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Pain shopping

H Updated
I'd never heard of this phrase before. Why would I have? But it's sums up perfectly the action of snooping around. I don't like doing it but I feel I can't help it. I'm in the house most of the day on my own and my mind wanders. Anyway I've been to the pain shop plenty of times since this mess started, finding presents for the other man, sex toys, Christmas cards all of which have sent a bolt of pain through me. Why do I do it? I don't know. I know it doesn't help but it just feels like human nature to want to know secrets and what's going on. Now some if the things I found like the Christmas cars saying to the one I love and the presents have hurt in a way that I've never felt before real sadness. The sex toys? When I found them I felt shock, pity for her and it made me want to distance myself from whoever this monster is. Now yesterday was different. I looked in her wardrobe and in the back was a pregnancy test. Not used I might add. This was like nothing else, I felt physically sick, I panicked I could feel myself shaking and had to try and calm myself down. I was crying what the hell was going on? Everything else has taken it's toll on me but this? This would destroy me in one way or another, I could feel myself wanting to walk into that school and drag him out by his neck. I'd lose everything but right at that minute I wouldn't of been the full ticket mentally. Now I calmed myself down somehow, how could she be so stupid? I mean she wasn't even in the pill for christs sake. How would she explain that one away to the girls? Now here's the thing, I think seeing that has helped me more than anything else so far. That to me is just another level of scum. It's helped me realise who this person is. This is a good thing. I know she's not pregnant because she's been 'on' so the panic is over for now. My stbx is a very needy clingy girl, it even entered my head that she would get pregnant on purpose so he would have to stick around. Madness. Or is it? I don't know anymore. I think right now for the first time I can say that I wouldn't want her back. I'm done. She's lost me. Yep she lost me and one day she will know all about it. Tomorrow is 5 years since we moved into this house. Such an exciting day. It was snowing, we didn't get in till it was dark but it was perfect. Our whole future together was starting to take shape. I think I'll be a bit sad tomorrow. Only a bit. The pain shop is closing down. Everything must go.

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Couldn't agree more with Pixy. There comes a point when you know enough. At this point, knowing more doesn't aid understanding, it is merely a different form of self harm.
S
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There is a stage when you need to know what is going on, when you need the hard evidence that your suspicions are not the crazed fantasies that the other half tells you they are. It becomes true pain shopping when you know the truth, but still keep looking. I think it's a sort of half way house between logic (brain knows other half is now a stbx and can't be trusted) and emotion (heart can't accept that other half really can be so despicable).

But now is the time to let brain take over. Concentrate on just getting through. Your stbx has been taken over by aliens. She isn't the same person any more.
P
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I dug around too and found stuff that really hurt but strangely enough it helped me to decide what kind of life I wanted and what I had wasn't what I wanted. He kept telling me the texts I found were just two people flirting. Pfft... yeah right and pigs fly! My heart wanted to believe his lies but I dug deeper and found more evidence of his lying cheating ways. That helped me end it all and yes it was devastatingly painful BUT for the first time in a long time I was looking out for what was best for me and he wasn't the best... far from it. I would rather be on my own than live with a partner who doesn't value, cherish and love me with every fibre of his being. You deserve that too. You will get through this and you will feel the sunlight on your face again.
F
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I should imagine we have all pain shopped. I remember pulling my lounge apart looking for evidence after finding a receipt for jewellery I didn't remember receiving. Then it hit me - it was for OW! I spent about 2 hours going through every book, every cd, every bag, drawer, you name it, if it held something I looked in it. You can't help it, you know you shouldn't look but are compelled to do so. That feeling is long gone now, and yours will go - eventually.

Take Care
H
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Hard call isn't it? Our minds are reeling with the mismatch between what we are hearing and what we believed about them as trustworthy partners, and we look for proof to confirm the new painful reality. But you already know the truth and it's getting rubbed in your face by your wife, so please resist the urge to go looking in her things, it must be so upsetting. I did the same (looked at his diary and an old iPhone he left behind with no password - what a moron!) but it just hurt more.
V
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Sorry to hear about what you are being confronted with. I agree with all the comments here, both therapy and needing to know the full picture. My ex hid his involvement with an old friend of mine, pretending for ages that they were just good friends even though he had moved down to where she lived. Not knowing was worse so I confronted them as a couple when they were returning from holiday as a couple and visiting his mother (up the road). It was very therapeutic though incredibly painful - my eyes had to witness it. I felt better afterwards and clearer. It is of course much harder for you because you still share a home and coming across stuff on a regular basis must be hard.
S
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Understand Hiwthi. As Mitchum says we sometimes need to be able to see the real picture before we can move forward, but at the same time we do not really want to see that picture. I lost count of the times that I felt that awful heart sinking to the stomach feeling of realisation, some of it resulting from pain shopping and then called paranoia but I knew it was the truth. Hardest thing is facing it and dealing with it by doing what you have to do.
A
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Hi. I know what you mean.

I used to think about my x every minute of the day and night. Funnily enough I wasn't that interested in OW. Not sure why. Though I remember retching when I had to pass the condoms in Boots, thinking about them in the throes of passion, I don't have him in the house, so options for snooping are limited anyway, and I don't want to hurt the kids even more by quizzing them.

But what I wanted to tell you is - it gets less. Everyone says so, and I know I didn't see how it could. Didn't see what difference time could make on its own. Fact is, it has not been time on its own. i have been putting in a lot of work with various kinds of therapy and although I am doing a great number of things which help, some of which I don't talk about here for fear of identification (PM me if you want to know more) the one thing I can wholeheartedly recommend is psychoanalytical therapy (as oppose to counselling, which also helps but which I found less useful ultimately). I have been having weekly therapy free on the NHS for almost a year, am dreading it coming to an end, but am so grateful for the insights it has given me. I am gradually learning more about me. And to hell with him.

I would say, if you can, do this. It will make you stronger, better able to cope with any future relationships, better able to make sense of the one you were in, and happier. Yes, you have lost, but you can gain in other ways. Good luck.
E
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Hey Hiwthi

I recognise some of that and slowly like you letting go and realising that I am starting to be in a better place. Must be painful seeing some of that stuff and can feel the pain. When I look back to how I was a year ago there is a big difference. Hopefully there will be for you too. Keep moving forward.
N
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Sometimes knowing more helps to paint the real picture and provide some answers to what exactly is going on. The more we know, the more we can come to terms with what we have to face. We can't face up to what we only suspect is happening. I think you're reaching that point now.

Hard as it is, we have to live through the pain and anxiety. Parading her relationship so blatantly in the family home is not only disrespectful to you, but to her children.

It's a painful process and when you're up against it you need friends to help you through and I think you have lots of wiki friends who are willing you through this.

We will heave a sigh of relief when you're finally free of this pain.

xx
M