After the Affair: Resentment Lingers

Recovering from marital problems is a very difficult process, and when a couple adds emotional infidelity into the mix, repairing the relationship after the affair requires much more time, patience and work.

If Doug would have told me that he was not happy in our marriage and that he wasn’t sure he was in love with me, I believe that we could have easily rejuvenated our feelings for each other.  However, since he involved a third party, it’s obviously been much more difficult.

Honestly, I believe that simply spending time alone, doing the things that we both enjoy and discussing our problems were all we would have needed to make our relationship better. Our time together would have been positive and would have given us the opportunity to realize why we were together in the first place, and that we really just loved being together.

The complications that resulted by Doug being involved in an emotional affair made healing and connecting with each other very difficult.  I lost my self-concept, trust and faith that he loved me and wanted to be here for all the right reasons.  I did gain something though–resentment.  I resented how badly he hurt me during and after the affair.

At the same time, Doug lost his trust that things would not go back to the way they were for the last several years, and gained feelings of resentment because I put the children first and was unable to meet his needs.

My self-concept is something I struggle with often.  I wonder who I am.  Who does Doug want me to be?  Was it really me he rejected or the relationship and person that I became because of reality and resentment? Am I acting differently just to please him, or is this the way I really am?

When Doug and I are together my behaviors seem very natural and I feel that my actions and emotions are in tune with the way I feel.  I want to be with him and love the times we are spending together, and I feel free to communicate my love—as well as my complaints with him.  I have a hard time understanding why I’m still having these lost and insecure feelings.

Doug is frustrated with this because he tries to do everything he can to make me feel loved and safe.   I explained to him that the experiences that we had from the affair are totally different.  For Doug, the affair was an occurrence where he was able to reaffirm that he was OK.  That he was attractive and desirable and that someone found him funny, smart and successful.  In contrast, the experience made me question my desirability, my personality, who I was and why I wasn’t good enough.

While the affair made Doug believe that in some ways he was the perfect companion, it made me believe that I didn’t know how to love and that I wasn’t good enough to be loved. Throughout our marriage I felt secure and believed that Doug loved me for who I was.  I didn’t have to be perfect and I felt secure that he would be there even though I might be cranky, looked like crap in the morning or gained a few pounds. After the affair, I lost all that security.  Some nights I wake up and cry because I really miss the way I used to feel about myself.

Building trust after the affair has been a challenge

Another problem in our recovery is trust.  Trusting Doug to be faithful and trusting that if he runs into her that all those past feelings won’t resurface.  Trusting that he will be with me for the long haul, no matter what is thrown our way.

For Doug, I believe he needs to trust that I will continue to meet his needs and that there weren’t any ulterior motives for the changes that I made, and that in reality the way I am now is my true self. Life, kids, jobs and stress made me lose my way over the last several years and I took him for granted.  He needs to trust that I never want to go back to that again.

Resentment has been a major obstacle in our recovery from infidelity. Initially, when I began this journey I had let go of all the resentment from our past and moved on to try and save our marriage. In many ways this was easy for me because I was able to understand how it all happened and how I contributed to the deterioration of our marriage.

Doug had resentment not only from what happened in the past, but from the affair as well.  I believe he blamed me for this mess at first.  In the beginning I think Doug thought that if I would have been a better wife that all of this wouldn’t have happened. It took Doug a long time to realize that he was as much to blame as me for our problems and that he had to make some changes as well.

After the discovery of his affair, his resentment along with having someone (Tanya) re-affirm his feelings, hindered him from moving ahead.  He wanted to punish me.  So in turn he was not receptive to my changes and actually made him resent me even more.

He said things that were painful to hear and he had difficulty emotionally connecting with me while making little effort to understand my needs. This period of Doug’s resentment left me very hurt and angry.  I had a hard time coping with the way he treated me and was constantly confused as to the reasons why he was acting this way.

I made every effort to meet Doug’s needs and be the perfect wife, yet he continued his affair, selfishness and his resentment. As a result of this behavior I am having a hard time letting go of the pain and hurt.

In some ways I feel I am going through the same feeling that Doug had.  I want to punish him. I don’t trust his changes.   I want to think that if I ran away and didn’t love him or want him, then everything would be OK and that I would be OK.

I know that my thinking is nonsense.  I need to let go of the resentment that has lingered after the affair and live in the present and look towards our future together.

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23 Responses to After the Affair: Resentment Lingers

  1. michael March 3, 2010 at 2:49 pm #

    I find the resentment resurfacing when my trust of her is in question. Even little things set me into a place where I start to question her honesty. I find myself jealous when she chats with guys even ones that we have known for a long time. I start to associate things that happened when she was having the affair to things that she is doing now, and my trust dwindles. Then comes the resentment for what she did. And the trust is hard to get back. Back to checking her facebook and emails. Checking his and his wife’s facebook. And than questioning whether or not she just got better at hiding it. And becoming a little detached from her intimately. I would really like to hear Doug’s thoughts on this. Mostly because she doesn’t talk about how this is affecting her. Your page has helped a lot in focusing on topics as you discus them. Thank you for sharing.

    • admin March 3, 2010 at 5:15 pm #

      Michael, Thanks for all your wonderful comments. You have a keen perspective on things. You are much more in tune with your feelings and emotions than I ever was. I think what I will do is address this issue in a post tomorrow morning. I think my response might be too long for a comment. Thanks again! Doug

    • admin March 5, 2010 at 7:49 am #

      Michael,
      I totally understand what you are going through. I want you to know that your feelings are natural and real. Early on in my discovery I wondered hourly if Doug was still involved in an affair, I wondered if he was being completely honest and if he is here for me rather than the whole package. Even after a year the thoughts still pop into my head every once in awhile. Learning about an affair is a traumatic experience in our lives. We never want to feel that pain again. In a lot of ways I believe I stayed on high alert always looking at Doug’s behaviors, habits and words so I could catch it before it happens. I didn’t want to be blindsided again. When Doug started really coming back to me, (no resentment, attempts to meet my needs, trusted me) is when I stopped being so afraid. I was able to give my whole self to him. In the past I felt like I was holding back. Afraid to get too close, afraid of being hurt.
      The advice I can give is to be patient. You need to give your wife time and space to figure everything out on her own. To be honest I truly don’t think that Doug realized everything until we started this web site. I had told him everything I learned about affairs, showed him books and websites etc. He would listen but I wasn’t really sure he was agreement in what I was saying. I believe that he wanted everything to be over, go back to life and not think about what really happened. Thinking about it was too painful. By doing this he was not able to understand and interpret what really happened. I believe he saw the affair in one dimension and not really looking at the reality of it.
      The next advice is to focus on you. I spent so much of my energy worrying about Doug and what he was doing. Checking phone logs, emails etc. I made myself crazy. I wish I would have stop worrying about Doug and spent my time doing things for me. I wished I would have shown Doug much earlier that I was a stable, strong person and that I was there for him trying to save our marriage, but it would not be the major focus of my life. Rather, I was spending this time making myself a better person and allowing Doug to find his way on his own. I was afraid that I didn’t have the time and that if I didn’t act quickly I would lose him. I now believe that actually time was on my side and that usually spouses are not in that big of a hurry to leave. They want to tether back and forth. It is your job to make yourself strong, desirable and confident so they will realize what they are missing.
      Finally, as much as you want everything to go back to the way it was, it never will. Eventually it will be better than it was, I promise. However right now you will have good days and bad days. You will feel that you take one step forward and two steps back. One day you will feel that she is completely back to you, then something small will happen and you will doubt everything and regress back to step one. You have to look at the small gestures that she makes. You also have to look at how you are feeling. Are you feeling less anxious than you were last month? Are you able to take a couple hours and totally forget about it? These are small steps but important steps. They let you know that you are heading in the right direction and someday this will all be a distant memory. Someday you will know that all your patience, hard work and unconditional love was worth it.

  2. Heartbroken March 9, 2010 at 12:51 pm #

    Resentment. Wow, until I read your above article and subsequent comments, I have been having trouble finding one word for how I feel. Sad or angry come to mind a lot lately, but they were not totally on the mark. It has now been 8 months since she stopped talking to the OP. However, it creeps into my mind daily, hourly, often, how her actions have permanently changed my perception and feelings of our relationship. Even now, rational self says that I can survive this and things will get better, but my feelings of eternal sadness are becoming more than I can bear.

    We have three beautiful children together and lately I’ve caught myself thinking if not for them I would have left her and not looked back. I hope this is more about resentment and damaged pride than truth. I’ve thought more and more about packing a bag and moving away for a fresh start…where I don’t have to come home to these memories and pain every day. Yet here I sit, still trying to get past this battle in my head.

    I’m reasonably sure that if you asked her, she would say that it is so totally over and she just wants to forget all about it. Great. She is the one who had her fun at our expense and our counselor tells me that I am the one who must step up and show her my continued love and devotion through acts of kindness. So I now get to work all week and come home to clean the house too.

    I feel like there are no winners in this scenario, but boy did I get the short end of the stick…which brings me back to your insightful word of resentment. I feel like I am losing my mind with this battle in my head and I appear to be the only one aware of the fight. Most days lately, I feel like a zombie going through the motions of a life. She gets on the phone and wonder with who. She gets on Facebook and I wonder who she is talking to. I go to bed and wonder if she is getting up in the night to continue a conversation. You get the picture. I don’t feel like I can get a break and it is tearing me up inside.

    My doctor put me on medication last summer to help me level out my emotions. I stopped taking them three weeks ago thinking I was ready, but realized two days ago that my ship was sinking fast and so I’ve started taking them again. Which of course makes me wonder how long will it be again before I think I can stop being an active member of the Prozac nation. Confused. Tired. Constantly sad. Resentful. This is not who I am. This is not who I want to be. I can’t go back to where we were. I don’t know where we are going. I can only hope I recognize when we get there.

    Thank you for your courage in posting this site. I do find some strange comfort in knowing that I’m not totally alone and validation that bad things really do happen to good people. I am not in a good place, but I do keep hanging on…

  3. Lost in my own head January 10, 2011 at 3:00 pm #

    My wife had an affair with my “former” best friend. Only former because of their selfishness. We were all great friends, including his wife, and our lives were so interwoven. We did everything together. I found out about the affair just over 2 years ago, and I am still battling with many of those same emotions. I love my wife, and I chose to stay with her. She is a great wife, mother, and friend, but there are times when I just think “if you do love me, how did you ever get into that position?” She had to drive about 3 hundred miles round trip to be with him. She was abused as a child, and says that it has a lot to do with why she gave into his advances. He was always a very positive person. I tend to see the realistic side of things. So, she was very drawn to that in a stressful time in our lives. However, her excuses don’t take away my feelings of being worthless. I continue to think, “why would someone do that to a person they love?” I am in a really tough spot. My wife, 2 kids, and myself have moved around quite a bit due to my job (which just laid me off after 8 years), we managed to stay in close contact with my friend and his wife. We would get together every chance we had. We went to Vegas, the mountains, their house, our house, or the beach, or would Skype with them for the fun of it. I beat myself up because I saw this coming, but thought that my friend was too much of a “brother” to ever hurt me like that. I thought, “even if she would, he wouldn’t”, boy was I wrong.
    I am miserable! I love my family, and I do love my wife with all my heart, but I loved my friend too. I miss him, and I can’t seem to fill that void that losing him left. I guess, the resentment that I have for my wife is taking a friendship that made me happy. I grew up with a family that wasn’t really that close, and my friends have always filled that role in my life. I spend holidays with them, I vacation with them, and I look forward to being with them. Now, I am empty. I do have a few friends, but they just don’t give me that same sense of satisfaction.
    I know I am all over the map…..sorry. Also, my friend was a very athletic guy, thin, good looking, still has his hair, younger than me, and just has everything happen his way. That’s probably why he’s so positive…I have always struggled with my weight, I’m shorter, I’m bald, and I am very self conscious from things that people have teased about. So, now I am left feeling even worse, and with a wife that is trying to convince me that his looks had nothing to do with it. She will tell me things that she didn’t like about him, but I just end up thinking, then why were you trying to marry him?

    Am I just too far gone, or what?

    • Doug January 11, 2011 at 11:25 am #

      Lost in, thanks for sharing your story and we’re sorry that you are going through this. You are not too far gone, so try to be optimistic. An affair is a tough thing to get over. Linda still battles with the memories and will often “relive” the pain when talking with me or others about their affair struggles. It just takes time. Dr. Huizenga, in his experience says it can take up to 4 years.

  4. Karen February 24, 2011 at 4:24 pm #

    Has anyone gone through this after a 30 year marriage with grown children who now want nothing to do with their Father? I have taken my husband back and I think we will make it but our adult children want nothing to do with him and I resent him for screwing things up.

    • Yuki February 24, 2011 at 8:42 pm #

      My husband and I have been married for 28 years, and have three grown children. All three refused to talk to him for several weeks after my D-day, but the oldest forgave him after that. Their relationship is pretty good. The youngest has difficulty with it, but he is trying to forgive. The middle one wants nothing to do with him. She is polite to him for my sake when the family is together, but will not initiate any contact with him whatsoever. In fact, she is rebeling against everything he believes in.

      I also resent the fact that my husband screwed up my wonderful family. We were one of those families that everyone wanted to be like. We were close and did lots of things together, the children were all successful students and now have good jobs, my husband and I were always right there for them, and in previous years were always there for each other. But now, it’s awkward and uncomfortable to have the whole family together for a meal. If we are busy in an activity, that’s one thing. But sitting together where conversation is the focal point – that’s difficult.

      • Doug February 25, 2011 at 4:36 pm #

        Yuki, I believe that when the cheater is involved in an affair they have convinced themselves (with the help of the OP) that their marriage and spouse were so bad that the children would be OK with the affair or divorce. They are living in a fantasy world and are convinced that their children would believe that they (the cheater) deserved better than what they have. I know Doug thought that the children would be OK if he left, that it wouldn’t have been a shock to them, that shows what a delusional state he was in. I think he realized how crazy that thinking was when my brother became involved in an affair. Even though his wife had some issues and at times wasn’t the best companion everyone turned against him instead of supporting his decision. His children would not talk to him and my family had a difficult time accepting the OP and what he was doing to his family. I really do not know of any situation where the children support the cheater. Linda

        • Kathy February 28, 2011 at 2:09 pm #

          My children are also grown, and they were really angry at my H when his EA was exposed. The oldest dealt with it easier, but my youngest wouldn’t even speak to or look at my H for a month after D-Day. One of the things that upset my oldest in particular was when my H said that they (the kids) were grown now and it shouldn’t be a problem for them. Also, H was really upset that the youngest was taking so long to “get over it”. The CS’s really have convinced themselves of the fantasy, and even when it’s over, they want everything to just “be okay” now. Everyone should just “get over it and move on”.

          • Yuki February 28, 2011 at 11:28 pm #

            Yes, exactly, Kathy. My husband felt that the children “took sides” and picked my side. He said he was hurt that they did that. My youngest told him that he didn’t take sides. He said that if anyone in the family did something to betray the rest of us, then he would be mad at that person, even if it had been his mother. My husband still did not understand. He thought that they would be understanding because, at the time he found his affair partner, he decided to wait. He put off leaving me for his soul mate until the children were grown up first. Now that it is over between them, he thinks that since he did the “honorable” thing by staying with me, that we all need just forget it happened and just move on. He says it wasn’t that bad.

            Right now, he is upset because he thinks I should not worry our kids by showing my sorrow. He thinks I should act like everything is fine now, and that I am “over it.” I don’t agree. They need to see how devastating this has been so that they don’t ever fall into it themselves. I think part of the reason the statistics say that the children of cheaters become cheaters is because the parents try to hide problems from them.

  5. Kristine July 7, 2011 at 12:29 am #

    Thanks for sharing this, this is where I am right now at almost a year out from reconciliation. I won’t say I’m resentful to my H because it’s not resentment that I feel but I do have a lot of hurt and pain over not just the affair in general but that when I found out about it I tried to put the pieces of the puzzle together and fix everything but I was rejected and abandoned. He left, he moved out and continued his affair. He put someone ahead of me and THEN he figured out he didn’t want that life and came back. I think back to how I was and what I became, all the changes I went through, how vulnerable and rejected I felt. How absolutely thrown away I felt. I was NEVER a woman who questioned herself. Now I question myself all the time. I never was insecure about WHO I AM now I find myself second guessing my own thoughts and feelings, I’m analyzing everything to see where a thought or feeling stems from. Am I over reacting? Am I expecting too much? Is that what he really means? What is he really saying when he says that? Is he going to leave again? What else is he not saying or telling me? I hate feeling like this. I hate who I have become. I resent being this way – I don’t resent HIM but I resent being put in this position. I don’t like it and when I have those moments he’ll say “you’re being over-analytical, stop analyzing” and I want to say “YOU MADE ME THAT WAY!” but I don’t because I know this moment will pass and I won’t feel like that in a bit but I hate that I feel like that EVER.

    • RT July 7, 2011 at 1:56 pm #

      Hi Kristine,

      I completely understand the feelings that you are having. When my wife decided to leave me for my best friend, he said nothing of the affair, and she told me that everything I was ever about was despicable. So, I worked on everything to show her that I was really the person she wanted. After I discovered it was my best friend, I was devastated. I couldn’t believe that she wanted to destroy 2 families, and the mean things she said to be with him. However, we have been through a lot. She deeply regrets that person she became, but she also regrets the person that I became. It is hard to not over analyze the situations because you are “on guard” for similar sounds, phrases, emotions, feelings, etc…

      Going through an affair is some ways worse that losing them to death. They chose to hurt you, and they are still there expecting you to move on. The experience of being the hurt spouse is different than the betrayer, and unless you have been one, you DO NOT understand it. It leaves you feeling like you are on a bad acid trip, or in a constant out-of-body experience. You don’t think like you. You don’t feel like you. You are not the same friend to people, and you certainly are not the same spouse you used to be.

      It is all to be expected. You are healing, and in many ways you will never be that same person. You’ve been broken, and much like gluing something broken back together leaves it looking a little bit different, you will always be just a little different. Hang in there, and remember that you are not the one with the bad judgement…he is. You begin to feel the way you do when you are focused on him, or trying to make him happy. Just….(I say that like it is easy, but I know it isn’t.) Just stay focused on you, and what you can control. You are trying to find a solution for why he did what he did, and solutions are based in logic, and there is no logic.

      I am almost 3 years out from discovery, and I am only recently beginning to feel “normal” again. I finally realized that I was living in a state of hyper-vigilance because I felt like everyone judged me for staying, that all my guy friends were thinking things that my best friend acted on, and I was so afraid of feeling that pain again. I realized that I had never let go of the pain, and I still felt it….every single day. Your husband will never understand what that pain feels like, and unfortunately he expects that you should let it go….he probably has. Focus on you, and not him. There is nothing wrong with you when you aren’t obsessed with “what is he thinking?”, or “how will he react?” Just be you again. I am sure there are a great number of people that love that person. To be in a really great marriage, express without worry, doubt, or fear that you are still uneasy with his decisions. Help him to lower the walls that caused this, and be sure that you aren’t building your own. Allow private issues to be the intimate feelings that you only express to each other. That is what a truly happy marriage looks like.

      My wife and I have a conversation regularly where we state, “I feel loved when…, and I feel uncomfortable about” It allows us to understand what keeps the intimacy between us, and not run off to complain to someone that will only do damage to our family. It has worked wonders for us.

      I wish you the best. Be kind to yourself, and happy healing.

      • Doug July 8, 2011 at 10:57 am #

        RT, thanks for your input, it is so helpful to hear from someone who is farther along in the process and to know that the pain is still there but you are managing better. I agree that we will never be the same, and it will be a long time before we feel normal again. I think the most difficult part is trying to figure out what normal is. I think what we all need to do is learn to love and live with the new person that we have become as a result of the affair. I believe letting go of the past person is the most difficult step. I think we feel that we were ok and not broken before the affair. The conversation that you have with your wife is a great idea, sometimes we don’t really know what we need to feel loved, and I know the BS does not understand what makes us uncomfortable. (almost everything) We appreciate your comments and any further insight of how you were able to heal would be helpful. Linda

      • Melvin July 8, 2011 at 2:29 pm #

        RT,

        Thanks for sharing your story and feelings. I like your regular conversation starters. Very good advice to Kristine also.

        Man, I thought I was healed from the pain of her EA. I mean, we are just 5 months out from D-Day. I thought this was behind us and we were in a good place. Just deal with rebuilding trust, which I know will take time.
        However, I do now realize that I still have a lot of hidden resentment towards DW and her actions. Haven’t had a trigger event in a long time, then out of the blue she goes and buys a new cell phone and uses my upgrade, unbeknownst to me. Another selfish act involving a cell phone, without my knowledge. So I find myself regressing back before D-Day, searching her phone records again, asking her silly questions that I already had answers to. Over-analyzing. I thought I had a handle on this – I guess it is going to take more time than I thought. I can sense that I am starting to build walls as well. I do realize that this will only be counter-productive to our marriage.

      • Kris July 14, 2011 at 11:12 pm #

        Hi RT

        Thanks for your reply. I’ll admit seeing you say it’s been THREE YEARS and you’re just starting to feel normal put me off a bit. I’m not looking forward to feeling like this much longer. I feel in some ways I’m going through the process backwards. My husband repented and came home and I was so thrilled that God did what He told me He would that we had this wonderful honeymoon phase from about July to October. The pain started creeping in around then but I realized I hadn’t fully forgiven him for everything so I worked on forgiving from October to April. We were still in this very wonderful loving honeymoon phase during that time with a few rocky moments when I had outbursts. All this time I’m researching how to heal, why people have affairs, I’m learning that his adultery wasn’t my fault etc etc. Once I realized I had fully forgiven in April, I kept up with my research but now I feel like I’ve read every book there is, listened to every audio there is and there’s nothing left for me to learn and all I’m left with is this excruciating pain. I feel like I did this backwards. How did I forgive and our love deepen first and NOW I’m just managing this? UGH I’m so disappointed. I really thought the worst is behind me. We’re a year out almost to the day and for the first time I thought to myself yesterday, “do I want him? Do I want to be here?” I even thought for a moment I’d rather NOT be here in this marriage and that frightened me because I stood for my marriage when my husband was gone and he returned to work things out just like I prayed about and he’s home and I know he’s happy here, I know he regrets what he did, i know he loves me and he talks all the time about “when we’re having our 50th anniversary” and “thank you for letting me come home” and “I’m so thankful you didn’t give up on me” so why NOW would I question if I want to be married to this mean even if it was a fleeting thought. Kinda surprised me. I know I’m not going to REALLY leave. I have no plans to but I just hate this.

        I will say on one positive note, that thought scared me so bad I went back to my old counselor I used before when I first found out about the adultery. She helped me see that what the betrayed spouse goes through is PTSD, something I had read about before and knew but the way she explained it was so phenomenal. She also said she can help me work on some of my big triggers. It’s a form of therapy used on people who experience severe trauma like Vietnam Vets, people who were in the Oklahoma bombing, the WTC hits, etc etc. It’s called EMDR therapy. I have a few triggers left. Most are just a dull reminder. There are a few songs I can’t hear but if I have to hear it, and I’ve been in situations where I have, it’s like a dull ache, nothing major like it was when he first returned. There are a few others but they’re very minor. I have one HUGE trigger though that just KILLS ME and when I told her about it she explained how she can help me gain back what was taken from me by the experiences associated with that trigger through the EMDR therapy.

        I’m really looking forward to it, I’d really like to move past that one huge trigger that causes me so much pain still.

        Anyway, I wanted to share that with you and anyone else who reads this. My husband and I are also starting up marital counseling. I think another piece to our healing needs to be TOGETHER. I’ve healed as much as I can alone, now I need him to take part in the healing process with me.

        Again, thank you RT for sharing your insightful thoughts and for your encouragement. I know it won’t always be like this but it’s pure hell while you’re in it. 🙁

        • Doug July 15, 2011 at 8:46 am #

          Kris, I’ve heard a little bit about the EMDR therapy and I’d be curious to hear more of your experiences as you go through it. Please let us know how and if it works for you.

        • RT July 15, 2011 at 1:30 pm #

          I could have written what you wrote…a few years ago. I agree that it is pure hell, and I went through phases of what you’re going through. It’s almost like you start to ask yourself, “why exactly have I done all of this for someone that did so much damage to me?” It’s where some of the resentment comes from that rebounds, and you begin to move backwards just a bit because these are new feelings that you haven’t dealt with. So, it is good that you are seeing a counselor together. I think that is the only way to make sure that you are getting all of your feelings out on the table to deal with them.

          So, although we have been through similar situations, my journey has been such a long one because it was with one of my best friends, whom I also worked with. Add to that being a former military man, and also being raised by one, and you don’t have a forgiving formula. I was always taught that when someone wrongs you, it is war in every possible way. I was raised by street justice as a kid, but as an adult, you have no real recourse against the OM. I still don’t understand how adultery is legal…but, I digress.

          My ex-friend was one of those guys that just naturally seemed to be good at everything, he was Mr. Positive, and although he was a backstabbing jerk to most people, their perception was that he was nice, and people loved him. I kind of felt like I lurked in his shadow. We played golf, he beat me, we go for a run, and he would run the hilly path just to show me up, and when even my wife chose him over me…I crumbled. I lost my self confidence in everything, in every possible way.

          So, my road to recovery has been more than just the affair. So, hopefully that helps you feel better about where you are. I hope the nothing but the best for you. It does get better, as long as we let it.

  6. Paula July 8, 2011 at 4:36 pm #

    Hear, hear RT, very insightful, so nice to hear from someone who is doing pretty well. I agree, you are changed, and you just need to accept that, easier said than done at times. Actively seeking the positive is a new way of life, previously I saw and felt joy much more spontaneously, I have to look hard for it now, but it is still there. I know what you mean about the feeling that people were judging you for staying, I think we live in a society that is quick to judge and make their minds up. People see affairs as the “deal breaker” and those of us who stay as weak, I’m ashamed to say I know I probably did until this happened to us. My closest friends just ended up saying, leave, they don’t understand the strength and commitment required to work at staying

    • RT July 14, 2011 at 2:00 pm #

      I agree with you in so many ways. It is a choice to see the things you still have as a blessing, and to see the positive. I can also say that I was among the “if that happened to me, I’d be out!” group. However, when it did happen, I could only feel a loss. I think it would have been a different outcome if my wife didn’t show such remorse.

      I wish you a great healing. Thanks for sharing.

  7. RT July 10, 2011 at 6:27 pm #

    Sorry for the long reply.

    Thank you to all of you for the kind words. I am happy that my words offered a bit of solace. I can only hope that you are all being easy on yourselves, and allowing your mind to grow and recover from this experience. It can leave deeper scars if you are not moving toward a goal of your own, and staying in the cycle of pain and blame. I have a friend that went through AA, and he kept reminding me that pain is the touchstone to growth. It is never something you want to go through, but unfortunately we all did. The only way out of it, is to allow yourself to rise up from it. It is your Phoenix moment. The goal is not to get back to the way things were. I believe that is when we get stuck. We want a time machine, and everything else sucks. The challenge is to accept what happened.

    I have noticed that I begin to feel hopeless, when I wrap myself up with regret, fear, and self-doubt. It is hard some days to put one foot in front of the other, and to see that I am growing. The great part is, I am. It is a choice. (I used to hate hearing that too, LOL)

    I believe that you have to have goals, not only personal growth goals, but goals as a couple as well. Just like at work, if you do not have an action plan, you will feel stuck and hate your job. If you do not have an action plan as an individual, AND as a couple, you will focus on the resentment. I think that feeling this, but choosing to stay in it, creates the resentment. You resent them for choosing the easy option that was self serving to them.

    In every one of our situations, the affair happened because of a secrecy in the relationship. That secrecy could have been something you want, or your spouse wanted, but for whatever reason felt uncomfortable expressing. We create a void in our hearts, and unfortunately, the difference is that our partners turned to someone else that promised to fill that void. I am certainly not condoning their actions. Just encouraging you to truly communicate with your partner to create the intimacy where it belongs. Communicating what we want to each other will allow you to grow together, and to feel truly loved.

    I know that everyone is going through the hardest time of your life. I want to wish all of you happy healing, and positive growth. Recovery is not an easy road, but it can be worth it, especially if you have children. Hang in there, it does get easier as long as you are working together to be better people today.

    God Bless,
    RT

  8. Ssssb December 15, 2016 at 11:06 am #

    Thank you all for posting. Had a melt down just last nite – those “out of body” moments are surreal. They are the last thing you want to do – yet they creep up without notice as you’re holding in so much. It’s been 90 days for me- we lived separately over 2 years with visits back and forth due to his job. I hold him accountable for bringing in a third party – as I didn’t – however I am committed to repairing our marriage as I should have come to live with him sooner. This is a second marriage for us both and this is year 9. He says he thought our marriage was over and I didn’t care about him. Again I’m not excusing his major brain fart but I do think both parties always have some accountability in breaking or making a marriage. I have learned so much about him (good and bad ) but mostly about myself and my feelings for him. I do indeed love him and want our marriage to work and living separately is a path for disaster so don’t do it !!! Regardless of the circumstances

    Anyway everything you have described I have felt. From feeling low confidence to how can I change – what do I need to change – to wanting to hurt someone else’s feelings (OP) his – to realizing from your words that his experience was a self esteem boost where as mine was a devastating blow to my self esteem and I’m suffering from ptsd likeness.

    I have now moved to live with him full time as he asked me to come and work on our marriage – I left behind my new grandson and son and now live in the same city as the (op). On one hand he now tells me truth when I ask – she is still trying to contact him (she’s in love with him (found love letters and emails professing – gross ). he says it was never that way for him- just companion as he was so lonely and thought I wasn’t coming and marriage was over )He says he ignores her – he’s pretty blunt in general and hates drama so I believe him – however after a little wine I asked him to show me his phone and delete her. He’s not one to be told what to do – hence the melt down for me as he refused because I forced the issue.

    Your feedback has done wonders to resetting my clock today. It boosted my confidence – it allowed me to let go and refocus all that rant energy on me me me me ) at least for today – hope it sticks ) Thank you 😊 Blessings and peace over all of f you.

  9. Former CS November 6, 2017 at 2:54 am #

    As the name that I just used expressed, I am a former cheating spouse.
    I had a lot of reasons that I entered into an affair with another man and it was not an EA, it was a full-on physical affair.

    The man I was married to was verbally abusive, manipulative, dominating, domineering, rigid, demanding, etc. 10 months after I married him I looked at him one day and I thought to myself “I have married a monster”, and that was after only 10 months of marriage. I ended up being married to this man for 10 years. We had an accidental pregnancy 3 years before our marriage and within the first month we were married I was pregnant again. So the day I looked at him and realized I had married a monster I was holding a newborn in my hands and I felt helpless.
    You may ask yourself why did I marry this man if he was like that? Well, before I married him he was the perfect fun, and charming date. He was a great boyfriend. Something instantly changed as soon as our honeymoon was over.

    One of the things that he would do to me in that marriage was he took two vacations a year with his friends and left me home alone with the children. In all of that 10 years henna only took one trip alone. And the only reason we took that trip alone was because he was supposed to take it with his brother but his brother cancelled out at the last minute so he took me instead.

    I realize it sounds like I’m trying to justify the affair I had. I assure you I am not. This man was absolutely paranoid about being cheated on. I don’t know why. I’m not aware of relationships in his past where he had had an experience that made him that way. Financially he had control of everything, as in he would not allow my name to be on the deed of our home, none of our vehicles were in my name,. The one time I obtained a credit card in my own name he took that credit card and completely maxed it out.

    So we’ve established that I married one of the biggest assholes on the planet, but obviously I stuck with him because I had small children and I sort of withdrew into myself in a way that helped me survive from day to day.

    He also had a pornography habit where I frequently found pornography sites in the history of our computer. I often found that these sites had this been visited moments after I left the house. And by the way, the only time I was allowed to leave the house overnight was if I was took my children with me and was going out of town to visit my mother.

    Then one day about 8 years into our marriage I got into a very bad car accident. This accident required a lot of physical therapy, and a lot of other medication including narcotic pain medication which I became addicted to. The pain medication made me feel good I felt happy for the first time in so many years I was instantly addicted. Needless to say my addiction ends the way a lot of people’s addiction ins something terrible happens and the addict must confront their problem. The terrible thing that happened was I had another car accident while I was under the influence of this pain medication. Luckily I did not get into any legal trouble over this because I was using legally prescribed drugs.

    However once I got into a rehab program where I stayed for nearly 10 weeks I was clean and off the medication. And for those who want to know I am still off of that medication and it has been 14 years.

    While I was in this rehab program, my husband would not join support meetings with me and my counselor and he directly told my counselor to his face “This is her problem, not mine. I don’t need to be a part of any of this. She needs to deal with it.” He refused to ever come to another one of those meetings again.

    The next thing that happened was because I had small children the whole incident the whole problem was reported to the Department of Family and Children’s Services. When one of their representatives came to our door one day he refused to let the woman in the house and he told her to her face “No idiot making $30,000 a year is going to tell me what to do with my family.” One thing you might need to understand is that he had a very high paying career and his salary was part of his pride and self-esteem. If you made less money than him, then you couldn’t possibly be smarter than him in his opinion. I guess it’s the way he thought.

    Regardless, the representative from the Department of Family and Children Services had scared him somewhat. His solution was to get me and the children out of the state, because those kind of cases do not cross state lines. He intended for me and the children to stay and live in another state until the state we lived in was forced to close the case because we were no longer residents of that state. So he told me to pack my clothes and the kids clothes and move all of us up to the state where my mother lived. I did as he told me to. No matter how abusive or mean he was, the fact of the matter was that now he had my drug addiction to hold over my head and I was taking more and worse orders than ever before from him.

    I got me and the children moved to my mother’s house and immediately found another job. It’s not hard to guess what happens next. A lot of men started paying a lot of attention to me. Men telling me I was beautiful, men who came in where I worked just because they knew I was there. I am a very friendly and open person, and I don’t actually flirt but I am very vocal and open and friendly. Needless to say I got asked out on a lot of dates. One man got my attention and I begin spending 30 minutes to an hour with him at the end of my shifts just sitting in his car talking to him nothing else. It was really really just nice to talk to a person who was nice and who wasn’t trying to constantly show me they were smarter than me.

    This all ended up leading to a physical affair.

    Now I’ve explained what an asshole of a husband I had. But when he found out what was happening, that asshole turned into the biggest crybaby I have ever seen in my life. He cried, he expressed feelings, fears, imagined things that were just bizarre that never happened, and for the first time ever since I had married him I felt sorry for him. He quit eating , he quit getting out of bed, in short, he was completely devastated. I felt pure remorse and I felt pure guilt. No matter what he had done to me before, I felt like the lowest of the lowest form of human being for inflicting that kind of pain on another person.

    And to be totally completely honest when I did start seeing the other man I truly felt as if the marriage that I had was over. I felt it in my gut even if I couldn’t have expressed it with words I felt that my marriage was over when I saw that he would not stand by me and support me through drug rehabilitation. When he left me on my own to deal with that issue and I saw that he felt it had nothing to do with him and shouldn’t affect his world at all, something inside me gave up on that marriage. So I honestly did feel like I had nothing to lose.

    Later I went back to him and we did try to work things out. It was unable to be worked out. I had seen the light immediately when I saw him crying and falling apart. I “got it” immediately and was ready to pay my dues for what I had done but after months and months of trying we could never get around to him accepting any responsibility for his part in bringing the marriage to the condition that it was in when I cheated.

    Now here’s my main point: I’m sorry this was so long but I wanted to get the whole story out so that anyone who could relate to it could get something from it. But here’s the main point: no matter what, no matter how, no matter where, no matter who, no matter when, there is no way I would ever develop feelings again for a former affair partner, or ever again inflict that kind of pain on someone. Even someone Trye the asshole that my ex-husband was. A person who has “got it” truly has gotten it. They have gotten the point. Try to start trusting them again.

    I spend time on this site now because I feel that my second husband was getting involved in an EA online. I feel like I saw the signs early and snatched it out of his hands and put a stop to it real quick before things could get terribly bad. But I have now been on the receiving end of both of these pains. Even as quickly as I was able to end the EA with my current husband I still suffered every bit of the devastation and feel like I can relate to both sides on all these stories here.

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