Why Some Betrayed Spouses Have a Hard Time Getting Over an Affair

crying woman_bwDo you sometimes feel as though getting over an affair and releasing the anger and hurt is just a dream?

We recently came across this article that was written by a former betrayed spouse.  It demonstrates how the wayward and betrayed spouses can have differing perceptions of what the truth actually is, which in turn can create anger and resentment causing them to become stuck. The recovery process stalls.

It further goes on to discuss the importance of figuring out why you are stuck and the need for addressing those causes very directly so that you don’t dwell on just the negative stuff.

Healing and happiness is an active process, it is a choice, and best of all, it’s in your power. Those who can manage to let go of the pain and anger of an affair are those who have managed to build a happy future where there really is no need to look back to the pains of the past.


 

It’s Been Years Since I Found Out My Husband Cheated On Me. Why Am I Still So Angry?

by Katie Lersch

I sometimes hear from wives who tell me that they had hoped that they would “be over” their husband’s affair by now. I often hear things like: “it’s been years since his affair and I’m still angry and hurt. I still can’t let it go. What’s wrong with me? Will I ever be able to move past this?”

These frustrations are very common. Wives often get caught up in a cycle where they want and even expect to feel better or to “get over it” but, for whatever reason, they just can’t. However, being stuck right now doesn’t automatically give you a life sentence of more of the same. You certainly deserve better. There are some ways that wives are able to move on. Often, this means figuring out exactly why you are stuck and then addressing those causes very directly. I will discuss this more in the following article.

Worrying That Your Husband Isn’t Really Sorry About The Affair Is A Common Reason For Being Stuck: As I said, I often see common themes or issues in wives who haven’t been able to move on. One very common one is feeling like your husband just isn’t remorseful or sorry enough for the affair. I often hear wives say things like: “Sure, he’s sorry that I caught him having the affair, but there’s no remorse for what he did. It’s almost as if he blames me and thinks that he was somewhat justified in his actions.”

However, I have to tell you that many times, if you talk to the husband on the other side of this equation, you will get a completely different representation of the truth. The husbands will often say things like: “Yes, of course I’m sorry about having an affair. I wish I could take it back, but I can’t. And, how many times can one person apologize or say they are sorry? How many other ways are there to show your remorse? Am I going to say I’m sorry for the rest of my life because it gets old having to repeat yourself over and over when she doesn’t believe a word that I say anymore anyway.”

Obviously, the husband and wife have to meet somewhere in the middle so that both people feel that they are being heard. Sometimes, the two people have been dancing around this issue for so long that it’s become almost off limits because there is so much anger and resentment surrounding it. However, sometimes you have to face it very directly for it to finally go away. Sometimes, you will have to directly spell things out for your husband to ensure that you get what you need. Sure, this isn’t always easy. But at least you are getting what you need so you can move on. The short lived awkwardness is much better than continuing to live this way.

Many Wives Who Are Still Angry About The Affair Years Later Feel Resentment That There Was No Repercussions For The Husband’s Affair: I often hear wives say things like: “So, he basically is allowed to say that he’s sorry for breaking his wedding vows and I’m just supposed to move on as though nothing ever happened. My choice is to get a divorce (which I don’t want) or to just pretend like everything is fine when it isn’t. He gets to cheat on me and his life doesn’t really change. But, I now have to live with this for a long time to come. How is this even remotely fair?” If I were the one who had an affair, he most definitely would not forgive me, but when the roles are reversed, I have to forgive him.”

But, if you asked the husband about this, he would likely say something like: “She thinks that I haven’t paid for what I’ve done, but believe me, I pay for it every day. I have to look into her eyes and see disappointment and pain. That’s a life sentence. Every day, I can see how much I’ve disappointed and hurt her. Every day, I wake up knowing that she’s going to look at me with loathing. And every day, I know that there is nothing that I can do about it because I deserve it.”

This is a difficult situation on so many levels because the wife is absolutely justified in being angry. However, if these feelings go on for so long that they don’t allow any real healing to take place, then both people continue to pay dearly. At some point, this needs to come to a resolution so that both people don’t continue to experience pain with no real end in sight.

Many times, the wife feels it’s only fair for the husband to pay for what he did. And, I can certainly see this side of the argument. But usually, what the wife doesn’t see is that continuing to dwell on the negative hurts her as well and keeps her from moving on to a more healthy place where she could finally be at peace.

Sometimes, When People Are Still Angry About An Affair, It’s Because No Positive Change Has Been Made: Many times, when I ask the wives in this situation how much or what sort of progress has been made, they will tell me that nothing has really changed. It’s as if they are just supposed to wake up one day and no longer be angry even though no improvements or changes have come to pass. This can be too much to ask and many wives find this to be an impossible situation.

It’s often necessary to make husbands understand that if they can work with their wives to create a new and better marriage, then everyone is going to benefit from that. Yes, it’s going to take a lot of work. Yes, it’s going to require for both people to change the way that they have been doing things. Yes, it might be uncomfortable in the beginning. But, it’s usually the only way to ensure that both parties aren’t continuously looking back or living with the pain of the past.

Because honestly, the best way to let go of the pain and anger of an affair is to craft a happy future where there really is no need to look back. If both people can get to this place, the anger usually will naturally just start to abate.

There was a time when I thought I would never get over my husband’s affair, but this is in the past. Although I never would’ve believed this two years ago, my marriage eventually recovered and became stronger. It took a lot of work, and I had to play the game to win, but it was worth it. Because of all the work I did on myself, my self esteem is at an all time high. I no longer worry my husband will cheat again.

 

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9 Responses to Why Some Betrayed Spouses Have a Hard Time Getting Over an Affair

  1. Shifting Impressions March 27, 2015 at 4:44 pm #

    I can relate and am in agreement with so much of this article. But I am sorry, the last statement “I no longer worry my husband will cheat again” set my teeth on edge.

    In my case, progress is being made…..healing is starting to happen. Defenses are slowly coming down. We are in the middle of long painful journey and I too want to create a new and better marriage. But, I don’t believe I will ever come to the place that I will believe that an affair is an impossibility. The lines have been crossed twice in my case and blindly trusting is not the position I ever want to be in again.

  2. Beckyb2 March 28, 2015 at 2:02 am #

    I’m 3.7 years from dd #1 .honestly I lost count at #5 at 7 months out . The entire tt gaslighting defense was during my Mamas kidney failure and her hospitals and her hospice and her death. Also while taking 7 of my children to see her staying near her to help three weeks before she died was the major one besides the first I love you but not like that. My hurt and anger my triggers my grief are so tied together with my mothers death when at 87 had to learn my husband was a serial cheater while she battled pneumonia and collapsed lungs my children were so confused by his head games and angry at me . I’m still trying to learn the facts and the truth. The hardest is my husband has been a liar his whole life and he has not felt bad for the people he has lied to . I’m not sure he feels bad about anything he has done he has been a conman most of his life in one way or another. I’m not able to trust him when the things he says are not what he really said or did . I’m not seeing him do any of the work on himself I’ve learned enough to have serious doubts he will do the work only he can do. My grief at my life wasted by his self absorption his immature I love you and how cheap he sold his I love yous . I’m losing my feelings I seem to be numb . I’m also tired my youngest child is almost 16 my oldest child is 33 raising my 8 blessings has been awesome and excruciating I’ve loved it and been terrified it’s exhausting . I’m the single parent who just happened to be married to an absent partner and I am tired. I’m Ready for a vacation or maybe just run away from life as I know it .

  3. Beckyb2 March 28, 2015 at 11:18 pm #

    Also my husband seems to believe that by doing the little things I should be satisfied sad to say but the little things don’t mean diddle squat when every BIG thing is gone I know he would never except what little he has offered me. My needs have not been met for me to see our future is his concern. I feel as if my needs are not his priority and his refusal to offer me proof that I asked for has made me have serious doubts whether we have a future beyond kids and grandkids. He is so distant and not really here as if he would like to escape too but he did that’s why we are in his mess that he is blind to getting help

  4. GODSPEACH March 31, 2015 at 11:02 am #

    We MUST GET ANGRY. Without this part of the healing process there will be NO REAL RECOVERY.
    Anyone who DOES NOT ALLOW ANGER can’t recover. It only leaves denial.
    Truth is that it is NOT a straight path to healing. It MAY SEEM EASIER to forgive your mate because they ARE DOING THE RIGHT THINGS, but even that goes only so far to promote healing.
    We must take OUR LIVES BACK. Our happiness MUST NOT DEPEND ON ANYONE EXCEPT CHRIST.
    It’s a daily, moment to moment struggle because it seems that our mates are GETTING AWAY WITH THEIR GREVIOUS ACTS.
    It seems we have no choice but to FEEL HURT AND VICTIMIZED forever.
    Like Kelly Clarkson sang “What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger!”
    Make that the BETRAYED SPOUSES ANTHEM!!!

  5. GODSPEACH March 31, 2015 at 11:07 am #

    Either way, there will be ultimate trust in GOD ALONE, and a different trust in MY SPOUSE.
    No one is WORTHY of 100% trust.
    While on this journey we MUST LEARN that TRUSTING OURSELVES is MORE IMPORTANT than restoring marital trust.
    Let’s get content with Ourselves regardless.
    This way NO MATTER WHAT our spouses do, WE WILL SURVIVE AND THRIVE.

  6. antiskank March 31, 2015 at 12:22 pm #

    The first thing that raised my curiosity in a negative way was the title of the blog entry “Why SOME Betrayed Spouses have a Hard Time Getting Over an Affair”. Only some? Does that mean that for most it isn’t an issue? I know that wasn’t the intent but on a bad day, it gets the hackles up a bit 🙂

    It has been almost 3 years for me since the first D Day and I am definitely not over it. I don’t know if I will ever be over it but I hope to get past it and be happy. I really work hard on that. I feel that I am not only trying to get over the affair but all of the behaviours exhibited during and since the affair. The belittling of me, the blaming me, the comparisons, the attempts to destroy me, the constant lying, the lack of remorse and understanding. The list could go on. I thought I was well on my way to getting over the affair until I discovered that I was still being manipluated and lied to after more that 2 years. He was still not ready to commit to our marriage or to me regardless of what he was saying. He was still stuck on his fantasy and did not want to let it go. That was more devastating than the original affair.

    We were recently at a stage where I wanted results or we were to part and go our separate ways. This was a very unpleasant and stressful time. Nothing has been resolved but a crisis involving one of our kids came up and took precedence over my problems. I could not deal with both things at once and continue to carry on life as normal. We were united in our concern for our child and need to be on the same side for that purpose.

    We are being more than civil and supportive to one another, doing things together, even making declarations of love and appreciation but I know that we need to deal with the issues still. I am still hopeful that things can work out but know that there are no guarantees.

    Is it possible that many of the issues in most of the relationshiops affected by affairs are not completely dealt with? Is it that after a period of time, we come to “accept” what has happened, realizing that we have survived it and as the shock wears off, the anger subsides somewhat too? Do we just become accustomed to the new normal? I guess I am still at a point where I know I don’t want my whole life to have been a waste, don’t want my marriage to end but I know that I have lost something so valuable that I can never get back. I can’t seem to quite put it into words but mourn the loss of what was…

  7. TheFirstWife March 31, 2015 at 4:44 pm #

    Antiskank. I understand your position and you are right to feel the way you do.

    You have been in a horrendous relationship for years. Chronic lying is a disease in my opinion. But that is no excuse. To continue an affair is selfish and mean and wrong.

    I told my CH after finding out they were still together and his continued lying I was done. He was never like that (as far as I knew) and being blindsided to know that he is just like all the other cheating losers out there is just a hard thing to accept.

    However he is trying but on his own terms. Refused counseling. I see the backslide to some old behaviors already.

    I don’t know how you cope. My saving grace has been ME! I am happy and in a great place with or without him. Once our children are grown I may change my mind and decide it is better to be single. Who knows?

    A great therapist helped me keep my sanity when my world fell apart and my CH told me 2x in one week he was leaving. I was so burnt out at the time from his mid life crisis drama I just said OK.

    I guess that was not what he expected but I was done fighting for us and him.

    He did this when a family member was in the hospital dying. Even told the OW about MY family member saying “you would have liked her”. Not sure my relative would have liked the OW in return.

    So we have similar experiences. I found out from the OW that my CH admitted to cheating on me in the late 1990s. I always suspected but had no proof. Now I do have proof. So this was not the first time he cheated.

    They are his issues and have nothing to do with me anymore. I have suffered enough PTSD from him to last a lifetime. I refuse to waste my life any longer.

    How sad they come running back thinking “it’s ok. She’ll take me back”.

    If we did this to them they would be out the door, no questions asked.

    I wonder if you are doing the right thing for you, by staying.

  8. deb March 31, 2015 at 8:17 pm #

    I learned about the affair. We went through a 6 month reconciliation. But, because they worked together nothing stopped. I caught my cheater in a lie after many triggers from her as she wouldn’t let it go. He told me in tears that she didn’t leave him alone. I said if you are too weak to make her let it go then you go now. We are divorced 2 years. She pays my alimony and tried to tell the lawyers how to handle things. Fortunately, I had the best legal representation one could have. I am broke and so is he. But, they had to get married and now have a baby! He doesn’t even relate to his 2 sons we had together. He told me that they are his by default. Who uses that nomenclature! He is 13 years younger, and at 55 he retired to take care of the baby. These were to be our golden years!

    My point is, the cheater becomes a completely different person, using words never heard in 23 years! I tried. I went through hell! But, I am getting better. I advocate leaving if there is any doubt! Life is too short!

  9. Rachel March 31, 2015 at 10:16 pm #

    Deb,
    You are better because you are away from that liar/cheater.
    Hold your head high and enjoy your new and fabulous life, you deserve it!!

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