My Wife’s Affair and Post Infidelity Stress Disorder

The past twelve months have been the worst of my life. I’ve discovered and felt emotions that I didn’t think existed inside of me. These feelings made me feel uncomfortable and forced me to recognize just what was going on inside of my head.

The following is my story of how I’ve dealt with my Post Infidelity Stress Disorder.

The Breakdown

To me, 2016 always seemed destined to be a terrible year. I’m normally a positive person, but something felt off from the beginning. However, besides some celebrity deaths, Bowie and Prince to be specific, things were going pretty well for me the first few months of the year.

My wife and I had just celebrated our 13th anniversary and besides the typical bickering that every couple deals with, I felt things were good between us.

There were several signs things that, now that I look back, were warning signs of things to come.

For one, there was some parental undermining on her part. Setting me up to be the bad guy, not backing me up in front of our teenage daughter and talking shit about me to my daughter, though I didn’t find out about that until later.

It was the evening of April 18, a Monday night, when shit started to hit the fan. I was on the phone with a client (I do freelance work on the side) and got off the phone around 10:30. To my surprise, when I went into the bedroom, my wife, Robyn, was still awake. This was not the norm. As a school teacher, I was used to her being in bed, asleep by 9.

I remember laying down to go to bed when she told me, “I don’t know if I want to be married to you anymore.”

I was shocked. I asked questions, but she was very vague with her answers. In my gut, I felt that there was more to the story, but couldn’t pinpoint it. We talked and she suggested that the stress of teaching was making her unhappy and that she thought we could work together for the next few months to make it work.

However, the following Monday, after a week that seemed to go really well, she continued our discussion.

Once again she told me she was unhappy. My gut was still telling me something was off. I’ve always had good intuition and this was no different. So I confronted her.

“Is there someone else?”

“No,” she exclaimed. “I swear. I’m just unhappy.”

We continued talking, with her telling me what a horrible person I had been to her.

I couldn’t sleep that night. I was shaken to the core and couldn’t shut my mind off. This was the woman of my dreams, the love of my life. Not once in the course of our relationship had I ever envisioned a life without her. I dreamed of growing old with her. I wanted to die at an old age with her holding my hand.

I couldn’t understand this. A month prior she had told me out of the blue that she “fucking loved” me. It felt so sincere. Does love really go away that quickly? Was she trying to force herself to love me? What was going on?

Gas lighting and Manipulation

This was only the beginning. Over the next few weeks, she began “kitchen sinking” and gas lighting me. If you don’t know, kitchen sinking is when someone brings up everything that you’ve ever done to win an argument.

For instance, she brought up the time that I wouldn’t allow her to buy a video game and said that I was controlling her. I reminded her that it was Christmas and we were poor at the time and I only asked that she wait until after Christmas to buy it. She refused to relent and stuck by her assertion that I was cheap ass who would never let her spend her money. I asked for examples, but she didn’t provide one.

Wait, there’s more. She “had” a panic attack after spending $60 on books for her classroom, claiming I was the cause of it because I made her feel guilty for buying things, despite the fact that we had separate checking accounts and split the bills, thus allowing her to spend her money however she wanted to. After pointing out that I had not once said anything to her about her buying anything, she stuck to her story.

Then one night as we were going to sleep, she calmly said to me: “Beau, being married to you makes me want to kill myself.”

She said this not once, but twice, during the last few months of my marriage. She was always very calm when she said it. It wasn’t said in an argument or with anger. She thought about saying it. She said it with a purpose.

The Unraveling

What I’ve mentioned so far in this blog is only a small portion of what she said/did to me over the course of two months. I’m sure some of what she said to me was true. I am nowhere near perfect, but I always did the best I could. I made mistakes and always owned up to them.

Things began to unravel in mid-June. I took my daughters phone to the store to get fixed one day and noticed a text-message from someone named “Satan.” Curiously I opened it up and saw that the text was from her mom. To be clear, “Satan” was just a joke, she in no way thinks her mom is satan.

Nevertheless, I didn’t know the text were from her mom until I read them. Reading the text and other texts revealed that there was some parental alienation going on. She had told my daughter things about me that I’m not proud of and flat out lies about me.

She also told her that if she were to divorce me, I would try to keep both of my kids from seeing her, something that I NEVER threatened nor would I do.

I was hurt, but didn’t know what to do. Looking back at it now, I feel like a coward. I believe 90% of people would have confronted their spouse if they something similar. I did nothing and I still regret it to this day. I guess, I was afraid of what she would tell my daughter if I confronted her.

One day, Robyn left her email open on my computer. By this time, I had come to the con conclusion that Robyn was having an affair, I just didn’t have the proof. I decided to investigate and what I found only made everything worse.

She had been emailing/texting a janitor who worked at her school named Cesar telling him things like “she had to make” me think certain things (e.g. fake panic attacks) to protect Cesar. The emails also made it clear they were having an affair.

I want to add, if you ever find yourself in the position where you believe you have evidence of an affair, only read what you have to to know for sure. You’re going to want to read and know every detail of their relationship. Trust me, you don’t. Ever detail you learn will only make it more difficult to heal. Find out the truth, forget the details.

That said, I thought I couldn’t be any lower than I already was, but I was wrong. I was filled with anger and hurt and probably would have hurt Cesar had he been in the room.

I confronted Robyn about everything. She admitted the affair, but strangely denied saying many of the things she said to me….such as how being married to me “made her want to kill herself.” It was all in my head, she said.

The Aftermath

She burned me down to a pile of ashes and left me for dead. I moved out with no will to live. I don’t know that I was ever suicidal, but if someone would have told me that I was going to die in a car wreck the next week, I wouldn’t have cared.

My anxiety and depression had reached its peak. I wasn’t sleeping, wasn’t eating — I lost 18 pounds from April to August when I moved out — and felt all alone.

I turned to reading and meditation as a way to cope. One thing I learned was how people who go through affairs suffer from Post Infidelity Stress Disorder.

Honestly, PISD is something I might have scoffed at prior to going through it myself. Certain situations triggered my anxiety. One second I was fine, the next angry, nervous and lost.

For instance, hearing someone speak Spanish was a trigger because I knew that Cesar didn’t write English very well. Whenever I would hear someone speak Spanish, I instantly thought about the affair.

Additionally, I was afraid to parent my own daughter. I knew, and she knew for that matter, that if I wouldn’t let her do what she wanted to do, she would be texting her mom in an instance who would do everything in her power to make me look bad.

This caused me to let my daughter get away with more than normal. When I finally said “fuck it” and decided to be a parent again, this caused anxiety, but I knew I had to deal with it as kids need structure. They crave it.

To this day, I still struggle with Post Infidelity Stress Disorder and still believe there is some parental manipulation going on, though I have no proof. I still have anxiety and depression. I meditate at night with the hope that one day I will meet someone that can help me start anew.

I am a fighter and I will continue to spend as much energy as possible getting better and being a good father to my two kids.

If you are struggling with depression, I encourage you to seek help. Talk to a professional, a spouse, a friend, whoever will listen.

And if you are struggling with PISD, it gets better. It may take time, it may be three steps forward, two steps back kind of thing, but it does get better. Hang in there.

Thanks for reading and please post below with any questions you have.