Open Discussion: Your Self-Esteem After the Affair

Good Wednesday!

A marital affair is devastating on a marriage, but even more so to the victim. Devastating to them both physically and mentally. I know that my self-esteem took a huge hit after the affair. I’ve been able to regain much of it, mainly by reading books and educating myself about affairs and what they really mean. Talking with Doug about the affair and the fundamentals of it has helped as well. I still struggle at times, but I now know that the affair wasn’t really about me. I become stronger and more confident with each passing day. Our wish is that this can be the case with all of you as well.

The discussion topic for the week…How has your self-esteem been affected as a result of the affair? What are you doing for yourself to regain any loss in self-esteem? What needs to happen, or what do you still need to do to help regain your lost self-esteem?

Please be sure to respond to each other’s comments!

Have a great day!

Doug & Linda

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30 Responses to Open Discussion: Your Self-Esteem After the Affair

  1. Jeffrey Murrah August 25, 2010 at 11:00 am #

    Linda,

    When I talk about this with people, I often use the metaphor of scars. We talk about the scars others place on us and the scars we put on ourselves. With cheating, you have both to deal with. The metaphor provides a convenient way of understanding and grabbing hold of the idea.

  2. Maribel August 25, 2010 at 1:26 pm #

    I’m the cheater. My self-esteem is way way low. I don’t know what to do with myself. I feel so lonely and to think feeling lonely is what got me into this mess I have caused…I feel like I don’t even deserve to live. I’m really paying the consequences and it’s what I deserve for what I have done.

    • Jeffrey Murrah August 25, 2010 at 3:52 pm #

      Maribel,

      It sounds like you are hurting very badly. Loneliness has a way of making hurts much more intense. Learning how to work through the pain of loneliness is a difficult challenge in overcoming cheating for both the spouses. Feeling lonely makes everything worse, including self-esteem.

      It will be important to change the meaning of the scar of cheating for both you and your spouse. What happened can not be changed, but the meaning of it can be.

      • Maribel August 25, 2010 at 4:27 pm #

        Yes I understand but, it’s like I accept that I cant change what has been done, and that is the reason I feel so worthless..like how could I be worth anything in life. The only reason I keep going is because of my two daughters…

        • blueskyabove August 25, 2010 at 9:03 pm #

          Maribel,

          None of us can change the past. It’s over and done. We won’t be able to make it any happier by thinking about it or berating ourselves over it. What we can change, though, is the future. I agree whole-heartedly with Jeffrey. You may have made some poor decisions, but don’t let that define you as a person. You are not your past. You are so much more than that.

          Take this opportunity to learn, to grow because it IS an opportunity even though it may not look like it. You can help others on this website. Linda and Doug have provided a unique opportunity to each and every person here. I really admire their attempt to reach out and make some sense out of something so senseless. I commend their courage and their willingness to look beyond themselves in order to help others during such a difficult time.

          In order to take care of your two daughters you have to take care of yourself. Be kinder to yourself. Be true to yourself. The web has a multitude of sites for building self-esteem. You can sign up to receive daily affirmations. One of my favorites is http://www.tut.com and their Notes from the Universe. I invariably smile when I read them. As the website states, “What if the Universe were to send you little reminders of your power, life’s magic, and how much you’re loved??” I believe we are all entitled to be reminded every day.

          • Maribel August 26, 2010 at 8:36 am #

            blueskyabove, thanks for the kind words..It made me teary-eyed. I have signed up for the website you mentioned. Thank you again it means alot to me.

        • Teresa December 15, 2011 at 11:15 pm #

          You need to quit thinking of yourself. You are at high risk for cheating again if you are thinking about how you feel all the time instead of how your victim feels. It seems as if you are trying to get attention…which will lead to cheating, instead of figuring out why you cheated to make sure that you change the behavior.

  3. Deflated August 25, 2010 at 2:37 pm #

    My self-esteem went out the door the moment I discovered my husband’s EA. When I allowed my husband back into our home (he was gone for a week) I wasn’t necessarily ready to have him back as the sight of him brought back the feelings of hurt, anger and depression. So I decided at the last minute to leave for a mini-vacation. I didn’t tell my husband, I just packed and left. I flew across country and spent a week enjoying one of my favorite cities. I continued my daily workouts and enjoyed the time to myself and doing things for myself. I felt somewhat guilty for taking off like I did but I felt I had no other outlet. I believe the trip did the two of us some good. My husband realized how close he was to losing me and I realized that I still have “it.” “It” refers to the inner me that had been buried deep within. “It” was the person my husband fell in love with 9 years ago. I don’t know why I allowed myself to disappear. But I’m glad that I’m still here and each day is a new day for me to reassert myself and to show my husband what he has and what he almost lost. Believe me, he got an eye-opener. I am not going to deny that the hurt and anger doesn’t come back but the pain has become less. I go to a marriage counselor today with hopes to not only strengthen my “it” but to also find ways to improve my marriage and relationship with my husband. A special thanks to stupidandtrusting for reminding me not to give the EA the power to consume me. As Helen Reddy once sang “I am Woman here me roar…” Yeah I’m working my way back to “it.”

    • Doug August 25, 2010 at 3:34 pm #

      Deflated, What a great story. It’s amazing what some alone time can do–for both you and your husband. Great stuff!

    • stupidandtrusting August 25, 2010 at 5:07 pm #

      Deflated – I appreciate your kind words. I hope that I can more consistently diminish the power of the EA and of the OW. This is truly a self-esteem killer, along with many other aspects of our selves and our lives that are also damaged. It is a daily task to focus on the positive growth we have been experiencing. I had a meltdown the other night and we are both shocked by it – it wasn’t as strong or as long lasting as in earlier periods but it was still significant. My husband and I took a client and his wife for dinner. I should say “new wife”. Very attractive, the work she had had done was outstanding (I am not assuming, she told me), and generally a nice person. They began as an affair, though. It took everything I had to present myself in a way that wouldn’t be read. It was the husband who spoke of his new best friend, the love of his life, the reason he will retire early and how his wife of 28 years wasn’t fun. I was so close to shouting Fxxx You. He went on to speak somewhat negatively of his wife – I suddenly had to use the restroom again to hide my disgust. They were both nice people, but they had caused a wife and children a good deal of hurt and pain. The former wife reaps none of the benefit of her long and committed love. I took this out on my husband after dinner which really upset him, made him feel we had taken many steps backwards. I reminded him that the pain hasn’t just magically disappeared but it has become “mostly” more manageable. Probably the fact that I have my surgery tomorrow has made me even more anxious. Along with Helen Reddy, I will remember Gloria Gaynor and “I Will Survive”. I will and we will.

  4. Jeffrey Murrah August 25, 2010 at 5:10 pm #

    Who you are and your source of worth is MORE than what you have done. If I knelled on the floor and acted like a dog, it is my behavior, not who I am or my value. You made a bad choice, that does not make you a bad person. Who you are and what you did are two separate things. Learning to separate them may take some time, but it is worth the effort.

    • Maribel August 26, 2010 at 8:37 am #

      That is exactly what I have tried to explain to my husband. I’m not a bad person I made a really bad CHOICE.

  5. Karen August 25, 2010 at 6:06 pm #

    Deflated and Stupid and trusting: You are my heros. Oh, add Linda to that. And all the other women who refuse to let the EA consume them and take the power from them. Trying to be my own hero also . . . one day at a time.

  6. blueskyabove August 25, 2010 at 7:39 pm #

    I’d like to add to the list of songs. How about Reba McEntire? “With gentle hands and a heart of a fighter, I’m a survivor.”

  7. Donna August 25, 2010 at 8:16 pm #

    My self worth got a massive kick when I discovered my husbands EA with my supposive best friend. I felt fat, because I was and ugly and really boring and just not funny enough and that my conversation was just not interesting for my husband to want to talk with me or spend that time with me. As a result of lots of researching like a mad woman that I turned into, I discovered that it didn’t matter what my size was or my conversation was. That had nothing to do with what my husband did. Since then I have lost over 90.2 lbs, for me and not for him. I have become healthier, I dress so much nicer now, for me and not for him. It makes ME feel good when I look and dress nice. I actually take care of me now and have found that I am Donna and I am fun and energetic and outgoing and love doing crazy spontaneous things. I just happened to lose myself along the way of raising 4 young children and being a wife. I pretty much was just mum and wife and sometimes, not very often would be Donna. When I was Donna though, I was only really half that person because I had forgotten to look after my needs and wants and just cherish who I was as a person.

    I have become so much stronger in all of this. I chose from day 1 that I was not going to let this trial sink and kill me. Some days it feels like I am only just paddling enough with my nose above the water level to stay alive, but then some inner strength pulls me back up and I continue. I have come to realise that I am a beutiful person, inside and out and that what my husband did was not really a result of me, maybe paartly, I have realised that I did play a small role in the outcome, I did not make him do what he chose to do though.

    I have come to realise that I don’t need my husband to make me happy and to make me feel beautiful and to make me feel of worth. I already feel that now, I now choose my husband to be with forever because I really do love him and want to share what ever time we have together with our children and each other to continue to make more memories.

    Some may think I am warped, my heart actually breaks for my husband and for the choices he has made. I know he is going through his own inner hell and the dissapointment he feels of what he has done. I am now seeing a man who has flaws just as I do, a man who is so remorseful for his choices and a man who just despises himself for all that he has put his wofe and family though. A man who has a difficult time understanding why his wife of 14 years would want to stay married to him when he has hurt me so bad. A man who is still struggling to not be with his EA partner, although his deepest desire is to be with his family. I see a man with many many flaws, and yet that makes me just love him all the more. He is human and I will wait this affair business out. As ppl said not long ago, EA’s eventually end. I can see that happening, I just need to be patient and love him quietly and from a distance. I see my husbands potential and his quiet inner strengths and I will not give up on him as he has not given up on me either. I could be wrong, I figure though that if he “REALLY” loved this OW, he would have left me by now and he wouldn’t have this emotional war going on with himself. Anyhow, I will sit back and be pleasant and continue to become stronger within myself and find that inner peace so that is can shine from within me.

    I have chosen to be grateful for all the small things that come from everyday. And yes, Iam grateful for the affair, I have found me, I have seen my husband weakend to his knees and see his inner strength coming out. I have realised I am of worth and beutiful and can be of help to someone else one day going through this same trial. I love the word HOPE, and I have plenty of that. So to say my self worth got a beating… YES it sure did. I am now healing those scars as Jeff calls them and making them better. I figure that a butterfly has to go through a massive struggle to get out of it’s cocoon to remove the acids from it’s wings to really show the world it’s beauty. That is exactly what my husband and I are going through right now, we will get through this. And yes, we will be able to shopw our beauty to the world again and to each other. I look forward to that day.

    • blueskyabove August 26, 2010 at 8:17 pm #

      Donna,

      Bravo! I don’t think you’re warped at all. I know exactly what you’re saying. My husband, too, has gone through his own inner hell, but he’s getting stronger every day. He has recognized why he got into an affair and has taken huge, positive steps to prevent it ever happening again! He also has learned that happiness is an inside job. It isn’t my responsibility to make him happy and vice versa. Happiness is a state of being. Linda recommended a very good book called “Happy for no Reason”. He read it and it helped change his perspective. Once his perspective changed he started seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.

      Gratitude is one of the quickest ways to heal and you are proving it. Thank you for your post. I hope others will follow your example.

    • Holding On October 19, 2011 at 5:11 pm #

      Donna,

      I don’t know if you’ll ever see this, but I needed this post today. I loved how you ended with the butterfly. I told my husband when I see butterflies and rainbows I think of hope and of change and of new beginnings. I love what you said about them.

      I love your hope. I love your courage and dedication. I so need that new perspective. I am almost 4 months in this rollercoaster and I sometimes just need a new way of looking at things.

      I copied this to a word document of many posts that have been helpful to me. Thanks Donna, I hope you are still in this wonderful place 1 year later.

  8. Helen November 26, 2010 at 3:15 pm #

    Thank you for sharing your feelings…my husband and I are both appreciative. It is good to know we are not alone in our ongoing healing process.

  9. Invisible May 30, 2011 at 11:43 am #

    I’m finding that most betrayed wives I read about here and on other sites seem to have legitimate grounds for having real self-esteem. But what do you do when you really ARE worthless — to society as well as to your husband? When you are physically dependent on others for the most basic needs — let alone “doing something for yourself” like going to a hair salon or buying yourself bubble bath?

    It’s been two months since I found out about my husband’s addiction to internet porn and subsequent internet affair – with a beautiful, perfect girl in her teens.

    I’m in my fifties and wheelchair disabled. Thanks to neurological damage, I look nothing like the teenager I was when my husband married me many, many years ago. Or like the teenager he was “seeing”. He had shut me out of his life over the last few years, spending most of his time in another part of the house I couldn’t reach and excluding me from our bed. I still wanted him physically and was capable of it, but he made it more than clear that part of our relationship was over for him.

    Then he grew bold enough to access his “perfect” girl on his laptop in the same room as me (he still can’t explain why he did this). After seeing how devastated and destroyed I was when I passed by and discovered them “together”, he says he is sorry and completely finished with her and internet pornography.

    He says he was “compartmentalizing” things and thinking it was okay, but my agony and distress blew apart his “constructs” in an instant and made him truly see what he had gradually become. He shows great remorse and we are going to a marriage counselor and he has joined a 12-step program. He has “rediscovered” how much he loves me and is being totally transparent. He is sharing feelings (something he never did) and spending time with me, taking me out for drives and to visit the outside world (something he refused to do, with many excuses, for the last three years) and generally behaving like the man I fell in love with many years ago.

    My problem is flashbacks of those explicit images of his “girlfriend”, which make me feel unbelievably discarded, old, worthless and ugly against all that youthful perfection. Every time I see, in lurid detail, one of those images in my head, it feels as if he is being unfaithful with her right now, not in the past. I hate the flood of physical anger I feel when something triggers a flashback and I hate not being able to really forgive him and move forward. It makes me feel that I really am not worth loving.

    In addition, being treated as a nuisance for the past few years doesn’t help me believe him when he now earnestly tells me I’m “amazing” and beautiful and have a lovely smile, a unique sense of humor, etc. etc. I contrast that with years of coldness and dislike and how could anyone believe it?

    Thanks to counseling I’m now understanding he has low self esteem too (and has always had a problem with emotional connection and intimacy). We are both working hard to save our marriage but I cannot get past these vivid flashbacks of his perfect girl in inviting, explicit poses and seeing myself as unacceptably old and ugly (which, come to think of it, I actually am).

    All I want to do is be dead already and get it over with, but I can’t because I have grandchildren and I wouldn’t do that to them. But I don’t think I can heal and it is becoming a daily fight not to just end it all and free him.

    How can you get self-esteem back when you have no grounds for having it in the first place and you really ARE a burden to your husband?

    • Doug May 30, 2011 at 9:30 pm #

      Invisible, I am so sorry that you are going through this and all of us here in many ways can relate to your pain . I want you to know your comments project many positives that are happening in your life. You have grandchildren that I am sure love and cherish you and a husband that has realized the terrible mistake he made and is trying to do everything to make it right. I will be honest I still have images of the perfect woman Doug had an affair with, the picture also flashes in my mind. However it is just an image, it is not the real representation of the person he was with. It is not the whole person with their faults, shortcomings etc. Our husbands, you or I will never know the whole person they will always be an illusion in our heads. What is real is how our husbands feel about us now. I know it is difficult to forgive and understand how they could do such a thing and treat us the way they did. My hope is that they lost their way, and have realized everything they could have lost. It makes me sad to hear how badly you are beating yourself up, I hope that you can find something that will make you feel alive again because you deserve it. Linda

    • Donna May 31, 2011 at 12:26 pm #

      Invisible. Your post made me very upset, I wish I could be their to give you a real hug, but instead I am reaching through this screen to hug you from another country. I am so very sorry fro how you are feeling. Just know this, you are of worth, if you don’t feel like it is for your husband, it is for your little grand children, itis for your family, it is for your friends, it is for me, it is for YOU. You are special and you have been dealt a real blow, not only physically but also emotionally. Yes, although i am not physically challenged, i too have been in that place where I have wanted to die and I think you would find that most of us have been their. I think it is a very normal feeling this thought process of if i were dead then I am freeing up my husband/wife so they can be with who they “think’ they want ot be with. The images are hard, teh flash backs suck, you can push through them. You are of worth my dear and I really wish that you could feel that. It takes time, stick with us and you will see and find it again. Love who you are and I am sure you are beautiful, everyone is if they let it shine forth. I wish I could write more, but heading out the door. Take care of you and know that I care even though we do not know each other. Love and hugs to a better minute, hour, day ahead xox

    • karen May 31, 2011 at 12:44 pm #

      Invisible: Your self-worth is so evident from your heartfelt post – you are such a caring, compassionate, kind person!! You have made more progress in 2 months than most of us BS’s do in a year – please focus on those beautiful grandkids and the positive things in your life. Your CS sounds like he is stepping up to the plate and doing the right thing mostly. The harsh reality is our happiness must not be reliant on our spouses. . . or any other person for that matter. I find it in my faith and wonderful friends who encourage me. Anyone can find happiness if they look for it in the right places. Fight those negative thoughts – this site has lots of links that you can read to give you practical ideas how to do just that. And it works!!!!
      I am in my 50’s also, am one year past D-day, and still have to fight the negative thoughts and images, but I’m making progress. Please take good care of yourself. Find something you love to do it for yourself and do it!!! One day at a time.
      Many blessings on your and your family.

    • Teresa December 15, 2011 at 11:29 pm #

      I think that it is your husband who is a burden to you. He is lucky that you love him.

  10. Invisible June 8, 2011 at 12:11 pm #

    Linda, Donna and Karen, thank you for taking the time to write and thank you for your good advice and kind words. The effect is that I have arranged for an intake with a women’s group for counselling, insisted on a ride to get there and I am realizing that I am not “powerless” — if I need to, I can talk to them about how to get on social assistance and start over on my own. I don’t want to do that, but just knowing I don’t have to be still my husband’s literal prisoner has already given me more peace. Nobody likes to feel like a child; especially an unworthy and unwanted one. And especially at my age.

    Things are still very up and down of course. But just having three people hear my story and care and share thoughts with me has helped me turn a personal corner in my feelings about myself.

    Funnily enough, when I realized I could leave, I experienced a sense of peace over his “perfect girl”. If I choose to leave, it won’t be my problem any more, and the thought of that is a huge relief. I won’t have to compare myself, worry or continue to feel devastated. I’ve read one shouldn’t rush to leave while still very upset, so I have agreed to continue marriage counselling as well as both of us getting our own counselors. I don’t want to leave, but I honestly don’t know if I can get past her — there was so much more to his choice of her than I’ve explained.

    I also realized yesterday that I have been viewing the marriage as “broken” and wanting desperately for us to “fix” it…. when in fact the marriage wasn’t broken, it was murdered. What happens when someone is murdered? As I explained to my husband, you can be as sorry as you like; your victim is still dead.

    So there has to be a new marriage or a new relationship. I”ve stopped the grief process for my old one — it’s dead. Time to move forward. I don’t know where to — and to my surprise that is exciting in a small way, as well as frightening.

    The flashbacks continue, but I am quoting your words to myself, Linda: “it is just an image, it is not the real representation of the person he was with”. Donna, I’m also reminding myself that you have gone through this too and quoting you: “you can push through them”. The marriage counselor we just saw says flashbacks like this are the brain’s way of protecting us from this person who harmed us, and I can say, “Thanks, brain, but I know this already. You can stop now.” I’ve been having limited success with these techniques but it has taken the edge off my agony and helped me start focusing more on myself as a person and not as a victim.

    So thank you again for the incredible gift of your caring and letters. I really appreciate you all being there when I needed someone to help me out of the blackness.

    • Donna June 8, 2011 at 9:00 pm #

      Invisible, I am checking back from time to time and felt I needed to reply to your comment. You are sounding wonderful with a more positive outlook for you and your future whether that be with alone or with your husband. Just know, you will NEVER really be alone. I am pleased you are using some techniques to help you with images etc.. I do know where you are coming from. I sometimes still to this day although it is getting better talk in my sleep and I talk about how I feel towards ow and how I feel about my husband and how it has all made me feel. My husband has moved back home after 12 months of living apart.. although he was over nearly every night for dinner and we always were together on the weekend. My husband hears me talking and knows how I feel about the whole situation. I waske crying softly at times, other times I am sobbing. He has heard it all. I too am protecting myself however it is getting better and I can actually go a couple of nights where I will not dream or talk…. THANK GOODNESS!!! It really is quite exhausting.

      Another thing I have started to do is not give the ow room in my head space.. now that is still a hard one at times, but boy it feels good when you can conquer that. I really wish I had done that earlier on in the process. In my circumstances the ow was my once best friend, so yes, I did know her VERY well… or so I thought. However, knowing her and her weaknesses and problems and how she would be with my husband.. I know that he would tire of her very quickly. You see, he was in lala land and to some point maybe still, however he overlooked those problems. What they see in each other is not the real picture, they think they know, but they really don’t. Let go of the ow and don’t allow her to move in your head, squash her and kick her out, she is so not worth your precious time as you heal yourself and become a better and stronger woman so you can allow your spirit to shine once more.

      You are wonderful and Iam glad you are coming to realise that for you. Keep your chin up, there will be tough days ahead, but know you can get through it. You will be in my prayers. x

  11. morallyopposed July 26, 2011 at 1:38 pm #

    Reading these comments has helped me, am feeling quite low at the moment, trying to deal with flashbacks as well. I hear many people say that they stayed together for the sake of children, vows, etc, yet that is not the case for me. However, there is a part of me that’s scared of that happening. I have doubts at times and it would definitely be more difficult to deal with such doubts if I had obligations or other reasons to stay with him.

    Things will be good, and then out of nowhere, I fall into a dark pit with all the negative emotions that come with it. I know I’m supposed to ‘trust my gut’ but I cannot stop second-guessing myself long enough to really know what my gut says.

    I don’t expect any replies for this, unless someone knows of a magic solution to help me find out what it is I really want.

    Wishing you all the very best that life can offer: sooner or later, the best thing (in my opinion) is to look back and realise that you’re happy with the choices you made and the twists life threw at you, because of how things turned out.

  12. Juliette Miles July 31, 2011 at 3:27 pm #

    Your journey begins here and now. Live your best life with mastery, abundance, contribution, cherishment and reverence for all.

    Juliette Miles, Self-love/self-esteem Trusted Authority and Living In The G.O.D., Life/Business/Beauty Coach presents: A journey for every beautiful soul to empower self-awareness, self-love and to stop bullying and SHINE ON to heal the world with love and kindness.

  13. Juliette Miles July 31, 2011 at 3:30 pm #

    You matter, you are ENOUGH and you have a legacy and a purpose to SHINE!!

  14. Dana233 October 19, 2011 at 4:07 pm #

    It’s been 3 weeks today that my husband came home and dropped the bomb on me. I had just picked my 4 year old up from preschool and just put my 2 year old to bed. I was looking forward to relaxing that afternoon as we just had a whirl wind weekend celebrating both kids birthdays.

    My life as I knew it changed as I watched him walk in that door during the middle of the day. He ended up telling me that while he was on a weekend getaway playing golf and watching baseball with his father 6 weeks before, he basically forgot he was married for a few moments and fooled around with someone else. He wasn’t sure if he did the full deed (he was drunk) but what happened was enough. I was given every detail and now get to walk around with images in my head.

    After kicking him out for 2 nights and many conversations involving him begging for my forgiveness and vowing to make things better for us, I decided that we would work through it.

    I’ve gone through so many emotions these past few weeks but now deal with a non existent self esteem and self worth. I basically feel like dirt on the floor that has been walked all over. He was going through a difficult time because of work for a year and had been struggling with his self esteem. Knowing this, I did whatever I could during the past year to make things better for him. I bent over backwards and was there for him. This is how I have been repaid!

    I’m furious that I am in this position! We’ve been together for 9 years, married for 6 and have 2 very small children. This is the beginning of our lives and this is what I’m facing?!!!

    I used to think that I knew what I would do in this situation if it ever happened but have done the complete opposite once faced with it. I feel weak, deflated, alone, sometimes crazy, devalued, unappreciated, the list goes on and on. How the heck am I supposed to pull myself together?! I have 2 small kids that I stay home with and have to put a fake smile on my face so they don’t pick up that Mommy is a wreck. I’m so angry with him for putting me here, I didn’t ask for this. I’m the one who’s been destroyed and now I’m the one who has to work so hard to put all of this back together.

    Anyways, thanks for listening. Just needed to vent.

    • Healing Mark October 19, 2011 at 6:04 pm #

      Dana233. So sorry that you are having to go through what you are inevitably going to go through given the mistakes you husband made. I say mistakes because we know that he made a mistake when he crossed the marital boundary and “fooled around” with a woman other than you. His second mistake was confessing this to you, which was an incredibly selfish thing for him to do and hopefully will not cause the end of your marriage. I think that you will find that many, if not most (could not possibly be all as there is always a contrarian out there) of the “experts” (includes marital counselors that are not actively pitching “cures” to surviving affairs) will agree that in a situation like yours, confessing to the “deed” is more harmful than helpful, and is certainly only harmful, and in no way helpful, to the betrayed partner.

      If there is any consolation, if what you have described is true (i.e., your husband messed around ONE time with someone he had no emotional attachment to; heck, he didn’t even know this woman other than what they shared that evening), you are in a much “better” place than some of us who have had to deal with situations where our partners actually fell in love with another person and interacted with them for extended periods of time. I can only speak for myself, but I believe that I would have had a much, much easier time getting over and forgiving my wife for a single night indescretion (assuming that no intercourse was involved, but even then I think that I could get beyond that huge of a mistake provided no diseases or pregnancy resulted from the one night stand) than I had getting over and forgiving my wife for allowing a relationship develop into a full blown emotional affair with “I think I love you’s” texted and spoken and the lies and deceptions that followed in order to maintain the EA without me knowing about it.

      Get counselling asap. Both joint and individual. If your husband is truly remorseful, and is able to gain a true understanding of how damaging and hurtful a mistake like this can be, you may have a case where the odds of this ever happening again are actually less than they would be if your husband had never made this mistake in the first place. Weird, and just my humble opinion. We all make mistakes, and when we do, we really, really need those who love and care for us to forgive us and continue to love and care for us. You can chose to be this type of person for your husband, or you can chose to be unforgiving and ultimately allow this mistake to destroy your marriage and greatly damage the lives of your children. I chose forgiveness with the caveat that if another “mistake” like an EA or PA were to occur in the future, my wife will find herself out on the street and she will have to face not just the fact that she made one terrible mistake, but that she made the same terrible mistake once again knowing full well the harm and pain that it would no doubt cause and the consequences that she alone brought upon herself and her friends and family members.

      God Bless and good luck.

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