How to cope with the aftermath of trauma from the affair itself
Hi all, me again. I have just one more thing to ask before I go for a bit and focus on therapy until I ultimately have another question.
A quick rundown for those who haven't read my previous posts. I, behind my partners back, would post nudes of myself and sext other men online. Never the same man for more than a couple days at the very most.
The nature of the sexting....well, I honestly don't feel comfortable posting the very triggering things they said to me. I was posting online about my history of abuse, welcoming men to come reenact it with me, welcoming men to degrade and humiliate me. They absolutely took advantage of my vulnerable state and I am only realizing this now.
Quite frankly having distance from this behavior has made it finally click how damaging it was to me. I am mostly upset with how much I have hurt my partner, but I am also dealing with trauma from the sexting.
I know not everybody has a great time when they're having an affair but it was truly awful the whole time for me and I don't have the words yet to explain why I did it. My partner didn't want to hurt me sexually and I guess I couldn't accept having sex not hurt. I am haunted by what people have said to me.
I really want to begin trauma work with my therapist, but she is unsure because I am pretty unstable. We are trying to focus on me gaining solid coping skills. It's just slow going. I had a lot of work stress over the past few months with a promotion I (shockingly) wasn't able to handle as d-day happened a month in. I hope now that I am back to my old position I can focus more on myself.
Does anybody here relate to having trauma from the affair itself as a WS, or any advice? It's all so much. It is so much to see how much I have hurt somebody I love who doesn't deserve this, and it is so much to think about the things that have been said to or threatened upon me.
Thanks again everyone for all the advice, I really appreciate it. I have Therapy on Tuesday and am going to discuss my increased suicidality with her. My partner is going to start an intensive outpatient program very soon so fingers crossed it helps him feel a little better. Things are very bad for both of us mental health wise right now, but I have hope it will get better.
10 comments posted: Sunday, October 22nd, 2023
Partner is so stressed and I don't know what to do
Hi all, back again.
I don't know what to say. Since July my life has been an absolute roller coaster with more downs than ups. So much has happened since D-Day and yet so little.
Some days are really good. We go on dates sometimes, watch movies, cuddle, have sex. Some days it's just really nice to be in each other's company and it makes me feel really happy and good.
Some days are bad. He's so stressed. Obviously about D-Day but a million other things going on in his life too. We have had so little luck finding him a therapist. I have done all I feel I can in helping him select one; I can't make the choice or send the email for him, but I have complied lists of options and drafts of emails to send. I don't know if he doesn't want to go or if he truly is struggling this much to make the appointment, but I have to be honest, I'm getting a little tired of asking him over and over to please just pick a therapist so he can start seeing just anybody at this point. He says he really wants to start seeing someone.
I don't think I'm happy in our relationship anymore. I don't think it brings me joy most of the time anymore. I am simply waiting for things to improve but I am scared because I don't know how long that means.
Due to all the stress in his life we barely see each other and when we do he's usually really irritable and it makes me sad. I get nervous before he comes home from work because I don't know if he's going to be happy to see me or so upset it's better for me to just leave.
I just feel like I'm walking on eggshells. I never know if what I'm doing is right or wrong until its already pissed him off. Sometimes being around him makes me feel really badly about myself.
I feel horribly saying any of this because I don't remember things being this bad before D-Day and, well, yeah. I think a lot of it is my fault. I know he's very stressed about other things but I think he doesn't want to admit how much D-Day is still affecting him.
I love him. I want to at least help him in the ways I can in this aftermath. I told him I wouldn't leave him after he found out (he was scared of me leaving him), but I also feel it's not fair to him to continue this relationship out of obligation. I don't know what to do. I don't want to call it quits yet but I am not doing well and this relationship is making me really stressed. I don't know how long is a reasonable amount of time to keep trying. I don't know.
It's not his fault he feels so unwell most of the time. I don't know how to even begin talking to him about this.
14 comments posted: Wednesday, October 18th, 2023
Got Worse Before It Got Better
Hi all, I posted a while ago about some suicidal thoughts. I wanted to assure everybody that I am safe. They did continue to get worse, so I checked myself into an inpatient facility which I was discharged from a few days ago. This is not the first time I have gone inpatient as I've struggled with mental health conditions since I was a teenager, but it was impactful nonetheless.
I am doing much, much better. Can't say exactly what helped for sure, probably a combination of the medication, time away, learning DBT coping skills, and our really productive session my partner and I had on the unit.
He was so good to me throughout the entire process. Very loving and supportive 100%. I feel secure in the fact that he loves and cares about me and is willing to give it his all to make this better than it was before. He told me he sees how much I'm trying and he really appreciates it.
Feeling hopeful about my future and our future. I feel much more stable and am hopeful that as I continue to work through my trauma my PTSD symptoms will reduce. I also know he might not stay with me forever, but I know in my bones now that both of us care way too much about each other and our relationship to give up without giving it our all first.
I still feel guilt, of course, I think I will for the rest of my life. I don't feel like I'm drowning in it though. I feel like I can wake up and take the guilt and use it to make myself a little better than the day I was before.
3 comments posted: Tuesday, September 19th, 2023
A month post d-day
A little over a month post d-day. Things got better for a bit and I assumed the very worst was over but this past week has been just about as bad.
Yesterday we were trying to move some furniture and he was so angry and so irritable and I was trying really hard to be patient but it was triggering my PTSD. Eventually I started crying. We both spent most of the night separately having our own massive breakdowns.
He doesn't talk to me anymore. He doesn't talk to anyone anymore. He just sits with all his feelings until they bubble up and come out and are too much. No matter how much I encourage him to talk to someone like a friend about this if he doesn't want to talk to me he doesn't. I know he might not be ready but I hate to see him hold onto all of this so tightly. I don't know.
I am starting to become depressed. Like, things other than just this are bothering me. Feels like I'm back to square one with the guilt. Been trying to rationalize to myself that I am not evil I just did a bad thing and need to work on myself but I have to be honest, I am starting to wonder if my therapist might suggest inpatient soon because I feel like something is very wrong with me and that it would be better for everyone if I weren't here.
I'm sorry for the heavy post I just feel very alone right now. My best friend is in so much pain because of me. I don't know what else I can be doing. I'm so sad all the time and I don't enjoy anything anymore. Thank you for reading, I just needed to get these thoughts out somewhere.
6 comments posted: Tuesday, August 29th, 2023
WS looking for a therapist for BS
Hi all, WS here, D-Day was about a month ago. Without going too into detail as I've posted my story here multiple times, I sexted other men. I struggle with a lot of compulsive sexual behaviors due to sexual abuse that I never adequately got help for.
My partner doesn't like the therapist we initially picked when D-Day happened. I'm struggling to help him find a new one.
He says his biggest problems right now are feeling anger and feeling hurt, and not knowing how to handle these emotions at the intensity he's feeling. He says he doesn't want to be mean to me and he's worried he is. He isn't, he's just been irritable lately, which I don't take personally at all.
What should I be looking for in a therapist to help with something like this? I think he's most frustrated that she just seems to listen and reaffirm that yes, that sounds hard. He needs someone to be more proactive and recommend coping skills and such.
Any advice for particular things to be on the lookout for would be very helpful. Thanks in advance.
7 comments posted: Saturday, August 26th, 2023
How do I get over the fear of losing him?
I posted nude pictures of myself (never any face) and would sometimes respond to men's messages encouraging them to be sexual with me online without telling my partner. I did this...well, god, if only it were easy to explain why. I was used to being hurt during sex and my partner didn't hurt me. So I went online to find men who would talk about hurting me. I don't want to go too into detail, but what some of them said to me was genuinely horrific. The sexting was not enjoyable and was honestly traumatic considering the nature of it.
He found out 6/26. So, yeah, still very fresh and raw. He found a paper I had forgotten about with my verification information for a nsfw forum. So he saw the account I used. He saw everything except the private messages, and I've honestly explained what they're about. I don't think he needs to read the actual sexting I think that would probably just be upsetting. There wasn't really anything else there. There was no "other man". There were men for maybe an hour at most before I blocked them. Again I cannot stress enough how much even though I did this I didn't enjoy it. Not that that lessens the hurt I caused or anything, I just think it's important to know I am going to have a healing process from this too in some ways. It was me trying to recreate my trauma.
I understand what I did is extremely upsetting to think about in more ways than one, how he found out is extremely upsetting, the fact that I did it for so long (on and off two years) is extremely upsetting.
We're both in individual therapy discussing couples counseling once we're more ready. He says he wants to try to make it work, that he still loves me and enjoys spending time with me. He's also so, so hurt.
I know I very well might lose him over this. Hell, I probably will. I've been obsessively googling infidelity statistics and reading stories. I know there's only a slim chance of this working out. I really fear the pain I caused is going to be too deep to ever have a meaningful relationship again.
I want to try with him though. We both say we want to try because our relationship is important to us. How do I get over the intense fear of losing him? Every day I look at him I wonder how much time I have left. Every day I wonder if I am being selfish by trying and letting him try. Wouldn't he ultimately be happier with someone other than me now?
I believe people can change and I have promised him and myself I will never do it again. I am working with therapists to make sure it doesn't. I am being honest. I also can't stop myself from reading comments and articles of people saying things like "once a cheater always a cheater" and saying any relationship is doomed forever after cheating.
Its been hard. I can only imagine the hell he is going through.
12 comments posted: Sunday, August 6th, 2023
WS looking for honesty - am I being selfish by trying to make this work?
If this is inappropriate to post in general, I am sorry. Please feel free to move or delete.
So, I guess I just want some brutal honesty right now. I am the WS. My partner and I are not married but we were planning on spending a lifetime together. D-Day was very recent.
He says he wants to try and make things work for now. He says he still loves me, is willing to trust that I won't do it again (and I won't - I promised too many people including myself that I couldn't live with myself if I ever do it again). He says he still enjoys spending time with me. He's really hurting, as you all know.
I am willing to put in whatever amount of work I have to do in IC and with him. I'm not scared of it. In fact, it makes me feel better in a strange way, that I can at least try to make him feel better with changing myself and my actions.
I also have a very big part of me that can't stop reading everything I can about infidelity and I am very concerned that him staying with me is only going to waste his time with healing and eventually meeting someone new that he can fully trust.
I am okay with whatever he needs. If he wants to stay together for two more years and I can be any source of comfort during those two years then I'm glad.
I know this isn't an easy question to answer, but am I being selfish for trying to make this work?
7 comments posted: Saturday, August 5th, 2023
Partner found out last week. Guilt eating me alive.
I messaged men behind my partners back for well over a year and he found out 6/26. I did this because I have a lot of issues with sex and at first I thought I was protecting him from them, then it became obsessive.
I do love my partner. So much. He is so wonderful and special and I can't live with myself for how much I hurt him.
It's only been a bit but I am trying. I told my therapist everything. I'm reading everything I can about the topic. I'm trying everything I can do to comfort him without overstepping boundaries.
How do you live with the guilt? It's crushing. I can't get away from it. I can't eat and I keep having nightmares. Does it ever get better? I regret it so much and then I remember I can never take it back and I'm worried I'm going to be on my death bed and all I'm going to be able to think about is how I hurt the person I love. I know it's not about me right now but I need to be able to manage this guilt to focus on my partner better.
9 comments posted: Tuesday, August 1st, 2023