’t stop thinking of her physically from that moment and was looking forward to the upcoming work trip to Europe where they then made love TWICE and “the sex was good…disarming and innocent”. I so needed to hear and read this right?! (Note: This work trip was the weekend after we went on a romantic trip (the first time ever without the kids) to celebrate our 10th Anniversary and where we had spent over two hours buying him a new wardrobe for this upcoming work trip!) He reminded me that I had begged for the truth…but I definitely didn’t want his love story…certainly not the painful parts that would just provide me with more challenges to overcome. But the letter just continued to get worse.
He finally admit to the most hurtful part of his affair as if it could get any worse. After only three months into this affair, having already decided that they were “in love” with each other and had verbally expressed this to each other…that she had suggested to go somewhere romantic to repeat what they had experienced on the work trip, without any life management obligations or reminders. To just be free with each other. (Poor things. F@cking Self-Absorbed Beaatch!) So they had planned and plotted for the weekend that I would be away with our kids before he had to meet up with us on our vacation. He therefore had taken her on a trip to The Maldives!!!!! …Somewhere I have been begging him to take me over the past seven years.
I honestly never thought I could feel more pain than I already did…but yet here I was reeling in excruciating pain. I keeled over from the knife stabbing my heart and stomach. Killer Pain from the hurt feelings that he could do this to me, pain from the major disappointment to learn that he was this type of man, that our immense love wasn’t enough to stop him from crossing all of these unthinkable lines, that the consequences of hurting and losing me and mashing up our beautiful family wasn’t enough to stop him in his tracks for the 18 months.
I imagined them meeting each other at the airport, sitting beside each other on the plane, being publicly loving and affectionate and checking in the hotel like a newly weds with butterflies and all…and no kids in sight. The list goes on. I later learned that his company paid for this trip assuming it was with his wife. How nice for them!
The letter ended in “had you not found the images we may have ended back up together as we were missing each other very much and still have strong feelings for each other”…
Let’s just say I cried myself to sleep that night, woke up crying and haven’t stopped ever since.
Here I am.