By Doug

Quite coincidentally, we received an email yesterday from one of our readers who had some words to share regarding marital infidelity as an addiction.  After getting her permission, we thought it would be an interesting and thought provoking piece to post.

Compared to many people that have shared their opinions on affairs, she has somewhat of a unique stance regarding the way she feels  she should have dealt with her husband’s marital affair (addiction).

Here is her email…

marital affair“My main reason for emailing, is to ponder something pretty controversial with you. I feel that I am further along in the healing business than many of your other correspondents so I am a bit shy to post what I am about to write.

I am not sure how it will go down with some of the others – there is so much sadness, anger and bitterness out there (which I fully recognize – I went through it too, for about 2-3 years) and I think what I am writing today may provoke a pretty negative response so I’ll leave it to you whether you wish to use it on the site or not. I won’t mind if not, but I would be interested in your opinions.

I do think of my husband’s emotional affair as an addiction he found hard to fight.

With any other addiction I would have tried to be there for him. Who else should he have turned to than his wife, for help, support, encouragement, love, to help him through? To help him kick his destructive habit?

With something like infidelity, naturally, it was perhaps understandable that I couldn’t do that, and shouldn’t be expected to…and yet, should I have done so?

See also  Tales of Several Relationships and More Reasons Why You Cannot Make Your Spouse Cheat

All addictions destroy relationships, careers, lives; all addictions involve danger, lies, betrayal – is this really that different? His lies, his wanton deception in order to “feed his habit,” his irrational behavior, some of the crazy things he said – now these things all point to a struggle against addiction. And where was I during this time? Hitting out at him. Screaming. Crying. Sinking into deep depression.

In my own struggle against recreational alcohol and caffeine. Even suicidal fantasies. All perfectly understandable from a wife in my position…but constructive and helpful? Where do you draw the line in what is expected or appropriate of a life-partner?

The Relationship Between Infidelity and Addiction

Somewhat humbling, this morning while thinking about this question I remembered that, just a few years ago, my husband put aside his own prejudices and disapproval to help and counsel a younger member of the family who got himself involved in drugs. This was a difficult situation to face – hurtful and disappointing to my husband that the boy should have chosen this course. That he should have “weakened” to something that gave him such a kick, and yet was so damaging at so many levels. And yet, without asking questions or judging this youngster, my husband was unfailing in his support for him, who was able to deal successfully with his addiction, and with the reasons he was tempted down that route, and it has never been a problem again.

My husband’s example was one which, when faced with a similar situation, I couldn’t follow. I couldn’t at that time muster the strength or wisdom.

See also  Affair Recovery and Living by The Code

Well, that’s how I now see it and thinking of it this way is helping me at the stage I am now…but, even if I had had the wisdom to see this at the time it was going on, I don’t suppose I would have reacted any differently to the way I did!

And of course, I still believe that although many common themes have emerged from the responses on your site, all affairs are not the same and that this may not, in any case, apply to everyone else – it just seems to work for me.

I close by saying how much your site has helped me. I had stalled in the healing progress until I discovered you and we have made such progress since…”

    25 replies to "A Reader’s View of Her Husband’s Marital Affair"

    • Jeffrey Murrah


      I will need to get another cup of coffee and think through what the woman has said. It is a powerful account. It captures the desperation that goes on. Everyone is hurting and in pain. It captures how the addiction leaves the spouse feel like they are the one going crazy. No two affairs are the same. That means that skeleton key answers and painting all cheaters and their spouses with the same brush are mistakes. Ya’ll are doing a good work and helping many people through your own wounding. I find it encouraging. Keep up the good work.

      • Doug

        Thanks Jeff. Back at ya!

        • Doug

          I have found through my research that some experts believe you should treat an affair as an addiction. In order to help the betrayer through this situation you need to incorporate tough love, then do what you can to help them through the withdraw phase. This means that you need to put your feelings and emotions to the side, I don’t think many of us could do that. It would almost appear that you are dismissing and justifying their behavior.
          I don’t know if there is a good way to deal with the spouse that is addicted and will not leave their lover. There are so many different ways to approach this situation, I don’t know if any of them produce the results we want. It many ways it seems we lose no matter what happens.– Linda

    • Broken

      Well said Linda. It seems that the betrayed spouse has to step up to the plate and handle the situation with no regards to our own feelings. This is complete bullshit. If my H had an addiction to other women then so be it, he can deal with it on his own, just like I have to deal with triggers, raging emotions, and depression all on my own. I’m sick and tired of hearing about this addiction crap. Where not putting any responsibility on the betrayer at all. Where blaming the addiction. Where not blaming them for allowing themselves to be in that situation, as if some forced them to have an affair. It’s not their fault, yeah right! I will not ever believe that my H was an addict, but just and idiot with no regards for me or his family, a selfish selfish individual.

      • Rosalyn

        Couldn’t agree more. Its is pure selfish behaviour that caused my husbands emotional affair. And not only his selfishness but the other persons selfishness as well. She saw an easy mark in my husband and thought I can have it all and never have to work again. Well I have not gone without for 36 years to hand it all to some little bitch who thinks she deserves what I have. I asked him what was going on with him, he tried to lie but I persisted and out it all came. I suspected something was going on months earlier but he kept telling me I was imagining things. Then she leaves her partner and runs away with another man. I thought Ok I was wrong. But No I was not wrong. She snuck back into town and the first person she calls is My Husband. Of course it was all undercover by then. To say I didn’t see it coming would be an understatement! So he start treating me like he hates my guts. I put up with it for a while and then when I can’t take it anymore I ask him. He lies to start with, its work, its stress blah blah. He can’t look at me. I persist and out it comes. I don’t love you any more! B$tch is back. Were soul mates. Blah blah blah. Then he says, You haven’t been happy for a long time. Basically it is all your fault that this happened. He said he was thinking of leaving and had been for quite a while. So I turned around and said ” well you should go if your not happy here. All I have ever tried to do is make you happy. So if you think she can make you happy, You should go and be with her!. Well that knocked him for a six, because I think he was hoping I was just going to pack up and leave. He then said, I thought you wanted to leave? Why would I leave, I said. Your the one thats been cheating, Not me. Your in love with her, YOU GO. I won’t be going anywhere. You made the choice to cheat. You go find somewhere else to live. I raised my kids in this house and I have just got it the way I have always wanted I, and. I have worked my ass off the get here. He rang me from work the next morning and told me he had ended it. He said I love you and want to be with you. Not sure what to think. I sometimes think he just didn’t know how to say no to her. And then other times I think he just didn’t want to loose half. I still can’t get my head around it. I sometimes wish I could be that selfish.

    • D

      Both my wife and her AP (when I confronted him) described feeling an addiction to one another. I know my wife broke it off many times and yet missed the emails and contact so much that she had to call or email him only “to see how he was doing.” Of course this started it all up again. My wife is a pleaser and can’t deal with feeling like the bad guy – so her addiction was fueled by three things, affirmation, obligation, and guilt for his feeling rejected (never mind my feelings.)

      My wife was one of those who wasn’t consciously looking for an affair. Even when the guy pursued her she was taken aback at how attracted she became. Once she took that hit (and suffered no repercussions) it became easier and easier.

      After a while she needed to get the email, the call, the meet-up. She said she was depressed if she didn’t hear from him.

      I get what Broken was saying before that this is merely the beginnings of a normal relationship. But I feel it’s different in that there is secrecy – between only the two of them – which heightens everything they experience, both pain and pleasure.

      I’ve found strength in treating her like an addict. It’s helped to cope with her irrational moments, or her attacking me when I deny her the drug, or her depression over the withdrawal. I believe it is an addiction – a mental addiction.

      I actually am glad this isn’t something worse, but rather something we can work to understand and control.

    • karen

      I don’t think the analogy drawn between the family member’s drug addiction and her husband’s reaction to it and her reaction to her husband’s affair is at all a good or plausible comparison. The family member did not pledge faithfulness and fidelity to her husband nor did they pledge never to engage in drug use; her husband did, so it is a much
      different relationship with much more painful consequences to the betrayed spouse. I’m glad that view is helping her heal, but I think that the grieving, tough love, and eventual forgiveness and recreating the marriage, if possible, that we are all learning here at this site and others is the proper course. And I still don’t buy into the addiction
      theory (even after reading Jeffrey’s blog) in most of our affair stories – I prefer the terms “selfish decision” and “affair fog” that I’ve learned on this site to explain my husband’s decision.

    • karen

      Oh, and I forgot to include working on and taking care of ourselves as the betrayed spouses – a very necessary component to my healing-in-progress.

    • Ceejay

      As one who was in an EA for two months, I would have to say that the initiation of it was a definite lack of boundries. I thought I could ‘manage it’. It took all my energy over the next two months to do this managing. It still started to pick up steam and progress at the end, before exposure (thank God for exposing it when He did). Near the end, and also during the remnant ‘fog’ it did feel like an addiction. The rush of that time was hard to live without. It gave me energy for EVERYTHING. All things seemed so clear, so possible. But the pit in my stomach was a constant reminder of why that feeling was there. It scares me now how I was in that time. It also scares me to think of where it could (and probably would) have gone.

      I think any guilt from not responding as the writer felt she should have is misplaced. When one is the victim, it is very hard, and maybe impossible to empathize and be objective to that situation. In an ideal world, it seems logical. But, an EA is ANYTHING BUT logical. There was no logic, no reason, no common sense. It was all fog and emotion and selfishness.

      • Rosalyn

        Yes. Very well put. All fog and emotion and pure selfishness. I sometime wish my husband had of gone and lived with this other person for a while. Just to realise that she was not this perfect person that he imagined her to be.
        I told him to go and be with her. But then I said when it all goes to shit I don’t want you back. After he broke it off with her, she tried several times to keep it going. Always had a good excuse. I just said to him, stop all contact. Your having cake and eating it too. And a few months later he told me, She has married the guy she was living with while we were having their affair. He was shocked because she did nothing but complain about this guy from day one. I must admit I was not shocked. Selfish people.

    • karen

      Ceejay: Can I ask you a question as a betrayed spouse? I too believe that a lack of boundaries is what helped my husband engage in his EA, and I struggle with how to help him recognize, respect, follow, adhere to, etc. healthy marriage/relationship boundaries going forward with the opposite sex. Any suggestions??? Are you doing anything yourself to avoid another boundary crossover in the future?
      So appreciate your response.

      • Rosalyn

        When my husband first started working with this woman in a all male environment, he said I have taken her under my wing. The old hero and damsel in distress crap. As time went on and I found out he was going to her house for coffee! The red flags were waving and I asked some tough questions. He said were” just friends”. Whats wrong with having a friend of the opposite sex? Nothing I said, as long as thats all it is. He knew he was loving the ego stroking. And she was using him so that she didn’t have to do all the yucky jobs that girls don’t like to do. She would ring and complain about her partner for 2 hours at a time. When I said I didn’t think that was appropriate he got the shits and things went undercover. Thats when it really started to go bad. I put up with shit I shouldn’t have and he knows I won’t tolerate that again. He has been very open and transparent since. I never thought he would cheat on me and its been a very very hard lesson to say the least.

    • Ceejay

      Mine started by the OW coming in under the radar, so to speak. I had boundaries in place to not go to lunch with, go on a business trip, sit and talk with, any woman at work. This has been in place for 20 years!
      Yet, this started ever so slowly by working on common projects, work emails, phone meetings, etc. The whole team-building mentality in the workplace is a crock. I hate it personally. I want to go to work, and go home. No hangin’ with my co-workers. Especially now.

      the OW latched onto one great interest I have, and either really liked it too, or became a quick study to get more time with me. We then started sitting for a bit at work and talking after work. No problem I thought. I knew my wife would not like the idea, but I really did not see the potential or the breach of trust that was already taking place.

      To answer your questions:

      Boundaries –

      Recognizing: Anything that you do that you can not tell your spouse about, or would feel uncomfortable if they suddenly appeared at work, etc. One big sign for me was that nagging little half nauseating / half exciting pit in my stomach.

      Respecting: Honesty, plain and simple. If there is any situation that does not seem quite as black and white. Tell your spouse and talk it through! You both are one. One completes the other. This culture seems more and more to treat marriage as two islands in close proximity, rather than one island with borders.
      Follow / Adhere To: A choice to be made each and every day, because you have made a commitment and you love this one who completes you, right?

      As for now and the future… I am cautious almost to a fault now with any contact whatsoever. I am very conscious of my wife’s fears and hurt. The crossover could not occur again without the signs I spelled out earlier. I would have to make a choice to cross that line again. I know that I HAVE to COMMUNICATE with my wife at a much greater level than I ever have. There is no more auto-pilot in our marriage. We fly manual control now, always watching and always cautious.

      • Broken

        Ceejay- do you still work with the OW? And how did your wife found out?

    • karen

      Ceejay: Thanks so much – such great advice!! Your wife is a blessed woman, and I’m sure she’s wonderful also!!!

    • Ceejay

      I do still work at the same company as the OW, but in a different area. The only contact I have is infrequent group meetings (not one-on-one) and an occasional email. Every time communication is made, I let me wife know. She also looks at my email whenever she desires. The OW has also respected NC, and it is D day + 6 months. No contact is ever been made that is not completely work related. And it actually has been less and less contact over time. I still am on-guard though, always.

      As far as BW finding out, I was struggling with wanting to end it, as it was progressing in the last week or so much more rapidly than I was prepared for, but it was still an EA. The OW was saying things that were really confusing and hit me emotionally much harder than I thought. Things that started to really draw me away from my wife. I went out of town on a business trip and ended up chatting on FB with OW. My wife saw this conversation and confronted me. It was an awful, shameful experience I pray to NEVER repeat in my life. Coming home and facing her, my kids, and some friends that now knew was THE hardest thing I had ever had to do. I felt like a stranger in my own house. NC letter was delivered to OW before I came back too. The damage I was doing during the EA and the resulting fallout was much more than I ever could have imagined. My selfishness and actions during that time towards my BW and the OW were beyond what I can even believe now, looking back. I think to myself, honestly, “what was I thinking?”. Do you know how scary that is, to not even understand fully why you did what you did? I really do understand now when in the Bible Paul said (paraphrasing), “I do what I do not want to do, and I do not do what I should!”

      Two perspective changes I think I have also had:

      1. I really cannot have the attitude anymore of, “I wouldn’t / couldn’t do THAT!”. That scares me now, and shows me that I am not beyond doing anything of depravity if my heart is not right and the opportunity is there. Depressing, but true.

      2. Anyone else that says to me, “I wouldn’t / couldn’t / promise I will not…” is not being honest with themselves. It is a daily choice as to what you will or will not do. My world view has changed somewhat to be that we are mostly bad, not mostly good. We all battle our own demons, so to speak.

      I am just thankful I serve a God that loved me enough to deliver me out of the situation I was in at the perfect time, in spite of myself. This wife God has given me deserves far better than I can give her, but He saw fit to give us another chance to modify our 20+ year marriage and make it better than it ever was.

      Well, now I feel like I am babbling on. I will leave it there. Hope it all makes sense.

      • Doug

        Ceejay, thank you so much for your insight, your thoughts really help us (the betrayed) understand what was happening during an affair. Most of us have developed a story of the affair that we think is accurate but will never know for sure. It really helps us to hear about the thought process, what you were thinking so we can understand why our spouses acted the way they did. It takes a lot of courage to discuss and share something that has caused so much pain for everyone. Thank you. Linda

      • Rosalyn

        Ceejay. Thankyou for explaining your side of things. My husband simply will discuss it. So it just goes around and round in my head and that just makes things worse. Of course I keep going back to his explanation on DDay. His discription of the OW. How perfect she was. What a nice person she was. How damaged she was from having two abortions and now reaching 45 and having no children. He was showing her photos of our grandchildren and I think she thought she could steal it all from me. Have you read the book the script? I think every married couple should read it. My husband followed the script with what he said during his affair. Good read. Wish I had of read it before all this happened to me. Thank you Rosalyn

    • karen

      Ceejay – Ditto Linda’s post – you are helping us betrayed so much by having the courage to post on this site. I wasn’t even considering that the fog lingered so heavily after
      D-day until your post …. duh on my part. Can you pinpoint any specific thing(s) besides “time” after D-day and the NC letter that helped you clear up the fog and start thinking rationally? Did your wonderful wife show you tough love, etc.? Did your kids do anything? Was your friend’s counseling helpful? Or something else?

    • Ceejay

      I tried many different ways to have the fog clear, prayer, talking at length with my wife, counseling. It was almost literally like a hot coal that had to die down with time. It was almost a steady decline. I must say that when the meetings and such with OW diminished as our projects changed, that did help. The longer I did not even have to think about communicating with her on any level, the better. One thing that also helped now that I think about it was when my wife took all the details of the EA about what the OW said to me, how she approached things, etc. and then told me what it all meant from a woman’s perspective, my jaw dropped as I saw her true intentions. I now see the conversations as feeding my need. I now see that the availability she always had for our ‘talk time’ was to pull me to her. Her failure to discuss much about her children or past (that would just complicate it for me). Ugliness all around. I thought she was just being ‘a friend’. I now see the ulterior motives, and the disregard for me, my wife and even her own self respect. One thing still confuses me though.

      The OW’s XH had an EA, then a PA with a co-worker a few years ago. He left her high and dry with two children for his OW. She sought help on Marriage Builders for a long time, tried plan A, B, then got a D. Why did she ever want to be an OW? It was one reason that I actually thought the friendship was ‘safe’, because she knew the dangers. Confusing still.

    • Ceejay

      All that to say that there is no pull back to her at all anymore. I know now that I only saw a sliver of who she really is. It was a fantasy world of our making. She really is a stranger to me, always was. Unfortunately our paths crossed at a very bad time, and I did not hold my boundaries.

    • bocacorn

      Very interesting and insightful posts from all. For what its worth, I have just completed one year of treating my H as if his affair was an addiction – with continuing love and support etc. as described above,
      but to no avail. In my case, my H has remained steadfast in his indifference to me and reconcilliation and has continued the affair. So, even though I am willing to work with him – I reluctantly asked my attorney to file divorce papers just today as it is too painful to remain on the sidelines any longer and watch him live his life with the OW. I wonder if that approach made him misinterpret my behavior as weak or needy and pushed him away even more. I honestly don’t know. All I can say is I know I tried compassion, kindness, and understanding but I’ve reached the point where I have to move on. It’s still my choice to remain nice to him as we conduct the undoing of our family ties and I don’t regret taking that approach – it just didn’t work in my case. I also should note that taking that approach wasn’t so much of a choice for me either – I honestly was so devasted I could not muster the emotional strength to be angry – so I’m not suggesting one approach is better than the other. Perhaps others have tried the ‘addict’ approach and had better results. I know that is the approach similar to what Mort Fertel recommends in his “marriage fitness” program and there are many testimonials from participants who have had success. I think it does all boil down to each marriage, and affair is unique, and so there probably is no one best way to deal with it. You just have to go with your heart – and how much pain you can take. Hope that helps.

    • AshB.

      I too am in unfamiliar territory of betrayal from my husband. My husband 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, as 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. 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 either. With his inability to control his emotions, came his inability to control his anger. While he never “beat me up”.. God help him if he had tried… we would get into arguments and the hateful words would spew from both of us. He, being the more emotional one, 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. When fights would break out, he would hold these things over my head and remind “All” he had done for me, etc. To say our marriage was tumultuous would also be understating it. 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, 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). She seemed perfectly ok with this. The psychology 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”. It gave her a sense of power and control. He also defines my husband as a class “obligatory affair”… where one gives into a sexual advance for fear of being rejected if he didn’t. As time progressed, it also became about keeping her happy so not to cause trouble for him at work.

      While I’m sure you envision this total wimp in stature type 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. 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 the circumstances surrounding his affair, it doesn’t make the pain any less. I’m so confused, hurt and a host of other emotions. He 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. 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. He was even back then. 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, constantly trying to hold my hand or “cuddle”, 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. He now tries daily to restore our marriage, but his attempts are either met with 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 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, 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. 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, but felt helpless to do so. 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 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 non-purposefully 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 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. Their relationship began June or 2007… she then became pregnant and it died off that year of 08. 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 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.

    • Kelly

      It’s funny tet you mention addiction. I am in a group right now that talks About that its called sexual addtiction, sexual anorexia and intimacy anorexia. Not a lot of people talk about it but its has something to do with addiction. Very good post

    • Cherry

      My husband has been drug and alcohol free for 25 years. We had a wonderful marriage for 10 years. Although we were extremely happy, he had an EA for 15 months. The OW was from his sorted past and knew him very well from his intoxicated days. In fact, they had had a sexual affair, when he was married to his first wife, 36 years ago. The OW moved just 3 blocks from our home and would take walks by our house. She befriended me so that she could come around more often. It was just a matter of time before my H felt a strong desire to his past and she was his way to revisit it without using substance. After I discovered them, I found records of over 700 phone conversations and 16,000 texts between them. Addiction? I think so. Once the affair started, they never missed a single day of communication. He is very unclear of most of it. He can’t remember any of the sexual talk and can’t wrap his head around the enormity of it all. I truly believe he wouldn’t have done this with anyone else but her. Sorry? I have never seem anyone so sorry. What lesson do we learn from this? An addict is always an addict. The addiction just lies in wait or repeats or takes a different form. I am longing for the day when the thoughts, of what his choice has done to our marriage, no longer cripple me. Its hard to forgive and I’ll never forget.

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