Edited by Alaura5 - 3/3/13 at 4:35pm
Big hugs. I think you should take some time to yourself for a while, make sure you can co-parent together, but not rush into trying to make it work. It sounds like he is pretty messed up and has to sort out his own life. And, that's up to him, not you. I have never been through this, but have a close friend who had a very similar experience. I find it really hard to deal with the emotional immaturity and selfishness of a man who is unable to stick by his partner in the postpartum period - I think an affair is a very easy way out of dealing with a newborn and a partner still recovering (particularly from a traumatic birth). I don't think he deserves any slack right now. He may want a "happy family", but that takes a lot of work from both sides. He can't pick and choose the bits he wants.
Personally, I wouldn't necessarily write him off forever, but I would definitely not take him back in the house right now and I would expect him to work very hard on his issues before I even thought about attempting to trust him again. I think this is about him stepping up and proving that he is mature enough to be your partner. If he can really do that, perhaps then you can think about forgiving and making it work. But it is up to him to change.
Good luck - sounds like a really hard place to be in right now.
There are circumstances in which I think I would forgive an affair. This is not one of them. I'm really so very sorry this happened to you. My husband has disappointed me in a severe way when I was pregnant with our daughter (not an affair, thankfully) and I know how emotionally vulnerable pregnancy and new mommyhood makes you. You should not have to deal with this sh*t at such a sensitive time of your life that is supposed to be so special. I'm so so sorry. You'll be in my prayers.
I'd try, absolutely. In my opinion literally harming one another is the only thing that should break up a marriage. Not badly hurt feelings, not lack of holding up one or both ends of the marriage agreement. With counseling and in time some real remorse and work on his part to fix things, yes I'd totally forgive him anything. We agree to show love and respect unconditionally, and if one partner falls short the other trying hard to show it can correct the failing one eventually.
((Alaura5)) Wow, that is a lot to process. I would say maintain the separation and take plenty of time and space in making that decision. There are levels of betrayal to this affair-- the timing when you and the new baby need his focus, the lying while in counseling, his sense of entitlement, the lack of real remorse/empathy toward you. Believe his actions, not his words, and actions are only apparent over time. I left my kids' dad due to domestic violence and experienced physical, verbal, emotional abuse in the relationship. I now work as an advocate with DV survivors, and their experience mirrors my own-- short of crippling injury, the emotional/verbal abuse is far more damaging than physical abuse. It is so insidious-- it's hard to see what's real anymore. Your husband did not "just" cheat, he is engaged in a pattern of emotional abuse, which is even more serious IMO. Also, I'd get a new therapist-- anyone who is urging you to physically reconcile before your husband has really taken accountability is off-base.
Speaking from experience, I think the only way possible for it to succeed is if you were to see a huge demonstration of remorse and sincere and concerted efforts on his part to repair the relationship. Like he should call the therapist and be proactive and talking it through, exploring what happened within himself and the relationship to initiate the affair. If this is a one-time thing, and he is committed to understanding what happened for him, and asks you what you need to rebuild trust....if he works hard to fix the relationship and committed to it, it can happen. Sounds like he was lonely, not bonded with the baby (did you let him care for the baby?), you were (rightfully) busy, and he was overwhelmed. But he needs to be conscious enough to address all that. And not that many men are.
It didn't happen for me, after four more years of trying/therapy etc, and now I am too old to have another baby. Which sucks. But I did feel that I tried to salvage the marriage and gave it my all. The only problem was that I was the only one really trying.
If you don't see immediate and huge commitment to understanding, healing, and change--grieve...then don't look back.
I know an amazing divorce counselor that works over the phone. She is amazing at working through the emotional and practical parts of the process. If you are interested you can message me for her info. Actually I don't think she'd mind me posting here. She also does great newsletters: http://www.discoverthedspot.com/
Good luck to you.
Been there, tried to forgive him, decided not working so lets get divorced, found out pregnant.....after 14 years of a one sided marrige and three amazing children I am now happily divorced from my very immature, emotionally and psycologically abusive ex. He is now struggling to survive with the same girl he had the affair with. I wish them both luck!
Ugh, first it sounds like your MW was pretty disappointing...I wish she would have attempted to try and turn your child...good grief. No alternatives suggested? I am sorry you were let down by her when you needed her!
I am so sorry that you also went through PPD alone basically....a traumatic birth and then you were let down by two people...your mw first, then your husband. Wow, what a lot to deal with emotionally. I went through a few similar things that you did, (except my kids' dad did not have an affair),but much of the rest of the stuff I can relate to (sans therapy, he would never have done that).
That all being said, to your questions:
What would you do? Leave.
Would you try to forgive an affair? Depends on the circumstance, but for me it is not impossible necessarily
Have you? Yes, first ex, before kids dad
How do you find a way to trust again after such a betrayal at this most vulnerable time? Well he decided to leave for this other person so....didn't have to work on that issue lol. I bounced back pretty easily but again, we didn't have kids, it was a short marriage, and I went through none of the things you went through with this ex.
I don't feel I can tell you what to do...it would be easy for me to do so but I don't feel it is something I should do, since this is such a personal decision. I will say my observations though. He does not seem emotionally invested in this relationship with you. He goes through the motions of counseling and stuff, but he does not seem interested at all. The counselor's observations of that he should be let back in to work on the marriage could be valid in other situations but in this one...he does not seem to be that invested to make it work. He still has contact with this other person, him flat out saying that he needs someone to turn to because you aren't available right now (to him). That does not seem to be the reactions of a man who is emotionally invested in his marriage. It does not sound like this therapist is doing you guys much good....at least not as a couple. It sounds like if you are separated he would be content communicating with this other person anyway.
I guess search through the known facts and, if at all possible, take emotion on both sides out of it. Meaning, take out positive and negative emotions towards the situation and look at the hard facts that you know of. Write them down if need be. Then, go from there. Whatever you choose, I wish you peace and calm with your current situation and whatever happens in the future...you certainly deserve it.
I think I could have forgiven an affair if I had had a truly remorseful spouse who had been willing to cut ALL contact off with the affair partner and really focus on healing.
I didn't get that. It's a really tough decision to make but unless your ex steps up I don't think there is much chance of you being happy with reconciling. That's my opinion after being immersed in "infidelity circles" for almost 6 years. You would learn to trust by your partner being transparent and earning that trust back.
They become expert liars. Mine also lied in counseling--in an individual session he went to with my therapist and in marriage counseling.
Have you read at www.survivinginfidelity.com ? Good resource.
This does get better. I know it sucks and hurts really, really bad right now, but know that you can come out on the other side and be happy again.
Whether it's an affair or anything else, I have trouble understanding how one forgives someone who isn't sorry. Your instinct is correct. If his heart and mind were in a place where your marriage could truly recover from his betrayal, he would be begging for your forgiveness, reassuring you that he'll earn back your trust and he would have made a clear, clean break with this woman. Even then, I'm not saying you'd be obligated to take him back. He cheated. You have every right in the world to leave. But if the above things were going on, you could reasonably justify the choice to forgive him and continue to work on repairing the marriage.
Under the circumstances, it's the most understandable thing in the world that you want to find some way to fix this, to keep your child's family together - not to be alone. Asking yourself if you should forgive him; if you should continue working on the marriage in therapy makes you feel like you have more power over the situation than you really do. If you can identify an area where you could possibly work harder, then you can feel like the problem is yours to fix. That is the most natural, understandable instinct! But it's not true. You may have gotten depressed and been difficult to be around, after the birth. People get depressed. Your life partner is supposed to stick around through it, just as you have surely stuck with him through periods when he wasn't all fun and games. What he did is on a different plane than going through a period of depression. He didn't have a one-night stand, make an impulsive mistake. He continues to have an emotional relationship with this woman and to share details of his personal life, even while he's with you. If your marriage is going to be fixed, it has to be a priority to him. You can't make it a priority to him. And based on how you yourself have represented the situation, fixing the marriage is not his priority.
I think your money, time and energy would be much better spent in counselling for yourself. I separated from my long-term love after giving birth to special-needs twins. It's an awful time to end a relationship. It took a long time to commit to breaking it off with him and I felt insecure, unlovable and guilty...for a while. But you can't start to feel better, to move forward or to build your new life until you make a decision. Staying in marital counselling with your husband seems to be a way of postponing that decision. You deserve more - and for your marriage to survive long-term you must have more - than a half-hearted statement on his part that he wants to fix things; a statement that doesn't match what he's doing, or what he's saying to this other woman.
Stay in counseling, but focus on yourself, on your needs alone. You deserve the effort, Mom.
I hate to say this but there are just too many red flags in his behavior. He is not treating you or your little ones like human beings. You both deserve better. Don't be surprised if he suddenly wants to go to individual counseling and promises to change if/when you say you're leaving him (by that I mean permanently, legal divorce). I know when you're in something you're so used to it it's hard to see just how bad it is from an outside perspective. I am telling you, this is bad. I wouldn't do anymore counseling with him either. Stay strong.
And divorcing him does NOT mean you cannot have more children. How could you ever have more children with him? Leaving him means you are opening up that possibility, not shutting it down. You can still meet a man who will treat you the way you deserve to be treated and who actually wants to have children with you. I think first you would need a good amount of time alone and counseling for you would be really helpful. Don't give up hope.
*Hugs* I think you're doing the right thing. I don't think this relationship is salvageable, though of course I've only heard the "anon message board" summary of your marriage.
Would I forgive an affair? Sure! No problem. (Have I? Yes. Both me and my husband have forgiven indiscretions.)
But your husband has done some things that I would NOT be able to forgive. He was unsupportive of you during the first few months after the birth of your first child! You were having some PPD, recovering from the birth, breastfeeding around the clock, and he wasn't there. He didn't help you and he didn't love his son. To me, that is unforgivable. That tells you what kind of man he is. It doesn't matter if he had trouble "bonding" with the newborn. Either you're the kind of man who grows up and pitches in, or you aren't. He isn't.
Thanks for the update, Alaura. I see it was almost two weeks ago, so I hope you're doing better now. I am wondering if the couple's therapy is a good idea? I'm also wondering how he is continuing to play the victim when you and your child are the victim's here. I would be very careful about giving into that mentality when he tries to put it on you (his sob stories and poor me talk).
I have heard that a lot, what you're saying, grieving the loss of not only the marriage but the person you thought he was. Let yourself grieve. I'm so glad you have a good support system. Stay strong and be kind to yourself.