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So You Think You Want to Have an Affair? An Infidelity Reality Check For Men
If you have ever had an inkling, thought, notion or urge to have an affair, this article is for you. And even if you haven’t, this article is for you too because life changes and attitudes shift. You just never know. And finally, if you’re having an affair, this article is especially for you! This is the article I wish my husband had seen before or while he was having an affair.
At the fifteen year point of our marriage my husband began an affair with a woman he met in a breakfast diner. That affair lasted for five and a half years. There were a myriad of reasons that led up to it which I’ll spare you from. One important thing to know is that we had an average marriage like any other American couple and loved one another. Nothing heinous or terrible, just pretty average. So now let me tell you what happens when the fantasy bubble of an affair bursts open.
I found out about his affair when I found some letters the other woman had written to him and put in his jacket pocket. He was very careful to lay down ground rules with her that she could never call his cell phone, work phone, home phone or email him. He thought he was being so careful but what he never counted on was how much she wanted me to find out. He never thought to check his jacket pocket but she knew, through conversation with him, that I checked before I took his things to the dry cleaner. He had set this relationship up to have a sex buddy. Someone to fool around with, be friendly with and get his ego (and other things) stroked. He told her he was never going to leave me but he needed companionship on the side. Most women who are willing to engage as a side piece are pretty desperate and this makes them willing to take a gamble on getting a married man away from his wife. The woman my husband took up with told him she was OK with this but in the end she apparently was not as she took a huge risk by stuffing those letters in his jacket pocket, hoping I would find them and hoping it would force the situation in her favor. It didn’t.
Finding those letters and reading about his secret life with her was like a baseball bat to the kneecaps. It was about ten in the morning on a Thursday in January and I can’t even tell you to this day how much time passed between reading those letters and the phone call I made to him at work. I called him, got him out of a meeting and simply said in a weak and shaky voice, “You’ve been having an affair. How could you? How could you?” and hung up. He works about thirty minutes from home. He was home in about twenty minutes. (His recollection, not mine as all time stood still for me from the moment I found those letters.) He came through the door begging. Begging me not to leave him. Begging me to listen to him. Begging me to hear him out. I was in a stupor. I could hardly even hear his voice. He told me I was ten thousand times the woman she is. She was nothing to him at all. He only had her because he couldn’t have me. He loved me so much but he didn’t know how to get me to see that. He told me he was weak and he was screwed up and needed help. He was scrambling. Scrambling to save the life he never meant to jeopardize. He never expected this to happen so he was completely unprepared for it. What he was most unprepared for was what finding out about his affair would do to me. He never even thought about it because in his mind it was never going to happen. (A fatal flaw most of you guys have when having affairs and the truth is, we almost ALWAYS find out.)
Instinct told me not to make any quick decisions. I could barely string a sentence together in the first few days so making decisions was out of the question. In the weeks and months ahead what eventually began to come was a pain so deep I can barely find words to describe it. My husband was completely unprepared to deal with me sinking to a place he never thought I could go to. Before I discovered his affair I was a business owner at the top of my game. I was financially successful, traveled all around the world and was highly respected and in demand in my field. I was very self sufficient and independent. A few months after discovering his affair I was barely able to get out of bed. I sobbed through the night on most nights while my husband listened in shameful silence, holding me tight, hating himself. At one point the pain got to be so great I found myself sitting on the edge of our bathtub with a straight razor in my hand, contemplating on whether or not to use it. When I was growing up they used to call this sort of thing a nervous breakdown and here I was, all grown up, having one. If someone had told me a week before I discovered his affair this would have happen to me I would have told them they were nuts!
Two weeks after discovery we found a marriage counselor. This did almost nothing to help me with the trauma of it all, but in the long term, saved our marriage. It took me months to get to a point where I wasn’t catching my breath constantly or hyperventilating. The panic attacks began to subside a little. We made it to the one year point and we were both atually feeling like we might just make our way out of it when WHAM! I went in for my annual female check up and found out I had a sexually transmitted disease (STD). I had been checked out just after discovery but this particular disease lays dormant in your system until it decides to rear its ugly head. I found out I had HPV and as a result I was in the early stages of cervical cancer and needed surgery.
Once again, the baseball bat to the kneecaps. All over again I was emotionally ruined and my husband had to watch me go back into the rabbit hole of pain and despair. Pain and despair that he caused and had to witness day after day, night after night. He went to all the appointments with me and held my shaky hand when I got out of the car at the hospital on surgery day. He stayed with me as long as he could while they prepped me for surgery. And then he stayed with me while I recovered. He was beside himself with worry and shame. There is still no reprieve from all of this as I will always be a carrier of this virus and it can reoccur at any time in my life. I will live with the threat of having to go through this all over again. And it’s not just a minor thing. It’s cancer we’re talking about here guys!
One thing every man should know is that you can carry STDs and have no idea you’re carrying them. For men there are no symptoms and no tests for HPV. HPV has many different strains to it. Some cause genital herpes and a few are deadly in that they cause cervical cancer and it’s now suspected certain throat cancers. They can lay dormant in the body for years and then spring to life in times of stress or for no reason at all.
On my road to recovering from all of this I joined an online support group. From that group I made four very close friends and we have all stayed in touch over the years. Of those four women, each and every one of them has contracted a HPV related STD from their spouse. The odds are against you in this one gentlemen! And here’s the worst part, it can still be transmitted when you wear a condom since it can spread from skin to skin contact in the genital region. So even if my husband hadn’t of been busted with her letters in his pocket, he would have been when I got this news.
It’s years later now and I have dedicated my life to helping women go through this by providing a virtual support community for them called Infidelity Mavens. It is completely run by women who have been betrayed by their husbands. We help them with the trauma aspect and help them navigate their way through the maze of uncertainty and fear and back to remembering who they are. My husband and I are still working on us, both individually and as a couple, and we are doing well. We are much kinder and much more loving and respectful of one another. We are more in love than ever, but there has been damage done that even time won’t heal.
It would have been so much easier if we had done this work without the affair being the catalyst because even though we are doing well, there is a part of me that broke inside on that cold Thursday in January and it will never be repaired. Where I was once a believer in the goodness of human beings, I’m now a cynic. I know what people are capable of and I know the damage they can do. My husband’s affair has damaged me to the point where I simply can’t restore that part of me that believed in the goodness in all people. I expect the worst now and have come far enough to allow myself appreciation when that isn’t the case. A part of me died the day I found those letters and it will never be resurrected again. My internal light that so many used to comment on dimmed that day, never to glow as brightly again. I beg of you, don’t EVER do this to anyone. Even if you no longer love your wife, or even if you despise her, don’t do this to her. No one, and I mean no one, deserves this.
You may wonder why I never left him. There are many reasons but the reality of it all is this:
- I am now damaged goods. I have a STD that isn’t going away and having an intimate relationship again with someone else is out of the question. I am a carrier now and I am uninsurable.
- If I left him I would be bitter and alone for the rest of my life as I will never trust another man to have my heart the way this one did. I would have no desire to ever be in another relationship again as I would never have a moments peace within myself.
- I have spent over half of my life, building a life filled with wealth, in every definition of the term, with this man. I could walk away from the man but in doing so would disintegrate the life and render it all a lie.
- I love him. I’m mad as hell at him and there are times I suck in my breath from the disgust I feel at what he did, but after it’s all said and done, I love him. It’s better to be with someone you love with flaws in the relationship than to be without them and wonder what could have been forever.
No man ever expects this to happen to him when he decides to stray from the marriage. My story is mild in comparison to some others I have heard. The one thing wayward husbands never consider is that the other woman is a wild card. So often we hear stories at Infidelity Mavens where men get into these relationships looking for a quick salve to a bigger problem and the relationship with the other woman becomes an even bigger problem in that it becomes much like an addiction that men don’t know how to get out of it. When straying, the one thing most men don’t ever take into consideration is what I like to call the Eve Effect. As women we ALL know how to do it. We all know how to ingratiate ourselves into the fabric of your life. We know what you will bite on and what will pull you in further. We’re born with this knowing. Most women are aware they have this power but few of them use it. Their moral conscious won’t allow it. But once a woman is damaged and desperate enough, she will not hesitate to use it.
Ironically, most of the single woman who become the other woman were actually betrayed by their spouse at one time. The damage runs deep when women are betrayed. When these women invest their whole selves into these fantasy relationships they don’t take getting dumped lying down. In fact, many of them don’t take waiting too long lying down either. They force the situation by doing what the woman in my situation did by leaving evidence to be found or they take it even further by informing the wife with a letter or a phone call. When they go to the extreme they forget to use birth control and woops!, nine months later there is a baby. I have heard countless stories of wives finding out their husbands had an affair when someone shows up at the door with a subpoena for a paternity suit. Usually the wayward husband had no idea it was coming.
Women can be cunning, strategic and very calculating when they want what they want. They will use the mask of sexuality to get what they want from men very skillfully. They will make you feel like a god and like this is how you were meant to be treated. They will accumulate clues about the areas of dissatisfaction with your wife and marriage and morph themselves into everything she is not. You will not even know when you’re giving her these clues, but she will get them and she will use them. As I said, we ALL know how to do it and we can be very convincing and very patient to get what we want. We can even kid ourselves that we aren’t doing it for personal gain or a personal agenda.
What I find amazing is how many of you guys fall into the trap even though this same sad story has been around since Adam and Eve! Women will leverage your desire to be seen as a “good guy” and will exploit your lack of self esteem. Time after time I hear of men getting into affairs in the first place by just wanting to help the woman out. My own husband fell into the trap by listening to her sad stories and wanting to help. This is where desperate women know they have you hooked because they interpret kindness for interest and the game is on for them. And since so many men don’t know how to recognize their own weaknesses and lack of self esteem, (often until it’s too late) you become an easy target for desperate women seeking to mate poach. By the time you even know what has hit you, you’ve bit like a bass on a bucktail jig and she’s got you hooked! All to get that sagging and damaged ego boosted.
In closing I’d like you to know that no matter how hard you think it would be to tell your wife how you’re feeling if you are not happy with her or your marriage, it pales in comparison to how difficult it will be to untangle the mess you’ll be in once an affair is discovered. You’ll be forced into situations that will make talking out your feelings look like a cake walk! I know how hard it is for most of you guys to talk about how you feel. I know you feel clumsy and awkward and like you’ll never win with your wife. This isn’t about winning and it’s not about having all the right words. It’s what is absolutely necessary for you to keep your world intact. So many men make the mistake of feeling like a little fling could be just the thing they need and feel entitled to it for a variety of reasons. Trust me, there is an ugly underbelly to this that far out shadows the short term pleasure you would get. It destroys peoples’ lives and their souls.
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