A Cheater’s Mistakes After the Emotional Affair

after the emotional affair

I made many mistakes after the emotional affair that hindered the recovery process

Today we spent a few hours doing some interviews with relationship coaches Otto and Susie Collins and infidelity experts Gary and Mona Shriver that will be a part of the package for our soon-to-be-released book on rebuilding trust after an affair, and I was overwhelmed by the fantastic information that we discussed.

During each interview we touched on what the cheating spouse could do to help in the trust building process, and Linda and I thought it would be a good idea for me to touch on some of the mistakes I made after the emotional affair that hindered this process.

Obviously, I made blaring mistakes all along the way before, during and after the affair, but some of the biggest blunders were made with respect to reestablishing trust in our relationship.  The most important foundation in any marriage.

My Biggest Mistakes After the Emotional Affair

I’m sure I made additional mistakes than those listed here, but at least this is a start:

Continued lying. No question this is a biggie.  Just after the affair was discovered I continued to lie about my relationship with Tanya.  Until I stopped the lying Linda could never trust me, and our relationship’s foundation could not be reconstructed.

Only divulging information in bits and pieces. I think this was a defense mechanism on my part that hurt our trust building.   As I became more aware of my feelings, the story of the affair changed causing confusion and misunderstanding on Linda’s part.

Thinking that saying “You can trust me” was enough. I had to show Linda that I deserved her trust, both with my words and with my actions.  Until she saw that I was acting in a loving and trusting manner, there was no way she could have complete trust in me.

Being defensive about Linda’s need for understanding why. Linda’s need to understand why the affair happened overshadowed her need to know most of the affair details.  I was too dumb to know that she needed this information to understand where our relationship went wrong, so she could try to fix it, along with it being a way to help her rebuild the trust she lost in herself.

Not educating myself about affairs and affair relationships. It wasn’t until much further down the road that I opened up to reading and educating myself about infidelity.  Just after the affair was discovered, I was too much in the “fog” to even consider it.  Just another way that I could have shown I was deserving of trust by my actions and effort.

Trying to rush Linda’s process. I wanted her to heal on my time, not hers.  Big mistake.  All the aspects of healing – forgiveness, trust, etc. are controlled by the betrayed spouse’s watch, not the cheater’s.  It’s our responsibility to support and respect that timeframe and do what we need to do to move the process forward.

Not being totally transparent. This not only includes keeping cell phone passwords secret but also keeping my true emotions and feelings to myself.  Transparency is more than not lying or being secretive.  It is opening yourself completely to your partner.

One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned after the emotional affair is how to really look within myself and analyze my feelings and why I do the things I do (or did).  I guess this is another exercise in that.  Thankfully, I was able to figure this out and right the ship in time so that our relationship could move forward.

 

Looks like you haven't signed up yet to become a member of our site.  Check out all the benefits of membership by clicking here.

LINESPACE

Be Sociable, Share!
 Name: Email: We respect your email privacyPowered by AWeber Email Marketing Software 

, , , , , ,

25 Responses to A Cheater’s Mistakes After the Emotional Affair

  1. Saddenned April 21, 2011 at 10:28 am #

    My husband is at the part of trying to rush the process. He thinks I should be passed it because it was more than 6 weeks ago.

  2. Kathy April 21, 2011 at 12:10 pm #

    My H still does, all of the above. Except for saying “you can trust me”. Instead it’s just expected. And if my words or behavior suggest any lack of trust, he gets upset. I think it bothers him that his behavior caused me to not trust him, but rather than accept that he brought it on himself, he gets mad at me for my lack of trust. It’s so confusing.

    • Morrigan April 21, 2011 at 3:26 pm #

      Hi Kathy, I have encountered the same behavior, getting upset for not trusting. I remind him that it is what he did that made me like this, its his responsibility. The hardest part is allowing your heart to trust again as it hurts so badly to have the trust broken. So, when do you trust yourself enough again to allow your heart the possibility of being hurt again by someone else’s actions? I asked my brother in law this question and his response was,”would you rather live in the pain you feel now or in the happy you once had? cause if it’s the happy you once had you have to allow your heart to open again. Yes, it can get hurt again, it’s the chance you take either loving him, or someone new.”

  3. Yuki April 21, 2011 at 2:51 pm #

    Same problem here. Any hint of me not trusting him is asking for an angry outburst from him. He still lies to me sometimes, refuses to answer me sometimes, and says we shouldn’t have to talk about it anymore. And yet he expects trust! I think he’s doing two things: trying to bury his guilt by not thinking about it anymore, and trying to regain power in our marriage. Not that I act like a tyrant or anything – I think he just feels bad to push me if I’m in pain, so he doesn’t push his weight around much anymore. He’s been rather passive in the relationship since D-day, so unlike his usual domineering ways, except for these increasing angry outbursts over the trust issue.

    • Doug April 21, 2011 at 5:03 pm #

      Yuki, I think the power and control in affair recovery should be addressed. I believe that during they affair the power to control is just as exciting as the affair itself. They are doing whatever they want to do without anyone intervening and telling them what they should and should not do. When the affair is revealed all of that comes crashing down. Many times they try to hold onto the control/power by refusing to give up the affair but eventually they have to give it up along with their freedom. (surrendering their phone records, etc.)

      I think in some respect they try to maintain that control by becoming angry when questioned or only giving up the information that they feel comfortable disclosing. I also feel that the blame and making the affair partner appear better than they are is also a means of control/power. By making the betrayed spouse feel bad about themselves or their ability to be a good partner gives them the advantage and the ability to control the situation. Of course this is all speculation on my part, however I feel that it is something that could spark some discussion. Linda

      • Doug April 21, 2011 at 5:40 pm #

        Yuki, I just wanted to add that in the beginning the cheater feels that he is in control of the situation and that feels powerful, however as the affair continues I believe they realize that they have lost all control of the situation. The affair becomes more serious than they had ever desired, they have lost control of the OP because they want to take it to a new level, the guilt and lies are catching up with them. They realize that no matter which way they turn they are screwed and powerless. So possibly they try to regain their power by attempting to control our emotions and recovery. Linda

        • D April 21, 2011 at 11:48 pm #

          Linda~
          I believe that to be true in my case. My husband said that the last month got completely out of control, far beyond his level of committment. He tried breaking it off and she became the aggressor. He would ask her to stop calling, then she would call 10 minutes later and he would answer. He knew that he was screwed at this point, even when he knew that he wanted to end the situation. He was screwed because he betrayed our trust first and foremost and did not know how to make it better. He said that he wanted me to find out so this would all end. He wanted the control back of his life with us, so he says……
          Now he is almost burying his shame and guilt by not talking about it. I know that he thinks about it, he has to. I get upset when he gets mad at me if I bring it up. But knowing is contributing to healing, for me at least.

          • Doug April 22, 2011 at 10:15 am #

            D, if I knew what Doug went through during the last part of the affair I would have acted differently. I believe I would have been there for him and tried to help him through it. Instead I was an emotional wreck and wasn’t able to help anyone. I imagine that the cheater rarely tells their spouse that they got in way to deep and don’t know what to do, however I think about how that could have changed our recovery. I guess the cheater doesn’t realize all of this until they are removed from the situation. I know Doug said that he wanted it to end and should have when I found out, but he doesn’t know why he didn’t. He said it was stupid and selfish. I wonder if they eventually want to get caught so we will force them to end it. It would give them a way out or an excuse. I know that for a couple of months after Dday he did everything to hide the affair, then he eventually broke and started providing details and passwords. The affair was still going on but I think he got in over his head. The OP was talking about leaving her husband and pressuring him to leave me, it was spinning out of control and he couldn’t handle this alone. I guess he needed my toughness to pull him out. It is amazing how screwed up things can become just with a “innocent” conversation, lunch, or in many cases a facebook reply. If the cheater could only see the consequences of their actions before they began we would all be in a better place. Linda

            • 2nd Time Around October 28, 2014 at 12:24 pm #

              Is it just men who don’t get the “innocent” things are some of the biggest mistakes? My husband still can’t see that even now he still does “innocent” things that are sending the wrong message.

              He believe that because his motive was “innocent” that is what the person on the receiving end should feel. He get very upset when he tells me about something “innocent” that happen and I point out how that may have been taken totally different by the receiver.

              I am not blaming anyone but my husband for what happened but there are a lot of desperate and sometime manipulative women out there. My husband’s ex-wife is a perfect example of that!

              They were married at 19 and divorced 18 months later. Over the next 20 plus years she wandered in and out of his life when her life was not going the way she wanted it to go. She remarried within a year after their divorce and is still married to the same man today. She has had countless EA’s and sexual affairs with not just my husband but other men over the years and she believe she has not done anything wrong!

              She was almost the reason why we never got married. She kept telling him that she wanted to be friends. Okay I get that! My first husband and I are still friends to this day. We have a daughter and had a very amicable divorce. We know where the line is and we don’t ever cross it. This woman has no boundaries!! She was pissed off at my husband because we got engaged and he didn’t tell her before he ask me???

              I would think that after dealing with her he would get that some women read way more into what is being said or done. But no! I am the crazy controlling witch because I get pissed that he says hello to the women he works with that he really doesn’t need to interact with at all. Or I get upset that he sits next to one of the women everyday in their daily meeting at work.

              He is concerned that it would be too obvious if he changed his seat at the meeting. Well isn’t that the point! It’s not my fault that he decided to have 6 EA’s all with women who work for the same company as he does! As for the saying hello he tells me that would just be rude! Really??? I am sorry if because of your poor choices you might be known as the rude guy!

              Sorry for the rant! We are only 4 months past D-Day, we are in therapy but as you know that doesn’t move quickly and since he has some personal issues that have to be addressed first for us it is moving very slowly, and to top it off it was around this time last year that I started to feel like something was wrong in our relationship so it is one of my triggers that I haven’t figured out how to deal with yet!

  4. Melvin April 21, 2011 at 5:13 pm #

    Bingo – we have a winner. DW has made every one of these mistakes since D-Day (2+ months ago). On the “You can trust me” mistake, you can add “When are you going to be done with this? ” to the mix. DW gave me that line just a few weeks after D-Day. She just wanted to bury the whole EA – like it was spilled milk, no big deal.

    For those of you trying to “wake up” your Spouses and start rebuilding trust after D-Day, I highly recommend this short book: How to Help Your Spouse Heal From Your Affair: A Compact Manual for the Unfaithful by Linda J. MacDonald M.S. Amazon has it. Thanks in advance to the person here who pointed me to this.

    DW read it cover-to-cover after I did. I believe it opened up her eyes to the mess she created and how she can play a part of becoming what the manual calls “a Successful Rebuilder”. Cheap, short and to the point.

    Best to all.

  5. staystrong72 April 21, 2011 at 6:40 pm #

    Here is my problem. I blew up the whole EA on Jan. 7. I called the OM and his wife and now the whole thing was out. OM calls my wife to end it, which he did and she was an emotional wreck. A month goes by and my wifes changes again. I find out she has a secret cell phone, by the way you cheaters are STUPID, and they are talking about this whole new life together. Problem is, myself and the OM wife are way too strong and are holding on for dear life. Choices are being made by two people who actually think their decisions won’t affect the rest of us and both sets of kids. They continue talk/text everyday, I just have requested her do it away from the home. She has laid everything on the line for this guy and of course he has hesitations and tells her what she wants to hear. Of course she believes him. I am trying to remain positive and “act” like this doesn’t bother me, but yet it does. I have asked her not to talk to me about the conversations she has had, since it is them who have to end the EA. She acts likes she wants me to be her best friend, so she can talk it out. I told her that the only thing I have to say to her is in regards to our marriage of 16 years, the kids, finances, and the household. She is still saying I love you, I care about you, and I am so confused. One part of the day she can be talking about divorce and the second part she say’s, “a month ago I wouldn’t even consider reconciling with you.” To say the least I am throughly confused. I want my marriage, but I don’t want to be second best while she is waiting for this other person to commit. I know I will be a better man on the other side of this regardless. I want to keep working at this, but I am exhausted. When does someone say enough is enough? She hasn’t shown any sign of wanting to end this EA, even though it is out in the open. History tells us that many cheaters won’t leave their wives, but I think this person might actually do it. I don’t see any sign of this dying it own death. BTW it was F*&%$@#G Facebook and he is is an old high school sweetheart. Maybe this wasn’t the right thread to post this, but Does anyone see a similar pattern to my story that can relate and offer suggestions?

    • Jenn April 21, 2011 at 7:53 pm #

      This happened to me, and I made my husband leave–it’s called “fence-sitting” and your wife probably doesn’t think you’ll be willing to let her go, so right now, she’s having her cake and eating it too, while stringing your emotions along. She’s getting to play in her and her ‘boyfriend’s’ fantasy land, while reaping the benefits of your stability and homelife. That didn’t work for me, and I was not willing to allow it. A few weeks at his Mom’s house made him realize all he stood to lose.
      NO CONTACT is the only way to save the marriage.
      I couldn’t allow my husband to remain “pretending” at home with me & the kids while he was cheating with his Facebook Mistress. I will say, the OW’s husband had a good idea, although he never followed through with it because my husband came back home. He was going to get everyone in a room–family members, etc, and have his wife and my husband explain to everyone why they were choosing to cheat and risk their families in the process. Parents, kids, everyone, kind of like a “walk of shame.” I’m not sure what this would have done, or if it would have even worked, but your wife, being female, probably wants to avoid any kind of embarrassment. Without going to extremes, if there is someone who would support you on her side of the family, it may be time to tell them.

      Some would not advise taking these strong measures, but I also called her husband, and they didn’t stop the first time after that. I have 3 D-Days with my husband, and we are trying to work things out, but it’s still hard, after 9 months.
      Dig your heels in and prepare for a long battle–set some ground rules and do the best you can for your kids–be careful not to drag them through unnecessary heartache and watch what you say around them–no ‘Mom doesn’t love us anymore’, etc…..they don’t need that.
      Best wishes, you’ll get some great advice here.

      • staystrong72 April 21, 2011 at 8:18 pm #

        Thanks for the reply Jenn. The thing is everyone in our family knows. Even close friends. Everyone is disappointed in her that she wants to leave me for someone else and not leave me for me. She hasn’t even tried. She left for 3 weeks staying at her parents and took my youngest with her. She came back saying she want’s to work on us. My first reaction was, “There is no us unless you get rid of him.” Of course she still hasn’t broken it off. I have asked her to leave, but of course she stands her ground and says, “this is my house too.” She sleeps in a seperate room, but this guy is starting to show his true colors. She only dismisses this, but I can see it wearing on her. Just last night I asked her to quit saying I love you and trying to touch me. It was so hard to do. She immediately became sad. I miss her touch so much. Is she trying to reconnect with me because she see’s her fantasy turning into a reality or do my actions push her away?

        • Doug April 22, 2011 at 9:56 am #

          staystrong72, it is difficult to understand any of her actions right now because she is just as confused as you are. I know that you wish there were some kind of magic formula or some set of rules to follow but unfortunately it is a day to day thing. You have to be extremely patient and follow your gut, it will tell you how to act and feel. If it feels that you should hug her and tell her that you are there for her, then do it. Just do what comes naturally to you and what feels right. You will find that one day she is the person that you loved before the affair and breathe a sigh of relief, then the next day she is back to being distant and ready to leave. It is out of your control right now. I recommend that you display to her what it looks like to be in a secure, mature relationship and don’t get sucked into the drama of the affair. You know this silly teenage love will not last and that being with you will provide the marriage she has always wanted. Somehow you have to convey that to her, not by telling her, but by showing her you are worth it and so is your marriage. I made the mistake of making myself appear desperate and I wish I would have presented him with a confident woman who knew I was the perfect woman for him. Good luck. Linda

          • Betrayed April 22, 2011 at 12:09 pm #

            I was also very desperate. Looking back now (3 years later) I feel like I gave away my dignity and self-respect by doing just about anything to hang onto my marriage and family. I’ve come a long way for myself, however I don’t know that I would make the same choices as I did then.

          • staystrong72 April 22, 2011 at 12:12 pm #

            Linda, Thank you so much for the words of encouragement. I compare this affair to cancer, if a doctor said you only had 8 weeks to live, would you be miserable or would you spend the rest of your days loving? I choose to love no matter how much it hurts. To me it is not worth being lonely and angery. Thank you so much for sharing your experience and providing a place for people to share their stories.

    • cs November 23, 2011 at 9:44 am #

      My H reconnected with his old flame on Facebook too…It’s been 6 weeks since D-Day, he says he’s ended it and removed his FB account. I knew something was up when he became a “FB Addict”! Lucky for me, he used my phone to log onto his account and never logged off! In my opinion, FB is the worst thing ever invented.

  6. melissa April 22, 2011 at 6:00 am #

    Same problem as Yuki and Kathy, Morrigan and Sadenned. My H gets angry when I hint that I don’t trust him (and I feel I am at fault here because it’s usually just vague hints and I find it hard to come out with the words ‘I don’t trust you when you go to X or do Y’ but mainly because I am scared of his reaction). He wants things brushed under the carpet as if his EA had never existed.

    Linda is right, this is very much about guilt but only the CS can address his/her guilt and many (mostly men) do not seem to be capable of this. It is also, as Linda says, about control.

    I am waiting and waiting and waiting (probably for ever) to hear him say that he realises now how stupid he has been, how he has put our marriage at risk and how he will watch out in future not to repeat his cheating behaviour and to learn to look in rather than out. What I have had from him is an admission that he was ‘probably infatuated’ with the OW (but did not realise it at the time, how possible is this??), that he is aware of the pain it caused but that he got caught in a pattern of lying (which he never, it seems, attempted to stop) and now let’s move on, everything’s gonna be OK.

    That probably would have been enough for me if he hadn’t, a few months later, allowed the OW to contact him again, arranged to meet her and started lying again – fortunately I was more on the ball and realised quite quickly this had happened and gave him an ultimatum, her or me. I don’t know if he’s had any contact with her since and I don’t know if I can trust him.

    It’s almost like his first admission of wrong doing is null and void (as he ‘did it again’) so I’m waiting for him to recognise his mistake again, clearly. I want him to SAY it, to enunciate in words, not just deeds, that he is fully aware his behaviour was totally wrong and that he endeavours not to hurt me in this way ever again.

    Then, I feel I could truly move on.

  7. Jenn April 23, 2011 at 2:27 pm #

    I have a question, and a confession–I’ve been having a REALLY hard time lately, because so many dates are coming up that my H’s affair ruined last year. I can’t seem to get past the timing of when he did this. It happened during what should have been one of the best times in our marriage, and I thought we were on the same page, but things crashed and burned instead. Now for my question:
    My H & the OW ran together, that was one of the things they did in secret. We all live in the same vicinity, and there was a local race he signed up for a few weeks ago with a group that I knew about. The OW is NOT in this specific group. The weather was bad, so he chose to not go, but I looked up the race results and she did participate. I don’t believe he was trying to meet her, but WHY would he put himself in a position where he could have run into her?
    I still don’t feel the way about him that I used to. Things seem better for me at times, but there is a constant, underlying vein of distrust and heartache that doesn’t go away for me. He has missed so many opportunities to show me he is completely devoted to me and wants me to completely heal (such as defending me to his family when it matters), and I feel just as bad now as I did a few months after the 3rd D-Day.
    Is this ‘normal’?

  8. Candace April 28, 2011 at 11:21 pm #

    I tracked my H’s EM for six months. He says it was longer than that. I found out her husband actually caught it 2 months in & confronted them, by they continued on until I caught it in the 6th month. The EM has ended, the other couple is taking counciling & trying to make a go of their marriage. What did my husband do? He moved out because “he lost a friend”. He cannot understand why everyone is so upset. His family has taken my side so that makes him even angerier. It’s been 6 weeks & I still don’t know what I want. Right now I am just existing. We have a child so I beleive we should give our marriage a try. But I am not sure that is what I truely want. I know I need counciling myself but have been dragging my feet on that. H has refused MC because he says everything will be ok with time. Meanwhile I cannot see that happening.

  9. John October 8, 2011 at 1:44 am #

    I feel as though total transparency is the biggest hump for my wife to get over. She wants her “privacy” and feels violated that I spied after I found proof. Her best lady friend, who helped filter sext messages and hide the affair, has continually told her (and me) that I was invasive and overreactive. I get bits and pieces only when my wife feels the threat of losing me. Can you address further why transparency is essential, and also your feelings on “the no-contact rule” as it applies to the affair partner and accessories to the affair? I won’t trust her again as long as she continues her relationship with this friend. Thank you Doug!

    • Doug October 8, 2011 at 10:01 am #

      Hi John, I think that by having an affair, she has lost her right to much of her privacy as it relates to your marriage. She is just pissed that she got caught. I’m not sure how long ago this has all happened, but if it hasn’t been that long, give her a little time and she will eventually figure out that she is wrong to feel the way she does. It’s tough to convinced a cheater to be transparent and let everything out on the table, rather than in bits and pieces, but it’s essential if trust is going to be rebuilt.

      There should be no contact with the other person what so ever. I realize that sometimes in work situations that can be difficult, but it really is important that there not be. I’ve not run across a situation yet where a reader has had an accomplice help the cheater. I would have to say that her friend is obviously not a friend of the marriage and cannot be trusted, and is filling your wife’s mind with destructive thoughts. She needs to be avoided as well, and I strongly feel that your wife should have no contact with her. Obviously, if this is a best friend, that probably ain’t gonna happen without a fight. I think you need to set some rules and some boundaries that your wife needs to adhere to in order for you to start to rebuild trust.

      I hope I answered your questions. If I didn’t, just let me know! Thanks for commenting.

  10. theresa August 24, 2012 at 2:53 pm #

    I wish I’d known way back when…..
    and had trusted myself more
    had the courage to stand up for my convictions
    valued myself more
    but the worst thing

    (don’t you hate what the sales pages do, on and on, repeating over and over, short bullets…)

    I gave up my choice. I was letting him determine my future
    Why?

  11. Lost33years October 26, 2014 at 1:07 pm #

    Two years ago I gave my husband his 2 things he had to provide me with proof of #1 that he did NOT have bastards running around in litters created by his prostitutes and hookers . #2 that he could prove to me that the ones he screwed during our marriage are not loved by him and he acknowledges to their faces that he used them because they are in fact nothing of value just a thing he lied to and who he asked to join him in his self abuse and his abuse of me if he can’t provide me with the proof I need our sex life is over I have NO trust that he can admit who or what he is or has been . Call me a bitch call me an abused wife I call myself a survivor and this sewer shit will be the beginning of a new me .I am safe from stds and sti and whatever other nasties he had contact with. The stories have all changed morphed into total disgusting whore filled emptiness he has shown he was an immature immoral lying serial cheater an abuser of ME I am NOT a child or a useless hooker I am a real woman wife mother sister daughter aunt great aunt grandmother I am a mother of 8 children 2 of these beautiful blessings have fatal genetic diseases I have has to learn to be nurse doctor physical therapist physiotherapist occupational therapist speech therapist I had to learn to do chest PT to flush IVs to run IVs to flush infusaports all these I did while raising my kids while Breastfeeding them while having 12 miscarriages I also dealt with cervical cancer while pregnant these I did mostly alone with No help from my husband . I had my life to live I gave love I received less.

  12. Lost33years October 26, 2014 at 1:49 pm #

    Just so everyone knows my husband played every single excuse as if he read the same nasty cheaters manual he trickled lies and truth changed his stories so many confusing times yet I do have great recall for things he has said to me while he spun his fantasy. After more than 3 ddays I quit trusting his story I started texting myself his responses I killed my first phone with no memory left its a sad part of his story. My story is I am not him I am not to be used as his excuse for not having character and morals . I know he chose to be less ,less of a man ,less honest ,less loving, less than the man I love. I am and always will be more than he wanted ! I was never less than myself ! I lived with him he chose to be less and has been less for decades . I am with someone who I can’t trust or depend on him to be open honest faithful trustworthy and the pain he chose to inflict on me and our family is pure unadulterated hatred for the fact I am not less nor will I ever lower myself to be less than I am.

Leave a Reply

Subscribe without commenting

Login

Web Analytics