Denying an Affair

denying an affairThe other day while Doug was searching for content to add to the Higher Healing area, I was momentarily looking over his shoulder at an article he was reviewing that dealt with denial.

The article wasn’t solely about denying an affair but more so the denial of inappropriate behavior by one’s partner in general.

It briefly made me recall all of the denials that I had to endure even though all the signs and the evidence indicated that Doug was having an affair. 

As long as there is denial there can be no acceptance of responsibility by the cheater.  And with no acceptance of responsibility, there can be no healing or recovering.  You just end up spinning your wheels.

The following article by Bill Herring, LCSW, CSAT touches on his four types of denial that you’re likely to encounter when confronting your spouse about any sort of inappropriate behavior and/or affair.  His ideas can also be helpful as you learn of further details of the affair and the typical denial that occurs during those conversations as well.

The Four Denials Of Responsibility

If you’ve ever been significantly mistreated by another person (and who hasn’t?) you may decide at some point to confront that person for their inappropriate behavior. This can be an important step to reclaim the sense of personal power you may have felt you lost through their actions. Examples can range from as serious a situation as confronting a parent who abused you when you were a child to letting a co-worker know how his or her actions bothered you. However, in any such confrontation it’s important that you not set yourself up for further damage to your self-esteem. This is where knowing about the “Four Denials” can be very useful.

The four denials are typical responses that you may get from someone you confront for past inappropriate behavior. They are common barriers that prevent people from fully accepting responsibility for their actions. I think I remember first coming upon this concept in the book “The Courage To Heal” by Ellen Bass and Laura Davis. If you are not prepared for these denials you may be feel frustrated rather than relieved after your confrontation.

(1) The first denial is the “denial of fact”. This is the person’s refusal to acknowledge that an inappropriate act even occurred. He or she is likely to say such things as “it never happened, you’re wrong, your allegation is not true.” So the first level of acceptance is for the person to acknowledge that the problem is a real one.

(2) The second denial is “denial of impact”. This is the attempt by the person you confront to minimize the importance of the event you are bringing to their attention. At this stage a person is likely to make statements such as “it’s no big deal”, “don’t be so sensitive”, “you’re making a mountain out of a molehill.” These are all examples of how a person may downplay the importance of the problem he or she caused. The second level of acceptance is for the person to admit that the problem or infraction not only exists but that it is serious.

(3) The third denial is “denial of accountability”. This is an attempt to avoid responsibility for a misdeed through some sort of extenuating circumstance that was seemingly out of the person’s control. “I was stressed out”, “I had too much to drink”, “I was in a bad mood” are all examples attempts to deny responsibility for the problem. Sometimes the person will even try to blame the victim by saying you brought the damage on yourself, i.e. “You made me hit you”. The third level of acceptance is for the person to assume full responsibility for the damaging action.

(4) The last type of denial is what I call “denial of change.” It takes the form of refusing to acknowledge the possibility of making amends about the situation in question. “That was in the past so there’s no point in bringing it up”, “That’s just the way I am”, “Nobody’s perfect” are all examples of how a person can try to duck responsibility for making things better. The fourth level of acceptance is for the person to actively demonstrate remorse and a desire to heal through words and actions.

To summarize, denial of fact says that the offense in question never happened, denial of impact trivializes the consequences of the abusive action, denial of responsibility uses some extenuating circumstance to excuse the behavior, and denial of change professes that nothing can be done about it anyway.

Put this all together and you are likely to hear some version of the following four denials from a person you confront: “It didn’t happen like that, it’s no big deal anyway, it wasn’t even my fault and besides there’s nothing that can be done about it.”

By contrast, a person taking full responsibility says some version of these words: “I admit the event happened. I agree it was a big deal with serious consequences. No matter what extenuating circumstances were going on at the time, I bear ultimate responsibility for my behavior. Regardless of how bad or how long ago it was, there are steps I am willing to take to help you heal.”

So it’s easy to see that there are a lot of ways to engage in denial but only one way to fully accept responsibility. It reminds me of the famous line of Tolstoy that “all happy families resemble one another, each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” There are many ways to get it wrong, but only one way to really get it right. No wonder so many people struggle with accepting accountability for the problems in their life! It takes a lot of emotional strength to do so.

The key for you is to be clear in your mind that these four denials are not up for debate. It can’t be crucial to you whether or not the person you confront admits “it did indeed happen, it’s a big deal, I accept responsibility for it and I want to make it better.” To think or hope otherwise is to risk setting yourself up for further pain and disappointment. Settle these issues in your own mind before bringing it up for discussion. You know what you know, and your only task is to affirm it to yourself and the other person. The rest is gravy, nice if you get it but not crucial if you don’t.

Continued denial in the face of damning evidence is incredibly frustrating.  It makes you want to pull your hair out.  As the author suggests, denial is just a barrier to accepting responsibility.  Or put another way…Denial is a defense mechanism that serves to protect the ego from things that the individual cannot cope with.

So, after reading this do you feel that you encountered (or used, if a cheater) any of the denial tactics that Mr. Herring details?  If so, how did you handle it?  We’d also be curious to know if the denials continued even though there was seemingly insurmountable evidence to the contrary.

For more information on denial, you might want to check out this short video (less than 4 minutes)

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71 Responses to Denying an Affair

  1. livingonafence August 2, 2013 at 6:28 am #

    haha, great article. I could write a book on each of these stages. I bet most here can. So sad…

    • Blue August 2, 2013 at 10:26 am #

      I’m with you on that one LOAF. My husband kept denying and actually yelling at me that nothing more happened than hugging, well then kissing. I didn’t know what stonewalling was at the time, but that was his favourite defence.
      I think after all the lies, deciet, betrayal and disrespect aimed against me and our marraige during the Unffair, the least he could do was give me the truth. Unfortunately he was a coward and it took 1 1/2 yrs for most of the truths to come. I think this is the hardest part for me to overcome, like many others. We’re supposed to (and told to) put the past in the past, but his cowardness, creepiness haunt me to this day.

      But, I chose to stay. There was no gun to my head. I felt it was the least I could do for my kids. I thought I had to try my very best to try and save my marraige and hold the vows I made to him. If I realize I cannot be a better person with him, I will leave. We are both trying and making changes within ourselves to meet each others needs, but it’s a long hard battle.

      It hurts still that he used to say ‘I love you so much, I never loved OW, I’ll be faithful and never cheat on you again, BUT if you don’t get over it in say 2 yrs….’
      I said ‘Your BUT just undid everything good you said. My BUT is if she’s ever back in our life in any way, or anyone like her, I will leave.’ And Guess what?! She may be assigned to work with him soon. Our options are horrible right now. The one good thing is we are panicking together, as a team and he has never been so sorry for betraying me and says over and over ‘I wish I had never got involved with OW, she was so NOT worth it!’
      I said “I love you, I am still here because I love you and us BUT….I just don’t know how this will all affect me, so I guess we’ll just see how things go’

  2. Leslie August 2, 2013 at 7:09 am #

    I can so relate to this article. Funny actually, I just checked my email as I took a break from writing about all my current frustrations with my husband and his continual denial and blame 8 months later (after an intense emotional affair with a co-worker with whom he is directly involved with on a daily basis {and sit 2 feet from each other} at work every day. He is her boss).
    One thing I didn’t understand from the article, is it saying you need to have these things from your spouse (that cheated) in order to move forward or is not crucial. Points 3 and 4 are spot on in my situation. I am feeling at the end of my rope, especially as he continues to minimize it and they still work together side by side every day (and she’s still in love with him). On the surface they keep it ‘strictly business’ but I can’t imagine there isn’t unspoken energy in the air. As adamantly as he denies this I just can’t accept that it’s true.
    This is my high school sweetheart. Weve been together since we were 17, we both just turned 40. We have 2 young daughters. I get physically ill at the thought of tearing apart our family. But I feel stuck as long as he denies he’s done anything “that bad”. And because I haven’t been that attentive of a wife and have dealt with some anxiety since I have had kids, it left him miserable and therefore he’s not to be blamed. He’s sorry that what he did hurt me. He never intended to hurt me. But I do not believe he is sorry for what he did. I need him to be sorry for what he did regardless of my reaction. Is that unrealistic? We are 8 months out, she is still in the picture although they don’t engage personally anymore (there’s got to be a huge elephant in that office tho!). He just wants to move forward yet he was clearly very unhappy before this happened and since he won’t own any of this he’s not addressing or working on any issues of his own. I feel so stuck yet I know I am not ready to think about a life without him but I can’t have a life with him at this point. I am lost. Any advice, comments at all are very welcome. thank you again for all your wonderful articles. So many hit home. I just wish my husband had Doug’s conscience!

    • overwhelmed August 2, 2013 at 9:26 am #

      Leslie, I can certainly feel your pain. My W is living with Om and denies any blame whatsoever to the point that in our last counseling session, she left in fury due to the truths the counselor was telling her. We too have two young children and witnessing the denial that this is causing them pain is heartbreaking to say the least.

      • Blue August 2, 2013 at 10:37 am #

        Overwhelmed, Your wife has sure taken the perverbial devil’s soul. The fact she shows little remorse, the fact she won’t stop with the OM for a period of time to at least work on your family shows such a cruel selfish streak it is mindboggling. Just so hung up on just themselves and in denial at who they are traumatizing. There will always be people like this, but then again, there will always be people that are NOT like this. I think we have found a bunch right here! And for that I am grateful!

    • Blue August 2, 2013 at 10:49 am #

      Nothing personal Doug, but I think it took Doug a while to get a conscience for the pain he was inducing on Linda, thier family and thier marraige. Linda did an enormous amount of research and self reflecting too, she never asked for it to be served on a silver platter. The bottom line is for a marriage to thrive it needs a lot of work from BOTH partners. I think they both continue proving this to each other every day and that’s why they are getting through this.

      • Blue August 2, 2013 at 10:51 am #

        oops, I wanted this to reply to Leslie.

      • Doug August 2, 2013 at 11:00 am #

        No arguments from me Blue! You’re spot on.

    • Paula August 2, 2013 at 5:16 pm #

      Leslie, I believe what you said above, is right, in order for healing to begin properly, there has to be acceptance, repentance, and a stop to the denials. But, this can take quite a long time, I think especially in EA cases ( in mine, it was a long sexual one.) Some never get there. I think, in my case, it took until I asked him to leave, permanently. We had two prior separations, but I think, in retrospect, I may have been obvious in letting him know that I was desperately in love with him, and that I was never going to be able to let him go? That looks too easy, huh! When I kicked him out the third time, it was almost exactly two years in. He had done a lot of healing, we had a lot of good counselling, and he was on the way to this place of complete remorse, etc. But when I said, “I don’t want you anymore, and even better, I don’t need you anymore, I still love you, but you need to go, forever. I am done. I need sanity and to feel safe, more than I need your tainted love.” That night he bawled his eyes out, and apparently quite often at night for the next few months. He finally GOT it, fully. He was banished (that is his word) and it was all his own selfish fault. It is good if they get there without the drama of the sword of damacles hanging over them. But sometimes, they don’t realise what they screwed up, until it is (almost) too late. As he said to me around 4am this morning, “I have done a lot of dumb things in the past, but there is only one moment I wish I could rewind to, and do again, choosing differently. All the others were things I learnt from, and I don’t really ‘regret’ as such, I have learnt from this, too, by my God, I regret the pain and suffering I caused.” I guess he had to feel a similar level of pain? (But, guess what, it is NOT EVEN CLOSE!)

  3. EyesOpened August 2, 2013 at 6:10 pm #

    I was in denial at the beginning as to how much my affair would hurt my h and the OM’s w. Leslie – your story is similar to the terrible scenario I created and I can only imagine the pain and anxiety you must experience every day. I will ask you though – how do you know the OW is still ‘in love’ with your h?

  4. EyesOpened August 2, 2013 at 6:39 pm #

    For those not familiar with my affair – I have only just been able to leave the job I worked in for 9 months after d-day – where I had to work in the same office as my AP. it has been the worst, most distressing, stressful and disturbing months of my entire life. Karma really has bitten me on the arse. My AP, who refused to work or communicate with me on a professional level after the affair, chose to call me in on my last day ( having had no contact in spite of being integral to me being able to do my job, for 4 months). He (quite rightly) explained that he had never loved me, that he loved the way I made him feel and that he was sick and had low self esteem – he said he fell for my flattery but that it was not ALL my fault!!!!! I explained that I understood and have reached the same level of awareness and thanked him for telling me. What shocked me though is that he appeared to be under the impression that I would be surprised and I felt HE was under the misapprehension that I still had feelings for him. In hindsight – I think it was a ‘ I have never loved you, do not love you and never will love you’ speech that he and his wife agreed he would present to make it very clear on my last day.

    I am sharing this because it is important you know that there are CS’s who do do the right thing ‘out of sight’ in the end. There were no emotional exchanges, and I believe he delivered the message exactly as was intended. All I could think of was his wife and the pain and hurt I’d caused and I wanted to get out of that room as quickly as possible.

    And Leslie – your h may feel that she still loves him – but she may have moved on. You are an amazingly strong person to deal with that situation – and I so hope you get the apology and love you truly deserve.

    • WoundedHeart August 6, 2013 at 9:26 am #

      EyesOpened – during your affair, did you express the “I love yous” thinking they were real? When did you realize that it wasn’t real love?

      My situation is that my wife and I are presently separated. She wants to leave to be with the OM at this point. I have been in contact with the OM W who had just had twins in June. The OM’s wife and I are trying to save our respective marriages. I am sure my wife believes the AP is making her happy. But in truth, I believe she is just running away from her problems looking for a short term relief. Most of her family believes this as well. It seems that I need to patiently wait to see where the chips lie.

  5. Leslie August 2, 2013 at 9:13 pm #

    First of all, i am so grateful for all of your replies. I am not one who usually reaches out this way as I have the distorted belief that I am greatly overreacting. Ive got a whole team of unsupporting people that I can’t seem to get away from. My mom, dad and brother, none of who will accept that this is none of their business, are dumbfounded that I haven’t gotten over it yet. A few months ago my H went to my father (i didnt know until after and my H knew I absoolutely did not want my parents involved as I have enough issues with the

  6. Leslie August 2, 2013 at 11:01 pm #

    their controlling behavior) my H said he had no one to talk to (his father is not alive) and needed a man to man. So he told my Dad the whole story (my H’s version) and my Dad told him he was sad for us and sorry that this was happening between us, then he said he knew my H had been unhappy for years (i didnt even know) and reminded my H that he (my dad) had warned me in a letter he wrote me years ago that my husband would eventually leave me if I didnt lose weight (cringe).

    I have dealt with that letter and its a whole other topic. My long winded point is I have my over involved parents supporting my husband in his desire to move forward.

    The problem, like I said before, is my H is not remorseful nor empathetic (he’s been very empathetic towards the OW). He has maintained all along that he now knows he should have never opened that door with her but he had shut down here (he never said a word) and felt really worn out and felt he had done everything he could to make life better between us (again i had no idea he was that unhappy. And he does admit now that he really didnt do anything to try and make it better here). He said on his 39th birthday (we both recently turned 40) he said to himself “f*#k it, im out of here (emotionally). He realized this was as good as it was gng to get between us so he was going to find joy and fun elsewhere. He has said that decision was not abt her altho they were spending a lot of time together, with other co-workers (all in their mid 20′s with no kids) going out after work.

    A huge part of his MO is he swears he has never lied. He was always honest abt going out for drinks, etc after work. But he always explained it as a work thing he needed to do. They all worked so hard as a team together and their team motto was ‘work hard, play hard’ and this social stuff was just the necessary play hard piece and as a boss he wanted to support it. Plus it was a nice way to end a hard day or week. i have since learned this was his social lifeline and he loved nothing more than hanging out with this group. He is 15 years older than most of them but that made him even cooler (in his mind) He said he felt alive. Like he was 25 again. I think she was his partner in crime in a way in the beginning. He said they were developing an amazing friendship and had so much in common they could hardly believe it. They were buddies and became best friends. During all this time tho he never came home and told me a single story abt his evenings. So he didnt technically ever lie, he just never shared more than the pragmatical facts. He is still proud of his honesty back then. He focuses heavily on the fact that he never overtly mislead or lied. He still says and i think believes, he didnt realize what he was doing at the time. He was simply living in the moment and having fun.

    I learned these details after the fact when I insisted on more than factual information. He believes while he sees now that it was probably selfish of him. he wasnt trying to
    hurt me. And since I didnt seem interested in going out like that (i was a 39 SAHM w/ a 4 and 7 year old) what was he gonna do? He needed to live and this was the only way considering how deficiant id become in being able to find happiness (wtf).

    Aside from dealing with the life altering pain I was feeling, I spent the better part of 8 months being so angry at him for not speaking up but even angrier at myself for being such a failure as a wife. Not anymore tho.

    Why I am writng all of this, and I thank anyone who is still reading this post, is I am at a crossroads.

    Someone (i cant remember name off top of my heard-my apologies) asked how I knew the OW was still in love with him. About a month ago this came to a head at work. His boss asked him what was going on. He told her everything. His office was finally moved to a different floor and she no longer reports to him. This is easier to stomach but its a small company and their jobs still mesh daily.

    The day of the transition he had to have a meeting with her to go over the new reporting structure. He assured me it was going to be a strictly professional meeting. In fact they didnt want her to know the real reason for the change. Their meeting ended up turning personal and they had a “closure” conversation in which he confirmed he was committed to working on his marriage and there was no chance of anything between them. I guess she was upset and said she was still in love with him and had no idea how she was going to find closure.

    And according to him, that was that. End of story. Even tho they co-exist together everyday knowing she’s still in love with him. My problem is he feels bad that i got hurt but he shows no remorse. And when I challenge him on some things abt this he’s still very defensive and justifies what he did.

    He does say he should have done differently but he has an attitude of ‘oh well, forgive and forget and move on’. I dont feel like thats enough. His whole reason this happened in the first place is because he was so unhappy. And besides handling it poorly he doesnt see where HE has any work to do. He feels like since he has said it was crappy of him to do that and he was honest abt why it happened (that i made him miserable) that should be enough.

    I have been working diligently on the things abt me that he was unhappy with, not bc I want to fix it for him, but bc I own my role in our marriage coming unglued and I wasnt happy with myself and how my anxiety so deeply effected my quality of life and I want to change that for myself. So i can feel happy. And Ive come a long way. Altho still so unbelievably heartbroken, life is good. I’m happy. My kids are happy. This was probably the kick in the tush I needed.

    But I cant put my finger on it to find the words to explain this anger I have for him. He says hes sorry and he just wants me to open my heart again so we can see what we can be together. But I cant. I will try and then I freeze. Maybe its bc i have realized his focus has always been on how my struggles to find confidence as a new mom affected him. Not ever taking the focus off himself so he could see what was happening with me. It just got in the way of his happiness. Im not sure that has changed and looking back he has done that to some degree for years.

    He sees my points now and feels bad but i dont think he believes he was wrong. He thinks we both made mistakes so lets move on. Life is short.

    I want to more than anything but something stops me everytime I try. What is wrong with me?

    • exercisegrace August 5, 2013 at 2:03 pm #

      Leslie, I am so sorry you have to deal with this. My concern is this: if your husband refuses to acknowledge that he cheated, or even that it was “that bad”, how does he expect things between the two of you to get better? My husband’s affair went from an EA to a PA for nearly those reasons. He loved the attention, the adoration and he loved how she made him feel about himself. He admits NOW that as long as nothing physical had happened, he was easily able to fool himself into believing it was not cheating. That they were just friends and colleagues and there was nothing wrong with that. Until of course, there was.

      After he ended the affair, they continued to work together for a year. While nothing physical happened (and I still knew nothing at this point, only suspected) she never gave up hope and did everything she could to get him back into the affair. It created a very unhealthy environment. He tried to ignore her, but I think he was still influenced by their conversations and the relationship they had had. It wasn’t until she was truly out of his life and there was no contact that he was able to come out of the fog, and own up to what he had done. It took months away from her, even though the affair had ended over a year past, for him to begin to be himself again. Even to this day he will make the odd stupid comment, such as…..it wasn’t “all bad”, because they DID work together and most of their time was spent working. Really? We discussed that one in therapy!! Which I highly recommend!

      You need him free from her adoring gaze, so there is no temptation for comparison. No waiting, sympathetic ear when you have bumps in the road.

    • forcryin'outloud August 5, 2013 at 7:21 pm #

      Leslie – Your words, “He says hes sorry and he just wants me to open my heart again so we can see what we can be together.” That’s how my H has dealt with most of this affair crisis and I can say 3 yrs post d-day that is their way of minimizing the trauma they have caused. I believe cheaters are people who not only know how to self soothe but have affect issues from their formative years. I was the person who suggested “Getting the love you want” by Hendrix to EO. It was the first book I read at our counselors suggestion and can say without a doubt it gave me the foundation to understand my H’s issues as well as mine within the marriage. It’s a book to glean some perception on our flawed self and the effects it has on others. It may help you begin a foundation of understanding for your own self at the least. And DON’T take any blame for the cheating, that was his choice. Everyone has marriage issues, he should have communicated those to you like all the CSs should have done.

  7. BAM August 3, 2013 at 1:07 pm #

    Leslie,
    I think you are taking too much of the blame for his EA. When we marry it is for better or worse. I know this sounds corny but it is true. If he was unhappy, he should have spoken up. My H also wanted to feel young again. He was turning 60 and this 30 yr old women decided he was very interesting. Most of their communication was texting, email and phone. My H did take full responsibility for the EA and is done with her. Of course I still feel betrayed and do not trust him, but we are going to a marriage counselor that is helping immensely.
    It takes 5 years to gain trust in the person who hurt you. If your H does not take responsibility for what he has done, he needs to. Have you tried counseling? Marriage is like a farming, you need to get up everyday and work on it. That is what my H and I are doing. Everyday, working on communication and our love for one another. We have been married for 25 years and I was not going to give that up as long as he takes responsibility and works WITH me on our marriage. Good luck.
    Barbara

  8. livingonafence August 5, 2013 at 12:17 pm #

    Leslie, I’m going to be blunt. Your husband is a selfish asshole. He’s blaming you to avoid looking at himself, his poor communication skills, and his selfish thought process. Until he faces some real consequences for his actions, he’s going to keep this up. Telling your father, who you already have problems with? Well, nothing like making sure you’re ganged up on, huh? He needed a male to talk to? There are approximately 3.5 billion of them available, and he chose the one that would beat you down because your husband cheated. How thoughtful of him. He’s manipulative, selfish, and a brat. I’m sorry you’re married to such an ass.

  9. EyesOpened August 5, 2013 at 1:46 pm #

    Leslie – LOAF reccomended a book called Getting The Love You Want by Harville Hendrix. It helped her H and it has helped me and my H a great deal. My marriage was unhappy and I did a terrible thing. My H has also taken responsibility for his part in the breakdown. We are basically in the process of identifying all of our personal vulnerabilities, needs, wants and hopes – pulling things apart and putting them back together bit by bit. I said to my counsellor that I just want happiness overall – and he said he believed happiness is like dappled sunshine – moments of warmth and contentment – not an all encompassing feeling.
    Leslie – you have been doubly betrayed by your h and by your father – that will have an enormous emotional impact. The fact you are finding your moments of happiness is incredibly impressive and inspiring.
    My H and I have discovered that he ‘relies’ on me emotionally to get him from day to day – like an addict. I do not rely on him – I CHOOSE to be with him. He is working to become self-reliant and independent so he chooses to be with me, rather than needs me. We know that when he reaches that place, he may choose to be with another person – but we will know who we really are and we will know that the reason we are together is because it is the right thing and we have both chosen a future together.
    I know it’s all a bit introspective – and I wish I’d never put us in this place – but I did. BAM’s comment about the farming is so true. Sounds like you’re running your farm by yourself a lot of the time though.

    One final thing – your h needs to earn a salary, and he wont get paid if he doesn’t do his job – he is probably experiencing massive difficulties (of his own making) in trying to be loyal to you whilst being professional at work, and doing his job without creating further havoc in the work place. It is likely that he has shared things with her that she could use against him if she chose – and a good chance that he is worried she will threaten to report him to HR. in letting him know you are aware of potential ‘nasties’ to come and letting him know you are there for him – it may well help him be more honest with you.

    If you can – go to his work place. Show everyone you are a successfully married couple – and if you get the chance give him a good hug and kiss in front of her. That will end any fantasies she may still be experiencing!

    Keep smiling.

    • exercisegrace August 5, 2013 at 2:11 pm #

      Eyes, you make some very good points. My husband’s affair partner certainly knew that he was afraid that she would tell me about their affair. He knew she had all the texts and emails etc and it impacted his decision making while they still worked together. Personally, I am of the perspective that once the affair has been ended, there should be NO CONTACT. Even if that means quitting a job, even if that means financial insecurity for a time. Looking back, I would choose that route. No amount of money is worth the added damage done to our marriage while they worked together that extra year after the affair, and I was still living in fear and doubt. I love what you say about going to the work place. I think being a “presence” definitely helps. The OW in our case knew me, pretended to be my friend all while using any info she could against me, so it didn’t work for me. Sad.

      Another interesting point. My husband also relies on me to (as our therapist terms it) “do the emotional heavy lifting” in our relationship. He depends on me for that type of support. It is really what caused the affair. When we went through some difficult times beyond our control, I could barely keep my own head up let alone his. I was supporting him, but struggling emotionally myself. He allowed a colleague who had been gradually pushing the boundaries of their relationship to step in and give him all the attention and support in the world. It was an escape.
      In therapy now, he is learning to “self-soothe” and find strength within himself for his emotional needs. As much as we love our spouses and support them and pledge to be there for them, no ONE person can meet someone else’s needs all the time. Good stuff Eyes!

      • ELS1976 October 1, 2013 at 3:47 pm #

        The “heavy – lifting”, that is how I feel. I’ve always had to be the person in our relationship to soothe and make things better. We’ve gotten in a few arguments about this (before his EA) that I’m always supporting him and his needs and there’s never anything left for me. After his EA, he told me one of his issues with me is that I took up crocheting and I was doing it too much. And this has really pissed me off. He practices music every day for at least 2 hours (this is not his professional job). I have never even thought of holding that against him because it is something he loves. Crocheting is relaxing to me and I love creating things. How dare he use it as an excuse to do this to me. I think he doesn’t know how selfish he can actually be.

    • chiffchaff August 6, 2013 at 8:44 am #

      Really interesting comments here on emotional reliance. My H relies heavily on me to boost his confidence too and I’m the BS. It’s something I’ve learnt from our recovery but I’m not convinced that my H has. He’s a very needy person and needs to be admired/considered useful/needed by everyone, especially in the workplace. He got into difficulties with his confidence when his job changed from being part of a team, and therefore useful, to there being no team and he had to be his own boss. He couldn’t tell himself that he was doing a good job and he was doing a job where all you get is criticism from your clients.
      Last night was a case in point. An old friend of his was in town and had asked to go out for dinner. My H asked if I could go along too, which was accepted. It was an effort to go to this dinner, an hour and half’s drive for me to meet, collect and then drive my H to the restaurant. When we got there this old friend had invited two young female colleagues to the meal (this friend is married in the US and was in the UK on business). The conversation all evening was dominated by one of these women and I could tell that my H was struggling with her not being the least bit interested in his work. As she was quite boring (to me) I was happy enough to relax and just join in when I could and I concentrated on keeping good eye contact with my H, smiling and holding his hand. He seemed to really appreciate this and I was glad to do it. As we left the restaurant my H thanked me profusely for coming along as he said he would’ve had no idea how to cope with that by himself. On the way home I realised that he really needed me, or someone, as an emotional support simply due to him not liking himself very much. Now, I’m wondering how to deal with this and encourage him to ‘self soothe’ as you all have mentioned.
      I also had a, thankfully these days rare, trigger event at the weekend. I completely wibbled out when we visited a town where the last time we were there it was 3 days post first Dday. I wasn’t expecting it to affect me but it did. I managed to explain to my H that it was a trigger event and that’s why I was upset (it’s a time when I hate myself for being such a doormat when I should’ve kicked his arse down the street). I didn’t apologise for it. got over it and it didn’t ruin the day. however, before bed my H said he was sorry for the way I felt earlier. this at least showed me that he was able to see that I was still affected by his selfishness and probably indicated that he’d been ruminating during the day.
      It’s progress of sorts.

  10. Gizfield August 5, 2013 at 2:17 pm #

    I’m reading a book called Soul Detox right now that I am really enjoying. There is info in there on denial after sin. Basically, and I agree, the author says that almost universally, people will lieabout sin after they comment it. I’d never really thought about it. it’s like even after you are done with the “wrongdoings” Satan (or whatever alternative you personally believe in, so as not to offend anyone) says “wait a minute, I’m not done with you yet,”. The denial is close to as bad as what you did. Sometimes, maybe even worse. If I could go back I would give my husband a lot less opportunity to deny anything.

    • exercisegrace August 5, 2013 at 2:25 pm #

      Giz, very interesting I will have to check it out. I completely agree. It is not only human nature to down play our mistakes (it makes us feel better about ourselves) but I believe that Satan also uses that to trap us back into the old, sinful behavior. If we deny it enough or minimize it enough, we let our guard down and let ourselves get close enough to that fire to get burned again.

  11. Gizfield August 5, 2013 at 2:32 pm #

    My thoughts, exactly, EG. It’s like if you steal $10, you are a theif. Then you lie about it, and you are a theif AND a liar. I thought it was a pretty interesting book, and definitely helped me on this issue.

  12. Gizfield August 5, 2013 at 3:07 pm #

    You know, it’s like lying always “accompanies” another “sin”, it’s not usually the star of the show. Except for pathological liars, very few just come out with an untruth. It’s an cover up, an amplifier. The Bible calls Satan “the father of deceit”. Every person lies or has lied about something. It’s easy, spontaneous, hard to detect or prove. You can even lie to yourself. Maybe Satan’s goal is actually to turn adulterer s into chronic liars. He is a very sneaky character.

    • exercisegrace August 5, 2013 at 5:00 pm #

      Giz, I agree that Satan uses lies to lead people to all manner of sin. I never really stopped to think about it, but you are SO RIGHT. We talk about secondary emotions, well lies are like secondary (but just as bad) sins. They are always to cover up a bigger sin. The sad thing is, the first lie seems to come so easily! My husband first lied about going out to eat with his AP after a meeting. He justified it as “just work, just colleagues” and I know he thought I would make a big deal of it and that he was didn’t want to start a fight over “nothing”. By the time people realize that their lies have led them into a horrible trap, it is far too late. Then the next one of Satan’s tricks comes into the picture….pride. Then he throws down fear and shame. And the sin continues until it is caught out.

    • Saw the Light August 6, 2013 at 6:22 pm #

      Now that Satan has come up I can say that with the anger and depression I’ve been feeling lately, maybe I should write about it. In our marriage, H was always sneaking around. My counselor says his behavior is shame-based. Many secrets from his family of origin. But the shocking truth is what has happened in the past 33 months when things were actually improving and I felt more understood and connected than I ever had. I was away for six weeks teaching and when I returned things were definitely different. He said we were moving in different directions. I asked if there was someone else. He said no. That was a lie. Since that time there have been hundreds if not thousands of lies, and while I think he wanted our marriage, he couldn’t get out of the trap. I left him and he cut it off, but then began again with a new OW while we were apart. What kills me now is how we reconnected, and he said he wanted a new marriage. Just didn’t want it badly enough to stop with the other. He even went so far as to quit his job and go to rehab for two months. I found out a month ago that he was writing her while there. I’m struggling now with walking the path toward freedom from all this pain. I want to get there and it’s not going to be easy.

  13. Paula August 5, 2013 at 5:34 pm #

    Interesting comments, Eyes, and EG. One of the things my partner said to me, in the early days after D-day, was that he had actually lied to himself, that “she was just a friend, BUT, I kinda ‘forgot’ I was shagging her.” Of course, although I was fine with it at the time (I have never been the jealous type, female friends of his were very common, I never felt threatened by any of them, I was a little uneasy about this one, but they were so open with their friendship, and I trusted HIM – never HER) even without the sex, it is obvious NOW that it was an EA. Sounds overly simplistic, but same thing, huge life stressors, I was barely coping (as the centre of the family’s coping mechanism) and because he couldn’t self soothe, he used her. I was self soothing, and trying to soothe everyone else. He could ‘t do that, so walked into her web. Amazing how the strong person in the family (ME) ends up with the heaviest load, AND gets all the pain. Rather be a weakling some days ;-)

    • Mary August 5, 2013 at 6:37 pm #

      HI – My husband considers my affair accomplice the evil one. I suspect that my affair accomplice’s wife considers me the evil one like you seem to consider that female friend of your husband’s the evil one. Your husband likely had a web that she walked right into too. In my experience, recognizing the web that can ensnare you is the key to unraveling the entire mess. And it is way deeper than just flirty eyes and a friendly banter.

      After having reached all my life’s goals I was coasting and settling. Before the affair, I felt like I had it all and that I could’ve taught lessons on how to live, be married and work mindfully, compassionately and wisely. I had no new goals that were stretching me further. I realize now that the affair was my wake-up call that I was put here for more than I was doing. Turns out, in the healing process, it’s been the wake-up call for me and for my husband.

      • Paula August 5, 2013 at 10:05 pm #

        Mary, I don’t consider the AP any more, or less “evil” than my partner. She had been a friend of mine for 30 years. But HE was supposed to be committed to ME. So I know who was at fault here. Her friendship was a commitment to me, however his commitment to me should have been the more binding of the two. The web comment may have been better articulated. My apologies..

  14. WoundedHeart August 5, 2013 at 6:22 pm #

    EyesOpened – I have a question for you. My story is that my wife is presently having an affair and I am trying to deal with it. We are presently separated. On a sub-conscience level, she still reaches out to me for some emotional needs and support and does acts of kindness. I am in contact with the OM’s wife and we have a good picture of what they are doing. Both are messed up and deep in the fog., which makes it hard for either of us to have any direction. The OM’s wife has just recently had twins. Anyways, my question for you is during your affair, did you express your love to the AP and was it real? When did you realize that it wasn’t real love?

    I am sure my wife believes the AP is making her happy. But in truth she is just running away from her problems looking for a short term relief. I am trying to patiently wait her out at this point. I know if I make the ultimatum for her to chose, she would leave me regardless. That is something I am coming to terms with, though her family is not happy with her decision if that is the case. So I am trying to wait for it to end and see where the pieces lie.

  15. Mary August 5, 2013 at 6:25 pm #

    I like this article. I navigated an emotional affair myself. I was regularly honest with my husband about the status of the situation. (Predominantly because I was completely shocked at the fact that me, a happily married woman to the perfect man, could possibly have ended up in this situation. Secondly because I was just entirely sure that I had it all under ‘control’. Which I sorta did and I sorta didn’t and and I felt that if I could unconsciously walk into this then I needed to learn what about me was unconsciously screaming for it. Thirdly I was honest because I wanted to give my husband the freedom of choice to leave me whenever he felt his own wisdom guided him to do so.) We navigated that situation. I then spent 2-3 years ‘fixing’ myself and in the process taking our marriage to a healthier state than it had been before the affair.

  16. EyesOpened August 6, 2013 at 1:15 am #

    FCOL! I am so sorry! That was incredibly rude of me (to forget who recommended me that incredible book). I find it hard to believe that 44 years into my life, there are things I had no idea about. My h has spent his entire life depressed and angry and has only just discovered the abandonment issues he experienced and that haunt him now. It’s not only improved our understanding of ourselves but of each other – and most importantly how what we do affects our children. I cannot convey my gratitude enough – the least I could do is remember who recommended it to me! My apologies.

    EG and LOAF – when I came to this site in March/April – I was a totally different person. I cannot believe how much I have learned from everyone here – thank you for your kind comments and inciteful posts. I feel privileged to be allowed to share and learn from such an amazing, intelligent and empathetic group of people. Special thanks to FCOL for recommending Harville Hendrix!!

    • forcryin'outloud August 8, 2013 at 2:11 pm #

      EO – No worries – apology accepted. I am so glad the book is benefiting you and yours. Like you said in another post my H too began to see how different to his personal perception he actually was (is) after reading “Getting the love…” Much of it I had been telling him for decades which assisted him towards the affair. (I have a minor in psych so I know just enough to understand the origin of our flaws). He would always become angry and frustrated with me because most of it involved the detrimental behavior of his mother. Thankfully early on in counseling the therapist immediately recognized it. He finally believed it because it was coming from a third party with no vested interest toward one party or the other. Then the book reinforced it. It also showed me that my abusive childhood made me a very independent person who never wanted to lean on anyone which made him feel useless in our relationship.
      I truly wish you the best and I cannot express how much your input has helped me personally.

  17. Peggy August 6, 2013 at 1:37 pm #

    My husband, after 2 1/2 years of putting me through sheer hell over his affair, not responding to any of my requests, did not stop lying to me, was giving me verbal, I’m sorry, but no action, came to me and told me that he JUST realized that he has been in complete denial for years.

    I asked him what he actually meant by being in denial. He said that it was as if he was a third person in the room during all of the emotional and non emotional discussions about his affair and just watched the drama. All I could say was WOW it was getting real crowded in here with him and Laura standing on the side lines and watching me suffer.

    For 2 1/2 years he’s watched me get triggered, saw my pain, listened to my requests for anything that looked or felt like moving forward and none of this had any impact on him whatsoever, except to hide from the reality that he had an affair, lied about it for 4 years and completely destroyed me.

    This epiphany came after he said for the umtenth time that he should just leave and I finally agreed with him, helped him pack his bags and said goodbye. Obviously that’s what it takes to crack the steel wall between self-protection and reality.

    I should be thrilled by this new awareness, but all I can think about is “what if” I had made him leave when he first revealed his, as he put it “I’m in love with another woman and she left me” statement. I should have kicked him out when he told me how beautiful he thought she was. How sexy she was. How petite she was. That he just wanted sex with someone else. Any of those times would have worked, but no, not me. I wanted to save my marriage.

    I told him action was the only thing I was going to respond to from him at this point. No more “I will” statements. Either he does the work it takes to clearly GET IT or he’s gone. I gave him one week. They say ultimatums don’t work, but seriously, in this case, it’s all I have left.

  18. Gizfield August 6, 2013 at 2:56 pm #

    In my experience, issuing ultimatums doesn’t work, but following through on them sure does. I had to show my husband I meant business before he decided to reform himself. If you have told him behavior is unacceptable but didn’t enforce consequences in the past he probably wont believe you will this time either.

  19. EyesOpened August 7, 2013 at 5:15 am #

    WoundedHeart – for some reason your entry did not show on my screen until today – so sorry for the wait.

    I didn’t realise that my affair was a fantasy until I read this site and realised that I am literally just a number. I thought everything we had was real and unique. I had no idea how common this was. Reading this site was an eye opener for me. The affair lasted 1 year. dday 1 was July 2012 dday 2 was Oct 2012. NC attempt began Dec 2012 ( even though we worked in the same office). REALISATION of reality commenced January 2013 actual belief in what I was trying to understand began March . Full NC began April. Full ‘feeling’ of what I understand is still processing to this day but with more and more understanding, reading, counselling etc I would say I’m 90% there. What I still crave is the ‘feelings’ I created in my fantasy world – but I do not crave the person I created them with at all. Him and our entire affair is a weird part of my history which I struggle to believe actually even happened on some days. The after effects however continue to cause trauma to my family and my life (and the OMs life) and I am desperately trying to get to a place where it no longer plays a part in my life at all – and sadly I’m not convinced that will ever happen. That’s my karma.

    Not sure if I’ve verbalised myself articulately here – but hope it helps a little!! Sometimes I feel I’m a little too honest on this site – but I also think that a lack of understanding often comes from lack of knowledge and sincerely hope that my thoughts help even one person to understand their CSs thought process at any given time. In honesty it also helps me to understand myself too. Believe me – I have discovered I am extremely complicated and a pretty ‘sad’ person – not the happy go lucky individual I have pretended to be for my whole life! It’s not a very pleasant thing to discover at age 44!!

    • WoundedHeart August 7, 2013 at 9:54 am #

      Eyes – Thanks for the insight! This is what I think most find themselves in. The fantasy seems so real and they think what they have is real. Unfortunately, the relationship is built on lies and deceit. I can only imagine how powerful the affair can be with the secrecy. When the relationship finally fails for whatever reason and after time, they will look back and not recognize the person who was in the relationship.

      For me, both AP are trying to keep the affair going. Even though the secret is out. All family members who know do not understand why they are persisting when neither of them will accept the AP into the family. There are signs that the affair is struggling, thus why I have not made any ultimatums at this point. Only time will tell. All I can do is take care of myself and my children the best I can do.

      Eyes – I sincerely appreciate your honesty and openness. I wish more would share their stories and honesty as well. It has helped me gain further understanding of what my wife is going through as I am trying to let her know that I am there for her. Your story explains that it was very hard for you to let go of the AP, which is what I see my wife doing. If I dare ask, what did your H do during the time after DDAy? It sounds like he stayed waiting for you to come around.

  20. Strengthrequired August 7, 2013 at 5:44 am #

    Eyes, you are helping so many people now and in the future. If there is anything us bs want is an insight on what our cs are thinking. Your contributions here are something we here all appreciate.
    By the way, have I told you lately how proud of you I am, you have come so far.
    Don’t give up believing things will get better day by day.

  21. BAM August 7, 2013 at 7:53 am #

    Dear eyes, my H had an EM for 4 months. D day was may 25, 2013. I was shocked one thing that you said is similar to what my husband said. That it seemed like a fantasy that he was in. A game he was playing. Now he feels like it was a bad dream. Did u feel this way? I pray he doesn’t long for those feelings of excitement again. When I caught him, he wrote the OW & stopped contact with her. We r in counseling & I am beginning to not be as upset as I was. I just don’t understand how a good marriage can have this happen.

  22. EyesOpened August 7, 2013 at 9:21 am #

    SR – you really are such a lovely and kind person. Thank you for those lovely words. They mean a great deal to me – really they do.

    • Strengthrequired August 8, 2013 at 5:54 pm #

      Thank you too eo.

  23. EyesOpened August 7, 2013 at 10:15 am #

    BAM – your h has ended it and is in counselling with you – that is so positive.
    Every CS that goes through this and realises, understands that they were in a fantasyland. What is important is discovering how to create enough contentment from within so you don’t have the need to thrillseek. That is the hard bit.

    Think of the OW as cocaine. One day the CS realises the cocaine is bad – but giving it up is hard because you liked the way it made you FEEL and you crave that feeling again – you know it’s bad for you, you know it could kill you – given time you understand you don’t want cocaine at all but the feeling it gave you needs to be replaced by something more satisfying – learning what it is you REALLY crave (or fear ) in your life is the key ( whether it be love, abandonment, responsibility, reassurance etc etc). This is my belief now – and I’m in the midst of discovering my needs so I can meet them. My AP is the last thing in this world that I need to make me content though – I know that now. If my AP and I were the last people on earth we would not be remotely drawn to each other any more. But if I don’t discover my needs I may still crave the feelings that I experienced during the affair. Does that make any sense at all?

    • WoundedHeart August 7, 2013 at 12:41 pm #

      Wow Eyes! Great insight! I do agree with your thinking. I can only wish my wife will someday come to this realization! If I understand what you are saying, the affair was a filler for the need (crave) or acting as armor in the case of fear that the CS is not willing to address at that time (or perhaps not even fully aware).

  24. EyesOpened August 7, 2013 at 11:22 am #

    WoundedHeart – yes my h has stayed with me. He has been incredibly supportive and has always believed that unless I fix myself inside – the threat of a repeat behaviour will always be there. He accepted some responsibility for the initial breakdown of our marriage and has also worked on himself. I love him immensely and am very grateful to him. I desperately hope that we will get to a place where we are both content, secure and loving – we are working on ‘us’ every day – and I am very fortunate to have another chance. Physically I am exhausted and spent and this is reflected in our love life – So he is having to be very patient – which is not one of his virtues! (Imagine your w off with someone else then saying she loves you but doesn’t want the intimacy she shared with someone else with you. That is one hurtful truth) – too much info to share with strangers but this has been mentioned a lot by the male BSs on this site – so I think it’s worth some words!

  25. EyesOpened August 7, 2013 at 12:58 pm #

    WH – EXACTLY right.

  26. BAM August 7, 2013 at 5:51 pm #

    Dear Eyes,

    Yes, you made complete sense. My H said he was at a very weak point in his mind. He was turning 60, feeling discontent with his job, feeling bad about health issues he has….his heart and kidneys. He believes the OW saw the weakness and said all the right words to make him feel soooo good, like the cocaine feeling. Now I’ve spoken with my H regarding his turning 60 and all the rest, but I don’t baby him about all of it. Also, she was 30. Our counselor said that my H feeling bad about his age and having someone half his age pay attention to him was exciting, again….cocaine. Since we have been in counseling my H has refocused on his life and no longer is concerned about his age or his job and accepts his health issues. I keep watch on him and his attitude and if I think he is looking negative, I let him know and he focuses on what our blessings are. I just hope he can stay positive and not let the old problems resurface.
    The problem is, he lied to me about the OW by speaking with her all that time and….I never suspected. Now, it is difficult to trust him. I’m afraid it will happen again. He does not give me any indication that it will, but I am just so scared.
    Thank you for your help. I appreciate your time.
    Barbara

  27. EyesOpened August 8, 2013 at 4:35 pm #

    BAM – Don’t ask me why – but I think you’ll be just fine. Your H is wondering how on earth all this happened and how he can forget it and make it go away. He’ll be just as keen to forget about it as you – but just as you cannot ‘switch off’ unwanted thoughts – neither can he. 60 has got to be a tough age to face. Time will sort so many of your issues out. You’ll be back on here in a year yelling us all how great it all is and teaching us all how to fix it!

  28. EyesOpened August 8, 2013 at 4:53 pm #

    FCOL – I sat in a sunny park today – talking to a friend whilst our kids played. She is a good friend who has suffered all her life and searches for ‘why’ constantly . I found myself telling her about you and this site and the book – and told her it had all changed the course of my life. You may remember I moved in December and as I sat there and discussed you with her in my new surroundings, I had a very profound moment of realisation – of how much I’ve changed and grown and progressed. She too started to understand some of the reasons stuff keeps happening in her relationships. For the first time ever – I felt I really was able to help her – not just listen, but help.

    If I have helped you even once, I am so overjoyed and hopeful that out of all the bad I have done, some small amount of good can help another person. It helps me to feel that I have not just ‘taken’ from all the amazing people on this site too.

    Thank you for saying that FCOL – that is an enormous compliment to me.

    • forcryin'outloud August 9, 2013 at 7:58 am #

      EO – just paying it forward! :-) Big hugs for you.

  29. BAM August 9, 2013 at 11:20 pm #

    Eyes,
    Thank you for your kind thoughts. I pray you are correct in your evaluation of my situation.
    The OW has not made contact now in over 2 weeks. My H has been understanding of my asking questions over and over. I think we will be OK too, but it is nice to hear it from someone else. We continue to see the therapist, now every three weeks.
    Thank you for your help. You have helped me so much.
    BAM

  30. EyesOpened August 11, 2013 at 6:37 am #

    ChiffChaff – your h seems to be a lot more engaged – you sound so positive at the moment – it’s really encouraging to hear it all. Sorry for delay – I’ve read your post a few times and its made me feel hopeful somehow.

  31. Btwrock&hardplace September 27, 2013 at 4:25 am #

    You all are so thoughtful in your responses. I hope those of you who are further down this path can shine some light on my situation as I find myself going in circles. I found out last year that my husband had almost daily, very frequent and sometimes extensive communication with a very lucrative client. My husband is a sports pro and provide lessons, coaching, and tournament services. Yes, they had reasons to talk each day because of the nature of the work (she and her family took lessons daily, and had legitimate reasons to talk with regularity), but Ive recovered deleted correspondence that were too personal from her end and too frequent. While my husband did not indicate in their correspondence any feelings towards her or discuss personal issues of his own, she most definitely discussed very personal issues with him regarding her abusive and potentially unfaithful husband. She would contact my husband in great distress and ask for reassurance or support. If my husband failed to respond, she would grow increasingly desperate asking for a response. My husband did nothing to discourage this inappropriate contact. He instead provided reassurance (saying she is a great mom, loving wife, and that her situation would improve over time). He knew that I would be uncomfortable with this level of discourse, so he kept it hidden from me. My husband and I disagree as to his motivations for “helping” his client and keeping it a secret. He says he thought he was doing the right thing by being responsive to someone who spends a significant amount of money on him and who turned into a great referral source for more business. He said that once he starting “helping” by listening to her and involving her, her husband, kids, and friends into his trade, whilst padding his pocket, he was unsure how to stop without losing their business. He felt it an even trade- the more he made himself available to listen and reassure her, the more lessons, products, etc she and her family purchased and referrals were sent his way . I say his motivation was attraction to the OW and an emotional attachment that undermines our marriage. As is usually the case, he adamantly denies this and instead cites a desire to help, means to help, and a sense of obligation to a person who was his best client. He has never changed his story and says he cannot admit feelings for this woman just to confirm my own suspicions. He says he found himself in an awkward position where he crossed the line in terms of making himself available to his his client but did not want to lose their business by calling it off. I’ve scoured his emails, texts, phone records, etc. and admit that most where business related and there was no indication of a physical affair or declaration of feelings or attraction to one another.

    On the surface, I think it cannot be anything other than an emotional affair – frequent communication and at least one way disclose of very personal issues that my husband kept hidden from me. Why else would he care about her well being and her own personal issues if he was not interested romantically ? But he seems to think his motivations were financial and altruistic and he made sure to not cross boundaries. He apologizes for not being up front with me and admits he betrayed my trust, but somewhat convincingly maintains that there was no romance or attraction. As you can tell, I am battling my own initial impression and the context of the situation. The deceit regardless of the motivation is painful. For me, believing him and his reasons for engaging with this person is less painful than coming to the conclusion that he was emotionally unfaithful and romantically involved, but I prefer to be hurt by the truth than comforted by a lie. My questions are: Am I a fool for entertaining the possibility that his motivations were financially self-serving and altruistic on some level, but not romantic? Does frequent communication always point to an EA? Or since on the surface it looks and sound a like the affair accounts I’ve read online a hundred times, it would be unreasonable to think that this could be anything but emotional or physical attraction and romantically involvement? Please help. I am in a rather desperate situation and cannot handle much more of this anguish.

  32. Surviving September 27, 2013 at 6:50 am #

    @Between,
    I was right where you are three years ago. Same words he was playing counselor with her helping her with her never ending problems. Did your husband end this friendship? That is when you will have some of the answers to your questions. Your husband was getting something from their relationship hense the reason he kept all of this a secret from you. A great book to read is Not Just Friends.

  33. Surviving September 27, 2013 at 6:57 am #

    @Between,
    Always go with your gut feeling. If there was nothing to hide he would have his nothing. No matter what the financial cost maybe he needs to end the inappropriate relationship. Right now he may not be aware of or disclose all his feelings towards her, he also may not want to end the relationship and will use any and all excuses. This is not a friendship and she is not a friend to your marriage. What they have/had is an inappropriate relationship it sounds on the surface as thought it wasn’t physical based on what you’ve said.

  34. Btwrock&hardplace September 27, 2013 at 9:09 am #

    Yes he ended it. Your comments confirm my worst fears. He will not admit his feelings for her and I feel stuck as if I need him to admit to me and to himself before I can leave.

  35. chiffchaff September 27, 2013 at 9:39 am #

    Hi Btw – sorry to read that you’re in this very difficult position and yours reads as very complicated. In my own profession there is a fine line between helping a client and doing too much and becoming too personal. The only thing, in absence of any admission of your H, is that he has ended whatever it was and that acknowledges that he cares about your opinion of it and took action. Rather than asking to admit your worst fears is it possible to talk to him and find out what he ‘got’ from the correspondence with this woman other than money? It might be a way of opening up if there was anything else drawing him in to keeping the correspondence going. Also, how has your relationship been since he ended it? How is he behaving?
    I agree with Surviving that the Shirley Glass book – Not Just Friends – would be a good place for you to start to understand the situation you find yourself in. There are also loads of articles on here to help you as well as a welcoming community in the comments.

  36. Surviving September 27, 2013 at 9:59 am #

    @Between, how long has it been since you found out?

  37. Surviving September 27, 2013 at 10:13 am #

    @Between,
    With my H I don’t believe it was a sexual connection at all, at one point he told me he had discussed our marriage, she was going through a divorce, and he said he told her he thought I had given up on our marriage, nothing could have been further from the truth, at this point I flipped out on him, in retrospect I wish I had listened to more of the stupid BS he was spewing to her, because after that he didn’t tell me much more of the crap he told her, I believe he knew it was all lies and what might have been truths never should have been told to her.

  38. Btwrock&hardplace September 27, 2013 at 10:50 am #

    I found out in Nov 2012 that they were in regular contact for 4 months. Chiffchaff- he admitted the same thing… He crossed a fine line in wanting to keep her as a client by being available and the didn’t know how to turn it off without losing income. I asked him what he “got” from it and he said he felt like it was an even trade- his primary way of helping her was bringing her and her family to stay busy, active, etc and he benefited financially. He said he felt good because he saw her family situation improve- she and her family spent more time together and were doing better all around- while padding his pocket. I feel so stupid. I guess I was hoping that frequent communication and helping another could be something other the an emotional affair.

  39. Btwrock&hardplace September 27, 2013 at 11:15 am #

    @chiffchaff- I forgot to mention that he was initially apologetic and asked the other women, her husband, and I to meet in person so that he could “prove” that it was not an affair of any sort. He said if we all just talked to one another, many of my misconceptions could be cleared. He said the whole situation was blown out of proportion and he knows his secretive nature was the reason why. They did not want to met despite my husbands repeated requests. Over time, he has grown increasingly annoyed and irritated with my incessant questioning. He is frustrated by the fact that I believe he was involved romantically, though not physically. He says he has tried a thousand different ways to explain what their relationship consisted of and what it didn’t and he will not admit to having feelings for her just to appease me. I even gave him an ultimatum during one if my weaker moments where I said I would stay if he was able to be up front and admit the emotional nature of the relationship as this would allow me to move forward. I feel that it is hard to move forward if one does not admit to and apologize for their wrongdoing. I told him I would leave if he was unable to admit this. He stuck to his guns, said he couldn’t admit something that did not exist, and I left. I am going back and forth in my mind about reconciling because we have an infant daughter. I’ve read the book you all suggested and I think it is very useful, but he believes it applies only to a certain extent.

  40. WoundedHeart September 27, 2013 at 11:20 am #

    Regardless of what he thought the relationship as being only professional, he stepped over the line. He may not have known that. The question he needs to ask himself is who/what is more important? His marriage to you or padding his pocket financially. He needs to understand the difference between being right and being happy. He is breaking your trust by not openly communicating this situation with his first and most confidant….YOU! Why is that?

    I can understand his reasoning for what he did, but he left out the most crucial cog….including you in his decision. The marriage is not about you doing your things and he doing his. It is a joint decision making. Your spouse’s views and concerns must be taken into consideration before any decision. This is something that I have had to learn the hard way.

  41. Btwrock&hardplace September 27, 2013 at 11:27 am #

    @woundedheart- thank you for your comment. I believe that in this case, perhaps other situations as well, he has out money ahead of me. He purposely left me out of his decision because he knew I would not approve and went about it anyway. He knew I would ask him to stop and he would effectively lose nearly half his monthly income- yes, that is how much her family contributed. This is not the first time my wishes or objections have been ignored for financial reasons.

    • Strengthrequired September 27, 2013 at 2:48 pm #

      Btwrock, ik just going to go out on a limb here and say this.
      I have been reading everything you have said.
      By what you have mentioned, and by how your h has been talking, I don’t think he was in it with this ow romantically, imthink it really was for the money.
      Howevermin saying that, I do believe though the ow had different ideas. I do believe she wanted more from your h, as a woman that gear ti give up details about her marriage, a woman that gets all her family to your place of business (sounds to me as though she has had a infatuation with your h andnthisnwas a way for her to spend more time with him), and to constantly message him, and then get upset tha he doesn’t reply, it wouldn’t surprise me ifmshe woad threatening talking to her business elsewhere, or even maybe threatening to tell your h things that haven’t happened.
      The problem is when a man has a business, and a young family he wantsmto look after them, he wants to make sure he can provide for them. Now you think about it, a whole half month of income from this ow, that is a hell of a lot of money to lose. Im nit saying what he has done is right, not confiding in you about this ow, now like most men, they like to know they are helping woman who they become friends with, unfortunately the don’t see the signs straight away, that them being nice and helpful to this ow is actually being taken the wrong way by the ow, as a equal attraction.
      You said there has been no messages etc that show anything romantic has happened between them, just talk of business, if there was anything romantic, don’t you think something would have been shown, because im sure as you will read here, if feelings of love are there they can’t hide it 100percent of the time, your h behaviour, his mood will be distant and at times will even be mean. Money will be spent on the ow, and honestly I’m notmso sure he would even be able to look at her h in the face all the time as well as her children if there was.
      My h never requested to have me meet up with his ow, he said it would have been too uncomfortable, the reason for that is because there was something going on with her.
      I honestly believe your h didn’t know what he was getting himself into, when he was listening to her problems, if he did start having feelings for her, he would have been telling her things in return about the state of your marriage, about you, all lies to keep up with her and to make himself believe it too. They get so consumed with each other that itmis all fantasy.
      Itm saying it again, it just doesn’t seem as though that is what happened to your h by what I have read.
      The ow definately seemed to be trying, but he only saw the income she was generating into the business and into supporting his family.
      Since the ow didn’t want to meet you both with her husband, tells me again, she wanted more.
      Your h has taken a while to start getting upset with you for continuing asking if anything had happened, what hisnfeelings for her are, if there was soemthing going on, he would have been more emotionally unstable from the beginning.
      Think about it, if you keep getting questioned about the same thing over and over again, and you were telling the truth and you were asked to say something that wasn’t true, that could hurt your marriage, just so your h had an answer that he thought was correct, like you having an affair, and you weren’t, wouldn’t you eventually get tired of it, I’m sure it would become frustrating.
      I just want you to think about this carefully before you make any decisions on bringing your infant up without her father and you together.
      Think about how you would respond over time, when being asked to confirm something that just wasn’t true.
      Yes your h did the wrong thing keeping this from you, but by the sounds of it, it was one sided. The other woman was the interested party.
      Do you love your h? Does he love you? If so, think about this carefully, yet also make sure your h involves you more in his business, and that he no longer becomes a knight in shining armor, by listening to ow’s problems, let him know that it’s a dangerous game to play. He needs to keep business business, and not let it get into a position where an affair can happen. Boundaries have to be given and those lines not crossed again. He has to understand that there are women out there that don’t care if he is married with a family or not, if they see he is nice and willing to listen to their sob stories, then they think he is someone that will save them, they take it on as a mission to win his heart. He needs to not let this sort of thing happen again where he can jeopardize your relationship, your marriage, your family.

  42. Btwrock&hardplace September 27, 2013 at 7:36 pm #

    @strength- I appreciate your honest feedback. What you’ve said mirrors what those closest to me have said. There were no declarations of feelings toward one another, just really personal stuff from her end about her relationship and my husband would make comments to reassure her, not flirt, but say that “stay busy and things will get better, focus on your kids, I am proud of how much your game is improving, etc.” I was blindsided by the intimate details she shared with him (she would ask if my husband saw her spouse flirt with anyone or if my husband thought her husband has a drug problem and what she should do about it ) and I assumed the worse. Yes, I can see how my constant accusations could irritate him. I can also see how I myself can be damaging the relationship as well. I love him tremendously and he loves me. The idea of Raising my daughter without him makes me sick to my stomach at what it might cost her and their relationship. I just don’t want to be a fool. Again, thank you from the bottom of my heart. The comments you all provide get me from day to day.

    • Strengthrequired September 27, 2013 at 8:49 pm #

      Btw rock, your welcome honey, i just don’t want you to have any regrets. Men love being the man, andmif they are good then ow see it and take advantage of their good nature. Dont give this ow the satisfaction of causing anymore damage to your marriage, she isn’t worth it, not for a second.
      I’m happymtomhear that your h hasn’t flirted, but supported her marriage, that in itself should tell you that he has no interest in destroying her marriage.
      These things she asks your h are ridiculous, she has made out that her h is a terrible person, with loads of problems and wanted your h to validate it for her. It doesn’t surprise me she has used these tactics to get closer to your h, that is what the ow does. The thing is if he was as bad as she said, she would have left her h.
      I’m glad also that your h has stopped the contact with her.

  43. Paula September 27, 2013 at 9:54 pm #

    I am with SR, that this is not cool, you are genuinely hurt, but he was probably unaware of how bad it was, with this woman who was in an unstable place. I would use this as a perfect opportunity for you to both learn about boundaries, honesty, and how much work a good marriage is, but how much benefit you can both reap from that work. The suggestions above about Shirley Glass’s Not Just Friends are bang on the money. It is to the point, and written in easy to understand language, with many great examples. BOTH of you NEED to read it and discuss. I don’t think he was having an EA, but he was walking a VERY tight rope in not sharing her desperation with you, he was setting himself up for your doubt, and he needs to understand that he cannot ever do this again, that any of this kind of attachment from a client (or any other woman) is to be shared with you, immediately. You have been very hurt by his omissions, and what you feel is real, please do not think I am dismissing your pain, he needs to understand how fragile your love and trust are, and do everything to strengthen and protect it, forever.

    • Strengthrequired September 27, 2013 at 10:12 pm #

      I agree Paula, this situation could have been way worse and harder to come back from if her h wasn’t as strong to this ow’s constant neediness.
      This ow needs to know her place and it isn’t asking for guidance and marital advice from a married man whos only ties are a business relationship. I’m sure if she needed advice then there are other friends such as girl friends etc that could have advised her.

  44. Btwrock&hardplace September 28, 2013 at 10:34 am #

    Thank you Paula and SR. I do feel that boundaries were crossed and my husband admitted that he now thinks he crossed boundaries when he wasn’t able to admit that at first. I may of given the impression that he has been nice and apologetic from the start… Not necessarily bc he grew desperate and angrier as he tried to convince me that he did not have feelings for her & I refused to believe it. Honestly, I hate to admit, while he felt bad when I found out and confronted him, even at that moment, he wasn’t as worried about me or even the ow, but about his work! He was genuinely concerned about figuring out a way to recoup what he was going to lose now that she and her family were out. That was his focus, not my hurt feelings or her as much as I would have expected. He apologized, worked hard to spend every moment with me, but was obsessed with replacing them. I would hear him on the phone recruiting other clients to take up their spots. I’ve just looked at his log books and see that he did not stop teaching the family right away as he promised in November but quickly weeded them out and replaced them with other clients over the course of a few weeks. He has been free of them for some time now. This explains why we did not take a financial hit as much as I expected. Once again, not being up front and honest with me. I confronted him about this and he is said he didn’t know what to do. He said he was not going to be able to support us with a new baby, new home and car, so he decided, on his own, to only cut off what he was able to replace to limit the financial loss instead of cut them off immediately without discussing this with me. He is right, we would not be able to support ourselves. I was willing to lose it all to keep her away. It looks like he cut off her lessons first, but took a little longer to replace her other family members lessons.

  45. Btwrock&hardplace September 28, 2013 at 11:34 am #

    Posted before I meant to… I delved deeper into his records and see that there were even a couple of very late night phone calls! I never looked in such great detail but they coincide with an email or text from her saying that she cannot find her husband or that her husband was once again not returning home from a trip as expected and she is flipping out and needs to talk. My husband obliged and would talk to her for a few minutes without my knowledge. I feel ugly inside. Given this new revelation, I spoke with a couple individuals that spent a lot of time with her family and my husband on a daily basis as they shared class and all say they were never suspicious of anything going on bt my husband and her, but that yes, their friend (the ow) is extremely needy and also called them panicking in the middle of the night on many occasion and spoke with them. They also believe she was right about her suspicions about her husband- apparently she filed for divorce last week. I don’t want to believe that the man I adore can fall for this and place so much doubt in my heart. I don’t even trust my own feelings and thoughts anymore. It’s hard to know what’s true or false. This is my only source of support at the moment, so I thank you all who have been in similar situations before for your wisdom.

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