Forgiveness after the affair shouldn’t happen too soon. Here’s why…

Forgiveness After the AffairBy Linda

Forgiveness after the affair is essential to the healing process for both the betrayed spouse and the cheating spouse.  However, it is also just as essential that you do not forgive too soon.  It took me well over a year after Doug’s emotional affair to completely forgive him.

Here are three reasons why you shouldn’t forgive too early after the affair:

1.  Forgiving too soon masks the pain. One of the consequences of forgiving too early is that the couple (both the cheater and the betrayed) does not experience enough pain for each to make the necessary changes and to explore what went wrong in the marriage.

Believe it or not, but pain is actually a good thing.  When someone experiences pain, it can promote self-exploration which can ultimately lead to change.

Think about when you go to the doctor when you are in pain.  The doctor asks you to describe the pain, and from there he can help you to alleviate it.

Demonstrating anger and resentment often mask the pain and keeps the relationship at a standstill, as these emotions put up walls in the relationship and prohibit honest communication and exploration.

Often times when recovering from an affair, there is a seesaw effect, where one partner will experience the pain while the other does not.  Both partners need to experience the pain at the same level.

2.  Forgiving too soon after the affair can let the cheating spouse off the hook. The cheater wants to avoid the pain (one of the main reasons they were involved in an affair to begin with) by not wanting to talk about it.  They just want to move on.  By just moving on, the cheater thinks they can avoid seeing the betrayed spouse’s pain, while at the same time avoid experiencing their own.

This tends to stop the real honest communication that needs to be done in order to move on.  It does nothing more than take the pressure off the cheater to do the work necessary to heal and to save the marriage.

3.  Forgiving too early after the affair does not give the betrayed spouse sufficient time to explore what was most upsetting about the affair. Was it the lying?  Was it the sharing of intimacy with someone else?  Was it the betrayal itself?  The betrayed spouse needs time to figure this out and be able to articulate that to the cheater.

Another important aspect of forgiveness is that it needs to be asked for.  Just saying “I’m sorry” doesn’t cut it.  The cheater needs to ask for forgiveness and explain it in terms that are meaningful and from the heart.

The cheater also needs to show true remorse not only with their words, but with their actions as well.  The betrayed spouse can choose to forgive, not to forgive, or state that they cannot forgive right now, but they are working on it.

See also  How to Save Your Marriage

Likewise, the betrayed spouse will need to ask for forgiveness for some of their actions as well.  It’s very much a two-way street.

Please share your thoughts on forgiveness after the affair in the comment section below.  Thanks!

    47 replies to "3 Reasons To Not Forgive Too Soon After the Affair"

    • Stephanie

      Does anyone have any advice on this subject if the husband is codependant in relation to the OW. They arent speaking anymore nor are they friends in any way, however hes been working with his counselor on not being that way, and after his last appointment he sat down at his desk at wok and she texted him that even though she knows he wont respond, shes “had a rough week and wishes they could talk about it”. Why does she feel the need to go to my H and not her own? Doesnt she have friends or family that shes close to?

      • karen

        Stephanie: Might I suggest you ask your H to change his phone number? Or better yet, do it for him?? That’s what we did as the OW would not stop contact via text and phone calls. Sounds like asking her to stop texting won’t work either. Especially since your H has a codependent

        • Stephanie


          I thought about that, I know it would be a pain but I guess for his health nothing is too trivial. I have been thinking about mentioning it to him should she feel the need to text him again…granted it was the only time but it only took a week for her contact him. When he told me she texted him I told him I knew she would and he said he did too. Thanks Karen 🙂

          • jenn

            Can you at least block her number? Verizon allows it to be done online, but I’m sure most cellphone companies allow blocking.

      • Joe

        Done allow it, period. My wife tried to balance the end of an emotional affair with the need to want to stay at her job, and after 4 years we are in a much worse place than ever. I wish I would have demanded that she leave the job or leave me 4 years ago.

    • ruth

      Can someone give me some advice or their opinion? For the last year my h as not been in contact with the ow. I have truly been on the road to recovery. A few time in the last year I did see him try and contact her the internet but with no sucess. On 1/19/11 my h drove over an hour and half where she live and had lunch with her. When I confronted him on this regarding his credit card charge he said he had to see her to get closer. He said that she said ” Stay with your wife” this was the first time ever that he didnt deny it seeing her. Every other time no matter how much proof I had he would just keep denying it and then get angry and call me a spy. But why would she say stay with your wife if he wasn’t looking to resume his affair or friendship??? He sent a email to her in front of me back on 12/1/10 saying he will not have contact with her and he is staying with me. Wasn’t that closer then? He also didn’t come home that night and swears that it was over between them and he didnt spent the night with her. He also swears he had not had contact with her in the past year. Now my question is I know in my gut he is not telling the truth and I really really need to know the truth. I want to contact the ow and ask her nicely what the truth is?? Does anyone think this is a good Idea or should I just put my blinders back on and move forward? Thats is what my husband wants me to do. Any advice, opinion or comment?

      • karen

        From reading your post, I’m thinking it’s likely they have “reconnected” after the last year of no contact that you mention. You certainly have reason to be concerned, in my opinion, and not put your blinders on. I don’t think talking to the OW is going to give you the truth as she is probably part of the catalyst for the “reconnection.”

        Keep working on taking care of yourself and when a calm opportunity arises, make it clear calmly that you will not share your H with the OW in any way, shape, or form and that he must make a choice of no contact that you can verify going forward on a regular basis. Also share how much this new contact makes you feel (calmly). It sounds like you have all his email, phone info. If not, ask for it. All passwords too. If he wants you to move forward, he has to follow no contact and provide an environment in which you can continue healing, working toward forgiveness and trying to rebuild trust, all of which is his fault.

        Take good care of yourself.

        • ruth

          Thanks Karen and Vanessa I think he was the one trying to reconnect but I think she is the one who didn’t want too.He told me that she meet someone else and that she cant have to men in her life like he has two women. I do have all his passwords, email account, cell phone too. I think he has been in contact with her in the past year when I am was work (he is retired) on a pay phone. why do I think that, well at least 2x a week even though he told me he was home all day, I would come home and he would have lots of quarters on his dresser. The funny part is since he went to see her last time for “closer” as he calls it on 1/19/11 there has been no more quarters. I have thought it over and I am not going to contact her.She will only lie for him. I think tonight I am going to ask him very very calmly to please just tell me the truth. I will know if he is lying. When he is lying he gets very very defensive even when we are talking calmly. I cant seem to get closer if there are still so many lies between us. How do I make him understand that. I just us to be honest and work forward but I cant do it alone. I need to know and I have a right to know. I believe in myself and I know I will be ok.

          • karen

            Unfortunately you can’t “make” anyone do anything. I think most of us BS’s need more from our CS’s, but either they are not ready to do so, are still in a partial fog, are too guilt-ridden to help us heal, and probably a myriad of other reasons that leave us BS’s in an up and down limbo.

            All of this to say we can only work on ourselves and do things to heal ourselves. Hopefully that involves forgiving our CS’s, whether they ask for it or not, and taking care of ourselves in every way possible (something I’m sure we’ve all neglected for many years). I am 9 months post-D-day and I have many up days and a down day here and there. I am concentrating on calm communication with my H on all days – sharing how his actions make me feel and what I need from him. I try to show him respect (which I’ve read H’s need desperately) as often as I can in ways I know he likes. I’ve forgiven him but do not trust him at all – lots of checking of emails, cell phones, etc. Some might call that a pitiful existence for a BS, but I prefer to call it slow and steady healing. I have two children at home, and I tell my H that once my youngest is gone, I will definitely reassess my situation and our marriage towards a bit more selfish focus for myself!!! Ha!!!

            I can tell you are strong, Ruth. Hang in there and stay positive!!

            • ruth

              Karen you too and God Bless.

          • ppl

            try not to be negative force but dont delude yourself that you have all of his email accounts, access to all the computers he has access to or all the phones. a cheater learns very quickly how not to get caught in the same way. browsing in private, a new facebook account etc. my own situation demonstrated that you can spend all your time checking, but a liar always is better at deception than you can be at detecting. if you find out a deception, he or she will only find a new way to cover tracks. sorry but none of us will ever know the full truth. either trust or leave. for me it was quite a relief to leave.

          • life

            Ruth, until your H is willing to resolve his issues he will continue to lie to you. Try to deal with H calmly and dont give in to your emotions. Work on your own issues, you cannot work out your H issues……..the stronger you become emotionally the easier it will be to find resolutions. I have been through this and after deciding to get off the rollercoaster I found my thoughts and needs to be much more clear.

      • Vanessa

        Ruth, I would not contact the OW, she probably will not be truthful with you anyway. I contacted the OW in my case when I first found out. I don’t regret it but she was not truthful to me and in a way it made me more upset and angry. At first she denied even knowing my husband. I called her out of pure emotion right after I found out, I did not even think out it, I just did it. And I really don’t think I gained anything by talking to her. I think contacting her would leave you with more questions than before.

    • Yuki

      I think I forgave my husband too soon, and now it’s exactly like today’s article. He thinks we should just forget it ever happened – never talk about it again – and just move on. I told him that I think that’s not healthy or healing, and we’d be asking for trouble by doing that. We’re at a stalemate. I think he’s wrong in trying to avoid dealing with the issues. He thinks I’m wrong by being insensitive to his desire to not talk about it.

      I’m also seeing another item from the article in our relationship. It’s the seesaw effect. For the past four months, my pain has been overwhelming and it seemed he was not suffering at all. Now he’s unable to focus at work and seems very depressed, while I’m getting stronger more able to deal with the pain. Interesting phenomenon. I’m very nervous about this. I’m afraid he won’t be able to deal with his pain, and will go back to the OW. He always confided in her and said she was so understanding and caring, and now he is again saying he can’t talk to me because I refuse to heed his wishes. What should I do?

      • life

        You need to make an effort to be the person he confides in. Its a slow process but he will come around once he feels safe in confiding.

    • ruth

      Without knowing the truth I just cant put it out of my mind. I need to know this one fact. I need to find out. Its like D day all over for me after one year. I cant do this anymore without the truth. So if any of you have any adviced or thoughts please help.

    • Vanessa

      I am struggling with having my husband understand that forgiveness takes time. I found out about his affair on October 21, 2010 (and that is when things ended with the other person too) and he believes that enough time has passed and I should be over it by now and be able to move on. This has been a real struggle for us because he has moved on and I have not fully. He was once remorseful but now he gets very angry when things come up about what happened or how it affects how I feel.

      The third point that you made is something that I am working on with my therapist this week. She had me make a list of things that I am mouring and loss from my husband’s affair. It has been a very good exercise for me because it really made me realize why I am upset and what I need to forgive.

    • jenn

      I agree with your point. I also made a list of the things I “lost” due to my husband’s actions, but I keep coming up with more. I’m not sure that’s the best way (for me ) to move on. PLUS, during our time of “healing” together, my DH has done things that show me he is unable or unwilling to do the things I need in our relationship. Things like defending me to his family, not looking at & chatting with other women online, I don’t have his work email password (he cut that off after 2 months), he doesn’t console me when I cry, he doesn’t make me feel special, and like he was afraid of losing me–or that what he did was one of the biggest mistakes of his life. He also just wants to move on, but I haven’t healed enough to move on completely. It feels like I’m in limbo–I forgave him in August 2010, but his pattern of not caring about me continues–although he disagrees. He told me last night he was going to make me a doctor’s appt because he thinks I need medication.
      It’s like it doesn’t cross his mind that he turned my life inside out, and is not doing his part to make things right again. He can’t fathom that he might be the reason I can’t move on, and for the first time, I don’t feel excited about a future with him. I want to do what’s best for my children, but is that being dissatisfied and having a perpetual feeling of not being truly loved in a marriage? This is such a roller coaster, and it’s so hard ; (. It’s hard to be strong all the time, but when I need to cry and be sad, then I apparently need medication–not more from him……….

      • life

        work on your own emotional health and find a way to get the nurturing and support that you need. You cannot fix your H……….he may never deal with the affair.or he may be dealing with his own stuff. Although it seems unfair, those of us who were cheated on need to bring healing to our lives. I have waited over a year for my husband to finally talk about his affair, and he is doing much to encourage my trust. I can see H working on the issues and our marriage, but it took time for this to happen. It will not happen by you forcing the issue, no matter how you try. Patience and Peace are my friends!! It is working miracles in my 21 year marriage!

    • j

      Well, i am still in recovery one day at a time as you all are. I was about to quit not too long ago because i just couldnt trust my spouse as i felt no love from her. Not feeling love, i would question everything and just spiral out of control. A pastor actually told me something very basic, but was breaking for me. Even though i felt i had forgiven my wife, when i would get depressed i would recall all the lies and hateful things during the fog stage and bring them up to question our state. I was asked to get a prayer journal, and write down all my praises for the little thing my wife does, rather than focus on how she is meeting my expectations. No panic attacks in almost 2 weeks, and i am starting to face my bitterness and anger head on and head towards recovery.

      • Doug

        j, wow that is a great idea, often I find myself getting upset over things that Doug said and did while he was in the fog state without validating what he is doing now. A prayer or gratitude journal is a very good idea because it is a daily reminder and verification how far we have progressed in our relationship. Linda

      • Yuki

        J, I also love your idea. I’m having a hard time with those awful things he said and did back then. He is not fully out of the fog yet, but he does do many sweet and caring things for me every day now. I will start the journal right now.

    • J

      One of the things I am really struggling with is feeling unattractive. The affair generally made me feel unappealing, that if I was more attractive or exciting my partner would not have done this, but I also read an email between him and an ex-girlfriend joking about my appearance compared to hers and it’s something I struggle with daily. I know that he loved her appearance because he told her constantly, and would post facebook pictures of her in a bikini with comments about how gorgeous she was (before we were together). I know that he has made a lot of changes and progress, but whenever I see a picture of myself it acts as a trigger, all I can think is how heavy and unattractive I am, and I end up upset and crying again. It is something I really don’t know how to deal with, I am forgiving him more and more for a lot of things but it’s been 9 months now since I read that email and I don’t know if I will ever recover that part of my self-esteem.

      • Doug

        J, as you know this was something I really struggled with also. I constantly compared myself to the OP and beat myself up for not being everything I thought she was. I finally realized that she may have been different than me, or possessed stronger qualities in some areas but that does not make up the whole person. The OP may look good in a bikini but may not be as intelligent, kind or caring as you. I really started looking at my good qualities and Doug also helped by being honest and realistic when he spoke about the OP. With time I began to see her in a different light, not the perfect person I had been visualizing forever. I realized that I may not be as outgoing or social as she was but I am the perfect person for Doug. He said for a short time he thought that was what he wanted, but all they were doing were feeding each other’s ego. I know this is difficult but I would suggest you do something that makes you feel good for yourself, not to be better than the OP. You can not compete with the fantasy so it is a waste to even try. Linda

    • Lostinlove

      I am in the phase where, I can’t move….like I am living inside myself? I can go about my work, my duties as mom, my responsibilities as wife, but I can’t move….as if I am numb..and he now gets angry, after it’s only going on four months, but his phone is locked, again…..and I hate being this person…I hate that i don’t trust the man i love…or loved……..or still love…it’s a numbness that is overwhelming..while i have obtained a promo at work, i can’t be happy…i can’t breathe…i can’t think about “us”…because all i can see is betrayl..will it ever change

      • findingmyway

        I hope you are feeling better, it will get easier.

    • findingmyway

      I see that many of you are fresh to this hurt. I found out about the emotional affair between my husband and a friend in Aug of 09. I still struggle everyday with betrayal, loss, anger, and a million other emotions, but it has progressively gotten better. A few words of advice after suffering through this terrible tragedy that has targeted you and your family. Take care of you. Recognizing what makes you a beautiful person is important. Forget the list about how great your spouse is and focus on the list of things that make you great. Focus on you and spoil yourself for just a little while. Be selfish, as your spouse was during this episode. Not forever, but for a little while. Once you believe you deserve to be treated with respect and you deserve to be happy, then you can focus on why your spouse is the right person to provide the respect and happiness you deserve. You DO NOT have to decide today. Take time for you, as much as you need. Surround yourself with a person or people you trust, to help heal that feeling of not trusting anyone. Knowing you are not alone is important. Your spouse may have genuinely learned a lesson and grown from this mistake and if that is the case, no need to throw him/her out with the bath water and possibly face this same tragedy with someone else who has not learned this lesson…Never settle! But you are likely not in a position to recognize if this person is good for your future. So take as much time as you need to make a good decision for you. I have great friends and what I have learned through this experience is that many, many people are going through a similar situation or something even worse. There are people who have life way more difficult than I do and are facing terrible tragic events. Life is about growing and this is a tough lesson. Recognize that this is HUGE to your heart but don’t let it define you. You will look back one day and realize that this speed bump in your life was just that, a relatively small period of grief that probably will have taught you many lessons for life. Try to keep a clear mind. Take deep breaths when the thoughts take over and refocus your energy on you.

      I also have learned that affairs can start with a casual second look at the park or out with friends. I do believe that affairs happen because of opportunity and grow because of our natural desire for attention. An affair is almost always considered a mistake by the adulterer. I believe once the butterflies and BS of a fantasy relationship settles and both parties take off their rose colored glasses, they see that this person isn’t half of the person they were willing to risk. Typical of why both men and women go to great lengths to cover it up. You would do the same thing, if you made a stupid mistake and your loved ones were at risk of being taken away because of your actions. Once your spouse recognizes what an idiot he or she has been, they realize there is no comparison to the person they married. This is why they want you to move on so quickly. To forgive themselves and to make themselves feel safe from loosing everything they love. To them, it may have felt good at the time but in retrospect was stupid and meaningless and they probably do wish you could see it from their perspective today.

      I always wonder when I hear someone ask an older married couple how they were able to have such a long, loving marriage? Did they go through something similar and what does it mean to them today? Maybe they each did something stupid in their day, but with lack of resources, neither one knows and sometimes ignorance is bliss. Do they even consider the event or are they more focused on the 50 years that brought them great happiness and joy.

      • Doug

        findingmyway, Wonderful comment! Thank you so much. Many can learn from your words.

    • Keri

      I just found out my SO of 3 years has been emotionally cheating since I was 6 months pregnant with our son. I saw a bunch of women on his IM and know of at least 1 that he met, she admitted they did nothing sexual together. Unfortunately he saw from work his account was on (he is a computer expert) more or less, and he shut it down so I couldn’t see everythg. I saw he messaged some girls in his yahoo email and told them “love ya” and even exchanged pics (not nasty ones). IDK what to do. I think there is more, but of course he is denying it because he knows I have no way of finding out. This really hurts because I have no job or way to support myself, am divorced with 3 kiddos from my first marriage, and do not want to start all over again. I know he feels bad but he hasn’t really done anything to show me. He says I was “mean” and never listened to his “feelings” and that my kids were disrespectful. Basically he is telling me that we will go to counseling and everything but hasn’t looked into it. We are not married but I really would like to work it out so another child (our 1 son together) does not have to go through 2 separate homes like my 3 other kids do. IDK. It has only een 3 days since I found out and already I have let himstay the night once. IDK if I should just tell him to stay at his friends till we go to counseling or what.

    • Carol

      My H and I have been married 26 years and are retiring to another country in Sept. I recently discovered that my H was having a emotional affair the last 3 months. After confronting him with this he was very sorry or so he said.He will not stop contact with the OW via stupid forwards and he says they see each other in passing ??? which he sees nothing wrong with.He has on several occasions told me what a wonderful person she is and that I should just back off because he will never see her again as we are leaving. He knows that I can read his emails as I have his account info and it is unbelievable the forwards in his inbox.. Am I being paranoid–I am so untrusting a this time..I made the mistake of writing to the OW and she told my H about it and how awful she felt when she read it. He was very angry at me and said it was wrong of me to do that. He defended her and preceded to tell me that she did not deserve the confrontation of my email and that they would remain friends no matter what. Some opinions please–I’m going crazy here.

    • HurtWife32

      I am hoping someone can give me some advice. I have been married to my husband for 4 years and 3 months. I had to use his computer last week and he got really defensive about me using his account, so I poked around and found photos of women, and his photo. When I confronted him and asked if he had been cheating, he said no – he was just interested in pictures from craigslist and talking dirty with these women. I continued to follow up on this and ask questions and investigate, and he confessed that he was with one woman. I found another email account that he had deleted all the emails from and he confessed to 2 more women. Then through that email, I found another email where there was another woman. I am 11 weeks pregnant with twins and he had said he stopped doing this when I was pregnant, but his emails indicate he was still trying to hook up with someone up until the day before I found the photos. These were all one night stand type things he arranged through craigslist. I know I can’t forgive him now, and I certainly will never forget, but is it worth it to try and save our marriage? He keeps telling me that he’ll do anything but after the lies he’s told, how can I believe that? Please help – any advice is much appreciated.

      • Healing Mark

        You both need counselling bad. Joint as well as individual. My wife and I found it helpful to see our marriage counsellor separately between joint sessions, once at least and sometimes twice each. Sounds like a large expense, and it wasn’t cheap, but we quickly reached a point where we had enough to work on without further counselling and our counsellor helped us see things much more clearly than we had before and assisted us in discontinuing thoughts and actions that were creating problems for us.

        Unfortunately, your husband has certainly not made a single “mistake” like many others on this site. But in a sense, he really has with multiple get togethers with more than one woman rather than the same with just one person. Fortunately, it sounds like he has not become emotionally attached to any of these women and, trust me, that sort of betrayl really hurts and is difficult to get over. Good luck and do not make any rash decisions. But make what may be the most important decision of your life right now (whether to stay married to this man) very, very carefully and as informed as you can be to all relevant matters.

        • HurtWife32

          Thank you for your advice. It does help, and I appreciate hearing from people who have unfortunately gone ahead of me on this path…

      • Doug

        HurtWife32, Listen to the advice that Melvin and Healing Mark give you, Additionally, you may want to consider the chances that your husband has some sort of sexual addiction as well. Perhaps you might want to do some research on the subject. We have a post that might help:

    • Melvin


      No one else has replied, so I’ll chime in here. No expert by any means, nor do I know the entire story. Here is my opinion, FWIW.

      Yes, your marriage is in serious trouble. With several hook-ups under his belt and the coverup/lies, I doubt you know the whole truth. Sounds like he wants his cake and eat it too.

      Best option might be to separate from him for a while. Can you survive without him financially ? Can you keep him out of the house or stay with family/friends ? From a guy’s perspective, the best wake-up call you can give is for him to understand that he is losing you – and separation can send this message. It should also give you a better idea if your marriage can be saved. Grounds for divorce usually involve infidelity and you obviously have that. He should know that as well. Let him come begging back to you and if he does, he’s got to know that you will not tolerate a husband that is running around with other women. He needs to come clean completely with whatever information you need. He should be willing to go to marriage counseling, first on his own. And he has lost all privileges for private electronics. From here on out, you should get access to his cell phone, computer, etc.

      There are many self-help books that can also provide advice on dealing with cheaters. I suggest you pick up one or two.
      And finally, take good care of yourself. You have a big responsibility to keep yourself healthy for your newborn. I am so sorry you have to deal with such heartache during a time that should be one of your most joyous occasions.

      Best always and keep us posted.

      • HurtWife32

        Thank you for your input. I have put a lot of thought into separation, and I’m afraid in my instance it may cause me more stress because I’ll be wondering what he is getting himself into while I’m away. I cannot be financially independent, but I don’t think he would cut off my access to accounts at this time because I am pregnant with his children. Although, I didn’t think he’d do this to me either, so I don’t know. I have access to his cell phone records dating back to May and I also just requested past bills from his previous cell carrier. I have access to his computer and changed all the passwords to the accounts that I am aware of that he used to email these women. I am also planning on posting on Craigslist regularly to try to see if I can catch him with an account that I don’t yet know about.

        We’ve gone through so much to get pregnant with these babies that I’m just beside myself with grief that this is happening now. I’m doing my best to stay healthy and limit my stress, which is obviously easier said than done at this point. Thanks so much.

    • Kocka

      I don’t know if I should forgive him????…. He had been chatting on MSN for serveral weeks with a woman(about 8 different times) he met up with her once during the day they kissed hugged and she went down on him, it was a short visit. The last msn conversation they had, and I saw, they were trying to set up there second date to meet up…..for sex of course. I revealed what i new, they didnt get together and I truly believe they will not. To sum it up…. msn chatting several times (sexually)
      one 1 hour date with kissing etc. and a possible date for sex if i hadn’t intervened. He is very sorry and he is promising me the world…do I believe him?…Yes. We have lots of love for each other. Should i forgive him? how can I get past this? I am in pain it’s killing me

      • Kocka

        Sounds like you can forgive him

    • monica

      I am sorry what everyone is going through. I am in the same boat.

    • Angelica

      I have recently found all the passionate e-mails my husband has sent to another woman over the past four years.
      We have two children. Even though he has ended the affair, I cannot forgive him. She does not live in this country so he would meet her during his work related trips, according to him 3 or 4 times a year.
      I feel bad for my children, but I just cannot pretend this never happened, nor I can live with it. Divorce seems the only option which would allow me to put all this behind.

    • Nancy

      Unfortunately i have had to go through this, I have lived with the boyfriend for the past 6- years and in 2009 – following our engagement found out – from his phone women he had being seeing etc. when i confronted him he admitted to having one affair way back in 2006 (though the sms’s were recent)

      in 2011 i was out over valentines only to come home and find in the dustbin a teddy bear and a torn up note from some woman. he said that a woman at work gave it to him and he came home before looking at the present therefore was shocked too!

      I work out of town a lot in December i went through his phone again – on new years eve – there was yet a line of women he had been chatting/flirting with!

      I told him i do not trust him and that we are through – though he later begged we get back together and move on. he has never admitted to the affairs no matter what! it is soo infuriating!

      He has been a pillar of strength when my father passed on and he really helped my family. I also suffer from seizures from time to time and he has been with me and taken care of me without complaining including reminders to take medication etc.

      I am very afraid as i do not know whether he uses protection considering the threat of STDs and more so HIV.

      I get so so tired as he behaves like there is nothing wrong he has done and i am making mountains out of mole hills

      • Healing Mark

        Nancy. If his behavior is making you feel uncomfortable and causing you to lose trust in him, then it’s “wrong” for your relationship. My W was very defensive about her actions leading up to and during her EA, eventually acknowledging the inarguably inappropriate behavior including lies needed to hide the EA, but insisting that most of her relationship with the AP was acceptable. This led to, as you might imagine, many arguments between us, and these got us nowhere and I, too, got tired and frustrated.

        Eventually, we mutually decided to agree to disagree about the past and focus on the future. We discussed what our agreed upon boundaries would be for relationships with persons of the opposite sex, and agreed upon such boundaries. We did not approach them so much as to what these should be given what “they say” about them, but instead set about identifying the “lines” where either me or my W began to feel uncomfortable/threatened by the level of interation or depth of sharing of feelings with another person. This way, what my W would previously have characterized as mole hills became mountains by mutual agreement. It didn’t matter that she felt that I should not be concerned about the crossing of one or more of the identified boundaries, what mattered was that I felt that I would be and did not want her to cross the same (and vice versa). And during our dicussions to establish our boundaries going forward, we both understood that if the boundaries that we wanted established were too rigid or would go too far for either of us, we were free to end our marriage and look for another partner who was comfortable establishing a relationship with boundaries more to either of our liking.

        I recognize that no matter how much attention I give to my W, and no matter how much I stroke her ego, her personality is such that she likes and perhaps needs attention and ego stroking (well, not so much ego stoking as affirmations that she is a wonderful person and friend) from other persons as well. She was not like this so much when we first met 21 years ago, and seems to have “developed” more and more as she left the workforce and had children with me while I continued to work. The good news is that my W is such a people pleaser that she takes great pleasure in showing me how her interactions with friends and social acquaintenaces are well within our agreed upon boundaries. Finally, don’t be surprised if you end up agreeing to boundaries that still make you a bit uncomfortable, although as a woman you may not have to as much as I did, as there may be and perhaps should be some give and take as you establish boundaries (as an example, it makes me a little bit crazy that my W insists on being a person that other male friends can come to with their relationship problems, but the trade off is that she does not get into with them any issues that she and I might be having, as such issues are to be addressed with me and not persons outside of our marriage; not to say that my W doesn’t occassionally vent about things between us with perhaps her older sister or a couple of her BFF’s that are clearly friends of our marriage).

        Hope the foregoing is of some help. Good luck.

    • confused0816

      So maybe this is what is halting our recovery. Well it is more than halting. It is me starting to despise everything about him. The affair was on again and off again for about 2 and half years that is what I feel it was. Not that I know for sure. I dont know anything for sure.. I dont know if it was a pysical affair or emotional affair or both. He says he never slept with her but here lately that I am lashing out at him he doesnt deny it. At first of our recovery if that what you call it he denied it every time. Now he doesnt he just says things like you will never forgive me. Or you bring it up all the time I can forget it, or I have to come home to someone who will never forgive me. How can I forgive him if I am not sure of what I am forgiving. He has NEVER talked to me about it. He refuses.At the beginning of us getting back together I didnt bring it up I tried to act like it didnt happen. He seemed to like it like that. Like he did it he knows he did it, but he had no remorse for it because I never brought it up. I tried to just forget it. I couldnt, the more he kept going about life acting as if he did no wrong the more it ate at me. So I started to bring it up. Wanting so desperatly for him to so I am so sorry for hurting you, I regrett ever doing that to you. I wanted him to show some remorse if he loved me than please show me you regret hurting me. All I got was I did nothing wrong. So as months went on I still tried to put it behind me, but the nagging feeling of he had no consquence for what he did. I just let him back in my life and he doesnt even care or admit to caring about how much damage it caused to our marriage. He never admitted to anything. Nothing!! Only saying that his freindship with her may had been a little wrong but he could have freinds just as I could have freinds. That is the closest I have ever got of him saying that it was wrong. So as time has gone by, my hurt feeling is starting to spew out toward him. For many many months I would cry and shake so much at the thoughts and his reaction to it all that it had me stressed out almost daily I was so confuse at how he could hurt me so badly but not show one ounce of remorse. Like he just wanted it to not exsist anymore like it never happened well it did happen. I dont even know if the slept together or not. Both is bad but I think I have the right to know of being exposed to things that a sexual relationship with another person could expose me to. He says just freinds, but now that All my feeling has been bottled up for months on end it is spewing out of me in a very angry frightning way. I dont cry no more I dont shake no more, I dont ask why he has no remorse or why he doesnt regret what he did or how he could just lie to me and walk out the door to go be with her. Or how he could want to keep me in his life if he wanted her in his life to. I am angry about it all now. I want the truth I want him to regret it or at the very least show remorse that way I can feel that he really does love me and wants to fix our relationship and if he truly does regret it than maybe in the future he will not be so quick to rip our family apart. The one thing that keeps coming back to me mentally is.. If he doesnt have any remores for what he did or if he thinks he did not wrong he will do it again. People have no issues of doing things they dont feel is wrong. But I dont know if he veiws it has wrong. And the reason I say I dont know for sure if he feels it was wrong is he will say to me he did no wrong. But he has turned to the lord and he tells me that he doesnt need to be forgiven by me he needs to ask the lord for fogivness he needs to turn to the lord that it has nothing to do with me. He doesnt have to disscuse it with me, he doesnt need to talk to me about what happened because it isnt his concern for me to forgive him it is his concern for the lord to forgive him. He now says he has turned to the lord and my feeling or action is not anything to do with him at all. He feels that what ever I am going thru should not be or shall I say is not from anything he did. He actually tells me that he can not make me feel the way I feel. I am the one that controls that. I have tried to tell him that what he did do to me and how he acts about it all is affecting how I feel. It does have a huge impact on my feeling but he is adamant that I am responsible for my own feeling It has nothing to do with him what so ever. So how can I forgive if I am not sure of what I supposed to forgive??? And my holding in my feeling for months trying so hard to make my marriage work and his oblivious behavior has turned me into a raging lunitic. I am so confused and angry because I dont know how to go about getting him to talk to me.. And the longer I go not being able to just make heads or tails about the affair or not knowing for sure if he really does feel it was wrong is causing me to despise him And he knows I am turning so cold toward him. I have gotten to the point that I tell him this. His thoughts or feeling or lack of is causing me to completly hate being with him. In all honesty I am sure other has heard the expression for the cheating spouse (I love you but I am not in love with you) well now I know how that feels. I am starting no I am feeling that way toward him. Its like I dont want to be around him. I dont text him or call him anymore or attempt to be around him as a husband and wife should be. I actually have noticed that I try to avoid being around him. And when he says I love you . I feel nothing. At the start of all of this Oh of I craved to hear those words. Oh how I beleived those words. Now I dont really care about those words. So now what do I do. If he feels like its between him and the lord what am I supposed to feel?? I know how I do feel and it isnt nothing like a wife should feel toward her husband nothing like how I used to feel about him. And im a so confused and a little scared that my feeling of despise is so strong…. Is the a right way to approach this or is all hope lost. I need some help and advice bad. I dont know what to do anymore!

    • confused0816

      Oh and Linda or Doug or for anyone who may need this information to be able to help me out. The affair lasted for about 2 and half years that I am aware of.I caught him with her red handed and that is how I learnt of the affair it was a heart reaching devastated shock to me. We had been togther at that time for what 18 almost 19 years. And yes it was one of those he move out as soon as I found out he was still in contact with her. He would promise me it was nothing get in good with me always say he loved me and only me. But never stopped with her only pretended he had but with any affair I feel that if they are trying to continue it they will not treat there spouse as the did before there is just always somthing there a little nagging feeling that somthing isnt right or stories isnt adding up. The closer I would get to catching him AGAIN the more he would try to use angier to throw me off. And that is what I started to pick up on, the old angier you dont trust me you never did you caused me to act like I do because you try to control me. It was always the same so after awhile it became A huge red flag that is wasnt over and of course once I found out for sure he would pack up an leave me angry saying that it wasnt true. But funny he would always get busted being with her as soon as he moved our of our home. And all the hidden cell phones was beyond just one or two every time I find one I would read the text all was so loving and gushing with words he no longer said to me. They seemed to be in love, they text and talked more than me and him did and alot more about things in there own life than we did about ours. The whole time he would tell me I am the only one he has ever loved. He would always pull me back in with his loving words I so wanted it to be true. How he would make me beleive he really missed and loved me and wanted to be with me he never loved her they were just stupid words did not mean nothing he didnt know why he said them he just did when she said them. But I dont think that was true now. It just feels that he did love her. Maybe that is why I cant feel in love with him anymore. He is so diffrent now, I feel diffrent now. I feel if you say you love another female while you are married than there is a good chance you did. But did he love me too?? Who knowsl Is that possiable? Maybe! But I wont be with someone who fell in love with another and me and him had been best freinds and so close before all of the cheating. He became to her what me and him once shared. They shared what WE once did. That is how I veiw it. Espically since he has such lack of remorse for it all. It has been almost 14 months since it ended I dont know who or how or why it ended. I just know it did. He has never told me probley never will. So 14 months in, of our (RECOVERY) or so it is supposed to be. I am turning more toward despising him that loving him. I loved him more at the start, during and ending of the whole affair rollercoaster than I do now 14 months past the LAST D-Day. I dont know what is normal for recovery anymore or what is the typical path toward recovery or if all hope is gone at this point. I understand that his lack of at the start may had been due to affair fog or at least that is what I told myself. But now it is more like I feel he was in love with her, and he feel somewhat out of love with me. He cares, probley, but I just dont feel that we could ever be as close as we were he may never be my best freind, my lover, my partner, my other half of my heart again. As I may never fully or truley be those things for him again. He has experineced those with another and once he has shared such intamacy with another ours will never be as special or strong. It just doesnt seem possible. He can never regard me as he true love again, and me well I am questioning if I can him, if it was so easy for him to share our deep intamate conections with another then it wasnt that special to begin with. And how could he ever regard it as special with me again if he has shared himself and every intamate connection our marriage once had with another. The bond is broken, he can not share with another and still have as strong of conncetion with me. If so I would like to know how? And now I am kicking myself for taking him back like I had done. I just let him back everytime because I loved him so dearly and was so affaid that if I didnt than that would give them more time to bond and if the were sleeping togther ( I FEEL THEY DID) than if he got her pregnant or somthing worse his whole life would be ruined by a little girl. (btw he was almost 40 when it started and she was barley 18) ya sick I know.. We have a child that is that age. I just keept telling myself that she is out for money she did not love him she was looking for an easy ride in life. I was so determined to keep that kid for destroying his life forever. Did he love her? He said he did to her. But to me he admitly denied it. Always have. He says they were freinds and she needed him (( she was pg when they became freinds) only a month or so and she was supposedly on her own. and was afraid. He was with her thru the entire pg and of course still seeing her off and on or more on than off I am affraid until the child was well over 1 more closer to 2 I think before it ended. So yes he had gotten attached to the child as well. I know he would take care of the child with some things it would need. But when I found this out he looked at me and said how could you expect me not to help out with a child that is in need.. The child would had been fine, he used that to try to get me to back down. And another thing, I am younger than him by 6 years. And not that this mattters but I just dont know how he could want a child what a was it an ego boost? He actually told me that she was desperate to see what I looked like so she waited at my job one day to get a look at me and asked him after how in the world she was supposed to compete with me that I was a knock out!! Really??? It didnt matter what I looked like, we are married, if they were just freinds that should never had been of any concern to her!!! Or his for that matter….. So my looks is a compention for freindship.. Or my marriage. I dont think so.. Although after awhile I did wonder how he could downgrade, was it due to her age? She was younger and made him feel like a young pup or was it because she needed him as me well I am more self suffciant than that well I was up until all this then I became so self conciouse and doubted everything about myself. So thats one of the reason I am suprised that 14 months of the last d-day and into R that I am completly flipped for wanting to be loved and cherished and detremined to keep her from destroying his life and our kids to looking at him and thinking Why in the world did I try so hard, if it had happened than oh well it did he should had known better acting like a fool for a little girl. No regards for me or our kids. And still acts as if he has not remorse. Like I said Now I have now feelings of reactions when he says I love you. There is abouslutly nothing, sexually either. He stopped all that a long time ago, only a few times in the 3 years but for the longest he just didnt have the same draw to me as we once shared it was as if he no longer was attracted to me. Oh dont get me wrong I tried to (draw) him to me. To some how get him to look at me with attraction in his eyes and want me. But nothing I did seemed to turn him or make him attracted to me. He just doesnt have any sexual needs or wants or attraction to me anymore. He says it not that he doesnt know why he has not drive anymore. But from before he used to touch me in little ways. I knew he was attracked to me. Now there is nothing. Not a quick pat on the rear or a slight rub of the back when we pass nothing. Everything as stopped. And if I countinue to go thru my marriage feeling un attracted and rejected then how am I supposed to feel loved and wanted. I have needs to that for some reason he does not or can not full feel. Now I dont try I have stopped all that too. I dont try to turn his head toward me or touch him in any way. Not slight caresses or any sexual advances nothing and he does not me either. So I think that I had tried to hard in the begining, during and end of the affair and my self woth to him has been brought down to a level were he thinks that I will continue to try come hell or high water to win his love or affection but it is opposite It is turning me against him. I think I messed up from the get go and its so embedded into is mind that I will go to no end to keep him so desperate to be loved by him that he has no need to be remorsful..This is my opnion or how I feel he thinks about it, his never said that is the reason why.. But I just got a feeling it may be why. I lowered my self worth out of desperation to save our marriage, family, life.. and his future that I damaged how he sees me. If I dont value myself more than that how could he. I screwed up any chance of ever truly recovering from the affair I mean truly recovering and coming out with a strong martial bond that could once again stand challenges in life. Now I feel he veiws me as weak and desperatly in love that I would be willing to put up with anything to keep him. Well that is far from true, I feel stupid for being how I was so loyal loving a willing to take him back to save everything or prevent his life from being destroyed to a point it could never be reversed. So thats pretty much it. My desperation made me ( or what I feel it has) a chump and has dimminished my worth in his eyes. In return Everything I posted above along with all the feeling and things I am going thru in these post. Well it turning into despise toward the one person I so desperatly want to be with and save our marriage, connection, freindship, family. our lives togther. the one person I was at one point truly and 100 percent in love with. And it is frightning to feel like now I just cant be in love with him So yes I need some advice and guidance. Please I am so confused and bitter now.

    • Mark

      My wife had an affair for 2 years before we got married and 2 years into our marriage , lied about it to me said the ex was contacting her and she never called him,when I asked who the person was and of course when I finally did digging myself into phone records I found out that she was doing a lot of the calling too, I confronted her and she of course confessed to the calls but of course said nothing was going on other than talking , I didn’t believe her but told her it was ok , that was 13 years ago and I still think about it because I really don’t think she ever really loved me but just stayed for convenience , I am full of regrets and wish I could go back and really grill her to see if she really wanted me or just stayed for convenience, in all our years together she always rejected me sexually and now it seems she only has sex with me so I won’t complain about rejection

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