The “Remind-Yourself-To-Eat” Phase


A picture of DM sometime during “The Phase”

When people think about adultery and abandonment, they rarely understand just how traumatic these experiences are for the faithful spouse. I truly believe fewer Christians would respond with the Shared Responsibility Nonsense if they understood the consequences faithful spouses suffer due to their cheating spouses’ sins.

Certainly, if they had any sort of a heart, they would be slower to condemn knowing how they were kicking that person while he/she was down.

One of the real ugly parts of surviving adulterous betrayal and abandonment is how it impacts daily life.

It is not an exaggeration to say that

I had to remind myself to eat during the most intense months.

Some people respond to loss differently. But I know that I am not alone in loosing an interest in food when going through extreme stress and catastrophic loss.

I loss about twenty pounds in two weeks simply from the stress of discovering my (now) ex-wife’s lover. That sort of soul-rending pain puts a real damper on enjoying life.

Discovering adultery is no joke.

It hurts like nothing else I have ever experienced in my life.

I describe it as a dismemberment.

It is soul rape.

That combined with the blaming, gas-lighting, and spiritual abuse generates an especially dangerous brew. Loss of dreams, security, sleep, and health all combine to manifest as shifting ground that such a betrayal presents a faithful spouse.

Life is really hard.

Faithful spouses need kindness, not condemnation at this phase. Practical advice about taking it one step or one hour at a time is helpful as I found.

And I want to assure you that “Remind-Yourself-To-Eat” Phase is precisely that:

A phase.

It will not go on forever.

The shifting ground does settle.

Pain decreases.

Sleep does return.

And life is worth it.*

 *If you have a plan or are seriously considering suicide, please reach out to your local mental health provider–or to friends, minimally. Life is definitely worth living. It is a precious, precious gift. Pain is only transitory, even if you cannot see that right now.

***I would add that I am not a mental health provider, and this blog is not a substitute for their professional care.***

12 thoughts on “The “Remind-Yourself-To-Eat” Phase”

  1. I’ve just found this blog. I’m in a 33 year marriage. I’ve recently discovered a series of lies my husband has told me. I confronted him with them all. It’s been going on for several weeks. For months before this, he was barely kissing me and being intimate. I had to ask. He made a lot of excuses. I knew he was going through something but until I started putting some things together in regards to someone he had done work for – the thought had never crossed my mind. So, I confront him. It turns ugly and he twists it all around in front of our kids. We still have young unmarried adults who work, got to school and live home. Of course they just can’t imagine. I sit and watch as it’s happening because I want to hear what’s coming out of his mouth. It’s not pretty. He has since apologized for the way he treated me in front of the kids. We went to counseling once and he was all over the place not even really saying why we were there. I had to tell the story. We have talked so much about all of this I feel just blue in the face. We’ve had spurts where there has been no arguing simply because I’ve tried to hold the fort down here without strife for the sake of the kids.

    A couple of nights ago I was honest with him and told him that I’m tired of trying to pretend like I understand because I simply still don’t understand the sequence of the lies he has told me. We really had it out with young adult kids trying to interrupt. So, last night he sat me down and swore to me once again that the only mistake he made was the lies. Could I please just forgive him so we won’t have this strife in our home. I told him yes and now I’ve just completely put it in God’s hands to reveal anything else. I’ve honestly found this blog very helpful in understanding some things. Thank-you.

    1. Glad the blog has been helpful and supportive!

      Keep your eyes open is my encouragement to you, Marie. Verify. Verify. Verify.

      Just because he says he is telling the truth NOW does NOT make it so. That is what happens when we lie. It undermines one’s credibility. That needs rebuilding. It would be foolish to trust a proven liar, again, without verification of truth.

  2. I lost forty pounds going through my ex’s adultery and then divorce. Unfortunately, they found their way back. (the pounds, not the ex. 🙂 )

  3. Marie- I’m so sorry you are going through this. I want to tell you that something similar happened in my 20 year marriage. About a year and a half ago my husband was acting strange and my son noticed him texting his Sunday School partner A LOT (a divorced younger woman). I confronted him on it. He said he was sorry and that he would remove her from his phone and keep his distance (which he never did but hid it). I agreed to keep the peace since he seemed sincere at the time. Two months after that my husband came home one day and said he didn’t want to be a husband anymore and didn’t care if he was a full time father either. I was shocked. He agreed to marriage counseling but also started a campaign of verbal and emotional abuse on me and our youngest son. It was so bad I was diagnosed with PTSD after I made him move out. Since then, I caught him spending the night at this woman’s house, a hidden box of fairly new condoms in his stuff in the garage and nearly $100,000 of secret debt. I had absolutely no idea my “Christian” husband was capable of all this. We are now divorcing and he has turned into a monster and has completely lost the respect of his two sons. It doesn’t seem the other woman is in the picture any more but there is no doubt in my mind he left his loving family for her. I want to encourage you to dig deeper and see what is really going on and be prepared for the worst. I wasn’t prepared at all. Let us know if you need support.

    1. Dear Brokenhearted, I am so terribly sorry! How absolutely horrible. I will write a little more later but please just know for now that my prayers are with you!!

  4. Brokenhearted,

    I wanted to tell you about a resource that I’ve heard about. I heard the Best message by a woman named Angela Thomas on “Family Life Today”. It’s a radio program that comes on Christian radio here. She was a single mom for many years and she has written books on the subject. From what I gathered after looking up several things on her, I believe her husband left her also because of adultery. She gives the best advice on anyone I have ever heard on this subject. She covers a lot. I hope you can look her stuff up! Let me know on here if you have problems finding it and I’ll find it for you if you can’t.

    I recently saw that she has married again. Not to the same man. I wanted to let you know that first.

    I’ll share a little more of my story. I had noticed for months that my husband was going through something. We’ve had some issues going on in our church that have greatly discouraged him. He has some business issues that have discouraged him. We’ve always had issues with his mom as she didn’t raise her children and has tried to make their lives miserable. We no longer have anything to do with her.

    He did some work for someone back in December. A friend recommended him to someone from his church and my husband did the work. He received a phone call from an Interior Design place because this person (a woman) gave him a good recommendation after he did the work. We were excited because this would give him more business. It did every now and then.

    He and I were going to dinner on Valentines day and he got a phone call from one of these people. He didn’t answer it but looked at it. They then texted. I always put the cell phone in my purse when we go in somewhere and did that. I went into the restroom and saw that the text was work related from one of them but also saw..Happy Valentines Day. I wrote a few of the work related numbers down and kept an eye on his phone for a few weeks but finally threw them out thinking I was so wrong. He and I had discussions over what kind of work he was doing for them and who was there etc. I was satisfied with the answers.

    I did notice for months that he was becoming sarcastic (honestly not normal for him) and also that he just didn’t seem to be able to deal with anything kid
    related or make decisions. So, in September he had a huge blow out with one of our grown kids. He lost his cool big time and I’m going to be honest and say it freaked out my three younger kids with the youngest still being a teen and two young adult ones because they have NEVER seen him like that before.

    A couple of days later I was out with the phone and got a text from one of the ladies he’s done work for. It was work related only but I thought it was odd that it would come in on a very late Sat. afternoon. I came home and we went out and we went to talk about it and he completely lost his cool with me and it was bad. I let him do it because I wanted to see what was coming out of his heart and boy did it come out. It all had my attention. Tues. morning comes and I’m heading out the door with youngest kid and he comes out of the room listening to his messages on his cell phone from this woman who was asking about this work. I realized he wanted me to hear that message
    and see his response to it. He acted like he didn’t want to do the work. I told him if he didn’t want to do it to just let her know.

    That night after dinner I asked him if he let her know. He said no and that he was thinking about doing it as he had no other work. I told him I didn’t think it was a good idea. He just looked at me. A few minutes later, one of our grown sons comes into the room and asks him what work he has for the rest of the week. (not uncommon) He looks at him and says…I can’t do it because your mom thinks I’m cheating on her!! I never said that and our son
    laughed and blew him off and I laughed too but it had my attention.

    Over the next couple of days I caught him in some lies. I asked him if he had ever done anymore work for or with this woman since the original job. He said no. A couple of days later while using the phone I saw text messages that were only work related but they were this woman’s number. Come to find
    out that he was working with her on some of these other jobs that had been recommended to him. When I asked him why he didn’t tell me that he said he hadn’t worked for her for Her company (she has a separate one) but he
    couldn’t help it if she was at the other places.

    I knew something wasn’t right and began putting some pressure on him. It got ugly. I told him I wanted to see the phone records. I finally did. There honestly weren’t that many to her or from her and he swears they were all work related. I couldn’t see texts..He tells me to call her If I don’t believe him. He swears he doesn’t even know anything about her. Where she lives etc. I didn’t want to call her. I knew everything about her at this point thanks to Facebook. So for days we argued and he tried to make me look like an absolute fool in front of my kids. I let him do it. I wanted to hear what was coming out of his mouth. It was so not my Christian husband.

    A few days go by and I find an old email from her from August asking him about this job she had for him and a possible meeting. I called him in to look at it on the computer and he stares at it and stares at me. I asked him if he had a meeting with her. He couldn’t answer at first. I was calm and asked
    him again if he had a meeting. He finally said yes. I went to walk out of the room and he came after me. He was groveling big time at this point. I turned around and called him a f……..liar. Kids heard and started in. He stopped them. We went back in the room and I asked him where the meeting was…He told me her house! Another big lie because for weeks he was telling me he didn’t have any of that info about her. I was pissed and he knew it. I asked him where she lives…In a neighborhood five minutes from our house. I was like…How Convenient! I told him to take me there Now! He did. He pulled into the driveway. It was 9:30 at night. We sat there for 2 minutes and I told him to get me out of there. I would decide if or when I was going to talk to her. He pulled away and started sobbing!! I mean sobbing bad!!! We got home and talked. He told me the biggest mistake he told me was not telling the truth in the first place and that’s where the rest of the lies came in. That he has never had a relationship with her nor had sex. I mean in my face many times telling me how sorry he was for lying, for how he treated me in front of the kids, over the last several months etc. etc.

    I had been telling him before I saw the email that we needed to go to counseling over this. He wouldn’t until I found the email and he knew he had no choice. We went to counseling 3 weeks ago with some friends of ours that our counselors. He was all over the place and wasn’t even explaining why we were really there. I had to tell them the specifics. I told him a few days after counseling that I didn’t feel that anything was settled. We had a big
    argument one night and he finally told me he was going to tell me everything. It basically just had to do with the lies. He says it’s the only thing he did wrong. He admits that. He admits that he hasn’t been treating me right for months. He is not abusive. Just very distant. I don’t feel any guilt because I’ve been bending over backward to help him and he knows it. He’s been so attentive now.

    I finally told him a few days ago that none of this still makes any sense to me. I’ve let it all out and he has just let me. Like he knows he deserves it but still swears it’s just the lies he’s guilty of. I know that people don’t lie for nothing! It’s tough when your wonderful…and he really has been up until this last year, is looking at you and telling you he would never do that to you. We had another big argument the other night and I finally told him I forgive him for the lies. I’m not sure if I really do. I’ve spent some good quiet time with the Lord and I pretty much feel like now I have to just let the Lord bring anymore darkness to light. I’m trying to retain normal here for the sake of the rest of my family. I know this was long but I just had to share it. Thanks! The email I have on here I can’t get to if anyone is trying to email me. It’s for my facebook page and I can’t remember the password but don’t want to give you my other one as it’s for both of us and our business. Thanks!

    1. Marie,

      Thanks for sharing your story! Sounds very difficult, indeed.

      Hopefully, your counseling friends are aware of emotional affair dynamics. That needs to be taken EXTREMELY seriously in the case you outlined here!

      Your husband is not “just” lying. He had emotional intimacy with this woman minimally. The Other Woman knew the truth about their involvement. But you did not. That is a secret binding them and excluding you, the spouse. It is more than “just” lying. This is a serious heart problem. And that is just according to what has been admitted.

      Second, it sounds like he has had opportunity to do more than be emotionally involved with this OW. It is also disconcerting that he held back disclosing his knowledge of her home address. That does not bode well.

      Either way, the emotional affair needs owning 100% on his part. Minimizing it as “just” lies is not going to solve this issue. And I would encourage continued monitoring. His responses smell fishy to me…


  5. Marie- thank you for sharing your story. I do want to say that I feel your husband may not have been overtly abusive but being distant, yelling and lying are definite forms of emotional abuse. Make sure he understands this. The beginning of my story is not hugely different than yours. I too had been worried about my husband for a little while. He seemed angry, stressed and distant. I was getting tired of trying help him and reach out to him. After the big confrontation about the other woman he became very attentive, apologetic and showered me with kindness. This was a man who was very involved in his sons’ lives, a church elder and and Boy Scout volunteer. Then all of sudden it was like he flipped a switch and became a cruel stranger. I demanded the he move out because I was starting to feel destroyed and knew he was toxic. He just continued to get worse. I begged him to get help and tried to get him to see how destructive he was being. His 12 and 15 year old sons cried and begged him not to break up their family. Their pleas literally did not noticeably phase him. He walked away from all three of us without a second thought and now 15 months after he moved out his cruel behavior continues. I’ve seen no remorse, no repentance and he spends very little time with his sons (12 hours every 2 weeks). His sons don’t want more time with him and feel he is not the man they thought he was.

    Although I’ve given him many chances I am now at the point that there is nothing he could do that would ever make me want to reconcile. I believe he has shown his true horrible self that was buried somewhere deep within him. I have learned to always ignore his words and watch his actions. His actions prove him to be an evil man while his words try to make him look like the good guy. I pray your husband is not the same as mine but he has really hurt you and he should be very remorseful. Watch his actions! Divorce Minister recommends a book by David Clarke called “When He Says He Doesn’t Love You Anymore.” My husband swore he loved me up to the day he moved out but his actions said otherwise. This book helps you see what real remorse looks like.

    Thank you for the recommendation of Angela Thomas. I just looked her up and bought he Single Mom book.I’ve had the help of a wonderful Christian counselor through all this and feel I’m in a pretty good place and so are my boys. I can tell by what you are a very caring person. You deserve a husband who is kind, caring, honest and loving. Please make sure he treats you this way.

    1. Nicole S,

      I’m so sorry you have to deal with this. I’ll be praying for you and your sons also. I’m so becoming aware that this seems to be happening more and more with Christians. It’s horrifying. My husband has honestly been groveling big time since all of this came out. He still is insisting his only guilt is lying. I still wonder why lies if there’s nothing to hide!

      I pretty much lost it the night before we went to counseling. I think I scared him half to death because I told him I would take him for everything. I really don’t care about things or houses. He is in the process of remodeling the house we live in. It’s going to look really good when he’s finished. Lots of updates. It will be paid off in a year. We also have a house we rent out that’s free and clear of a mortgage and we make a nice income on it. I meant every word and he knows it.

      One of the things he said to me at the beginning of this was..If I had been smart, I would have waited until he had finished remodeling. I’m pretty sure he thought I was going to kick him out. That was weird! I’m watching that believe me.

      I’m glad the Angela Thomas resources have helped and that you have a good counselor. Our counselors are good but I do have to say I heard the …husbands need respect from our male friend. Duh…I know that being married 33 years Dude! I had never stopped respecting him even through him having a hard time! I still love him. Respect will have to be rebuilt. He’s being super nice and kind. I’m praying and watching everything. Thanks again. This is quite the journey!

      1. Hi Marie- just so there is no confusion-I’m also BrokenHearted Believer. My iPad likes to replace my username sometimes when I submit my comment and I don’t know why. Please listen to DM and make sure your husband is taking this very seriously. It sounds like he was playing with fire and was testing the waters. Many affairs start with a man and a woman thinking they are “just being friends.” I pray he genuinely sees his wrongdoing and repents and you can heal this together with God.

        -BrokenHearted Believer/Nicole S 🙂

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