Dealing With the Shame and Embarrassment After Infidelity

It was a long, tiring holiday weekend for us which culminated in about one hour of sleep last night due to some very late night drama with one of our daughters. 

Consequently, neither of us had any opportunity to write a post over the weekend, and quite frankly, my brain is mush today and I’m having a real hard time focusing.

Therefore, we wanted to share with you an article that Dr. Bob Huizenga, author of “Break Free From the Affair” wrote in his most recent newsletter that deals with the shame and embarrassment that we feel after infidelity.  Please read on.


Don’t Shame on You

by Dr. Bob Huizenga

Shame seems to be a big component of infidelity – both for those who cheat and for the wounded spouse.

I was thinking about this as I contemplate asking some of you to do a video or audio testimonial on how you have healed and moved through infidelity with greater power and influence. You are reluctant for others to know of the infidelity in your marriage.

When infidelity is discovered in a marriage, and brought out in the open by the couple, usually (I would say 95% of the time) there is an overt or covert agreement not to tell or hide the fact from others, except perhaps for a close friend or family member. And, they are told not to tell.

It’s as if infidelity is a black mark. It is embarrassing. One would think this is true for the cheating spouse, which it is, most of the time. (I would say 80% of cheaters feel the shame whereas the other 20 % have rationalized the infidelity or are of the “I Don’t Want to Say No” variety and little social consciousness.)

But even in more situations it’s the wounded spouse who feels the embarrassment and shame. The wounded spouse wants to shrink, wants to hide and indeed feels as if s/he is tainted. The persistent thought, “There must be something wrong with me. Something was wrong with the marriage. I failed” will not let go. Life becomes constricted.

Or, the wounded spouse holds tightly to the infidelity secret for fear that others knowing would enrage his/her cheating spouse or somehow be the final dagger in the marriage.

Openness is guarded against. Trust becomes more and more difficult to attain. One forever is “held back” and seemingly cheated out of a richer life.

Here are some thoughts that might help with this issue of shame and embarrassment.

1. You are NOT alone. Infidelity is common. (I was going to say “normal” but I knew that might incite the wrath of some.)

Let’s face it folks. Infidelity is rampant. It always has been. It always will be.

Where ever there are people with hormones, needs for attention, needs for belonging and don’t know how to get those needs met appropriately, who either lack skills or have a fear of legitimate intimacy, you will have people wandering, thinking the grass is greener, when actually the greener pasture is a war zone filled with land mines.

My guess, from 30 years of clinical experience as a Marriage and Family Therapist: 80% of all couples will at one time have one partner either dabbling in or fully engaged in infidelity.

You see, marriage is far from perfect. One study indicated only 1 out of 10 would consider their marriage “good.”

As well, marriage is given to us to develop, to mature, to evolve over the course of our years here on this planet. Marriage is not an end…whereby we achieve happiness. Marriage presents its developmental challenges, from the first child, to the first teenager, to the last child leaving home, to retirement, to preparing for death. And, in those processes we may experience further challenges of the death of someone close, bankruptcy, vocational failure, health problems and yes…. infidelity!

Marriage is a process, a growing process, filled with trials, temptations, anger, passion, boredom…you name it. We in the marriage continue to “use” the imperfections of our partner to move us forward in terms of our standards, values, beliefs, and well-being.

The cheater fails to grasp this, fails to fully embrace his/her foibles or just plain turns scared and runs. Infidelity is a chosen solution for one’s inner pain and “lostness.”

And the wounded spouse often fails to grasp this and become embroiled in his/her responsibility for another’s action (believing s/he has THAT much power over another) or becomes immobilized with shame and/or guilt and fear.

Infidelity happens! Yes it does – to a majority of our population. You are NOT special.

2. There is more to us than our sexual identity.

OK, in our culture, if you buy into television, movies, tabloids, newspapers, Holly Wood, The Bachelorette, advertising of all forms, romance novels, beauty pageants to name a few, it is obvious that we are hung up on how attractive, desirable, beautiful, sexually appealing and wanted we are by the opposite gender, or maybe the same gender, if gay.

We are obsessed with our sexuality.

And, infidelity gets mixed in here to a large degree. The OP must be hugely more appealing, right?

To be a little frank here, please know that some of the most beautiful and externally most desirable people you meet may be lousy sexual partners – with limited capacities to enjoy and/or give.

Please know that this obsession is a part, a small part of our personhoods. Let’s move beyond staring incessantly and blindly into the headlight of sexuality – at least portrayed “out there.”

What is it about you that makes you you? What do you value? Hold dear? What standards attract you? With what purpose do you enter each day? Do you have the capacity to laugh at life, at yourself? Do you enter into relationships with curiosity? Do you embrace the world without fear? Do you trust your inner most inklings and intuitions and use those as a basis for entering the world around you?

3. Life is a solitary journey that holds the capacity to enter into tremendously intimate relationships.

Here I’m helping you move beyond the thought that you are responsible for his/her actions, that what you did “made” him/her do something.

Infidelity is a soap opera. It is an entanglement of two lost souls. And, if the wounded spouse allows him/herself, s/he too becomes part of the soap opera drama and three wandering souls now involved.

Relationships are fine, but they are overrated! (That might stir some thinking!)

Energy is consumed trying to get something from the other, either actively, but most often, passively. Even meeting the other’s needs, being nice, and avoiding conflict lead to emotional entanglement and juice but devoid of intimacy.

My journey is to discover myself. And THEN I have something to offer, something to give. Before that, I’m a noisy gong or a clanging symbol.

4. The Truth shall set you free.

Infidelity survives and thrives on secrets. Secrets kill. Secrets demand energy and collusions that fly in the face of health and well being. Secrets prolong the soap opera and drama.

In my training as a Marriage and Family Therapist, I came across the concept that secrets will move from one generation to the next. In reality, the sins of the father and mother can be carried to the children.

Secrets cover life with a cold wet blanket. You feel it’s heaviness and darkness. You confront it, which is a challenge, since the unspoken rule is not to speak about the unspoken. Or you live life as best you as you can; duller, partially paralyzed and see the tension oozing out in other forms of disorders (acting out children, physical illness, mental illness, failures, accidents, weight gain, weight loss, etc.)

Secrets suck life.

Here are concrete things you can do to move beyond this… the shame and guilt.

1. Walk through a mall or crowded place and observe the people. Remind yourself that EACH of them in some way is carrying some burden, feels at some level their personal pain or emptiness and in reality is no different than you.

2. When at a party or gathering of family and or friends see them also as no different – harboring some challenge, some struggle, some pain, some confusion. Believe that they too desire deeper richer relationships and are on the same journey as you. Attempt to engage a few of them about that journey. (Do it in a way that fits you.)

3. Begin to tell your story of infidelity to trusted others. Begin slowly. Test the waters first before divulging a great idea. Yes, some might judge. Don’t waste time there. Move on to someone else.

But a high percentage will understand, because they too have been there, done that or at least have thought about it. I often encounter those who upon opening to another were pleasantly surprised by their receptivity. In reality, the other person began sharing his/her own story, with a sense of relief.

I realize how difficult it is to move out of the shame and embarrassment. It is a major shift. It takes time. But, once this is achieved a new world opens ripe with new possibilities.

 

Certainly, there are parts of this article that ring true for Linda and I.  After all, we write this blog anonymously so as to not let the cat out of the bag to friends and family – mainly out of shame and embarrassment.  Only a few of Linda’s trusted friends know anything about my emotional affair.

If you have struggled with shame and embarrassment after infidelity, I think Bob gives us some food for thought in this article, but I also would like to hear in the comment section how (and if) you have dealt with it in your own situation.

Click the link for more information on Bob’s groundbreaking book, “Break Free From the Affair.”  You can also visit his site by clicking here.

 

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81 Responses to Dealing With the Shame and Embarrassment After Infidelity

  1. Notoverit November 28, 2011 at 12:09 pm #

    You know, at first I was ashamed of the EA. It reflected on me and said I couldn’t keep my husband. I didn’t want to tell anyone; no one needed to know what had caused my sudden drop in weight, my monosyllabic conversations and the lack of life in my eyes. Finally, one friend asked my what was wrong. Did I have cancer? That shocked me out of my stupor. Why was I ashamed? I had done nothing. I told her what had happened and she was very caring, even offering to go kick the OW’s rear end. I have since then found that the choice of betraying the marriage was my H’s, not mine and I had nothing to do with it. I had no reason to feel embarrassed.

    And as for the comment on sexuality, I don’t know about that when an EA is involved. I have an amusing story from this last weekend. We were standing in a restaurant in another town waiting to be seated. A man walked by me and my knees went weak. It was the OW’s husband. I hadn’t seen the OW in nearly a year and I knew she was there, somewhere in the restaurant. Sure enough, she waddled (yes waddled) past my husband while she was flirting and talking to another man (not her husband). I elbowed my husband and said it was the OW. He watched her backside going down the aisle and then squinted at her face. No, he said, that’s not her. I continued all through dinner, watching her and telling my H that it WAS her. He was adamant that the woman in the restaurant was not her. I got home and, since I have cancelled FB, got my son to open his and go to the OW’s husband’s page where there were pictures. I told my H to look at the man in the picture. Yep, it was the same man as the one in the restaurant. Then I scrolled down to a picture of the OW. The look on my husband’s face was priceless. Shock and Awe! He stumbled away from the computer and got a drink of water. Not one to let anything go, I asked him if that was the woman in the restaurant. He said yes but he didn’t remember her being so ugly and fat. Such a gift to me!

    I don’t think while they are doing all this that they particularly know or look at the woman they are dealing with. While in the affair fog these CSs don’t really SEE the other person. Everything is tied up in the secrecy, the drama, the thrill of texting and calling. Since my H is well out of the fog, he sees the OW and, to be honest, was appalled. Later on he told me that he did not know how he could have not seen how ugly she was or that she was a liar and nutcase. All in all I had an exceptional week-end.

    • ifeelsodumb November 28, 2011 at 8:31 pm #

      You know….Karma is a sweet thing, isn’t it? I had the pleasure several weeks back to be able to look at the OW’s FB page…there are a few pics that she doesn’t have a block on…and I showed my H a few really, REALLY awful pics of the OW…one where she had her HUGE arm around her H’s neck….and I looked at my H and said “THIS is what you almost destroyed our marriage over”?
      I’m feeling rather depressed right now…just can’t get into the Christmas spirit of things, and I KNOW I should go to the gym tonight…but so not feeling like it….but after reading your post…I think I will! Because I know that one day we will have to go back to the state where the OW lives, and if we DO run into her….I want to glide right on by, while she looks on in envy…in her tent shirt, cuz that’s all she has on in ALL of her pics!!! BWAHAHAHA!!

  2. blueskyabove November 28, 2011 at 1:23 pm #

    Doug,

    IMO Dr. H. consistently offers some of the best advice available regarding this subject that we’re all too familiar with on this site. I’m really pleased you chose to highlight one of his writings today. There have been many times I’ve read a post on here and wanted to steer the poster specifically to his site. Needless to say I’m a big fan of his. I wish I had discovered him sooner.

    I have run the gamut emotionally regarding this topic. There was a time when I felt the embarrassment of “who” my H’s AP was would be too humiliating for me to bear if it became public knowledge. After a long period when my H’s embarrassment was ultimately acknowledged to me, I found myself feeling sorry for him and ‘his’ predicament. That might have been the point when we started working together as a team.

    For my H, acknowledging his embarrassment to himself while in the midst of the affair wasn’t an easy step for him, though. Looking back on it, it was the start of leaving la la land and eventually led to the end of their affair. Of course, he didn’t realize any of this at the time.

    blueskyabove
    4 + years post DDay
    Rebuilding

    • Doug November 28, 2011 at 3:44 pm #

      Hey bluesky, Linda and I are also big fans of Dr. H.’s. His was the first book Linda bought after D-day and we have had the opportunity to speak with him on a few occasions and he is truly a caring person with a wealth of knowledge and experience.

  3. Norwegian woman November 28, 2011 at 1:57 pm #

    Notoverit.
    Very amusing to read about your husbands reaction. This only shows how MUCH in the fog they are.
    I believe my husband also feels that way. The biggest embarrasment for me was that the women was so totally beneath me in every way. I know it sounds egosentric and arrogant, but it`s true. I still feel ashamed when I think about what low standards he had. At first I felt it like an insult. When he could pick someone SO ugly and so OBVIOUSLY stupid and self centered, what did that say about me? I have allways been proud of my intelligence and I know I look all right. Not a beauty, but all right. When I discovered my husbands choises it became a burden ON TOP of my loss of self-esteem in other ways.

    • Notoverit November 28, 2011 at 6:48 pm #

      I agree Norwegian woman. I felt for a long time that there was something dreadfully wrong with me that he could choose such a troll to conduct an EA with. I kept asking myself what does that say about me? Am I a bigger troll? Finally, I decided that I am better-looking, better educated and am just an all-round better person than the troll. She’s just better at lying and manipulating. Geez, it was so funny that my H didn’t recognize someone he worked with, had regular meetings and talks with in person. He still is reeling from the sighting last Friday night. He just can’t believe how she really looks. Also, he didn’t know about all her lies and stories she told at work about him – all untrue. All in all, he found out that she is really a troll.

  4. cs November 28, 2011 at 2:56 pm #

    Norwegian Woman…I agree! In my case the OW had a reputation for being a “homewrecker”, alcoholic, and a history of pursuing any man in the room. This on top of the fact she was not very attractive or educated. I am amazed my H refused to see any of this. I am still coming to terms with all of this (6 weeks since D Day), however, would it have been better if she had been a model with a PhD? Probably not, but I cannot believe that he would chance throwing away all we have for THAT.

  5. Paula November 28, 2011 at 3:13 pm #

    Wow, Notoverit, that its astounding that he couldn’t even recognise her, but very funny. (That wouldn’t happen in our situation, damnit, he did know who she was, and what she was like, it’s why he didn’t leave me for her, he could see all of her faults, but continued an affair with her, telling her that they didn’t match, she was too self absorbed for him, that he really loved me, just was a bit lost with where we were at, he was very self-aware, even in the midst of this so-called fog, etc!) And, you’re right Norwegian Woman, the use of an AP, who is not a jot on us, is a blow to the self esteem, initially, as you think, wow, how low must I be that he thinks THAT is an improvement, lol! Eventually our own “fog” (I actually hate that word, seems to belittle everything, somehow) clears, we start to see things as they actually are, not clouded and distorted by our own pain and distress. There is still an element of shame, though, even though I know there shouldn’t be. I’m ashamed I picked someone who could do this, even though he knew the consequences – or so I thought, I should have chosen better, I know, it’s ridiculous but I do think like that in moments of self pity!

    Notoverit, when my Mum discovered that my Dad was sleeping with men, she stayed for another year or so, and one of her wake up calls was when she had lost so much weight – she was a tiny thing anyway, got down to 43 kgs!!! (and her usual twinkle and sparkle) that my uncle (father’s sister’s husband) took Dad aside one day and asked if she had cancer, and if there was anything they could do. My Mum wept and realised she needed to “get happy” by getting out, and getting her life back, so she did.

    I’m ashamed for my lovely OH, I hate that people “judge” him for what he did, he says he can handle it, that he brought it on himself, but I hate people thinking badly of him, and conversely, that they “judge” me – what kind of dragon/useless lover, etc must I be (in their eyes) to make such a great guy do something like that? I know the reality, and that I shouldn’t care what people think, but it still sucks that people think like that.

    I feel too ashamed that I am still struggling daily (as per the daily visits to this blog!) I don’t let anyone know that, it seems so embarrassing to admit that you aren’t as strong as you like to let on to “the world.” Our counsellor tells me that I need to “share” this with a trusted friend (I have no living family I can talk to – no sisters and a dead mother, not the right kind of relationship with either of my brothers or father, and children who are too young, and too close to their father – as they should be – to be put in the middle of my pain, I don’t believe you should ever use your children as your emotional support about a matter like this, certainly not while we are still together, and working on it, they know, but they don’t need to know the struggle in detail, that’s not fair) but I don’t feel safe in doing so, I live in a small town, and when I have shared in the past, it has been discussed amongst “friends.” They all seem to be of the opinion that I need to “just get over it,” that there is something wrong with me for still being in so much pain. Of course I would LOVE to just get over it, but as we all know, it doesn’t work like that, as my OH and counsellors have said, if we didn’t love each other so much, it wouldn’t have hurt so much, and if she hadn’t been my long-term friend, or so I thought, ditto. That is why I use this forum, because it is “safe.”

    • Notoverit November 28, 2011 at 7:06 pm #

      You know Paula, I talked to my H about this blog today. I pointed out to him that each of these responses does say that the OW was ugly, beneath them, not intelligent etc. He said, quite honestly, that it seems that all the CSs had such low self-esteem that they were kind of satisfied with less. Hard to accept that my H, a very successful doctor who isn’t bad looking, would feel that this troll is all he could get. I wonder if that is the case in most of these EAs. Could it be our spouses problems that made them accept such a lesser person?

      And if the OW was gorgeous and an Einstein, it would probably make me feel even worse (if possible). To be honest, listening to my H talk, his self-esteem might have prevented him from pursuing someone like that. Wow, what a thought.

      • aaron November 29, 2011 at 11:46 am #

        Notoverit:

        I think I know why many men might choose “lesser” women than their wives to be APs. Ultimately, they don’t want to fall in love with the AP. They aren’t looking to replace their spouse as much as they are looking for something they feel they aren’t getting from her–ad that they’re either too lazy or too insecure to seek directly.

        It also takes a lot of time and effort to woo a “quality” woman (all comments about whether a woman of quality could be open to affairs are duly stipulated), while a woman who is not as worthy takes much less of an investment and is much more likely to provide the instant gratification they seek.

    • ifeelsodumb November 28, 2011 at 9:13 pm #

      Paula,
      If it helps you at all….please know that I am in awe of your OH…that he would be so open with you, to let you see his pain, and to respond to your pain like he does AND that you KNOW beyond a shadow of a doubt that he DOES love you!! I wish I could have all of that….I truly do!
      My H has a problem opening up to me or anyone…and I really think that is why he turned to the old GF…since she was so far away he knew that she wouldn’t make any demands on him in the “emotional intimacy” department, it was all about the admiration and compliments, but he was lying to her also, telling her things that weren’t true…
      He has never shed a tear over all of this…not even when he sees me crying, even when my 15 yr old was sitting on my lap, sobbing his heart out, begging us to not get a divorce, my H just stood there, arms crossed, leaning against the wall….and not a tear out of him! So unemotional I could have screamed!! And it really hasn’t changed much in the last 11 mos…I told him last week that I really believe he is so emotionally withdrawn because of his screwed up childhood…abusive, alcoholic, cheating father, a mother bitter because of the cheating…and this was his way of coping, to shut himself off.
      After the first of the year, I’m going to ask him to get into counseling…because I love him and I can’t live this way any longer…I NEED him to be there for me and to help me heal and I really believe he wants to be there for me…but has no idea how to do it!

      • Paula November 29, 2011 at 6:56 pm #

        Thanks IFSD, I know he is a good guy who lost his way, but I’m still not better, myself, and that is the frustrating thing, two and a half years, and it is still at the forefront of my every thought. However, I am very thankful he is who he is, that’s not to say he’s been perfect, he did some really unhelpful and dumb stuff in the next two years, just out of ignorance (and I think, a little arrogance, he knew best 🙂 ) Made our journey a lot longer than it needed to be. Keep up the good work, you’ll be okay.

        • ifeelsodumb December 2, 2011 at 9:07 am #

          TY Paula! I believe I will be OK…just hate that it’s taking soooo long!! I’m a “grab the world by it’s tail and get moving type of person” and usually very positive…I hate that this is taking so long!

  6. Roller coaster rider November 28, 2011 at 5:14 pm #

    Something each of you has written touches me in one way or another. I have said before I am not coming back here to this blog because I don’t know that it helps anymore now that I am getting divorced. There is a big part of me that wants to stop thinking about my ex’s choices and how they continue to impact me daily, but this topic of shame is huge. Every time I run into someone I know who “doesn’t know” and I have to tell them, I almost feel the need to apologize to the other person first. I don’t tell everyone about the affair, but when you have lived most of your life in the same small town and have been together over 40 years all the while seeming to have a great relationship, a beautiful family, solid careers and are part of a large faith community it doesn’t make sense to be getting divorced just out of the blue. I appreciate what Dr. H says about how common it is for people to have affairs, and some day I fully anticipate being able to help others who find themselves in this quagmire, but for now it is still such a recent tornado. Nothing is as it was, and I’m not yet used to the ‘new normal’. I am often able, however, to see the good parts of the situation and I fight hard against the self-pity that rears its ugly head all the time. Everything you have said, Paula, I understand. I wish I could be that friend for you. The anonymity of being here among another type of support group has brought me comfort although I do wish we could have some face time, too.

  7. Norwegian woman November 29, 2011 at 1:37 am #

    I asked my husband if he ever thought about that he could have ended up with her (the one he was in love with – the first one he never was in love with) and he says that he gets chills when he think about it. He says that even though he is good at picking a persons personality, he just didn`t see it when he was in the fog. It was like a curtain against reason. He knew she has had man after man and moved all around the country in her quest for “the big love”. He knew it, but didn`t think about it. Or he was convinced that this was something different. As to her looks, all he could see was that he was showered with attention and compliments. She made him feel soooo good.

    I just told him that with his judgement, he was at high risk ending up with a total disaster of a woman. He says he knows and that he will never ever risk that again. He says that he asks himself how he could ever be so lucky having me. It must have been a lucky star over him when he met me.

    I hope it keeps him from doing such a stupid thing again…. 😉

  8. Elizabeth November 29, 2011 at 5:37 am #

    I still feel ashamed,but not as much as i did.I know the NRW was a stunner,his type of girl.We went out at the weekend and i was hanging back because i knew he would be looking for his clone type,My daughter had even spotted it and said to me “Daddy is really handsome isnt he,all the pretty girls look at him,your a very lucky person Mummy to have Dad.What can you say to that,all i said is yes you are right,iam lucky indeed and with that all i wanted to to is hide in shame.I was told by my best friend to remember that i dont need to look Men in the eyes to get attention,i dont need to look like iam crying to get someonr to come to me,i dont need to do anything,as it was his Problem not mine,but feel like iam carrying the shame for both of us,as the stronger person.

  9. Dee November 29, 2011 at 10:02 am #

    Oh how I wish the OW in my case was like all your’s seem to be, it would have made things easier in a way….no, My OW is nearly 20 years younger than me, athletic, beautiful, successful, positive and bright. Not only is she all these things, but within her sport, she is beginning to achieve national and world champion status and is often plastered all over the local newspaper and national/international specialist magazines!!! – Even if I wanted to ignore and forget that she ever existed…I can’t…and neither can my H. Tell me please someone….how do I raise my self-esteem, believe in myself again and not see this paragon of virtue as the ‘ideal woman’? How do stop comparing myself to her? I believe my H came back because of our children and a strong sense of duty. He has defended her on most occasions and will not say a bad word about her…oh, and guess what? She apprently felt ‘terrible’ about their EA and I have begun to realise that it was him who did most of the chasing…..

    • Notoverit November 29, 2011 at 11:01 am #

      Right there Dee. These women always try to blame someone else, including our CSs. My OW kept saying look at the phone records and you’ll see that my H chased her. Not true, she started it all with the phone and texting, she did just as much and is certainly as much at fault as my H. I am sure your OW wants to be blameless in the mess – how could such a “successful” witch be at blame? (heavy sarcasm here). There is definitely something wrong with a woman who doesn’t understand the boundaries of a marriage. She went ahead with her agenda. She isn’t perfect. I am sure your husband didn’t just come back for the kids and a strong sense of duty – you were there too. Never think that you are lesser – you aren’t. You know, I am a person too, with feelings, successes and I ain’t bad to look at either. You are probably just like me. So hold your head up! You won! He’s with you, not her. Take that to heart and believe it!!!!

      • Dee November 29, 2011 at 12:00 pm #

        Thank you for your kind words. I will keep saying those things to myself…the only problem is, I’m not sure what it is I’ve ‘Won’ really….it’s so much bloody hard work and Iwonder whether it’s worth it anymore.

        • JS November 29, 2011 at 12:59 pm #

          I hear you, Dee. My H’s OW was 17 years younger than me, stunningly beautiful, and (according to him since I’ve never actually met her) funny and engaging. She’s not famous like yours, but she’s plastered all over in the sense that they work at the same company, so my assumption is that every time he sees her or gets correspondence from her, the butterflies and excitement are still there. I also feel my H came back out of sense of duty to doing the “right thing” and because he could bear the idea of living away from his children AND because I threatened to tell the OW’s boyfriend if I saw one more bit of communication from the OW. I don’t believe he came back for me, and I’m not sure there is anything that could change my mind. He is clearly very committed to fixing things now but I can’t get past the shame of what happened.

        • tryintoowife November 29, 2011 at 1:13 pm #

          Dee
          It is not all about the other person looks physically, it is how they made our H see them at the time. Once in this site Linda and Doug wrote an article about how cheaters felt before, during and after their affair. Talking to my husband about it he said that, although he thinks that the OW could be handsome in some ways, now he does not think much of her at all, but at the time he thought many good things about her. She was smart and well informed and was very interested on him, so it made him feel good and made him see beauty on her. But as the time passed and he started seeing properly how selfish and self-centered she was, and how everything they did or talked was about her, demands and suffocation, he started to disliked her personality very much. Then he saw that she lacked all the good qualities that I have and it made him sick. Physically the OW and I are so different from each other. I don’t know her face, have never seen her, but I know a lot about the ways she believed that she is the one that deserves it all, independently to the cost of getting it! I know that I am far more intelligent and interesting, good friends, and have a richer life than the OW. I know that I OK, so the only thing is, that she made herself beautiful to him, by stroking his ego. Then he became blind, her face could have been anyone’s. Right at the beginning I compared myself to the OW, but I soon stopped. I refuse to give her this power. I am worth so much more and I know this for sure. She does not value herself and this shows in her actions, so she is an ugly old bat in my mind.

          • ifeelsodumb November 29, 2011 at 3:49 pm #

            Tryintoowife,
            Do you know where that is…the article you mentioned? I’d like to read that with my H 🙂

    • D November 29, 2011 at 1:49 pm #

      My wife’s AP is fairly good looking. He’s a little older than I am, taller, more successful, with a similar wit and and intelligence level. He’s respected, even feted within his profession. Plus he’s aggressive, confident; he came onto her in a big way. But I just don’t see him as the reason she had an affair. Something was building within her. Looking back I can see the signs were all there. She needed something to happen to break free her inner demons. Only she didn’t recognize it and neither did I.

      It’s a waste of time focusing on the OW/M’s They are/were a device. The important work is within – I’m looking at you, Alone ; )

    • Paula November 29, 2011 at 7:01 pm #

      Dee, our OW is slim, athletic, smart (in the business sense) and very well-presented. I’m curvy, a mother, less interested in money (less driven for financial gain, so a little less city-smart) In many ways, she is “better” than me, but I’m still glad I’m not her. She also considers herself very beautiful, what every man wants, but a few of our friends have said they find her quite physically unattractive (plain face, I think) however, my OH is attracted to her, even today, he says she is attractive, and it is hard to argue with that, as she is a pretty polished package, so not all have “ugly” APs to “compete” with. It is all in the eye of the beholder, and beauty comes from within, as we all know.

      • suzie suffers October 8, 2013 at 12:37 pm #

        My ex always referred to her as the “whole package”….she had looks…very attractive 12 years younger than him….funny…happy….engaging….all these wonderful things…as time went on he would tell me he saw her as selfish and self centered and could be mean at the core…..but he often went back to his original assessment of her…euphoric recall and he remembered her that way when we had disagreements…..mostly about her….when he left me…for not for this woman, but for the continued fliring and searching he was doing for the “one”…he even told me how mean he thought I was because I had told him she was using him (she was an alcoholic…he met her in aa and she was still drinking….gambling addict…had 3 divorces under her belt…..but had a potential money making career….but was living at home with parents because she was broke and was hoping my architect …broke architect husband would loan her 5000 and that after a month together they could move into a nice 2 bedroom apartment…(no doubt assuming he would pay till she got on her feet)….well, after the first sexual encounter….and lack of cash on their “vacation” she came back and dumped him…..but he tried later to pursue her during our reconciliation…he got dumped again….he still was in the fog even though he’d known her only for 4 months…..I had said she was using him as much as he was using her…..and he told me that was the meanest thing to say to him because I was saying she didn’t truly like him…..GEE…..so sorry.

  10. Alone November 29, 2011 at 10:53 am #

    No cheaters have posted here, so I will take a chance. For those who don’t know me I am a female cheater and most of the continental United States knows I cheated. I was exposed big time.

    Cheaters also feel a lot of shame. I mean, I now have the label of the OW. And as you know, there are a long list of additional words for the OW. It’s hard to be labeled that… before this I have never done anything morally wrong. I am a Christian, been a good person. Even prided myself on my honesty. I truly didn’t even know I was able to lie and cover things up like I did. I didn’t know that part of me existed. So, although you wouldn’t believe it, there is a good person under the label of “OW”. Reading these posts about how much anger you have toward the OW and calling her troll, etc. I don’t blame you BS’s one bit. I would do the exact same thing had my H cheated on me. I would absolutely hate the OW and probably spend most of my thoughts comparing myself to her. To all of you BS’s, I am so sorry that you are living with this. You ARE beautiful, fun, and smart. The problem is not you, it’s the cheater.

    Quick word about my H. I worried very much if he would spend a lot of time comparing himself to the OM. I have asked him about it multiple times. For my H, and I think he is being truthful with me, this did not effect his self esteem. He says he is confident with his looks (he is very handsome and in great shape). For him, it’s not a physical thing. I think he feels, for lack of a better word, personality or emotionally inadequate. I don’t know how to describe it just right, but it’s about my connection with the OM. It’s not a who-looks-better contest for my H.

    Notoverit, your last post really got me thinking. As I mentioned, ALL of my family and friends found out about the affair. After D-Day at least 4 people independently asked me what the hell I was thinking… to have an affair with THAT OM. Basically, as they put it, I am, well “way out of his league” if that makes sense. One of them said in a joking manner (although it’s not funny) if you’re gonna cheat, as least UPGRADE… Looks wise my H has the OM beat. As far as quality of person, my H has the OM beat. So why in the hell have I been so hung up on him? I go back to your comment Notoverit, maybe MY problems made me turn to this OM. He validated me in a lot of ways. I was not receiving that from my H. I guess maybe that’s why I had this EA with some physical with him. Still, to have any physical part I guess there has to be attraction between both parties.

    One last thing. You would think that the cheater would have great self esteem during and after the affair. WRONG. You have no idea how rock-bottom my self esteem is. It is at an all time low with a lot of self-hatred. In a lot of ways, I’m not sure I can recover from this low self-esteem.

    Anyway, just a few thoughts from the other perspective. Thanks!

    • Notoverit November 29, 2011 at 1:42 pm #

      You know Alone, I was thinking about you when I wrote that post. I didn’t want to offend you but it was something that I and my H have talked about. I don’t get from your posts that you are the same type of woman as my OW. She is definitely “nutters” (I love that word – thanks all you Brits for it!). Also, her agenda was definitely to use him for protection at work. So if I lumped you in I am sorry. I do think about the cheaters that are on this site when I write something. I guess they should respond exactly as you have. It is good to have another perspective and I thank you for it. This is an idea forum after all. We don’t mean harm when we write what we think. It just gets the idea out there to be batted around. Thank you again for not getting mad at me!

      As for self-esteem, my H says the same thing. He is at rock bottom. Guess we all are at rock-bottom right now. But, on the bright side, there’s only one way to go – UP!

      • ifeelsodumb November 29, 2011 at 4:13 pm #

        You’re right!!! Alone is a different type of CS…she feels terrible for the pain she has caused, and wants to make things right!! Unlike the OW in my case, who sent us an email telling us she didn’t do anything wrong and can look at herself in the mirror and NOT feel any shame!
        And she cheated on HER H twice with my H…her H was trusting her to break things off after he discovered the EA…and she did, for three days, then resumed contact with my H when she found a way to text where it wouldn’t show up on her cell records! She is a woman with no morals…and NO class!!

    • ifeelsodumb November 29, 2011 at 4:03 pm #

      Alone!! Thanks for the much needed laugh today!! ” For those who don’t know me I am a female cheater and most of the continental United States knows I cheated”! That grabbed hold of me and got me giggling!! I love how you post on here with such honesty and openness…
      And just to make you feel better, I live in the continental US and I’ve never heard about you, until reading it on here!! LOL!!
      But all kidding aside, that comment you made about low self esteem…I’ve thought about that with my H…and have asked him in a round about way, but I’m going to ask him to read your posting, and give me an honest answer! He has such a HARD time opening up and talking about himself!! And that’s the battle I’m fighting right now! He listens really ,really well….but to open up and let me see what is going on with him…no go!
      We are going to find a counselor after the New Year, not to talk about the EA, that’s in the past…but about my H’s problem with communication because THAT’S what got us here in the first place!!

      • Lynne November 29, 2011 at 5:18 pm #

        IFSD-

        I don’t know if you’ve chosen a type of counseling to start in January yet, but in an effort for my H and I to move beyond a focus on his EA, we recently started IMAGO counseling (Harville Hendrix created this). I would absolutely recommend this to anyone and everyone…..in fact, I’m a big believer that this should be a requirement BEFORE marriage! It is a specialized type of therapy that requires the therapist to get very specific Imago Training.

        It has allowed us to set aside the EA for now and really focus on what often gets in the way of really knowing and hearing each other. If you have a partner that isn’t a talker/deep communicator, then run to an Imago Therapist immediately! You will learn things like–why you chose each other (there are no accidents!)–what you bring to the marriage from your early years–how to have compassion and empathy for your partner–how to really hear them and validate their beliefs (without preparing your response while their speaking!)–how to create a relationship vision–how to heal some of your wounds from you childhood–what needs aren’t being met and how to communicate them effectively (cause’ your partner ain’t no mind reader despite any belief that they should just know what you want and need!).

        I couldn’t speak more highly of what it’s done for us. I now know more than I’ve ever known about my H, his feelings, desires and hurts….and he now has a much better perspective about mine. The tools, resources and exercises are invaluable.

        As our Imago Counselor says, we will be talking about his EA soon, as the catalyst for these is my H learning what void he was trying to fill, what is the hole in him that that was unmet, what was it he was trying to fill up–as he says, there is always a reason someone turns to an affair (or opens that door up a little or all the way). I’m often saddened on this site when I see the BS feeling responsible for the affair, or that they could have/should have done or been more, when it is obvious that it’s something missing in the CS. Not that we don’t all have opportunties to be a better partner, but the CS clearly has something missing that they are seeking within themselves. The BS can be supportive, but they cannot fix what it is that’s missing (it happened long before you). It’s not better sex, a cleaner house, more attention, love…..it is something buried deep inside the CS that they often can’t even name. Take them to “Imago” and you’ll find out!

        • Doug November 29, 2011 at 6:35 pm #

          Lynne, I would be beneficial if you could keep us posted on your progress. Just recently another comment discussed the IMAGO training and I looked at the website and ordered some books from an Hendrix . I would love to attend a weekend workshop and learn more about it. Thank you for you insight. Linda

        • ifeelsodumb November 30, 2011 at 11:24 am #

          Lynne, I’ll check it out…..Thanks!!

    • Paula November 29, 2011 at 7:06 pm #

      Alone, I agree, it’s never about the OP, it is totally about how the two people in the marriage/relationship interact, recover, etc. The OP is just a “tool” the CS used to try to make changes in their life – even when they didn’t really realise they were unhappy until someone else paid them the attention they were secretly craving – it’s wrong, and jurtful, but that’s what they were doing, nonetheless. I couldn’t give a toss about the OW now, she didn’t cause this, we caused this. She can’t fix us, only we can. I don’t care that she was selfish, and didn’t care about me, that’s her loss, I’m quite a nice person, and I was a great friend to her. She’s lost a few of those great friends over her selfish, unrepentant actions. We still have our wonderful friendship with each other, the rest of the healing is taking a lot longer.

      • Paula November 29, 2011 at 8:38 pm #

        new word, jurtful! Maybe it is hurt by a jerk, lol! Whilst I agree that an OP who will not, or can not, feel empathy and remorse does not help the BSs in their journey – OMG I know this has been me – we can’t change this, we can’t MAKE them feel sorry for the chaos and agony they caused, we somehow have to let that go, I’m not sure how, but I think I am finally starting to let that part go, the why wouldn’t she acknowledge my pain/apologise, etc. Very, very hard when one of the people who caused you SO much pain, and was supposed to be a friend, will not help you heal.

      • ifeelsodumb November 30, 2011 at 11:45 am #

        Well said, Paula…well said!! You are so right! I didn’t know my H was unhappy…he didn’t seem unhappy, so maybe like you stated, until the OW paid him some attention, he didn’t realize it himself? Hmmm something to ask him about tonight!
        The problem I’m having is after he ran into the OW, while home for a weekend visit, he chose at that moment to lie to me! We talked several times during the day while he was gone, and every evening before bed…and he told me that the OW, a former GF, had been at the family event…and they chatted for just a FEW minutes! WRONG!! I later found out, after he confessed to the EA, that she had sat at the table with him and they talked for at least 30-45 mins…he’s rather vague about the time…which really makes me wonder, because just a few hours later when talking to me before bed, he made the decision to lie to me, right then and there….and I also found out last week, after going through some old emails, that the EA started about a week sooner then I originally thought!
        He wasn’t even home from his trip for a week before they were talking and texting…so this makes me wonder…How long DID they sit and chat, and what did they talk about, for him to make the decision to lie and then start the EA? Was it because he was truly unhappy, or did she flirt with him, he liked it, and decided to go for it? He can’t or won’t tell me the answer to this question! And it really bothers me, because I’m trying to understand, is this a character flaw….or just a unhappy man who got caught up in something that he now regrets? His father is a cheater, and that scares me! I can fix a unhappy husband…a character flaw…that’s something totally different!

  11. Still struggling November 29, 2011 at 12:36 pm #

    Just another thought about the ow and her inferiority. There is no way that. Any woman who chose to get involved with a married man could be anything but inferior. She has no class or tact. I may not have been the perfect wife but I knew that I was strong enough to admit I was capable of falling for someone else. The thing that kept me honest was admitting to this possibilty and keeping my values and morals in check. If I ever felt that a friendship was crossing the line I would step back from the friendship. Furthermore I believe that I would finish with ending the marriage before I would/could move on. It’s called emotional intelligence and being in touch with your emotions. My husband lacked that insight in himself. He never thought nor acknowledged the possibility it could happen to him. At the end of the day I am a better person for this catastrophe. It’s a lesson learned that others do not think like us. And our reality may not be the reality of those around us.

  12. D November 29, 2011 at 1:29 pm #

    Not only is there shame by the BS and CS, but there’s also shame FOR the CS. I kept the news to myself partly because I was embarrassed to have been duped, to have been considered second best, but also because I was embarrassed and ashamed of my wife. This was a woman I respected, who I proudly introduced to my friends and acquaintances, who I admired. How do I show up at parties and social functions in the company of this woman who, though I may love, was capable of such heartlessness, selfishness and cruelty?

    The fact that she could have sex on the OM’s wife’s couch in her living room yet never bother to Google her or learn anything about her just blows my mind. I’m sorry but that is the behavior of a c*** (and I mean that in the least misogynistic manner possible.) It’s the aspect that still hits me hard in the gut. I can understand hotels, cars, friends’ houses, whatever, but to walk into another woman’s house? That’s cold.

    We’re recovering, but it’s been a huge block for me to look at that and still respect her.

    • Doug November 29, 2011 at 6:45 pm #

      D, that aspect of not caring about me also blew me away. I asked did she wonder what I looked like, what kind of person I was, etc? Did she care about me at all? I believe she pretended like I didn’t exist, while I couldn’t stop thinking about her, finding everything I could about her life, stared endlessly at her picture? Is that screwed up or what?

      I also wanted to respond to the question you asked about your wife and her fear of receiving your love. I wonder if she doesn’t feel worthy or good enough to be loved. It could have been something that has been with her your entire marriage but you really didn’t focus on those behaviors until the after affair. Just a thought. Linda

      • D November 30, 2011 at 12:10 pm #

        I believe in the first place that she has yet to forgive herself, (she’s told me that it would be very hard for her to forgive me if I had done that to her so I can see why she couldn’t forgive herself – btw, that’s irony on line 1 for you, dear), in the second place I believe that part of the glue that’s held us together for so long and what may have attracted her to me in the first place is how much love I have for her and am able to express it. It goes back to (and I would hazard to guess it ALWAYS goes back to, issues with the parents.)

        • ifeelsodumb December 2, 2011 at 9:18 am #

          Yes, D, issues with the parents and the type of household they grew up in is the key to how your spouse will treat you in the future!! THAT is why we are going to counseling in Jan. My H has a very hard time showing empathy to ANYONE, including me and my children…but he was NEVER shown empathy will growing up! Harshness was the norm in his house…

  13. SamIam November 29, 2011 at 2:54 pm #

    I feel ashamed! but shouldn’t it be the my H that feels the shame not me? I did not choose this and yet I feel all the shame for not being what my H needed at “that” time. auuurrrgh! it has been a difficult start to the week.

  14. Alone November 29, 2011 at 4:31 pm #

    D- Thanks for your posts. You’ve been through a lot and have so much to share with everyone. I appreciate all of your comments, more than you know.

    Notoverit – you didn’t make me mad, it’s the truth of the matter, isn’t it! I learn a lot from reading all of these posts, that’s why I keep coming back.

    Ifeelsodumb – Doesn’t it feel SO good to laugh? I am so glad you got a chuckle out of that. I actually have a good sense of humor. It’s just been totally suppressed by all of this turmoil I created. I would love for you to read my post to your H and I hope he will give you an honest answer. Just keep in mind, he’s a man. He might be thinking different from us female types.

    Alright, back to work everyone!

  15. Tricia November 29, 2011 at 5:29 pm #

    I have never been ashamed about my husband cheating on me. In fact I broadcasted all over Facebook that he cheated on me and a picture of the other woman saying this is what a homewrecker barfly looks like! I also sent a few e-mails to her husband informing him of his wife and my husbands going-on with dates and times so he was not left in the dark like I was for all those months the affair was going on.

    • ifeelsodumb November 30, 2011 at 11:47 am #

      I wish the OW’s H would have clued me in!! He found out about the two of them about a month before I did!!

  16. jenn November 29, 2011 at 6:22 pm #

    I did feel ashamed at first because I was supposed to be the one who had my husband’s focus. When that is taken away by another woman, it hurts and makes one wonder what WE did to deserve it. I know it was all him though. It doesn’t help my situation knowing that she is very active (just like him), has an “enhanced” chest, and they went to HS together–although they didn’t know each other well back then. His celebrity crush is Teri Hatcher, and the OW was as close as he could find, locally. Although she looks more like her distorted cousin.
    The shame comes from knowing that the man I respected & trusted beyond a shadow of a doubt chose to leave me right after I had his child to pursue another married woman. The timing of his affair (and the way he treated me post-partum) is what I’m having so much trouble getting past.
    I received some very good advice from a friend who told me not to tell everyone I knew because I would appreciate it down the road if we ever wanted to reconcile. That friend was right–I believe more embarrassment and shame would have come from knowing that the ENTIRE world knew what my husband had done.
    Regardless, it’s hard to deal with. The triggers are great and never seem to go away. The movie they saw together plays every few months on channels we watch. The songs are still fairly current. And, I still see her photo pop up every now & then on Facebook through friends of his friends, even though we both have blocked her.
    Blech.

    • RecoveringMommy November 30, 2011 at 11:07 am #

      Jenn, I completely understand where you’re coming from. My H’s EA started with a woman who I thought was a friend of mine when I was 7 months pregnant. It continued until I discovered it, my baby was 7 weeks old. Although I’ve forgiven him for the EA, sometimes I just ask myself “How could he do this to me when I was pregnant?”

      It’s very ironic I think. My H says he was drawn to the OW because she met needs that I didn’t. But during his EA, all those needs he needed met were transferred over to me. So while he was out having his needs met, I was at home with 2 children and feeling alone and unloved.

  17. stopwars November 29, 2011 at 6:49 pm #

    I just found this site tonight. It has helped reading through others situations. It’s been six months since D-day for me. The EA has taken its toll on me and has caused me embarrassment also. The OW isn’t as pretty as me. But she is much more educated, tall, athletic. There have been times when I felt below her. The hardest part for me is that she was with my H during his time at war. She was able to take care of him. She was his nurse. I feel that she took advantage of him when he was in a vulnerable position. They share war time stories, experiences. They were almost killed together. I lost a year of life with him. And she was there to take my place. There are days that I truly hate her. There are days when I think of hopping on a plane and flying the 1500 miles to tell her to her face exactly what I think of her.
    Its nice to know that other H’s have been in the fog and that it clears. My H’s fog began to clear a couple of months ago. He is still in communication with the OW, but has a deadline of Dec 6 to end all communication. Here’s to hoping he abides. We are also struggling with the fact that he is suffering from PTSD. The journey will be long for us, but our marriage is also in a better place than it was before the EA. We are more open with one another. I feel safer expressing myself to him. Things are getting better.

    • ifeelsodumb December 2, 2011 at 9:26 am #

      Stopwars…it’s been said that discovering that your H had an affair, whether an emotional or physical one is likened to suffering from PTSD!! So you might want to consider counseling for YOURSELF!! Good luck and I hope the “Fog” clears soon!

  18. Paula November 29, 2011 at 7:08 pm #

    Oh, and Linda and Doug, I meant to say in my first post here, I hope all is well with your daughter, teenagers do cause their own lot of grief from time to time!

  19. Still struggling November 29, 2011 at 7:36 pm #

    So Alone…. I like IFSD have never heard of you either lol… I am not here to judge you or your choices of the past. But I would like to ask you some questions. Now that you have lived the hell and turmoil what are you willing to take away from it? What lesson are you willing to learn about yourself?
    You are human. You are allowed to make mistakes. Having a sick sense of humor (I hope I don’t offend anyone) I have often said that I am making sure that Jesus didn’t die in vain and am committing my fair share of sins.
    Being the wife of a CS I feel that I could forgive the ow if she could admit that she had wronged me. Don’t get me wrong… It is and will always be with me and I could never forget but forgiveness would be possible.
    The last interaction I had with her involved her accusing me of having an affair. She told me how she did no wrong and that she even stood up for me. All the while she was planning a trip to Belize with my husband When she knew I foundout she played it off as if she were soliciting the information for get father. For me this is what pisses me off the most.

    That would be a wonderful step in my healing to know that she acknowledged my pain. I have come to terms that the fact that will never happen. Therefore I cannot forgive. I struggle with that on a daily basis.

    Again I am not here to judge. Just thought maybe this could help with your healing. Admitting your mistake, learning from that mistake, absently everything in your power to preventing a repeat of that mistake.

    • RecoveringMommy November 30, 2011 at 11:28 am #

      Still struggling, in regards to the OW feeling your pain, I completely agree. In my own personal situation, I have forgiven the OW, because I’m called as a Christian to forgive and let God handle her. Although sometimes I have to remind myself of that…lol. But it would be nice to now how she feels. When I see her out in public, she acts as if she did nothing wrong. But you know woman can mask their feelings so I don’t know if she really thinks she did nothing wrong or if it’s just a cover. We were friends previous to this, but thinking about it now, she’s never attempted to contact me and apologize or anything. I guess I think it would make me feel better if I knew she was sorry and regretted hurting me and my family. It’s just hurtful to think that someone I considered a friend was just using me to get to my H.

  20. Still struggling November 29, 2011 at 7:38 pm #

    Lol gotta love autocorrect

    Absently everything should have said and doing everything

  21. tryingtoowife November 30, 2011 at 9:54 am #

    ifeelsodumb
    Tryintoowife,
    Do you know where that is…the article you mentioned? I’d like to read that with my H

    I am sorry IFSD. Came to this site later today. The article I was talking about is here – http://www.emotionalaffair.org/perceptions-of-my-emotional-affair-partner-over-time/
    It gave me and my H a lot to discuss about and gave him a chance to show me how his mind saw the b**ch, while involved and why he decided that he did not want to be with her anymore. Why he changed his mind about her. I wish that at that time I was less angry though and made him feel safer to open a bit more. But I am calmer now, I am learning. So, be calm with your husband because then he will feel safe to open to you, if you can. All the best in your recovery.

    • ifeelsodumb November 30, 2011 at 12:11 pm #

      TY!! Will read it with him tonight!

  22. ifeelsodumb November 30, 2011 at 12:10 pm #

    RecoveringMommy…I understand….my H’s 2 cousins knew ALL about the EA…and never told me about it! In fact, his one cousin was the original go between for my H and the OW in the beginning!
    After he confessed to the EA, he called them to tell them I knew everything, and to also tell them he was sorry for involving them and how ashamed he was….looking back now, I’m not really sure he was ALL THAT SORRY since he was in the fog still, but I was a mad, fire breathing dragon ready to draw blood if he didn’t call them and tell them it was over and he wasn’t going to have anything more to do with them, lol..and yea, they hate me to this day…. like I care!

    But when my H told them they were wrong for their part in everything, (there is a lot more that happened which they were involved in, like I really do believe they set my H up to see the OW again, she was a former GF and great friends with his cousin) and that the should apologize to me, they called me all kinds of vile names, then sent nasty emails to us…real classy ladies, right?
    It’s hard to realize that there are such mean, evil people out there…but it is what it is!! In the months after D Day, I often dwelled on what they had done, how they could hurt me and not care, but now? I could care less about them….they are sad, sad people, living very unhappy lives…so why waste anymore time thinking about them…and the same for the OW, she sent an email also, thanks to the cousins giving her our private email address, telling us she did nothing wrong, and holds her head high…whatever! She is in a unhappy marriage, and MY best revenge is to make MY marriage the best it can be…and that’s what I’m determined to do!

  23. jewel November 30, 2011 at 1:49 pm #

    I wanted everyone to know what he did to me. I think now, maybe i confided in too many people. He does carry shame and guilt. some times i think ‘ good!” then, because i do love him and don’t want him to hurt…I wish he could let go of the shame and guilt. those are emotions that get you no where and I know from my own journey are so difficult to kick out of your head.
    to heal, to forgive, as hard as it feels sometimes, I am beginning to realize the onus is on US, the BSs. My realization is that my H is emotionally crippled and it is time in our relationship for ME to have the strong shoulders, to show by example, to love unconditionally.
    I have no shame, no guilt…it was HIS transgression, not mine.

  24. Broken December 1, 2011 at 9:47 am #

    My husbands OW was a coworker. She is 18 years younger then I am. Very pretty body with huge you know whats and a face like a chicken. There is NO doubt in my mind he liked looking at that…..from the neck down. I am 50 plus and look about 40 but certainly not young anymore. She was going through a divorce because her husband cheated on her….go figure. I guess she wanted to share the joy. My husband told me she always said I never wanted to be the OW. Really?? I hope with all of my heart that she feels shame and embarassment…I hope she is suffering but I highly doubt that she suffers for me. I am sorry but I just dont think there is any excuse EVER for this behavior. No fogs or whatever anyone can think of to console themselves. This was a deliberate act that either you the cheater or your cheating spouse (including mine) carried out. Plain and simple. I use to think of all the reasons it happened to console myself but the bottom line is he made a choice….there was no cloud of smoke around him (fog) he acted upon that choice…he of his own free will lied….kept secrets….risked losing his kids and his whole life. No one made him do it. Now I hope he does feel shame and guilt. Im sorry I dont mean to offend anyone but saying that your husband didnt recognize his affair partner? Thats really hard to believe unless she was an internet affair and he didnt see her in person. Alone. …I have no sympathy for you…you made the same choice my husband did. You deserve all that you are living with right now. We all come to a place in life where we have to make tough choices even if our life is rough, our self esteem lowered, we are going through bad times. We all come to a fork in the road and cheaters willingly choose the wrong fork and then make excuses for it. There is no grey area in cheating its black and white.

    • Notoverit December 4, 2011 at 7:26 am #

      Yeah, seriously Broken. He didn’t recognize her – 13months later. I think that at the time of the EA he was in that “happy fog” and didn’t really look at her. It was with a coworker and he spent a lot of time standing around in the OR halls talking to her. I saw his face and I have known him for 34 years so I could judge shock when I saw it. In his mind, she was prettier, thinner and a lot younger – out of the fog he finally saw what all the rest of us did – a bitter, fat, ugly, older woman. I know you find it hard to believe but it did happen. I think while in the fog their perceptions are so skewed they aren’t “SEEING” things. And I am not making excuses for him. Yes, he did all this and yes he is sorry. Now it is up to both of us to find our way. I just thought it was funny how his perceptions have changed over the last year when he is finally THINKING. I have to get some humor out of this in the midst of so much pain.

  25. Still struggling December 1, 2011 at 3:20 pm #

    Broken. I understand your anger. But wow. Seriously. Is it hard carrying that cross behind you? I don’t think Alone was coming here to look for excuses for her behavior. She had admitted she screwed up and is looking for the insight to grow and become a better person for her mistakes. I am curious how long ago was your Dday? I am sure I felt the same way you do right now in the first couple of weeks post Dday.

    Where I can appreciate your stance and anger. I was there. Now being over 14months post Dday my view are different. You are right there is no excuse for cheating. But that black and white thinking IMHO will get you no where. No one can be that perfect except Christ.

    I don’t think attacking Alone will erase what has happened. Please get yourself some help before you become hopelessly miserable for the rest of your life. You owe that to yourself and everyone you care about.
    It sucks to be on this side but don’t be so quick to judge.
    I will pray for you and your healing.

  26. Broken December 2, 2011 at 7:57 am #

    Still Struggling….thanks for your comments. I am actually 15 months post dday a little longer then you. I am not angry I am a realist. I beleive in accepting responsibility for my own behavior and expect others to do so as well. In todays society it is acceptable to think of every kind of excuse possible for bad behavior and I simply dont believe that. I dont believe people walk around in a fog…thats like saying I did it because of the alcohol. We all have choices….you get married you vow to love someone and honor them until you die not until you are having a bad day and decides to cheat on them. Thats BS. As far as alone goes she made a choice….she is no better or worse then my own husband and they both destroyed many lives the least of their own spouses so no I have no sympathy for either one of them, Thats just how I feel….doesnt make me some sick angry person. Cheating to me is a black and white issue…no grey areas.

    • ifeelsodumb December 2, 2011 at 9:33 am #

      I agree Broken….they WEREN’T in “the Fog” in the first few days of the EA…they willing walked into it, eyes wide open! My H’s cousin even warned him, “You know you’re heading towards a train wreck if your wife finds out”? and he DIDN’T CARE!!! So yes, while I believe that during the EA they can get into a place where they think of no one but themselves, and they act totally different then they normally would, in the beginning, they HAD to know it was wrong, and they just didn’t care!

    • Anita December 3, 2011 at 10:10 am #

      Broken,
      I can only speak from my own experience here. I divorced a few years ago and I have had a long time to reflect on why my own marriage didn’t work. My ex husband also had a full blown affair with a coworker. I am now in the process of getting the marriage annuled and I have been writing on our past history,
      starting with our courtship and ending with post divorce. Through all my writing of our history, it became clear we married for the wrong reasons. A few years ago, my pastor
      asked me, if my ex husband and I married freely, without something pressuring us to marry. We married because of a pregnancy. Had our courtship been allowed to progress on its own, I know now, we wouldn’t have married.
      Cheating should never happen in a marriage, but when it does,
      its a true revealation something is really wrong, there is a deep
      reason why cheating happens, for each couple the reason will be different. When a spouse becomes involved in a affair, they are fully aware it could end their marriage, but they do it anyway. Its important to focus on why your spouse cheated, its not the about the other person who was/is involved with your spouse. Its about why they wanted to be involved with someone else, knowing it could end your marriage.
      What about the future?
      For me our marriaged ended in divorce, because we should have never married to begin with. My ex husband cheated because he didn’t want to be in a marriage, in the first place.
      Even though we thought getting married because of a pregnancy was a good reason and we did love each other. In the end it wasn’t the right reason, and we were both very young, and didn’t have the maturity in picking the right marriage partner. However, we ended up with beautiful children, that are so wonderful.
      I no longer blame myself or my ex husband for the demise of our marriage. Instead I see it as experience that happened,
      in one of the chapters, of my life.

      • Anita December 3, 2011 at 4:29 pm #

        I also wanted to add more to my above post.
        Because I have to answers questions and write about my marriage, in order for me to get my marriage annulment, I now have a greater understanding, of why my marriage didn’t
        work out. It has brought me into a deeper level of healing.
        I will be glad when my part of it is done, because I am ready to
        put it all behind me and just live again.
        Linda and Doug thanks again for your site. I may need it a few more times until I’m finished with my part of the annulment.

  27. csg December 2, 2011 at 1:36 pm #

    My H tells me he “didn’t realize what he was doing was that wrong, they just started out by talking and being friends”…however, when I point out that he lied about meeting her secretly and then carrying on an 18month e-mail, text and phone EA, he admits he knew it was turning into more and was hurtful to both me and her spouse.

    It’s 2 months since D-Day, and I find that now to add to my sense of betrayal and heartbreak…I also feel very conflicted about my feelings of forgiveness. On one hand, I know we cannot ever move forward unless I put this behind me, and it’s not healthy for me. On the other hand, I feel like I have always been the peacemaker and non-confrontational one in our marriage (almost 30 yrs), so shouldn’t I finally take a stand and get a backbone? I find myself settling into the “new normal” at times, but then suddenly I get mad at myself for making it so easy for him. Anyone else feel like this?

    • Broken December 2, 2011 at 3:35 pm #

      I heard that one too. I also heard he was thinking about “breaking it off” before I found out soooo if he didn’t think he was doing anything wrong then whats to “break off”. Bunch of excuses. One thing I found extremely ironic and a pattern of guilt with my husband was I went back and looked at out phone records and EVERYTIME he called her or she called him ….immediately after he would call me. SO I know he was feeling guilty. If we are not doing anything wrong nothing to feel guilty about.

      • Bewildered December 2, 2011 at 3:54 pm #

        My cheating husband told me he told her time after time she couldn’t call him as much….after careful examination of the phone bills each and every month, it was him with waaayyyy more phone calls than her. Just disgusting that we even entertain rationalizing their stupid excuses and lies.

      • Notoverit December 4, 2011 at 7:32 am #

        Just a thought Broken. My therapist differentiated between what women see as an affair and what men see as an affair. To women, it’s the emotional aspect, the betrayal of feelings and love; to men, it’s only an affair if sex is involved. My husband has said time and time again (okay, another “excuse”) that he didn’t think it was bad because there was no sex. Yeah, he did know what he was doing was wrong, but it seemed to be less to him because he hadn’t crossed the sex line. I know it runs around in your head – he knew it was wrong and he still did it. But, at some point when all this broke open, he realized how badly he had betrayed me just with talking and texting. Now he sees the boundaries. Better late than never, I guess. I just have to pick up the pieces and try again.

        • Broken December 4, 2011 at 10:37 am #

          I have heard that too. I appreciate your input but like I said I have a hard time with all of the excuses. If that were true and they really didn’t see it as wrong then the same would hold true for woman. We all know if you and I were to secretly text and make phone calls to another man and no sex involved we would know it was wrong and we wouldn’t do it. So I just feel its another excuse for someone to justify their behavior. My husband said the same thing….he didnt realize it was wrong. Really? Sneaking and lying and we dont realize its wrong….NOT.

          I’m not you and I dont know your husband and maybe he didn’t know the OW at the restaurant but I can tell you if my husband said that I would laugh in his face. Even though we have come along way he will never have my full trust again because he lied to me for 18 months. Looked at me straight in the face and lied and I too thought I knew him after 38 years. I said I would know if he ever lied to me again but guess what he lied again right in front of me when the OW called him in our car and he said she had never called before but she had…a few weeks before. So be careful…once a lier always a lier.

    • Bewildered December 2, 2011 at 3:56 pm #

      I feel your pain…my husband carried on with his trainwreck friend for our entire 20 year marriage – tlak aout something feeling like a complete farse now.

    • ifeelsodumb December 4, 2011 at 2:55 pm #

      YES csg!! I KNOW I have to forgive…I KNOW I WANT to forgive…but forgiving him almost seems to be the easy way out, like I’m letting HIM off the hook, while I’m still hurting so badly!! I have looked at myself and my motives, and over the first several months, I’ve wanted him to suffer… A LOT! It was the only way I felt that he could even have a glimpse of what he has put me through.
      I’m past that now, 11 mos after DDAY, but I also have come to realize that forgiveness IS a process, and I have to do it in my own time, not his!
      I also know know that when he did this to me 23 yrs ago, I forgave too quickly! He was in the military, overseas for 1 yr, and within the first few months of being gone, he started hanging out with a girl who was also stationed there…I found out after he came home, when she sent him a letter, telling him she missed him! He swore nothing happened, and I chose to believe him!
      I now realize that I forgave him to quickly, and I went to counseling…not him! I was put on meds for depression..not him! How crazy was that??
      I just recently asked him if before, during and after the EA, did he ever think about what he did to me 23 yrs ago, how hurt I was, and how he promised to never do that again…and he said NO!!
      I think that there is something very telling about that…I now realize I forgave him to quickly, never really talked about it anymore, and I think that by doing this, he didn’t feel the pain of his actions, he didn’t suffer the consequences, so he did it again when the opportunity presented itself, with no thoughts about how this would affect me or my children!
      So now I struggle with forgiving him so quickly this time, because I WANT and NEED for him to feel pain, to be ashamed, to NEVER want to do this again! He does know this…the third time WILL NOT be the charm…he is OUT the door! No more excuses, this marriage is over, even though I love him and want to finish raising our younger children together…but I can’t and won’t go through this again! No man is worth this pain!
      So I would tell you, csg, don’t rush it, do what feels right for YOU!! There ARE consequences for adultery…and your H has to experience the consequences so he will NEVER do this again!

  28. Bewildered December 2, 2011 at 2:12 pm #

    7 months post 2 d-days….if you want to talk about embarassment and shame try going to marriage counseling and having Mr. Affair Fog forget to show up. Then the following week book a doctors appointment on our next session, lie to me saying it was the only appointment available and then have me find out that wasn’t true. This is after a voice mail (which I saved) begging me not to give up on us. At what point do we just throw in the towel if some sincere effort is not made? I am thinking either Jan 1 to start the new year off on a different note or the anniversary of D-day which gives him a little more time (god only knows why I would be considerate at this point)….

    • ifeelsodumb December 4, 2011 at 3:06 pm #

      I’m sorry you’re going through this, Bewildered…just go to counseling for YOU…if he doesn’t show up, use the time to help you accept that he might never become the man you want him to be…but do know this…I’m 11 1/2 mos past DDAY…and my H is JUST now starting to open up more.
      As far as I know, and I’ve checked, he DID break off all contact with the OW as soon as I found out…but he dragged his feet in helping to repair our marriage…and that hurt almost as much as me finding out about the OW….if this man of mine loves me like he says he does…why doesn’t he do more to help me? THAT has been my question for months now…So we start counseling in Jan. I’m not doing this alone anymore…he has to “OWN” this…he did it, it’s HIS and he needs to see that!

  29. csg December 4, 2011 at 8:28 pm #

    So this seems.to be the biggest stumbling block right now…making my H understand that even if he honestly didnt see this in the beginning as anything more than a friendship, he still knew he was lying, going against my wishes and sneaking around…how is that okay? I should mention that I just caught him in another lie…EA lasted 18 mos…I Found love letter from her on d day calling him “baby”, claiming unending love, etc.. I asked him if that was always how she talked, he said she never did before..I just found more emails with same words, his reason for not admitting it was he didnt want to cause any more pain.

  30. Disappointed June 13, 2012 at 10:57 pm #

    I am very ashamed and humiliated 7 months later. I believe the OW told at least 3 of our mutual friends not alone about the affair but that my H walked out on me following D-day. One friend was supportive – the one I knew least well said how sorry she was and that I deserved better. The one I knew the best said it just happened and excused it. The third I believe knows because of the sad look in his eye and the hug he gave me after seeing for the first time in months. I did nothing wrong. I have decided that if we ultimately divorce that I will tell whomever I please. My H’s alone concern on D day was protecting her because she was innocent. In retrospect I should have realized what was about to happen but I trusted them and it never occurred to me to worry. I know that this really had nothing to do with me, and everything to do with their emptiness as people. But I still feel ashamed and embarrassed that the world will know that I was just thrown away. NC for them, but H still living separately.

  31. Gizfield July 13, 2012 at 9:43 pm #

    It’s ironic I read this post today because a lot if it is about your own appearance versus the other person. I went on a trip to an amusement park yesterday with children from church yesterday and left my phone at home. No texting, no internet, no calls, just time to think. Well as much as you can in a van full of children, lol. I was looking at my drivers license and noticed that the date it was issued was almost the exact time when my husband began contact with his tramp. I looked at the picture with a different perspective. Was I so fat, ugly, disgusting, whatever that I CAUSED him to seek out another woman? That would be a big NO! I saw a fairly pretty, slightly overweight, 50 year old woman. Definitely good enough for him, as he is attractive but no Mr. America himself, lol. His girlfriend is in her mid forties so I doubt Hollywood is beating her door down either. I met her a couple of times, the latest about 7 or 8 years ago, and was not that impressed. Kind of reminded me of myself as we are the same general type , skinny (used to be), long blond hair, glasses. Must be his “type”…

  32. Gizfield July 13, 2012 at 10:05 pm #

    On the topic, I dont feel shame or embarrassment about what my husband and the OW did because I DID NOT do anything wrong! Whatever situation I have been in I did the best I could and I know that they did NOT! Ugh, disgusting behavior. Glad they could convince themselves they did nothing wrong because they are the only ones convinced, lol.

  33. Disappointed July 14, 2012 at 7:31 am #

    I feel ashamed, embarassed and humiliated because he chose her over me. I think if she was available (NC since 2 days post d-day) he would still choose her. We were outwith friends and the topic of whats your type came up. My H said used to be blondes, but as I’ve gotten older I lke brunettes. I have medium to light brown hair but he always called me blonde. It was too much for me and I made one of the few innuendoed comments I have made since this all started “you dont say”. Then I said my hair is lighter than hers and he sid no yur hair is the same color. For some reason it really irks me that he said mine is same as yours and especially that he did not say her hair is same as yours. He measured me by her and I came first in his life and I am older by 7 years which also stings. In my head I know I should not be ashamed, that I did nothing wrong, but my heart aches and feels a distant second if even that. She has not been an actual part of this in 8 months… She chose her family and said NC. My H still has her in his head, calling her his soul mate. And that is the most humiliating of all.

  34. Gizfield July 14, 2012 at 10:58 am #

    Disappointed, it is easy for a person to think they would choose someone til they actually have to DO it. your husband probably knows this would not work out his liking if they were together. It’s easy to think someone is your “soulmate” when they are showing you what they want you to see and telling you what you want to hear. I had a relationship like that once, I wanted to be with this guy if he were the way he was projected in my mind but I actually KNEW he was a lying , cheating sack of shit, lol. He would have been cheating on me before the sun went down, and I knew it. they’ re exes for a reason.

  35. resa October 7, 2013 at 6:29 pm #

    I’ve cheated on my husband. He wwould physically put his hands on me and call me namesI was very argumentive and it all got out of hand at times. I had enough and met another man. We both realized our faults but we are to this day trying to work on things. I am now a Buddhist and we don’t fight like that anymore. I do continue to feel bad to this day.everyone knows..everyone. and its been 3years I still feel ashamed relationships with those other ppl are not the same….

  36. SoSorry July 27, 2015 at 7:59 pm #

    I cheated on my husband two years ago and I am still ashamed. I have come clean to him and we’ve been working in things ever since. He has been very surprisingly forgiving which only made my guilt worse at first. The OM was someone I had known a very long time and had a very long but confusing relationship with in our past. The affair started because my H and his exW’s relationship had always left our relationship complicated. They had gone to lunch to gain closure from their divorce and I had wanted to gain closure on my former situation with the OM and all I succeeded in doing was making things worse. I am very remorseful for what happened because I hurt two people that I had cared about. I ended the affair rather quickly and immediately told my husband because I couldn’t live with the secrecy and hiding. The OM was trying to teach me how to hide our affair but I frankly didn’t want to learn. As much as I cared for him because of our history I knew that I couldn’t go through with doing this to my H. I had initially hoped to remain friends with the OM given our old friendship but have learned that it isn’t going to be possible without feeling like the wound is fresh every time and out of fear that it could happen again. I do care for him and think the best thing is for him to find his happiness elsewhere and move on. My H and I have talks about it from time to time and his capacity for forgiving me has helped my emotional wounds to heal as well as made me want to be a better woman for him and to him. I am eternally grateful that this man loves me and continues to. I feel a lot of shame and remorse and very often but am praying that in time we will look back at this as just one of many chapters in our life together.

  37. Stephanie April 28, 2016 at 12:58 pm #

    I am in touch from a television production company called Knickerbockerglory, please do take a look at our website – http://www.knickerbockerglory.tv. We are currently working on a sensitive, stylish documentary for one of our major broadcasters here in the UK, to explore and understand the reality of infidelity in modern Britain.

    The documentary explores the issues in relationships, and aims to give a non-judgemental platform to those who have been involved in relationship complications, giving people the opportunity to speak openly about their relationship experiences in their own words.

    We are excited to hear real stories from those who have lived them, hearing first hand the different journeys that individuals have been on as they have lived out their relationship.

    If anyone is interested in hearing more about the documentary, or is keen to be involved please call Stephanie on 020 8740 6300.

    Thank you so much.

    Kindest regards,

    Stephanie

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