BETRAYED HUSBAND: It has been a little bit over a year since I discovered my wife’s affair. Things are a lot different now than they were at the beginning, better in a lot of ways. But I also feel like progress has stalled. Some days, sometimes, I feel like they have possibly regressed.
Most of the time I’m content. Often my wife and I are having a good day enjoying traveling and seeing new things, or trying new foods (my favorite part of the trip). She smiles and my heart warms. She laughs and my spirit soars. We are making new memories and joyful experiences together that are wholly ours.
But then eventually out of nowhere my mind gets pulled back to dwelling on the affair. Sometimes there is a trigger in conversation, like recently. We were talking over some delicious Korean food with our friends in Seoul and after long twists and turns in the conversation they mentioned that cheating is more normal here than in the US. It seems that husbands and wives don’t see each other much because the husband works very long hours. Mention of infidelity is a pretty obvious trigger for me.
Sometimes the triggers are less obvious though. For instance, we were at the beer festival here in Seoul and I got some tacos. They were delicious, a wonderful taste of home. My wife mentions that some of the best tacos back home were at a particular place. In my head my thoughts turn sour in an instant. I have not been to the place she mentioned and don’t recognize the name. I can’t help but think this great taco place was some rendezvous she and her affair partner had. We spent nearly all of our free time together back home and so anytime she mentions something from there that I wasn’t a part of I instantly think it was some part of the affair.
My ability to handle these triggers is better than before. I can look back and see the slow (dreadfully slow) healing or at least coping. However, sometimes my mind just turns to the affair without a trigger that I can identify. This is a newer issue and one that makes me feel like I have regressed. When this happens I feel far worse than I have in many months. I often can’t find a reason to continue or care about my wife or my marriage. This has happened a few times now so I’m getting a little better but despair still takes hold of me in those moments.
Sadly, I have discovered, these dark moments have a terrible echo that affects my attitude for days. I can see several ways that my wife is changing to better fulfill my needs and comforts and it means a lot to me. When I look at myself however I don’t see that I’m doing much to address her needs. I know from our therapy and the materials we have gone through what her highest needs are but a vindictive part of me keeps me focused on the pain of the past instead of on the possible healing I could do in the present. In the end I see another opportunity pass and feel that my wife’s needs go unfulfilled.
This will persist for days after these phantom triggers. This is the biggest reason I feel that things have regressed.
I still cling to hope though I fear my grip is slipping. I don’t know the limits of my emotional endurance and I don’t know how long it takes get through this, to heal. ‘Experts’ tend to agree that healing from an affair takes at least two years. But ultimately it seems their estimates are pinned to the ambiguous ‘it depends on the couple’ which I always hear as ‘we don’t know’. I wish this was like a physical cut. Then I would know. I would know how long takes and I would know if it was worth it.