We feel that communication is key to affair recovery. Here are some tips that we have learned along the way.

serious talkBy Linda

We feel that one of the most important elements that is necessary for surviving an affair is effective communication.

We’ve certainly talked about this before, but it seems lately that many of the comments and emails that we get still site this as a major hurdle in many couple’s affair recovery.

Below are some tips on communication that we have learned along the way.  Some we have picked up through our own experiences and mistakes, so some of these will be things you should NOT do:

The best thing that you can do is listen. You need to ask your spouse questions that will help you understand where they are coming from. Now I use the word understand. That does not mean you agree with what they are saying. It does not mean that you believe what they are saying. But you’re trying to understand what they’re saying.

Just as with human nature, when someone is intently listening to us we naturally feel drawn to them. We want to get closer to them.  So listening to them is one of the key things.

Don’t be so persistent in bringing up the affair. When you repeat the message over and over that’s a sure way to be ignored. The way that our brain operates we tend to ignore things that are repeated.

In fact, there’s a term someone coined “MEGO” which stands for, “my eyes glaze over.” You know, talking to your spouse and bringing it up makes his/her eyes glaze over. They’re not there.

See also  Effective Communication – What is it and how do I do it?

I’ve seen Doug with MEGO many times early on in our affair recovery process.

Obviously, talking about the affair is important and necessary, but don’t go overboard.

Wanting all the details is a close cousin. The danger with the details; details produce very vivid word pictures and when you know all the details about what the other person looks like, what they were wearing, where you met, what you did. It begins to sound more like letters to the editor of a men’s magazine, than a couple talking about what they need to talk about.

And when you have all those details it’s going to make it that much more difficult to forgive and to get that word picture out of your mind.

It’s also going to be important not to make demands. When you’re in that fragile period when you find out about the affair, you want to get the two of you committed to one another before you start making demands of the other person.

Now I draw distinction between demands and between boundaries. People will need to have boundaries, but demands tend to lead to problems.

Don’t be close-minded. If you want your spouse to sit down and talk with you, one way to make sure that they don’t, is to be close minded. That includes the whole idea that it’s’ got to be your way and your version of events that is the only one that counts. That whole, “my way or the highway,” gets you into trouble.

Don’t be self righteous. Now I know for most people this is a tough one. But this is one that is important because you want to be the infidel’s spouse. You’re not trying to be their pastor; you’re not trying to be their holy spirit. You’re not trying to do that. That’s going to change the dynamics in the relationship.

See also  Our Hike in the Forest – A Metaphor for Our Affair Recovery Journey

If they’re going to make changes, you want them to do it because of their own conscience. Not because you guilt trip them into doing it.

Give them time and space. You will need to allow them some time and space to get their thoughts together, and many times what happens is the hurt spouse wants things to happen now. They want things to happen real fast and many times you start doing the right things but you’ve got to give it time for the cheating spouse to make changes.

The process is like one of those huge super tankers. They can turn, but it takes a slow process and when you’re talking about completely turning your marriage around its going to take them a little bit of time. They don’t turn on a dime.

Try not to blow things out of proportion. If you have kids, especially teenagers, one of the ways to make sure your teenager quits listening to you is to freak out and blow things out of proportion.

It’s the same when dealing with a cheating spouse.  If you freak out, your spouse is not going to tell you things either.

To improve communication takes activity and you taking initiative. Sitting back and being passive is what you want to avoid. By taking initiative you may have to learn some ways to start communication. You may have to be the one to pick up your phone and call. You may have to be the one to reach out.  Communication is key to affair recovery.

See also  Should You Forgive an Affair?


    29 replies to "A Main Element for Affair Recovery is Communication"

    • B

      I’m glad this was the topic of today’s post because it seems very relevant to me this morning. As most of you know through my previous posts, yesterday (5/22) was my wife and I’s 15th anniversary. We really enjoyed a great weekend with the kids and with each other. We even found some time to TALK to one another about this little dance we seem to be doing. We talked about how we are finally getting back to being us and yet the littlest arguments seem to create a sort of tension because of what we have been through the last 7 months.
      It was interesting because she told me that she can sense when something is wrong and it upsets her because she is afraid I will explode and I in turn told her that I knew what she had told me, I knew what she had done, but I would never really know the truth about it all because she keeps some things guarded. I told her that her cell phone and other EVERYDAY items are triggers for me and she just has to let me deal with it on my own pace.
      She told me that she is happier now than she has ever been and that there is nothing going on. She also told me that I was free to pick up her cell phone at any time and look at her activity, but I take little comfort in that given all the things she deleted in the past. Either way, we are working towards getting back to us. She STILL maintains that even though she crossed a line with texts and calls, she has never had and never will have feelings for him and that being married to me is what she has always wanted.
      In fact, in her anniversary card she wrote a nice message among other things, she said:

      “I am looking forward to 50 more years with you hand in hand, I know we have had our ups and downs, but I love what we are becoming”

      I rather enjoyed the card, but I am having some major anxiety today because she has a sales event during the day and I she will be having direct communication with him. She went as far as to ask me a couple of weeks ago if it was okay because she didn’t want it to cause tension between us. I know it is important to her job, so I told her to go ahead, because I am not going to try and control her. She is a grown woman and needs to be able to balance work and home. But I have so much anxiety today just knowing they will be in the same vicinity and I know he will seek her out to talk. I guess what I am saying is that we are beginning to get to that point where we can communicate about things and work through them without it turning into a fight. Today is a good example, even though I’m feeling nervous, I’m being supportive and trusting her that NOTHING will happen because that is what she said to me. Somedays this is so hard, but if you love someone you have to start somewhere. Good weekend for me, just have to get through the day.

      • michael

        Your right you have to give them the space and not control where or what they do. Its on them to decide what’s right for them. It saddens me to know that your wife at least talked to you about the situation. My wifes trip in february was hard because I was so anxious and she (seemed) not to care. I’m sure it weighed on her but lack of communication has been our downfall all along and continues to be.

    • Saddenned


      Interesting, my counselor talks about “balance” in our lives and that is what you are saying. With communication, it involves balance. It is such a fragile situation, but balance is the key. One thing that can help the BS communicate better is to make sure they have balance in their lives.

      Thanks for the posts.

      An update from me. I feel really good and have all weekend. My mind is at peace today. Tomorrow marks 11 weeks since D-Day and my H wants nothing more than my attention since I have portrayed my balanced life. He wants to communicate, spend time together and enjoy eachother. A piece of advice from me, work hard at your marriage, but don’t forget who you are. Remember, they fell in love with you.

    • JS

      B, you could replace minor details in your story and it would be my story. I am nearly in the exact same boat with my husband. Cell phone triggers, followed by him saying I can check his phone any time, but he admits he has deleted what he didn’t want me to see, so checking the phone doesn’t help me feel any better. Husband still works with EA partner and sees her at meetings, company parties, etc, and it makes me want to fall apart. We are also at 7 months post EA stopping (although I initially found out 10 months ago and was assured it was stopping but it didn’t). Some days feel impossible and some feel OK. I want it to work but it’s very hard some days. He assures me he has no feelings for her or anyone else and that he’s happier with me than he’s ever been, which is so ironic because I’m probably the unhappiest and most resentful I’ve ever been with him. The cycles and ebbs and flows are so hard to deal with and I just want off the roller coaster. I just want to feel like I did long ago where I felt hopeful about our future together. Despite what he says now, these setbacks of office meetings, getting cc:ed on jokes she’s on (and responding to all, which feels like he’s keeping a link to her), and company parties (spouses not included), make me see our future together with a giant question mark. It feels like it’s going to be one thing after another that upsets the apple cart forever. Communication is just not there between us. If I initiate discussion about anything other than small talk (not the affair, just anything about our future, our daughters’ school activities, plans for the weekend, etc) I get MEGO, so I’ve stopped talking about things other than to respond to him talking about current events, his job, or a funny thing he read that day. I feel alone when I’m around him. We’re just not connecting.

      • B

        I know the feeling. Take today for example. Her being at this golf outing may help boost her sales, but it has put me in a bad place. I’m anxious, nervous, wondering what may be going on. I appreciate her asking me if she could do it, but she should have instinctively told him “NO” and left it at that. Just goes to show you that no matter how much progress we make, she still isn’t at the point where she will impliment no contact. I have worked very hard to fix myself, but I don’t no how much longer I can wait for her to get back to being herself. I’m at the end of my rope and the rope is frayed. Funny, I didn’t feel this way yesterday, but today I am in a horrible place.

    • JS

      I’m so sorry, B. I truly do feel those exact feelings, and sometimes it’s like I’m right back at D Day. I have hoped for no contact – I actually asked for it at one point and was told there was no reason to need to ask for that because they “never really work together,” then all these things start coming up. I feel like no contact will never happen, and I don’t see why it can’t. Is a boost in sales or better camaraderie on a project or saving face by not missing the company party worth what it’s doing to us? I surely don’t think so, but I don’t think mine feels the same, unfortunately. Since he says his heart isn’t in it any more with her, that’s supposed to be enough for me. I also appreciate the asking if it’s OK to participate, but that sure puts me in an awkward position. If I say no, I’m trying to “control” him. If I say yes, I feel those same anxious, nervous, wondering feelings you talk about. Then I’m supposed to have a big smile on my face that night and act like it doesn’t bother me so that I don’t rock the boat, and inside I just want to cry. Why don’t they just say no to the event so it doesn’t even have to be an issue? It’s so hard, isn’t it? I’ll be thinking about you today.

    • Norwegian woman

      JS and B.
      I so understand what you are feeling. Texts and mails are a huge trigger for me. My husband also tells me that I can check anytime, but I know that during his affairs and after, he deleted everything that wasn`t for my eyes. He could well be doing it right now. I do not trust him to be truthfull.
      Maybe it`s because he fooled me twice. I really thought that he understood what a mistake he had done. He promised me to never ever go behind my back. In stead he had contact with his first mistress on job-mail and phone during working hours. He had no intention of beeing either truthfull or transparent. He just said he would. Talk is cheap. I don`t feel that I will ever trust him to be truthfull again.

      Our communication is so and so. I do not talk about the affairs so much anymore. He never does. I have written him some letters where I express my anger and dissapointment and why. He have never responded to them. Just read them.
      I remember that his mistress once told me that despite my H claim that he never was in love with her, or emotional attached to her, she allways felt that his concern for her wellbeing was honest and true. He was eager to hear about her worries and hopes, how she felt, what her dreams were and so on.
      I guess this concern doesn`t apply to me…. I am just his freakin wife, for gods sake…..He didn`t give a crap about me being crushed then. He probably doesn`t give a crap about how i feel now. His actions sure not make me feel like he does. As long as we do not talk about it, it is ok and he do not make an effort at all. I just wished he would have cared or worried about how I felt, what MY worries were, MY hopes and dreams and so on. But that is probably meant for mistresses….. not for wifes.

      I still can`t believe how he stepped on me, humiliated me and spit on me….. It`s almost surrealistic.

    • Candace

      Communication is a hard one for us. My H only wants to communicate on his terms and I cannot always adjust to this. I believe however, we are making progress. The last four days have been good and he moved back home yesterday. He still cannot answer all my questions. Says I should write them down for him so he can understand them better. What good will that do? Right now I refuse to write my very personal and vulnerable feelings for anyone to see. I feel eventually the answers will come out. He is still keeping his cell phone well guarded. I did manage to get a peak at it yesterday. There are texts on there from after the time frame he told me they were no longer speaking. This was so hard for me to see after the last few days have been so good. I am still checking his calls online daily, the disposable cell he bought to call her is no where to be found I think he must be keeping it at work. I cannot decide whether to ask him for it or not. That level of trust has not been reached yet. Right now I am basically following my gut feelings.

    • michael

      Yes I feel the same way. I was duped over and over again. I was lied to over and over again. Just because you check there phone does that mean there not in contact. Does she talk to him on her work phone once a week? Once in a while. Does she have a prepaid phone hiding at work? Is there another email account. There’s no telling. And I’m sorry to cause more grief if I did. But I’ve felt these for over a year and a half. Less than a year ago I found out she was using a friends phone and my son’s phone for months after she claimed no contact. So that feeling hasn’t gone away. Its the same feeling I had last Jan that just didn’t feel right. Well I was right.
      The fact that my wife tells me that she doesn’t even know when it was exactly that she stopped talking to him is the most discouraging and deceitful reason for me not to believe her.

      • B

        I’ve maintained this all along. The look on your spouses face, their daily behavior, and the way they interact with you says so much more than the words that come out of their mouths. Sadly, your gut is usually right and when it stops flaring up, is probably your sign that things are finely getting back to normal. In my case, my wife is making a real effort, but continues to stop short at the point where she is required to cut off all contact. I truly believe that we will never be completely healed until she makes this decision for herself. Right now she still sees him as a necessary component in her life. She is either clueless to how I feel, or too damn stubborn to go more than halfway to fix this thing. I guess as long as she comes home to me at night, and as long as I’m brewing the coffee before I leave for work in the morning, as long as I’m doing laundry, cooking, and showering her with love, she doesn’t have to stop contact. She is getting everything she needs and more. Really sucks to have to be the one to wait out her crappy decisions.

        • michael

          I just can’t do that anymore.
          I can’t open up to her anymore or give her my understanding and support. We are right back where we were before the affair.
          We barely text,
          We barely talk,
          We don’t have any physical intimacy for months.
          There is very little intimacy between us. And there sure isn’t any communication between us other than text when I initiate them.
          I don’t want to be the one dragging this out all the time. But sometimes I hurt and she does not want to do anything about it.

    • JS

      Amen, B. I my case, I think my husband is not willing to really think about how much any contact with EA is hurting us. He is also making a real effort to do things like make a lunch date with me (we work 2 blocks apart and did not go to lunch for over a year because that was her time), but he sees no harm whatsoever in the fact that they potentially could communicate daily via a work case and how that continues to keep her present in my life. I mean, after all, work is so important, right? Can I ask how involved you are with your wife’s co-workers? That was my big, red flag that something weird was going on. In my husband’s previous job, he used to invite me to lunches, forward occasional email jokes from co-workers, we even went to the symphony with a man he worked with and his wife. I knew the women he worked with. I was even FB friends with them. I never felt threatened by any of them. Once he moved to this new place and met her, though, I wasn’t a part of his career life at all. No picture of me in his office, no invitation to the weekly happy hours or long lunches they would take as a group, even though other spouses and bf/gfs would attend, meanwhile he knew every one of my work friends because I made him a part of that life and referred darn near half of them to him for their legal issues (he’s an attorney and the EA is a legal secretary). I was the one who encouraged him to make this career move because he was so unhappy at the last place, and now I regret it tremendously. He’s had great work success, and our marriage is in tatters. I still don’t know his co-workers, and although he has stopped the happy hour attendance, they all still go to lunch in a big pack all the time. I resent them even though I don’t know them, because I have this (possibly unrealstic) idea that they all know about it and I’m just a big joke. Every time he tells me a work story, I wonder if she was a part of it and he’s just leaving out that detail. Such a major part of his life is a constant reminder to me that she isn’t going away. Oh, and she’s 17 years younger than me and just perfect in every way, as far was what I can glean from the limited information he will give me about her. He’s never said one negative word about her but has told me plenty that was wrong with me. Ugh.

      • Roller coaster rider

        JS, I understand a lot of how you must feel because my H is also an attorney and not only do you have the AP to think about, but so often work itself seems like a mistress. Where I’m at now is so different in many ways, though, because this is our last chance to make the marriage work. If he lies, won’t communicate, stonewalls, or refuses to make me his first earthly priority, we’re done. I am sick and tired of how the legal community put themselves on some sort of pedestal and justify immoral behavior, hook up with younger women, and turn their backs on their families for whatever strokes their ego. I know this isn’t the only group that makes these lousy choices, but it is something I’ve seen all too often…

      • B


        My wife is in sales, so I’m not really in touch with any of her coworkers because she really doesn’t have any in the same state. All of her contacts work for other companies, which is the case with this guy. At one point she was so blinded, she lost sight of the fact that they sold competing products and that he may or may not have been purging her for information to take away sales. In my case, I’m a principal in an inner-city, so I punch a clock and have invited her to meet all of my coworkers. She has an open schedule and never really has to be anywhere unless she schedules an appointment, which in my opinion makes it very easy to fall into an affair because of the freedom her job has. Trust me, everything you have heard, I have heard. This guy is only 25 years old and as far as I can tell is a perfect specimen of what a man should be. Too bad she can’t see the fact that ANY human being (no matter how smart, rich, or good-looking) that is willing to screw around with someone’s family is a dirtbag piece of crap not worth the air they breathe (at least when they are in the fog).

        The one difference between my situation and a lot of others is that my wife is telling me she loves me and telling me I have nothing to worry about. This has helped me get stronger, but the last hurdle I seem to be struggling with is the one where I try to figure out if she is really making a genuine effort, or if she is just acting nicer to throw me off the trail. That is what drives me nuts everyday. One thing I have figured out through all of this is that I hate facebook, I hate smartphones, and I hate the fact that I love her with my heart and soul, because if she was just a girlfriend and there were no kids involved, I would have kicked her butt to the curb a long time ago. But I do love her, I would go to the ends of the earth for her, and I’m seeing this thing through until she either puts her priorities back in order or just leaves me. Either way, I’ll listen, I’ll smile, I’ll make an effort to do things together. I’m in the process of showing her right now just how lucky she is. I just hope she sees it before it is too late.

        • Doug

          B, I am wondering if affairs are more conducive in certain types of work environments. I know being a teacher I really don’t have time to forge a relationship or conduct an affair during my workday. I can barely go to the restroom. I know for Doug his work environment made it very easy to conduct an affair. They had a lot of down time, opportunities to go to lunch etc. it was very easy to allow a casual conversation and lunch to get out of hand. I now understand how important it is to discuss boundaries which your spouse and to also make yourself a regular fixture around your spouse’s work. I am not saying that affairs only occur in certain work situations but I believe being aware of anything that your spouse is doing that may lead to an affair is very important. Rather it be facebook, lunches with a male/female co-worker, excessive travel etc. I know that we can’t control our spouses actions but having effective communication and discussing what is acceptable would be a step in the right direction. Linda

          • JS

            Linda –
            I believe it absolutely has an impact. In my reply to B, I mentioned long lunches and early afternoon drinks. I can’t do that with my job. I can’t drink at lunch and come back to work – I’d be fired for it. However, in my husband’s line of work (attorney), it’s encouraged. The boss takes them out for drinks at lunch. They have firm happy hours that are paid for and they shut down early and go. Unfortunately, too, as Roller Coaster Ride pointed out, this kind of thing not only is not discouraged in the legal profession, it feels as if it’s a badge of honor or something. Standing up for your family, not going to the drunk fests, focusing on anything but win win win, including your spouse in work functions – it all gets you portrayed as a pansy and a wimp and those folks do not move up the firm ladder. Office affairs are not looked down upon unless they impact profit. In addition, my husband is always going to court and is in constant client contact, so he’s a prolific texter and there are so many number on the cell records, to check them all out would make me insane. Meanwhile, I don’t text as part of my job. I email within our work system, and it’s all monitored….the last thing I’d do is send racy emails at work, and I can’t access personal email at work due to our firewall.

            Yes, I believe very strongly that certain work environments are more supportive of EA activity and make it much easier to pull off. While I definitely agree that discussing what is acceptable in these environments is the way to go, it seems in my case the peer pressure to do otherwise is too strong for him to stand up against.

          • B

            I agree Linda. My wife has a job in her car where she basically networks and pops in and out of places for a living. Her schedule goes where she tells it to. I punch a clock and am restricted by its boundaries. Makes a world of difference in how much time you have to screw around. But in the end, a person still has to make the decision to screw around. Schedules may allow an opening, but personal decisions are what sees it through.

        • JS

          Ditto, ditto, ditto, ditto. I cannot believe how similar our situations are. My huband’s EA is 23, I’m 40. His job is extraordinarily flexible in terms of his schedule, and mine is not. I work in the investment industry, and when the market is open, I’m here. I cannot take 2 hour lunches complete with margaritas, and I can’t sneak off at 2:00 to hit the watering hole until dinner time. I am supremely frustrated by the fact that I had the “stable” job with benefits that allowed him to start his own practice, with much encouragement from me while I supported us and our daughters, and this is what the payoff was as soon as he got a taste of success.

          If we had no children, I would have left after months of hearing what was wrong with me and why he was miserable with me, when all along she was a factor. Ironically, some of the pictures she used to text him were of her very young niece and nephew that she just adored. (He admitted that he basically replaced me with her in his life, acted as if I didn’t exist, and they used to talk at length about my girls. He even introduced her to my oldest and they shared lots of pictures of MY kids at camp, swimming, baseball games, etc. This alone makes me want to punch him in the face.) I wonder how she’d feel if a tramp like her came and along and wedged herself in between those precious kids’ parents. It’s OK to do to my family and to have the upheavel in our home affect my daughters, but not her little darlings. Yeah, she’s a real winner.

          He is also telling me he loves me and I have nothing to worry about, but I, too, don’t know if he’s just trying to get me off his back so he can resume his activities. And, of course, all the triggers we commented on yesterday are an ever-present reminder of when those “innocent client emails” were really her. I also hate our iPhones and FB. I thought they were so fun at first, and they’ve brought nothing but angst.

          By the way, kudos to you for your work. I chose public school for my daughters in Houston.

          • B

            Thanks JS. Being an administrator in an inner-city school district is never easy, but it is worth the reward. Funny you should mention iPhones, because a couple of years ago I thought it was the greatest invention ever. It has brought me so much angst, I’d like to throw it in the river and never look at it again. All I can tell you is just keep making yourself happy. If you feel like you are doing it alone, just keep going. Maybe our spouses will come on board 100% at some point. I’ve kind of started to look at it in this twisted way:

            If she is still lving at home, telling me she loves me, there is something keeping her here. Something is telling her that this is where she belongs. All we can do is show them that and hope they see it for themselves. As far as the OP goes, I’ve given up on trying to point out their flaws. They all have them and eventually they come to light. If you have to constantly justify a behavior or moral trait, then there is a serious problem with that individual. Cheating spouses (whether physical or emotional) justify the actions constantly because if they stop for even a second they will begin to see the truth and it is UGLY.

            • JS

              You are so right about the way you are thinking. I see it in a very similar way. I knew when I found out everything that I didn’t want a divorce, and he said he didn’t, either. I made so many changes, hoping to win him back, and I saw positive signs and really thought we were headed in the right direction. Then I found out it hadn’t ended between them and found out the true scope of the amount of contact and the depth of their closeness. I still wasn’t ready to call it quits, even though I felt so empty and bare. But at that point, I stopped working on the marraige and started working on myself and building back some feeling that I wasn’t worthless, ugly, etc. I hadn’t felt this way before I found out about them, but once I found out, I felt I was worth nothing. When I started working on myself, I realized I had been neglecting myself for years and putting his and our kids’ needs first. When I started to balance what they needed with what I needed, a funny thing happened and I became more attractive to him and he seemed more interested in staying. Now I’m hearing how he loves me more than he ever has, etc, etc. It’s just so ironic that my small steps toward getting my own needs met has led him to want to be around me more while I am feeling more and more confident about my ability to leave the marriage if it ultimately is going to make me feel compromised. Nothing rushed or urgent, just taking stock periodically about whether this is where I want to be. It is where I want to be now, and hopefully it’s where he wants to be, too. But I know I won’t shrivel up and die if he leaves, and that’s a really fantastic feeling.

              You are right that it does no good to point out their flaws. He would/will see them eventually. Do you think at 23 she wants to help take care of someone else’s daughters every other weekend? Do you think when you can’t dash off at a moment’s notice to hit the club on a Saturday night because you have your kids that weekend that she will understand and want to stay home and watch the Justin Bieber movie AGAIN? I give it a month if they were in the real world together. 🙂

    • Geri

      I would like to read some tips from Doug on how to get the CS to communicate. So many unanswered questions and my H tells me he never thinks about anything unless I bring it up. Doug, did you allow yourself to think about why you did this?
      I want to know what my husband was experiencing keeping this a secret from me. He knew he was doing something that might make me leave if I found out. He still chose to contact her everyday. What do you tell yourself to make that OK? What do you plan to say to your spouse when the truth comes out? My husbands EA occurred when we were engaged. I want to know if he planned to marry me with this still going on. I want to know if he ever thought about how he was going to end it. I get the same rote answers every time we talk and it is very obvious no real introspection is going on. I can handle not getting all the answers if I know he is at least trying to think about what the answer may be. It is so much easier to just avoid the situation and hope it goes away. Even easier to accuse the BS of dragging it out, being closed minded, blowing things out of proportion, being self-righteous etc.

      • Doug

        Geri, It sounds like your husband is just avoiding the EA for what ever reason. Linda had a lot to do with getting me to open up and communicate. To start with, she created a safe environment for me to do so. That is, she asked me her questions and she listened, didn’t accuse, didn’t judge, and listened for understanding. I know this wasn’t easy for her, and it didn’t happen right away, but if there is a safe environment, the CS is more likely to talk. We have a post that touches on other communication “Dont’s” that you might want to read: https://www.emotionalaffair.org/8-communication-don%E2%80%99ts-after-the-affair/

        While in the affair the CS can justify or rationalize things in a number of ways to make things OK. They can rewrite the history of their marriage and turn things around so that the blame for the issues in your marriage is firmly planted on the betrayed spouse. Eventually (at least in my case), I came to realize that this was bullshit and that opened up our communication even more and allowed me to look more within as well.

        Not much of this will happen very easily if there is still contact between your husband and the OW though.

    • Norwegian woman

      Another argument that worries me is that he says that he doesn`t think about it if I don`t bring it up. He doesn`t allow his mistakes to influence or interrupt his life.
      How can he never think about something that devestated his spous`s life??? How can he shut it out? Isn`t that being equally careless and uninterested in my well being as he was during the affairs?
      I can understand that he feels uncomfortable whenever the issue comes up. I understand that he feels shame. But I feel like his needs to not feel uncomforable and in shame is more important than helping me to resolve this. And it was this attitude that got us in these situation in the first place. His needs…..

    • Battleborn

      Norwegian woman,

      While agree with you regarding his needs, I have found that my husband does think about the mistakes he made, albeit quietly. Perhaps your husband is like mine who thinks about his mistakes and the anguish he causes me everyday but does not know how to vocalize them. I have come to realize that everyday he goes to his office, it reminds him of the affair and what it represents to us.

      Everytime this issue comes up, he tells me that he thinks about them everyday and he hurts to know that he has caused me all the pain I am feeling, but he is not one to talk about it. Yes, it is frustrating he is like that but I have found that the more I ask him why he doesn’t talk about it, the more he stinks into the “silent mode”. Goading does not help, patience does.

      We as the BS cannot know what is going on in the mind of our CS. We can only continue to try to communicate with them in hopes that they will open up and discuss how to mend (not fix as there is no way to undo what they have done) what they can.

    • Geri

      My husband’s EA was ongoing for 15 years. I have only been in his life for three. Our relationship was brand new and fabulous. I knew right away that I wanted to marry him. I knew of this friend. I knew they had been close years ago when his mother died and he was getting divorced. DDay was not until we bought a house together and had been together 2 years. I had no idea he was still contacting her. I can honestly say i had nothing to do with the “breakdown”of our relationship. We got married 9 months after DDay because I knew I still wanted to marry him and we have made alot of progress. I have forgiven him, but still have downward spirals and need some insight into what he was thinking. I have created a safe environment for him to open up. He does not read anything and tells me he doesnt think about it unless I bring it up. Wish I could do that. I have never read anywhere of a situation like ours. An EA of unfinished business from the past. I never doubted that he loved me and I dont now. We did not have a history to rewrite. We do now!!

    • Roller coaster rider

      Today I asked H if he felt like anything was changing, and his response was that he feels less defensive. That’s encouraging.

    • Kelly

      First, thank you to Doug & Linda for being such a valuable resource for those of us involved in some way in an EA (ugh!!!). I am hoping for some advice/comments/suggestions on my situation. As someone who works hard to see things from all sides, it is always useful to gain perspective through the filter of others.

      My story is a 5 1/2 year relationship with a wonderful man, albeit one that has been dishonest regarding a woman friend he has known for six years (they met on a dating site 6 months prior to my having met him). They went on one date and his sense was that she was not romantically interested in him, however he indicated to me after we began dating that he was sexually atrracted to her. They did remain friends, and would occassionally get together to have dinner, walk her dogs, and to spend time with her and her teenage son. Three months after we started dating he went to her house for the evening and did not divulge to me that he had done so (he turned down an offer to spend the evening with me, saying that he was going to stay home alone that night), but I discovered this fact one week later. When I asked him about it, he indicated that since we were a little rocky in our new relationship, he didn’t think he should tell me about it. Hmmmm, clearly a red flag! Three months later I went out of town for the weekend and he spent the day shopping with her, and then had her over to his home for a BBQ and wine (just the two of them). He told me he had done this, but when I described that this made me uncomfortable, he just couldn’t understand why (geez, who would be uncomfortable when their man has said he is sexually attracted to this woman and then puts the two of them in together alone in his home…..and with alcohol involved!). Following this he continued to say that he just didn’t know if he wanted to be friends with her, but still continued to spend time with her–never inviting me to participate, and to this day, after a 5 1/2 year relationship with him, this is the only friend of his that I have never met (yes, I have asked to meet her!).

      Flash forward over the last five years and in addition to the above, the following things have occurred within this “friendship” (much of this happening while we have been living together)…………

      –she has called his cell when I have been with him and he has lied and said it was someone else

      –they have occassional phone conversations that he has not told me about (found out on my own)

      –He has told me in the past that he thinks she is attracted to him

      –repaired her stove in her home and did not tell me about it

      –had lunch with her about a year ago (never told me about it, but he accidentally slipped in something he said and it came out 6 months ago). Its highly probable that there are other occurences that just haven’t come out!

      –I have asked him 2-3 times over the last few years about their relationship and whether they have gotten together; he has always said no. Clearly this turned out to be a lie.

      Given that I found out that he lied about meeting her for lunch, and that I am aware that there have been other lies about this woman, we have had several converastions about what was going on here. We also met with a counselor two times, but we didn’t care for her, and then ended counseling all together.

      I have not asked questions about what they have or haven’t done, what they talked about etc. I don’t see that having this information will help me to feel any better, and I don’t expect that he would be at all truthful about it. He continues to maintain that he is no longer attracted to her and he just didn’t see any purpose in telling me about any of it.

      After about six weeks of occasional discussions at the end of last year, as well as the two visits to the counselor, he just doesn’t want to talk about it anymore (we haven’t had any discussions about it in the last 6 months). He said it didn’t mean anything to him and he was surprised I wasn’t over it after 6 weeks of talking about it. My challenge in this is that we really HAVEN’T talked about it…..instead, we spent 6 weeks of him saying he wasn’t attracted to her, it didn’t mean anything, she’s not even a friend, she’s an “acquaintance”. In other words, lets call it six weeks of deflecting!

      I am sorry for rambling here, but I did want to give context to the situation. My question is, does this constitute an EA? Is six years of hiding intercations with another woman (and one I have never met), while you are in a committed relationship, considered an affair?

      As is probably to be expected, I am hurt, disappointed, and I feel disrespected. I am upset that we can’t talk about it at all, and that he is being dismissive about why it would still be bothering me. He has recently asked me to marry him and I am concerned about marrying someone who isn’t willing to work through this. I have absolutely no interest in continuing to talk about “her”, but I fear that if we don’t learn more about what it was that was driving this need of his, there is the potential for it to happen again. An additional fact is that his father had numerous affairs while he was growing up, and his ex-wife had an EA and SA while they were married.

      Any advice or observations from this group would be greatly appreciated.


      PS He has now cut off all contact with this woman via a text message he showed me. He told her that he was uncomfortable having contact with her since he was in a committed relationship. While I’m glad he took this step, I find myself thinking the comment was a bit ridiculous, as all of the above things happened while we were in a committed relationship!

    • roller coaster rider

      Kelly, I think you are right and I would be very uncomfortable about the lying, the defensiveness and unwillingness to have you meet her, and I would even question the text he showed you. It all sounds pretty fishy and the part about his father and ex-wife are also big considerations. Your caution is certainly warranted.

      • Kelly

        I truly believe he feels bad about this, and that he feels bad because he got caught; that it is now irrefutable! What makes me angry is that he made his choices about this and doesn’t seem willing to accept the consequences–needing to discuss it, learning from it, and growing as a couple. I’m left with all of it and he’s moved on freely!

        I am also frustrated that he actually believes that I am that naive. That I would buy that 5 1/2 years of lying and sneaking around with this “friend” means nothing, he’s not attracted to her…..blah, blah, blah. As I said to him when I found out that he’s lied about his interactions with her, “people who have nothing to hide, hide nothing”. And he had the audacity to tell me that if I were doing the same thing (having lunch and talking with a man he hadn’t met), he would want to know this person, and know that I was spending time with him. Talk about a glaring double-standard!

        This is a classic case of trying to have your cake and eat it, too. My concern remains that if we don’t work through the “why” of this, he will keep sampling other cake! Beside the woman I described above, he ran into an ex-girlfriend two years ago and saved her business cards in his truck for two years–he orginally claimed that he still had them because he just hadn’t cleaned out his truck (BS–since he has cleaned the inside of it several times in the last two years). When I was riding with him in his truck six months ago, and asked why he still had them, he said I still haven’t cleaned out my truck, but then told me that one of her two business cards was missing…..hmmm, if you haven’t cleaned out the console of your car in two years, how would you know your missing one of her cards? Then he asked me why I thought he was saving them, and when I said he had told me twice that it hadn’t cleaned his car, he said that I obviously wasn’t listening to him…..it was because he “just saves peoples business cards”.

        I’s say its not too hard to figure out that when someone keeps changing their story, they are clearly not telling the truth. This is a game we’ve played several times in both of these situations with OW, the story keeps changing. Would anyone else agree that this is often a sign of lying?

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