Affair Recovery and the 7 Stages of Grief

In this wonderful article, one of our members – Duane – offers his take on what one can expect throughout the affair recovery process as it relates to the 7 Stages of Grief – all based on his own experiences.

Elisabeth Kübler-Ross first introduced The 5 Stages of Grief in her work with people with a terminal illness or who experienced a catastrophic loss.  In this post, Duane expands her model by an additional two stages for his own purposes.

This is a great article that can really help anyone who is struggling through the healing process, whether you just found out about an affair or have been working through your own affair recovery for months or even years.

Many thanks to Duane!

affair recoveryAffair Recovery and the 7 Stages of Grief

“Every Step of the journey is the journey.”

Though every story is slightly different there is a script we all seem to follow, experiences we all share at various points in recovery. I thought it would be helpful to those who are new to this to get an idea of what to expect in the healing process.

Above all else know that healing will take considerable time. Be patient, be kind to yourself; it’s a process. But keep in mind always that wherever you are is exactly where you should be.

One of the first things I did after the news broke was to look up the 7 Stages of Grief (Shock, Denial, Bargaining, Guilt, Anger, Depression, and Acceptance.) I knew I was going to experience all of them, only I didn’t realize they repeat, overlap, gang up. Again, be kind to yourself.

 

Shock or The Honeymoon Phase:

If you’re reading this then you won’t need to be told about the shock and pain that will engulf you when infidelity is revealed. With me it was all consuming. I couldn’t eat, sleep, or concentrate. The only thing that mattered was finding my way free from the abyss into which I was pushed. I thought getting her back would do the trick. I tried romance, sex, long discussions, crying, pleading; I was “there” for her yet allowed her her space. It seemed to work so long as there was movement. She was responsive, answered all the questions, gave me tons of physical attention, but we were both in survival mode. She wasn’t being fully honest with me, or fully invested in our relationship. And in the quiet moments fear and anger took over; the pain returned as full as ever. Estimated time period: the 30 days post DDay.

 

Denial or The Honeymoon is Definitely Over:

She soon began to withdraw. I still held out hope for us. Our foundation was strong enough. I thought that we could weather this storm. I forgave her. I took a philosophical approach, a pragmatic outlook. This was a blip in our marriage, nothing more. She says she loves me and not him. What more proof do I need? But the more I suppressed my anger, hurt, and disappointment, the greater those feelings became. There are three things that can’t be hidden, the sun, the moon, and the truth. As much as I hated the thought I simply had to allow the pain and anger to exist and run its course. It took a while to learn, but I found it was ok to do that, to be angry, to feel pain. I had a right. I had been deeply wounded and it had to heal in its own time. Estimated time period: 30 to 90 days post DDay.

 

Bargaining or How To Be The Perfect Spouse:

If I were better, stronger, smarter, taller, more handsome, successful, ambitious, if I had met her “needs,” then she would never have sought out another man. In hindsight this is utter, total Bullshit! Since when is anybody responsible for the happiness of another person? If we make someone happy then great, but it should never be a responsibility. Alas, hindsight is such a gift.I tried to be more like him, or more of what I thought she was looking for, what she needed. I did exactly the opposite of what I should have done which is take pride in myself. If I were to show her anything it should have been what she was attracted to in the first place. But again, it’s a process. Estimated time period: 1 year after DDay or one minute if you take my advice (for me it lasted about the entire third month post DDay.)

 

Guilt or How is this My Fault Again?

Part and parcel with Bargaining I took on the burden of her guilt as a way of being there for her, of being a perfect mate. I convinced myself that this affair had to be my fault because somehow I didn’t do enough. She didn’t blame me outright, as some betrayers do, but she let it be known that she was unhappy, that she had been unhappy for a while (she forgot to add, as all betrayers do, that the unhappiness was with herself.) Luckily, my self-esteem was intact enough to realize this didn’t make any sense. Estimated time period: As with Bargaining this period lasted about the entire third month for me, but I would guess it could last 1 to 2 months or longer if one isn’t aware.

 

Anger or Now It’s My Turn:

Five months post DDay (and one month post Last Contact) my step-father passed away. He lived in another state so in going off to console my mom, my wife and I were granted a respite from the fear, anger, blame, needling innuendoes, and the constant questions and marathon talks that followed. My wife wanted to remain married. Her goal was and has been from DDay to have a loving, emotionally connected and fulfilling marriage with me. But she lacked the tools to take those steps fully and my ego would not allow me to release the anger enough to even attempt to trust her. Five months post DDay and the wounds were still fresh, still tender to the touch. By this time I was convinced divorce was the only option, that she still harbored feelings for him (despite her telling me endlessly that this wasn’t the case,) that if it weren’t for our kids I would be long gone without a word.

This was the most destructive phase, but also the most cathartic. There are some wise folks out there who believe that the wounds we earn in life are what mold our character. They mature us in ways we never could have matured otherwise. But wounds this deep can only be gotten in battle. And I battled hard.

The good is that I regained my confidence. I put my foot down, stating that if she wanted to pine over her man then she should do it on her own time in her own space. This was no longer my problem. I began to look after myself and my interests. I started yoga, meditation, exercising, going out to meet new people, make new friends, and I delved into reading and found strength in renewal and the wisdom of those who had survived all sorts of traumas. I looked deep within myself and sought the truth. For the most part I liked what I saw.

The bad is that this was a struggle. I did things I’m not entirely proud of including confronting the OM and having my own revenge affair (which doesn’t work if one’s hearts not in it.) But I am glad for the insight at least my affair gave me, the self-loathing, the dopamine high, the fallacy that we are responsible for another’s happiness. Despite what we believe our betraying spouses felt during their affair, it couldn’t possibly have been all sunshine and roses. Affairs are built on lies and secrecy. The constant guilt and torment must be unbearable. The childishness must be humiliating in the light of day. I can’t imagine anyone in an affair feeling good about themselves and I can see how far one would go to cast that awful feeling onto anyone else.

Anger has been the longest phase of recovery for me because I fought it every step of the way and because it needed to exist until I learned that I could deal with it while sitting still, by merely letting it be without marrying action to it. The hardest lesson I have learned from this whole experience, and the greatest lesson, is that often times we don’t need to do anything; just let life be. It has made all the difference. Estimated time period: From DDay until one is ready to let it go, for me about 18 months – it could have been a lot shorter.

 

Depression or … just … God, does this suck:

There are varying degrees of depression. The major depression for me started in the third month post DDay (or March 2010). The realities of the affair hit my wife hard and she turned away completely. I have never felt so alone in my life, so worthless, so helpless. I started seeing a therapist; I took anti-depressants for the first time ever. Nothing seemed to make the pain go away but time. This lasted a month (I don’t have statistics but I’d wager the third month post DDay has got to be the worst of the recovery time).

Beyond that third month depression has stayed around for a good year and a half at varying levels. My revenge affair didn’t help as I experienced firsthand the withdrawal we have all heard so much about. It’s real and is borne of guilt and shame, and the only thing to make it go away is another dose of drama, texting, meeting, ego-boosting, and what-have-you. I’m convinced it’s a hard-wired mental drug meant to promote the continuation of our species. Knowing that, it might give some of you a bit more patience with your addicted, dumb-for-the-moment spouse.

I also realized, curiously, that I had developed a habit of my depression over time. Like Pavlov’s dog I found when I was alone I would conjure up familiar anger and pain just because I was used to it. And when I would search for justifications as to why I felt this way I found it and earned my melancholy. Depression begets depression. I had to break the habit and couldn’t rely on my spouse to help me through it. I had to break it. Today it has dissipated, but it’s not entirely gone. It’s a process. Estimated time period: DDay until whenever, right? The worst of it though is during the earlier months.

 

Acceptance or the Never-Ending Story:

Acceptance is a weighty word since it implies surrender, but it’s nothing like surrender. We will never accept our spouse’s infidelity. We will only accept that it happened. There’s a major difference in that. We grow wiser, our wounds heal, but the scar reminds us to be wary, to rely on ourselves first and foremost, and that at the end of the day we were never immune from such betrayal in the first place just as we never will be moving forward. The only thing anyone can count on is that change will occur, which is a good thing because without change there is only death. The estimated time period for this phase is the rest of our lives because hopefully we’ve learned something here that will help us weather any and all future storms.

I was at a school concert the other night and in the row in front of me was a woman busily texting on her IPhone. The bright light was blinding me so I leaned forward to ask her to put it away. But in leaning forward I realized I could read her conversation. The woman was there with her two teenage sons sitting between her and her husband. I wanted to say something to this woman about her “conversation.” But what would she say back to me? “How dare you. We’re just friends. This is none of your business.” She would be right, of course. Every situation is unique. Still, I wanted to warn her about the process. I am strong enough now that the triggers don’t hit me anymore (yes, they do go away), and I wanted to warn this woman.

Two years out from my wife’s affair and there are more and more moments where I look at it and think it’s just not that big of a deal in the grand scheme of things. Even if our relationship doesn’t survive, at least I know I will. I like my hard won independence. I like feeling that I have more control over the quality of my life, my happiness, my life’s goals. I’ve definitely lost something, but that’s part of growing up. I’ve learned to accept that. It’s all part of the process. And it gets easier. It gets better.

 

Once again, thanks so much to Duane for sharing his perspectives based on his own affair recovery process.

If any of you would like to share your thoughts or experiences please do so in the comment section below.

Additionally, if you’d like to share in the form of a guest post such as Duane’s, feel free to shoot us an email and we would be more than happy to review it and possibly post it.

LINESPACE

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95 Responses to Affair Recovery and the 7 Stages of Grief

  1. csb December 22, 2011 at 9:47 am #

    I especially could relate to the “Depression” stage. I’t’s almost 3 months since DDay (very interesting to see that I’m entering the exact period the author calls the worst part of the recover time!)

    I too have developed a habit when it comes to my depression…hanging on to it, reminding myself of what was done and how I have the right to be sad.

  2. Michael December 22, 2011 at 10:45 am #

    Very well written. The time line is so close to mine. But I think Duane has made it further in the two years than I have.

  3. Paula December 22, 2011 at 12:45 pm #

    Agreed, Michael, my timeline is WAAAY more stretched out, a fact that I am not proud of, but have to keep trying not to beat myself up over. Big difference is I never even contemplated a revenge affair, just couldn’t do it (although I note Duane does mention his heart wasn’t in it) however, from what I’ve learnt, that is a more typical reaction/response from the male partner than the female one in a heterosexual relationship, just part of how we are wired a little differently. So good to hear from someone who is doing well :-)

  4. ifeelsodumb December 22, 2011 at 1:30 pm #

    I think when a spouse shows true, genuine remorse and takes the steps to help YOU heal, you will find that you can get past this much faster…and that maybe, as in my case, the anger still won’t be there almost a year later!

  5. saddenned December 22, 2011 at 3:58 pm #

    All,

    I relate to these stages. I am 9+ months from D Day…I would recommend counseling to help sort through the feelings. The recovery time is quicker. Not marriage counseling, I am talking individual counseling. This will help focus on you.

  6. changedforever December 22, 2011 at 4:30 pm #

    Wondering if there is a difference in the healing time periods of an EA vs a combo EA/PA (suffered from a BS’ perspective..?) Doug or Linda…wondering if Duane suffered from his wife’s EA or EA. +PA? As I’ve learned from all I’ve read & researched over this 14+ ‘months of hell’ – an EA if not eventually intercepted or stopped otherwise most likely is on is way to a PA (which is what happened in my H’s situation. He claims they jumped right into the PA but my investigation proves otherwise…the ‘feeling sorry for her/she had such a hard life/hero to her rescue’ stage WAS their EA…but as soon as the OW was out of ‘its’ recovery from its recent -back-then abortion, they began the PA.) It is always amazing to hear where everyone ‘is’ in their healing paths…I, too, relate to many of you in your stages of ‘limbo.’ Still not receiving the ‘crutch’ assistance I need & expect from my H @ this ‘stage’ of my recovery is so difficult. Read a great ‘prayer” from ‘Notoverit’s’ link to this site re: recovery from Adultery,’…evil truly played a part in my H’s affair: he involved ‘someone’ in OUR lives…not just his…who was quite like the devil, ‘someone’ who killed (multiple abortions,) destroyed (I.e., marriages/dated multiple older, married men,) all situations my H was aware of…and still, he pursued this thing.
    I know that as the truth continues to be unearthed its supposed to be healthy…but oh God it hurts. But knowing that it is God that will serve punishment…I will not do so. My H & I are of different faiths…and we have both ‘returned’ to weekly services. He to his Judaism (just recently,) me to my Catholic faith soon after Dday, I hope his is the lifesaver to him, as mine has been to me. Hold onto your faith or at least read ‘the Secret’ by Rhonda Byrne…and its sequel; ‘the Power.’ You will come away with what you need in spiritual survival. Best to you all & thanks for all you’ve been…to me.

    • Doug December 22, 2011 at 5:22 pm #

      Changedforever, I’m not sure about Duane’s situation as it relates to an EA + PA. Perhaps he will comment. What you say is true about the importance of holding onto your faith – no matter what it is.

  7. D December 22, 2011 at 5:38 pm #

    Brief history, changedforever. My wife was in a full on EA/PA that lasted 18 months. I really was clueless during the whole thing. I was one of those who felt amazed at how perfect our relationship was and discovering she was having an affair was as devastating a feeling as I ever want to experience. To make it worse, the OM’s wife shared with me their entire history in emails that the dumb ass OM neglected to delete. Reading comments like “Whenever D asks me what I’m thinking about I have to lie,” kind of rips a hole through one’s heart. And you can imagine that wasn’t the worst comment. I was pretty much out of commission for three or four months. I think I might have dealt with it better if it were only a PA. I’m guessing a man can understand that a lot more. But her giving her heart to someone – even within an addictive state – is heart-wrenching. But I have to say that wasn’t the worst of it.

    It was how she reacted after the affair that really hit me. The withdrawal, the turning away from me, blaming me, that was worse. But it helped me be a stronger person.

    A friend of mine just found out his wife has been having an affair. It breaks my heart. Part of the impetus to write this piece was to show that we as individuals can and will recover, but also I wanted to point out that as much as we might value (or have valued) our marriages, it is not what defines us. I can’t say this will work for everyone but it was very helpful for me to literally let everything go, the expectations, considerations, respect, anger, love, history, desire, joy, any and all anniversaries whether they pertained to our relationship or the affair specifically, and see if anything blossomed organically anew. I had to let my wife stand on her own merits without any help from me and see if there was something new between us to sustain our future together.

    It has definitely helped. I heard a quote today, “Holding onto resentment is like swallowing poison and hoping the other person dies.” It helps to let go.

    • ifeelsodumb December 23, 2011 at 3:30 am #

      D, what is this “withdraw” that you and others talk about? Is this common after an EA?
      I’ve come to terms with my H having the EA for the most part…it’s the way he treated me AFTER that I’m struggling to forgive….some days it seemed like he was there for me, actually very few days when I think about it….and other days he just wanted to act like life was normal and the EA never happened…and other days he was cruel to me…when I was crying and upset, he’d walk away and act like I was bothering him…so is that what withdraw is, where they just act like you mean nothing to them?? Is this common after an EA?

      • D December 23, 2011 at 10:04 am #

        Withdrawal from the addiction of the affair. Your husband created a habit for himself with the OW. In breaking that habit it’s like letting go of a drug. And he’s going to come down from that hard. Instead of the constant stroking of his ego he’s going to be confronted with some ugly truths about himself, his character, and how much pain and damage he’s caused. He’s going to be angry, and unfortunately he’s going to be angry with you because you are the one stopping him from getting his high. But you can’t take this personally because it has nothing to do with you. Depending on how honest he wants to be with himself, this withdrawal could take some time.

        My wife’s withdrawal didn’t begin until I confronted the OM and she realized that she was really cut off. She turned on me in a big way (this was that dreaded Third month.) Last Contact occurred the following month and I’d say it took her a good six months after that to really begin in earnest working on herself.

      • norrine fay February 11, 2012 at 9:15 am #

        This happened to me too. I find I could deal with the affair although it was painful. It was the withdrawal, lack of empathy, mind games, emotionally cruelty and sarcastic comments that cut deep. I could not understand it. This website has made me realise this behaviour is the norm for some partners who won’t accept responsibility. Really all the post has allowed me to deal with this behaviour much better. Otherwise I would be still living in an emotional and confusing fog. Thank you so much. Words can’t express my gratitude

  8. changedforever December 22, 2011 at 10:41 pm #

    Thank you Duane…for sharing even more. When you mentioned letting things go, such as anniversaries, does that mean you no longer acknowledge them (I.e., my 25th wedding anniversary was horribly soiled…they had lunch & dinner together while I worked & waited for him to come home ‘from a friend’s house.’ ) finding this out ripped my heart completely from my being. We’ve gone thru one of these (wedding) anniversary dates already. More ‘inside’ suffering for me. I don’t want that date anymore…and I loved that date/that time of year. After discovering they had 11 months of inappropriate contact up until June of this year, no date is unsoiled. He worked hard to take me away during that time, but it was still ‘that date’ we had to get past. I am 14 months past DDay#1. I have also always been a ‘date-remembering’ person…it was always a blessing…until the affair & all the revelations of the years of other EA’s. Not remembering dates is a curse now. How did you let go all that you did…pls help me with this, any advice even a starting point would be so helpful.
    My H has not given me any special attention since that anniversary date in October (which was 4 days prior to DDay#1.) You seem to be where I need to be and I am nowhere near where you are. Stuck in a bad place…and here come the emotional holidays…again.

    • ifeelsodumb December 23, 2011 at 3:23 am #

      Changedforever,
      We just passed our 26th anniversary…My H wanted to take me to an expensive restaurant, to make “new” memories, because last year, he was involved in his EA during our 25th anniversary. I just couldn’t do it…the day means nothing to me anymore, he has ruined it.
      We will renew our vows when I feel I have forgiven him completely….and maybe that will be our “new” date that we will celebrate??
      At this point, I just don’t know anymore…I told him today that I think that maybe he waited to long to come around, to finally decide he wants to fight for our marriage, too little too late, ya know?
      Because I feel such incredible sadness inside me all the time, I can’t seem to shake it….

  9. Broken December 23, 2011 at 12:21 am #

    Duane…I have to say that is one of the best posts I have ever read. It is absolutely true…all of it. I am 16 months post dday and my biggest problem right now is dealing with the constant reels in my head that I can’t turn off. I have to learn to let it all go…its no longer healthy for either one of us. Affairs are awful blood sucking parasites. I think for the most part I am stronger and he actually looks like he has aged…alot. I like your analogy…dumb for a moment spouse.

    Thanks for a great post.

  10. Donna M December 23, 2011 at 2:23 am #

    I am 1 year out of D day. I have gone through it all and still going through it! I can relate to all stages. I am back to the Anger :(… The OW is still writing to my H and reminding of what they had and shared. He has no contact with, we are not sure how she’s even getting his new email address. He is not hiding the emails and has been showing me, I have his email set up on phone so I can read his any times of the day. All part of trying to gain the trust back. Now I find myself wondering is it even worth it! She has threaten to go to My H 90 year dad and visit him, if he doesn’t call her.
    Seems now we are fighting more now then ever. We don’t know how to make her stop. My H has stopped talking to all people that know her, yet she keeps getting the email address. Its getting to the point of I want to confront her at her job. He told me yesterday that he would do that with me tow. Now today seems he didn’t want to. I feel like he protecting her and what they had once again. I feel my feelings mean nothing to him. They are both to blame for what happened, but he at least stopped all contact. She can’t call him or text him due to he blocked her numbers.
    I’m so confused and I am trying to trust him, I have thrown in face that he is afraid of seeing her, because of what they had. At this point, if he does see her and wants her back GO, I am not going to sit hone anymore.
    He has standing by my side, but has also thrown in my face, That”s right poor poor pity you!
    My question to everyone, he has emailed her a few months ago, and now in an email she wrote I know its your wife writing it. SO we can’t just send an email. Do we confront her????

    • D December 23, 2011 at 10:24 am #

      My advice would be to ignore her completely. Your husband seems to be showing signs that he wants to be in your marriage. That’s a huge step and one you might take comfort in. He’s showing you the emails, supporting you, being truthful.

      The OW is vying for attention and she’s not getting it because your husband is choosing you, yes?

    • ifeelsodumb December 23, 2011 at 12:21 pm #

      Donna,
      Jan. 1st 2011, I KNEW something was going on…Jan.3rd 2011, he finally confessed…Today, Dec.23, 2011 My anger is back and I’m struggling to deal with it! S I understand completely!
      It didn’t help that the other day, while talking, he said “It was ONLY four months”!! meaning the length of his EA…I looked at him and said ” I don’t care if it was only four HOURS, it was wrong”! Of course, he tried to explain that he meant that some others are for 2 yrs or more…so yea, that didn’t help, to hear him try to make an “excuse” for himself!!
      And now he’s bulking at counseling, we have an Appt. set for Jan 3rd…well, I’m going, with OR without him!

      • Donna M December 24, 2011 at 1:02 am #

        It’s sad how some things just set us off. My H said the same THING. It was only Urggg. I had to remind hi that they worked (they shared the same office) 10 hour day’s and then would stay 2-3 hours after work, and still not good enough he would call her while he was driving home, then come home eat and tell me I need to go buy (whatever he needed) and call her again, when he wasn’t chatting with her on FB. Even the 10 min drive to go see his dad. Sick. Even on our Vac, we stayed local at a Hotel, he left so he could go see her for 5 mins. This was the day I found out. I happened to be behind him without him knowing, I heard him say “I miss you you too, I love you, ok let me see what I can do”. REALLY!!!!!! then he tells me, well its not as bad you think..Guess he is right it was WORSE then I thought!

    • Lynne December 23, 2011 at 3:11 pm #

      D-

      I agree with “D”. Ignore her! There is absolutely nothing good that will come from confrontation. You won’t feel better afterward, but are likely to feel worse. If you do engage with her at all, you and your H are keeping the ping pong match going! Next volley, please!

      Whenever I see BS’s focused on the OW/OM it makes me cringe. I see this as focusing on the wrong thing, person etc. Your H should have kept his attention at home and HE is responsible for turning to someone else…..you’re married to him, not to HER, so her choices/actions are irrelevant!

      As to how she keeps getting your email address, there are a million ways to search email addresses on the internet. These are not as hidden as one might think. You can change it again, but she will most likely find it. I’m curious as to why you don’t block it from your email, just as you have blocked your phones.

      • Donna M December 24, 2011 at 12:53 am #

        My H just emailed her back to tell her what he thinks, The first email from him to her. She is now becoming a crazed person. I am not sure if they will let it through but here is her letter to him today.. BTW he never made plans with her for anything lol. She is reaching far. I have all her letters to him from when the EA was going on, she would write how cold he is towards her, and she knows he is only saying I Love you back, because she’s saying it.Her letter..
        ” tell me what I need to do to prove to you thel love I have for
        you. Do you remember last year, how you made plans to wake up in my
        arms Christmas morning? How you send to me, I was the only gifted you
        needed. Think to nov when you held me and said you love more then
        anything in the world. Do you know every time I see a car like yours my
        heart stops, I drive up to see if its you or her. When I see
        someone with green eyes I think of you and if you thinking of me. Do
        you remember when I said you have green eyes, you said no they brown, I
        said no they are green. You said well the she always say
        brown.
        Steve can we pleae meet? Christmas night maybe at your dads? Remember
        how you said you can’t wait until they meet me.
        With all my love”

        As for us blocking her email, she makes a new one up, Normally Mrs. (Our last name)

    • Notoverit December 27, 2011 at 11:03 am #

      Is there no way to block her? I know you can set up numerous email accounts so that may not work. I don’t know if you’re in the U.S. but there is a federal law about cyber stalking. If she continues and you are in the U.S. print them out and take them to the FBI. They prosecute for this. Just a thought. Maybe you should tell her that it is a federal crime punishable by jail time. I had our PI do this – I refused to talk to my OW. He made it very clear that we would prosecute. Not a peep out of her now. LOL

    • Lucielle March 8, 2014 at 2:51 pm #

      Its hard not to respond to this woman; you’re angry and rightfully so. When you respond, it gives her a lot of power that she doesn’t deserve. I have experience both as the OW and the hurt spouse and it has caused me and many others irreparable damage. This woman obviously has never experienced this type of infidelity herself, or she would understand the awful pain she is causing you and your husband. The best revenge? Completely ignore her. It will drive her nuts. Don’t even read the emails, just delete, delete, delete. Certainly do not respond anymore. Your marriage is none of her business. I hope you can find the strength and grace to rebuild your marriage. After 3 years of this business I am still trying, one day at a time.

  11. Laura December 23, 2011 at 2:33 am #

    I am a little over 2 months after d-day, the holidays are here and it is even more painful, just thinking about all the things we could be doing for the holidays to be together as a family and spend this time with friends as well. Who would tell us we would be like this for the holidays. Sometimes I feel like its just a bad dream, but reality hits and it hits hard. I know I am not guilty for him having the affair, but he tells me its my fault that he went out looking what he was lacking at home, which was love, attention, support, I know I take responsability for that, but I did not put a gun to his head and said”you must go and find another that meets your needs” Why didnt he just leave? Why was it okay for him to let O/W into “our” lives. He tells me living with me was a living hell (for 12 years up until 2 weeks before d-day he was always loving, caring , even talking about having a second child, not a behavior of a husband who is in a living hell. He thinks his problems,sentimental, emotional,finanancial,(cheap excuses)problems are going to go away by having an affair, he is so wrong! Hes just added even more and aggravated problems for himself. He is still in the fog, and has not seen one bit of the tremendous damage, he has caused our family including himself. Now he blames me for the affair, I am hurting so bad, I wish time would fly( yeah right) because I know time is a healer, but for now I have to go through the emotional process, I have a lot of anger inside me and I hate feeling this way , but thats part of the process.

    • D December 23, 2011 at 10:13 am #

      There’s an Eleanor Roosevelt quote that says, “There are no victims, only volunteers.” I obviously have no idea what you are like as a person or a wife, but if your husband was so unhappy he had three choices to deal with that unhappiness, accept it, change it, or leave. Like I said, we should never feel responsible for another person’s happiness. You are not at all to blame for his affair. Your husband volunteered.

      • blueskyabove December 23, 2011 at 2:44 pm #

        “…accept it, change it, or leave”. Have you read Eckhart Tolle? He writes a lot about acceptance, surrender, resistance and taking responsibility for your life. Many of your posts seem to come from a different perspective than most others. Have you always been so inclined or is this something you have discovered since the affair?

        blueskyabove
        4+ years post DDay
        Rebuilding

        • D December 23, 2011 at 4:12 pm #

          I love your moniker, Bluesky. So hopeful. I think I got that saying from Eckert Tolle or Pema Chodron. I’ve been reading a TON since this occurred.

          My perspective has been hard won from this experience but I’d say I generally like to give everyone the benefit of the doubt. People make dumb mistakes. We get angry and want to punish them, but what’s the point of that? Whatever they did is done. One can either dwell in that or move forward. And if one chooses to move forward, well then the question becomes what do you want your future to be, because, really, it’s a choice.

          I sort of feel lucky, too. My wife could have turned to alcohol or drugs, she could have spiraled into depression, she could have been suicidal. Instead, she chose the destruction of affairs in dealing with her demons, and that’s something we can heal from.

          And like I said, in the course of a 20, 30, 40, 50 year marriage, what’s 18 months?

  12. D December 23, 2011 at 9:55 am #

    Not to be too horribly unsentimental but an anniversary is really just another day on the calendar. That isn’t to say that I haven’t cherished our anniversary or that I haven’t made the effort to create warm and fuzzy memories associated with that day. Believe me, I’m the nurturer in this relationship. But in moving forward it’s just too painful to keep focusing on what’s been lost, tainted, or ruined. I’ve found it more therapeutic to focus on now without attachments to what was. It has made a difference for both of us.

    It’s the same for their anniversaries as well. I used to keep track of the significant dates of their affair. Circling on the calendar all the times I knew they met, when she said, “I think I’m in love with you,” the dreaded DDay, but I realized I’m only punishing myself. My wife hardly remembers anything she wrote in those emails. She adamantly refuses to believe she ever mentioned love in relation to him. She isn’t marking her calendar or mourning their anniversaries. I think it was helpful for me at first to say, “On this day I will be really angry and resentful,” but it’s just counter-productive after a while.

    Unfortunately we attach ourselves to dates or memories I think as a mode of control. But we only control our reactions to events, not the events themselves and once the event occurs, both good and bad, it’s over. My sister died when I was 10. I don’t remember the exact date and I’m so happy for that because I seem to remember her life that way, not her death.

    The truth is we make new memories every second of every day. In letting go of our anniversary I’ve come to let go of seeing my wife as the person she was 20 years ago. More than that I’ve let go of the romanticism of our marriage. It’s enabled me to see us for what we are, and that’s honesty and truth, warts and all.

  13. Anne December 28, 2011 at 3:33 pm #

    Duane, this is such a great post, and it comes at a good time for me. I, too, have read the Kubler-Ross stages of grief and found many similarities. What has been difficult for me is the cyclical nature of the stages–you feel you’ve moved out of one stage and into another, only to feel a resurgence of anger, disbelief or other emotions that you thought you were beyond. The process isn’t linear, and that can feel frustrating and disheartening. I have struggled with depression, panic attacks, loss of sleep and general emotional upheaval. Even though I know it’s normal, there are days that I’m just so exhausted by the whole thing. I am 8 months post-Dday, and ironically, even though the affair is over and we’re on a path of recovery and marriage-rebuilding, there have been days that I feel more at wits-end than I did even during the darkest days of discovery. Some days, I’m just FED UP with having to deal with the emotional fallout and the disruption to my life. Reading your post gives me a renewed sense of hope and is a reminder that all these feelings are a normal part of the process. Thanks for sharing your experience and for being so eloquent in your description of the healing process. Best of luck to you.

  14. Anne December 28, 2011 at 4:12 pm #

    Duane, if you are still there, I’d like to ask a couple of questions. You said in the Anger section that your ego wouldn’t allow you to release the anger enough to trust her. Can you elaborate on that point? This resonates, but I hadn’t looked at it as a function of my ego (although in reading your post, I see a connection that my pride/ego is getting in the way of me letting go). Is this a fear of being hurt again? A desire to “punish” my spouse for his betrayal? How did you ultimately set your ego aside?

    Second question: You mentioned that you realized you didn’t need to marry action with your emotion, particularly in relation to anger. Again, can you tell me more about that? Does this mean that when you were angry, you didn’t express it?

  15. D December 28, 2011 at 5:30 pm #

    Hi Anne, I’m glad I could help. There aren’t a lot of “we survived” blogs out there because I’m sure once you’re out of the woods people would rather just move on. Eternal kudos to Linda and Doug for sticking around.

    First question: The ego is our inner child and like a child it is impatient and cries out when it doesn’t get what it wants. Like so many of us, I wanted things to be the way they used to be and I wanted that to happen right now. But there is simply a process we all must pass through in order to heal. There are no short-cuts in affair recovery and the more we try to find them the longer the process of recovery is going to take. We want our spouses to love us but they simply can’t do that immediately. We no longer want to be angry but we can’t do that immediately either. They have to grieve, we have to vent – preferably to a therapist who can offer constructive outlets. It simply has to happen organically. There will be pain and suffering and discomfort, but this is a serious wound, much more so than a heart-attack or loss of limb. This strikes at the very soul. We can’t force the healing process. We can only endure it. That’s not to say we have to be doormats. We can force discussions or reveal our hurts, but don’t expect solutions or changes to occur overnight.
    Second question: Likewise with the first question. Early on when I was angry or frightened or paranoid I would lash out or demand we talk or storm out of the house. After a while I found I didn’t always have to do anything at all. I sat on the issue for a while to see if it really bothered me or if perhaps I was just having a bad day. Talking about the affair less and less I found we had more room to communicate about our future, not our past. I don’t like to feel discomfort. I don’t have the patience for it. Or at least I didn’t. I have a lot more now than I ever did.

  16. ifeelsodumb December 28, 2011 at 7:14 pm #

    I feel that I’m really past the EA….sure, it still hurts and I’ve had better Christmas’s in the past…but it is what it is. I had to build a bridge and get over it!
    The problem I’m having now is that my H is still not involved in the healing process!
    He finally ordered the booklet “How to help Your Spouse Heal from Your Affair” and has been reading it for the last 3 weeks, it’s only 96 pages, a booklet really, and he PROMISED he’d have it finished by Christmas since he was on 10 days vacation, but he’s not finished with it….and I don’t know what he thinks about it, because he hasn’t told me anything about what he is reading. Of course, I’m THRILLED that he is reading it, but wouldn’t it be good for us to discuss what he’s reading? Or am I expecting to much?
    Sunday will be 1 yr since I entered EA hell…shouldn’t we be discussing how we are going to move forward by now?
    I get angry over the EA, but I can usually talk myself out of it…but the anger I’m getting now is because I still feel so alone in all of this…my H IS changing in some things, which is great! But the things he is changing are ‘easy’…spending more time with our boys, reading the booklet, etc…the HARD stuff, working on our relationship, opening up to me,etc… well, he’s still promising he’ll do that…he told me again last night, give me more time…and that’s the 4th time since October that he’s told me that. He tells me “You’ll see a change, I promise”…I told him last night, “You told me that 8 weeks ago, then again 4 weeks ago”…I still waiting to “see” a change…
    Do I just keep waiting? Do I accept that he’s not going to open up to me? Am I wanting to much from him? It has been almost a year, and he agrees with me that he hasn’t been there for me, that he’s let me do all the work so far…but I really don’t know what to do anymore.
    The only time he seems to get out of his comfort zone and start doing more is when I tell him that maybe a separation is what we need, that I’m tired of being alone in this…then he seems to be more on board with me, but after a week or two, we’re right back to where we started!
    He makes promises…then breaks them…he says he loves me, and I believe he does, but I also believe that he doesn’t “need” me in his life emotionally…if that makes sense?
    I don’t know how I supposed to start trusting him again, when he makes promises, then breaks them…I could excuse it in the first few months after the EA, we both made mistakes…but 1 yr later, I just think, if he REALLY wants our marriage to be better, really wants me to feel secure, shouldn’t he be doing more to show me? If I’m wrong to feel this way, please tell me…I’m confused!
    If I ignore the EA, and act like it never happened, put a smile on my face…he is happy! We are a “normal” married couple, going out to dinner with friends, shopping together, having the teens from our church over for food and games, etc. Mr and Mrs Normal Happy Married Couple….except inside, I feel my heart growing colder and colder towards him……He’s happy, I’m not. Is this the way it’s supposed to be?

  17. Paula December 28, 2011 at 7:18 pm #

    Duane and Anne

    This is a wonderful summary of things! Anne, you’re so right when you comment that it is more exhausting after the initial shock, trying to find a way forward without dragging this along behind you, all the time. D, your insight and way of expressing yourself is of great clarity, and it’s very interesting to hear your process, I wish I was as far along in my recovery. I struggle to hold any hope, at times, that I will ever recover enough to function without the lead in my heart, despite much insight, good communication, huge effort and commitment from my OH – and he is SOO very patient with me now, although not so much initially – and counselling (’til the cows come home!) Endurance is right, some days you just wonder how long you have to endure before you call enough, I can’t take it anymore. I know I’ve endured several years, so must be able to do more, lol!!

  18. csb December 29, 2011 at 8:30 am #

    No matter how much I think I’m starting to move forward without dragging my H’s EA behind me, it seems to rear it’s ugly head. I’m almost 3 months since DDay, and I am better than I was, but I’m seeing that no matter how much I try to only look at the rebuilding and good things, it’s there.

    I need some input/advice on my most recent event -

    My H and I have been together over 32 years. We almost divorced about 25 years ago because he was an alcoholic (4th generation alcoholic by the way!) and became verbally and emotionally abusive. He stopped for 13 years. He began drinking socially but it has escalated to at least 3 drinks every day again.

    I warned him that I would not tolerate being verbally abused again, and since the EA I have taken responsibility for voicing my issues and concerns regarding the marriage (used to keep quiet to avoid fights).

    His response was he will “do what he wants, and not be told what to do”. His EA was with an old girlfriend. I suspected something all along (1 1/2 years) and begged him not to bother with her. When he finally got caught and I asked why he did it after I repeatedly begged him to stay away from her, his response was “I guess I didn’t want to be told what to do, I wanted to do it and didn’t care what you wanted”. … Guess you can see the common thread here in his mind set?!

    My fear is that if he feels this way – he will do what he wants regardless, how do I know he won’t suddenly “want” to have another affair?! I should also mention, when he drinks, if other women are around he gets very “flirty”. Help please!!!!

  19. Broken December 29, 2011 at 10:48 am #

    csb…..you are only 3 months past dday…you have a long ways to go….dont rush it.

    I use to worry alot about that too…ifr my husband really could change or how soon he would return to his old behavior. It still rears its ugly head on occasion and I see what he use to be.

    It has been for me 16 months post dday and I have been with my H for 38 years.

    The bottom line is you cant control what he does. You will never know if he will want to do it again and the attitude of no one tells me what to do has to go. When we are in a relationship there is no room for that selfish behavior. They have to want to put your feelings and your relationship first. Alcohol only adds to the fire. My H also gets very flirty when he drinks….I hate it.

    Just hang in there and take your time. Yiu can only control your behavior not his.

  20. Anne December 29, 2011 at 3:09 pm #

    Duane, thanks for your reply. This makes a lot of sense. The marathon talks, the vitriol, the snide remarks I make about the OW, the storming and venting–it takes a toll and feels like a setback. When I take the advice Linda has proffered many times about “backing off” things are easier and our conversations are more productive. And what you’re saying about holding back to see if it’s just a bad day sounds like similar advice. Sometimes I find that we just need to change gears. Sit down and watch one of our favorite shows together, work on a puzzle with our daughter, ANYTHING to get away from the heavy conversations about the affair. At this point, between marriage counseling and our individual counseling, we have explored the affair and why it happened. There isn’t much more to be gained by turning over every rock and opening wounds that have already started to heal. But it’s very hard. I really like what you said about the inner child. This really resonates. I’m impatient and want to feel better right away. But there are no shortcuts. I can already see that I will emerge from this process with a different set of emotional tools, as will H. In those moments, I can see how the marriage could actually be stronger because we have both used the opportunity to grow and learn (both individually and as a couple). But on the hard days, that’s difficult to keep site of. Thanks again for a great post. I know I will return to this many times as a reminder that this is all part of the journey.

  21. D December 29, 2011 at 5:00 pm #

    Ifeelsodumb, I know exactly where you’re at. You’ve endured a horrible year yet where’s the payoff? I can tell you that I really was hoping my wife and I had turned a corner after one year only to find that she still felt she had work to do before really committing to us. In some ways that was really good (and the fact that your husband is at least picking up a book is some progress), but it still wasn’t where I wanted us to be and that was frustrating. As recently as August (20 months post DDay) my frustration was so overwhelming that I thought for sure we had reached the end. But we kept talking, kept being honest.

    The sad truth is that we, the betrayed, are the ones who have to force the issue, to fight for the marriage, to make the sacrifices and swallow our pride. If our spouses were strong enough to do that they might not have strayed in the first place. But being strong sometimes means having to say, “I’ve had enough. Either you join me in this fight or you move on.”

    I tried ultimatums with my wife, pleading with her, reasoning, but in the end I feel it was when I (kind of) gave up that she began coming around. And having said that I can’t help but think that her “coming around” just might be a change in my own perspective because she’s really not acting too much differently, I may be just needing less from her.

    Hang in there. (and believing in your marriage does not make you dumb.)

  22. D December 29, 2011 at 5:21 pm #

    csb, we all face the issue of our spouses cheating again and simply put there’s nothing we can do about that. They will do what they will do and the only control we have is in how we choose our response to that. I will tell you that 3 months is a short time for both of you to expect serious changes in behavior. His response sounds like “fog talk.” I told my wife from day one that no contact was essential if she wanted to “get over him.” Six months later she rather sheepishly admitted that she had to learn that for herself. In my eyes it was six months wasted – but it’s a process for both parties. Patience is key here and he hopefully will come around.

    Everyone will tell you that this is the time to work on you. Forget him (cue Cee-Lo’s song) and find what will make you happy.

    I will add that I hope you never again stand for abuse of any kind. No one is responsible for another’s happiness.

  23. Holding On December 30, 2011 at 7:05 am #

    This is a really great post, D. I really like the insights shared and the advice given in the comments. It is great to hear from some farther out, as it gives me a lot of hope that we can be in a better place.

    Thanks for all the comments, and Anne, I really liked all your questions, because those are things I am dealing with as well. I just had a marathon discussion…which started off horribly, but ended good. I am hopeful which was better than the past few days of despair, grief, and anger.

  24. csb December 30, 2011 at 10:00 am #

    D- thanks so much for your response, this group is so wonderful and gives me comfort that I am not alone, or hiding in the shadows, trying to blend in and act like everything is fine!!

    I wanted you to know that something in your response really got to me…..I’m getting a treadmill today and going to give some thought to what I’d like to do for myself. I’ve been part of a “couple” for over 32 years, volunteered massive amounts of time to my children’s sports clubs, Sunday school teaching, PTA, etc. I honestly don’t know who I am or what I want…but I never stopped to think about that because everything always went smoothly.

    Funny…..the first song I heard today was Cee-Lo, and I took it as a sign (I’ll take anything I can get at this point)! Thanks again!!

  25. ifeelsodumb December 30, 2011 at 6:11 pm #

    Thank you D…I’m hoping that I can change my name some day soon…Maybe Ifeelsohappy will be the new me…one day!! :D

  26. csb January 4, 2012 at 7:50 am #

    I’m 3 months since dday (h had EA for 1 1/2 yrs). I have gone through many stages and emotions, however, I’m dealing with something now that I don’t understand.

    I suddenly have developed total apathy! I am basically walking around like a puppet, void of any emotion, good or bad. We are working on rebuilding and have made a committment to each other to try, but all we have is very basic, general conversation and performing necessary tasks together. I don’t seem to care if it works or not and don’t seem to have the energy to try.

    Has anyone else gone through this, what does it mean? I’m wondering if it’s a coping mechanism, depression, or if I really don’t care? I feel guilty, because I do think I want it to work and maybe this behavior is damaging to the rebuilding process. Any thoughts/comments are appreciated.

  27. D January 4, 2012 at 8:44 am #

    csb – I definitely went through this stage and would be comfortable in guessing that this is quite a normal response to trauma. Be patient. One of the greatest lessons I’ve taken away from this whole horrible mess is the knowledge that whatever exists today is not necessarily what will exist tomorrow. In the words of Paul McCartney, Let It Be.

    Think of this like a marathon (which isn’t too far off, 26 miles, 24 months.) You’re in the third mile. Pace yourself. : )

  28. blueskyabove January 4, 2012 at 11:37 am #

    D

    Marathon…Great analogy! That’s worth posting on the refrigerator or maybe the bathroom mirror!

    • Susan December 18, 2013 at 1:08 pm #

      What if your husband is not willing to talk about the affair? What if he is stonewalling, and then gets angry and defensive if you try to break through? How do you deal with the ongoing lies – about just about everything. I have been assured its over but she is studying and its the 3 month summer break now, so I guess its only over because she is has physically gone away. I get different answers – or no answers- every time I ask the same questions? He is constantly lying and then lies again to cover himself. I have found stashes of cash – hidden from me- stashes of porn, stashes of packets of viagra – we never ever needed to use that! He lies about the frequency of seeing her,even the length of the affair. He says “I love you, I want it to work but just put a lid on it and stop asking questions”. How do you turn off the mind movies in your head and how do you hold it together for kids, family and friends over Christmas. I feel like a wild animal in a tiny cage. I just want him to be honest, talk to me, soothe my anxiety and help me make sense of it and help me feel safer and better. I so want to trust him but he says I am doing the opposite and always trying to catch him out. I tried stepping back, putting on a normal face and being loving. I reach out to him, I initiate all our emotional and physical connections but he takes sleeping pills to ensure he can avoid me. I am desperate.I just want him to put his arms around me and say its going to be ok. I want him to understand the stages of healing and to be patient and kind to me but instead I feel like I am doing the penance for his crime. The nights are the worse because I cant sleep, I just obsess about every details and read non stop about healing from affairs. Its not the first time either and I admit that begrudgingly because people think ‘she must be a doormat’. But I want to stay married, I don’t want anyone else, I want to rebuild our lives. This should be the best time of our lives, kids finished school, nice lifestyle, great business, boat, pool, helicopter and airplane, living on a tropical island – WHY CANT HE JUST WANT ME!

  29. Broken January 4, 2012 at 12:44 pm #

    I dont know but I think apathy (which I feel even now after 16 months) is a form of protecting ourselves from further pain. It is completely normal…go easy on yourself. It truely is a marathon and you either end up saying enough or you move on with it. I am convinced however that this underlying pain is here to stay forever. Its always just below the surface and I am questioning if I want more then this for myself.

  30. Fonnel January 6, 2012 at 5:13 pm #

    I wonder how these phases play into my situation. It’s been 7 mos since DDay. However, I discovered that the affair had continued. Almost monthly I would discover the affair had continued foll

  31. Swivet January 11, 2012 at 12:15 pm #

    I think I hit all these everday for the last two weeks. I know it will get better and it has, it is just a matter of time and her earning my trust back! She knows this is going to be an uphill battle but I am grateful that she recognizes this, we both do.

  32. Alejandra January 30, 2012 at 12:34 pm #

    First I want to start by saying thank you, you guys have been such a great blessing and help for me.
    my question is my husband still work with the other woman, it is extremely hard for me because
    my mind goes crazy with the thoughts of them having communication, I have ask him to maybe start looking
    for a new job and he said to me that he’s afraid of losing this job and not being able to find another jod because
    of the way the economy is. which I do understand but them what do I do to survive.Please help

  33. cal February 2, 2012 at 11:15 pm #

    I read this article because it was about grief, which I feel like I am going through right now, a mere 8 days beyond D-Day. However unlike the grief I went through when my mom died, this is one I cannot share with my friends and coworkers. I can not take a week off work, or even a day to deal with it. I can’t even let anyone know I am upset at all. And of course, the person who otherwise would be my comfort during a time of mourning is the one who caused it. It is killing me. Luckily I was able to start therapy this week- for me- to help me learn how to cope and what I want to do next.

  34. Lynne February 3, 2012 at 11:14 am #

    Oh Cal, I remember how truly hard the first days are after discovery. I’m sorry that you’ve become a member of this club, but keep coming back here to vent, grieve and learn–this community can make a huge difference in providing you the care and support you need right now. Glad to hear you’re already in counseling, too. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

  35. kanzz February 26, 2012 at 5:56 pm #

    Thanks so much for writing this. I really needed the validation. I’m only about 8 weeks in (following a 15 yr relationship). Had a tiny hint of suspicion in the past, but always thought it was due to my truly suspicious nature (after my first marriage of 20 disastrous yrs). Shock, Denial, Bargaining, Guilt, Anger, Depression… bouncing all around in those. I had to have photos to prove it to myself with the 1st husb. That would actually make it easier this time. Cheaters lie so well. But I know… I know.
    Blessings to all…….

  36. Brokenhearted August 11, 2012 at 9:42 pm #

    I just found out about a series of affairs my wife of 23 years has been having over the past 12 months. She has admitted to me that she has slept with 5 different men.
    I believe in forgivness and after 23 years, learning about such a thing is like having a magnitude 10 earthquake hit a mile off shore and while your’re watching the sunset on the beach. It has shaken me so hard that I have fallen down and then the tsunami swept me away, but I am somehow still alive amidst the devastation of what once was a storybook marriage.

    • moda September 24, 2012 at 10:43 pm #

      Five different men? And you are sure she has taken every precaution? Or, are you willing to risk your health?

      • Healing Mark September 25, 2012 at 10:32 am #

        Brokenhearted. So sorry for your terrible revelation. If you somehow find the ability to forgive your W and eventually find yourself in a healty and happy marriage, by all means document the process and offer for a modest fee to share it with others. You may find yourself wealthier than you ever imagined.

      • Brokenhearted September 25, 2012 at 12:04 pm #

        She has taken no precaution. I was stil making love to her during her affairs, not knowing she was seeing other men. If I am infected with an STD I’m infected. What else can go wrong. To top it all off, last Monday I got laid off from my job after almost 3 years. This has been some hell on earth for me. I have been rocked to my core. There have been moments where I feel as if I just don’t care anymore about anything and I have no fear of anything. I’ve thought about dying and it doesn’t scare me. It would be a blessing right about now, but I know I cannot give up. Those were just thoughts. Reality is I have a Son and a family to live for should it all fall apart any further. So far my W has been very supportive, she’s sorry, she told me she spiraled out of control, she’s shown remorse, she told her Parents, my Son, and my Sister about what she did and she’s stopped all of the nonsense that brought on my anguish. If there is any solice within this, that has to be it. She’s come to her senses, but it still hurts like hell. I feel like I have a ton of bricks on my chest sometimes. I got ativan from my Dr. and I take it when I can’t sleep. I will not get hooked. He only gave me like 20 tabs. I am exercising and looking for work again. Just keep me in your prayers because although I was doing great spiritually prior to this, I am now kind of waivering in my spiritual walk. I’m just angry. Sorry God.

        • moda September 25, 2012 at 7:49 pm #

          Dear Brokenhearted: You got it.. you are definitely in my prayers. I do understand that wanting to die thing. Been in your shoes. I’m so sorry for your pain. You’re hurt, you’re angry; but you’re working your grief. It’s appropriate. The exercise is a good step. And I’ll pray you find work soon, too. Blessings.

          • Brokenhearted September 30, 2012 at 11:34 am #

            Dear Moda

            Thank you for caring. It’s people like you who make this world a better place by helping others to see that the sun is still shining behind the ominous clouds, stormy winds and pouring rain.

        • Broken2 September 25, 2012 at 8:12 pm #

          Broken hearted…I am so sorry you find yourself in the club of betrayed spouses. We all know how much you are hurting but you do have alot to live for. Number one is your son who never asked to be mixed up in all of this selfishness caused by your wife. Hating God is a normal response sometimes when we question why a loving God would let us hurt so much. I am sure he understands. I am so sorry about your job as well…just seems like alot all at once. The good news is that if you want to save your marriage it seems your wife has woke up from her cheating. Just take one day at a time right now and I am glad to hear you are taking care of your health…thats a hard thing to do when we just want to give up. I know money is probably tight right now but you can read alot on the internet and this forum that will help you in your journey ahead to healing. You and your wife have alot of work to do. As much as I have no respect for cheaters (that would include my husband) I have to say it took guts for your wife to expose her cheating to the family. Most dont. Remember it wasnt your fault…you did the right thing and remained faithful and true to your marriage vows. You have to talk and talk some more. You wife has to answer every question you want answered for as long and as many times as you need it. She must be totally transparent…passwords to all social network sites, emails cell phones. etc…. Dont give up on yourself….I know you cant see it now but many here have been where you are and have come out on the other side with a stronger marriage. Take care.

          • Brokenhearted September 30, 2012 at 11:36 am #

            Wow… You are an amazing person. Thank you for your kind words and understanding. It really helps. May God bless you in a thousand ways.

  37. sadbuttrue September 24, 2012 at 7:06 pm #

    2 weeks ago today I caught my husband of 14 years with my best friend. I am so devestated, the first week was like pure hell, I feel like he threw me and our family away. We’ve been together 20 years and have 3 kids, I feel like he valued that so little that he risked it all for a little excitement. We agreed we dont want anyone to find out and to protect our children from this so I have no one to talk to. He tells me its over and that he loves me and will do anything to make our marriage work out. He seems exasperated that I need to discuss the afair all the time and that I want to know why it happened. All he can say is he doesn’t know. He seems to want us to act like it didn’t happen and I just can’t do that. I’m hanging on by a thread.

    • moda September 24, 2012 at 10:35 pm #

      Dear sadbuttrue: I think he can get OVER being exasperated! He should be able to deal with anything want to ask right now. He doesn’t know why it happened? Really? Pretty lame, if you ask me. No, you don’t just act like it didn’t happen. It happened. And you are grown-ups. He will have to be a man and own up to his transgressions. Just because he is saying he loves you and will do anything to make your marriage work doesn’t make it so. He is acting exasperated and saying he doesn’t know why it happened and wanting you to acting as though it never happened. What?!? You have every right to feel devalued. What a jerk.

    • Gizfield September 25, 2012 at 10:44 am #

      Sad but true, I would tell him to belly up to the bar and Man Up! Seriously, two weeks and he thinks it should all be behind you?? I dont think so…

    • Healing Mark September 25, 2012 at 10:48 am #

      Sadbuttrue. Great advice from Broken2 and csb. But also understand that while you need to get to a point that you can genuinely forgive your H for his “mistake” and begin the process of rebuilding trust, how you get there will be dictated by what you feel and need and how your H is able to assist in the process (don’t worry, after discovery of my W’s EA, my W often acted just as you have described your H acting, especially in the beginning, and our process of getting to the point where I genuinely forgave my W was difficult and exasperating much of the time for both of us). All advice is good but is sometimes helpful for others but not for you and your H. My W and I also decided to keep her EA mostly under wraps, which made marriage counseling even more important for us to get past my W’s EA. Strongly suggest you get the same both jointly with your H and some separate sessions with the same counselor for both of you. Also, when your H is acting in ways that you have described, at some point thereafter try (this was hard for me, especially early on, but eventually it helped me) to put yourself in your H’s shoes and imagine how you might react if things were reversed. Also, don’t try to make your H see and admit that he is somehow “wrong” to be reacting the way he is. Instead, concede that his reactions are normal but, unfortunately, are not helping what you guys are hopefully trying to accomplish which is to get past the affair and to establish a marriage that you are both happy in and wholeheartedly want to stay in. God bless you for what you have ahead of you but have faith that there is realistic hope for healing, forgiveness and future happiness notwithstanding the occurrence of the apparent affair.

  38. Broken2 September 25, 2012 at 12:34 am #

    sadbutrue….I just read your post but I remember the feeling of hanging on by a thread and I wanted to get back to you tonight. First off I am 25 months post dday, 32 years married, my husband had an affair with a coworker. Right now you have only just begun the process of saving your marriage and it sounds like your husband is remorseful and willing to move forward with the process. Your pain right now is overwhelming and I remember just barely being able to get through the day. First of all this is a LONG journey but you can get through it. You will be in denial and you will become angry and you will grieve for the marriage you no longer have because your husband let someone else enter that which was only shared by the two of you. You will make progress then you will go back wards but its all in the process and all normal. First off there can be NO CONTACT of any kind with the OW ever again. Then there has to be full disclosure of every detail you want to hear of the affair and as many times as you want to hear it and allthough your husband doesn’t want to talk about it anymore he is in for a big disappointment because we still talk about it 25 months later. Your hubby lost the right to call the shots the moment he crossed that line into the affair. He must become totally transparent to you…that means he must let you know where he is,,,give up all passwords to any social networks, cell phone records…etc. He must let you know that he knows and feels the immense pain he has caused you. He must be remorseful and sorry. He must be willing to put in the hard work and time necesary to heal from this nightmare and it takes anywhere from 2-5 years not 2 weeks. Seek counseling if you can afford it and read as much as you can on the subject. Remember you are not crazy and everything you feel now and are about to feel…its all normal. You have many decisions to make in the days ahead. I encourage you to put yourself first and know that you can get through it. Many come out on the other side of this a better couple. Take care.

  39. csb September 25, 2012 at 9:20 am #

    SadbutTrue – when I saw your post, I scrolled back to the beginning of this topic , and there was my post – when I was only 3 months post d-day! I am here to tell you something I never believed when others here told me…you will survive this! It is not what you had planned for your life, but you are here now, so the challenge is to move forward.

    Like Broken2, I have been married a very long time – 30 years, together almost 34. We were always the “dream” couple that others envied, that is until his 1 1/2 year EA with an old GF. He also said he didn’t know why it happened and always thought of their relationship as just friends. It wasn’t until I found this site and printed out information on EAs that he admitted what he had done was wrong.

    I’m almost 1 year post d-day now, and it is very important that you continue to have open, honest conversations. Just a few days ago we had another intense conversation with lots of tears and emotion. Yes, I asked the same questions of him I did a year ago, I repeated the same concerns, etc. I’m sure my H wished I was past that but he also understands that it’s still painful to me and as long as it’s in my head/heart, then he has to deal with it.

    I wish you well, take it one day at a time, give yourself permission to grieve what you thought your relationship was!

  40. Broken2 September 25, 2012 at 10:41 am #

    csb…its strange to read old posts….I sometimes wonder who was that person??? Anyways sadbutrue….my husband then and now did not like to talk about the affair. He does it for the sole purpose of helping me. Today he cringes whenthe subject comes up and tries to avoid it but in the end is is always a good thing when we talk. You must talk about it because your life while the affair was occuring now seems like a joke. You have to be able in your mind to put back the pieces of your life and only your husband has those anawers. He needs to see the incredible pain he has caused you which comes out in those difficult conversations. It is raw right now and extremely rough. Of course he wont want to talk about the affair because who likes to be reminded of their failure over and over again. Most cheaters like to put the affair in the past and we the BS cant do that for a long time. SOmetimes you have to back off a little and try and keep the conversations short and consise. AGree on a time limited for discussion and no yelling and screaming. As you continue to read you will see that many on this forum will tell you they dont have a reason why the affair happened….me included. Many will tell you they saw no signs, thier marriages were great yet this occured. My husband says he just doesn’t know…many have referred to the affair as the perfect storm. She was just there at the right time..etc None makes it right in anyway but I am a believer as frustrating as it is for me that sometimes they truly just dont know why they did it. Make no mistake…..it is their doing not yours….we cant control the actions of others.

  41. Dejay September 27, 2012 at 11:53 am #

    Well, this was a great post and I printed it out as a reminder. Like so many of the rest, my wife ‘rediscovered’ an old HS flame on Facebook and had an affair which last over a year. One of the forays they had took place while we were out of town on vacation; she needed to get away from the hotel for awhile (in a town none of us has ever ventured to, no less), only to return hours later claiming that she was lost (but carrying a phone with GPS on it) when she was really getting it on with the OM in other hotel across town. If I didn’t get in contact with the OM’s wife, this would still be going on to this very day.

    Although this took place over two years ago, I’m still not over it. I guess the reason being is because I played the role of the ‘good/nice guy’ who didn’t get dates in HS and college. I was the one who was taught to pay for dinner dates, buy roses, open doors, and do all of the nice, cordial things that a ‘real man’ should. And what was my thanks? Marrying someone who only regarded me as a financial safety net for her and the child she had with some ex boyfriend who dumped her months before. Of course, I’ll take the blame for putting myself in that position in the first place. Never marry the first person who says a kind word to you or sleeps with you; it’s no guarantee that they’ll think of you in the same way as you do them.

    On the grief scale, I’m still in the anger stage, constantly thinking of a way to get back for having the football pulled from under me like Lucy did Charlie Brown. From the emasculating e-mails and texts talking about how inadequate and out of touch his wife and I was, to the invites to have an all-day romp over her mom’s place while she was out of town (she has a key) and I was working, to her thanking him after one of their sexcapades for reminding her what good sex was. No man ever wants to be considered by their spouse as the third or fourth best person in the sack.

    And as for trust, forget about it. I cannot trust anyone who screws me over in that matter. There’s not a day that goes by when I don’t think about it, with the mind movies playing in a constant loop. Everytime the phone rings or her cell buzzes with a message, I have flashbacks of their affairs and I have a difficult time focusing on anything else.

    Oh well, thanks for providing me with a place to vent…

  42. csb September 27, 2012 at 12:26 pm #

    DeJay – Does your W still have contact with the OM, has she committed to doing everything necessary to save your marriage?

  43. Gizfield September 27, 2012 at 1:28 pm #

    These stages are well and good but I would like to add one more. The Apathy Stage. It’s my personal favorite, but beware, it is where you will see all the stuff you would rather not see. Long story short, I found out back in June that my soon to be ex husband was still on contact with his tramp. I threw him out but he begged and cried and I relented to go back to him. I knew in my heart it was just the last straw. I was just too emotional to move on at that time.

  44. Gizfield September 27, 2012 at 1:42 pm #

    Fast forward a couple of months. I began to feel the unhappiness I had put out of my mind. Then one day I woke up and was in the Apathy Zone. Just like that. What he said or did had no real meaning to me one way or the other. We went to the pool that day. He went off for a while, I realized since his Whore Phone was in the car, I had noworries, lol. I looked up, saw a slightly overweight, balding, middle aged man headed my way. Oh, thats Prince Charming himself, the star of our own special little love triangle. I saw exactly why he had an”affair” in that moment. I also ssw his girlfriend for exactly what she is. A pathetic 45 year old tramp who’s always relied on her looks, except now they.re gone. Lets not forget me. A slightly overweight, fifty something year oldwoman, looking kind of sad and lonely. What a pitiful sight we all were in my mind. Thats what adultery is, just a sad situation any way you look at it.

  45. Julie March 25, 2013 at 3:11 pm #

    I know it’s been a while since this was written, but thank you to Duane for such a great post. I am only a little over two months since finding out about the affair. My husband had an affair with one of my coworkers who was a good friend, so this process has been especially hard since I see them both constantly. He has been extremely forthcoming and remorseful which has been helpful to a point, but she has been the complete opposite: denying it ever happened and thus making it impossible for me to see her side of it or forgive her. My husband and I have been seeing a counselor and it has been helpful, but recently I’ve been feeling a lot more depression, anger, and apathy. I was completely oblivious to the affair and thought we had a happy marriage so this whole thing has been very difficult for me. Lately, if we’re doing something enjoyable, I can’t help thinking to myself “we had good times like this in the past, and he still cheated on me, so none of this MEANS ANYTHING.” I don’t even know if that makes sense anybody else but me.
    We had a very nice weekend doing a lot of fun things but my brain will not let me forget what happened between them. I want things to work between us but I don’t feel like I can do this every day for the rest of my life. I’m tired of dealing with the pain that they caused. Is there ever going to be a day when it doesn’t come up? I’ve worked at my job for 13 years and don’t have to get a new one just so I don’t have to see her face every day…

    • Healing Mark March 25, 2013 at 5:10 pm #

      Julie. Two months after D-day is no time at all. The bad news is that unless you are unlike any others who I have seen post on this blog, you will continue to feel the way that you do for quite a bit more time. The good news is that, if you are like many that I have seen post on this blog, myself included, there will come a time when life gets more back to normal and you find yourself not obsessing about your partner’s affair. Forget about the OW and how she has reacted to what has happened. Consider yourself very, very fortunate that your H has been forthcoming and remorseful and has not denied having ever done anything wrong. Hopefully, your marriage counselor can help each of you repair the damage that has been caused to your relationship and move forward with a relationship that is even better than it was before, the affair notwithstanding.

      Now, as to having to continue to work at the same company as the OW, that seems like a tough one for me. My advice, however, is to not give in too quickly to all the bad feelings you have when you see the OW, which feelings I imagine you will be feeling for some time going forward. Don’t make a rash move and quit your job just to avoid the OW, or take another job that isn’t something you really want. Ride it out the best you can and tell yourself that, although you don’t know now how or when things will get better, things will get better at some point and at some point you will be able to look at the OW and not feel the degree of pain your apparently are feeling right now.

      Again, hang in there and good luck!

      • Doug March 25, 2013 at 6:54 pm #

        Hi Healing Mark, Long time no hear. How are things going?

        • Healing Mark March 26, 2013 at 5:48 pm #

          Things are going great, and my marriage is now stronger since getting beyond my W’s EA and correcting some little things that over time cropped up in our marriage that really needed fixing. I don’t visit this site that often anymore, as it’s usefulness is no longer needed (and it really was useful when I still had issues arising due to my W’s EA). For some reason Julie’s post popped up on my phone (I imagine I commented here a long time ago and checked the box to be notified of further comments), and I felt compelled to add my two cents worth of advice. I say that I don’t visit the site. Actually, I don’t follow much commentary anymore, but do check out my email updates on articles and videos posted here. Every now and then there is something interesting, but I have to say that I know way more about EA’s than I ever cared to know about, and with one under our belts, I seriously doubt that either I will be having one or my W will be having another one. And hopefully the preceding sentence is not true simply because my W and I eventually end our marriage before having an affair, and it’s weird that one of the byproducts of my W’s EA is my and my W’s sense that an affair by me, or another EA or a PA by her, are much less likely now given the hell we had to go through to get past the negative effects/consequences of my W’s EA.

          Take care and keep up the good work!

    • Linda March 25, 2013 at 7:17 pm #

      Julie, I agree with Mark, two months is not a very long time and it is healthy to feel all the emotions you are feeling right now. It is also normal to feel bad with you are having a enjoyable time with your husband. Unfortunately what you are feeling is fear. You know that you have experienced these good times in the past and it is hard to comprehend how your husband could cheat and if these experiences mean anything to him.

      To be honest you will feel this way for a long time. The issue is your husband will have a difficult time with these episodes. He will not understand how your moods can change so quickly when you are doing so well. Again it is all about security and fear. When things are good and you are having fun you let your guard down, then you remember everything and all the pain both physical and emotional come shooting back.

      I will tell you it does get better and when trust begins to be restored. You also need to train your brain to try to put it out of your mind. It became a habit for me, when we were hiking, out to dinner, etc. I would picture the two of them together and imagine what they had done together. In my mind it became the three of us on these outings rather than a wonderful time just with my husband. It was awful and it kept their relationship alive and gave their affair too much power.

      If possible try to focus on the present when you are with your husband and save a certain time each day or week to allow your mind to wonder. It is also important to do the same when you feel the need to discuss the affair. However you are still right in the middle of discovery and trying to control your feelings is almost impossible, you need to do what feels right to you.

  46. Julie March 26, 2013 at 9:26 pm #

    Thank you Mark and Linda for responding. I realize it will take a lot more time. I’m glad to hear things have gotten better for you both.
    Linda, you are right on the mark about the confusion that my husband is experiencing when we’re having a good time and then I go to my “dark place.” The problem is that the affair has been over for 4 years, so he’s had plenty of time to deal with / suppress emotions, and I’m just finding out now. I think he’s come to understand that he’s going to have to relive all of this if he wants me to heal. The issue for him is that he feels so much guilt and “self-loathing” (his words) that the thing that is going to help me heal is the thing that tears him down. What a tangled web…

  47. WoundedHeart July 24, 2013 at 3:13 pm #

    I find this site to extremely helpful. I am only about 3 months post DDay. My dilemma is slightly different in that my wife is still having the affair. I know that there is not much I can do to stop it. But it doesn’t mean that I am not going through the stages. I want to work on my marriage and yet my wife wants to run off with this other person. The sad thing is that they both are of different faiths, married and have children. They do not see the destruction that they are doing. I would say that I am in the anger state and am having difficulties expressing other than in word. I do hope that one day she wakes up and realizes that this is not what she thought and had it better not only for her but our children (4-1/2 & 2-1/2). We are only a week into a separation and truly am concerned that my marriage is over. I know that I will have to accept that when the time presents itself. I just need to have patience and hope for the best outcome.

    • Strengthrequired July 24, 2013 at 8:43 pm #

      I’m sorry too wounded heart, look after yourself and those children of yours, keep looking in here at what people have been through, and gather your strength as your going to need it.
      One thing that has come apparent after reading alot about these affairs is most cases they don’t work, they don’t last, because eventually instead of hiding the people they really are, their true selves start showing and it isn’t as appealing.
      They realize life really isn’t greener on the other side, all the same problems they tried to run away from start reappearing,
      This site has been a huge help for me, especially when there seemed to be no hope left.
      I will say this, trust in yourself, this was not your fault, your wife chose to stray, so it was her problem.
      Trust in yourself that you will no when you no longer can fight, you will know. Let’s hope if that happens is not too Late for your w, I do hope she snaps out of her fantasy and starts turning to you for help.
      I know you are in a lot of pain, confused and trying to make sense of it all right now, but know that in here you are amongst people who know your pain and can support you through this days you need it most.
      Just keep getting yourself knowledgeable about affairs, and work out the best way that’s suits you to handle it in a dignified manner, because let me tell you, there were days here I actually felt pretty undignified to say the least, this days were at the beginning and I had no clue on how to handle our situation, I walked blindly through, with mistakes along the way, yet then I found here, which just reinforced that I’m not alone in this, I’m not the only one that lost part of herself in the reactions to my h ea, I stumbled through the best way I knew how, but there is a lot of helpful information on here that can make your journey easier, make you stronger.
      Also a lot of wonderful kind hearted people here, some even the cheating spouses that have seen the light and have put their prospective on how they felt during the affair, and what their wake up call was that shook them out of the “fog” they were in, and back to wanting to work on their marriages.
      Remember, no matter how this works out for you and your wife, whether you remain together or not, you can know without a doubt you held your head up high and did your best ti keep your marriage together, you can hold your head up high because you remained honorable and faithful in your marriage.
      Only the weak partner at the time is vulnerable enough to walk away from their problems and degrading themselves into starting a relationship with someone else while they are still married. It is the cowards/fools ways out, by not ending their marriage first before looking for someone else to stroke their ego.

  48. Gizfield July 24, 2013 at 3:55 pm #

    So sorry to hear this wounded heart, especially since young children are involved.

  49. Amanda November 30, 2013 at 1:56 pm #

    Thank you for sharing. Reading your post made me not feel alone. I’m in the first week, and grieved for a day and a half. Then, decided that I don’t want to be stuck in the cycle, so I started searching the web for similar stories. I don’t feel like myself, and the feeling was more extreme than losing a family member. In the moment, I didn’t think I would ever be able to be happy again, and sometimes I still wish I would cease to exist. I’ve always thought I was attractive, but I felt very unattractive. I blamed myself.

    My husband was a serial cheater. And, I wanted to forgive him. But, I don’t feel like he sincerely only wants me. I know that we had problems in or marriage about his work and family, and I didn’t make him feel respected/valued. After getting more questions answered, I realized that even if I had accepted and taken actions to improve the marriage at the right time… he has personal issues that may have lead to this path anyway.

    There is still a deep desire inside of me that he will come begging for forgiveness and feel strong remorse, but he is yet to do that. I wait by my phone hoping that he calls, but doesn’t. He did agree to try to work through it with me in counseling, but I was very distraught by the fact that he seemed to be able to go to work, the gym and carry on without showing real remorse. He apologizes and said he wanted to be with me, but never showed real remorse. I feel like I was chasing him, when it should have been the other way around. I’ve decided in my mind that it’s better for me to move on alone, but my heart lingers for his love (even though, I have a strong feeling in my gut, that he has not revealed all of his cheating to me).

    That’s where I am now. My reaction is foreign to me, and completely different than I was sure it would be, if this ever happened to me. My desire for him and lack of anger, makes me feel both pathetic and moral. I fear the grief returning, or other emotions that I can’t anticipate or have never experienced.

    Thank again for your post. I feel much less alone, and that has been VERY comforting.

    Amanda

  50. Gizfield December 18, 2013 at 2:37 pm #

    Susan, my best advice to you is instead of thinking about WHY he doesn’t want you is to instead of think about WHY do YOU want him? And I dont mean the person he was or might be, I mean the person he IS right this very second. He knows you are on the ruin right now, and like virtually all cheaters he is using it to his advantage. if you had just started dating and he was the person he is TODAY, what would you think of him? Not a lot, I’d imagine.

    • Strengthrequired December 18, 2013 at 8:32 pm #

      Susan, I have to agree with his field, he is acting like all cheaters do. A selfish ass.
      It’s funny how the cheaters always seem to make sure they have the funds kept aside for their ow, they need to make a good impression on these gold diggers.
      Now do you think your husband is going through a midlife crisis? They seem to lose the plot pretty quickly once they start questioning their life and what they have done, blah blah blah.
      May I also ask how long it has been since his affair started and came out? He seems to be still in the so called fog. If he wasn’t then he would have been trying a lot harder to make sure you are ok, and wanting that closeness with you. I remember being the one that was initiating everything for months when his ea came to light, it was pretty draining, he did eventually though, more and more.
      When they are in the midst of the affair, they are no where near the person we are y used to, and I would hope like crazy that the person he had turned into wasn’t going to be around for too long, because ultimately , I didn’t like this person, he was selfish, cold and heartless, and I just couldn’t imagine living the rest of my life with someone like that.
      All the best Susan, I do hope it works out for you.

      • Strengthrequired December 18, 2013 at 8:33 pm #

        Sorry, gizfield

  51. CBb February 9, 2014 at 8:56 pm #

    We all seem to have the same experience. Cheating spouse, OW, mid life age bracket for the mst part.

    And they blame us for the EA/PA.

    Really?!! We forced them into it.

    What a crock. When I finally threatened my husband and told him to leave and get out over his EA/PA, it made all the difference. He finally got it. He understood what he has done.

    But he blamed me for his unhappiness or whatever it was he felt that triggered this affair.

    I am only 2 months since DDay but my H is making huge efforts.

    The trust issues will now be huge for me. Need help getting past that. Or else I will sabotage our progress with my insecurities. I see a therapist who is great but I fear my own actions will cause more issues. Need help on this.

  52. Dawnb February 26, 2014 at 3:18 pm #

    I’d like to thank everyone who has posted here. Your comments have made this situation feel less isolating, and less like I am failing at my recovery.

    My husband of 12 years, and partner for 20, had an EA last year. It lasted for a short time, at its peak he phoned her 90 times in a month and a half. He didn’t tell me. I discovered it on my own. Thanks to geography, it didn’t become physical, although if she had been local, I am convinced he would have slept with her … often.

    March 14th marks the one year anniversary of the affair. Since Dday I have been a wreck. I lost 50 pounds in just over 5 months. I don’t sleep well and I am becoming angrier by the day. He wants to stay together and has been trying desperately to re-earn my trust. I acknowledge his efforts and know that I am very lucky in this respect. The decision to remain with him is my own, not his. If we didn’t have 6 year old twins, I would have left him a year ago. Children certainly change the equation. I don’t want to destroy their world because of my pain, or his stupidity, but it is so difficult.

    I am writing because it has been nearly a year since I discovered the affair, and I am no closer to healing than I was at day 1! Everything since that moment has been all about the affair. I can’t get it out of my mind and it colors everything for me … the past, the present, and most notably, the future.

    I know some of you have mentioned that a year is well within the time limits of recovery, but so many articles,etc. say that the betrayed spouse should be feeling better within months. I am not – it’s worse. We saw a marriage counselor but she couldn’t teach me ways to get past this. I want to recover. I want this pain to end, and I realize it’s effecting my physical health.

    Any tips to offer would be welcome – especially as I head into the one year anniversary. I know the next few months are going to be especially bad. Thanks.

  53. Strengthrequired February 27, 2014 at 2:47 am #

    Dawnb, don’t let anyone fool you, it takes a long time to feel like any sort of recovery is possible. It does not take just a matter of weeks or months. I am just over two years since dday, and I am still recovering, just like many others here. All i can offer you in advice, is hold onto each improvement you see, these improvements will bring you closer to recovery. It takes time to get to a place where the ea no longer affects you, no longer haunts you, but each day is a step closer to peace.
    Do make see you look after yourself, you need to make sure you keep strong. When people think you should be over this sort of betrayal so easily, it makes me laugh, because honestly, it just doesn’t work like that. They are most likely people that have not experienced it before, so all well meaning they may be, you can’t rush the healing. I know we all want the pain to just stop, we all just want to feel better, like we used to, but forcing it just doesn’t work.
    You will notice that you may go through some step backs, and these step backs will get less often.
    Please don’t be too hard on yourself, this healing/ recovery takes time, there are no quick fixes, it just needs time, you need time. Just take a step at a time, and eventually you will see just how far you have come.
    One thing you need to do though, and that is to forget about the ow, every time you think of her, she just gains power over you, she doesn’t deserve that power. Every time you think of her, remember she is a waste of time and energy, and I can tell you something, I’m am sure she isn’t sitting there thinking of you, good or bad. The only thing she thinks of is herself.
    When you catch your mind wondering in her direction, stop yourself and think of your children, think of how much you love them. Don’t give her your time or energy, she is not worth the pain and torment you put yourself through.
    I know it is going to be hard, boy do I know. Yet you have to see that the more you give her power in your mind, you will go crazy. She really isn’t worth it.
    Come in here and you will see that, you will get loads of support and advice. Hang in there.

    • Dawnb February 27, 2014 at 8:15 pm #

      Thank you so much! It helps to get it all out here. Not many people in my life are aware of the situation. They see me getting thinner, see my husband coming in for lunch every day, and then tell me how wonderful a man he is for doing so! I’d love to tell them, “Gee, thanks for the compliment, I wear infidelity well and it hasn’t left a mark on him!”

      I especially like the advice to not think about the OW and to refocus my thoughts to the twins. You’re right. I totally need to do that. I told my husband today that if I were to die within the next month, I’d regret the past year. I don’t feel like I’ve been there for them the way I’d like. I know I’m a good mom, but I’m not the mom I was a year ago. I’m not anywhere close to the person I was a year ago.

      I’ll stay connected here. It’s very clear that you all understand and are wonderful people. I’m sorry we’re connected through this pain. Thank you for helping me as I enter these next few months.

      • Strengthrequired February 27, 2014 at 9:00 pm #

        Your welcome Dawnb, what I would like to stress is, you are not giving yourself enough credit. You are going through a great stress, yet you have to know, you have been there for your children, you have been fighting for your family all this time. Now that is something these ow, don’t understand. While she has been chasing after your h, you have been all along standing up for your children, your family, protecting them all along. She didn’t care, she wanted something she felt entitled to, your h, yet you all along held the upper hand, your children are what make you stronger, because whatever you do, you do it for them. They are what keep you going.
        It is hard, when you think that you gave failed them in some way, but you are doing your best in the situation still hand. You should be proud of yourself.

  54. Strengthrequired February 27, 2014 at 9:19 pm #

    Can I just say too dawn, when I found this site, I was already at my wits end. The people here have helped so much, so has all the information on the site itself. They say knowledge is power, I believe that, you will soon have the information here that will help you so much, move forward easier.
    Of course you will have triggers, but eventually they will be less.

  55. Rachel February 27, 2014 at 10:38 pm #

    Dawnb,
    Take baby steps.
    You are going thru a very difficult situation in your life. I’m sure you never in a million years have thought this would happen to you.
    Perhaps a different therapist?? If your husband is willing to work on your marriage and you are too, give it your best shot. It won’t happen overnight.
    Divorce is very painful and permanent. My ex husband didn’t want to work on our marriage. He gave me up. Now he is sorry and it is too late.
    Be patient with yourself and good luck.

  56. Dawnb March 1, 2014 at 8:23 am #

    Again, many thanks Strengthrequired and Rachel! I’m finding your comments to be especially meaningful because you completely understand … not even my apologetic husband fully understands.

    So, I have an additional question. Do you ever feel guilty for feeling this pain? What I mean is, I find myself constantly minimizing. I shouldn’t feel this badly because, “It was ‘just’ emotional. It didn’t last ‘too’ long. He didn’t ‘actually’ go to bed with her. It could have been so much worse ….” I actually feel guilty for being this upset when I know others have had worse situations.

    And, Rachel, I’m almost considering a counselor for me – not as a couple. Our last counselor would often focus on my husband’s feelings/needs. I’m too angry to consider his needs. I acknowledge our marriage wasn’t perfect, but I didn’t go outside the marriage for solace. Right now, I’m a little callous about his needs.

    • Strengthrequired June 13, 2014 at 2:45 pm #

      Dawn, sorry I have only just read your reply. I feel guilty about so many things. Like, I should be more trusting, I should give him the benefit of the doubt more, I feel guilty that he works hard, so I shouldn’t get upset that he wants to spend time with friends. So much more, yet after what I know about how little he regarded me and our marriage, he should be the one feeling guilty and remorseful. He should be the one that focuses on my feelings, instead of his own.
      As you can see, I’m still angry too.
      About a month ago now I found out about my h ea, turning pa. So that information, even though I felt it, set me back a bit with my recovery, and if anything just made me even more angry, angry and myself and him.
      Hope all is going well with you.

  57. michele June 13, 2014 at 1:36 pm #

    I have come to the conclusion this past week that men and women that engage in an affair are rapists. They rape a marriage, their spouse’s and children. It’s not a wonder the anger sticks around for a long time. I feel raped by my husband and the white trash, who is now married and was carrying around with my husband while dating the guy she married. I am stuck in anger !!!!! It’s been almost 2 years since I figured out what was going on…no sex with her, so they say, but just like lead blanket I am really angry. I hate the idea of going back into therapy again for his bad choice. Any suggestions.

    • Strengthrequired June 13, 2014 at 2:52 pm #

      Michele, can i suggest keeping yourself really busy. I’m trying to do that, instead I find myself stewing over and over everything that has happened over the past two years with my h and his ea/pa. I Hate how my h did this to our marriage, I hate how he could stoop so low and hurt me as well as his children like he did and for so long.
      I see at times the man I married, then I think about everything, (he gives me way too much time on my own to stew over everything). And next thing I struggle to see the man I married, I see a stranger.
      All I want to say, is try not to give yourself to much time to think about it, because it makes that anger stick around.

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