Over the next few posts, I want to walk you through some of the things I have faced since my husband's affair. Let me take you on my journey toward healing and happiness. After discovering he had cheated on me, I learned fast that I couldn't look to him for empathy or support from the pain he caused. You see, he was incapable of it. Understanding this also helped me know why he had an affair.
His affair opened my eyes to the loveless stranger I was living with.
I had been so blinded by my own need for love that I couldn't see the truth before that moment. Yet deep inside, I had always known it. His ability to show love felt manipulative and fake; the genuine emotion was missing. Unfortunately, my longing for love and acceptance outweighed that concern.
Now I see that he avoided having deeper connections with anyone. All relationships were one-sided. And he controlled conversations by always turning emotional questions onto others and avoided sharing himself. With the wisdom of hindsight, I can now see many red flags. But ignorance and my insecurities concealed the obvious. Today, I can tell you that I am glad everything is now out. It was painful but necessary.
The affair's exposure was a turning point in our relationship that would either make it or end it.
After D-day, I soon discovered that the platform he built his life on was neither reliable nor stable. This man was not my rock! A lack of real self-love made it impossible for him to have any sincere love for me. It was like trying to get water out of a stone. He had shut himself down by denying his own emotions to the extent that it was an emotional impossibility for him to show me love or its many facets like compassion, kindness, faithfulness, etc. He couldn't give these to me because he didn't have love within himself to give.
His version of love was fantasy based on self-absorbed lies and make-believe. A shadow of what true love is. Somehow a deceived version of attachment had inhabited his heart, making him an emotionally shallow person. Someone I am sure who he even knew was fake.
The capacity to hold real love was missing because he didn't have a genuine love for himself.
He turned his failure to adhere to the life he wished he were living inward on himself. By doing this, he hid the things he hated about himself, not just from me but also from himself. And they festered within him like a disease destroying his ability to feel and be sincere. By denying any emotions about his pain, he seared his heart from feeling. He gloried in the fact that he was not emotional and shamed me for being emotional. When I was in pain, he would shame and ridicule me if it pressed on his hidden wounds.
Withdrawing from my attempts to create intimacy between us and sticking to a distanced make-believe pretense at love for me, he separated himself emotionally from me ongoingly. From this place of isolation, he loathed himself while looking for comfort separate from me. It was a gradual and slow decline reflected in his hidden use of porn, his lack of concern for me, and his eventual emotional then physical affair. Looking back, he was an affair waiting to happen as his pain and disappointment in himself were immense!
I have come to realize that the shoddy way he treated me at that time was a reflection of his self-loathing. He was a miserable person who attempted to make himself feel better by tearing me down. He judged himself on his inadequacies, then finding that unbearable took it out on me. I was often left heartbroken and confused by his behavior. And I put up my walls to protect my fragile sense of self.
Trying to get him to meet my need for love and validation was an impossible task for him after his affair, especially when he couldn't even love and accept himself.
He was so deeply enmeshed in his emotional shutdown that to feel meant only two things, anger or happiness. Nothing more was acceptable except for occasional sadness when he watched a touching scene on TV. The emotion was quickly shut down or hidden, and I was not allowed to mention that I had seen him tear up. If I did ask if he was crying, he became instantly angry at me.
In his mind, he resented me for not making him happy. That resentment toward me grew, and it seemed nothing I did was ever good enough for him. I felt I was walking on a tightrope and lived in fear of putting a foot wrong. The undercurrent was that I didn't make him happy, and he always harbored anger toward me. It seethed under the surface, always waiting to erupt if I didn't do what he wanted.
His misguided anger at me became the springboard for his physical affair. He blamed me for it as I had let him down in his mind. He was doing the best he could, and I was the reason for his unhappiness.
In truth, given the place he was at, he probably was doing the best he could. And his affair, and now well-established porn habit, was his way of solving the problem. Only, it was all hidden. I was not privy to any of this. By hiding his innermost secrets and shutting down his ability to feel emotions, he had shut himself away from the world and reality he was living in.
By shutting down his emotions, he shut down his ability to interpret life!
Our emotions are the guides that help us navigate this world. When my husband limited or denied them, he severely hampered his ability to make the right choices in life. An affair was the dangerous path he found himself on. One that caused us both incredible pain.
In my next post, I will continue with my story and discuss how I handled D-day and beyond. I had many lessons to learn.
Asking for empathy from the pain he has put me in when he couldn't even accept the pain he was in himself was a waste of my energy. When I did turn to him for support, it only increased the betrayal trauma I was in because he always returned to blaming me.
He had to take his healing journey, so I needed to pause my relationship with him and watch without demanding he attend to my needs. Expecting him to meet my needs just set me up to be disappointed and hurt further. And it set him up for failure because he lacked the capacity at that time to give me empathy.
I accepted him as not having the capacity to be there for me after his affair and focused on self-care to support my healing.
But you know the story is not all bad (please read my next post). While it was painful then, we are now more robust, healthier people with far more capacity to handle life and its many ups and downs. I embraced self-care to survive the arduous journey after my husband's affair.
Feel free to comment below with your thoughts, feelings, and stories because I love hearing them. And if you need support at this time, please reach out and take a free call with me.
READ MORE ABOUT SURVIVING MY HUSBAND'S AFFAIR