I Wish I Would Have Known That! – 7 Crucial Things Wayward Spouses Need to Know

Things Wayward Spouses Need to Know

We all make mistakes along our affair recovery journeys, but it sure seems as though the unfaithful spouse is the person making the lion’s share of them. 

I made my share of them for sure, and I mentor with people all the time who communicate to me the mistakes they and their spouse have made after infidelity.  Usually these mistakes aren’t made on purpose or out of spite, as there is a healthy dose of ignorance and the placing of one’s head in the sand that occurs.

That said, here are a few things wayward spouses need to know – or wish they would have known – after their affair was discovered. (I sure wish I would have known these things!)

7 Crucial Things Wayward Spouses Need to Know

Your own guilt and shame pales in comparison to the pain your spouse experienced.  Because of this, you must stop hiding behind that guilt and shame, own up to your mistakes and direct all your efforts towards helping your spouse heal and recover.  This isn’t about you anymore!

Forgiveness isn’t a get-out-of-jail-free card. Forgiveness doesn’t let you off the hook, nor does it mean that your spouse is over the affair and you don’t have to talk about it anymore. Forgiveness is your spouse’s own personal decision and is not about you.  Rather, she/he has made a choice to not hold your betrayal against you any longer.  That doesn’t mean you still can’t discuss/work on/investigate the issues that were behind your affair.  And by-the-way, forgiveness does NOT equal reconciliation.

Tell the truth from the get-go.  I wish I would have told the truth from day one.  It would have hastened our recovery and Linda’s healing by a lot.  Don’t be afraid of the possible consequences by trying to control the flow of honest information.  Instead, face the music, give your spouse what they need and let them make their own decisions.

Triggers and memories of the affair don’t just go away.  Your spouse has suffered a trauma due to your affair and there are going to be reminders and intrusive thoughts on a daily basis for the foreseeable future.  I wish I would have known how powerful these were and how long they were going to last.  That way, I would have done a better job at being aware and addressing them and protecting Linda from them, while not getting so frustrated and impatient.

It’s important to get off of the fence.  Whether you want to stay married to your spouse or leave for a life with your AP, make up your mind and just do it!  Your fence sitting ambivalence is not fair to anyone.  It just prolongs the pain and hinders any true healing.  Just be aware of how your decisions will eternally affect you and those you love.

Real love is nothing like affair love.  The feel-good ego stroking that I received from the OW was nothing compared to the unconditional love that was gracefully given to me by Linda after I broke her heart.  I surely didn’t deserve it back then.  Affair love was me being selfish and only made me feel good about myself, while the real love from Linda made me feel cared for in spite of the asshole I was back then.  She didn’t have to do that and I’ve learned a lot about love as a result.

Don’t be afraid to figure out who you really are.  Infidelity transforms a person in many ways.  Some good, some bad.  The important thing is that you figure out what makes you tick and why you do the things you do.  It took a long time for me to confront my own deficiencies but when I did, I was able to become a better person and Linda and I were able to create a better marriage as a result.

Now it’s your turn.  What are some things you wish you would have known once the affair was discovered?  You don’t have to be the unfaithful person to answer this either.  Anyone can chime it!

(Note:  This is a re-post from back in 2015.  Here is a link to the original post if you want to read the comments.)



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102 Responses to I Wish I Would Have Known That! – 7 Crucial Things Wayward Spouses Need to Know

  1. TheFirstWife January 23, 2018 at 8:48 am #

    I would like to add this:

    It would mean SO MUCH to the BS if the CS confessed on their own – owned up to the A – and willingly (on their own) came and apologized.

    Of their own choosing.

    Instead (in many cases) the BS has to piece things together. Act like a private eye and trial attorney to get the truth. Or partial truth.

    Just own up to it. Save us the BS the heartache and agony we are put through by FORCING us to get the answers the hard way.

    It doesn’t help the CS either. We as the BS are filled with more anger and resentment.

    It doesn’t feel good to recognize after years and years of M that your CS is a coward.

    In addition to now being known as a liar and cheater.

    How hard would it be to come and tell the BS “I’m sorry I lied and cheated. I ADMIT it was wrong and I made some bad choices. But I love you and want to make amends and hope you will give me a chance”.

    Has any BS come and said that OF THEIR OWN FREE WILL? Or has the BS had to start the conversation, ask a million questions and THEN get some feeble apology.

    I guess I can have some wishful thinking can’t I?

    • Doug January 23, 2018 at 1:05 pm #

      How could I have left that one out? Good one TFW!

    • Shifting Impressions January 23, 2018 at 5:28 pm #

      Really good point!!!!
      My husband’s behavior was completely cowardly for the first year and half after d-day!!!

      The deceit and cowardice is indeed, very hard to overcome.

      Of course cheating is an act of cowardice and deceit in and of itself. I guess why behave any differently after being caught!!!

      • Hopeful January 24, 2018 at 12:04 am #

        SI, I think you hit the nail on the head. Being a cheater is a cowardly thing to do. If they had their act together they would have never cheated. They would have said no and come to talk to us or someone. My husband knew 100% what he was doing was wrong and he knew how to not do it and prevent it. He told himself whatever he had to in order to get through the cheating and his daily life. And I think you are right, why change once they are caught. My husband has said to me he was going to just walk away and make up some lame excuse like we had grown apart to save face and then he would only know what he did. He did not want to be “the bad guy” that he actually was. It was all one lie after another. Now when I being up something he said on dday he remembers it but is not happy with how it came out. He owns it but with time, work and perspective he sees it totally differently even though he was the one who cheated.

  2. Rose January 23, 2018 at 12:01 pm #

    My H’s third EA was with his first cousin. Separated by 3000 miles, it was truly just an EA…explicitly sexual emails but an EA regardless. I already have THAT truth in print form. What I want to really know from him now us why he is such a pussy when it comes to her. She is still in contact with his elderly mom who he cares for. She is now trying to get my MIL to sell her grave plot to her (not really…she wants a gift) and my husband keeps ripping up forms from the cemetery. But I’ve asked him to block her from calling his mom 4 times and he still hasn’t done it. Why? What does she have on him?

    • TheFirstWife January 23, 2018 at 3:18 pm #

      I think if you know about the EA and have seen the texts or emails – I agree. Nothing is left to “learn”.

      Why can’t he block her? He doesn’t want to. He is afraid to.

      There is something holding him back.

      My H had no problem blocking OW of his own choice and doing it in front of me. All of it. Phone. Email. Texts. Skype. Everything.

      Why is he being cowardly about blocking her?

      • Rose January 23, 2018 at 5:25 pm #

        I can easily do it with the push of a button. Not going to do that though. I’ve already been made the bad guy enough. If I do it all hell will break loose and she’ll call everyone in the family and tell them. I have threatened her with sending the emails and naked pictures to the entire family tho. I feel like its a small gesture he could do to prove his remorse.

      • Rose January 28, 2018 at 3:45 pm #

        I just clicked the button to block her without telling H. Now if he really has something to hide and she has something she is holding over him, I should find out soon.

  3. Shifting Impressions January 23, 2018 at 5:23 pm #

    Another one is don’t put the BLAME on your partner. Be accountable for your own poor choices.

    Lots of good points, Doug……It seems like a straightforward enough and obvious list from a BS’s point of view but yet if reading here is any indication, it’s like Greek to the CS’s.

    Why is that????

    • TheFirstWife January 23, 2018 at 8:33 pm #

      SI. I think it’s easier to blame everyone else.

      For your problems or issues or unhappiness. It’s everyone else’s doing or fault. Blame your childhood or siblings or in-laws or whatever!!

      Because facing the issues or problems can be HARD. Doing some work on yourself is HARD. It’s so HARD so let’s be a CS and take the easy way out. Have an A. Blame everyone else!! But make yourself HAPPY as a CS. Justify in any way necessary you “deserve to be happy”

      Seems to be the way it works nowadays 🤮

      • Hopeful January 24, 2018 at 12:09 am #

        I agree that it becomes their way of living. On dday when my husband admitted to some of what he had done (not totally accurate dates etc of course) it was just the beginning. He had started gradually but lived his entire life for himself. Which included lying, being selfish and telling himself whatever he needed to hear. We went through a lot processing his affairs, working through our marriage, learning better communication and boundaries but a major aspect was him taking a look at himself. I would say in general he was pushing the limits in many areas of his life.

      • Tired February 7, 2018 at 1:17 pm #

        TFW “Seems to be the way it works nowadays.” Not about cheating, but this made me laugh: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uo0KjdDJr1c

    • Doug January 24, 2018 at 6:17 am #

      Hmmm let’s see SI…Selfishness, cowardliness, fear, the fog, head-up-the-ass syndrome, etc. Often, the CS doesn’t seem to realize how obvious these things are until much later down the recovery road – if at all. Not until they accept responsibility for their actions and commit to putting in the work to repair things.

      • Shifting Impressions January 24, 2018 at 12:48 pm #

        Doug…that sounds about right.

        Even though we have come a long way, I’m not sure if my husband wants to face all that head-up-the-ass behavior that occurred after d-day and during the EA.

        He is truly remorseful for the EA but facing that other behavior I’m not sure. Might be an interesting discussion for us to have in the future.

      • Tired January 30, 2018 at 10:49 am #

        I hate you because you cheated on your wife. But I also respect you because you are trying to make it right. What was it that made you come to your senses?

        • Doug January 30, 2018 at 12:49 pm #

          Well after the affair was over and we were struggling to recover, it got to a point where we were on a hamster wheel and nothing was getting any better. I realized (thanks to Linda’s strength and persistence) that if I didn’t get my head out of my ass, I’d lose her for good.

          • Tired February 4, 2018 at 12:18 pm #

            Sorry that sounded a bit harsh Doug. Hopefully most cheating spouses get to that point. My husband has his head out of his ass I think, but he could be a bit better with talking about the situation. But that’s another story.

            • Doug February 5, 2018 at 8:03 am #

              No worries, Tired. I’ve heard worse! 😉 Hopefully your husband will realize the importance of talking about the situation. After all, I’m sure he just wants to be able to “move on”, so the more he talks, the faster that will likely happen.

  4. TheFirstWife January 24, 2018 at 9:09 am #

    My all-time favorite lines from CS are:

    He/she is “just a friend”
    Nothing is going on (as the CS clings tightly to their phone)
    I deserve to be happy
    And the winning line is “I had an A because you (the BS) did or did not ______ (fill in the blank with whatever crap you heard).


    • Fatherof4 January 24, 2018 at 9:30 am #

      Her: “Can’t I have a friend”
      Me: ” No, you are 43, you can’t be friends with the 28yr old contractor”
      Complete Fantasy Land

      Her: “Nothing is going on, what do you think I’m doing?”
      Me: “I don’t know but you keep lying to me about it so I can imagine quite a lot”

      • TheFirstWife January 24, 2018 at 1:52 pm #

        Father. Thank you for a good laugh for today.

        My H had this idea (I kid you not) that we should all be friends. Hahaha

        And his other line was “if I met her I would like her”. To which I responded “probably not. I try to keep my “friends” who try to destroy my M to a minimum”.

        And his defense of OW was “she doesn’t want to be the OW”. To which I replied “then she shouldn’t date married men”.

    • Shifting Impressions January 24, 2018 at 12:38 pm #

      The most manipulative line he gave me was….”at least I’m still alive”….after all having an EA prevented him from killing himself. PLEASE!!!!

      This is a man who has many psychology courses behind him and suicide prevention training. He actually spoke to our son’s grade nine class regarding suicide prevention, back in the day.

      So I guess in his eyes it was worth it….oh brother. Sounding a bit pissy this morning aren’t I. This topic has a way of doing that to me…go figure!!!

      • TheFirstWife January 24, 2018 at 8:50 pm #

        Maybe you should have said that you need to now have an EA so you don’t kill him!!

      • bor January 26, 2018 at 7:53 am #

        ditto my wife said the same “I needed to do this. i would have killed myself. i wouldn’t have been able to be there for my kids if i would have killed myself.” Thanks for the walk down memory road SI. Same for the H comments “Youd like him” TFW plus the most delusional ” he was helping us with the marriage” ” i wish you would talk to him to understand”

        • Shifting Impressions January 26, 2018 at 2:13 pm #

          The sad thing is this, bor….I think they actually believe what they are saying. Doug’s title sort of says it all. I mean all those crucial truths are really just common sense and decency.

        • Lynsey January 27, 2018 at 6:22 am #

          I also got the lines “she’s a good person” and “she is helping us with our marriage” ( she’s works as a counselor & I’d love to get her fired or her license revoked as she seems to prey on the weak, but that’s another story) The craziest zinger was “There are numerous studies that men are wired to need more than one woman. It’s innate in us from the days of cavemen who had multiple partners to insure viable offspring” (This from a 52 + year old educated man) I just laughed when I heard that one!

          • Sarah P. January 29, 2018 at 12:18 am #

            Hi Lynsey,

            You can go to the state board because what she is doing against the ethical standards that all counselors must live up to. She should not be able to see clients IMHO.

            Also, there is a competing argument from evolutionary psychology about promiscuity. Some evolutionary psychologists believe that it is in a woman’s best interest to have sex with multiple male partners so that the strongest sperm wins and produced viable offspring. (No joke.)

            It is also a scientific fact that male sperm ages (unlike female eggs.) The older the father, the higher the risk of autism and other chromosomal abnormalities. (On the other hand, female eggs live in a state of suspended animation until they are released. The ideal male partner would be between 20- 35 years old to ensure viable offspring.) So the next time your H goes down the path of men being wired to have harems, you can set him straight about the scientific reality.

            In the meantime, complain to the state board about the adulterous counselor. She is going to be a risk to others.


            • Hopeful January 29, 2018 at 4:12 pm #

              Lynsey, Was your husband one of her patients? That is a major violation.The other thing is whatever practice they are part of would not be happy about this. It opens them up to all sorts of issues. I am sure if you contacted that practice they would need to contact their malpractice insurance risk management group. Every mental health professional group has their own governing state body but this is a huge issue. And honestly who knows if there have been others or others currently. A therapist/mental health professional has such a powerful position over their clients if they choose to use this. It should never be used to build an inappropriate relationship. There should never be even a friendship. If you are a therapist even out in public you should not say hello or address a patient. If they come up to you it is acceptable then of course to be polite and respond. So in no way should it go beyond that.

              And as far as all of that evolutionary information to me that sounds like an excuse. In our society and based on when we entered into our marriage I know my husband was fully aware of what was expected of him. Anything else is an excuse. If he wanted or needed that he should have said he wanted a separation or divorce.

              • Lynsey January 31, 2018 at 6:06 am #

                Hopeful, No, my H wasn’t one of his patients. Their affair started about 12 years ago and continued off and on without my knowledge for that duration. (The A is over now) They met at work in a totally different occupation & that’s where the affair started. She then went to school to become a therapist, probably partially paid for by my H since he spent thousands on his AP over the years. Yes,I knew that baloney about men needing more than one woman was just my H’s attempt to justify his behavior. We are years into recovery now and when I mentioned that he said that, of course he didn’t remember. Typical!

                Sarah P. Do I need to provide any proof for the state board to look at this woman’s behavior? It’d only be my word against hers.

      • Exercisegrace January 27, 2018 at 1:17 pm #

        SI, another pile of verbal vomit straight out of cheaters’ mouths. I don’t believe they mean it, it’s just another manipulation tool in their very large tool box. My husband also said that he contemplated killing himself because he was depressed when he started the affair, and guilt nearly drove him over the edge. I just stared at him blankly and said… anyone who is selfish enough to have an affair is probably selfish and stupid enough to kill themselves to escape the consequences.
        However, I believe their narcissistic tendencies would never allow them to actually do it. Then he used to say…. maybe you and the kids would have been happier without me. You’d have my life insurance and you could start a new life. I used to roll my eyes and say….. maybe so.
        I don’t attend pity parties.

    • Rose January 28, 2018 at 3:49 pm #

      I’m there with you on the “winning” line. His was that “you won’t talk dirty to me and she did.” She being his FIRST COUSIN. He humiliated me with her and then told the same thing to our MC with the addition of “…and I liked it.” Can I scream some more now?

  5. Untold January 24, 2018 at 12:51 pm #

    Crucial things waywards should know:

    #1 most important in my book, TELL THE TRUTH NOW!! Once the betrayed knows, do not trickle truth. In our recovery (5 years in) the lies and deceit stretched out years after the affair ended. It has been the most damaging to our marriage, and most difficult to rebuild trust.

    Another is NEVER SAY “GET OVER IT” or “just move on”. The wayward was stuck in that crap for month, maybe years, and they expect the betrayed to be all good in a month or two. Idiotic.

    A third is “DON’T REWRITE MARITAL HISTORY TO MAKE EXCUSES FOR THE AFFAIR”. This also piles more damage on the marriage than just the affair. I am still very resentful of how my CW tried to make it sound like I was never around, she raised our sons on her own. TOTAL BS. Cleaning up some old pics and memories the other day, many of me with the boys playing, building stuff, cards from them to me, I had to bite my tongue to keep from pointing out how this contradicted her BS statements about me being an absentee father and husband.

    That last point brings me to something in todays email from EAJ on 9 ways not to recover. #7 is “Ignoring the previous problems in the marriage”. In my opinion/experience that should be off the table until well into recovery. The cheater in a fog just loves to rewrite history and blameshift on the betrayed spouse, adding terrible insult to devastating injury. What the cheater claims were problems in the marriage are likely to be bogus excuses and distractions. I hate that our counselor allowed that to happen – not reinforcing 100% ACCOUNTABILITY AND OWNERSHIP BY THE CHEATER FOR THE AFFAIR. THEY HAD MANY OTHER OPTIONS.

    • Shifting Impressions January 24, 2018 at 1:02 pm #

      I couldn’t agree more….well said!!!

    • Angela January 29, 2018 at 11:44 pm #

      Absolutely RIGHT!!
      My WS used previous issues in our marriage to de-rail every single conversation into me having to defend myself instead of him answering for what he’d done.
      It was the number one reason I ever considered leaving – because it was always all about me doing HIM wrong, which only served to REALLY convince me he no longer wanted me.

  6. Rose January 25, 2018 at 11:16 am #

    Maybe realize the BS is on high alert now and that ALL your actions and words are being scrutinized. Instead of his normal ranting political Facebook posts, now he’s posting Zen and Buddha quotes. Why? To impress yet another woman. Last night I called him on it. I said “You know, I’ve been reading this stuff for 20 years and you haven’t once been interested.” He says “Oh well I saw something about it and now its very interesting to me.” I said “Well I call bullish…” And went to bed. The OW he’s interested in is very into this crap. So far she seems not to be responding but is he that stupid to think I can’t see through it?

    • TheFirstWife January 25, 2018 at 3:18 pm #

      Yes he is THAT stupid to think he can continue to fool you.

      The reason being (possible reason) is that “in his mind” he doesn’t see it as wrong. Or crossing the line. Or inappropriate. Or an A.

      In his mind (because my H’s first EAof 4 years) was that there was no sex so there is no A. This was in the late 90s. 🤪.

      So your H is believing (by convincing himself) he is NOT DOING ANYTHING WRONG!!

      He has no respect for you or the M.

      He disrespects you every time he acts this way.

      On top of being a liar and cheater – he continues to behave in a way that is detrimental to your M.

      I am sorry you are in this position BUT know you have the ability to change your life. Not his. Just yours.

      I am impressed you called him on it.

      But stop being his wife. Stop doing him favors. Stop making him meals or doing his laundry.

      IMO if my H continued to disrespect me I would be forced to confront and move him out if the bedroom / house atvdome point.

      No one deserves such disrespect.

      • Rose January 25, 2018 at 3:52 pm #

        Thank you. I actually went to a new therapist today who I LOVE. We talked about ways for me to detach, including just ignoring his FB etc. Because after 3 EAs, he is never going to change.

        • OG Wife January 25, 2018 at 10:33 pm #

          Rose, if he’s never going to change, would you consider leaving him? I’m having hard time understanding why one would accept such disrespectful behavior. He doesn’t deserve you.

    • Angela January 29, 2018 at 11:59 pm #

      Just ask him why he’s so desperate for attention that he’ll pretend to be something he isn’t.

      Expose the insecurity and let him know you see it and are trying to love him anyway.

      Tell him he’s much more attractive to YOU, as a confident man, instead of one who is so needy for others’ approval.

      It won’t hurt a thing for you to let him know he isn’t meeting your standards anymore.

      I point-blank told my H that I didn’t want a man so easily influenced and led around by the nose. Its true, too. I DON’T want someone who can’t take control of a situation or can’t get out of one he’s found himself in the middle of, whether intentional or not.

  7. OG Wife January 25, 2018 at 3:22 pm #

    I’m new to this website. I’ve been lurking and reading your comments. With utmost respect and empathy, I ask: Why are some of you putting up with this? It seems that your partners haven’t learned their lesson. Is it worth continuing on with these people?

    My own DDay was in April 2017. My husband’s life was loaded with lies, strippers, hookers, and eventually a torrid affair with a woman he met. For the next 3 months, I did everything I could to “win him back” including changing my appearance, behavior, etc. I saw a therapist and against her advice, took the blame for everything. Stupid, I know, but I was willing to do anything to save the marriage because we have young children and I couldn’t bear breaking up the family. I worked harder than I ever have for anything. I suffered daily humiliations and continuous betrayal throughout. My husband praised my capacity for forgiveness and incredible tolerance. He said our marriage was stronger than ever. He said I was the most amazing woman. BUT THEY WERE LIES. After the 30th lie/betrayal in 90 days, something just snapped and I was done. He had shown no remorse. He had no intention of stopping. He was arrogant and thought that I was never going to leave him. I was just DONE with it. I suffered for nothing. The marriage wasn’t even worth saving. Children or no children, no person should have to toil and suffer this much and not receive even a modicum of respect in return. So I ended the marriage. It’s been 6 months. We live together as a family and co-parent, but we lead separate lives. It’s an arrangement that works for now. Since I ended our relationship, he stopped all the extramarital sex. He panicked, begged, and then eventually worked on himself with counseling, seminars, support groups, etc. I have no desire to take him back, ever. My motivation is just gone. So I’m asking you: Is it worth suffering for this person when he/she takes your forgiveness for granted?

    • Rose January 25, 2018 at 7:46 pm #

      That is a loaded question, and I’m sure there are hundreds of answers. In my case there is no way we could afford 2 places to live. Finances are incredibly bad. We have no family other than our grown kids. He is disabled. My job requires me to live in this state. My husband’s mother is old and has dementia, living by herself, and he is taking care of her. Also after 34 years with this man, just getting up and leaving is not an option. Many many more reasons; however, I am learning how to “detach” and am working on that.

      • Rose January 28, 2018 at 3:55 pm #

        I also have 2 dogs and 2 cats who are my life. What would I do with them if I left? There is no apartment who would take them. I will NOT leave them with H. I suppose we could live separate lives under one roof but after 32 years I’m not sure how that’s possible.

    • TheFirstWife January 25, 2018 at 9:33 pm #

      Og Wife.

      Wow!! You wrote my entire saga. His second EA led to him wanting to D.

      And like you I did everything. Reasoning. Talking. Showing I wasn’t quitting. Fighting for the M. All of it. Same as you.

      And then at DDay2 which was about 6 months from DDay1 and about 1 year if the A I snappped.

      Now the timing is coincidental b/c he had ended the A earlier that day. But who cares. I was done.

      And I stood in my kitchen and told him I spoke to OW and knew the A was going on. And he no longer needed to make any decisions b/c I was D him.

      And he has changed. He is remorseful and tries every day to make amends. He realized what he threw away and almost lost permanently.

      And he is grateful for another chance. So I was willing to give him a second chance. But there no guarantees in life and one day I MAY decide I am done with him. Because that is how he treated me. And things change. Nothing is guaranteed. I get that now.

      After infidelity you look at things very differently. I learned I can survive without him. That I was the stronger person in this M the whole time!! And the most honest one too

      I am sorry your H crossed the line with you. Our R was not easy b/c my H continued to lie and make stupid mistakes. Not all related to cheating but his own selfishness.

      I hope one day you can forgive him. Not saying stay as H&W but just forgive so you can be good parents together.

      Wishing you the best.

      • OG Wife January 25, 2018 at 10:47 pm #

        TheFirstWife, I have forgiven him. I just don’t want to be married to him anymore. Perhaps your husband’s emotional affairs feel less extreme than sexual ones. I would imagine that the betrayal feels just as painful. You are very generous to give your husband another chance. I don’t want to—mine has had too many and it’s too late. I’ve moved on. I’ve even started dating, but that’s another story entirely.

        • TheFirstWife January 26, 2018 at 7:16 am #

          OG. The second one there is a question on the sex. They both swear “no sex”. But I know they kissed – that was admitted.

          I know he was at her home. I know there is some sexual interaction. He denied that they had sex (seeing a replay of Bill Clinton here ). She adamantly stated in her “go to hell” email to him she was glad she didn’t have sex with him.

          But the “I want a divorce” discussions will always hurt. He was ready to kick me to the curb rather easily.

          I understand your position with your H. When you are done / you are done!

    • Sarah P. January 26, 2018 at 9:18 pm #

      Hi OG Wife,


      I have a question for you. Do your kids know something is up and how do you handle it? Do you still live under the same roof and how does that work?

      It’s fascinating to me that some wayward spouses act as if they always need something to chase. When your H saw you trying to patch the marriage up, he had nothing to chase except for the excitement of the affair. But, after you ended it, he is focused on chasing you again and he no longer cheats. Very irrational.

      I am going to guess that your H has some kind of attachment disorder, such as a “dismissive” or “fearful-avoidant” attachment style.

      I understand why you are ending it with him. He has shown himself to be wholly untrustworthy and incapable of genuine intimacy. I feel like if you went back, he might feel secure enough to act out again and would resume where he left off with OW’s. I can sense that he is REALLY messed up. He got what he wanted– freedom– and yet doesn’t actually want it. Some people want the security of marriage and once they have it, they keep ‘dating’ whomever they please. It’s very selfish and irrational, but these people exist. (If someone wants to sleep around, they should not ever get married. It’s that simple.)

      Do you think your H is getting therapy to be a better person or just seeing a therapist because his bad behavior has caused him too much pain (and he wants to escape that pain and learn how to manipulate more effectively?)

      • OG Wife January 28, 2018 at 12:22 am #

        Sarah P

        Yes, our kids know. I told them in really simple language why we argue. They are upset and do not want us to divorce. But to them, divorce means living in two households. I told them that they will live in one house. It doesn’t look any different to them, so I think they are fine with it. Eventually, I would like to get my own place, stay there part-time, and spent most of my time with the kids at the main house.

        Sarah, you are very insightful about the need to chase. When I ended it, I told him that he finally got what he wanted and could pursue his fantasy life without his wife and kids interfering. He seemed genuinely confused. The thing that frustrated me most during this whole ordeal was wondering why he continued when he knew it would bring so much destruction. Esther Perel (google her TED talk, it’s wonderful) says that cheaters cheat to fulfill some missing void in themselves. My only solace is knowing that I wasn’t the reason.

        At the beginning stages of DDay, I told my husband he should see a therapist because I saw some sociopathic behavior. He was offended and didn’t think he needed one. After I left him, he did therapy, seminars, classes, support groups, healers, etc. In desperation, he threw everything at the wall to see what sticks. I’m glad he’s doing work on himself. Hopefully, it will make him a better person and make his next relationship better. I’m still not going to take him back though.

        • Sarah P. January 29, 2018 at 12:21 am #

          Hi OG,

          I don’t blame you for not taking him back. There is something broken inside of him and it sounds like you are still young enough to have many other choices and have a long life ahead of you. No reason to spend your time with someone who has shown his true colors.


    • Angela January 30, 2018 at 12:32 am #

      I wish I’d been that courageous. Stand your ground and maintain the boundaries you’ve set. Especially sexual & emotional boundaries. You are doing exactly what it takes to end the infidelity, but it takes more time for the true healing to come.

      Sounds to me like he’d go right back to his old ways the minute he thinks you’re back with him.

      Don’t offer him any security in trying to get your own security. He’s the one who broke it.

  8. Exercisegrace January 26, 2018 at 8:34 pm #

    Personally I cringed when my husband talked in counseling about us “building a stronger marriage”. I told him no. We can build a “strong” marriage when we rebuild, but it will never be stronger than the twenty plus years of our faithful marriage. Living in a marriage where I was exposed to HPV will never be stronger than the marriage where we were each others’ first and only sexual partners.

    I DO believe that by confronting the selfishness and immaturity inherent in ALL cheating partners, they can become better people and this better spouses. In truth, they FINALLY become the spouse we betrayeds deserved FROM THE START. As for the betrayed partner, there is nothing about the affair that makes US better people. I am sure from the cheaters’ perspective we often seem like better partners because we frantically grovel and beg them to stop the affair. I had a long phase of being the picture perfect wife and catering to his every want and whim. He must have felt like he won the marriage lottery! Have an affair and your wife turns stepford! Fortunately my own fog cleared pretty quickly.

    Today he would tell you that we have a good marriage. We have learned to pick up and start anew. We both mourn the old marriage. So much was thrown away. New things can be built and they can be good and even great. But to me it’s an insult to say the marriage is better, because the BEST marriage is untouched by infidelity. The BEST marriage has two decent and mature people who put the marriage first, not one selfish, self gratifying person.

    • OG Wife January 27, 2018 at 11:48 pm #

      “I am sure from the cheaters’ perspective we often seem like better partners because we frantically grovel and beg them to stop the affair. I had a long phase of being the picture perfect wife and catering to his every want and whim. He must have felt like he won the marriage lottery! Have an affair and your wife turns stepford!” <—OMG THIS

      He even told me he felt like a stud with two women fighting over him. At the time, I thought I could just take one for the team and deal with my battered ego later if it meant saving our family. Thank god I came to my senses and started, instead, doing what was healthy for me.

    • Rose January 28, 2018 at 3:59 pm #

      This is so beautifully written. You can NEVER go back. You can build anew but this person you married is not who you thought he/she was. I would NEVER have married him. All the memories and dreams are gone. The CS thinks we can do some rug sweeping and go back to the same old same old, but even if he’s not, I am now awake and forever changed.

    • Hopeful January 29, 2018 at 4:29 pm #

      I can understand the way you feel but I feel the total opposite. I hate that it happened and I never thought I would feel this way dday and after. But now I would say that our marriage is stronger and closer than ever. There is something about working through this as individuals and also together that has brought us closer than ever. And also this idea that we have seen each other at our lowest points. I feel like honestly the 20+ years before mean nothing even the faithful years. I will say that safe warm feeling is gone but that was all a farce. It is so hard to explain and at times feels overwhelming to me but the closeness we have is like nothing I have ever experienced before. I think it is different for all of us. I think much of it comes from the confidence I have gained through this and if for any reason I am not happy I know I can leave him and I will do great.

      • Exercisegrace January 31, 2018 at 7:37 am #

        Hopeful, I am very happy for you that you guys have reached this point. I think the difficulty for me is that, unlike many couples, we were not struggling in our relationship prior to the affair. We weren’t fighting, we were communicating, things seemed to be going well. My husband confirmed that in counseling.

        The tipping point for him (in addition to the external stressors I mentioned before) was nearly losing his business when the economy tanked. I didn’t realize how VERY much his identity was tied to his career success. Not surprising in hindsight given his emotionally bankrupt upbringing in a household with an alcoholic parent, and being told all his life he’d never amount to anything! The lure of the ho-worker was that she spoke his work language, she validated his career success in a way I couldn’t because she worked with him. It was simply an ego boost. The affair absolutely blindsided me. I have said before I envy people in a weird way who can say….. we had drifted apart, we were like roommates, we were fighting all the time, we had stopped communicating, etc. Because then it might feel like things have improved. I might have seen it coming. Although obviously NOTHING justifies an affair, there would have been something to “work on” and thus improve. I am content now and even happy. We have regained much of our old relationship. I just mourn the one where I didn’t catch an STD and I knew we had never and would never be with anyone else.

  9. Sarah P. January 26, 2018 at 9:00 pm #

    Hello Everyone,

    I have a question for all of the betrayed spouses here. I am wondering how many affairs happened during midlife crisis time. (40’s-50’s).

    If your affair did occur during your MLC time, do you feel it affected you differently than if it occurred early on?

    My hunch is that as we get older, there is so much more to lose– so much more at stake.

    Does anyone stay because the idea of throwing all those years away and starting over is just too daunting?

    Does anyone fear what life would look like if they are 50+ and newly single? What else drives people to stay?

    This is something I have been wondering about recently…

    • Nearly Normal January 27, 2018 at 12:14 pm #

      Hi Sarah,

      my wife was in the range of 23 to 31 during the (at least) 2 emotional affairs, with a side dish of physical affair. We are both now in midlife years.

      Contrary to the idea of fearing what it would be like, there is a part of me that would like to move on alone. The struggle would be over, the reminders of pain might be around, but far less so, I think. Perhaps I could start over with another woman. I just don’t resonate with the idea of too much to lose, but perhaps I am atypical.

      • Sarah P. January 29, 2018 at 8:05 pm #

        Hi Nearly Normal,

        No offense, but it seems like you are heading toward a stage of ambivalence in your life where you could stay or go. It almost seems part of you is slowly leaning toward going.

        I know your wife cheated, but if I were you, I would share all of these feelings with her. Does she know that you are still in pain and struggle with reminders? Has she mended her ways and become a good wife? If she has mended her ways and demonstrated being faithful, it would only be fair to tell her straight up how you are feeling.

        I have never cheated on anyone (not boyfriends, no casual dates, not anyone) but if I had, I would want to know if my husband was thinking of moving on. (I would want to know if my husband was thinking of moving on for any reason at all.)

        Hope I did not offend you by throwing that out there.


        • Nearly Normal January 30, 2018 at 10:51 am #


          no, you did not offend.

          I am not going to leave the marriage. I am not really thinking of moving on.
          But there is still a part of me that feels that way. it’s hard to lose those feelings completely.

          Yes, I should tell her my feelings. But I have learned over the years that trying to communicate these feelings is not helpful. I feel that this is just a fact I have to live with. I hope that can change, but perhaps it will not.

          She has mended her ways as far as emotional affair behaviors. Is she a good wife? Um, that is a deceptively simple question. In many ways she is a wonderful woman whom I love very dearly, whom I do not deserve. I don’t think that is the same as being a good wife, but I could be wrong. Does she have moments where she drives me crazy and the old feelings come back in? Sure.

          Thanks for your concerns.

    • Exercisegrace January 27, 2018 at 1:32 pm #

      We were early 40’s, married over 20 years when he began the affair. We had lost two parents, business nearly sunk when economy turned, had two new little ones, moved, etc. lots of stressors. Whore admitted chasing him for a long time. He lost the plot and took the easy way: enjoy the ego-jacking of another woman.
      I stayed for many reasons.

      First and foremost because I did love him. He showed and ultimately proved genuine remorse and willingness to change. Took responsibility for his actions. But I also stayed because I didn’t want to tear our family apart. If he was willing to follow my rules and requirements, I was willing to give him one more chance.

      I’ve spent most of my adult life as a stay at home wife and mother. I’ve invested heavily in our life together and our business. I decided if I could be happy, reconcile with him and rebuild our marriage I would stay and not throw away a comfortable retirement and all that we have built in 30+ years of marriage. We are able to help our kids get a great start in life, but if we divorced that would end. The impact on them would be severe. While I would likely stay single, he would date and remarry quickly because he wouldn’t want to be alone. I’m not handing everything I’ve spent my life working for over to someone else. I’m not sharing holidays and cutting in half the time I see my kids. I absolutely would if I had to, in order to have peace and happiness. But overall, too many things tipped the scales to stay.

      • Sarah P. January 29, 2018 at 12:34 am #

        Hi ExerciseGrace,

        I can totally see why you stay. And I know what you mean about not wanting to turn over everything you have built to someone else. I know what you mean about not wanting to cut the family in half. That’s how I would (personally) feel too. I am the type who got married thinking even if marriage is hard, you work through it (if possible.) Sometimes it is not possible such as when people show their true colors and they turn out to be a sociopath or something like that. That’s the reason I could not get back with my ex after he woke up from the fog. (He never apologized and never admitted anything but feebly hoped he could crawl back.) Well, I saw the true colors there (which indicated he definitely had sociopathic tendencies) and there was no way I could go back to that. Not having kids made it easy not to go back. Having kids definitely changes everything. It did for me, at least.


        • Exercisegrace January 31, 2018 at 7:52 am #

          Very true Sarah! Sometimes it is NOT possible. I think the biggest clue to run is when they refuse to shoulder the blame for what they did, and immediately begin doing anything and everything to repair it. I fully believe however, that if he had done this in our twenties, before we had kids etc., that I wouldn’t have stayed. I didn’t stay FOR the kids but they were a factor.

    • OG Wife January 28, 2018 at 1:09 am #

      The affair definitely happened during midlife crisis time. My husband was always outspoken about desperate, old guys chasing skirts and now I see that it was just a ruse.

      When I first found out, I felt that the marriage needed to be saved at any cost. We were one of a few couples still married with an intact family. I desperately wanted to keep it. On paper (or social media anyway), we were the perfect family. My whole identity and life revolved around it. I’m 47 and we’ve been together for 20 years, so most of my adult life was invested. Once the PTSD wore off, I began to think about why I wanted to stay married. Why was I the keeper of this marriage? Why was I the one who needed to sacrifice for the good of the whole family? Whose arbitrary rules was I following that says I have to keep my marriage vows when my spouse doesn’t? I pondered a lot. In the end, I felt that trading in my self-respect to avoid divorce would lower its value and I could see affairs happening again and again. I just couldn’t do it.

      I live in Los Angeles. One of the things I’ve heard, for decades, from single friends is that if you’re over 40, you might as well be invisible. Men in this town want only pretty, young things. So here I am: approaching 50, been a stay-at-home mom for the past 10 years, lasted dated when most phones were landlines. I went on a date–it was a disaster. The next couple of tries were cringe-worthy, but I was practicing and getting better. I improved my appearance and wore better clothes which did wonders for my confidence and overall attitude. (I recommend this no matter what stage you are in) Eventually, I abandoned my shy, introverted habits and just went for it. I dated men my age and a few under 30. My fears were unfounded. I’m seeing someone now but would be equally content with being alone. Knowing that I’m capable is enough.

      • Rose January 28, 2018 at 4:07 pm #

        Im 58 and feel like I look the best I ever have and making great money…and I try not to think about how I’ve wasted so much time and damn it, don’t I ALSO deserve to have some fun, feel love and life again before I get too old to enjoy it? I don’t necessarily want another man. But there are so many things I want to do and I want to stop focusing on this marriage where I’ve been emotionally, verbally, and financially abused and he refuses to change. My therapist just told me that even extreme fear can’t change someone with addiction issues like a serial cheater.

      • Sarah P. January 29, 2018 at 12:43 am #

        Hi OG,

        I am glad that you are moving along and are seeing someone else. I have noticed the age thing to be a myth if a woman does the best with what she has. Good for you for getting yourself out there. Women should never stay in a marriage for fear of not finding someone else because of their age or other factors. This whole toxic message that only women in their 20’s are truly worthy of love (due solely to youth) has got to go. It’s a message that has gone on for too long and that has done incalculable damage to women’s self esteems (including me).


    • Shifting Impressions January 29, 2018 at 12:03 pm #

      My husband’s first EA happened when he was 44 but I didn’t find out about it at that time. I knew something was very wrong but I didn’t know what it was, Fifteen years later at 59 he had another one which I discovered after we both turned 60. I discovered the earlier one about a year after the more recent one.

      Yes I believe the first one was midlife crisis related. The later one….he was going through a hard time. I do wonder what would have happened had I discovered the earlier one. All the kids were home then and we were struggling financially.

      At this time in our lives….the kids are raised, we have grandchildren and we are financially well off enough to part ways should we want to do that.

      So why stay? Do I fear being alone? Maybe somewhat but that is not enough reason to stay. I stay because I want to. I stay because I still love him. I stay because he shows true remorse. I stay because we built an amazing family together. I stay because there is more good than bad,

      Maybe there is more at stake as we get older but on the other hand I am more confident in who I am than when I was younger. We both turn 65 this year and still have our health, beautiful little grands and are financially free to do what we want. We love each other and like each other as well. It would be tragic to throw that away.

      Should he have another EA…..I believe I would walk away. He ended it the day I found out. The last four years have been difficult to the extreme, but we are getting there, I’m not sure I could go through that again.

      • Sarah P. January 29, 2018 at 8:08 pm #

        Hi Shifting,

        I understand where you are coming from and would most likely feel the same way. You two have built so much and rebuilt a marriage. You are at a point where you two can have the time of your lives together (traveling, trying new hobbies together and such). And there is no reason to throw that away.


    • Hopeful January 29, 2018 at 4:38 pm #

      My husband started both affairs in our early 30’s. Things were going great, super successful etc… he says to this day he had it all and almost threw it all away. I am happy he sees that, or if anything that haunts him still. It is a good reminder though.

    • Untold January 29, 2018 at 9:59 pm #

      Sarah, yes my wife’s infidelity was in her early 50’s, just after our youngest left the house. I suppose MLC was a factor.

      If it had occurred earlier, before children, I might have been more inclined to divorce. As it was, I felt compelled to try to keep it together for our sons’ sake. I hated the thought of working so hard in my career to earn a good living for us, build a nest egg, then split it up in a divorce. I really resented the thought I would have to share my hard-earned savings 50/50 with someone who betrayed me with such contempt. I had faith and hope that the fog would clear, and she would return to the woman I loved for 25 years. I still struggle with her behaviors today, and don’t feel she has shown true remorse and repentance.

      The thought of starting over, after giving the best years I had to my wife, was daunting. So I stayed. It’s been over 5 years and I wonder daily if I made the right decision. If I could blink and be with a woman who is honest, respectful and shows real love, I would do it. But I don’t feel like I have the time, energy or attractiveness that I did years ago to pursue it.

      • TheFirstWife January 30, 2018 at 9:31 pm #

        Untold. I feel sad reading this.

        I am close to your age (kids in college etc) but feel I have 30 good years left. And if it’s not working being M then D is ok too.

        I am not afraid to be alone and single the rest of my life b/c I am happy. With or without him.

        I don’t need a spouse to make my life complete. I am ok being alone and would find things to do. Alone.

        And if I met someone – well I already know I would never remarry. Too complicated.

        I hope you didn’t settle. You should be enjoying your life. It makes me sad you don’t feel you have options.

        Because you should never live your life in chains – that is what I call existing.

    • Terry February 5, 2018 at 6:44 pm #

      My h’s affair was already in the initial stages at the time of our wedding in our mid 20’s. We dated for 3.5 years and were engaged for 6 months. Unbeknownst to me, there was a third person in our marriage – a mutual friend from college that we still socialized with in a big group. I think my h always was attracted to her, but she was in a steady relationship with the man she eventually married. She was married a year before us.

      A few months before our wedding and continuing a few months afterwards, my h and OW were assigned to work in a very small office area that was also limited access due to security clearance requirements. TMI conversations both ways in this environment. H was honest about relaying most of the conversations, but that didn’t make it right or the sharing/caring right and I told him so. He just didn’t understand my POV of how the conversations were affecting our relationship and the way he treated me. When OW was with us socially, h was attentive to her needs/wants and when I spoke up, I was treated as an annoyance/dismissed

      Publicly embarrassing “lunch date” occurred where H was asked if OW was his wife because of their very animated conversation is where I drew the line – gave back my rings and told him in public “her or me”.

      MC at time didn’t hold him accountable – because there was no sex & “we just got off on the wrong foot” & to just reconnect and work on communication. Communication doesn’t help when H felt justified that he did nothing wrong and I was just being insecure. H has been very naive when it comes to people and she was a problem person that latched onto him – why I didn’t get close to her myself and kept her at an arm’s length during college and socially.

      Cut to 29 years later, I’m having a MLC in my mid 50’s and wondering if I should have just left back then. H seems to have been resentful for years of “not being able to have any friends”. H doesn’t have a track record of having any male friends except for one brother, even now there are no real friends, just a few work and kid activity related people that are really not more than acquaintances.

      I’m the opposite – I tend to make friends & acquaintances easily, but bringing them into my home environment to interact with him has driven them away due to his almost constant complaining about me and our girls, criticism & sarcasm directed at me. There is only so much negativity others will take before they take off. It is most dramatic when our kids were playing sports – we could sit anywhere in a stadium but in a few games into the season, no one would sit by us. I even kept changing to sit in other locations that people had gathered in – they would give him a wide berth – he would run his mouth criticizing everything he could about the game and what the youth players were doing. Not a way to make friends with the other parents. He thinks he is being helpful by letting everyone know how he thinks the game should be played. Nothing positive – and I’m not exaggerating – both kids managed to win league games for their hs school – he didn’t congratulate them. I did. So did everyone else. People didn’t understand why he didn’t. My oldest even confronted him at the end of the game -“so, I won the game on my freekick(soccer), can’t criticize me me can you, what do you have to say, I don’t think you will say anything positive.” My younger one just ignored him. He is so negative, he doesn’t let himself feel joy in life when it comes to one of his own needing praise and celebration.

      We recently came off of an 18 month period of his withholding sex and affection – he wouldn’t respond to my attempts to talk or do anything in that area. I got to the point of needing to be blunt – is there a physical reason (ED/prostrate issue in mid 50’s), are you pissed at me, or is there someone else again? He told me he was pissed. We are trying again to restart the marriage, but I’m trying to work out for myself if I want to keep waiting for a non-negative/non-resentful h who “gets” that he damaged “us” and me because of his own problems (boundaries/friendless/always says he’s perfect/has to be right/no introspection). Recently, he’s shown signs this time that he’s finally emotionally connecting to me in ways that I’ve never seen in 30 years. In some ways, I’m thrilled and in some ways it hurts even more because of the lack of that connection/behavior since the start of our marriage. I think I’ve decided to let my crazy emotional bitchy side run wild for a while to let him see the damage/pain that still exists. I think we are one of the cases of MC failure to address the EA and his reasons for needing that type of close relationship with another woman. We are still messed up, but are trying.

      Wishing everyone the best in their own journey through this difficult subject.

      • Terry February 8, 2018 at 10:36 am #

        I wanted to add that part of my H’s changes include acting more positive in words and actions, more attentive, more open, wants to be there for me, and he hasn’t done the criticism/sarcasm for the past 5 months. He has voiced concerns as they come up, but in a healthy way. I think he may be getting advice from a male co-worker friend who is divorced and trying to date again and is finding out the pain an affair creates from a male BS’s POV.

        Also, since the OW in our case was both in our social circle for a long time and then got into a very small work environment with my H, he didn’t think twice about talking about personal subjects with her and getting involved with her life dramas. Since we knew both OW and her H, there were comments and interactions with her H that told me they were having a rough time in their marriage – she was doing whatever she wanted to do in life and it didn’t matter if it pissed him off. OW lied to her husband about credit card purchases and when she was at work and what she was doing and talking about. He put up with a lot of crap and I feel sorry for him because they were such opposites on personal boundaries and self-control – in couple-to-couple or smaller group conversations – not one-to-one with me, but I could see the pain in his eyes – we both had strong boundaries and tried to work on our own side/spouse to keep them from more private conversations. I knew she was having problems and was a liar and that made me more vigilant about any attempts on her part to use my husband’s shoulder to cry on. I was shocked how easy it was for OW to manipulated my H with talk, eye contact, the right words, body language, etc. and I was horrified that my H didn’t see how he was responding to her, right in front of me!

      • Terry February 8, 2018 at 10:52 pm #

        One aspect of the EA for us is that we didn’t have ANY years of marriage under our belt before things started to be weird with him. H came into the marriage with the OW already in his head because of social group and a few weeks of working closely with her in a small restricted room.

        When we got back from the honeymoon and while attending the first social group event 2 weeks after the wedding, he suddenly started acting out at me, like he felt trapped/manipulated. We had separated for a short time to talk to different people that we wanted to catch up with (this is before email/cell phones/texting). When I noticed he was ending a conversation with one of the guys, I headed over to him with a smile on my face and wanting to touch him. He raged at me. Other people saw it. They thought we had a fight. We hadn’t. This was out of the blue behavior for him – he never did that in the past 4 years. He told me he didn’t want me near him, couldn’t stand me being around him and to leave him alone. I staggered back to a table and sat down. He came over and continued to rage the same lines over and over. No substance, just general hatred. Others came over to ask what was wrong. I told them I had no idea. I was crushed by this bizarre behavior. H didn’t say those words again to me and didn’t remember saying them later, but that was his underlying attitude towards me from then on.

        I read how most couples had at least some years before things went south. They have good marriage times to look back on and to weigh against leaving. It really hurts that we had NO time to build our marital relationship to base a reconciliation on – NO years of good times and wonderful loving husband/wife memories – this attitude change was sudden. He was happy until then during dating and engagement.

        I have no idea who he talked to during that brief time away from me, but it was like they gave him some type of hypnotic suggestion that he was in a horrible marriage and hated me. He even said within the first two months during an argument – “all these years you’ve treated me this way” – then why did you never bring that up before getting married? We didn’t even live together until we got back from the honeymoon. Great start. Even now, he says he was happy that first year and doesn’t remember saying any of those words about being unhappy for years.

        A few days after the ultimatum, I dumbly asked the why question? He told me “she treated me better than you did”. I immediately told him “she doesn’t have to live with you”. This was 29 years ago. No online blogs to look at for advice. Books took a while to find and read. He tells me now that the statement was said in anger and he never meant it. I believed that was his thinking for 29 years because it fit his attitude & MC rug swept and didn’t clear the air about anything to do with his behaviors and what had transpired between any of the 3 of us.

        I know a lot of BS’s wonder if their marriage was all a lie – were any feelings over the years real? When did things change? Because something happened to my H that affected him 2 weeks into our marriage, I there are times I feel like I’ve wasted 34 years of my life dating him and being married to him. My health has suffered and I have all the symptoms of stress induced problems. I am working on them.

        I took the MC’s advice that we just got off on the wrong foot. It made my H not to have to look at his behaviors with OW and to just blame the whole thing on a misunderstanding/misperception. The male co-worker that approached him at their lunch date must have also misunderstood was he was seeing between them. Why did H say later to me that “I got it all wrong, it wasn’t the way it looked”? Be very careful of your behaviors so that it NEVER looks like you are dating another woman in a very public place in front of other coworkers and your wife. So you don’t need to try to talk/lie your way out of it by gaslighting. It was probably OW’s idea to for him to try to talk his way out of it. I’ve never seen him do it since. He is usually very honest. It sounded like things I heard come out of her mouth to get out of something she did – remember I took classes with her and was in the same social group and I tolerated her as necessary.

        He tells me now that he sees things differently. He said he was probably only expecting things out of the marriage and didn’t feel the need to give to the marriage. Great parental examples for him, great religious expectations of being “trapped” in marriage, wonderful OW with similar religious background giving him a sympathetic ear about being trapped and ignoring wife immediately and being mad about not getting everything he wanted/expected. OW reinforced his negative attitude towards marriage – she was unhappy and let him know.

        Give positive things to the marriage and you will reap positive things. Work on positives, stop focusing on the negatives and trying to fix every little thing you perceive is wrong and don’t focus on things that you aren’t “getting” – communicate your needs to your spouse. They should be the only one hearing your needs. It did feel like a one way street a lot of the time.

        • Terry February 9, 2018 at 4:58 pm #

          I believe my husband was one of those that had no intention of entering into an EA. He tends to be a shy, socially awkward, loner (even his mother described him to me as the loner out of her 3 sons). The OW that befriended him was the life of the party, the social butterfly of the social circle that started in college. Her personality traits are like a histrionic personality – shallow, must be the center of attention wherever they are. His ego was stroked that she would take any time to talk to him and let him know what was going on in her life. He felt included. He didn’t look for this level of emotional connection/inclusion from males in our co-ed frat. I’m not sure he knew how to maintain friendships; we need to work hard on the friendship part of our marriage. Another thing I told him is that she was the only woman I ever had a problem with him being this type of friend with. We had other women in the co-ed frat alumni group and have had married couple friends over the years – I had no problems with these women. They had personal boundaries and respected marriages.

  10. bud January 27, 2018 at 6:58 pm #

    my i recently caught my wife cheating. we have been together for 16 years with 3 kids. after i caught her she sadi she never had passion for me, married her best friend thought that was enough and the old line i love you but not in love with you. we have our dream home and she threw it all away. communication has never been our strong suit. Her family was very non communicative and was told to keep all her emotions inside. she was also abused as a young girl by a family member and also had a 10 year long back pain that she was on pain pills for. so now she is off the pills finally, able to work out and be the happiest fittest she can be and now i am not wanted. i gave this woman everything and was there for her threw everything. i am crushed and 6 weeks into this. i asked her to stop talking to om, she said no, said has feeling for him. we did 2 sessions of therapy and on the second she said she cant see the relation ship moving forward and wanted a divorce. i am crushed. i never saw this coming and no one did. i honestly thought things were good. i love her with all my bring but since i confronted her she like a different person. no emotion, no answers, wants to go out and find herself on the weekends as i work and then watch the kids while they sleep. i had enough the other day and told her that we need to get this mediation going cause i cannot co existent like this. i tried to express my feelings but she is closed off and doesnt have answers except oh this was coming eventually. and says it so mean. we plan on losing everything. we fight and its ugly. lately we agreed to be civil and things are quieter but its not what i want. i think if she showed some remorse or guilt that would work. how do i not get a second chance. the people i tell cant believe what a 180 she did. its not like anything i have read online about. i begged for her to get therapy but she wont. this isn’t going to end well i know it. has anyone else dealt with some one who became so closed off, showed no emotion, and became someone else.

    • Shifting Impressions January 28, 2018 at 4:00 pm #

      I am so sorry you are going through this. I think that many of us found that our CS became like a stranger to us during the affair. My husband also has a tendency to stuff down his feelings.

      Your wife sounds like she is deep in the”affair fog”. My best advice to you is to get help for yourself. It is very early days since d-day and I imagine you are still completely devastated and in shock as most of us were upon discovering that our partners cheated. Get help for you and take care of you. Don’t try to tackle this alone.

      • Bud January 29, 2018 at 4:21 pm #

        Thank you for the kind words. We tried living coexistence since we found out but I can’t do it. I cannot sit in the house as my wife goes out most weekends doing I only can imagine. Last argument I said let’s start mediation and she said fine. Today sh e texted me saying she made appointment for next monday. I still cannot believe this is happening to us. I am therapy, she refuses but needs to go way more the I do. I go cause everyone says I should, but I know whom I am and what I want in life. She isnthe messed up the head one. All so frustrating and happening so fast. She never gave us a secons chance.

        • Hopeful January 29, 2018 at 4:37 pm #

          I am so sorry to hear your story. I think it is so important you focus on yourself. Work on what you can. You are not going to be able to change her unless she wants to change. The best thing you can do is invest in yourself. It is such a hard path but you will be stronger in the end.

    • Angela January 30, 2018 at 1:15 am #

      You must put your foot down immediately. Tell her she is abandoning what you all built for a family, therefore, she is the one who will be leaving your family home, shared finances, and, until she shows she has a qualified location and income, etc, she must leave the children behind with you.

      You have so much more power than you realize right now, because you probably feel very powerless, but there is an article on this site about the power you have to influence your cheating wife. Use every bit of that power and don’t stop until she comes back.

      The article is called:

      “For Betrayed Men: Why women cheat and leverage that you have if your wife cheated”

      • bud January 30, 2018 at 5:18 pm #

        I read that article and it stated to throw her stuff on the porch. now I have made every mistake in this process and have always in our 16 years made things more comfortable for her and having a hard time stopping that now. I went in the basement, she has the room. I begged pleaded, cried, lost 40 lbs. I get nothing from her. not sure what she is thinking or how this plays out for her. she makes 1/2 of what I do. she made an appointment for mediation next Monday but we don’t talk and I cant see us agreeing on anything. I feel I have escalated the mediation cause I cannot live in a house while she goes out and doesn’t want to play mom on the weekend nights. yes she is entitled to her life but not at my expense. also what kills is if she had these feelings why didn’t she ever say anything. or want to work on it. I don’t get asecond chance at this marriage and that kills me. she is so cold now and I feel she cannot stand that I am still around. I wish she would see a therapist but wont go cause says cant afford it due to her insurance change. I even offered to pay for it. I think her body found a new drug this affair fog since she is off the back meds just around 8 months. I am lost and lonely.

        • Angela January 31, 2018 at 4:21 am #

          As long as she can see that you are still there wanting her back, she will continue doing what she’s doing.

          It is so, so, so, so hard for the betrayed spouse to put their foot down and end the abuse being heaped on them, but you will have to.

          If she has decided that this marriage is over, it’s going to be over, regardless.

          If she hasn’t decided that, the quickest way for you to see a difference is to start driving the marriage toward it’s end yourself. Then, if she is undecided at all, and there’s still a chance, you’ll see a change.

          If she’s not decided to end the marriage, when she sees you are, it will draw her up short, and force her to reevaluate what she’s losing.

          It’s very difficult to find the strength to do it. Rely on your family and other very trustworthy, sensitive people to help you get through it.

        • Hopeful February 1, 2018 at 2:05 pm #

          I hear you. I cannot remember are you seeing a therapist yourself? I would say that would be very helpful for you. Find one who specializes in betrayal. Also if you personally would like to see the marriage work ask the therapist if they support that. There are many that say leave no matter what. And many are pro wife no matter what. My therapist was awesome and had tons of experience. They said they wanted me to work through and figure out what was best for me and the marriage. We have kids so it was a high priority. I think you need that support right now. Also I would consult an attorney. Being the man and earning more it is critical and do you have kids (sorry hard to keep track of all of our stories). You need to protect yourself and get quality advice. You may never actually use it but sometimes having the information and taking action can help build confidence and knowledge.

          My husband is in the mental health field and he says for anything it takes 6 months to change. That could be for anything drinking, diet, smoking etc. and that is from the point of working on it. It sounds like there is no talking sense into her. I think at a minimum if I were you I would do nothing for her and stop giving in to her. She is making the bad choices. This is not how you act or deal with someone you are married to. Small children even understand that. She is in that fog and such a selfish mindset. Detach and distance yourself and work on you. You cannot change her. My husband realizes that he told himself whatever he had to to not feel like he was even worse than he already knew he was. He even admits now there was zero reason to have an affair except that he was selfish and wanted to.

          • Bud February 1, 2018 at 10:42 pm #

            It’s tough to look at her and not see my wife. It’s just been 2 months and I feel I am forcing us into mediation which she made an appointment for monday. She needs therapy. I am in it and with her issues she definitely needs it. My plan is to monday listen to mediation and say I won’t start it till she gets A month of therapy in for our kids sake. It’s strange nit wanting to come home or now be afraid of your wife actions cause I am just waiting for the next bomb for her to drop on me.

    • TheFirstWife January 30, 2018 at 9:22 pm #

      Bud. I am sorry for you. I was in your shoes. After a few months of my H’s A he wanted a D. Refused counseling. Refused to talk except to tell me everything that was wrong with me. Everything wrong with our 25 year M.

      It was brutal. No second chance. No open or honest discussions. Just he’s unhappy and oh by the way ILYBNILWY.

      But I hung in there. This is going to sound ridiculous to some people but I went to church. (I go to church regularly so that’s not odd). But I prayed for 90 days. 90 days to keep us living together so I can get some $ to my name.

      I asked God for 90 days to give me a chance to get myself together. For my kids sake. I just needed 90 days.

      I thought if I could make it to our 25th Anniversary there would be some hope.

      I went to counseling.

      I did all the work.

      I was dragging him along like a two ton weight. He wasn’t doing anything.
      It was the Affair Fog and MLC all rolled into one.

      I understand how you feel. You expected your W – whom you love and support – to tell you what is wrong. To communicate. To love and support YOU

      I really understand how you feel at this point. We all mistakes trying to move past the infidelity. But please do not beat yourself up b/c at the point you are at – it is doubtful (in your wife’s eyes) you can do anything right.

      How sad when people just don’t communicate. I am glad she is feeling better BUT sad you are being treated do poorly.

      My H wised up at the LAST possible second before I initiated D proceedings. That was how bad it was.

      I suggest you go to counseling. You work on dealing with this pain and devastation. Nothing you do or say is going to make an impact. Trust me. I tried to “fix” it.

      It only made it worse. I was viewed as clingy and needy. He lost respect for me.

      Once I stopped trying it was better for me.

      • Bud February 1, 2018 at 10:49 pm #

        Thanks for the kind words. I am sure she sees my as all of those things m just not sure when she stopped seeing me as her husband. This mediation has me scared and confused. I can’t make any decisions on the future cause I never saw this as my future. I have no idea what she is thinking cause we say 4 words every day, good morning and good night. I feel so disrespected and I can’t still believe she doesn’t want me any more. How did this come to this. Who is she and why can’t she wake up to see all we worked for and now going to lose. Does she even care.

    • Tired February 4, 2018 at 7:56 am #

      Bud, you need your wife to feel what life will be like without you. Many of us have been here before. It sounds like she is treating you like a doormat. My husband also began acting like a stranger at the time of the affair as well. It is because they are living on fantasy island listening to all the silly rubbish the affair partner is putting into their heads. It is NOT reality! The reason they sound like a stranger is because you are hearing the opinions of a stranger (the affair partner) come out of your wife’s mouth. The affair partner will say anything to try to win her off you. The two of them are stuck in an affair bubble. Your wife feels justified in this cruel behaviour toward you because the affair partner is egging her on, agreeing with everything she says to justify her awful conduct. It is never justified…if she thought there were problems that were not solvable she could have just left instead of starting an affair or waiting for someone to come and rescue her. It is cowardly behaviour and very insulting to you.

      I think your wife needs some tough love. Either move out or ask her to move out. Don’t contact her (this will be torture for you but Do NOT give in). She will only come to her senses when she is standing on the precipice looking at what she has to lose if she leaps off into unchartered territory. Do not take her back until she has entirely gotten rid of the other man…I made the mistake of jumping the gun and mine continued to be in contact with the affair partner even after I allowed him back. The result was months of turmoil with me being angry because had a gut feeling something he was still going on, which only pushed him towards the other woman. Because, you know, she was just there to say that he must have made the right decision in the first place since he had a cow of a wife. This fails to take into account that if I was an irrational cow because of what HE did! It is completely senseless and unfair. Do not make the same mistake.

      The affair partner is not even a real person…they are a construction of the unfaithful spouses mind. They could have been anyone. They are not so wonderful and they likely have nothing in common as well. But the cheater can not see it until way later when the affair fog has gone and they are thinking with their own brain. For this to happen there has to be NO contact with the affair partner.

      • Bud February 4, 2018 at 8:53 am #

        Tired, I agree with everything you said. I have tried it all and said al those things about being a fantasy. Her feelings are no passion for me and that she can’t live like that. I am lost and hurt and she is taking everything from me and I have given he r everything. I don’t even know If they still contact each other. She has her on phone and bill now. Things are so screwed up, we don’t talk at all, 4 words a day good morning and good night. Neither of us will leave the house or kids , also we can’t afford to and I can’t throw her out, I did tell her to leave several times. First mediation meeting tomorrow, hopefully if we get a chance to speak I will see where she is at. She won’t go to therapy for herself. Not sure if I even at this point would be if she wanted to work on it which I know ahe doesn’t, her words have been so hurtful, not sure hiw I recover from this all.

        • Tired February 4, 2018 at 12:03 pm #

          Bud, is there no one you could stay with? From experience it doesn’t take long for them to come to their senses once they have to deal with the fall out. It need not be permanent.

          Have you told anyone about this? If not, she is probably happily carrying on with her beau not worrying about her reputation. She should be made to feel the full force of her choices. Otherwise she will have only one influence…the influence of the one person whose best interest is to destroy your marriage. At the moment she seems to be putting her happiness and need for ‘passion’ ahead of even her children. Perhaps if you leave she will realise that for herself. Who will look after them while she is out partying?

          Be careful about telling your wife she is living a fantasy…that is exactly what I meant in my last post when I said I was angry. I said things like that. I probably lectured to him. Don’t do this. I don’t think people take kindly to being told how they feel, even if it is true. Because the sneaky affair partner will always be there to “help” the cheater and tell them what they are doing is justified, and you will still be the bad guy.

          • Bud February 4, 2018 at 9:16 pm #

            I do have places to stay, I remain here cause I love my kids more then anything and don’t want to be away from them. Again we have first mediation tomorrow and I have no idea how I will act or what she will sat or act, never been so uncertain of my life before

            • Shifting Impressions February 5, 2018 at 12:49 am #

              I hope it goes well tomorrow. After reading all your posts, I would lean towards calm assertive. I know it’s so hard…but showing neediness sometimes just causes the CS to show more disrespect.

              take care

              • Bud February 6, 2018 at 8:21 am #

                The meeting started ok, she wouldnt look at me the whole time never o ce, she did that the other day at our daughyers conference shr wouldnt look at me once, i dont get it, tried to make light of our work schedules but mediation person said was good we don’t work same times, she wants to sell house I dont that always pisses her off, then w e get the price 3000 each, I laughed, we don’t have that, th en outside I tried to ch at to her, I mentioned how expensive it was and we don’t have that, she said well we can’t live together in the house, I was trying to see If she was having an second thoughts or doubts, but as conversation went on I said leave if she wants she said I am not going any where and she thinks all I think is she wants to run, I said yes I do, she said and boy it hurt that she doesn’t want not to be around the kids she doesn’t want to be around me and doesn’t want to live w me. I replied after catching my breath I asked was I ever abusive emotionally verbally physical or in any way even up to th is point. She just came back w her usual not getting into this and I have to work cause I am hourly and not getting paid cause she was out of work, I am salary and she hates that. Today she didn’twear her I ng s when leaving the house and she knows I notice and it bothers me, but she did take them with her. Not sure next move. Hurting but in different way. Whar didn’t I see or whay did I miss throughout this relationship

                • TheFirstWife February 6, 2018 at 9:25 am #

                  You didn’t miss anything.

                  Do not let your CS rewrite your marriage.

                  I went through that (many of us here did). All of a sudden I became painted as a wife who didn’t do this or that or wasn’t this or that.

                  Bottom line – I didn’t change HE did.

                  Same for your wife. She changed. She became unhappy. She chose to cheat. She chose not to address her issues but is using an Affair to “be happy”. Hahaha.

                  Like that is a solution.

                  You keep trying to behave as an adult. She keeps trying to get you to do what she wants. Stand your ground!! She had to understand she doesn’t dictate what will or won’t happen any more.

                  It’s called NEGOTIATING (line from Seinfeld from George Costanza).

                  • Bud February 6, 2018 at 10:24 am #

                    If she wants out, why doesn’t she just leave, go get your apt, , or rented home, but your doing it with my money. Her parents have money but she won’t ask them because half of the screwed up way she is caused by them and lack of love. Again today I am trying not to wear my ring but it actually freaks me out a bit when I tried in the past, but then I think oh I am ju st doing this to get at her but she obviously doesn’t care. I am lonely, I miss being in love, touched, kissed, affectionately looked at, it’s rough I know alot tof yo u have been here. We don’t deserve this but I feel like to file has been wasted, bei ng wasted and my future is wasted. Wish she would just talk to me and act like an adult, not like a juvenile like she is now.

                    • TheFirstWife February 6, 2018 at 2:34 pm #

                      You hit the nail in the head. They act utterly STUPID during the A.

                      And think they are “fooling” us.

                      I bet if you ghosted her and did the 180 and stopped trying to talj to her it would be better for you! Less crap coming your way IMO.

                      And take the ring off. First thing I did during his A. Not wearing a display or symbol of love. No way!! He didn’t deserve it.

                    • Bud February 6, 2018 at 2:47 pm #

                      I tried not wearing the ring, but it feels so weird, tried again today but it’s so hard, and I know my kids eventually notice and we haven’t told them yet, but they can tell something is up. Of course one of our kids was sick at school, so guess who got the call , yes I am off today, but when I didn’t pick up her 4 calls and her 2 texts she sent last text, “please respond” , maybe if she was nice and not an asshole maybe i would pick up, but I was out to lunch w my boss’s anyway

                    • Hopeful February 7, 2018 at 4:58 pm #

                      Before dday I wore my ring except when I worked out. I always put it on though and wore it all the time. Now I only wear it if I am going out like to a dinner. My kids are very observant and asked but I said I do not want to damage it working out why does happen over time. They accepted that plus for a woman I said the shampoo, dish soap etc gets on the stone and trying not to clean it as often.

                      I think she figures she will just take what she can get from you. And I bet there is no way she wants to go to her parents. Would they ask her questions? My husband did everything he could to hide what he was doing. Even though it seems strange to me he made all these Decusions but he was ashamed and depressed.

                  • Bud February 7, 2018 at 5:23 pm #

                    well i didi take the ring off, cause again she wasnt wearing it to work but i know she took with her, she wont tell her parents but i already did and they are so emotionally unattached they texted her and called her once for what i know and she said it was a private matter and they said ok and backed off. they arent aloud to see their 4 other grand kids and probably dotn want the mess of not seeing their last 3. last night during tv time with the kids snuggling on the couch she turns videos on her phone w the volume up. she has never done that especailly during snuggle time. i did all i could to bite my tongue. believe she is just doing this to get under my skin. its amazing how after 16 years i can be forgotten or she can have these hateful and unloveable feelings for me especially after i didnt do anything. just lost still and so hurt.

                    • TheFirstWife February 7, 2018 at 7:30 pm #

                      Bud I am so sorry for you. She is just being unreasonable and ridiculous. Like attention getting behavior – but not in a good way.

                      Unfortunately the person you marry is NOT the person you D.

                      The AP you meet and “fall in love with” is NOT the same person after being dumped by the CH or CW.

                      How sad you have to face the childish behavior on top of everything else. Treat her like a child – distant yet firm and without anger.

                      And watch your back. My good friend went through a terrible D with his XW. She went outside and slammed her face on the car door and called the cops and filed domestic violence and assault charges. If the kids were not home to back up his story my friend would have been in jail.

                      He said she said.

                      Be careful.

                    • Bud February 7, 2018 at 9:37 pm #

                      I hope it never gets to that point. Not sure how 16 years can be thrown away do quickly and how easily this seems fir her. I am crushed and she an ass to me. I don’t know what to do. Scary I keep assuming she is gonna come crying one day and beg for forgiveness, but I can’t get a sorry, so why would that happen. Just don’t want my kids to hurt and I know they will

  11. If stupid had a picture January 29, 2018 at 11:53 pm #

    I wish that I had really listened to what my wife was saying. I listened and argued and denied, because I heard her, but I wasn’t hearing her. We lost so much time to this. I got through my stupid, and started hearing the pain my wife was in, instead of the accusations that in the end we’re absolutely true. I proved I didn’t deserve her and she still stayed.

  12. Sick of it January 30, 2018 at 10:25 am #

    What was it that your wife said and you didn’t listen to? Are you a wayward spouse? And what was it that made you stay? Why did your wife stay with you?

  13. Trusting God March 8, 2018 at 2:54 pm #

    Hi there, I am new to this site and have been it reading for days. Forgive me if I don’t get all the abbreviations correct. I am the BS, and my H was recently confronted about having an EA with a married coworker. Has gone on, that I can estimate, for about 1 1/2-2 years. I would sense an awkward closeness between them whenever I was around, which was somewhat frequent enough because he works at a grocery store. Finally came to a head when she called him at home on the weekend with a personal matter. As far as I can gauge, it has been friendship only that has crossed many boundaries, sharing personal information back and forth, marital problems, commiserating together, and my H offering to help her in different ways, like with car troubles. Lots of details that point to an EA and he is in denial, won’t admit that it was anything more than a friendship. Yet there are so many red flags. This is a 2nd marriage for each of us, going on 7 years of marriage, we are in our mid 40’s. Ironically, I have felt that his ex-wife has been the OW throughout our marriage, and now this.
    Also, interestingly, he did this while married to his first wife- struck up a flirtatious friendship with a younger woman at a coffee shop where he was a regular. After their separation he reconnected with her and it became a physical relationship.
    And before he was married he dated an unhappily married woman, also a co-worker at that time.
    Wow. Why did I think I would be the exception? Why did I think he wouldn’t do this to me, too? I think he was good at painting this picture of himself as being naive or a victim (his first wife was the cheater and split up that marriage). And not willing to admit that these “friendships” while married are actually EA’s.
    We are just beginning marital counseling. Our issues almost seem insurmountable to me, besides the EA. I’ve got one foot out the door and our counselor knows that.
    I don’t know what else to say. I’m consumed with all the details of this OW. I try not to let my mind wander. I’m overwhelmed by the ramifications of this major bump in the road, so to speak. All the excuses, blameshifting, denial, gaslighting, emotional abuse, verbal abuse, financial abuse, irresponsibility, how this is going to affect his 2 young sons- and if I leave I lose them, too. I lose a whole extended family that I love.
    Any advice is more than welcome. Thank you.

  14. Shifting Impressions March 8, 2018 at 3:24 pm #

    I am so sorry you are going through this. I’m glad to hear you are going for counseling. One of the best books I have read on the subject of emotional affairs is the book NOT JUST FRIENDS by Shirley Glass.

    The best advice I can give you is to get support for yourself and take care of you. Nobody deserves to be abused. It’s totally unacceptable!! I hope you are able to address this issues in counseling.

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