A woman shares her story of struggle to survive an affair – her own.

struggle to survive an affair

By Doug

Somebody sent us this letter via email over the weekend and we felt that it was pretty powerful stuff.

The email was from a woman who is apparently working hard to survive an affair – her own – as well as the backlash of emotions and painful feelings felt by her husband as a result.

What struck us was how after the affair, the wife (the cheating spouse) feels tremendous remorse and wants more than anything to work on their marriage and “win” her husband back, yet the husband (victim) wants no part of it and won’t change the way that he feels.

Utter frustration and desperation is setting in and she is at a loss for how to proceed.  Divorce is becoming a real possibility.

 

An Unfaithful Woman’s Struggle to Survive an Affair…

It seems like reading your blog accurately depicts the last year or so of my life. I went through the “I love you, but I’m not in love with you” chapter. I’ve been through “the affair” chapter, as the cheater. I’m now in the middle of the “question of divorce” chapter and “can my marriage be saved?” chapter.

The actual words of “I love you, but I’m no longer in love with you” came from both my lips and my husband’s. Those words were uttered from him just recently, and I have to say the meaning behind them scares me! I remember how I felt when I said that to him, and now being on the receiving end of it, I now know how he felt when I said it. I also know how he feels now saying it to me.  Because of this, I get this sinking feeling that he has about thrown in the towel.

He is completely caught up in the very real pain of having been cheated upon and lied to, and I can’t blame him at all. However, I do not want our marriage to end! I have made some HUGE mistakes, but I believe there is hope.

I am the last person on Earth he wants to receive any help from. He is in absolute denial, and it’s killing me! I want to try so badly! I want to do the hard work, but I’m not sure he does!  So do I sit back and wait as he stagnates?

He tells me that he doesn’t know what to say to me anymore, that he doesn’t want to hurt me, that he doesn’t like me very much. I know that forgiveness is a process, but he won’t do anything about the way he feels. Above all, I don’t want him to hurt anymore. I want him to feel joy and happiness again. I want him to be able to trust me again. I want to have the happiness we once had. If he doesn’t, then none of my desires to make things right matter. I’m afraid any move I make will push him out the door toward divorce!!

The Most Horrific Sentence in the English Language: I Love You, But I Am Not in Love with You.

I read your blog, and I’ve read some of the books, and I’m willing to do the difficult work of rebuilding my marriage. I’m willing to be completely transparent. I’m willing to be completely open and honest, but none of this matters if he won’t listen.

I know that numbers don’t lie! I look at the stats about divorce and I know that those numbers depict a grim future for us if we get a divorce! I don’t want to be with anyone else! I wish that I could take it all back! I wish that it didn’t take this separation and these awful events to make me realize how much I love my husband!!!

All of that is now water under the bridge, and I can never ever take it back. I can only move forward, and move forward with the knowledge that I will never be that person again, and that I will never do those things again! I will keep persevering because I believe that our marriage is worth it! I believe my husband is worth it! I just hope that our story can someday be a testament to truth, faith and hard work! Because right now, we are in the thick of the battle.

I don’t know what the outcome may be. I believe that if my husband is not sure about a divorce, then there is still hope. It’s hard to see that sometimes. I get so bogged down in the sadness and heartache that it’s hard to see that there is some beacon of hope for our marriage.

It’s in those dark times that I pray for strength and perseverance to make it through one more day. What Dr. Gunzburg says about knowing when it’s time to get a divorce, that its clear cut and one doesn’t have to ask others whether or not he or she should, gives me hope that there is still a chance for our marriage to work because my husband isn’t sure. He’s questioning himself. He is still doubting.

I believe he still loves me, even though he’s very angry, hurt, and betrayed. If he isn’t sure, if he doesn’t feel that 100% feeling then I still have hope. It seems counterintuitive to be assured by such a negative prospect.  I look at it this way, if he wasn’t hurting, if he wasn’t doubting, if he wasn’t questioning, if he wasn’t angry, then I would know he didn’t care.

Should You Save the Marriage or File for Divorce?

But with all of that in mind, I can say that he does care. It may be only a fraction of a percent right now. It may be so small that he just doesn’t see it, but it’s there nonetheless. Now, that does not mean he will be willing to try after he gets unstuck. He may be too worn out to even attempt at giving our marriage a second shot. That may still be the case, and if that is well, then, I guess I will cross that bridge when I come to it.

But for now, I feel at least a small comfort in knowing that he hasn’t completely given up. His reasons may not be very good. As a matter of fact, I asked him why he didn’t want a divorce the other day, and he said because he didn’t want to hurt me. I can’t deny that I didn’t like what he said. It hurt, but I also had to take into account where he was, emotionally in the game when I asked him this question. I had to take comfort in knowing that he cares enough to try to not hurt me even after all the hurt I caused him. It put a different perspective on what is happening at this stage of our relationship.

I know that I want to try. I also know that I have received lots of counseling and spiritual support since we have separated. I have sought to change. I have taken accountability for all of my actions. I have re-committed to my marriage because I believe it is worth all of the hard work. I’m vulnerable and willing to remain that way. But he’s not there yet, and I can’t force him to be there. But I also believe he is trying to be honest in the best way he knows how.

The problem is, he doesn’t want to ask for help. I don’t know if he thinks it will show weakness on his part or if he thinks that there is nothing that anyone can do to help him out of this bad place he’s in right now, but either way, he’s in a regressed place compared to me. I have to keep this in mind every time I want to talk about our relationship.

Where I see hope, he sees no hope. Where I see potential he sees all the negative images of my infidelity. And I have to remind myself that he’s just not ready.  It’s the waiting that is the hardest part of all of this.


This letter demonstrates yet again how painful and destructive an affair can be, and just how tough a struggle to surviving an affair really is – especially when only one spouse is interested in doing so.

See also  Surviving Infidelity: The Marriage Journal

We would love to get your responses to this letter, as we’re sure that it hits home with many of you.

    23 replies to "A Reader’s Struggle to Survive an Affair"

    • d

      Your husband’s reaction really depends on how long it’s been since d-day. After 8 months I have been through hell and back and now have the wherewithal to believe my wife has to try a little harder to win back my love. I still love her, but I know I can live without her … happily.

      The trick is to allow time. No knee-jerk reactions. For two, maybe three years, nothing will feel stable.

    • Jeffrey Murrah

      This is indeed a painful letter. In many ways it sounds like the husband made the conscious choice to end the marriage relationship upon finding out about the affair.

      His choice is unfortunate. He is thinking of his own pain. Although he cites the wife’s actions, his own are presently the ones ending the relationship. He took the affair hard and personally. Unfortunately, his pride is keeping him from being willing to get help.

      Pride is one thing that neither the cheater nor the husband can afford. Pride is presently doing more damage than the affair did. The very thing he feared of his marriage falling apart is what he is presently driving. It is as if he is gutting the marriage of all life, in a ‘scorched earth’ policy, yet he is not wanting to put the relationship to death. It amounts to ‘if I can’t have you’, I can at least make you pay approach. For whatever reason, he believes that he needs to stay in pain (self-punishment perhaps).

      There is hope. He will need to decide that he is tired of hurting and that saving the marriage is better than gutting it of all life. It may take time for him to finish feeling his pain though. He may want her to understand the depth of the pain that he felt, ..the emptiness…the loneliness…the desperation.

      She may need to let him know that his not asking for help is creating pain, that it is hurting her. She may need to let him know how much pain she is in since he does seem to listen to her pain.

      You will need a lot of spiritual support, and spiritual prayers in dealing with the husband and going through the process of healing. You are right when you say ‘thick of the battle’. It is a struggle, both on the emotional and spiritual fronts.

      Men often need to be under pressure before they make changes. Do not relieve his pressure! He needs to feel it in order to make the necessary changes.

      Just my two cents worth!

      • Doug

        Great advice as usual, Jeff!

      • ppl

        i believe you are coming from the angle that all marriages should be salvaged. if he is sure of his choice, than it is his choice. we all live with our actions and choices. do not blame him for his reaction. there must have been issues and just as she was willing to destroy marriage, maybe he is at the end of the road too and the affair was the nail in the coffin. i found my wifes ea liberating to myself. i could not deal with guilt of leaving but now with her having taken first step, i could –if i needed too. we all make decisions that we see in our own interest–or should. isnt that what working on ourselves is about. wasnt that what she did in initiating the affair. sorry it didnt work out, or equivalent of buyers remorse but how can you fault him for acting on his own interest.

    • ruth

      Saying “I am sorry” doesn’t fix it all back to before the affair. D is right, nothing feel stable for a long long time. D-day was over a year ago but no contact with her has been 6 mos ago. There is nothing my h can say or do to make it better for me, except wipe out the last 2 and 1/2 year. I am still on the fence on wheather I will stay or go. My husband tells me everyday how much he loves me. I believe he loves me but guess what he told me he loves me when the affair was hot and heavy. So who was he lying too me or her?? So how do I believe him now? These are the questions that keep haunting me over and over and over. I wish I had an answer, I wished this never happend but it did and now I have to deal with it everyday. I lost my job, lost my home lost myself for what?? At what cost??? All because gee whiz I dont feel handsome or attactive now that I am in my fifties?? I just wanted to have some fun!!!! I sound very bitter, I know but if everyone on here is really really honest with them selveles they feel the same way. When I am with my h I think omg I love this man so so much and he could destroy me again thats what I am afraid of to love and trust him again. to give him my whole heart again. It sucks, I hate feeling this way. I want my life back, I want to stop thinking about his affair. I want someone to erase this out of my memory, but instead I read everything I can get my hands on how to fix me because thats really where it all starts with me. No one has the power to control me but me. Thats what I am working on and hopefull everything else will fall into place. I am learning to be a friend to my h first. I think I acted like such a crazy lady before thats what is holding him back from talking to me about his affair. I alway wonder if he really regrets it or he is just telling me he does?

    • Last2know

      Jeffrey,This is a very painful letter to read. I feel for both of them. Unfortunately she can’t take it back and I pray they work it out. It’s going to be one hell of a long hard road for them whether they stay together or not. It seems I read somewhere that it is much harder for men to forgive affairs than it is for women. Is this true? I can understand why it would be harder for a man to forgive a physical affair but what about an EA?

      • Doug

        For some reason, this comment went to our email. It’s actually from Jeff Murrah…

        Last2know,

        I have not seen any data on whether it harder for men for forgive than women. I know that women in general tend to exercise more understanding than men do. Men do not always understand the interconnectedness of relationships. Their lack of understanding in this area may be one of the reasons for the difficulty forgiving. Another would be their pride in the form of misguided manliness. What I mean by that is that some men have a portion of their manhood wrapped up in keeping their woman loyal to them. So when their wife has an affair (even a virtual one) they take it as an attack on their manhood. These are just guesses. I know that in the Bible (Proverbs 6:34-36), there is a passage addressing the rage and jealousy of a man in response to adultery, and how difficult it is to appease. I am still trying to understand all the applications associated with the passage. What it does tell me is that the difficulties with a man forgiving is not limited to modern times. There is something in the wiring of men that has made it an issue for centuries. If the passage gives any clues, it is that jealousy and desire for revenge are factors for the man in reacting to adultery.

        I tend to view EA as virtual affairs since they create all the dynamics of an affair. Being that they share the disloyalty, and breach of trust issues, I approach them as an affair in terms of the damage. I also include fantasy affairs as well. I have dealt with cases where a person was enamored with a celebrity to the point of strong emotional attachments which disrupted the marital relationship. Though they never met or conversed, the dynamics of an affair were all over it. Talking about them in terms of the damage they inflict and the dynamics of them is more approachable over defining what does or does not make an affair.

    • Jennifer

      “Men often need to be under pressure before they make changes.”

      Maybe that’s true, but putting pressure on him (i.e. me leaving with the kids) hurts me too (have nowhere to go) and there is no guarantee that it will work. It’s scary. And I’m so tired of hurting… Ugh.

      • hurtwife

        He had the affair,he should leave!

    • Donna

      I am with you on that one Jennifer. I wouldn’t need to leave the house, however having to ask my husband to leave after him returning home after 6 months away is scarey. It hurts me and it hurts our 4 children. I am not being a door mat although I am sure others would think differently. We sleep in 2 seperate rooms, we get on well and I and I think he is, not to sure working at bettering our marriage. We have not argued in nearly 8 weeks, we talk about the affair every now and again, we give each other constructive critism that we feel will benefit us both for our future. He is still on contact with OW although she moved 3 hours away nearing 2 weeks ago. This has been the longest they have not seen each other. He is making progress, I see it every day. Divorce is not something I want, I did not marry this man to divorce him.

      I love him very much, Iam not scared to be alone as I know I am a capable woman, I choose this man to be with me. He is so in love with the OW and just does not know how he is going to survive without her.

      I wish he would go to marriage counselling with me, he feels he knows what he has to do and it will not benefit him. I think that he would be so much further along in the process than what he is. Anyway, enough ramblings…

    • I'm done

      Or…..
      It could just be, she hasn’t done the things necessary to rebuild that trust.
      Continued to lie.
      Hid the truth of what is and was.
      Lied about other things.
      Hasn’t given her husband the things he needs.
      Hasn’t worked on rebuilding the marriage.
      Like most women, would rather it just all went away. instead of working on what went wrong.

      If she has not done the things necessary to bring that marriage back. Why should he work on it. He may have done everything he could think of to accept what happened, work on it, then move past it. Then found out more, even more devastating things.
      At what point do you come to the realization that your not worth it to her? At what point do you say “I’ve told you what I need, and you don’t seem to care”? At what point should you tell yourself “I’m done”
      I know, I’ve told my wife if I find out anything new, I’m starting the devorce paperwork. Well I haven’t and I want to work through the latest bit of devastating, and life changing, information. But what if she’s doesn’t . The latest news is either something she has lied to me about from the beginning of our relationship, or concrete proof that there is something that she will never tell me. Something that I have already come to the point of accepting. But now, that I find out now, I know she will never be honest with me. So she is telling me that I should never trust her again?
      I think that my time is up. And that I will no longer work on this marriage that will never be. But as for the kids, I will keep their home stable until they are of age and can live on their own. At which point maybe they will understand why I stayed, and why she left. For them, my life is for them.

    • Jennifer

      Dear I’m done: How are finding the strength to stabilize a home in the midst of all the turmoil? I don’t mean to offend you. Your situation sounds a lot like my own. I, too, am thinking of my 2 children. But to stay… when you are getting no love or respect – I don’t think I can do that. I don’t want to leave I feel like he should leave, but for reasons I can’t figure out, he sees no need to leave. I am beginning to think he feels guilty about the kids, but is that a reason? Doesn’t he feel guilty about the way he makes me feel? Even if he doesn’t love me, he should respect me enough not to make me miserable every day. I just don’t understand. How do you do it?

    • gdb

      This is my first time posting to the blog. I have found it a source of comfort in the ever changing and damaging environment of surviving an emotional affair. My husband revealed to me about 3 weeks ago that he was having a 3 month long (long distance) emotional affair with a coworker. 2 weeks before this revelation he told me he didn’t feel any emotional attachment to me and didn’t love me anymore. He cut it off with that woman and came back into the marriage the same week he revealed the emotional affair and told me he wanted to work things out and saw the value in me and in our marriage. This past Friday, we were arguing and he revealed that he was not being honest about wanting to work things out and admitted he doesn’t know what he wants and feels very ambivalent. We tried a new counselor yesterday and are currently living separately (husband travels 3-4 days weekly). This is hell and I have already told him I know I will be okay without you, but I still want this marriage. He continues to say I don’t know what I want. It’s like he is another person with no drive to change. He’s so driven in work and outside hobbies, but not our marriage because he is unsure whether he wants to invest the energy. I can’t stand the indecisiveness…it’s so unstable and I feel like he treats me like I am the one who cheated and was emotionally connecting with another person. He refuses to sleep in the same bed or be intimate and I asked him to leave yesterday Morning. Couldn’t stand the pain of having him in the same house and continuing to be so cold and almost disrespect to me. Any advice?

      • Doug

        gdb, Thank you for sharing your story. I’m guessing that your husband is still in his affair fog and is under the influence of whatever spell the OW had over him. Perhaps he realized that what he was doing was wrong and felt guilt, and that is why he decided to come back – but he obviously wasn’t ready. This appears to be a good opportunity for you to back off and let him figure things out, as he is confused.

    • gdb

      Doug,

      I am realizing that he needs his space and I mine. He still cares because he calls me everyday when he is traveling for work. I think you hit the nail on the head by stating that he came back when he wasn’t ready to really commit or really do anything including make a decision about what he truly wants. I have made the active decision to love myself more and make myself happy by becoming more independent and live life. I can’t stop living life just because he doesn’t know what he wants. I will stay be committed to him and my marriage, but I want to be happy…the change is going to start with me and then maybe he will follow. Thanks again for your blog.

      • Doug

        GDB, For what’s worth I think that you are going about things the right way. Hopefully, he will come to his senses.

    • AshB.

      I realize that this site is centered around EA’s, but it is the first site I have found where people seem to understand my feelings. My husband, not realizing it, began an EA with his co-worker. Of course he didn’t rationalize it as such, but all the signs were there and he remained cluelessly believing that he had just found a friend to share his thoughts, worries, fears, problems in the marriage, etc. with. I too am in unfamiliar territory of betrayal from my husband. My husband, however, is living proof that not all affairs are for the stereo-type reasons. I found out, just three months ago, that my husband had ended a year long (on and off again… sex happened 4 times) affair with his co-worker. I had no reason to suspect, but I asked many times back then if anything were going on, to which he naturally assured me “never”. I excused my suspicions as just paranoia and the fact that she was known as “the troll” amongst her male co-workers. To say she was highly unattractive and extremely over weight would be understating it. The details, that have come out in counseling, surrounding the affair are nothing short of bizarre. It began with them going outside to smoke on break.

      My husband began opening up to her about the problems within our marriage and the fact that I was emotionally disconnected from him. I come from a very dysfunctional background and have never been an emotional type person. My husband, however, wears his heart on his sleeve, is very insecure, fears rejection and needs acceptance. I was never the type of wife to extend any of those things to him. Instead when he would express concerns in our marriage, ask me to talk or the like, I would belittle his efforts and call him a “drama queen”. As time went on, he began to open up to her more and more and continually talk about me and how scared he was of losing me and our marriage. Smoking turned into going to lunch together and she in turn began reassuring him that he didn’t deserve that type of treatment and that he was too good of a guy to not have someone that loved and respected him. He was not at all innocent in the breakdown of our marriage I must say. With his inability to control his emotions, came his inability to control his anger. While he never could be termed “physically abusive”, we would get into arguments and the hateful words would spew from both of us. He, being the more emotional one would grab me when I would try to walk away, grit his teeth at me, block me from leaving and a few isolated times shoved me back, but then reality would set in and he would ultimately try to “fix” the damaging words that were thrown with “I’m sorry” “I love you and didn’t mean it” “let’s calm down and talk about this”. I, by then, would be so disgusted that I would put up my walls and either espouse more hateful rhetoric at him or just shut down completely. This in turn would completely frustrate him and like a kid he would resort back to anger (much like a child not getting his way and stomping his feet) and thus the cycle would continue.

      He was also a very successful business man that provided many luxuries to me and our family.. such as my ability to be a stay at home mom. When fights would break out, he would hold these things over my head and remind me of “All” he had done for me, etc. To say our marriage was tumultuous would also be understating it, yet there has always been the unexplainable connection with us. I certainly would be lying if I said that our marriage was constant chaos. We were very close at times, enjoyed time together and with the kids, but our ability to sustain those moments were very much lacking. I must admit this was usually due to my sarcasm or withdraw. Most arguments would ensue over something I had or had not done… such as doing the laundry in what he perceived a timely manner, running to my parents whenever they needed me (I had an inability to say no to them), being there for my best friend in her marital dysfunction time of need instead of being home for him, etc. Over time, the littlest things would cause us to fight… such as where we were dining that night.

      After many months of talking to this married female co-worker, they and their division had to take one of their many business trips. He had and I had a huge fight on the phone that night and she came outside of the hotel (where he had stepped) to “check” on him. He began complaining about our marriage in a total state of drunkenness. He says the next thing he knows, and without there having been any indication of anything other than friendship (my opinion was he was oblivious to any prior signs), she was leaning up against the wall giving him “the look” and told him to “come here”. He did so and she kissed him… he allowed it because he says in that instance he was afraid that if he didn’t all the reassurance, acceptance, willingness to listen to him, etc. would all go away. He quickly went back inside and turned up his amount of alcohol and avoided her the rest of the evening.

      However, she and another male co-worker had to help him back to his room later that evening. She stayed behind “to make sure he was ok”. He remembers falling down onto his bed dizzy and her reclining next to him and trying to kiss him again. He managed to get up and make light of it and sit in a chair across the room. He tried to make small talk in hopes that she would get tired and leave because he didn’t want to offend her, but she obviously had other ideas. She began asking him to come sit with her and if he wanted to order room service. He said his head was spinning and he was a nervous wreck but trying to maintain his emotions so not to embarrass himself or upset her. He stepped out of the room for a moment and tried to call me but I wouldn’t answer the phone because we had argued and I shut my phone off. He said he was wanting to hear my voice in hopes that it would give him the clearheadedness to tell her to leave. When she pulled condoms out, he freaked out to which she told him to “calm” down.. “chill out”. At this moment he knew what she was expecting… to be paid for her “counseling services” in a manner of speaking. He said thoughts of exposure, terror, me, etc. ran through his head, but in that instance, all he knew was this women had been willing to be his friend and took up a lot of time listening to his problems and he didn’t want to let her down. She then came across the room and grabbed his hand. He pulled away and fell back to which she told him to “quit being such a baby… you know we both want this”. To spare the details, she began undressing and told him to. Once sex actually occurred, it lasted a min or less because the condom came off (due to his inability to get an erection) and he began crying to which she became disgusted and acting put out so he ran into the bathroom and stayed there crying and in disbelief of what he had just allowed. The next day, he told her it was a mistake and couldn’t happen again and she agreed. When he got back into the office that week, she completely ignored his existence and made him very uncomfortable around their co-workers.

      Meanwhile, our problems increased and he felt alone. He began trying to talk to her again, tell her what she wanted to hear in order to ensure her willingness to be there for him and listen to him again. Long story short… at times he would call it off and distance himself, but then in desperation would run back. He has, in counseling, described their 4 encounters of sex as clinical and robotic. Neither of them experienced “pleasure”. It was a matter of him putting it in for a few mins and then he would stop because he couldn’t get “it” to function… each time was while he was drunk (after entertaining clients) and an emotional wreck over what he felt he was having to do to maintain communication with her. She seemed perfectly ok with this sexual exchange of nothing more then technical “inter-course”. The psychologist feels that she was a classic case of “ugly girl seeks ego fill by manipulating an emotionally weak but nice looking man to have sex with her”. My husband unknowingly gave her a road map for his vulnerability. I can’t fathom how one person can be so clueless, but at the same time, I’m much stronger willed then most…. stubborn would be more accurate and would never allow myself to be in that situation in the first place. I can’t imagine being so insecure about myself that I feel it necessary to seek validation and acceptance from an obviously unacceptable person. Anyway, the psychologist says that it gave her a sense of power and control. He also defines my husband as a classic “obligatory affair”… where one gives into a sexual advance for fear of being rejected. As time progressed, it also became about keeping her happy so not to cause trouble for him at work which she eluded to. My brother, whom also worked at the magazine, says that as hard as it is to admit, it was believable. My brother maintains that she was very manipulative, good at playing “victim”, acting as though she was interested in something someone had to say and then bashing them behind their backs, blame-shifter, etc.

      In fact, I remember a time that my husband came home upset and showed me an email he had found between her and 3 other co-workers. It was centered around the fact that my husbands job performance had dropped (wonder why.. sarcasm intended) and he was bringing down the team. In this email, she offered the fact that she wished he would just quit and go find a job else where because he was no longer a team player… this was durning the time in which their affair was going on… little did I know. He now says he later confronted her about it and she apologized and said she had just had a bad day that day and was upset that his problems were effecting his job. Hello?? Of course they are you waste of flesh! You are aiding in causing his biggest problems!! I by no means am painting my husband as “the victim”. He had a choice to make and out of weak, thoughtless desperation and “woe is me”, he chose the worst and most deceitful one that he could.

      While I’m sure you envision this total wimp in stature of a man, he is actually quite the opposite. He stands 6’4 and about 285… he’s built like a brick and quite good looking. He doesn’t however know it and is extremely insecure… never feels as though he fits in with “the crowd”, etc… though he tries all too hard. He has always been somewhat inferior to the fact that I have a multitude of friends and do not at all struggle to fit in or meet new people. I can only assume that the Dr. is right when he says that a lot of his problems are based on the fact he was adopted, felt abandoned and rejected by his birth parents whom he met at 18. They were completely unengaged with him and did not meet the expectations he had anticipated for their reunion. They (separately) made him a bunch of false promises and never followed through.. his father he never heard from again.. and his mother stayed around for a few months, but mostly when she needed money. Anyway, all of this to say that while I know and somewhat understand the circumstances surrounding his affair, it doesn’t make the pain any less. I’m so confused, hurt and a host of other emotions I have never felt. I don’t do “vulnerable” well at all and this has catapulted me into an unknown territory of not being able to control my emotions. I have always been able to handle trauma, hurt, etc. by accepting that I can’t control it and refusing to allow it to bring me down. I have never backed down from anything or anyone. Now, I find myself reduced to this emotionally weak and out of control person.

      My husband, in an effort to prove his willingness and want to fix our marriage, confessed to our families. This was especially hard, where my father is concerned, as he was hired a few months ago as VP of business development at my fathers company. My family forgave him and saw him as a broken man that made a horrible mistake. In the past few years, and to his benefit, my family has sought a relationship with God. They are constantly reminding me to “hate the sin but love the sinner”. I have been on an emotional roller-coaster of fact finding, belittling, crying, raging, throwing up in his face that he allowed a 4 foot 200lb troll lead him around like some lap dog.

      In between these times, I allow some peace and time together. I vascilate between anger, acceptance, shock, anger, etc. I’m not sure that trusting him again will ever be an option for me, as I’m not a trusting person in general and am very critical of others and their motives. I’m sure the reasonings and events seem like a facade or host of stories that my husband conjured up to justify his actions, but I assure those of you who doubt, if you knew him, it would be very believable and then some. At this point, he is completely remorseful, shamed and willing to do anything to make our marriage work. Why is it that the adulterer does not experience these devastating emotions until they have been exposed? He says that he did experience them from time to time during the affair but that he would push those thoughts out of his head and replace them with the fact he needed her willingness to be there for him. I pointed out the other day that he had a major dependency problem with her.

      The odd thing is, he was trying to make our marriage work back then. He was constantly wanting to hold me (to which I wouldn’t find time for or act bothered if I had to stop whatever task I was doing), tell me he loved me, do things for me and to surprise me, etc. The whole time he was in a relationship of sorts with her, he was still trying like hell to get me to be his wife. He would beg me to come to his office (where she was) and have lunch with him, when I was at the office (with her right there) he never tried to hide the fact he loved me, he would sweet talk me in front of her, put his arm around me, tell me how beautiful I looked that day, constantly trying to hold my hand. He also began begging me to go to counseling, doing everything he could do to please me… the whole time he was jumping through hoops (unwillingly) for her. He said that sex was “a necessary evil” and a means to having a friend willing to listen to him, accept him, appreciate him, etc. When I recently asked him how he could “show me off” at the office like some trophy wife while she was there, he said it was because he wanted her to see what he had and what she would never get from him. He says that he made no bones to her about the fact he loved me and was scared of losing me. She, oddly enough, would offer words of encouragement… changing between “you don’t deserve that treatment” to “if you love her, don’t give up”. They would often have these conversations while drinking and “hanging out in her hotel”. There were times they would just “hang out” and drink and others where after talking about our marriage, she would come across the room take his hand and pull him toward the bed. It is just all so freaking weird!! What is further weird and hard for me to process, is the fact that he now says that back then he would feel guilty during the times he would be strong enough to turn her down. He would even worry how she would treat him the next time he saw her. Further, after their sexual encounters, he would walk away feeling guilty for his inability to perform. Here this woman was wanting sex, he was giving it but not in the manner that was satisfying and he carried guilt over it.

      To make up for his lack of performance, a couple of times he went on the internet (during office hours) and pulled some “romantic sexual” type bs, copied it onto paper and would add a twist like “this could be me and you” and pass it to her. He says he did this to make up for what he wasn’t able to give her in bed and in an effort to ensure she stayed engaged and willing to talk to her. He told her things such as “I could have feelings for you” (always being sure to leave an “out” of sorts by not saying he DID have feelings but that he “could”), he could get use to this, this is nice, etc. All in an effort to keep her content. It’s as though he was a little boy that was doing anything he could to gain attention… or rather like a high school kid that wanted to “fit into the in crowd” and was willing to succumb to peer pressure to do so. I have recently told him this. The details that I have shared, are one’s that he has opened up to me about. In the beginning he told lie after lie in an effort to not “further hurt me”. However, the more I would ask the same questions, he would finally cop to the truth. This only served to cause further mistrust from me.

      He now tries daily to restore our marriage, but his attempts are either met with my sarcasm, or details thrown in his face and even my threats of committing the same vile act. There are times where I wake up and feel as though I can accept the situation and am at peace and loving with him, but others where the thoughts appear in my head and set me so far back that I can’t imagine ever forgiving him. I know that I am in essence holding him back from the healing he needs, but I don’t know how to forgive… I have never been good at that with anyone who has hurt me. I feel as though I am now acting like the spoiled kid who is stomping their feet and throwing tantrums. It is such a debilitating feeling.

      I feel that for many who are relationally mature enough, marriages can heal after this type of betrayal. It would depend greatly on the reasonings surrounding the affair, the “victims” ability to accept their potential part in aiding the choice of infidelity (i.e… emotionally isolating your spouse, daily condemnation, not being appreciative of your spouse, putting everyone else’s needs ahead of your spouse, etc), the willingness to not make the cheating spouse feel as though he is on a never ending trial for which he can never pay for his “crimes”, and in short the ability to extend total and true forgiveness. I am trying, but I feel paralyzed for lack of better words. I feel unable to move from the state of hurt that I feel like I am drowning in at this point. I look at pictures of our family that were taken back then, I remember events that were taking place back then (to mine and his detriment I have an almost photo-graphic memory), I remember how hard he seemed to be trying to fix our marriage back then and think “how in God’s name could he have been trying so hard, but so weak and destructive at the same time. It’s as though he was trying to fix the marriage and sabotage it all at the same time with such destructive and selfish choices. He wasn’t really even thinking about her, but more about himself and what he was gaining from her. He strung her along in order to gain his temporary high of feeling accepted.

      I try to focus on the fact that the last sexual encounter, they were in her hotel and “in the middle” when he says something with in him just clicked. He had been wanting to have the courage to end it for some time, but felt helpless to do so. He did call it off many times and would be strong for a short period of time, but would ultimately grow weak and need his “validation fix” and end up talking to her again. He was addicted to her calming words, acceptance, willingness to listen to him about anything, positive reinforcement, etc. He felt like she “got him” and accepted him and that he fit in with her. Anyway, something within him clicked and during inter-course of sorts, he got up, got dressed and told her he had to leave. The next day he told her when they got back into town, that it was over. She of course tried to play the whole “ignore him mind game” but he said he finally didn’t care and realized that our marriage and his love for me was far more important.

      I remember he came home from that trip telling me how much he missed me, loved me and how he wanted to renew our vows and take me on a cruise for our 10th anniversary. In that moment, all my fears and suspicions resurfaced and I asked him if something had happened. He assured me no, but I had a nagging feeling. He now says it was because he was determined to take it to his grave and face God’s judgment in order to spare me of any hurt or fear of losing me. However, guilt, as they say, will eat you from the inside out and make you crazy and boy did it him as time progressed. He began being paranoid of my fidelity, demanding to see my phone, asking me “where I really was” when I was a few moments late… something he had never done before. In essence, he began, without realizing it, pushing me further away until finally I separated from him. We remained separated for a year. When we finally reconciled, it was only a month later (3 months ago) that I discovered communication between them that occurred while we were separated. I had fully shut him out for that year, began building my own life and out of loneliness he sought her out again. The emails I found were of flirtatious reminders of “time spent”, etc. I noticed, however, there were only a few and that the more she tried to contact him, the shorter he became with her. He says this is because while he initially set out to fill that void yet again, the “comfort” only lasted for a short time before he realized he was gaining nothing from it but false security and that he did not want “to go there again”. So while I recognize he was eventually strong to “call it”, I struggle with the fact he wasn’t strong enough to “man-up” and tell her no in the first place.

      I especially struggle with the fact that he had unprotected sex twice out of the four times with her (he had been “fixed”) and was still sleeping with me. She had assured him it was ok because she hadn’t been with anyone else. I have to ask.. would one not perhaps realize that anyone who is as calm, unmoved, and in control as she was, that perhaps this wasn’t her “first rodeo”?? I mean it all looks the same with the lights out so it is very feasible to assume that she had taken advantage of or allowed herself to be taken advantage of by many a drunk and desperate man… especially given the fact she tried to get my husband to engage in sex with her while she was just a few weeks pregnant with her husbands child. Sounds like a pro to me. Most mother’s natural instinct is to protect their unborn child, her’s however was to spread her pregnant legs to gain ego fill.

      Their relationship began June of 2007… she then became pregnant with her husbands child (no it is not his as he was fixed and they only had the first sexual encounter that year with the condom)… things didn’t “heat up” until 09 after her baby was born…. and it died off that year of 08 during her pregnancy. It was never discussed, just an understood thing. In my husbands mind it was over and he was relieved he didn’t have to be the one to end it. She was still willing to talk and listen to him though, but with the safety of his knowing nothing would happen. However, when she came back from maternity leave right before 09, they once again went out of town and she again had different ideas for which he gave in. It officially ended June of 09. While I guess I should be glad that he finally realized what he was doing and stood to lose, is it wrong to think (at times) too little too late?? I’m not sure that I can ever be what he needs or able to forgive, but perhaps, with God’s help, other’s can be. At times I wish his was based on the physical or because of his thinking he had feelings for her, rather than knowing he sold his marriage out for attention and having someone to talk to and be there for him.

    • toddlermom

      Laura, Don’t u just find it so unbelievable that u could let go of your family without a thought for some girl u just met???? Who does that? I know in my heart that someday they will both realize that their actions were wrong… My husband will wake up one day and realize that he’s laying next to a complete stranger.. I have been in no contact for three weeks and he has been reaching out to me, but I do not reply unless its about my son. He only reaches out when he is at work or at my MIL’s house when he has our son. Any time he is with her he treats me differently.. I will say though once I decided not to talk to him anymore I felt better.. Try with all your heart to do the same… Only worry about u and your child.. Cause they r all that matters.. I am so sorry for u. Don’t u just wish u could wake up and it be six months ago????

    • toddlermom

      Ash B, just wondering have u sought any counseling during this trying time???

    • Stephanie

      I realize this post is old but it did make me think about my husband and his affair. I was constantly telling my husband i wanted out. Then i would think i cant leave him . The above posts talks about the cheaters pain. Honestly i felt the only pain my husband experienced was for the OW. It was extremely difficult for him to end it . And he missed her terribly. I know he had regret about what he did but not sure he had pain over the pain he caused or pain about the possibility of our marriage ending. I think he felt guilt and shame but not sure about pain . I am in a new stage of recovery . I am happy the grip of pain and sadness has had on me has loosened. But our sex life is not existent. We both feel so much pressure that we both dont have any sex drive . i dont measure up to the OW. Our sex is mechanical and boring. It saddens me to think my best years of sex are behind me . I use to really enjoy sex with my husband. Now its a chore for both of us . I know it stems from my behavior and attitude . Which agsin is sooooo unfair . I need to make him feel desired and wanted bla bla bla . Since his affair he has tried to show me he desires me but i feel its all bullshit. So i feel hes feeling defeated and i dont have it in me right now to act like hes my hero to make him feel good about himself . We are stuck

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