A Few Things I’ve Learned From Cheaters

Things I've learned from cheaters

It isn’t really so much what I have learned from the cheaters but more like what I’ve observed about their behaviors

Recently a reader wanted to know what I have learned from the cheaters that post comments to this site. 

I have to say it isn’t really so much the things I’ve learned from cheaters but more like what I’ve observed about their behaviors – Doug included.

Before I go any further, I want to be perfectly clear that I am not talking about all cheaters.  There are many on this site who I truly admire and appreciate.

These are the cheaters who have done everything possible to repair the damage that their affairs have caused.  They are the cheaters who have grown and learned a great deal about themselves and their marriages.  These are the cheaters who I feel are of great value to this website.  They are the ones we all can learn from and use their helpful information and points of view to help us repair our own marriages.

That being said, I want to point out a few of the cheater’s behaviors that I have observed throughout our two years of doing this blog that I feel are destructive and can be a barrier to affair recovery.

If you are a cheater and wish to save your marriage, you might want to conduct some self-behavior modification if you are guilty of the traits that I’m about to describe.

3 Things I’ve Learned from Cheaters

I guess the most disturbing behavior I’ve observed by the cheater time and time again is the selfishness – the belief that everything is about them and how they are hurting, feeling and grieving.  They believe there are only two people in the world that are important or valuable – them and their affair partner.   I have witnessed many cheaters who lack compassion and empathy and are unable to see beyond the fantasy world and understand the pain their selfishness has caused.

Another behavior is their inability to let go of the affair partner or the fantasy.  They often seem to be afraid to look beyond the fantasy and really understand what was happening within themselves that allowed them to be vulnerable to an affair.  They choose to remain personally static rather than do the hard relationship work.  They don’t want to grow up and they believe that their fantasy world is so much better. Little do they know that as long as they remain there the chances for contentment and happiness are slim at best.

Finally, the cheater’s thinking appears to be very one-sided or narrow minded.  They are only considering half of the story.  Most times a cheater will justify their affair by stating that they found in their affair partner the things that were missing in their marriage, or that their affair partner was meeting their needs.  Perhaps they felt unloved and unappreciated in their marriages as well.

I’m certainly not disputing these facts, but they rarely discuss the other side of the story.  The cheater rarely talks about the positive contributions their spouses have made in their lives – the good times and the sacrifices their spouses have made over the years. They rarely mention what they saw in their spouses that made them fall in love with them in the first place and the possible joint factors that could have contributed to the demise of their marriage.

Questions a Cheater Should Ask Themselves

Sure, the cheater has every right to feel that their spouse was not meeting their needs at the time.  They can also feel head over heels in love with their affair partner.  They can feel the pain of withdrawal after their affair ends and they can reminisce about how exciting and fun their affair was.  However, along with these things, I feel they also must ask themselves the following questions:

  • What did they do to make their marriages better prior to their affair?
  • How many relationship books did they read?  (By the way, “101 Sexual Positions Guaranteed to Improve Your Sex Life” does not count).
  • Did they seek counsel with a therapist or other friends of their marriage to discuss their marital problems? If not, why?
  • What discussions did they have with their spouse about the kind of relationship they wanted and how they could work together to achieve it?
  • What are the personal changes they made to improve themselves as well as their relationships?
  • If the work and the changes were to no avail, what conversations occurred about their unhappiness and the permanent choices they were going to make if they remained unfulfilled in their relationship?
  • What about all the date nights they planned for their spouses or how they responded when their spouses walked in the door?
  • How many times did they show appreciation or give their undivided attention towards their spouse?
  • Have they ever called or sent their spouse a text message just to say hello or showed affection without wanting anything in return?
  • Did they instigate real changes in their relationship that actually had an effect on their marriage?
  • Did they do everything possible within their power before they decided to destroy their marriage by having an affair?

I also want to say that the behaviors I mentioned can go both ways, as there are many betrayed spouses that are demonstrating some of the same selfish traits as that of the cheater and need to ask themselves the same questions.  Many also fail to understand or admit their part in the deterioration of their marriages.  There are also betrayed spouses that need to look deep within themselves and learn to forgive and heal.

Let’s face it…none of us were taught in school how to react to and overcome infidelity, and none of us are anywhere close to being perfect, so we all have some things that we can learn from each other.  

I for one, have learned a great deal since we started this blog – things about myself, about Doug, about our marriage and about relationships in general.  It just sucks that it took an emotional affair for this learning to happen.

 

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Guidance and Understanding for the Ex-Unfaithful

Typically at some point after their affair, the ex-unfaithful find themselves getting off track, feeling lost and not knowing what to do or what to say throughout the healing and recovery process.  It's normal.  

If you are an unfaithful person - or married to one - and are looking for some answers, some direction - this bundle will do the trick.

 

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85 Responses to A Few Things I’ve Learned From Cheaters

  1. louise March 12, 2012 at 9:55 am #

    I’m wondering how Doug was able to continue with the affair when he saw how much it was hurting Linda. How can you continue to hurt somebody you supposedly love?

    • chiffchaff March 12, 2012 at 12:11 pm #

      If you mean post DDay, then I think that CSs can only think of their own predicament and the hurt being displayed by the BS is just really, bloody inconvenient and gets in the way of them thinking of their own self-pity.
      Not that I’m angry or anything..

    • Doug March 12, 2012 at 12:32 pm #

      Selfishness, affair fog, stupidity…It’s pretty well documented throughout the site.

      • Broken March 13, 2012 at 2:51 pm #

        In other words ….excuses

        • Doug March 13, 2012 at 5:00 pm #

          Uh…No!

          • Kristy March 14, 2012 at 9:06 am #

            Uh, yes. You hurt your wife, you lied, you broke your wedding vows… yes, they ARE excuses. Valid to you or not they are still excuses to doing something that you KNEW better than to do, but DECIDED to do anyway. What you did was deplorable. Period. The honest answer would be that you just wanted to continue the fantasy and didn’t care who you hurt at that point and didn’t want to face reality. There is no shame in admitting the truth. It is what you should’ve done when you started having feelings for Tanya in the first place. Seeing how crushed Linda was when she found out should’ve been enough, so the rest are just excuses… of course that is just my opinion. And honestly, why would you want to be with someone who cheated on THEIR spouse? Why would you think she wouldn’t do it to YOU?

            • Doug March 14, 2012 at 10:25 am #

              Kristy, I think I have admitted the truth and that what I’ve done was deplorable and wrong about a million times. I’m not disputing that one bit. If you would take the time to read more on here I think you would have realized that. I’m not making excuses – I’m giving reasons. And there is a difference. A reason explains why a person did what they did. An excuse is an attempt to explain why it really wasn’t their fault.

              • Healing Mark March 14, 2012 at 3:08 pm #

                “Excuse” as a noun is typically defined something along the lines of “a reason or explanation put forward to defend or justify a fault or offense”. So it seems to me to say something like “My feelings for Tonya were so intense, felt so good, that I had to keep up my relationship with her notwithstanding the potential harm it might cause Linda if she were to find out about it. And I had to lie at times to preserve my relationship with Tonya and to protect Linda from being hurt by it.” is only an excuse if Doug is defending or justifying his EA and attendant lies. Doug often qualifies his statements on this site with something to the effect of “I’m not trying defend or justify my affair” and after awhile should not have to qualify everything he posts this way.

                This somewhat documents what is, I believe, a problem that many BS’s have as a part of their recovery (I certainly did!). Until the BS truly believes that the CS is genuinely sorry for what they have done and genuinely believes that what they did was, in fact, “wrong” (as opposed to “but we were just good friends”), reasons or explanations given by the BS for why they acted they way they did really are all “excuses”. And, really, who wants excuses from a BS?

                My CS’s excuses for her behavior rang hollow for me. Once she no longer tried to defend or justify her actions and lies (“but I didn’t want to hurt you” – Agggh!), it became easier understand where she was coming from while we talked. What we found most important about identifying “reasons” my wife would have acted in such horrible ways was to avoid, if possible, these from coming up in the future. And, where a certain “reason” might be reasonably expected to come up again regardless of attempts to avoid it, my wife and I now recognize what this particular reason might be and how damaging it can and will be if it is allowed to lead to an inappropriate relationship.

                A person who chooses to have an affair is, in my opinion, “weak” and weak people often make excuses for their mistakes. A “strong” person can admit to making a mistake and looks for reasons why the mistake was made to avoid making the same mistake in the future. From what I’ve read on this site, Doug has done a damn good job looking for reasons why he made mistakes, both while developing his relationship with Tonya, continuing it somewhat even after its discovery, and while attempting to heal afterward with Linda. Looking, not in my opinion, for ways to defend or justify his actions/inaction, but to become a better person and avoid becoming involved with another woman the way he became involved with Tonya.

                • DJ March 14, 2012 at 6:30 pm #

                  HM – Great comment.

                  I have stated before that Doug is one of my heroes. I mean that sincerely. He did wrong – there’s no denying that, and he does not deny it. But he has gone above and beyond in working it out with Linda.

                  When I first came to this site in November 2010, Doug was still in the heavy learning stages of his journey. He was trying but sometimes did not see how his action or lack of action affected their healing. I have read and watched as Doug studied and learned and searched his soul to figure out the real root causes of his behavior and to make the necessary changes. He openly shares all this with us.

                  And that is why he is one of my heroes. He does what most CSs will not and he shares it for the benefit of the rest of us. I know that Linda had a lot to do with his progress, and I applaud them both for their strength in staying with the path of their journey and for helping us move forward in ours.

                  • Doug March 14, 2012 at 8:08 pm #

                    Thanks for such kind words, DJ!

                  • chiffchaff March 15, 2012 at 6:19 am #

                    I agree too, Doug has shown a great degree of learning from his mistakes that other CSs would do well to emulate

                  • Jackie March 16, 2012 at 1:41 pm #

                    I agree with your comment. Doug and Linda, you have both shown so much initiative, courage, and faith. We have all learned and grown as a result of both of your efforts. Thank you!

                    • Doug March 16, 2012 at 2:51 pm #

                      Thanks for the kind words, Jackie!

                • Doug March 14, 2012 at 8:08 pm #

                  Thanks Healing Mark for explaining that better than I can!

                  • Healing Mark March 15, 2012 at 7:46 am #

                    No problem. Thanks for all that you and Linda do.

                • Joe March 16, 2012 at 10:54 pm #

                  Kristy,
                  I get your frustration with Doug. I have absolutely no regard for cheaters right now and can’t even begin to imagine how someone could sexually experience someone while still sharing a bed with their spouse.
                  I believe in the floating iceberg metaphore the separates character and actions. When someone does something as heinous as cheating, but then shows the remorse and compassion that Doug has, I believe their glacier below the water is pretty large. It is the ones that never come around to that reality that I have no room for.
                  My support group are confused on how I can love my wife so much, yet hate her so much. I love her because I believe in my heart she will come around and demonstrate the depth of her iceberg. If she never does, then I am lucky to be rid of someone lacking the minimum basics of human compassion.
                  Doug came around, he has Linda’s love and he has my respect. (now, if he would just fly out to San Francisco and grab my wife by the shoulders and shake her,..)

                  Mark, you always have great comments, I appreciate your insight.

                  • Doug March 17, 2012 at 9:22 am #

                    Thanks Joe. BTW…SF is my favorite city in the US. I’d love to fly out and shake some sense into her – and then hit some of those great restaurants! 😉 Seriously though, best of luck with your wife. I’m not sure how long it’s been since you’ve been going through this, but hopefully she will come around and do what you need her to do in order to heal.

  2. Karen March 12, 2012 at 10:47 am #

    Linda – another brilliant post! Every week I still come back and catch up on this site as I get great joy from reading about marriages on their way to being restored and even more joy when I read CS’s posts (like EP’s latest) where they come out of the fog and focus on going forward and repairing the damage they’ve caused. Oh, I also grieve and even cry for the BS’s whose CS won’t come out of the fog and/or do the work necessary to restore their marriages. And to the BS’s out there: forgiveness is key. And you can’t expect anything in return from your CS for that forgiveness. It is for you – not for your CS that you forgive. Take care everyone – Doug and Linda: you both are so special to me (Linda a bit more but . . . 🙂

  3. Carol March 12, 2012 at 10:51 am #

    Great post, Linda. I love your list of questions at the end. A good reality check for the CS! During the affair, my H justified it to his AP by saying he was unsatisfied with our marriage, unhappy with me, that it was a mistake to marry me, that he had tried so hard, etc., etc. During the EA, while I did not know it was going on, I DID know something was off, and I asked him gently and repeatedly what was wrong, what had changed, would he go to counseling with me, could we please work on our marriage for our and the kids’ sake, could we please spend more time together, which I offered to arrange . . . I even asked him whether he was having an affair or whether there was some ‘flirtation’ going on that he was hiding from me. (He of course lied and denied it.) When I found out, I have to admit I was furious. I saw the texts in which he told the OW that he had made such a great ‘effort’ at our marriage over the past 16 years. Displaying my total inability to keep a cool head at that moment, I blew up and let loose with sarcasm: “Your effort? OH — you must be referring to all those books you read, all the dates you arranged for us, all the times you asked me to help you work on our marriage, all the counseling appointments you made. Hey, wait a minute — that was all me . . . ” Heh. Admittedly, sarcasm is not a great weapon to use at any time. It’s now 5 months since I found out, and I asked him the other day how far he’d stuck his head up his ass in order to think that HE was the one who’d made such an effort working on our marriage. He said ‘All the way up.’ We both laughed at that, which felt good. Progress, maybe.

  4. Lynne March 12, 2012 at 11:55 am #

    In the category of SELFISHNESS, I would add the CS that “stays sitting on the fence”. Those that won’t make a decision post discovery, so instead they hold everyone hostage.They want their AP and their spouse–the ultimate in having your cake and eating it, too!!! I see this as a very cowardly act…..they can make a concious CHOICE to have an affair, but can’t make a choice about whether to stay or go. Just another way to make it all about them.

    • chiffchaff March 12, 2012 at 12:08 pm #

      Lynne – I agree. How is it that some CSs, mine included, can decided to have an affair and be deceitful to keep it going everyday but then can’t make any decision at all after it’s (inevitably) discovered?

      CSs do seem to follow a predictable path both during and after their affairs as do BSs. I suppose this site though doesn’t see the BSs that have discovered an affair, booted out the CS and quickly moved on, or by return, the CSs who’ve left their spouse instead of being discovered. Everyone on here seems to be here because we want to try our very best to learn and help our marriages work, CSs included.

      • Margie March 12, 2012 at 10:13 pm #

        Hi chiffchaff, I have been following Doug and Linda stories since about October. My husband began his affair in April of 2011 and I started putting things together during the summer when things “just didn’t seem right”. I did a lot of investigating, however, he denied it all. He then admitted that they had planned a trip together but did not go. He had said he wanted to stay and work on our marriage. Well, there was absolutely nothing he did to work on the marriage. As a matter of fact, the day after he told our children, 18 and 15 that we were going to work on our marriage, he took our daughter the very next day for a drive to ask her how she would feel if he moved in with the OW. The kids had told him that if he wanted to work on staying together, that “they” wanted to be there when he ended it with the OW. My children are more mature than my husband. My husband agreed. However, when it came time to end it with the OW, he declined and said he would find an apartment. The very next day, he told me that he needed time away to think. He was going to see a friend, his name was Brian and he just wanted to get away. He was gone every weekend for over a month and he would spend the rest of the week at home. I chose live in separate rooms and a wise choice on my part because the last weekend in September, I did more investigating to prove that he was having an affair because he was meeting her all along. On that Monday, I threw him out of the house and told him to never come back. The lies were so extreme that they were well thought out. Even doing this, I still loved my husband, however, I could not let myself go through anymore heartache. I had had enough. During the Christmas holidays, he spent it with the OW. He came to spend part of Christmas Eve with our children and said that he “thought” he wanted to come back. I fell into the trap and invested my heart for that one night, to have him leave the very next day to go back to the OW. It devastated me. Rollercoaster ride is an understatement! I had began seeing a therapist right from the start and his family as well as mine have been very supportive. Without my support system, I wouldn’t have made it this far. Believe me, I desperately wanted to work on my marriage, however, my husband has made it quite clear that he will never be back and so much has taken place with the hurt and lies that reconciliation is undoubtedly not possible. So now, I am left with the decision as to file for divorce. I have gone through the separation process. I believe my husband is making arrangements for them to live together. I do hope that one day, this all blows up in his face. With my luck, they’ll be together forever. He has even basically disconnected from his children. He hasn’t spoken to our son since January who is in University. He wants no responsibility what so ever. So, there are some of us out here who have “thrown” the CS out, with no other option than to “move on” and not because we want to, but because we are basically being forced into the choices. By the way, my husband went back to school to get his education degree while I worked three jobs, was a mother, housewife and took care of all the responsibilities inside and outside of the home as well as the finances And he said his needs weren’t met……..????????. He met the OW while doing his master degree. Quite the slap in the face for me….

        • Margie March 12, 2012 at 10:21 pm #

          I also want to add that it’s an inspiration to know that I am not alone and there are some good men out there who do open their eyes and realize what they have. I love this site and reading everyone’s posts have also helped in my healing process. Doug and Linda have certainly been an inspiration for me also.

          • Doug March 13, 2012 at 7:43 am #

            Hey Margie, Thanks for the kind words and glad to see that you’re getting involved with the community. I hope things are going well for you.

            • Margie March 13, 2012 at 4:33 pm #

              Hey Doug. I’m doing well. I’ve added some extra curricular activities into my daily routine and it helps a lot. Getting together with friends and having the ability to laugh is great therapy. I just want add what I have learned from my journey from my husbands PA. We have no control over what the CS is doing and yes, we have to take care of ourselves. There is absolutely nothing we can do to shift what is going on in their lives. It is so important to take care of you, and with this, it builds your emotional and physical strength, and believe me, it’s not an easy task. But in looking after my physical and emotional well being, I will be able to make wiser choices, in which I had not done in the beginning in fear of losing my husband to the OW, and obviously, that technique did not work. I allowed myself to take his crap and gave him the benefit of the doubt when I should have set boundaries, but I was scared. I have learned that it doesn’t matter, because they are going to do what they are going to do, no matter how much it hurts you. They don’t care about you the BS. All they are thinking about is themselves. It’s as though you never even existed. That’s how I felt. I’ve been married for 21 years and we were together for 24. And I can’t put my life on hold while he’s out there having “fun”. In this moment, I have to live for me, and ignore what he is doing. Some days it is tough, but over time will judge what the next path of my journey will take and it may not have him in it. But it’s “him” that has made this choice, not “me”. Yes, we “both” were to blame for the disconnection however, he feels that the OW will be the fix all. Time will tell.

              • Doug March 13, 2012 at 6:05 pm #

                Margie, glad to hear you are doing things that make you feel good. You also offer some great advice.

        • Jackie March 16, 2012 at 1:56 pm #

          A distant friend who had three little kids, went through the same thing. H went to med school, he had an affair. H eventually married the AP. They had a baby, and he went and had another affair again…just to repeat the cycle over again. The first wife had remained friends with ex H ask him, “You had everything going well in your life. Why are you doing this again to your family?”

          It is just so easy to fall in love, and follow blindly without thinking about what you believe in, looking deeply into who you are, and who you want to be…your integrity. The love drug is a strong one, especially if you allow yourself to just follow blindly without conscious thought.

    • Jackie March 16, 2012 at 1:44 pm #

      Well said.

  5. changedforever March 12, 2012 at 1:52 pm #

    Great post once again Linda. My H & I were just talking about this subject this past Saturday night. I asked why…just why…he has yet to really try to figure out just how he crossed all the ‘lines’ that he did. (Rather than just ‘moving past it.) I reminded him that him ‘moving past’ is NOT healing in any way. I turned the tables and really tried to make him think of what it would’ve been like if I had cheated in the same diabolical way (before AND after DDay.) I did get him to admit he may not have been able to get thru that…it was a fleeting moment of him seeing just how bad I’ve been damaged…seeing his reaction. I told him I really do not think we will be together if he doesn’t really try to find out…why! (And how…!) I even mentioned the posts from the cheaters on this site…and how good it is for me to see some of them healing…(I wish my H would make the effort…even a FRACTION of all the time he wasted ‘infatuating’ with the OW.) Almost 18 mths ‘after’ and I find I can still experience a meltdown same as I did months & months ago…so frustrating…(still!)

  6. Calis March 12, 2012 at 1:53 pm #

    Linda great post, i am a CS and i am greatful that my wife has awarded me the oportunity to try and work on my marriage. I was a selfish bastard through my ordeal which caused much pain to my spouse. I have learned alot from you and Doug. And i am really working hard at my marriage that is tbe most important thing to me nothing else matters. I have always had everthing at home just was a coward to look for it. This is never going to happen to me again. For the CS’s out be true to yourself and not cowardly cuase thats the way we got ourselves in this mess.
    If you get a oportunity like I did dont let it get passed you. Thanks for letting me write Doug and Linda u guys inspire me to be a better husband and person.

  7. Greg March 12, 2012 at 2:55 pm #

    I got to say this post hit a spot. While I hate what my wife’s EA did to us it also shown a spot light on how we dealt with our problems that lead up to it, or should I say our lack of dealing with our problems.:-) Turns out you actually have to talk to each other to deal with and move past any problems you might be having you can’t just ignore them, me, or push them down, her, who knew. We can almost look as the EA as a blessing in disguise as it has forced us to be honest with how we feel about things and deal with our long built issues. In the end we’ll be ina better place though.

  8. Jackie March 12, 2012 at 8:03 pm #

    Linda,
    Wonderful post again. We all see how far you and Doug have come. You inspire us all to look within ourselves and grow from this horrible experience. I know it is worth the time and effort spent to better ourselves and our relationships.

    Hoping H moves faster in his growth, but it doesn’t seem his style…still in escape and run mode, with occasional appreciation, and reflection popping in and out, now and then.

    Thank you both Linda and Doug, for opening up such a sensitive part of your lives to help us all grow and learn from this event in our lives.

  9. chiffchaff March 13, 2012 at 5:02 am #

    Just wish my H would read that list and think about things properly while there’s still a smidgen of hope out there for us. Just a smidgen.

  10. cindy March 13, 2012 at 10:06 am #

    i have never seen this addressed here and would like to post a question. my husband had a full blown affair with a family friend. it went on for 1 1/2 yrs he finally ended it because I told him too. as far as i know he has not talked to her in 2 months. he does not seemt to have the attitude of a cheating spouse that got caught and is truly sorry. its just something i feel inside. i kept pressing him for answers and he finally admitted that he gave up something huge and important to him and he doesnt think im appreciative enough that he stayed with me. i was freaking floored. Here, im thinking he should be happy I chose to forive him and work on our marriage and family . Talk about being completely and utterly blindsided again. I have been waiting patiently for him to say the things i need to hear. He does say he loves me. actually, he loves me so much he was willing to make the ultimate sacrifice by giving up his lover. hah. has anyone else experienced this? i really need some input here

    • stillbroken March 14, 2012 at 12:45 am #

      i think he’s a narcist person who think the world evolves around him.. he did a crime but credited himself for doing the right thing when you asked him to end the affair.. and now he wants you to reward him for that.. i dont think he’s aware of what damage he has done to you..

    • Jackie March 16, 2012 at 2:29 pm #

      Cindy,
      Even if he says that he has given her up for you and the marriage, you need to realize the affair is addictive. That means, he may waver and go back to her, come back to you. This can happen back and forth for a while. He must be the one to choose what he wants. Now he wants both of course. Who wouldn’t want every wish one desires.

      If and when he does give up on the affair, he will go through withdrawal symptoms. That is, feelings of loss, physical pain, emotional longing for his drug high.

      He has to be willing to do the work to improve himself, figure out his unmet needs, express them to you, etc…Some H chose it is too hard, or not worth the work. Mine wanted to give up often. I never thought of him to be such a quitter, but emotionally it was overwhelming to him.

      Many men just want to give up, and escape with the high feeling of being, in love, obsessed, infatuated. Basically, in love with the drug. Not understanding that after all of this love feeling wears off, he will be back where he started, with all the relationship problems and more. And this time if he is with the AP…he also has a person with less integrity than his wife had, because his AP was willing to have an affair with a married man. Not a good character to start a relationship with in the first place. Generally two people with the same big character defect, unwilling to grow and change from the experience.

      See if you can get him to this site. Also see if he is willing to go to marriage counseling. A warning though for marriage counseling. If he isn’t really “willing” to work on the marriage, and just going through the motions of doing what he is “supposed” to do, sometimes a CS will use marriage counseling as a ruse to say “I tried marriage counseling and it didn’t work.” It is best to seek counseling when both parties feel they want the relationship to work. It is hard to tell right now with your H.

      Right now, I feel your H is giving up the CS because you “told him to”…it sounds like he thinks it is your choice that he is giving her up…it is not his. It has to be “his” decisions to end it, that will cause him to again turn back to you and your marriage. Right now it feels like he is doing it for “you”…not him.

      I hope this helps you. Have strength. This is a very difficult journey, but one in which huge growth potential is possible.

    • Holdingon May 29, 2016 at 4:45 am #

      I know this post is old but I have to comment. First off let me say I’ve never laid a hand on any woman out of anger. BUT, if my wife said that to me after what she was doing, I may just break her nose. I wouldn’t do that, just letting it be known how bad that would be.

  11. Sam March 13, 2012 at 1:52 pm #

    Great post, Linda!

    I’m so grateful to have found this site. You and Doug are a great inspiration and continue to give me hope as I struggle trying to forgive my H’s EA and move on with our lives.

    Thank you.

  12. theresa March 13, 2012 at 7:21 pm #

    BRAVA !!!!!
    I’ve got more to say ,but I want you to know how much it helps when you write aout something that “sucks” and you say “IT SUCKS”. No jargon ,no technical verbiage. No getting to the root of why blah, blah, blah.
    Just “IT SUCKS”

  13. Anna March 14, 2012 at 6:14 am #

    Karen, I found your comment “And to the BS’s out there: forgiveness is key. And you can’t expect anything in return from your CS for that forgiveness. It is for you – not for your CS that you forgive.” very helpful.
    It is only a few weeks for me since I found out about my H’s PA and life is so surreal right now. Forgiveness never comes easy in any situation I think, but your words stuck in my mind. That it is for myself that I forgive. I can see that. I cannot allow the hate and the hurt to take over my life and damage me.

    • Holdingon May 29, 2016 at 4:48 am #

      I always like to read how people think they can control this, they know they cant, I can’t either.

  14. Surviving March 14, 2012 at 10:11 pm #

    @Cindy,
    He thinks only about himself, his needs, and his desires. Is this his first affair? Does he say this will be his last affair?

  15. chiffchaff March 15, 2012 at 5:08 am #

    One other thing I’ve observed with my situation is how stories change over time with CSs recollection of events and reasoning behind them. I’m not sure why that is but this is an example.

    In early January my H told me that when he went to stay with the OW for a week (a year ago this week) he went to start making plans about being together with her, but that when he got there he felt that it was just a bit of fun for her and not as serious as he’d hoped for. He’d gone there intending to discuss leaving me and making plans for being together with the OW but he said she’d not seemed keen when he got there and plans for being together weren’t discussed at all. Because of that he’d not then given her the presents he’d bought for her because he said she’d notice that he felt more about her than she did about him. He said that he then felt like the whole thing was a terrible mistake and couldn’t wait to come home and work on our marriage again.

    Then the other weekend, 2 months later, when I asked him again about the gifts, it was then described as being the other way around. He then said he’d gone to her place for a week just because he ‘wanted to’, that our marriage was good, and that he didn’t give her the gifts because he was worried that he’d give her the impression that he felt more about her than he actually did, when it was clear to him that she felt more about him than he did about her. He then said he couldn’t wait to then come home because he’d realised it was all a mistake for him.

    You see, I’m a litigator and litigation training always states that a statement given nearer to the time of the event is more likely to be accurate than one given later. So, where there are inconsistencies over time the earlier version is usually taken to be the most reliable. If that’s the case, then it suggests that he was far more serious about her from a very early stage than she was about him, which for some reason he now doesn’t like when he looks back at it. I dunno. Or maybe as time passes it suits him better to recall it as if she was more into him than he was into her, to give him a ‘better’ fantasy as the distance grows between their last actual contact.

    Has anyone else noticed this phenomenon? It’s the sort of thing that can drive me quite mad at times.

    • wifeinprogress March 15, 2012 at 10:45 pm #

      Hi chiffchaff,

      YES!!! I literally just finished a conversation with my H (not even an hour ago!) where he completely tried to “rewrite history” on his description of events. When he first admitted to me about the OW (just over a month ago), he told me (point blank) he thought he might be in love with her and that he had wanted the relationship to become physical. Now he’s saying (or at least trying to…) that he never said those things. That what he actually said was that “he was in love with the idea of being with someone who “gets him” and that he didn’t want it to become physical…just that he had thought about it vaguely”. I think for my H, he says things when he is emotional or stressed out but then afterwards, when he is more calm he realizes “oh s*@t…did I really say that out loud???” and immediately shifts to damage control trying to make it seem less than it actually was.

      Good thing for me (and my sanity) that I made a habit – early on when I knew things weren’t right – of writing down our discussions so that time and judgement wouldn’t warp reality. If I didn’t do this, I know that I would be sitting here now wondering if I really did misunderstand what he actually said? Not to mention that you don’t just “invent” a story of your husband telling you that he might be in love with another woman. :p

      I agree – it drives me batty too! It’s definitely frustrating but from what I’m experiencing…sadly typical.

      • Lynne March 15, 2012 at 11:32 pm #

        wifeinprogress-

        If you didn’t already read todays post, it’s a must. It definitely sounds like your husband is “gaslighting”. Like you, I have been keeping a journal of my conversations with my H, so when he makes an attempt to rewrite history, I have concrete evidence of our original discussion on the matter. While it seems ridiculous to have to do this, I can already see that it doesn’t take too many times of sharing my journal for him to see that this simply will not fly with me!

      • chiffchaff March 16, 2012 at 5:01 am #

        I’m not sure that this sort of thing is ‘gaslighting’ – certainly I don’t think it is. I don’t think my H has deliberately been trying to confuse me with this sort of thing I just think, like wifeinprogress said – he says things more strongly when he’s emotional and then can’t believe he said such things afterwards when he’s calmer. I also think it’s human nature to reinterpret fixed past events as reality changes over time. It’s different to gaslighting (from what the other blogpost describes).
        Yes, it drives me mad at times, but I don’t think my H is crazy because of it. I know that when I recall very old family events, non-controversial ones, my sister can tell me a very different perspective and my recollection seems to be faulty. I think it’s to do with how memories are laid down compared to how they are then recalled from memory in the brain. It’s not deliberate.

        • Greg March 16, 2012 at 8:18 am #

          It pretty much is human nature to try to see ourselves in the best light possible when looking back at past events. It’s done on an individual level all the way up to a national level. There is an old saying I get reminded of, ‘history is written by the victor.’ I’ve seen this personally in what my wife and I were taught of historical events. I was raised in the US and she was raised in Japan so our versions of WWII are quite different on a few subjects, most notable Pearl Harbor and Manchuria. She was taught that Pearl Harbor was a ‘mistake’ while I was taught the ‘evil’ Japanese attacked us without provacation. Manchuria was even more interesting, she new nothing about the Japanese occupation of it, it just wasn’t taught, and didn’t learn of it until she was an adult in college in the US. Quite an eye opener considering her grandfather was a high ranking military figure there. Obviously this is different than a CS changing a story but it shows that people want to see themselves in a certain way and will go to great lengths to change what they perceive as having happened to feel better about themselves. It is wrong but ls a form of self preservation, you can keep hating yourself you either have to own up to what you did and said and try to live with it or you have to change the past to something you can live with in your mind. Many choose the latter as it is easier on the psyche.

    • Holdingon May 29, 2016 at 4:55 am #

      Oh yeah, my wife hates it if I ask her something more then once because she never remembers what she told me. Plus I’ve noticed that infidelity causes amnesia, so they say, I’ve read about so many on here not being able to remember and the BS believing them it’s ridiculous, my wife tried that on me to no avail, I’ll never buy that one.

  16. Cindy March 15, 2012 at 7:49 am #

    Yes, this was his only affair and he claims he would never do it again. He actually told me that at a different time or place she would have been his wife. He tells me he always loved me and always will. He actually hates the idea that he’s now considered a cheater and has suggested that because this was the only time that maybe he isn’t a cheater. Lol. I guess I just expected him to go back to “normal” and adore me and our life together after he broke it off. I’m having a really really hard time accepting th fact that he could have such strong feelings for someone else and still is in the affair fog. Indont think he is deliberately trying to hurt me with his words but I don’t think he realizes at all what his words do to my heart. I almost want him to lie to just make me feel better and he won’t even do that

  17. Cindy March 15, 2012 at 8:12 am #

    I should add that he knows I go in this site and he tells me that I should be over all this already. He said he chose me over her and I should be happy with that and move on. I realize he chose me I’m trying to be happy and let it go but when he says he chose me it really really presses my buttons. It hurts that there was an actual choice to be made. In my mind, it was an affair and it’s over . To actually tell me he had to make a choice (and a difficult one) after 22 yers of marriage is demeaning in a way an definitely ego crushing. He tells me it’s semantics and I’m over thinking . I just can’t let go of the hurt because I wonder if he really thinks he did sacrifice a better person for me. I feel like I will never know if he will be happy with “his ” choice . I know in reality I should be happy and try to move on together and make a better life but the words he chooses carefully when we discuss the affair rally really bug me. If I really press him on the words, he will sometimes say that’s not what he meant. I need to know but if I keep pressing he will tell me what he thinks I need to hear. I just keep struggling and wonder if he just did “the right thing”. How can I move past this struggle and just be happy with what I have ?

    • Anita March 15, 2012 at 9:52 am #

      Cindy,
      The deep wounds your feeling need time to heal.
      I do understand how it feels to be told that he chose you
      after 22yrs of marriage, point being he was already
      married and such words shouldn’t even be used.
      Perhaps if he stated, after being married 22yrs I made
      some bad choices to have an affair, and now I regret
      those choices and I choose the work to rebuild this
      marriage again.
      Cindy, right now your very raw with emotions and have the fear of being hurt again, and his remarks could be
      reworded to bring comfort instead of doubt.
      However if you believe that he is sincere with wanting
      to rebuild the marriage don’t let yourself get hung up
      on words.

    • Notoverit March 16, 2012 at 10:30 am #

      You know Cindy, I went through the same struggle (am 15 months from D-day). I got tired of being told that he “chose” to stay with me. Well, he also “chose” to pursue an EA with another woman. That made me insane – I, too, got hung up on the words. One friend told me I should be happy because I “won” and the OW “lost.” Words, words…. The real thing is that, after 32 years of marriage, I don’t feel like I was “chosen” or that I “won.” I still feel hurt and a bit angry. But I do see that my H has opened his eyes and is paying attention to his behavior. That’s a plus and it’s what keeps me going. So if he wants to say he chose me that’s fine. I am, after all, the better woman. LOL

  18. chiffchaff March 15, 2012 at 8:57 am #

    Cindy – my H also knows I comment on this site and I know he reads my comments. Not sure what he gets from reading them though that he couldn’t get by asking me himself.

    • Greg March 15, 2012 at 9:35 am #

      That’s an easy one chiffchaff. Sometimes what people write comes out much better than what they say. I wrote my wife a letter to explain my feelings and thoughts over past problems we’ve had and how her EA has made me feel and affected us. While I could have told her this in person it get too emotional sometimes to communicate it clearly. It also gives the other person time to absorb what is being said rather than just reacting to it right then and there. People also put more weight on the writen word than they do the spoken one, even when both say the same thing. I have to say that my letter to her and her reply letter helped clear the air a lot and have opened us up to what each of us are feeling.

      • chiffchaff March 15, 2012 at 10:12 am #

        That’s an interesting point Greg. It’s probably something I would’ve liked to do at some point with my H but he just seems so utterly confused about his thoughts and his feelings. Which is why we’re where we are today. He can say things to me that are hurtful and have a massive effect on my understanding of how he feels. He writes things to others (not me) about what he’s feeling/thinking that are also very hurtful for me to see. I would like for him to tell me what he currently thinks about me/us, not about the OW, but I honestly think he does not know. So he can’t write it down.
        I suppose maybe if he’s concerned that he’s interpreted something I’ve emailed to him as meaning one thing, he comes on here to see if that’s what I’m writing in response comments or not. To see if I’M lying about what I really feel. What I really feel (if he is reading this) is that:
        1. I miss him, I do
        2. I love him (or who he used to be/can be if he wanted to)
        3. I won’t live with him if he won’t be faithful to me in the future
        4. I worry about him, more than I should worry about myself at times
        5. I want him to be happy
        pretty much it.

        • Greg March 15, 2012 at 11:12 am #

          If writing helps or not will also depend on the persons state of mind. I don’t think my wife would have tried or thought of writing to me if I had not done it first. Maybe this is something you will have to initiate and see if he responds. Even at the stage we are in, both working toward keeping the marriage, her being completely over the OM, and getting ready to start couples counseling, she wasn’t able to read the letter for a couple days and then it took another day for her to respond to it. Since I don’t know your husband I can only make assumsions based on me and my thoughts but writing to him can’t really hurt much more than it seems you are hurting already. It can also be something of a release. I felt good for the couple days after writing just due to being able get it all out of me on to the paper. I new it was there and if she wanted to she could read it or not but I had made the effort and left it in her hands to go from there.

        • theresa March 26, 2012 at 9:44 pm #

          chiffchaff,
          beautifully said. I am sure there are many reasons people choose to try to salvage the relationship (children, money, health insurance). There are some that just endure (illness, (physical or mental), pressure from family or church, complacency, understandings or arrangements, lack of self esteem or FEAR.
          I was almost ashamed to admit my reasons Until I read the story a one women who had tried 13 times to salvage her marriage. They had a successful reconcilation. I don’t think I will. The reason was just “I still loved him”.

  19. chiffchaff March 15, 2012 at 9:24 am #

    Is it normal for cheaters to research/google people they meet day-today who seem to look a bit like the OW/AP?
    My H seems to be unable to do nothing but that when they’re clearly not the OW. He did that with an actress who looked a bit like her but he really knew, because her name was mentioned, and she was English, that it wasn’t the OW.
    Why google who they are? Isn’t it like some weird sort of cyber stalking? Is he so mentally unstable that he could believe that she’s somehow taken a job at his place of work without telling him? In a sector she has no experience in? Or is it just more evidence of the need to get the ‘feeling’ again that they have to just see and know a bit more about someone who looks like the OW.
    Makes me feel sick.

    • Anita March 15, 2012 at 10:06 am #

      Chiffchaff,
      Please do not allow yourself to get caught up in his
      behaviors. Instead focus on things that take your mind off
      of him, and use this time to do things for yourself, that
      bring you comfort.
      I know your hurting, however to try and get into someone
      else thoughts and behavior, wastes your time and that
      time could be used to do things that bring you back into
      control of your life again.
      I know your in a healing process, so use this energy
      for you.

      • Anita March 15, 2012 at 10:41 am #

        Chiffchaff,
        Something that helped me the most and kept my mind focused because it forced me to think, and also brought
        healing was I joined a Bible study and I had homework
        to with this also.
        I highly recommend this.
        I know it may not be your cup of tea, but you will have
        a greater understanding of so many things, and it will
        make sense you if you stay with it.

      • chiffchaff March 15, 2012 at 3:10 pm #

        True Anita. I have no idea why I looked, haven’t done so for ages. So I did what I’ve learnt to do, read comments on here, then I went and got my haircut at a new hairdressers(something I needed to do and I used to have an (ir)rational fear of new hairdressers) and took the dog for a massive walk. It was a really beautiful evening here and as the sun set and the mist grew in the hedges, I felt grateful for the strength I have developed despite all of this. Feel more grounded again. I also thought how lovely it would have been to share the beautiful evening’s walk with my H too, but I wasn’t sad about it.

        I was christian for a while, my H and I were married in church after confirmation, but I had significant problems with its doctrine over time and I would probably describe myself as agnostic now. I’m not currently thinking of returning but I can see that a belief in God helps a great many people at this time.

        • Anita March 15, 2012 at 4:03 pm #

          Hi Chiffchaff,
          I can only speak for myself, my faith in God, has given
          me a rock foundation to build my life on. My life is centered
          around God. I trust and find comfort in Him, where as in
          the world I do not find that, instead I find lies deceit and betrayel. That why I trust God, because I have only found
          truth in Him, and I see it all the time in my life.
          Chiffchaff I do wish you my best!

  20. cindy March 15, 2012 at 11:02 am #

    thanks Anita! Im so glad someone understands what I’m trying to say. So many people (including him) have told me to move on and be happy ” he chose you” . My own 20 yr old daughter told me that i should be happy because he chose me. It makes me want to scream at all of them. he chose a life with me 22 years ago. this isnt “lets make a deal” where you get to trade in box A for box B. I chose to stay with him and work on our marriage and I feel he should be more appreciative of that while he thinks I should be appreciative and grateful that in the end “he chose me”. its like a battle of wills. I know its words, and semantics but I cant seem to grasp his reasoning. Then i often think that if I just move on, forgive and be happy that in time he will be where hes supposed to be in my mind. maybe it doesnt matter as long as we get to the same place, but on the other hand I feel like i was devesated and ripped apart and he should be trying to get me to a better place, not the other way around. Am i just a control freak that has to have it my own way?

    • Healing Mark March 15, 2012 at 1:23 pm #

      Cindy. “Control freak” sounds a bit harsh, but I think that you are on to something. You appear to have identified where you want to be, a place where your H is where he is supposed to be in your mind, which I take it to mean a man that you want to remain married to, and a man that you are happy to be married to. And, of course, the affair and his statements (and others) that you should be happy he chose you are making it difficult for you to view your H as someone that you want to remain married to. You want him to be that man, but you seem to be having difficulties getting there. I, too, was at a point in time in the same position. I wanted my wife to be a woman that I wanted to remain married to. But b/c of all that had transpired as a result of her EA and the lies and deceit that followed, I just wasn’t sure that she was going to be this woman (fortunately, once I was far enough along in the healing process to be able to genuinely forgive my wife, I did forgive her and concluded that she was a woman that I could potentially remain happily married to, EA and lies and deceit notwithstanding).

      Just my opinion, but the feeling that you should be happy that your H chose you over the OW is one that your H may be feeling as a part of the “I just wish this was all behind us” feeling that many BS’s feel, as until it is there is guilt and shame and other negative feelings being experienced. No fun. Don’t think of it like a contest that you won, and I doubt your H views it this way. Instead, think of it like your H has seen the error of his ways and has chosen to return to living a life with you that makes both you, your H and your family happy. While the affair may have made him happy, and may have been something he could have continued pursuing, he is not going to do that. Instead, he appears committed to trying to make you happy, albeit his attempts are sometimes not the way you would like them to be, so don’t complain about the manner he has chosen to try to make you feel better (at least not to him), which will likely discourage him (and lose, if you can, the feelings of why you should be doing anything to make him feel better since he cheated, which I had and ultimately lost since being bitter about having to work to make my marriage better did me no favors), but instead communicate in as nice of a way as possible how he can act and re-phrase certain statements to achieve what appears to be his goal; to make you happy and assist you in getting past his mistakes and to genuine forgiveness, which is, in my opinion, more to get you emotionally healthy again than it is for him.

      Finally, I imagine your daughter just wants her parents to be happy once again, ideally happily married together, but happy nevertheless. Doesn’t surprise me that a 20 year old would make a statement like that and not understand how that would make someone who has been married for 22 years feel. And as to your H feeling more appreciative that you have chosen not to end the marriage due to his affair, it is what it is and he no doubt is appreciative, but he wouldn’t be the first man, and certainly not the first male BS, who had difficulty showing it. Let him know that to the extent he is appreciative, it will benefit him and your marriage for him to let you know this more often, not b/c he has not been letting you know enough, but b/c right now you need more than “enough” and his going above and beyond in this regard will be much appreciated by you (a little white lie here shouldn’t hurt anything).

      Good luck.

  21. cindy March 16, 2012 at 10:04 am #

    Thank you Mark. Your words make a lot of sense. I do believe he is remorseful in his own way and trying really hard to re-commit and make me happy it is just so hard trust my own feelings and instincts any more. i question every word he says and over analyze his behaivor and look for the hidden meanings. lol He is trying to be honest and up front (i think) but its really hard for me to move on because my i dont trust my judgement anymore. I often wonder whether i am believing him beacuase i want the happy ending and then over analyze our conversations and of course, once you do that, you can twist some of the words in your own mind. i think i just need to relax and take one day at a time. this site has been so very helpful to me because i dont feel so alone. “regular” people mean well with there advice but thsy do not realize the damage that was caused. thanks again

  22. Peggy March 16, 2012 at 1:35 pm #

    I’m going to go out on a limb here and say my truth. In all the blogs and programs that I have read and paid for, they consistently say that the betrayed must realize his/her part that they played in the marriage that contributed to the cheater having his/her affair.

    I’ve spent 13 months soul searching as to what my participation in his affair was. I’ve asked everyone I know that knows me well and knows that truth is all I want, what they think I did or may have done to contribute to his need to have an affair And these are also people who don’t sugar coat just to be nice. No one including my husband could find my part in this horror.

    I did nothing wrong. I was, as no doubt many other’s that were betrayed are, about as perfect a wife/husband as there possibly could be. I did not bitch, control, ignore, deny sex, take him for granted or give him any reason to need someone else to meet his needs. I was present in our marriage. This has been a hard realization, actually. Everyone that knows me well knows that I’m all about balance and truth. Not being able to find any participation at all to give myself some responsibility has been difficult for me. I’m not a conceited person so I haven’t been able to speak my truth because I know most will say,”Well, don’t you think you’re something special.” No I don’t feel special. I feel completely destroyed. I feel that all my efforts that I put into my marriage were not enough to hold the man I truly loved to me.

    My H hasn’t sugar coated his response to my questions either because he knows me well enough to know that I only want the truth. He knows that I would own whatever he said I had done to cause him to look to someone else. It would have given me something to concentrate on and lessen the anger toward him.

    He is one of those men/women who’s personality was ego based and nothing was ever going to be enough. I find it a complete injustice that we, as the injured spouse have to struggle and suffer so much to put some blame on ourselves just because it isn’t the norm.

    I do think there needs to be that opening for people such as myself, that don’t cause discord in their marriages, are mature and aware of what not to do to cause damage in a marriage and want to still save their marriage to speak openly without guilt. I actually feel guilty for not being in any way the reason he had his affair.

    My H said that my complete trust in him made is easy to get away with his affair. I’m not wrong in trusting my H. I was not wrong in expecting him to not have an affair or even consider that he might. So many things I have read make people feel ignorant and uninformed because we didn’t come into the marriage in fear. It’s not as if I was perfect. I have had other relationships and acknowledged the wrong behaviors that I displayed and made adjustments. Did my work before I married my now husband. Bad things do happen, but I know that I did not bring this on. He knows this, too and he is extremely remorseful for what he has brought to our, what used to be what I thought was a wonderful marriage. He is doing his best to turn the awfulness around and be less of an egomaniac. He knows that his ego was completely controlling his behavior. NOW

    I would like those of us who have studied and did do their soul searching on their own behavior to be recognized as truth and not someone who is just in denial of their personality faults. It is possible to be a good wife and best friend to someone and not know what that someone is capable of. We are not mind readers. And they are excellent liars. And bad behavior should not be excused away as the spouse being ignorant and not worldly enough to be prepared for this horrible act of betrayal. The subject of ego and essence should be addressed. It is what this is all about.

    • DJ March 16, 2012 at 3:54 pm #

      Peggy – my coach agrees with you. No marriage is perfect and no person is perfect, but there are indeed times when an affair happens in a good marriage with a loving spouse and where there isn’t even the perception of unmet needs. My husband has admitted to this, too. He was dumped by his first love and after 27 years still had not accepted that. When the chance came to take her away from the man who had taken her away from him, he took it. He pursued it and he took it.

      It was all on him. Ego is his Achilles’ heel and that’s why he initially sought her out. But then they both felt that they had fallen for each other all over again and so it began.

      My coach says that for all the talk of patterns and scripts and such concerning affairs, you cannot place all people in tidy little boxes. There are always going to be some that just don’t fit. Or maybe they fit in a different box with few people in it. Maybe our husbands are among them.

    • Paula March 16, 2012 at 7:58 pm #

      Peggy, your truth is also mine. I, like every other human being, am not perfect, but I did little wrong here, either. In fact, my “faults” were more to do with doing too much and caring too much, and never putting myself first. We had a very good relationship, admittedly it had hit a tough patch, but it wasn’t insurmountable, and I knew that circumstances meant we had to trudge through it, but that it would definitely get better – and I kept talking to him about it, and how we were coping with the circumstances, he lied and said he was okay (you know, normal “life” stuff, got a bit busy, etc) he lost faith, and unfortunately, his old GF walked into the middle of it all, and I let her, encouraged the friendship. almost. He, too used my complete faith in him as the very best “cover” for his affair with my friend. So very sad, and so very frustrating.

    • somanytears January 22, 2016 at 3:05 pm #

      Thank you, Peggy! You understand me! I also had ZERO fault, except for 100 percent trust and love. Now I deal with a man, who deceived and lied to me, saying he’s sorry. Do I believe him. NO WAY! He even told the OW he was a “good liar”! Have you researched Sociopath, Narcissist, and Psycopaths online? I have. It seems to fit my CH. Now I know he has a history of this behavior.

    • Holdingon May 29, 2016 at 5:26 am #

      I feel where your coming from, I could have wrote this myself. I thought everything was fine and she told me it was fine, I gave her a little stuffed devil that said I love you on our 23rd anniversary and asked her if we were ok, was she ok with us because my youngest son was moving out, we would be alone, she said everything was fine, the day before that she was sending him nude pictures, and many after that. I had no idea anything was wrong, we, like some others on here had people say they wish they had a relationship like we had, I thought we were best friends and lovers, you never know what someone is thinking, when I found out what she was doing, all I could say to her was, your a really good liar, I never saw it coming.

  23. Surviving March 17, 2012 at 12:32 pm #

    @Kristy
    It’s all a great big lie. When I found out I asked my H why didn’t you just tell me he said because I wouldn’t have wanted him too. I said if this person was a real friend I would have said yes.
    But everything during this time was a great big lie no excuses. The lies to me. The lies to the OW. The lies by omission to both of us. Did he tell her his wife was working full time taking care of three kids at home one going thru serious issues, and that instead of helping he checks out into a fantasy did he tell her he was still sleeping with and having sex with his wife? That he still made future plans with his wife and also called her every day multiple times? No he didn’t. And who is this person to go out and do all this with another person snd then come hone and sleep with their wife like nothing happened?
    So yes there is alot of anger, anger at the H anger at the OW and anger at ourselves for not seeing this and being deceived. So I do get it when you say no excuses. That is what I tell my H I want all the truth the truth that was denied to me so I can decide if I want to be with you.

  24. Surviving March 17, 2012 at 12:51 pm #

    @Kristy,
    Your right about the OW they have no morals. A true friend would say let’s invite wife to lunch with us. Does your wife know your calling me texting me? Why would the OW settle for so less and not ask about the truth of the marriage? Because they are living in a fantasy and these unbalanced people go from one fantasy to another. So here we are trying to decide is our H going to do that? Or is he back in reality going to make amends and can we live with him?
    Linda has decided Doug did and she can. For some of us the answer isn’t quite so clear. For some of us not me the spouse is still in their fantasy world, and for others they are with a serial cheater. I understand you anger directed at “Doug” as a un known person perhaps standing in for your anger at maybe your H. I don’t think you really have true anger at the person Doug is on this site. I have found that Doug has answered personally very sensitive questions about his EA with honesty and humility. This site has been very therapeutic to many people. He has given insite into what is going in with an EA.

  25. cal March 18, 2012 at 11:30 pm #

    Thank you, Doug and Linda, and to all for commenting on this and other posts. My H and I are working on our marriage after I discovered his FAcebook EA two months ago. He did an immediate turnaround and declared he wanted me and not her. After individual therapy, a short separation and much soul searching, we decided to stay together and work it out. There is one dimension to our reconciliation that is unique – or at least I haven’t seen anyone discuss yet, and that is how my husband is fighting cancer. He is in Stage 4, but not terminal. Still, we may not have years to hash out our future.

    As nice as it is to have him committed to me again, it is still scary and hard and we must take things one day at a time. This site really helps me articulate to him what I feel and what I need. Just last night, what I read here helped me focus enough to get a really sincere and emotional apology out of him (instead of ‘sorry for being so stupid) and that acknowledgement of my pain and betrayal helped so much. Though we start joint counseling Wednesday, I really feel I wouldn’t have made it this far without all I’ve read here. Thank you from both of us.

    • Doug March 19, 2012 at 2:53 pm #

      Thanks for the kind words, Cal. Sorry to hear about the cancer and hope that everything works out for the best for your husband and you. Good luck in counseling and let us all know how it comes out, if you are so inclined.

  26. Madeleine March 27, 2012 at 11:04 pm #

    Great post. I agree completely. Thank you.

  27. KelBelly July 4, 2012 at 6:36 pm #

    I don’t know where would be to post this question so I am just going to put it out there. Doug, I notice that you use the OW name quite openly in your blogs and post. My H is having trouble hearing the OW name and has asked me to refer to her as that woman. Could you or anyone else for that fact please help me understand why this is if you can? Thank you.

    • Doug July 5, 2012 at 8:09 am #

      I suspect it could be due to a number of reasons. Perhaps guilt, shame, anger (at himself), anger (at her), realization that the OW isn’t all he thought she was, minimalizing the relationship or perhaps a number of other reasons. Have you asked him?

      • KelBelly July 5, 2012 at 11:11 am #

        Yes, He said it was because it brought up everything and that he didnt want to remember anymore. My struggle with it was maybe it brought up his feelings for her. I guess I was wondering if there was a reason why you used the OW name often. If maybe in someway, it was part of your healing.

        • Doug July 5, 2012 at 12:15 pm #

          Actually…No real reason. In fact Tanya is not her real name. We decided to not use real names for privacy reasons.

  28. Gizfield July 5, 2012 at 1:55 pm #

    I wondered about that, if it was her real name. Makes me always think of Tanya Tucker, lol.

  29. SoManyTears January 22, 2016 at 8:08 am #

    I had one of those rare marriages (11 years before Dday) that had NO problems. So my CH had NO valid excuses as to why he chose to have 2 affairs. One lasted the entire 11 years and one was the last 15 months, before I accidently discovered both. The excuses for the affairs are ones he only gave to the other women. He used, “My wife never has sex with me”, ” My wife never pays attention to me” and “I’m just using my wife, but am really in love with you”. His excuses to them were rationalizations/lies. He admits this and knows there were zero problems in our relationship. The problem is solely his. I couldn’t have been a better wife, and he knows this. His REASON for cheating? He says it’s because he WANTED to. Only real reason there is. So what now? He wants to stay married. He says he’s not like that anymore and is very sorry he has ruined what we had. I’m doubting a man that says he “picked” these women because he knew they would keep secrets and he could “play” them like a ” puppet on a string”. I’m sure he has some sort of mental problem. What else could it be? This whole experience has done nothing but make me sick! Ugh!

    • Bob January 22, 2016 at 2:23 pm #

      That’s horrible. It’s amazing how the experience affects your physical body. For me it was/is like a constant state of nausea and panic.

      What now? Well, what do you want? I suggest focusing on you. Figure out what will make you feel better. What will move you towards healing. If he’s a part of that, fine. If not, that’s fine too.

      Does he have a mental problem? Almost certainly. He lied, for years, to a person he ostensibly loves. Some kind of emotional malfunction is going on.

      He should be very sorry. The question is, what is he going to do about it?

      Good luck! Be well and take care of yourself.

      • somanytears January 22, 2016 at 2:51 pm #

        Bob, I think he’s a sociopath. I too feel a constant state of panic. After 2 1/2 years, I still puke and cry and feel lost. I also lose myself. For instance, if I’m taking a shower, I’ll begin to wonder how long I’ve been in there…who’s house am I in and if years have gone by, am I alone? Where and how old are my children? It’s unnerving. I have also become a shut in. I no longer leave my home. This horrible experience has forever changed me in a BAD way.

        • Holdingon May 29, 2016 at 5:36 am #

          I never leave the house either, I don’t know who knows what she’s done, it’s humiliating.

  30. SoManyTears May 29, 2016 at 9:36 am #

    I feel the same way. I also now have been diagnosed with anal HPV. The 15 month long affair he had was supposedly non sexual, but the OW died from anal cancer last year. I got my diagnosis just a month later. Last week, I was diagnosed with Hoshimoto’s. I’m sure it’s stress/HPV related. His adulterous ways have made me very physically sick. He’s still lying about it.

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