What I should have done to get Doug to end the affair…

end the affairBy Linda

One of the biggest mistakes that I made upon discovery was reading materials about how to have a good marriage.  My behaviors at the time were based on this knowledge that I had gained, as I tried to do everything a “perfect wife” should do.

I didn’t know that it was useless trying to do these things to save a marriage when the cheating spouse is still in the affair fog. It was just a waste of time. 

To get Doug to end the affair I should have behaved in a way that was conducive to Doug realizing that it was a better choice to stay in the marriage than be with his emotional affair partner.

I have been rereading “Love Must be Tough” by Dr. James Dobson because I feel that the book provides valuable information for anyone who first discovers their spouse’s affair or anyone who is struggling with a spouse that refuses to end the affair.  I highly recommend the book for anyone in this situation.

Dr. Dobson states that before a spouse begins an affair they are often overcome with feelings of being trapped in their marriage and their lives. They believe that things will never change or improve and this situation will be their fate for the rest of their lives.

Even after they begin an affair and feel alive again, they still feel this entrapment because their commitments are holding them back from the freedom of being with their affair partner.

Combined with the feelings of being trapped, they also have lost respect for their spouse. Dobson states that…

Marital discord almost always emanates from seething disrespect.”  He further says that “It involves how one party has begun to perceive the other, it is the value ascribed to one human being by another.  That perceived worth is incorporated in the word respect, and it absolutely basic to all relationships.

When a spouse begins to feel trapped he begins to perceive his spouse as an obligation rather than gift.

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Looking back, I can attest that Doug definitely had lost respect for me prior to and during the affair. His actions and words confirmed that.  He also had feelings of being trapped in a marriage that did not make him happy.

We talked about this recently when I asked him if he was looking for someone different or just a different relationship.  He said he wasn’t looking for any one, but just wanted some companionship and someone to have fun with.  I asked him why he didn’t do something about it, talk about it or make changes within our own marriage.  He said he just thought that being trapped was the way it was meant to be.

I feel if I would have read “Love Must be Tough” when I first found out about his emotional affair, I would have acted much differently. 

My actions compounded the feelings of entrapment and disrespect. Many of those actions were needed when one is trying to save a marriage, but can be detrimental when trying to end the affair.  Here are some of the things I did that I truly regret.

  • Crying, pleading, begging and telling Doug that we couldn’t live without him and making him feel trapped in his situation.
  • Continuing to initiate sex with him after he told me that is was pleasurable but he had no emotional feelings about me.
  • Offering to move out of my own house without the kids.
  • Never telling him that what he was doing was wrong and that he broke our marriage vows.
  • Sitting on his uncomfortable office floor keeping him company because he spent every night working.
  • Changing to please him and allowing him to believe that because of my changes I was at fault.
  • Not telling him right away that he was free to go and that I would be fine with or without him
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I am sure this list could go on and on, but my point is to really think about your behaviors and how they make you feel about yourself. For example, I remember thinking that through my actions I was being a terrible role model to my daughters. I wanted them to have more self respect than I was portraying to them at the time.  

I was acting the way I thought I needed to prove to Doug that I loved him and he was the most important person in the world to me.  Instead, I showed him that I wasn’t a woman who should have been respected and that he didn’t have the freedom to make the right choice and end the affair on his own.


    13 replies to "A Better Way to Get Them to End The Affair"

    • Infidelity Rage

      Interesting! My situation is a little different but this was an insightful post. Thanks!

      • R

        Tough love is what definitely worked for me. I didn’t know that was what I was doing at the time, I just did what my gut told me to do. I had suspected there was a serious problem for over a year. I had my suspicions as to what was going on, but wouldn’t actually let myself go there. Finally one day I found out the truth and confronted my husband about my evidence. He finally admitted the truth. I stated that he didn’t have me anymore, and he couldn’t have her (she was married too), so he had gotten himself into a mess! After we talked a little more, I asked him what he wanted to do. He said he didn’t know. I told him he needed to take some time and think about what he wanted because it was her or me, it wouldn’t be both. I told him I was through living like we had been living. He was definitely going through a midlife crisis at the time, so I really believe if I had cried, acted clingy and begged him to stay it would have been a mistake. I did cry, and I let him know I still loved him, but I also let him know I wasn’t going to take a backseat to the OW. It’s like the light came on in his head. He realized he had better start working on winning me back, or it was all over. It is really unbelievable what kind of man he is now. I hate what we had to go through to get here, but I love who he is now, and I also like myself much better. I am definitely stronger and more independent, and I do know if I had to I could live without him, even though I would rather not. We have both grown a lot through this process.

    • Donna

      Interesting. Linda I am wondering why you regret continuing to initiate sex with Doug. Even though he said it was pleasurable, however not emotionally attatched… isn’t it better that you could still connect on an intimate level. Isn’t it better that you could still touch each other at the times off intimacy and not be awkward with each other. Touch is such a powerful thing and I would think that with intimacy, you still have a close bond of some kind. Maybe I am wrong, yet I have continued to be intimate with my husband even though we are separated and yes, even through his affair. I know that is not for everyone, however I thought that while he was still intimate with his wife, the more confused he woud be and the end result will not be an easy choice.. My husband still loves me, just not the “in love” feelings.. what is that anyway? Are the cheaters looking for Mills and Boons kind of love.. all sparks and fireworks! Do they really not think that it ends and becomes like it was with their first wife/husband? Boggles my brain..

      Anyway, I would love your input in all of this. I am struggling at the moment as a good things is that if my husband has stuck to his word, it would be nearing 6 weeks of NC with ow. However, lastnight he didn’t come around as he said he has nothing in him and he is feeling useless at the moment. Of course I freak out quietly.. not letting him know this and automatically think that he is going to call ow and he is moping because he is not with her and thinking that is all he wants.. when he might actually be thinking what the hell have I done to myself and my family and yes I want ow, yet owe my wife and kids… who know’s what he thinks, I guess I automatically go thin k the negative.

      • Doug

        Donna, I really don’t regret the contact and for me I really needed to touch him and be with him. It was the only time that I really felt close to him. However at the time he was still involved with Tanya and when he told me that there wasn’t an emotional connection I felt like I was being just a body to him and that really upset me. I felt that maybe he lost even more respect for me because I continued to be with him even though he felt that way. Honestly even though he said that to me I am not sure if that was the way he truly felt, our time together appeared very connected and intimate. Maybe it was the affair fog. Linda

    • Bonms

      That is exactly how I acted when I first found out about my H’s EA, the second discovery I acted like a completely different person(The 180). Not only did the second option shake him out of the situation but I felt like I was mantaining my self respect.

    • Jennifer

      Wow, Linda. Excellent post. Totally what I needed to hear. I, too have continued being intimate with my husband through his… whatever you call this. I think it is a mid-20s crisis. (I believe there is such a thing.) I feel like I need that connection for myself and I also believe that it is good for him. That part of our relationship has always been incredible and I keep thinking maybe one day he will realize that not only can he have great sex with me, but I will love him and nurture him and be his wife. Something he can’t/won’t necessarily get from anyone he chooses to be intimate with otherwise. I don’t think sex is the reason he strayed. I really think Linda is right. He just feels “stuck.” I do too sometimes. But the only ones who can change that are him and me. Why not work at it together and save all the collateral damage of a divorce/separation? This is what I’m hoping he will see.

    • Liz

      @Jennifer: there is a thing called the “quarter life crisis”–affects most in the mid 20’s to early 30’s. I think my 30 yr old husband is going thru the same.

      Our divorce is almost finalized. He is a completely different person now (alien, I know, and affair fog)–partying & getting drunk has become his major goal in life and he just happens to work on the days in between. He didn’t even want to save the marriage. Suddenly I am “boring” and “we don’t want the same things” when only a few months before he told me I was the best part of his life and thinking of me enabled him to keep moving forward (he was finishing up a job in Europe and moving back to the US–affair started within 2 months of him coming back. I had not yet moved to be with him since I am a teacher and was finishing out the school year. Oddly enough, we are now in the same state and saw & spoke to each WAY more than when he was overseas, yet he met this woman & started the affair only 2 months before I was set to move up to him.). We don’t have kids and some might say, all the better, run while you can. But we have been together 9 years, married 7, and I just don’t believe that a marriage vow is less strong because of a lack of children. I don’t even know if we would have been able to recover from the affair, but alas, it doesn’t matter since he chose her over me. She is a single woman, so I guess for him it was easier to start fresh with someone who doesn’t know him inside and out. I am working on personal recovery and just trying to get thru this holiday season without losing it. I am so pissed that I am lonely and missing him and he is out partying with his new girlfriend. I am pissed that he threw away a 9 year relationship for someone he only knew a few months. He says I am a good woman and was a good wife and deserve better. He just needed excitement. Clearly they are more suited since she is a partyer and I am not.

      This is our first holiday season apart and I am so sad I couldn’t even spend TDay with my family because it reminds me of his absence.

      L & D, thanks for this website. I find it a constant source of support and empathy.

      • Doug

        Liz, something that I learned is you do deserve better. Just because you do not fit his mold for what he considers to be an ideal partner does not mean there is something wrong with you. His perception of what love is and what he needs is totally off base. Try to remember to be true to yourself and to not let his selfish ideas get the best of you. Linda

    • Angie

      I am going through the same thing as Liz except I have 2 children. He still denies being with her but says we are done. Thanksgiving was so hard! We’ve been together for 14 years and married for 8. I would have to say that when there is children involved it doesn’t necessarily make the marriage vows more valid but the situation gets tougher as I have to deal with my 4 yr. old crying day in and day out for her life back and her father. It’s heartbreaking and makes the healing process much harder for me. I still have hope that this will all go away and am having such a hard time adjusting to life without him.

      • Doug

        Angie, I’m so sorry to hear of your situation. It makes it especially tough when children are involved, and even more so around the holidays.

    • The Home Life

      I moved out for a few days, just to get my head together. I called my daughter the second day, shes in the 3rd grade, just to say good nite to her, and she was crying before she got on the phone. Asking me to come home. When are you coming home?? All the while, my wife was on her cell phone with her boyfriend. That entire day of cell phone usage shows her calls to him. None to me.

      • Mark

        Let the person who is at fault move out. You should always stay with your children. And they need to know that the person that caulsed the problem is the one that left them. You should never look like the bad guy.

    • suziesuffers

      I agree 100%. Your wife is the one that abandoned the marriage. You know how painful that feels. You child needs to understand that you will NEVER abandon them, and that the consequences of her choices are reflected on her for that abandonment….not mistakenly on you.

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