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Why is this happening now? Two years later? Now I'm plagued with dreams that remind me of his affair

Tagged as: Cheating, Dating, Friends, The ex-factor, Trust issues<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (28 October 2015) 4 Answers - (Newest, 30 October 2015)
A female United Kingdom age 26-29, anonymous writes:

hi everyone.

Some advice would be great. Cut a long story short my partner had an affair nearly two years ago now. We had been together for four years at the time, we both weren't happy and then I found out the reason why- he had had a six week affair and was treating me horrendously because of his own guilty actions.

A close friend of mine had overheard the woman he was having an affair with telling somebody about their affair and discussing myself and how exciting it was to steal a man from a young women. (She's 14 years older than me and my partner) he was 22 at the time and she was 36.

When I confronted my partner he confessed everything and showed me messages of him calling the affair off three days previous so it explains why she was now letting their secret out.

He was a mess and I was numb. Neither of us ate properly for weeks and lived in a mess of tears, anger and arguments.

We have a long conversation one day, aired out some home truths on both sides. Laid all the cards on the table and decided to try and move on. The love was still there but the happiness hadn't been, we both needed to make changes, granted him more than me. I vowed to him that if I ever felt like he wasn't making an effort with me or then he was gone.

Two years later and our relationship has gone from strength to to strength. Airing out the good and bad allowed us to find a mutual balance in the relationship. We are totally honest with each other and to put it frank if we don't like something or how one of us is acting we will tell them. One major falling in the relationship used to be the way we handled conflict.

If one of us was angry we would blow things out of proportion and drag arguments out for weeks sometimes.

Now we have conflict resolved in an hour, maybe an evening at tops. We know longer allow each other to go to bed upset.

Honestly, I am truly happy with our relationship at present. He has kept his promise and not a day has gone passed where I've felt unloved. Out parents and friends comment on how healthy and happy our relationship now is and we even had a close friend tell us she envy's our new relationship and if cheating is what is takes she would be Happy for her partner to- which we found bizzare as cheating causes so much pain.

So here's my question and where things aren't so happy.

Two years later I am now getting these horrible dreams or even nightmares about the affair. I dream about the two of them together but more often than not I dream about myself getting revenge on her.

I have similar dreams of me destroying her home, fighting her (I'm not a fighter and would never dream of hurting her despite everything), of me forcing him to hurt her or destroy her property.

I'm plagued with them and have had maybe one or two dreams about her for the last 2/3 weeks.

I don't know what's brought it on, I haven't seen her and I'm not suspicious of him rekindling with her as he's still head over heels about myself and spending all of his free time at home with me.

Why do you think now after two years when I really thought I had moved on that I'm getting these dreams? It's almost setting myself back as I'm now thinking about the affair which is something I had managed to stop doing with time. I've even face booked her a few times and looked at her pictures. I don't understand why all this is happening now.

View related questions: affair, move on, revenge, unloved

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A male reader, anonymous, writes (30 October 2015):

I was cheated on and I stayed with her. It's been over a year now.

I can forgive her and help her work through the issues when I see her struggling or stressing about it. I try to help & reassure her whenever I know its on her mind even if she is putting on a pleasant face.

But when things have been feeling totally smooth & happy for a few weeks, THEN my anger starts to boil over again. It pisses me off when I start to feel like she is getting to put this behind her and not think about it anymore. I don't get to be free of it so why does she? She's the one who did all the wrongs, goddammit!

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A male reader, no nonsense Aidan United Kingdom +, writes (29 October 2015):

The way you have handled this situation is thoroughly commendable and I hope you’ll consider getting a column of your own to advise our many visitors struggling with the consequences of cheating because it’s a massive betrayal, let alone the many more couples who don’t have the communication you seem to have established together. Unfortunately, though forgiving is extremely hard, forgetting is even harder. I do feel that you should tell your partner what’s been going on and reassure him that you’re not doing so to attack him and hold his mistake against him but simply to share with him something that you are suffering in a spirit of honesty and openness. There may be no rational explanation for these dreams and it could just have been triggered by something inconsequential; it is very hard to say what causes flashbacks and old wounds to open up without explanation. I can only think that something has made you feel a bit vulnerable. It might not be related to your relationship, but could be something else such as problems in your family, stress at work or worries about your health, for example. I wonder if you are revisiting the time when you were extremely vulnerable because you thought you knew it all but didn’t. You thought you had a faithful partner and that life was great, but he was cheating on you with a woman who actually revelled her misdeeds. That says everything about her and nothing about you. I wonder if you are now misdirecting your anger at her to deflect your focus from what’s making you angry, upset or just a bit anxious or uncertain now. I think this particularly because we’re not just talking about dreams: you’re actually snooping on her Facebook even though the affair is done and dusted and you have both moved on. I do think human beings are infinitely capable of re-inventing the past or giving past events fresh importance in our present for all kinds of reasons, so I think your focus needs to be thinking about your vulnerabilities and anxieties now. I also wonder if it’s good that he spends all his free time with you. Does he not go out with friends? Does he not do things without you? What I’m really asking is whether there are any times where you aren’t able to see for yourself what he’s doing and where he could do wrong if he wished? I wonder if you need to take that risk to solidify the trust you have in him. I don’t suggest lightly opening a can of worms when you’ve both made such progress but I wonder if this is still a step you have to take in the healing process, which is just that: a process that takes time and gives you a lot of bumps and knocks on the ride. Don’t think it’s over just because it’s been a couple of years.

I wish you all the very best.

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A female reader, Ivyblue Australia +, writes (29 October 2015):

Ivyblue agony auntFlashbacks-classic traits of being cheated on. I once read of a married man having them out of the blue some ten years later. You know what, I think it is important to let him know what you have been experienceing. Because this is an unfair burden to have to keep to yourself. Whether or not he likes it it is part and parcel of his actions and needs to be supportive of you and on your terms. Even if you don't want to engaging in two way conversation- it think it's important that you are able to get it off your chest. Two years and a stronger relationship I think puts you in a place of calm discussion. At the very least he owes you that much as to listen.

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A female reader, Honeypie United States + , writes (29 October 2015):

Honeypie agony auntHonestly, I don't think what is happening is all that strange. While you two on an INTELLECTUAL level worked things through, emotionally there are still "left-overs". It's impossible to NOT have those. The broken trust, the lies, the deceit it all HAPPENED. And you can't just "band-aid" that with long talks and openness and honesty. IT takes time.

Why is it popping up now? Hard to say, but SOMETHING triggered it. Whether it's the season, a book, movie, conversation... You may never know exactly what it was.

BUT that doesn't mean you should "encourage" yourself or "indulge" yourself in various revenge scenarios. While she said that she liked the idea of "stealing" your man - she is not really the culprit in their affair. YOUR BF is. She didn't and still don't OWE you squat.

But wanting to "burn her house down" I think is more of a metaphor of erasing her from memory, yours and his.

Stay off her FB page. She really IS irrelevant to your life.

And learn to "snap" yourself out of these over-thinking the past.

He DID cheat on you, but YOU chose to forgive and move on. Moving on takes time, sometimes a LOT longer than 2 years. You will however, NEVER forget.

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