Linda’s post from yesterday was by coincidence quite timely.  I received an email yesterday from a former co-worker that the once-manager of our office was moving out of town, and that they were going to have a going away party for him.    Though I’ve known this person for probably 15 years and I like and respect him, I didn’t hesitate to decline the invitation.  The main reason was that it was highly likely that Tanya would also be there.

When I told Linda about this, she immediately felt a lump in her stomach.  The thought of me possibly running into Tanya quite frankly scares the crap out of her. She feels that as soon as I see Tanya that I will instantly relapse back into the emotional affair.

Since yesterday, I’ve thought for a bit about just why I don’t want to run into Tanya.  Is it because I’m like a heroin addict or alcoholic where just one injection or drink sends be back into the depths of addictive dependency?  Linda of course thought it was because I was afraid to for that very reason.  I came to the conclusion that the answer is NO.

Though I have no doubt that I could go to this function and converse with Tanya and leave feeling the same way I do now, I don’t want to put Linda through the pain and agony of wondering whether or not all the thoughts, feelings and emotions about Tanya will come rushing back. She already lives with that fear on a daily basis.

I understand this, I really do.  I betrayed her and shattered the trust in our marriage, and she is now guarded, thinking that if an emotional affair happened once, it could happen again, and she can’t go through the hurt and pain again. Who can blame her?

See also  Is an Emotional Affair Relationship Complete?

It’s a fear that is one of the biggest obstacles that we have left to maneuver. I feel terrible that she feels that way, but no matter how much I reassure her that she has nothing to fear, or how much I prove to her on a daily basis that I am in love with her, the possibility of starting up the emotional affair again scares her.

I thought also about what if I did go.  I honestly think that it would be extremely awkward seeing and talking to her again after all this time.  I look at Tanya differently now, as the fantasy has been over and the affair fog has lifted for quite some time – much like how Linda described her feelings towards her old high school flame.  I was in love with a feeling – not the person.  It’s the same feeling, but with more strength and meaning, that I have again for Linda.

I know that it is easy for me to say this, and I said this to Linda last night…but there has to come a time where the past needs to be let go. I’m not saying she has to forget it.  But accept it and not dwell in it.  We use the past to learn from our mistakes and understand our failures so as to not repeat them again. We must turn our energies into working at and creating a marriage and life together that is strong now and in the future.  We need to look towards the future with anticipation of the possibilities, setting and reaching goals, having fun, enjoying each other, and helping others who are trying to overcome infidelity.

See also  Moving On from the Affair Too Soon

In “How to Survive an Affair,” Dr. Gunzburg says:  “Accepting does not mean that you agree with the affair in any way. It does not mean that you just lie down and let your partner walk all over you. It does not mean that you give up and let your needs go unmet.

Rather, accepting that the affair happened is about making a positive move toward a fruitful future. It is about letting go of the affair so that you can move forward. Instead of getting buried by dwelling on the past, you have the power and the choice to make a step and move forward. You can accept the past as a means of learning how to make a better future with your partner.”

Many of you may not agree with that, or are not to the point after the affair where you can do it, and I wouldn’t have said that 2 years ago, but it’s how I feel we need to approach things now so that we can completely overcome my emotional affair and move onward to a great marriage.

    78 replies to "Accepting the Past and My Emotional Affair"

    • Alice

      I have to be really honest……..I’m really disappointed in your reaction. I was hoping you’d say you didn’t want to go because YOU had no desire to see her again, not because you know Linda would freak if you did.

      Your attitude of “if I saw her again it would be no big deal…a little awkward but no big deal….tralalalalalala… troubles me. This woman could have destroyed your marriage, your wife, your children and probably your own life in the process. Why can’t you say “I made huge mistakes with this woman, I don’t want to see her, talk to her, be in the same room with her EVER again. Period. End of story”

      Instead your visioning what it would be like if you DID talk to her!! That kinda made me sick to my stomach when I read that.

      Im sorry…I guess I’m judging and being harsh, probably because of my own situation. I wish my H would take things more seriously instead of thinking that his OW is no big deal – even after all the pain it has caused.

      Sorry for the rant, but this did trigger many things for me.

      • Doug

        Alice, I appreciate your response and understand where you are coming from. In my post I was trying to relate it to the post from the previous day when Linda voiced her concern about the prospects of what might happen if I ran into Tanya again. I was trying to say that there is no fantasy anymore and that the feelings for her and the emotional affair have been discarded. It’s funny how you perceived the post compared to Linda, because after writing it last night she wanted me to print it out so that she could carry it with her as a reminder when she is having a bad day. Trust me, Linda knows that I have no desire to see or speak to Tanya and she knows I realize the pain she has caused.

      • karen

        ” I wish my H would take things more seriously instead of thinking that his OW is no big deal – even after all the pain it has caused.”
        Alice: There’s a big group of us betrayed spouses that feel the same way. My take is male cheaters are not wired like us and while they do, in fact, feel terrible guilt and pain for what they’ve done, they are unable to express it adequately and passionately enough for us and/or they verbally minimize/dismiss their feelings so as to soothe themselves. I wonder if they do this to avoid dealing with the issues and character weaknesses that allowed their affairs to happen, but I don’t think this applies to Doug. I’m sure Linda will respond in greater detail. Take care.

        • Doug

          Thanks Karen. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve answered a question or expressed a feeling and it didn’t “sit” right with Linda. I usually have to explain what I meant. Not sure if it’s the nature of the beast with men, or what. I do know that Linda (and perhaps most women) analyze things in a different way than men, and that can cause things to go a little crazy. I guess it’s the old Mars and Venus thing at work. Regardless, as a result, at times it felt that I was walking on egg shells, afraid to open up, for fear that my words would come out wrong or be taken the wrong way. That’s why it’s always a good idea to try and repeat what is said to clarify or to seek more understanding when communicating. It might also help if sometimes I would think more before I open up my mouth! 😉

          • suziesuffers

            Doug were you trying to “think” more before you opened your mouth so you would “temper” what you were going to say or modify the truth abit so it wouldn’t be so painful. In other words are you still truthful or are you modifying the truth a bit so it’s not so painful to Linda? I know that telling the truth and knowing that what you say could trigger pain, I can’t imagine that you would want to be totally honest. I mean how to you example that your feelings for this person exceeded your feeling for Linda, and how does Linda feel she can ever know truly that she can “exceed” the feelings you had for Tanya. And how does the “truth” change so much? It seems the stories of their time together was bliss and love and everything he ever wanted in a woman…and now as time as passed and I have asked more and more questions….and he is trying to reconcile and see’s the pain, history seems to have modified into an experience that was VERY far from perfect. What’s the truth…it’s more confusing now than ever. I don’t know if now he’s lying to minimize the pain of the first disclosure discussions, or if things really weren’t so rosy and he didn’t want to look like a fool.

            • Doug

              Good question suziesuffers. In my case, while I was in the fog, or as Jeff Murrah likes to call it, “La La Land,” I had a certain perception of Tanya and our relationship. That perception was based on fantasy and was inaccurate. At that time, a “story” of the affair was told to Linda based on those perceptions. After having the luxury of stepping back and analyzing myself, Tanya and our relationship, those inaccuracies have become more evident, and thus the story has changed over time. It doesn’t mean that I haven’t been honest, but I’ve just been able to see things more clearly and objectively. Perhaps this is what has happened to your husband as well.

        • Jennifer

          Karen, I think you’re right on the money about male cheaters. Actually makes me feel better about the non-responsiveness I’m getting from my husband about his affair. Thanks for your input.

      • kristine

        Yep I felt the same way. I think this is what we the betrayed spouse feels like. We want our spouse to have NO DESIRE to run into the person because they recognize that the person WILLINGLY and WILLFULLY had no problem having a hand in destroying another person and they’re sick to their stomach at being involved with someone like that. I’m not saying I want my spouse to hate his affair partner but I do wish he was more vocal at how he’s not only disgusted by his actions but also disgusted by hers as well!

      • Sandra

        Alice I agreed. Maybe not to direct this to Doug.
        But I know exactly what you mean. The OW in my H’s emotional affair went out of her way to hurt me and the children. For example she went to police to say I was calling her on her cell and harassing her. Then she called my H to tell him what she had done. Yet he is still unable to tell her she crossed the line.
        As we found out. OW had broken up another marriage pervious to mine and it was someone from that situation calling not me.

      • Holdingon

        I wish my wife could say what he did and mean it. I think you misunderstood what he’s saying.

    • ruth

      I do wonder if my h feels guilt over me or that he had to hurt her to be with me?? I wish my h could say he made the biggest mistake in his life. But that I would be still wondering which mistake is he talking about?? Words are so easy to say. I dont want words I want him to show me and I even have told him how. I want him to parade me around her work and her friends and so they can see for themselves that he love me, but he wont do that doesnt want to hurt her feeling. To bad the longer he waits the better I start to feel about myself. Hope it wont be to late for him.

      • Jennifer

        Ruth, that is what I want from my husband too. I want to know that he is proud to be married to me. I want to meet his work friends and have his ‘show me off.’ Like you, I don’t think that is very likely. But it’s nice to see I’m not the only one.

    • Infidelity Rage

      Yes, I have to agree that men are just different in how they express themselves and sometimes they are not able to get as emotional as we need them to be to help us get through this hard time.

      I’m not sure if I agree with the accepting and letting go of the past so you can move on. I understand that you can get stuck in the past but I don’t think that is necessarily a bad thing as long as it’s helping you gather strength to proceed into the future. There is no timetable of how long someone should stay in the past to recover from infidelity. Everyone has to figure out how long it takes to feel that strength to walk into the future with someone who has betrayed them. It bothers me when my husband says that I am rehashing the past (mind you we are only 3 months out of D-Day) because it’s not him who needs the past to recover, it’s me. I think it should be up to the person moving forward to decide when it’s time to let go and if that person feels he/she is having a problem getting out of the past, well then that should be dealt with either with the spouse and/or with a counselor.

      Great post by the way! 😉

    • Bonms

      Infedelity Rage, I have to agree with the opinion that cheating men deal with guilt differently, I think that the reason they tell us to get over it and hate talking about it is that they feel really guilty and seeing and hearing our pain is really hard for them, don’t get me wrong I think its pretty selfish because a betrayed spouse needs to talk and feel and the betrayer wether man or woman should be there to do their part, but I think for men in particular this is really hard to do. My solution was to turn to a very close female friend that I have known since childhood to talk to when I felt low. I told my H that this is what I would be doing and he was more than happy with that. He knows my friend and knows that she is non judgemental and would never repeat what I’d discuss with her. In saying that there were times when I had to talk to H as he was the one that needs to provide answers and I had alot of questions.

      • kristine

        Yes this is where I’m at. I’ve had to heal alone pretty much. Thank goodness I have faith in God and He has walked with me this whole way (15 months out from D day, almost a year into our reconciliation after a 10 wk separation) but I realize now that part of my healing has to come from work we do TOGETHER! My husband doesn’t like to talk about it. He says he doesn’t see what it does for me to talk about it and he doesn’t like where it takes HIM mentally but NOT TALKING is what got us into this mess. He never communicated that he had needs that weren’t being met. Why? Because he said he didn’t want to hurt me. Well look what he ended up doing anyway, he had a full-blown affair emotional and physical although he says he never was in love but did have feelings. It’s not that I want fine details of everything because I don’t need any more images and things to process than I already have but I do want to have certain questions answered.

      • Holdingon

        Women are no different in men when it comes to this, my wife refuses to talk about her EA, she says it’s the past and can’t be changed so why dwell on it, she does the same gaslighting as men do, lies like a man, gets mad like a man, there is no difference. And men cry like women when we find out, it just about killed me.

    • Infidelity Rage

      You hit the nail on the head Bonnus. It is selfish that the men who cheated don’t want to hear or talk about it, especially that is the one thing that the betrayed wants to do to clear the air. I understand that it’s hard and they feel guilty. But really, their selfishness has gotten them into this mess and their selfishness won’t get them out of it.

      • kristine

        hear hear! it was selfish in the beginning and it’s still selfish to try and determine what I need based on what he doesn’t need. I’m frustrated and when my husband does agree to talk he looks annoyed the entire time. I know he feels guilty and shame and I know he said when he talks about it that he mentally goes to a place that makes him think about all the pain he caused me and the kids BUT – that’s one of the consequences. I’m not saying I want my husband to feel pain because I don’t. I really don’t want him to BUT, he’s gonna have to find a way to deal with it to help ME right now because the pain is unbearable at times.

      • Holdingon

        Women don’t want to hear or talk about it either, I believe that they’re worse then men about coming clean.

    • Bonms

      Behind every good man is a strong woman , behind that woman is another strong woman!

      • Holdingon

        Behind me was a cheating woman.

    • Marie

      I so would have dumped Doug! What a prize? Not!

      • Doug

        Marie, Another wonderful comment from you. I’m beginning to think you have an issue with me. Maybe you just have issues.

        • Holdingon

          It’s another troll, don’t give IY attention, it may never leave.

    • Marie

      Doug, We all have issues but people like me … do know right from wrong. I do think Linda is amazing. She drives this site and could make a fortune.

      When she wakes up from her fog … (who would ever want to repair and take back and recycle trash?) after the kids are grown and she realizes the potential she has to make money and develop a relationship with a real man … she will kick herself for bending over backwards to make it work with the “prize” the likes of you! LOL!

      To be so utterly selfish is a character flaw. Behavior can be modified … never cured. Linda is fabulous to have put up with you which I have no doubt was for the kids and finances.

      The selective ethics I hear within some of your posts are astounding. I am not angry with you but I can tell you I do come from a place where I was married for 10 years to a low life scum “walmart mentality” male … who thought he was Ward Clever.

      Any affair in my eyes is a “soul break” … there is nothing left to build after that. Gig is up … and idiot cheating spouse can learn his or her life lesson … as the betrayed will have learned what a fool they had been to deal with such repulsive behavior. Both cheater and betrayed will learn their lesson, hopefully.

      However, growing up as a Buddhist with a very empowered mother … saved me from having to deal with this type of situation. I didn’t blink … I kicked him out without a question and never looked back. I didn’t care why … as I provided him with everything … including off the wall sex and attention 5-6 times a week. I was not religious scripted. He was a castrated Catholic. There was no reason to cheat other than his feeling inadequate because I was a responsible, educated, admired, evolved human being.

      I was able to kick my husband to the curb and now enjoy my life fully. I am a surgeon. I am also writing a book about this very subject and why men and women stay with such low life people and blind themselves … that some how their marriage is better. LOL!

      There is so much to “scripted roles”. Women and religiousity … which has taught women to be virtual slaves within their marriages … to take care of everything and build a career for themselves and for their husbands … only to turn around and have their husband cheat because they’ve worked their poor wives to the bone. That is not for me.

      Neither is the bored desperate housewife that needs to screw the milkman … or any of it.

      Men in our society are damaged. It is a cycle that is “cult-like” based in religion which is driven by the internalized sexism of women … and reinforced within media.

      Women hate women … chose poorly within their mates. Women expect Prince Charming when they should be in charge of their finances and career. Then when the family breaks … the sons suffer because these women are poverty stricken. The boys grow up angry and entitled. And so it goes.

      When women place their financial health and career first before they even think to have kids … so they can kick losers to the curb and teach their sons how to be emotional and connected and how to treat women … as well as have the money to hire support … the cycle will break.

      And when this rests … men will be raised to be emotionally connected and enter into marriages with the knowledge that it is an egalitarian relationship.

      Marriage is a business and you are not allowed “Madoff” mistake! Due to my financial earning ability … I kicked my loser husband to the curb and never looked back.

      There are very few evolved males in the world and I am one of the few that has found one in my second husband. We’ve now been married for 17 years and I am his queen … and he my king.

      I would do the same thing if my current husband broke such a spiritual bond with me … rather than turning toward me to tell me he was unhappy … and ran off to suck his thumb and throw a tantrum. I don’t have time for it.

      Neither did my son … who is also an MD, married and a complete partner to his wife, an attorney. They share everything.

      Linda … I applaud you and the men and women that stay. It is a joke to me though. Just not in my wildest dreams would I have ever put myself through what you have Linda.

      I do thank you Doug for being brave enough to be on this blog. I would have took a gun to my head … in your position. The destruction you’ve cause your kids and wife … you can’t take back. That is Karma you will be paying for … for many lifetimes to come. How sad for you.

      Keep up the good work. Ladies … get yourself educated and don’t allow your daughters to repeat! I am not sure you will be brave enough to post this reality of mine … as it may drive a trigger in Linda … I know it would me.

      She is a brilliant, brilliant woman married to half a man. I am sorry Doug … you knew better and cared less for your family. We all can chose. You didn’t love your wife and children when you decided to have an affair.

      Do I harbor anger for my ex? Yes … I wasted my time and I am angry at myself for reproducing with a jerk. And that is about it. LOL!

      • Robin

        Wow, what a load of unmitigated rubbish. This forum provides a safe place to share, get advice, and work on healing – and to vent. You aren’t attempting to do any of these things. You claim to be a Buddhist, and yet show no trace of empathy, compassion, or care for fellow humans in pain. Instead, you have purposely attempted to cause more pain by poking at fears and doubts that many of us are working to overcome. In addition, your rant shows no internal logic. If cheating behavior is a result of a flawed religious and social system, then how docheaters bear any responsibility – they were just acting as they have been “scripted” to do. Following this logic, you should have worked with your 1st husband to become more “evolved” instead of kicking him out.

        I cannot speak for Linda, or anyone else who writes here, but I find it incredibly insulting that you suggest that we are staying simply for financial reasons. I have a career I value and am perfectly capable of supporting myself comfortably. The pain that has been expressed here has nothing to do with financial loss, and while some marriages may be Ponzi schemes, those are not the marriages that many of us are working to save. None of us are willing to accept whatever is dished out – we are all learning to address issues and develop relationships that will make both partners happy and secure in the future.

        You appear to be making a backhanded slap at Christianity, but I cannot think of a faith or belief system that doesn’t include provisions for forgiveness, compassion, and renewal. Might I suggest that a therapists office might serve as a more appropriate place for you to work out the deep anger issues you are exhibiting, instead of attempting to bring needless pain to people who are attempting to heal.

      • Doug

        Wow! When I first read this comment, there were a million things that went through my head as a reply to you, but none of them were very nice. Since this site is intended to help people, and any war of words with you would be somewhat counterproductive to that (not to mention a waste of my time), I’m going to take the high road and let your self-righteous insults and taunts roll off my back. I hope that your little rant brought you some measure of relief from the anger and bitterness that remains in your head and heart.

      • karen

        Marie:
        I’ve read all your posts yesterday and today . . very interesting. I agree with many of your comments, and I too feel many BS’s stay with unrepentant CS’s because of financial reasons – that pains me as it’s usually the women BS’s that do this, and the sacrifice they make for their children and financial welfare is so unfair!!! Yet I admire them also for their selflessness.

        Your statements are somewhat contradictory from post to post, but I accept your need to vent. You are very direct and opinionated, as am I, yet I think you are too judgmental in your postings. You claim to be so happy with your second husband yet you still carry such apparent anger toward your ex – those are not compatible and somewhat illogical. But I accept where you’re at. Can you not accept the other BS’s and their paths they are taking, though different from yours? Perhaps show a bit of compassion, tolerance, empathy???

        You tout your education, position and financial status – congratulations!! I love women who are self-sufficient, as am I.
        But your postings, IMO, border on self-grandiosity and superiority. Once again, a little humility and empathy towards others might be in order??? Just a little??

        As far as Doug is concerned, he, for whatever reason, has agreed to be the poster child on this site for cheating spouses, and while his somewhat flippant writing style sometimes irritates me as a BS, I only care what Linda thinks of him, and as long as she is sticking with him, I’ll defend him also. He’s kind of grown on me. Believe me, he’s not doing this for the $$$. From Linda’s descriptions, I can tell he’s much more talented in other areas.

        Finally, as to your claims that you could not stay and be a poor example to your children after what you ex did to you, I think there is an equal argument to be made that if you had chosen to stay and work through your H’s affair and been successful in rebuilding your marriage, that example to your children would have been equally valuable to them, if not more so, then kicking your H to the curb. I’d opine further that even if the rebuilding effort was ultimately unsuccessful, the lessons learned by your children through your example would be of great use to them in their lives. Just a different perspective, Marie. I completely support your decision to find a great H as all women deserve that, yet so many settle for less. But don’t judge the ones that have settled, Marie. . . . you never know if one day their rebuilt marriages might far exceed the quality of your second marriage.

        My mantra is every day above ground is a good day, and I wish you and your family a wonderful year.

        • Doug

          Karen,

          Thanks as usual for your comments. I really value your opinions whenever you chose to express them here. I think that most every blog has regular readers who contribute really valuable, level-headed stuff – and you are certainly one of them.

          I feel compelled to explain the “whatever reason” for me being the “poster child on this site for cheating spouses.” When we initially considered starting this blog, one of the main reasons for my participation was the fact that when Linda had first found out about my affair, she searched and searched for information on the web that included a cheater’s perspective on things — without much success. Since in many cases the betrayed spouse cannot get the answers they are searching for from their own spouses, we thought I could be a valuable resource in helping others with potential answers for why their cheating spouses do, feel and say the things they do.

          That being said, 90% of the people that post comments, and sometimes ask my opinion, are respectful and truly want to get inside my head for reasons stated above. For those individuals I am more than happy to try and help and offer my perspective on things in the hope that perhaps something I say might make a difference for them in their recovery or in saving their marriage. The other 10%, like our friend Marie, well, let’s just say that I’ve decided to let them vent, and I’ll just keep my mouth shut.

          As for my somewhat flippant style…let’s just say that (and I think Linda can attest to this) that I’m a fairly fun-loving person with a good sense of humor, but I have tendencies toward being a smart-ass! 😉 I hope it doesn’t irritate you too much!

          Thanks again for sticking around!

      • Holdingon

        So you worship a fat man that preaches self control and you think your better then someone working at walmart, I sure pity anyone that ends up with a soulless bitch like you. Sorry people, had to say it.

    • Learning

      I haven’t posted before, but have been reading the site for several months. I have learned much from it, and am extremely appreciative for both Linda and Doug – that they have given us readers the opportunity to learn from their mistakes and their subsequent recovery.

      Happy Easter, Marie… perhaps the story of Christ and the concept of Forgiveness is lost on you. I will pray for you, nonetheless. I also pray for your ex, who was “kicked to the curb” without the compassion of a partner that understands that none of us are perfect.

      Keep up the awesome work, Doug and Linda. You are a Godsend to many out here that turn to this site for reassurance when we’re lonely, heart-broken, confused, ashamed, and needing help. Happy Easter!

    • Saddenned

      Marie,

      My husband recently had an EA. We are all human and he made a mistake. He owned up to it, I didn’t catch him. Arent we suppose to forgive?

    • suziesuffers

      Oh boy…this has been an interesting post to read this morning. I too am trying to repair a 30 year marriage riddled with infidelity and addiction. I realize this is a post about trying to heal our hearts, but I’m glad Marie posted. I think we need our cages rattled alittle sometimes. I know that I’ve questioned in my mind a thousand times why when I made pretty much all the money to support him and my kids, I wouldn’t kick this man to the curb. There must be a man out there that would treat me better. My anger sometimes surges like a volcanic eruption. I want forgiveness in my heart, but it’s very hard when the hurt is constant. I also think Linda is a saint….but don’t we all believe we are…that have suffered and are working to save a marriage in which we have little emotional involvement from the cheater. Marie stirred some feelings in me, reminding me I also need to look at the anger that continues to brew…..My husband always knew the difference between right and wrong….he never robbed a bank…her knew better, the consequences were too high..but he broke the law drinking and driving and using drugs, but addiction is in another category too. I certainly do not agree with all that Marie said, but she is speaking from the anger of her gut, and we have all been there. Have I thought about kicking my husband to the curb….absolutely, I think we all have, but many of us have very low self esteem, and our fear of putting ourselves out there to be “judged” by another whether we are worthy of their love is just too scary for us. We were “rejected” for someone else, and the fear of testing the theory we are undesirable is also too scary. We normally have a long history with our spouse and it’s comfortable. Sometimes fear of leaving is more frightening than the fear of the continued pain and risk of staying.

    • Marie

      Robin … there is such a think in Buddhist Philosophy called “Idiot Compassion” ( http://www.shambhala.org/teachers/pema/qa5.php ) …. read this and you will understand. Compassion for yourself is first an foremost.

      I have no compassion for affairs. They are deliberate and not a mistake. We are all adults and have been taught universal ethics. Having one’s cake and eating it too … is not in my thought process or way of life.

      I am venting. I am spilling my feelings. I have no comprehension of a cheating spouse that would set his or her other up for cancer, stroke, heart attack and a host of autoimmune disorders.

      Those of you that wish to stay with some so character flawed … I applaud that too. I could not.

      The reality of an affair … is the cheater really loved the other person. That is a fact. The feelings they had for the other were real … not fake or in some sort of “fog” or head trip.

      People who cheat are so character flawed that I don’t have time in my life to allow someone to murder my soul.

      This is my perspective. And what you all do with your cheating spouses is left up to you. I just can’t.

      I think I’ve been very respectful … yet direct and assertive. I find cheaters to be the bottom of the most scummiest of people. There is no reason for it. That is for kids not adults with children.

      Affairs literally take years off the victims life. Since we were all young we’ve seen what cheating does to people. Yet, the cheater makes the choice to cheat?

      I don’t have that kind of forgiveness. I am very grateful to Linda and Doug for this blog. I think Doug is a fascinating study into a very character flawed human being.

      I am sure he is healing and Doug …. congrats on that. I am just saying if I were Linda … WOW … your bags would have been packed.

      Linda is the most (as all of the forgiving spouses) amazing person. I am blown away by all these forgiving spouses and the health risks they’ve put up with.

      Again, thank you for allowing me to vent because I need this, too. Again … thank you Linda and Doug for creating this healing space for people.

      I am sorry I judge you Doug and all the women and men that cheat. I just do. I would have … as the rolling stones say in Sympathy for the Devil “Laid Your Soul to Waste”! I don’t have Idiot Compassion.

      • Holdingon

        Stating your opinion is one thing, attacking someone else for their decision is wrong.

    • Marie

      Suzie … you are a beautiful soul. And what I will tell you is I thought the same as you … “Am I worthy of love”!

      It was terrifying. Yet, I did not want to teach my daughters and son that this was acceptable by any means. I am lucky … very, very lucky to have the income, the success and support.

      I can completely understand why people stay for finances. I didn’t have to. I hired a live-in assistant. I forgave my ex … and he is still a mess. Yet, from the jump … I treated him with respect and the whole family went to “divorce counseling” for one year.

      I placed myself first and my children first. I could not model that for my children. It is against my contract with this universe.

      But … you hit my fear. I wanted so badly for a “Happy Ever After” … so desperately. It was a very hard decision for me to leave. Yet, someone that can break such a soul contract … WOW … I couldn’t do it.

      As I said … I was his playmate, wild, loved sex and was in what most men say … “The Holy Grail”! He was intimidated. And this is a societal flaw … and within the cycle I have stated.

      I was not about to continue that legacy for my daughters and son. NO WAY! I was crushed for years. Yet, I healed. And I am still healing.

      He took everything from me … everything. And I couldn’t allow for that. I was terrified to leave but found the power by looking into the faces of my children.

      We do not own our children. They watch, listen and lead by example. I couldn’t in all my ethics set them up for this.

      Thank you Suzie. XO

    • Marie

      Dear Saddened. You may do what you wish and forgive. My ex and I talked at length about cheating … before he ever cheated. I told him that I would never be able to forgive it. I have forgiven myself … still have a little to forgive.

      My children forgave him too. When I kicked him to the curb … within a year another “Walmart Girl” showed up. His life has been chaos … no connected friends … no connected life.

      A cheater cheats because they want to. They have no care or concern for their spouse. Not any thought. It isn’t a fog or accident and it doesn’t take two. The victim is never responsible. The cheater should have turned toward the spouse and told them that they need help because they are thinking of cheating … that they need love.

      The spouse either accepts that the spouse is thinking of cheating … they get into marital counseling and work it out before cheating. That is what healthy humans do.

      If the spouse responds cold to the spouse who reveals he/she feels unloved and like cheating … than the spouse should leave and get the love that they deserve.

      The cake and eating it too … is BS. And these cheaters did love the other. There is no BS in those kind of feelings.

      I can only see one way I would ever stay with a cheater … if it was a temporary “one time” fling and was fully admitted by the cheater.

      But a long drawn out affair and then on top of that … the cheater doesn’t know who he/she loves. Ugh? Get out! Run!

      Behavior can be modified … never changed. Someone that is a liar … will always chose to lie, first.

      There are real men and women out there … that run at their problems … not away. Real men and women that would never think to cheat but to talk with their spouse about how unhappy they are. And most spouses will run toward their unhappy spouse and fix and restore. That is what marriage is. That is what a soul contract is.

      I send love to the victims. I send praise to those that decided to stay. I send praise … even to Doug for being so brave to be on here. This is a wonderful site.

    • Marie

      What I mean by the cheaters loving another … while they were having their cake and eating it too … they were looking to the grass is greener on the other side … testing and discussing dumping their wives/husbands/kids while they put their spouses through hell. That is so freaking messed up.

      Who cares how you label cheating … a fantasy … a fog? Good grief … no time for that BS. Thanks for allowing me to vent.

      • Holdingon

        That one was better, no attacking someone personally, just your opinion, and,I agree with a lot of it.

    • Marie

      Also … I have nothing against Christianity. To me the teachings of Jesus (who I consider as most sages and psychics) were all about love.

      If it is practiced in the true sense of what Jesus meant … in the gnostic version … fantastic! However, humanity has turned this spirituality into a vile cult.

      My now husband of 17 years is a psychiatrist. He specializes in the Gottman way. Most of his clients are what he calls “recovering Catholics”. LOL!

      The cult of Christian faith is real. The doctrine is so misinterpreted. It is a mess. And this is completely unrelated but those that continue to follow this faith while the Vatican ignores all the damaged followers is beyond me. LOL!

      Without a sense of spirituality … people are void. And I think cheaters are void of any spirituality. They have no song … just a song of their own. And as old as most of these cheaters are … the song they need to find to sing … will take a lifetime.

      I had children. I didn’t need to raise or heal an adult male child. I needed my equal. Thanks for letting me vent.

    • Norwegian woman

      Marie
      I agree with much of what you are saying. It makes sense. I am one of those wifes that hold on to the marriage.
      Probably because of fear of the unknown more than love. More because of history than happy years.
      We are different, and have flaws all of us. I sometimes wish that I was the strong woman you seem to be. She probably is there insinde of us all. But time will show what the outcome of our partners actions will be. It`s all a process. Some of us will eventually come to the point that it is stupid to stay with a man that have betrayed us so deeply and put so much pain in our lives. Some of us will not.
      I don`t think that the only way to grow is to go foreward and stand your ground at every situation. Sometimes there is learning in pain too. I know I have learned a great deal about myself.
      But I hear you. I understand what you are saying.

    • Saddenned

      Marie,

      I know you have pain too and I know that there is still anger from the pain. You will never forget. My husband owned up to talking to this girl without my knowledge. They talked for 12 days and he broke down and told me. I am learning through the pain. I believe he loves me and I love him. I think the talking was innocent at first and then it spiraled out of control.

    • Marie

      NW! I adore your posts. And I connect with them fully. I know your fear! When someone decides to cheat … the health problems are life threatening to the victim. Imagine what they are to the children?

      Cheaters know this. They are adults. But they don’t think they will get caught. And when they do … they troll around lying because they know they are scum and will have nothing if tossed to the curb. It is their biggest fear … that the cheater will be dumped and lose everything. They spend years taking their spouses for granted and realize that if their spouse dumps them … aint no one going to wipe their ass the way their doormat did. So they go into manipulation mode.

      I knew that my pain would never ever go away. I would never have the full truth because I married a liar. Cheaters are liars from the jump.

      The effect of his affair was so toxic to our kids. It was so toxic to me! The most toxic part was my kids witnessing their mother die! I had no choice to leave. They didn’t deserve that!

      Again … I can accept a “fling” affair (to me … that is temporary insanity … just like the 12 day email affair of Saddened.) that is a one time deal and the cheater would get on his knees before I were to find out. We can all lose our minds temporarily. I would stay “Saddened”. You have a real man! XO

      Anything so plotted and planned within cheating is nothing short of truly loving another. Any other description for it …. Is BS! The cheater that has a long term affair is building a life with another. That is love.

      The amount of soul lying that goes into developing a long term affair is nothing more than to test the waters of a better mate. Not something I could teach my kids. They repeat the sins of the mother/father.

      Long term affairs by the cheater is such an irreparable character flaw. Yes … we all have flaws but many of us, like myself … work on those every day. We don’t go our of our way to harm our spouses, belittle them, give love and emotion that was meant for them to another, treat them with more respect than you ever would think to do for the spouse you are married to.

      So, I decided to crash painfully … break my entire soul open and sit in it. I had to learn to love myself and forgive myself for marrying trash.

      Learning to love, trust and honor myself was insane! LOL! In doing so … I salvaged my children. I learned I was worth real love but I had to love myself first.

      This is why my first husband was brought to me … to be my teacher. And, I am thankful of that. Sadly … his life has turned out lonely and broken. But that was his choice.

      I didn’t have enough love to get over something so disgusting as a long term affair of such an abusive nature.

      Again … The health risk to me were far too great. Interestingly enough more women cheat than men but they don’t get caught. And men that find out don’t reach out like women do. Its an ego thing. So, this is why there are so few men on this site. They are called “whiners” … as I read someone called this man Michael. How ugly of a thing to say to such a wonderfully emotionally connected real man.

      I responded … I believe that he needed to dump his woman, too. That is a side note.

      Know that you ( victims ) are strong enough to leave. Against my emotions … I found the strength to leave …. Crash and start over. Hardest thing I ever had to do.

      The fear of being alone, no one to love me, respect me was obsessive. But I sat in that pain and slowly started to take care of me. I discovered who I was … how strong I was. I gave a crap less for his “why”. There was no reason for it … NONE!

      But I kept grounding myself by looking at my children. Again, if I stayed ( my opinion ) I was setting them up for failure.

      I needed to heal. I knew how to treat my husband. And his jealousy of my success was the ultimate reason he did this. He was telling me “I hate you. And there is someone better”!

      Anyone who cheats is really telling you they hate you. And, that is a life I didn’t want to build with someone who hated me and thought so little of the life we had … our kids … to throw me in for a new model.

      I grew up. Took my song very seriously. Played hard and worked hard! We married young. I evolved. He did not. He was raised in a strict Catholic home where passive aggressive personality disorder, picket fences and narcissim was the rule.

      I left to heal my kids and run toward my problems and to figure out why I chose such trailer trash. Life is a classroom. I am not perfect but I have always been accountable and never purposely go out of my way to hurt.

      And, I embrace my flaws fully. I am not afraid to fail. Failure isn’t falling down (to me) … it is not getting up and (to me) was to settle for scum. LOL!

      It was so hard. And still is. I wanted that deep loyalty and facing life together through emotional honesty and by always turning toward one another. The challenge of building a life together was my greatest want.

      My ex was never my friend. He never cared. What he did care about was himself. What I find most repulsive are the excuses by the cheaters and the books that back the cheaters up. YUK!

      I am so lucky I was brave enough to leave. I found true love. I found it when I loved myself.

      I found that love. We always attract a microcosm. We hum in it and live in it. If one married young … they started out in broken youth. If one spouse takes love and life seriously … they evolve. If the other doesn’t … they cheat because they are lazy. LOL!

      Cheaters are nothin more than unevolved ppl that come into our lives to teach the victims that they deserve better.

      I appreciate all the crazy thoughts and notions of the cheater having low self esteem and how their lover meant nothing. Crap! Their lover meant everything! I find it hilarious, actually.

      I appreciate all the steps the great leaders on affair repairs go to … To help repair marriage. To me … it is nothing short of BS. Again … unless it is the type of affair I described … the fling kind.

      The cheaters shine and BS is the most fascinating to me.

      Thank you for letting me vent.

      • Holdingon

        You don’t know how much I hate what you say, and it’s because I believe what your saying. I want to believe that it is a fog, that they were kind of insane for a while, but your right, my wife did this crap for close to 3 years and I had no clue, I even asked her if we were ok on our 23rd anniversary, she said we were fine. When I finally found out what was going on and started looking into things, I found that she was sending him nude pictures the day before our 23rd anniversary, and quite a few afterwards. He was her first lover at age 15, when he cheated on her she broke up with him and then I met her, we’ve been married 26 years now, not sure we’ll make 27. It sucks because I still love her but I think it’s wasted love. She told him she never stopped loving him for all these years. She won’t talk about it and if I ask her anything she just lies. What’s bad is everyone wanted to have a marriage like ours, we never fought much and we’re always together, not hardly a problem. This is the sad part, we never had a problem until this guy got out of prison, that’s right prison, then he looked her up on facebook and the rest is history. Now she says it was all a mistake, that she really doesn’t care anything for him. It’s funny that the last message he sent her said for her to stop contacting him. If he wanted her I believe that she would have left me without warning, she used my trust against me, she knee how much I trusted her, so she had no fear of getting g caught, she didn’t count on his woman contacting me, but to hear my wife tell it his woman lies about everything, seems they have a lot in common. Good luck people, we all need it.

    • Norwegian woman

      Marie
      How long did it take for you to come to the point that you had to get out?
      I believe this is a process. You go from a broken heart, to panic, to obsessing, to trying to find answers, to trying to rationalize, to anger, the stage that I am in now. Not anger towards him, but myself. This evening, after telling him that the final chance for telling the truth had arrived, he admittet that he had called her. Once. Up to now he has told me that he didn`t have contact with her after he called her D-Day to tell her they could not have more contact. The way he rationalized what he did was dissapointing. He wanted to “end it” in a right way, because his first call was so short. Why is it important to end someting so filthy in a right way? I know in my heart he called her because he wasn`t ready to let go. And there probably was more calls…….. Believe me I will find out. And then….. my moment of truth will come, and I can no longer hide from it.

    • Jenn

      The refusal to forgive is a character flaw in and of itself. It says to the world that YOU are above making mistakes, that YOU are better than another person, and that your world revolves around YOU. I will not buy into this philosophy. I’ve made mistakes in my life, not cheating, but mistakes nonetheless.
      If I didn’t try to forgive my husband in order to see if we could have a future beyond what he did–when he is remorseful and genuinely trying–then I would prove to be as self-absorbed as he became. This doesn’t make me desperate, this makes me confident in knowing that no matter what happens, I am able to have the strength to persevere through yet another trial in life. God gives strength through Jesus Christ. With Him, I know I’ll be fine, no matter what may happen in my relationship. For those of you who genuinely believe that your husbands or wives are trying to come back from what they became, I would encourage you to read Sacred Marriage together. It’s a fantastic resource.

    • Marie

      Jenn … again … google “Idiot Compassion” these are my beliefs … people need to stop transferring my beliefs on themselves. I really don’t care what you do … your life and the way you lead it is up to you. I don’t judge you.

      Any way … NW … I became Thelma and Louise. LOL! Again … thank you Linda and Doug for this blog. Thank you so much for allowing me to get it all out! XO

      NW … hold on to your seat belt. This is a long one and unedited … so forgive me.

      NW … firstly … tell me your situation. How long? What did he treat you like, etc. Tell me your history.

      You hit it on the head. The anger I had for myself … far outweighed any anger I had for him. He was pure trailer trash with an MBA. LOL!

      I married … young, dumb and broken … as many of us do. But I evolved and when I started to wake up or grow up … I didn’t run or cheat … I ran toward him to mutually tighten and strengthen our relationship.

      Me … it was the last 8 years (Over all together for 15 years married for 10) of our marriage that was hell. Prior to that … I was the scripted wife … a doormat dumbass! LOL! I didn’t know any better … as most women don’t … and men for that matter. They just expect this from their wives cause it is scripted.

      When I noticed the loneliness and isolation I was feeling … as well as the pure laziness of this man … I didn’t run … I brought home every financial book, every sex book, every relationship book, every parenting book, every organizational book. I threw myself into therapy to heal from childhood wounds. Asked him to do the same … he refused.

      He created complete chaos in all our lives. All the books I brought home he pretended to read them … charmed me … tried for three weeks and slowly went back to his ways of isolation, withholding affection, he never communicated with me, he never shared anything real with me. He was a shifty snake. You know … the creepy kid in the corner you want to slap cause you know he is staring at you …. looking at you … judging you?

      I had to plan (for our kids and our social life … he has no friends. He was an absolute embarrassment taking him out with my friends … he was mute and never added anything to the conversation. My high powered friends didn’t like him at all) everything, take care of the kids, take care of my career … which he never helped me with either … rather he did things to sabotage my career. That was all the “wife’s job” … I was just a “daycare worker” according to him and I had it easy … according to him.

      I cherished all his accomplishments and celebrated him. He never once celebrated me. And, I just blindly put up with this. LOL! Seriously … I did!

      He put on a show to the outside world that he was this great guy. He was friendly, helpful and kind to everyone else but his family. As a VP of a company … he flirted with all the women that worked there and created a zoo-like atmosphere.

      He allowed his sick narcissitic family to indirectly attack me. The women in his family were all desperate housewives … and were terribly jealous of my career and success. He threw me under every bus within our marriage that came our way.

      I begged him for love, I begged him to be my friend, for attention … in a very compassionate way. I begged him to go to therapy and parenting classes in a very compassionate way. I asked what I could do to make things better. He screwed up our finances to the point of oblivion and never advanced in his career. He was a deadbeat.

      It blows me away. It blew our therapist away. Our therapist said … Can I write a book on you (meaning my husband). I woke up in a disease of the week Lifetime Movie. My book is about this. These types are vile creatures and cheaters.

      I was caught in a marriage, kid and career fog. H was diagnosed with passive aggressive personality disorder coupled with narcissim. Google that sucker of a disorder and it will blow you away. LOL!

      His affair lasted 2 years. He never told me he hired this girl who was young enough to be his daughter. He never shared anything personal but he did confide in her about work problems, mentored her, helped her with boyfriend problems and he flirted with her and teased her … made himself pretty for her … made her feel great. They were friends, buddies and very close.

      That is what hurt the most … he was never my friend and never was he able to share and be so complimentary to me … ever.

      She was let go cause his company was bought out. He struck up an email affair with her and said things to her … he never said to me … was a friend to her and could communicate. It was wild to see the emails.

      When I found out about the affair … we were six months into marital counseling. For the next year and a half … he lied and poured acid on my wounds. He stonewalled me … gaslit me … continued to abuse me … isolate me … lie and ignore me … ignore his kids … be unable to communicate, pull his weight with the family.

      My daughters … teens … fell into a huge depression and because they never had a relationship with their father … I was their rock but I became so depressed I could barely get out of bed. It was horrible.

      But … of course I continued to love him and treat him like a king. I was diagnosed with codependency which I would have never had if we didn’t have kids.

      What struck with me is the severity of the emotional violence over our marriage … the sick covert abuse and pathological lying … and how I bought it. This man couldn’t communicate with me but in a “Barney” or child-like manner but openly communicate, be a friend and mentor, flirt, work closely with this child … and hide it from me?

      I’ve never been jealous or would have ever kept him from having a female friend but he wanted to be validated sexually by her which is why he kept it secret. He would have had a sexual affair … if he wasn’t a castrated Catholic. I’ve always had male friends and he has always been friends with them. I never kept secret any aspect of my life. This man kept everything about himself secret … his real thoughts and beliefs and would say yes … when he meant no and could never follow through on anything.

      He neglected his children to the point of having (at the time and to date) no relationship with his daughters. The only thing our daughters knew of their father is he was mean and creepy. He threw them under buses too and never cared for their health or wellbeing.

      The only thing he expressed was anger toward them or nothing at all. He never invested anything into them. He was void of any humanity … he never made them feel special and never made me feel special … never talked to them at all. And, I kept trying to heal this man … he pretended he understood. It was balls on nuts!

      He was like Ozzie from Ozzie and Harriet. Was so bizarre.

      He never did anything a father would do. He never treated us special and never took pride within his family.

      While he was having an affair … I had a nervous break down … told him I don’t know why but I feel like suicide. He looked at me and said, “I hope you feel better”.

      He never comforted me … never showed me an ounce of emotion or love … no gifts … nothing to mark my special accomplishments … yet I did this all for him.

      Within my career … he burnt bridges. He was never able to have friends or build any friendships. Within our lives he was never able to keep any promises or follow through. I was always cleaning up messes he made. It was like living with an angry 12 year old. The pathological lying was wild. He really had me “mindf&*cked in our marriage.

      My nervous breakdown came because not only was I a single mother still loving and screwing my husband 4-5 times a week (cause I like sex … he was horrible, too. I had to initiate and do all the work within sex. He was afraid of toys and porn. I wish I could take back what I allowed him to rip from me. LOL) I had started a side business with him where my reputation was on the line. Imagine what he did to the relationships I worked so hard to build?

      That is the short version. I am telling you, girl … it is a trip! What I described above doesn’t even begin to cover the massive abuse and the warped “mindf*&k I was in.

      When I woke up in my “mindf$%k” I said therapy or divorce. We were in therapy for six months when I discovered his emotional affair. It never reached a sexual level.

      I stayed in therapy for a year and a half until my son was 8. This is a critical emotional state for young boys. If you have sons … try to wait until they are this age.

      My eldest daughters are MDs and so is my son. My youngest daughter is a CEO of a fortune 500 company. They are all in healthy relationships and enjoying very empowered lives.

      The pain of what I did to myself … is something you can’t even imagine unless you lived it. The enormity of having to forgive myself … almost took my life.

      There is a saying … everyone finds out what their truth is and he did. By the time he started trying … it was way too late. The damage was done … I woke up to the pure hate and jealousy this man had for me … hate so unimaginable … hate I allowed.

      He is now alone, no friends, no life, broke and broken. He did have a window of a chance but blew every opportunity. His children want nothing to do with him.

      Again … not because I didn’t help foster a relationship … because I did but because of the choices he made to abuse and cheat and neglect their very souls. It is a very sad situation and he is a very sad man.

      We were gifts to him. I am not your typical woman. I love life, sex, playing, sports, politics, philosophy, art and seeking knowledge.

      I am happy I did what I did. And, I am thankful he was my teacher. What a sad man and a sad ending for him.

      How I healed … loving myself and knowing I only had 3 years to get my son to the age of 8. I dove into every book I could, therapy and healed my children through family therapy and individual therapy. I recreated and reinvented myself … detached and just bought my time … being kind and helping him heal … and making sure my children were in a very calm environment.

      The best … on his D-Day … I took him out to a (He never took me out either … never planned anything special) very romantic dinner … had an artist friend make a cake made of glass with a big cherry on top. The cherry was encrusted with fake emeralds with his emotional affair chicks name in it … the cake had sentences of everything he stole from me. Half way through the glass cake … was a tiny slit where I placed separation papers. I had the waiter give it to him in a nice white cake box while I pretended to go to the bathroom but really walked out of the restaurant. Brutal as the cake was … he was served his truth.

      I never looked back, girl. Never looked back!!! He opened his truth. And it may sound awful what I did but I can tell you … it never felt so GOOD! LOL! The cake and the cherry were for ripping my soul out, an eating disorder, the destruction of his kids, my gallbladder being removed, diverticulitis, PTSD and major depression that I’ve had to recover from. And having to shoulder the mess I allowed him to create all on my own. XOXO

      • Linda

        Marie, I have been trying to absorb your comments before I responded. There are many of your opinions that I agree with. I believe that a cheater is being selfish, searching for something they believe will be better and they are definitely not displaying love or compassion while involved in the affair.

        I totally agree that when a spouse chose to break their commitment and go outside of their marriage it should not be something that should be taken lightly. The results are devastating to everyone involved and often it is a deal breaker, and the betrayed spouse has every right to leave their marriage. However , I believe the decision should lie within the individual and the particular situation. I do not agree that everyone should leave their spouse if they decide to cheat. They need to assess the situation and do what they feel is right for themselves and their family.

        I cannot speak for everyone but I would like to tell you why I decided not to kick Doug to the curb, even though the thought occurred to me almost daily. Aside from the obvious reasons, that we had been together for almost thirty years, we had a good history together that included three children, I still loved him and had very strong feelings that we could save our marriage. In addition, there were other circumstances that affected my decision.

        In the beginning I didn’t kick Doug out because I felt that I was not in an emotional state to make such a decision. I obviously was going through denial, guilt, pain, etc. to think clearly and assess the situation properly. Next, when my emotional state settled I made the choice to try to do everything I could to heal from his affair and repair our marriage. I made that commitment to myself and silently to my children. I am not a person who gives up so I put my heart and soul into this our relationship. If there was a time that I should have given up, it was because I was definitely putting more effort into our marriage than Doug was. It was a very frustrating and painful time for me and honestly I began to believe that my life would have been much better without him.

        Fortunately something happened that made Doug (as he puts it) get his head out of his ass. I don’t know if it was this website, my effort, or just the passage of ,time but whatever it was I began to see an amazing change in him. I believe he truly looked within himself and figured out how he got into this terrible mess. The changes that I witnessed were gradual but significant. There were changes in his character, the way he reacted to stressful situations, his response to me and the children, how he acted around other people.

        I truly saw that he was making an effort to repair the damage that his affair caused. These were changes that he figured out on his own, I never gave him an ultimatum or told him what he needed to change. I believe he did the soul searching that was necessary and figured out what was needed in order to become a better person and husband.

        I decided that I would rather spend the rest of my life with a man who has fallen and has displayed the courage to make up for his mistakes, rather than a man who has never failed. I believe that he (we) have learned so much about ourselves and each other and it has made us stronger ,closer and wiser.

        I often think about what would have happened if I had given up too quickly or had made the decision not to forgive. I know that I would have missed out on an opportunity to have a marriage that I have always wanted but was too naïve, comfortable or afraid to ask for. I also believe that we have given our children an opportunity to witness a couple that has made it through a difficult situation (even though they may never know the specifics or the severity) and persevere.

        This was my personal choice and while other people will never understand or agree (though I think that many of our blog readers are in similar situations), this is what I felt would make me the happiest and most fulfilled. Linda

    • Empty and Numb

      Linda,

      You’re an angel! My post about leaving have been taken
      The wrong and right way. In anyone’s situation staying
      Would not be an option for me. This I know in hindsight.
      I am not judging you or anyone who stays.

      What research I have done … Cheaters (men or women) were never good parents or spouses from the jump
      They never grew up and were always selfish.

      The above is the character flaw I speak of. The responsible spouse always had to pull the boat and then when they were exhausted and tired of the inequities they shut down.

      The cheating spouse is no longer validated for being selfish and they set out to suck off another.

      As for the kids that witness this …. They know every detail and have heard every fight. They are left to assume way too much because the affair is swept under the carpet.

      Divorce counseling fully disclosed every detail as my teens heard all the fights. This put their mind to rest.

      More to say but I’m on my iPhone! Bless you for responding! Xo

      • Doug

        Empty and Numb, I understand where you are coming from and some of your insights are valid, however what I have a problem with is your generalizations. Especially when you said that cheaters were never good parents from the jump. I can confirm both in Doug’s case and my brother’s (who is also a cheater) they were both completely devoted to their children. Family was their highest priority and they were actively involved in their childrens lives on a daily basis.

        However I can attest for a time prior to both of their affairs, they became unsettled and questioned their lives, I sort of compare it to a midlife crisis. I can confirm that when they were both involved in their affairs they became very selfish and the last thing on their minds were their children. It was all about them, how they looked, how they felt, how much fun they were having, and how they deserved all of this.

        As difficult as it was going through it myself it was equally as hard witnessing the damage my brother was doing to his family. I was able to see from the outside how little he cared about their feelings, pain, and being with them, it was all about the fun and the OP. This was so uncharacteristic of the brother I knew before, in both cases they acted like they had lost their minds.

        My point is in both Doug’s and my brother’s situation you cannot fault them for being bad parents before the affair happened. . My children and my nieces and nephew were very lucky to have dads like them. They definitely screwed up all their good by their selfishness and I positive they feel badly about that. However the generalization that all cheaters are bad parents is inaccurate on my account. Linda

    • Empty and Numb

      any way … Linda … I am curious to know before he cheated what kind of husband and father he was … was he romantic, attentive, shared in all the house and kid duties, etc. Was he a deep communicator. (change “Marie” to Empty and Numb because I still am over what my first marriage is and this blog has brought it all back)

      I really and truly appreciate the pair of you opening and sharing.

      I am really curious if Doug was a fully engaged partner. I am so glad he is doing this and healing. You have to be proud.

      In my situation … it was awful. And, I am curious to know … if you were the scripted doormat wife (that so many of us women are and men don’t mean to do it to us … we allow it) that I was?

      I want to know where your responsibility was in the affair? That is what is so confusing to me. Was it allowing you to pull the weight of the family? Or, “unpaid” work not being of more monetary value than going to a 9-5?

      Again … this blog has been so helpful to me. And I truly apologize for my direct tone. But for me … I couldn’t stay.

      It is a great thing you worked it through.

      • Doug

        Empty and Numb, that is a loaded and complicated question. Was Doug a fully engaged partner? Well for a good portion of our marriage I would say he was. We equally shared most of the household duties and those of raising our children, most projects around the house we combated together as well as having dinner every night as a family, (cooked by Doug), going to all the kids activities together, family outings, everything was a team. Unfortunately as our children became older and were involved in more activities that we could handle we became operating solo rather than as a team. We would conquer and divide which also caused a separation between us. We became passing ships and the only conversation we had the time and energy for was of the logistic sense. This put a tremendous hole in our relationship because we had been used to being each other’s best friend.

        Also we weren’t deep communicators, we both avoided conflict, which meant we rarely would have fights, but the distance and the stress we were under at the time took a toll on our marriage and we didn’t know how to talk about it. We really didn’t understand what was happening and honestly didn’t have the time to deal with it. All I know is we both began to resent our lives and blamed everything that was happening on each other. We never had an opportunity to have any adult fun, we worked, shuffled kids here and there and then fell into bed. We had become a kid centered marriage and had lost the passion and love that we had felt for each other for many years.

        I do feel that with the added activities we had in our lives that I did take a lot of the responsibility around the house. Mainly because I am very efficient, and felt that a clean house and groceries in the fridge were much more important than Doug did. I admit he did get lazy and took advantage of my willingness to do things and I wished I would have stopped that immediately but I am somewhat of a people pleaser (surprise!) . I have now learned to let things go and to let other people in my family do their share. I ask when I need something done and Doug and I have returned to sharing all the household duties.

        • Lea

          Dear Linda,

          Listening to you describe your relationship with Doug sounds familiar to me. My h was also verygood father very attentive husband until last year. He started looking for fun activities to do alone. And this spring he was full of existantialist questions. And yes, we are both conflict avoiders and have difficalt time with communication.

          But looking at you 2 i just have hope for us too.

          Thank you for sharing your experience with us!

          P.S: since the whole thing started i began reading chronologically. And i wonder what happened to your brother. Of course i don’t want to upset you, Linda.

          • Doug

            Hey lea, Lind is at work so I will tackle this. Her brother is now divorced (though technically not final) and he still is with the OW. I wrote a post last week that touched on the situation a bit. Thanks for commenting!

    • Empty and Numb

      Well, that is good to know. I was just curious if you planned, shopped, made all the holidays and birthdays happen by yourself, set up little league, directed everything, cooked, cleaned, … the primary care giver for the entire family and then worked on top of that?

      What did Doug do to run his family?

      I find this in my research … the wife does everything and has to tell the husband what to do … there is no proaction. Yet, most husbands will do what they are told and follow through on half … then wife breaks down.

      This next part is baffling, too. So, the affair is not love? It is just a “dream”? That is what I don’t understand either. I mean … most of these people were going to leave their families. Did a devil possess them?

      I get the “rush” but really? I get Tanya was just as bad for cheating … but I am certain she has great qualities … just as bad ones.

      Same with you and I … we both have good and bad qualities. I am not understanding.

      Thank you so much for helping me. XXOO

    • Empty and Numb

      I get you Linda and that … after therapy is why I had to leave. My husband took everything for granted and just let me do it. Not because I was better at it … but because he thought I should.

      I was an excellent communicator but he was a deliberate passive aggressive. None of my needs counted and there was no compromise. Thank you so much for sharing. I get it now and I still think you are a SAINT!

      I just couldn’t do it. Bless you and bless you both for helping so many!

    • Mike

      First I would like to thank Linda for this web site. Without it i think I would have been completely lost. My wife of 20 years looked up and old flame from 30 years ago. He was a stable hand and riding instructor that worked at a horse riding academy she attended when she was 17 years old. Apparently they had a sexual affair while she was living at the riding academy. She made contact with him and they started having. It hurt me very much to find out about her online affair. She tells him everything and tells me nothing. Her email between then discusses how great the sex was they had 30 years ago and how they long for each other. Before I confronted her I decided to write an email to the OP and told him that knew everything about what was going on. I ask him to leave my Wife alone and end this affair. I told him how much I loved my wife and our two children 17 and 12 and that if he ended this online and phone relationship that I would never say anything to my wife about this affair. I was hoping that he would do the decent thing and protect my wife and family for this affair and we could continue our marriage and save our family. This would have spared my wife and children and left my wife with her pride. The only one that would have been hurt would have been me. And I would have never said a thing to my wife about this. I thought that this would have been the best solution. But not surprising the OP had no morals of course and only cared about him self. The OP then took the opportunity to contact my wife and told him I found out about their affair and threatened him. Much to my surprise my wife took the OP’s side and told me she did not mean for me to find out and she did not mean to hurt me but I should leave the OP alone. Then in minutes thing quickly changed and my wife started blaming me for the affair. Now she says that the Op is the love of her life and that as soon as our youngest child is old enough she was planning on leaving me without any notice. But now that I have found out about her affair it is now all my fault and I may have ruined everything. She will not quite the affair and she still plans on leaving me for the OP. The OP is now 53 years old still in Ireland never been married or been in a relationship that lasted over a few years. Is missing some teeth has a tumor behind one eye. He does not own a house and he gets free room and board at different stables and farms were he has worked over the years. On the other hand I am a successful business man and my wife and I and the our two children live in the USA our house is paid for and I own a an established Internet business. I consider myself fairly hansom over six feet tall brown hair and eyes. I have always kept myself fit and have been a great father to my children and have been a loving devoted husband and have always been completely faithful to my wife. This affair was completely out of character for my wife. When I first found out about the affair I was floored. And when I found out more about the other man and what kind of man she was planning on leaving me for it really hurt me. I keep thing what is wrong with me. What did I do wrong? Then it came to me. I was not about me. There was nothing I could have ever done that would justify her having an affair with her old lover from 30 years ago. I could not have found the strength to survive this far without your website Linda. And I do not have any respect for your husband. I hope he is treating you like a queen and realizes what a jerk he was. Well it is now only the second week since my D day. And thing are of course looking bad. But your advice is defiantly helping me and hopefully I will keep my family together. One thing that is important for Husbands to remember it is not about you! It is about your family. No matter how bad it hurts you your children and preserving your family must come first.

      I have included a copy of the letter I sent to the OP. I hope it helps someone.
      “OP’s name” this letter is from “Fill in the wife’s name’s” husband and you need to read it completely before you do anything else. My family depends upon you making the correct decision.
      Together my wife and I have made quite a difference in this world for the better. But our greatest accomplishments are our two daughters. I know that they both have the ability surpass my wife and myself and will achieve far greater accomplishments then their parents. And of course none of this would have been possible if Wife and I would not have met each other and fallen deeply in love 25 years ago. And our love was continuing to get stronger each day and our children were living in a happy and loving home until you entered into the picture. You have taken advantage of my wife at a weak moment in her life as she is Turing 50 and like every one when Turing 50 they questions their life choices and directions. I have seen this happen many times before. Almost everyone has seen marriages destroyed by an online romance that gets between the husband and the wife. The online person is always seen as the person that can see in to their soul. At least as long as their on-line. We have seen numerous times were the wife will destroy their life and leave their husband and family only to find out that their perfect online romance was just an online fantasy. But I am hoping that you are a gentleman and man with at least some moral convictions. I request that you quit your online romance and all other forms of communication including contact either online of offline with my wife. I have not informed her that I now know about your actions over the last few months. And I would like to keep it that way. My wife is a wonderful woman and I love her more than anything in this world. I love and respect her and if you end this now I will never have to say a word to her about this and our family and what was our loving home has a chance to survive. I do not want our two daughters and the rest of our families to ever to find out about this. Again I ask that you to do the right thing and completely walk away with your dignity and leave my wife our marriage and children their dignity as well. It is now clearly the time for you to act like an honorable man. I do not know if you knew my wife’s father. I respected and greatly admired him and he was closer to me in many ways than my own father. I learned a great deal from him. And I think that by maintaining my dignity and not losing my temper over something like this even though it is completely tearing me apart from the inside out, and finding a solution that leaves his daughter and grandchildren with their dignity and keeps our family intact would be something he would respect and demand of me. If you wish to speak to me directly you can contact me by reply to this email address.

    • Kate

      Thank you both for this website, I finally feel like I have some answers and that I’m not the only one who feels like their soul has been ripped out….

      I sometimes wonder does it ever get better…. 🙁

    • Freestar 76

      Hi guys,
      I’m newbie in this new world. My husband admited last month that he has an affair with his collegeaue for the whole past year while he was in the university doing and writing his thesis for PhD and I’m at hime taking care of our 3 kids. He had a complete relation with this girl and as he said he felt terrible during this past year because he wasn’t feeling comfortable doing all of these.
      He left the girl an front of me and she was knowing that he is married and has 3 kids and asked him one time to divorce me in order to marry her.
      My mean problem now not this affair, no but because when i ask about the details and my husbband feelings now he said that he still loves her but he left her because of my sake nothing more.
      She still working with him and he can’t leave his current place not before another month and I’m burning everyday.
      I don’t know what should I do I just burn every day and every moment.
      I live down town toronto and I really appreciate if there is a woman that had his experience before and can help me in this situation.
      I returned to my home because of my kids I didn’t want them to br grown in a divorced family. I’m sorry of my words but I’m just crying.

      Please help me before Ikill myself

    • Changes

      I know this post is old but i wish someone will respond to my post. I am the CS and it’s been 16mons since D-day. My DH and i made a lot of progress after he found out the truth, by then I had ended the EA. It was really tough for us, i didn’t think my marriage will survive but i made up my mind to stick it out cos i realised my husband and kids were more important than whatever was wrong in my marriage.Eight months down the line, things were worse than before and it gets worse by the day. Now i don’t know what to do anymore. My husband is not ready to move on, he told me yesterday evening that if what i did does not kill him it will kill me. I suspect he’s having an affair of his own but i’m too scared to ask him. I am so confused…please help

    • Healing Mark

      Changes. Hard to help without more history, but let me say a few things. My wife had an EA with a friend of mine (he was not a mutual friend until shortly before the EA began and I thought it odd at the time that a guy I ran around with ocassionally – our girls were in same YMCA Adventure Princess circles – had suddenly become one of my wife’s bff’s) which I found out about after it had ended and after my wife and I had completed sufficient counselling sessions to get our marriage back on track which, unbehnowenst to me had become derailed in large part, if not wholly, due to the EA. After about 8 months after D-day things were still not so good for us due to the loss of trust and damage caused by her falling in love with another man while married to me. At that time I had not genuinely forgiven her for what she had done, although I was trying to get there. Now, understand that she wanted to be forgiven immediately, of course, and had since acknowledged that the timing for forgiveness was up to me. However, after a fight that began after a particularly hard trigger event for me, she said something the next day that hit home for me and ultimately led me to putting the affair behind us and genuinely forgiving her (as opposed to just saying it but not really meaning or feeling it). She said she can’t change what happened, knows it was wrong and is very, very sorry, learned some important lessons as a result of the EA, but simply could not be married to someone that was going to forever bring up her mistake and use it against her whenever a disagreement or fight occurred during our marriage. I thought about it and put myself in her shoes. I couldn’t take that either. So I decided that I owed it to her and our children to either genuinely forgive her and move past this terrible mistake, or seek a divorce.

      I believe that your husband needs to do the same thing. People make mistakes, and there are consequences to them. But in my opinion it is a mistake for the BS to stay in the relationship beyond a certain point if they find they simply cannot forgive the CS for the affair. You can’t change the fact that the affair occurred, and if the fact that it occurred is still making your marriage miserable and you feel like you have done everything you can possibly do to get over it and move on, then it’s best to end the relationship and begin working on making your life the best it can be moving forward. I hated my life during the period of time beginning with D-day until the day I was able to genuinely forgive my wife and once again live a productive life with a marriage that was as happy and good as it was during the best of times prior to the EA occurring.

      And if your husband is having an affair after discovering that you had an EA, that is really unacceptable and if it were my spouse, I don’t believe that I could forgive such an act. I would not call that a “mistake” and instead view it as an incredibly cruel intentional act. There is nothing to be gained by asking him if he is having an affair, so I wouldn’t do it. What I would do is express to him that the state of your marriage is unacceptable due to his treatment of you and his inability to geneuinely forgive you and move on with your lives. Just because you had an EA, your husband should not feel that this gives him a permanent license to punnish you and otherwise be unhappy with you and your marriage. Again, for the sake of his life and the lives of your children, he has hopefully done as much as he can possibly do up to this point to try to get over the EA (counselling for just me and for both my wife and I together was important for us, and the passage of time and the fact that my wife by her actions proved to me that she wanted us to remain happily married and that she deserved to be trusted again). If he has but just can’t move on, this fact is too me a “deal-breaker” and indicates that the marriage cannot be saved. Better in my opinion to end such a marriage and begin a new life than to hold on to it. A bad marriage harms so many things, including the children, who deserve to be brought up in a better environment than one where one spouse is too hurt by an affair to act in ways that make the marriage a “good” or “great” one. Again, the opinions above are all just my own and I’m not a marriage counsellor.

      Good luck and God Bless.

    • jenn

      Healing mark, this is probably the best post I’ve read in response to anything on this site. You are right–forgiveness is the ultimate key to healing. It heals the person giving it, and helps the person receiving it to have peace as well. Life is too short–you either want to be married to the person, or you aren’t willing or able to put forth the necessary effort. Most of the time that’s due to pride (the “I can’t believe you would do this to me” feeling). It takes incredible maturity to move past something like this–believe me, it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done, and I still have triggers on a regular basis. Thanks for sharing what you’ve learned, I hope others will read it and take it to heart. I know I am.

    • D

      I beg to differ, Healing Mark.

      Changes, there is far too much fear in marriage and not enough truth. If you are concerned about your marriage, if you want it to survive and be fulfilling, be open and honest with your husband. If you suspect an affair, simply ask him. If he’s having one he may lie about it, or he may open up – maybe he does want to punish you or throw it in your face – give him the opportunity so that he can get it out of his system and you both can move on with strengthening your marriage. If he’s not, then you’ve created an opportunity to discuss your concerns. Too often we’re so afraid of what we think is going to happen. The truth will set you free.

      I entered into a revenge affair partly because I needed to care for someone, I needed to know I mattered (believe me that was an entire year’s worth of therapy in that brief statement,) but I also needed to understand what my wife went through, the why’s and wherefores. And, while I wouldn’t recommend it for everybody, it helped me to recover and forgive and move on. I told my wife about this eventually because the guilt was actually eating me up. I think it kind of made her feel better by virtue of lessening her own guilt. Weird, and who’s marriage isn’t to some degree.

      Best wishes.

    • Paula

      Healing Mark

      I concur with Jenn, well thought out and articulated. Of course you can always ask if your SO is having an affair, rarely will they admit to it, unless they are ready to give it up and work on the relationship. D, whilst I am glad you were able to get some relief and understanding by conducting your own affair, I doubt that many here would get that clarity in this way, particularly the women BSs, women’s brains don’t usually work that way. I, for one feel physically ill thinking about having a “revenge” affair, it would have the effect of making me feel even worse about myself. I have a good understanding of how lonely and confused my OH was when he became susceptible to having an affair with his ex-GF, I don’t need to experience that myself to “get it.” I know how being with her temporarily soothed him at the time. And I know how the guilt consumed him after every time they “hooked up.” (Their phrase, makes me cringe.)

      changes, it takes a really long time to work through all of this, The cycles of anger, despair, brief glimpses of closeness, pseudo-forgiveness, anger, despair…. you get the picture, can go on for far too long. I hope you are getting some help here, and I agree with Healing Mark, forgiveness is the thing we are all aiming for. I have desperately wanted this all along, and have worked incredibly hard to try to get there, it hasn’t really come to me yet, not properly, I’ve thought several times during this journey that I had forgiven, properly, but realise every time, that I haven’t, not properly, I want to, it is the only way I will find any degree of peace in MY life, and jenn is 100% correct about the level of maturity it takes to achieve this. My OH has repeatedly told me that he is genuinely sorry, genuinely disgusted with his choices, wants to make us work, has learned so much (I struggle with what he didn’t already know!) and feels less likely than ever to have an affair (which I also struggle with, he’s already had one! – he says he now knows the damage it causes, why didn’t he already know that? He’d been cheated on BY THE SAME WOMAN!!) which, I of course battle with, as I feel, once the line has been crossed, how easy is it to just dip your toes over the line again, the damage has already been done.

      All the best in your healing, changes.

    • Disappointed

      My husband will not even talk about his EA any more with me. I have many unanswered questions. Dday was nov e and nov t all contact ended with his OW. He moved out right away, I think to avoid the fall out at least partially. He said no physical but will not share what they talked about in 1400 texts in one month. I have asked him what he got and he said unconditional acceptance with no expectations or judgments. When I asked what about how she interacted made you feel that way and he says he wishes he knew so he could tell me. He will not help me work thru this. Every time I try he says I am missing the point, that he left because of us not her. We are seeing each other multiple times per week and our sex life is better than ever, but he claims no closer to reconciling that he likes separation, but he acts conficted. Please can any CS help me understand?

    • Healing Mark

      Jenn, thanks for the kind words. I was very angry and hurt when I first found out, and these emotions would come back when I let them, either during a fight or argument or upon the occurrence of a trigger event. I also hated, really hated, being married to and living with a person that I all of the sudden felt I could no longer trust. The lack of trust was especially damaging for me since it made my wife into a much less attractive person to me. The fact that she developed feelings for another man while we were married, and somewhat acted upon them, also made her into a much less attactive person to me. But when I realized that my wife finally “woke up” and stopped the EA and chose to instead work with me to get the two of us back to the happily married partners we were before the EA, and once through her actions I realized I could trust my wife again and that her lies and deceptions were mostly to initially keep the EA hidden and ongoing while it was ongoing and then later to prevent me from having to deal with the fallout inevitably occuring once the EA was discovered, it wasn’t so hard for me to begin trusting her again and also to see that she wasn’t this really “bad” person that she seemed to me for many months after D-day. Had things not only gotten back to normal, but even better than normal (in dealing with the EA, I learned of many things that my wife learned during the EA that she valued in a male/female relationship, so now I am able to provide her with these and she feels as though I have become a much better friend and husband to her). and I felt as though I had done about as much as I could to get to that point, there is little doubt in my mind that we would have divorced. Not so much b/c she had an EA, but b/c of where we would have been at that point, which is an unacceptably unhappily married couple.

      As to anger and hurt, at some point I threw my last pity party for myself and also convinced myself that the anger I continued to feel for something that could not be changed was making me not only a poor husband, but also a fairly lousy father and member of the human race. What appears to me to be something that may be frustrating many BS’s out there, and perhaps counsellors as well, is that b/c of the differences in the types of people we are and how we feel about and react to different things, the line at which a BS must not get to or else forgiveness is not possible is often quite different for people. For example, I’m pretty certain that if I was not convinced that my wife and her AP had not had sex, I would not be able to forgive them and my wife and I would not be married now (Can I be certain that they did not have sex? No. Of course not. But I don’t have to be certain here. At least for me.). It appears that there are some BS’s out there that the simple fact that their partners developed feelings for another person and then started acting like so many CS’s act while in the “affair fog” is enough to prevent them from ever trusting their spouses again as well as to ever permit them to truly forgive their partners, get past (I’ll never get “over” my wife’s EA, that’s for sure!) the affair and get onto a happy marriage once again. Don’t know why this is the case, but it seems to be the case, and again, if I could not have forgiven my wife, gotten past the EA, and become once again a happily married man, I would have ended the marriage and began working on living as happy of a life as I could.

    • Healing Mark

      D. No problem with differences of opinion. In many ways, that’s what makes the world a not so boring place to live. But you and I share some of the same opinions, so let me clarify just a bit.

      I agree that sometimes there is too much fear in marriage and not enough truth. The classic “YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH!!”! Lack of honesty between two people is a good way to ruin a friendship, and it’s even more damaging when the two people are married to each other. It’s still amazing to me that the woman to whom I am married, who I’m fairly certain had never lied to me before about something meaningful (we all know about relatively harmless “white lies’ although sometimes even these might be best not made), whose friends would all list among the qualities they most admired in my wife her honesty, became a serial liar with me and others just to protect the “highs” she got from her interactions with her EA partner.

      One place that we kind of differ, but are also kind of on the same page, is with respect to Changes’ suspicions about her husband having an affair. Yes, I feel as though there is no need for her to ask him, and I don’t just feel this way b/c almost all marriage/affair “experts” out there feel this way too, but b/c the odds of her husband confessing to the affair are infintessimally small, if not zero. Shoot, my wife has said many, many times that she would always deny (and deny she did!) having an affair unless presented with incontrovertable proof of it. Not just to keep the affair going, but even after the affair ended to simply avoid the pain and suffering attendant with discovering such a betrayl. At least according to my wife, although she felt a tremendous amount of guilt at having done the things that she did during the EA, there was not enough there, nor could she imagine enough ever being there, to cause her confess to her affair. She feels fairly strongly (and unfortunately had followed through with this) that if asked by a friend whether they should confess to an affair, she would always, always, always say “No!” and advise them to do everything that they could to keep the other person from ever finding out about the affair.

      So, while I would not recommend that Changes accuse her husband of, or even ask her husband if he was having an, affair (I asked, which becomes “accused” no matter what, my wife if she was having an affair and her reactions to me each time made me feel worse and worse and only be more suspicious that she was having one, and more angry at her for what I believed to be a fairly huge lie, although in hindsight I understand why she would lie and no doubt would have done the same), I am not suggesting that she and her husband not talk about the reasons she feels that way. Or the other things that are out there in her marriage that are making her unhappy with her husband and her marriage. Clearly these things need to get out into the open, and are perhaps best brought up during joint marriage counselling sessions. As some may recall, my wife and I would see our counsellor jointly, and then separately, as we endeavored to heal our marriage. This was both just as her EA was ending (counselling helped there too!) and after D-day. Worked wonders for both of us, as there were things that the counsellor wanted us to address when we were together with her (the counsellor), and some things that the counsellor wanted to address with us separately and maybe thereafter when together. I must add, begrudgingly, that when my wife confessed to the counsellor what had been going on with her EA partner and they both agreed that what had developed had become very damaging for us and our marriage, the counsellor advised my wife that she should at some point confess to the affair rather than risk it being otherwise exposed with the inevitable fallout that would then occurred. However, the advice was also to wait on the confession until things were better in our marriage, also noting that there would really be no need to confess if after counselling we chose to get a divorce.

      Finally, D, I have found many of your posts insightful and useful for someone like myself getting over an EA. I felt as though they most likely helped others as well. But to have a revenge affair?!?!? Damn! That’s pretty low. I would say that I am surprised, and I wish that you had not shared this fact as it will no doubt taint any subsequent posts of yours, however having felt strong feelings of anger toward my wife, and strong feelings of hurt and loss of pride, I can see that much as one can be blinded by the “affair fog”, one might also be blinded by the foregoing and lose sight of the proper way to act. Now, forgive me if you had the affair with the blessing of your partner (my wife offered to let me have one affair only after I discovered hers, which I quickly dismissed). But it appears that you did not. Call me old fashioned, or too strong a proponent of the school of “Two wrongs don’t make a right.”. But it seems to me that for all those who have chosen the revenge affair route, for every 1 person who has benefitted, there are thousands if not more who have been harmed by such a choice. I may be wrong and, frankly, don’t want to hear anymore about revenge affairs. Just WRONG, WRONG, WRONG in my humble opinion and really not worth debating whether they are a possible avenue toward healing.

    • Healing Mark

      Paula. Thank you too for the kind words. Hang in there girl! I, too, were where you are and somehow got to a point where I was able to genuinely forgive my wife. I, too, had a bunch of “false starts” to beginning the process of putting the affair truly behind me and getting on with a happy, healed marriage. Very frustrating for me and my wife, but it is what it is.

      I disagree somewhat with your apparent assessment that once someone has an affair, it’s easier or more likely that they will have another one. Of course, a “serial cheater” fits this, but by definition a serial cheater is one who has no problem having more than one affair. And I agree that someone who cheats and is not discovered may be more likely to cheat again if presented with the right opportunity. But if someone simply slides unknowingly into just an EA, and then ends it once they become aware of its occurrence and the damage it has been causing, I would think that this person would be LESS likely to fall into another EA. And if you add in the discovery of the EA by the other partner, and the experiencing of all of the emotions attendant to such discovery, I would think that if the parties ultimately getting past the EA and become once again happily married, the odds of the BS having another affair are, again, LESS than they might have been had the EA, its discovery, and the healing not occurred.

      Some people do learn from their mistakes and are capable of not repeating them. Others are not. Don’t know which your husband might be, but it seems to me to be unproductive and perhaps damaging to believe that your husband is more likely now to cheat on you again simply b/c he f’ed up before. Also, I trust that most BS’s who have genuinely forgiven their CS’s have made it very, very clear that another screw up and the marriage is over. So, if the CS cheats again, they are either too stupid to stay married to are they just don’t value the marriage enough not to risk losing it over another affair. Also, as I tell my wife, she wasn’t very good at hiding her EA in the first place, and likely will not be able to hide any subsequent affairs, so she had just better not risk it and, if she feels like beginning an affair, she either needs to nip in the bud and then come to me to work on any problems that might then exist, or just file for divorce and then have a go at the “lucky” other man!

      Happy Martin Luther King Day to those in the US.

    • Paula

      Healing Mark, hear, hear! Originally, I was more upset about the emotional aspects of the affair, but, with time, the sex is the part that has done the lasting damage to my psyche. I am a very loyal person, who was raped at 20, whilst at university, and that has now become very tangled up in my mind, unfortunately, with sex. I’ve only ever slept with my OH, the one and only (I know I sound like some kind of weirdo, but that’s who I am – I’d never told my OH that he was my first and only until after dday, I guess I felt strangely embarrassed that I took so long!) I’m still trying to get to the bottom of that, I felt I had dealt with it all really well at the time, I hadn’t buried it deep, just worked through it, accepted it wan’t my fault, got medical treatment, etc, etc, it had never really raised its ugly head again until months after dday, so go figure! Contributes to particularly nasty nightmares about rape and being viciously and violently raped by the two of them every night, I keep thinking my sub-conscious will run our of fresh ideas and I will harden off to it, and it will “go away” – not yet, two and half years later, lol! I know that what you say, and what he says, about being less likely to have another affair when he is truly remorseful, and has seen the fallout, is true, but I am a little mistrustful by nature, and I was so fully and completely (stupidly?) trusting of what he was doing/saying/lying about ( I knew he took her away overnight once, with my blessing, what the hell was I thinking? – they had four children with them, I guess that clouded my judgement, but that was the kind of relationship we had, and I loved the lack of jealousy, it was important to my feelings of safety ) I also concur that knowing about it is important to avoid it recurring. My OH has even agreed with me about that. He felt that finishing it, and keeping it hidden was protecting me from the pain, and he didn’t ever want to get himself that effed up again, but he agrees that no real consequences, who knows, would we have got ourselves in the same situation again years later. I like how IFSD has commented on this very thing before, her Hs early affair, and the lack of consequences, ie, he never learned the lesson he needed to then. I also feel the same way about Ds affair, but I am reluctant to judge him for it, he was in that awful place we’ve all been in, and he made a very different call to you or I, and in his case, he thinks it helped. I know it wouldn’t help me. And HM, I know many here who have suffered the effects of an EA probably don’t understand, but having sex with your EA partner is MAKING LOVE to her/him, and that’s the part that is so difficult, sex with a party girl/one night stand/prostitute is impersonal, not nice, but it is different to MAKING LOVE with someone you really care about. My OH continually tells me that their sex was very vanilla, no spark, no intensity, etc. He suffered ED with her nearly half the time (he has a high libido usually, and we have ALWAYS made love very, very often, and he has never had that problem with me, in 24 years) However, when I asked him to leave in April last year, he met her again the following morning, and slept with her again two days later, I don’t really understand that, the sex is shit, but you’ll have some more, please? He says he needed to see why he risked (and at that stage had lost) everything for this person. He reckons it was hideous, he felt filthy and his skin crawled, and he couldn’t get out of there fast enough. There has been no contact since. Weird, but I kind of get it, the closure he required to get her out of our lives, but hell it hurt(s) that I was “forgotten” so quickly!! He was a single guy, but only just, lol!

    • Changes

      Thanks everyone for your comments, eapecially you Mark. We tried counselling but he stopped after 3 sessions cos he felt the counsellor was siding with me. He thinks that i chose to do this and if i’ve been caught i should be ready to face the consequences. I have endured every punishment he has meted out to me cos i felt i had wronged him and bruised his pride. We had another conversation this morning and i asked him for another chance, he says he will try but he gets very angry when he remembers what i did. I blame myself for everything, maybe if i had listened to him, maybe if i wasn’t so defensive and seeing the negative in everything he said things would have been different. He agrees i have changed for the better but his point is that why did i have to let the EA happen before i changed? I think i will take your advice Mark, and do as your wife did, I know he will get very upset cos he will see it as me giving him an ultimatum but i can’t continue like this forever.

      Thanks everyone for your help. I will let you know how things progress. God Bless!

    • Healing Mark

      Paula, God Bless you as you work to overcome the difficulties your husband’s affair has created. I don’t believe that my wife and her EA partner had sex, but I know they thought about it, no doubt while in the throes with me (sick by-product of my wife’s EA is that our sex life ramped up significantly which I “put up with” – smile!), so I suppose I am somewhat able to add something to this discussion. Unlike you, my wife had been fairly sexually active before I met her, so took myself back to the beginning. I understood that when she had feelings for other guys, they often had sex and did other romantic things together. That didn’t bother me provided, of course, that I was the only one then who she was sharing that aspect of her life. Granted, imagining the other man while we were married is a bit tough for me to swallow, but she’s also fantasized about Brad Pitt (I’m a good imitation?!?), and also not fantasized about anyone while with me. So I focus on the present, and trust her when she says that she is “over” her EA partner (he has made it abundantly clear that he is over my wife and truly sorry for stepping over the “line” which makes my situation a bit easier, I realize, to deal with).

      I realize that my wife loves another person’s attention and loves to connect with many different people on a basis that is much closer than your average friendship. I get it, she likes a lot of close friends, and her personality, which I love, leads her to being flirtatious at times. Until her EA, she had always not crossed any lines, and regrets now that she chose to cross a few with her EA partner. Fortunately, kissing and sex were no, no’s (she did hold hands, she admits, and says that no kissing was “honored” b/c they felt that that would almost certainly lead to sex, and for some reason, which I truly believe, they were willing to enjoy all the benefits of the EA notwithstanding the lies and deception but were unwilling to risk f’ing up a good thing by having sex, which as we all know can certainly complicate things). So again, try focusing on the present and put the “mistakes” that your husband made, which you cannot change, in the past. Your instincts will tell you whether your husband is back “in love” with you, desires only you, and is actively working to make your recovery “work” and your marriage one that makes both of you and others in your family as happy as you all can be. If he is, then lucky you!

      One final thing. Remember, that for guys, sex is sex and making love is much less frequent than having sex! Even in an affair fog, what might have seemed like making love to you was likely just sex to a man in that situation. So don’t sweat it too much. Just saying…

    • Paula

      Thanks HM. I grew up with lots of sexually active friends, it was the 80s, it seemed normal, we were mostly very aware of safe sex, etc. I have no judgement to make about people and their sex lives, as far as I’m concerned, as long as it’s all consenting and safe, go for it, I just chose another path, it wasn’t difficult, most of my best friends were male, and they just saw me as “one of the boys” I think! I knew that love had to be involved for me, and I only ever loved one guy before my current partner. We did try, but, at risk of being too graphic, he was too big for me, so lots of other stuff happened, but not intercourse, so not so innocent, lol! My OH had a “normal” past before me, and has always told me that our sex life is off the wall for him, he’s never experienced anything like it. Our sex life also went absolutely ballistic after dday, for at least six months, in quantity and quality, sizzling. It is a fairly recent thing this physical shutdown of mine. I don’t fully understand why, we will have to talk to a counsellor about this (which I am not looking forward to, but I can’t live like this.) Any sexual contact we have now, which is almost non-existent, is only achievable with me totally leaving my body, and it being taken over by a completely new persona, I know that sounds out there, but I basically have to pretend I am someone else and the real me zones out, yuck! I haven’t told him that, it would break his heart, and I can’t believe this once incredibly fabulous sexual partnership has come to this. He knows I’m struggling, but I haven’t shared my coping mechanism with him yet.

      Oh yeah, Mark, I get your comment about sex and making love, and that is totally how I saw it at the beginning (it’s just sex, who cares about that, or at least, let’s not get too effed up about that, just a form of release) but the more I learned about how deeply they felt about each other (I originally thought it was a bit of a casual fling, with one or two shags) the more I realised they had a form of love. He denies love, but he does admit strong feelings for her at the time, he did calculate all the scenarios in his head about the logisitics of them being together, for quite a fair few months, where they’d live, what would happen about child custody, what would happen to her career (we are rural landowners, she’s a city accountant who works internationally for multi-nationals.) That’s not thinking with his second head, that’s fully engaging the brain in the head on top of his shoulders!!! I know this woman really well, have done for 32 years, she’s missing something, an empathy chip, and he says it makes it impossible to make love with someone like that, because they are completely selfish lovers, and do not know the first thing about how to pleasure their sexual partner, it was always all about her, and he says it never made for any fireworks exploding overhead, lol!

      He says he never fell out of love with me, he just felt he’d lost me to the other parts of my life, I was working 70 hour weeks, at a job that required a longish commute, and I was never there, as what little time I did have away from work was spent on the kids’ activities, and I’ll fully admit, I was strung out to the max, trying to be all things to all people, and pretty angry that I wasn’t getting the support I needed to re-establish my career. We’d previously worked shoulder to shoulder for 15 years, really harmoniously, loved it, in fact, and he “got lonely” – he missed his mate.

      I wish my OHs AP would have let me know she is over him, but we’ve had quite the opposite, with regular barrages of texts, etc for two years post dday. It’s stopped now, thankfully, he finally realised that changing his phone could do that, slow learner, lol! This bunny boiler tried to mate up with many of my friends, and told them some terrible lies about me, she even had my OH doubting me at one point (someone took it upon themselves to write to her and text her, and her mother! berating her for her behaviour – and she was blaming me – I was trying to starve her of oxygen, I wasn’t going to try to keep anything going there, good lord!) luckily my friends cut her off when they realised, and they know she is a sociopath! And my OH also came to his senses and realised that I am not capable of doing that, even in anger, and that I was far too aware that any contact, good or bad, was just fueling the fire.

      Good luck changes, you can’t live with that level of anger forever, I hope he is able to eventually calm down a little and listen to your remorse.

    • Healing Mark

      Paula, most all your posts contain one or more things that crack me up! Remember, your husband may have had strong feelings for the OW, and even felt feelings you might equate with love. But it’s not the kind of love that remains after the honeymoon stage of the relationship fades away. So, no, it’s not like a one-night stand with a complete stranger. When in the “affair fog” and being incredibly smitten with this alternate partner, the CS’s do lots of hurtful things since they are expressing feelings of caring and love with such partner. These things simply must be truly forgiven to move on and be happy being married to the CS.

      Weird suggestion and perhaps you will get a laugh. A failing sexual aspect of your marriage is, as you appear to recognize, a damaging thing. Sure, there a lots of other ways to be intimate with your husband and make him feel loved, accepted and desired. But ultimately… So kudos to you for seeking help. DON’T tell your husband about your current coping mechanism, but see if he might be interested in some role playing which, I recognize, is a bit more difficult since he has had an affair. On one hand, the two of you could take on different personas (single/unattached persons) and have a one-night stand together. Another thought (again, this is dicey, I know) would be for you guys to act as though he had not yet met you and you could become another woman that he met and was seduced by. Sexy nurse, college professor, you or he picks. I’m leaving off a game where you guys act like you have never met and one picks up the other since you are coping by pretending you are someone else.

      Have fun and good luck with the counsellor!

    • Paula

      Thanks HM, your posts often amuse me, too, and they always make a lot of sense (sounds like we could start a mutual admiration society – whoops, that seems to be the starting point for a lot of these CSs, and their lack of boundary knowledge, lol!)

      Whilst I really appreciate your kind advice, I think we are a long, long way off the role playing at the moment – parts of what you suggest were previously used in fun by us, when we were healthy and whole, and I am so far off wanting to pretend we are anyone else, and I just want US to re-connect physically, the emotional repair work has been/is being done, there’s been enough other characters in our bed for the moment – well, only one extra, but that’s one too many for me. The problem is I flinch at the slightest touch, from anyone, at present, so trying to be intimate without intercourse is just as difficult! I’ve long been a little gun-shy about touch anyway, particularly from men, I always thought it was a hangover from the rape incident, I would pull back quickly after cheek kissing, panic (internally) if held too long/tightly by any man, but it was NEVER a problem with my love. I miss our chemistry, too, but I just can’t let myself go there, weird!

      Quite honestly, my OH says he was never smitten with OW, there was no honeymoon period, a fact he questioned her about a couple of times, she just answered with, “well that’s because we dated years ago, and don’t worry, you just make me feel the best I can be when I’m with you.” He would go months, at times, without seeing her, there would be text contact, but often only intermittently, as he says, he realised it wasn’t much of a match if he didn’t pine for her! Our relationship was very close, we spent so much time together for a couple of decades, and never really seemed to tire of each others’ company. When we first met, he would always call me, or just end up on my doorstep straight after I got home from work, and he says he’d never stalked anyone like that before, or since, lol! There were, and are, very obvious character flaws OW possesses, we both knew it, I think that’s why he got away with it for so long, as I just didn’t see her as a person he could be attracted to, we often giggled about some little comment or inflection, or act of hers that we saw as very flaky/fake/celebrity worshipping/just outright unkind, etc. Even now, he gets sad if I’m an hour late home from work, and I only work off-farm three days a week now, he misses me (and is no doubt in need of a lot of reassurance, also, it’s not just BSs that are insecure after this mess, and I am able to reassure him then, mostly.) Yep, counselling again next week, cool (not really, but whaddayado, lol.) Apparently we are off the childhood stuff now and onto the meat of the matter, about blimin’ time. Boy, is our shrink gonna hear some fun stuff, luckily he and his wife are also specialist sex therapists! Gag…

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