My husband and I have been married for 26 years and he just told me in May that he had an affair with a women…..he said it happened 20 years ago …but from his touch and a new thing he does in bed when we are making love I think she was a recent affair.Anyway I am having trouble coping with all of this and he says for me to just let it go , it was 20 years ago….I would like too but I am finding it harder and harder to let go…I feel so betrayed and why did he not tell me about her way back then why wait til now.I really need advise on what to do. Please tell me what you then do you think it was 20 years ago or was it just recent ? And how do I deal with all of this ?
I am so sorry to hear what has happened to you. Feeling betrayed by a loved one is probably one of the worst experiences in this world. Your heart must be totally broken, and your trust completely ruptured.What concerns me perhaps even more than the affair is the way your husband is handling you after the fact–e.g. lying to you by saying the affair was long ago and expecting you to forget what he did, forcing you to swallow your feelings, refusing to accept responsibility for his misbehavior, and not being willing to examine the reasons why he did what he did, and to work on his issues so that he doesn’t feel the need to betray you again.What concerns me most of all is I don’t hear any indignation on your part for his betrayal, his current lying, and his squashing of your reactions to what he did.What I am going to tell you may be difficult to hear, but you must face what I am going to say or else be totally destroyed by this man.You need to examine what you are doing and saying (or not doing and not saying) that tells him that he can walk on you and get away with it.It is my impression that you come across as doubtful and unentitled to your feelings. You also seem to be sitting on your anger. My point is, if you sweep yourself under the rug, why won’t he follow suit?The way you are responding to his affair, and how he is treating you subsequent to his admission, is of great concern to me. And, this is why I am giving you a wake-up call. I am offering you an opportunity for self-growth, if you take it.Here’s what I think you need to focus on: 1) You need to find out why you are willing to wipe out your feelings when you are being mistreated; and 2) You need to find out how you are conveying to him that he can walk on you and get away with it; and 3) You need to heal this pattern.Let’s talk about goal one in more detail–why you are willing to wipe yourself out. Something happened to you as a kid that is being replayed in this marriage. Somewhere in your early life, you got the message not to speak up when you were being mistreated. Either you saw a mother suffer in silence or you were punished for trying to speak up. You need to figure out what part of your history is being repeated here. The bottom line is, you learned to swallow your anger when you feel abused.Think back and remember how your mom behaved when she felt mistreated. Was she:silent–which is a way of sanctioning and even reinforcing the other person’s mistreatment.did she: protect your dad from her anger by redirecting the blame onto herself–it must be my fault, I deserve what happened to me.did she stiffle her anger behind a veil of self-doubt–maybe I’m wrong to feel the way I do, maybe I misread or misunderstood, maybe I’m not being fair, etc.When you understand what your mom did to stiffle her anger, you will have a clearer picture on what you are doing to swallow yours.Regarding Goal 2: When you figure out what you are doing to stiffle your anger, you will know what you are saying and doing that tells your husband that he can keep dumping on you.And, regarding your 3rd goal, your healing: To be a whole person, you must become able to stand your ground, say what you feel and know to be true, and not be shut-up. Only you can decide if you want to grow past your sticking point or not.Until and unless you reach this point, your husband will walk on you for the rest of your life. This isn’t about issuing ultimatums. It’s about changing how you think and feel, what you will and won’t put up with, and getting the message across to him.You may need therapy to help you get where you need to get.You will also need to weigh out all the risks and benefits associated with your changing. If you put your foot down, is it possible that he will he leave you? Are you willing to face this risk? On the other hand, are you willing to stay the same and bury yourself–or let him bury you?This nightmare can be transformed into a powerful opportunity to heal yourself and the marriage. Have strength and courage.If you want to work further with me on this, contact me again in my Private Consulting section.