There comes a point in time in the affair recovery process when you have to decide to recommit to one another or simply survive infidelity.

By Dougaffair recovery

There comes a point in time in the affair recovery process when the partners must decide whether they are going to be married and redefine their relationship, making it the best marriage possible (commit) – or they are just merely going to survive infidelity.

When we get married we make a vow to our spouse to be faithful to them. We made a commitment.  Infidelity shatters this commitment and leaves both parties unsure of what the future might hold.

In the context of a relationship, the word commitment can be defined differently by each of us.  When defining commitment I think that often times we tend to confuse the word promise with commitment.

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Promise & Commitment

David Steele, MA, LMFT says that a promise is a verbally stated future intention to perform a specific act.  For example, “I promise to call you if I’m going to be late this time.”  “I promise to be true to you.”

See also  Taking Inventory: A New Approach to the New Year & A Betrayed Spouse’s Bill of Rights

Steele says a commitment is both a fact demonstrated by behavior, and an attitude consisting of thoughts and beliefs.  For instance, “I am committed to keeping my promises.”  I am committed to our relationship.”

“In short, a promise is something you say, and a commitment is something you do. A promise is situation-specific. A commitment is contextual.”

Richard Nicastro, Ph.D. states that when a couple is committed to one another, the union remains more important than the needs of the individual. Without mutual commitment, deep trust will never take root and intimacy will soon fade away.  Nicastro says:

“A lack of commitment reduces the buffer that holds relationships together during times of conflict and stress. Imagine living with the fear that periodic slumps in your relationship can cause your partner to bail.”

Commitment thus has a dual role in a relationship. You can consider commitment as a way to help deepen and strengthen your love.  You can also see it as a safety net of sorts.  Commitment helps to protect your marriage or relationship during the difficult periods that each and every relationship experiences.

Affair Recovery – The Decision to Recommit

As mentioned, there will come a time when we have to decide whether or not to recommit to each other.  Do you work to build something new and better within our relationship?  The betrayed spouse will need to decide whether he/she can fully give himself/herself to the other and risk the chance of being hurt again.  Many of you might not be to this point in time yet.  It typically will take you several months of recovery before you can even think of recommitting.

See also  Discussion – Do You Feel Intense Hatred Towards the Other Person?

In the early stages of recovery both parties are still feeling too much confusion, pain and emotions.  They have to work through a variety of other issues like trust and forgiveness and don’t really even consider recommitment at this point.

That being said, as recovery proceeds, failing to take the final step of recommitting can leave couples feeling as though they are stuck.  This feeling can last a long time and can cause them to remain emotionally divorced though still legally married. They settle for a relationship that neither one really wants.

If you are further along in your affair recovery process and have worked through the majority of post-affair issues, you may feel as though you are stuck.  Perhaps it’s because your relationship has never been redefined.  Do you want a marriage that is better, or do you just want to survive the affair?  You may want to ask yourself just exactly where your relationship is headed and if you both are ready to recommit to one another as you move forward together.

    62 replies to "Affair Recovery – Recommitting to One Another"

    • ifeelsodumb

      Good post Doug…My H and I have discussed renewing our vows and recommitting to each other, privately, but only when I feel that I have forgiven him 100% and can trust him again…not 100%, I don’t know that I’d ever do that again….but that’s OK…I think that’s healthier for a marriage!
      I’ve been looking around for a beautiful, private area, that will be so special to us for the rest of our lives!

    • melissa

      Fantastic post and very timely, as always. As someone who is quite a way along the recovery process, I am totally prepared to re-commit (minus, as ifeelsodumb mentions above) the 100% trust and I hope my husband is as well but the issue I have is that he does not seem prepared/able to talk about it and use words to that effect ‘I am prepared to commit to our relationship, I will not make the same mistakes, I am dedicated to you and to our marriage’. And yes, it seems that his behaviour is above board, that he has changed to the better BUT I need to hear those words and I’m pretty sure I won’t – and scared that if I raise the subject again, he will refuse to talk about it.

    • E

      Really great post and very timely for me! I believe in my mind and my H’s mind that we have committed to re-committing! So, this is still a goal for us. I guess that’s as much as I can say because we still have days every once in a while when we both have doubts. I wonder if we have those days of doubt because we have not fully recommitted. Or, is it that we have not fully recommitted because we have those days of doubt?? Not sure if I am making any sense, but I suppose that I will “know when I know”.

    • Carol

      I think it may be too early for me to feel comfortable recommitting in this way. When I think about it, I get nervous — it’s just that I made this sort of total commitment when we married, and I thought that he did, too. But now I know that in times of stress in our marriage over the last 6-7 years, instead of turning to me he has turned to flirtations (mostly online) with other women and now a full-blown EA that he hid and lied about for 6 months (there was a small physical component too — aghaghagh). It’s an awful feeling to *know* that your spouse will turn away when there’s any pressure on the relationship. So I just don’t know if I’ll ever be at the point where I would believe him if he said he wanted to be really committed this time. He has this fantasy that he will propose again, in effect, that we will have a recommitment ceremony with sacramentalization of the marriage, and then live happily ever after the rest of our lives. But the trouble is that I know we won’t — nobody ever does: there will always be stresses and strains and problems. And what he has done consistently throughout our marriage is to withdraw at the first sign of trouble (and now, I learn, to turn to other women for ego strokes). Is it just too early for me (5 months since I found out about the EA and all the other stuff, too)? Or is my reluctance to recommit a sign that I won’t be able to do it? I have always felt that I could not get past the lying that an affair thrives on ( as so many people have said, it’s not just the affair but also the deception that kills you) and I worry that that is in fact the case — not so much for my own sake as for the sake of my kids. If the marriage cannot be put back together, they will be devastated. 🙁

    • Paula

      Very good post, Doug, and one that has made me think (again!) I have been tossing this very concept around a lot lately. I want to be able to fully recommit to this, but I am unable to. (Yet?) I am still in survival mode, and as time marches on, I am starting to doubt that I can ever promise myself to this man, as I cannot fully forgive what he has re-awakened in me, with the fears and nightmares driving me mad. I am calmer, I am stronger, and I do still love this man, and understand his pain when he made this decsion, but I still don’t understand how he dismissed me in order to do what he did. I have now just promised myself to stay until our youngest leaves for uni, in four years time. Beyond that, I don’t know. I can’t believe this is me, the girl who told people that “staying for the children is utter BS, because you need to bve happy to raise happy children!” But here I am, I’m not JUST staying for them, but it is a big lure. We don’t dislike each other, in fact we love each other, and we still have really good times together, but I can’t recommit to him, as I can’t seem to forgive him for stuffing all of the loveliness up. And then, of course, I feel bad, for not being the bigger person here 🙁 Thanks for the post, further food for thought

    • WriterWife

      This has been an issue for me/us. My husband had an EA with his co-worker/our best friend. Because of the work situation he sees her every day and is still trying to hold on to her as a friend (for example, he refused to defriend her on Facebook). I’ve asked him to recommit to me and our marriage — at least for the rest of the year while we work on our marriage and he says he can’t.

      He’s said that he can’t say whether he’ll be able to stay married to me — that all he can do is try to figure out “who he is” and then see if “that guy” is compatible with me. I asked if he still loves me and his response was, “I don’t think I can love anyone until I love myself so I have to work on that first.” While I understand that to some degree, it makes me wonder how long I should sit around twiddling my thumbs with a husband who isn’t even sure he loves me.

      Even worse, several therapists have suggested that he’s depressed (he’s mentioned several times that he feels nothing and is emotionally numb) but he’s refused to say anything to our doctor even though he had an appointment today. Our marriage counselor said that as long as he’s depressed he won’t be able to make any decisions which includes ending it with the OW and choosing to commit to me. I’ve already gone on anti-depressants so I know what it’s like to be in his shoes — I just wish he’d understand how hard it is to sit around and wait for him to “get better on his own” as he insists.

      I recommitted to him and said that I’d forgive and trust him again, but it’s hard to keep that commitment when he’s not reciprocating.

      • Greg

        WriterWife,
        You and I seem to be in the same place interms of where our relationsships are. She is still trying to find out about hersilf and is not sure if she wants to stay and commit or end it. she has been diagnosed with depression and has been on medication for it for a few years now and had the dosage upped affter her EA was discovered. We’re 7 months in to trying to recover and will be starting couples therapy in two weeks after having done a few months of individual therapy for each of us.

        While I truly do love my wife I am not able to forgive her yet as she does not feel bad about the hurt she caused me, she is just numb toward me at this point. I have told her that I am sorry for the pain i have caused her in the past but she is not able to accept that yet. All I can do is wait it out and hope that witht he couples therapy we will be able to move forward from this limbo position. I’m not sure which way we’ll go, either stay married or divorce, but this in between setting is killing me.

    • Bobse

      If the CS is not commited, When do you give up? I’m having trouble letting go of hope.

    • mona lisa

      My H has said that we should recommit and renew our vows. However, I can not get past the lies and deception he chose to do.. He has said that he did think about the devastation of our marriage, that he did know that he was wrong every time he chose to text, email, or call her. BUT, he also said it was not enough to make him stop. Furthermore he admitted that he had already made the decision to have sex with her if they got the chance to meet at some point. I am sure that had he not been “caught” he would have gone into a full physical affair.
      I can’t even look at him without thinking about all this crap. Every once and again we have a good time by going out to do activities, but then it all comes rushing back when I have down time. This month will mark 2 years since this happened and I care less about him now than I did right after I found out about this nightmare. So recommitting, or renewing vows will not be in my near future.

    • Paula

      I’m with you there mona lisa, I could not consider a vow renewal (we are not married in the first place – I didn’t want to – he asked me many times in the early years – I just asked for honesty, love, fun and fidelity, if there wasn’t going to be fidelity, honesty in facing that truth, and time to move on – I lived by those principals, I treated him with the utmost love and respect, thinking it would be mirrored back to me – it was for more than 20 years) as, for me, the first time he wouldn’t have meant it anyway! We’ll be THREE years along this particular life path mid-May, and you can’t ever escape the reality of the fact that he f*#^%d someone else, many, many times, in our houses, even once while our children were in the same house, on our farm, in our cars, wherever else you may like to imagine, without protection, silly, silly man, you can’t ever make up for that, you can only carry on, he’s done his best, but it doesn’t erase his selfish actions, and I’ve known that from the minute I received the text from the OW, smarmily telling me all about their affair, right under my nose, it’s done, can’t be undone. God, I read that and just wonder who the hell this man is? He bears no resemblance to the one I lived with for the first 20+ years! If any of you met him, you would NEVER think he was capable of such betrayal, my best friends have even said, was it some kind of weird nightmare, did it happen? Can’t have, he’s too good a guy, lol!

    • Patsy50

      It was a year ago end of Oct. since husbands EA. We did renew our wedding vows for our 40th anniversary . But I did it because husband needed to be reminded what he committed to in the first place. I have always been committed to our marriage from day one. There is forgiveness, but trust will never be 100percent.. Both parties must be willing and want to work together to rebuild a totally new relationship .And hope for the best, for there is never any guranetee.

    • mona lisa

      EP,
      If it “hurts your heart” to live without your girlfriend, then GO to the other woman and let your spouse have a chance to move on. If my husband gave an indication that he missed his whore, then I would help him pack his bags!

      • Yeah, Right

        I agree Mona Lisa! This post ticks me off unbelievably! EP, you were on your way to my empathy till you blew it about your black heart hurting! F that! How can you possibly expect your wife to recover or forgive, in any way if you still have feelings for your girlfriend! Jeez. You CANNOT have your cake and eat it too! Recommit????? Please…

    • Surviving

      @EP,
      Maybe when you recommit to your wife she will do the same. Right now you are doing the minimal of things ie: giving her access to your passwords. But as you say your heart hurts. Right now your wife’s heart and more hurts. There is alot more work that needs to be done on your part before your marriage can start to rebuild. Instead of focusing on your “hurt heart” you need to figure out why you did this to your wife and what you can do to help her heal.

    • changedforever

      It was a year ago today, March 6, that we wrote a list of ‘committments’ to each other, signed & affirmed to it together 3/6/11. The list included all the neceassry promises…our marriage as the most important relationship we have, avoiding anthing that each othe feels would be uncomfortable for the other, not ever again taking our issues outside of the marriage, respecting each other, being honest, etc. That was days from just 5 mths from DDay#1. That action followed 10 wks of marriage counseling & guidance, marriage related webinars, countless books & discussion…and support from this site (mutually!) Less than 3 mths later (last June,) while we were actively planning our marriage vow renewal trying to ‘salvage’ what was left of our 25th anniversary year, I found out H was involved in continued contact w/the OW thru a secret IM acct. (DDay#2) Only reason this secret acct eventually was admitted to? We were planning our religiously themed renewal ceremony for the 1st day of summer, the summer solstice, in an attempt to resurrect that time of year so soiled from the summer prior. 3 weeks before the ceremony, I found out I tested positive for HPV thru a routine PAP test & was so hurt & surprised that yet ANOTHER bomb had dropped that I put the HPV pamphlets I was given on the windshield of the OW’s car on my way home from the doctors’ office. That was the week following my hearing of the test results having to return for a biopsy..scary stuff!
      When the OW realized I knew where she lived & what she drive, who do you think she reached out to? And who do you think was dumb enough (still) to respond? And who again, was dumb enough to print out the OW’s message & lie about how he ‘found the printed message on his windshield after work?’ Lies, lies & more lies…when does it stop? Triggers & more triggers now involve the 1st day of summer…& renewing vows.
      I will never know what is truly the truth ever again. I want to know but solid ground under one’s feet is not to be take for granted. I guess you can say, I am one of those who is ‘stuck.’

    • Surviving

      @EP,
      When you say your needs met thru your wife, and prior to that your needs met from the EA partner, Your wife especially being 3 months out is hurting and if she is like me cannot even try to meet your needs. There is alot more you can do to help her heal, but if she senses that your heart is hurting for this other person then why should she? It could very well be two years from now and unless the work is done on your part it won’t matter if she forgives you or not the marriage still won’t be rebuilt. Forgiveness is to relieve the person from pain not to rebuild a marriage. Trust that was given had now been broken. If my husband said his heart was hurting for this other woman the door would be literally slammed in his face. You can’t rebuild a marriage with a third party in you head and heart.

    • E

      EP, I find your comments very interesting and thought provoking for me. You sound a bit like maybe how my H feels, he ended contact with OW 5 months ago. For the first month he was grieving over me because I had left our home. During the next two months or so, I could definitely see him grieving OW. I have forgiven, but still hurt from time to time, and trust still eludes me. My H is very transparent, and I believe is being honest with me also. But, after reading this post yesterday I went home and discussed it with my H. I told him that I felt like there was still doubt looming between us as I mentioned in a comment above. I told him that I am ready to end all of that doubt and recommit and that I needed that from him. He said that he is committed to me and to our marriage. But he also implied that he still struggles with his feelings, which is something I suspected. He put a percentage on it … which I felt was so enlightening for me. It is so very frustrating to not know where my H is with his personal progress (getting over OW). He said that he was at 90% … but that 3 months ago he would have said 70%. I told him that I couldn’t settle for 90%. I think if he is at 90% then I am at 85%. Does this make sense? Maybe this could help you understand your wife a bit … if you are still struggling with feelings for OW, then I would bet that your wife knows this – even if you don’t say it outloud.

    • Ifeelsodumb

      EP,
      I would recommend that you read the posting on the 4 Stages of Recovery that is on this blog…and ask your wife to read it also, so you both know what is coming down the road! I have found that it is spot on to the feelings we BS go through! It’s often said on here that it’s like a book that we have all read, because you CS pretty much follow the same pattern, as do the BS!
      And as for Mona Lisa sounding like your wife, read what I wrote above…it is SO true!! The many, many times myself and others have said “Oh my gosh, my CS did that also….or my CS said that too”….

      EP, does you wife KNOW that your heart is still with the OW? If so, THAT could be what is holding her back and hurting her so much!! I know that would do it for me!

      What are YOU doing, besides transparency, to help your wife heal??
      My H did transparency…but guess what? It was no big deal to me…because his CP records and email were ALREADY open for me to access…except I didn’t ever check…because I TRUSTED my H!!
      So yes, transparency is a big help to your W, IF you had closed her out before…
      What else are you doing to help her heal? This is a BIG one for me…because my H took over a year to finally get his act together and start working with me to heal our marriage! And no, it wasn’t because he was pining away fro the OW…at least I’ve never found ANY evidence of that, and trust me, I looked!!!
      It was because he ALWAYS puts off anything unpleasant…. and that’s where a lot of MY issues are with him now!
      He acted like me and our marriage were not that important to him….Like I wrote down yesterday in my journal “Why didn’t you love me enough to help me? This I don’t understand”!
      So if your wife doesn’t see you putting forth a 100% commitment to the marriage…to HER, then you are wounding her much deeper than when she found out about the EA…TRUST ME on this, EP!!!
      Also, will your wife come on here and let us help her…I have found that this blog, and the friends I have made on here, has been such a lifesaver for me!!
      I had never heard of an EA…I didn’t even know what to call what my H had done, it wasn’t an affair, since there was no sex, and she lived hundreds of miles away…it wasn’t a friendship like my H said, because he talked and texted for hours a day, secretly…..when I found this blog, it was like a weight was lifted from me!! Your W needs support right now…and she can find it here!
      As you can probably tell from my writing, I’m still a little angry with my H…even though we are doing much, MUCH better.
      But when I get shaky inside, when the thoughts start hitting me, “has he REALLY changed, can I REALLY trust him, why did he do this to us” Yes, I then get angry over the sheer stupidity of this man I’m married to…and it’s been 14 mos now!!
      You are on a very long road, EP…you might as well get use to it! And that’s another thing that makes me angry….my H NEVER thought about me and my children when he made the decision to get involved with the OW…but we pay the price….daily!
      So you see, anger is still there, and until I can get rid of it, there can be NO forgiving!
      Love your wife EP…love her and let her know how very, VERY sorry you are…tell her daily! Maybe if my H had done that, I would have forgiven him 100% by now….who knows?

    • Pippi

      EP,
      I relate to Mona’s comment about caring less for my husband since early on. I just passed my one year Dday anniversary.

      Here is my two cents: When I first found out about the affair I was in total shock. Even though his affair had been long over when I found out, I went through a period of trying to prove to him (and to myself) that I was still lovable and desirable. In many ways it was a bit of a honeymoon period albeit filled with lots of trauma and turmoil.

      But, as this past year has progressed my husband, even though committed to staying married and doing everything he can to prove his love for me, has not done enough. He has not done enough soul searching, not taken enough initiative for his own education about affairs and why he did what he did and, as a result, he has not been able to help me with my healing. And, I don’t in any way feel safe around him.

      He just gets frustrated that I’m not healing fast enough (in his opinion) or that I’m still asking questions. So, as the year has progressed and the shock of it all has worn off a bit, I’ve moved closer to wanting a divorce than I have to re-commitment.

      It takes time to figure out what you really want after discovering what your spouse is capable of. And, sometimes after thinking about it, a BS decides that they just can’t ever love their spouse the way they once did, if at all. It is sad but some hurts go too deep. My two cents . . .

      • Lynne

        Pippi-

        I’m curious as to whether you’ve been to counseling together? If so, what is your counselors assessment of whether he is/is not doing the necessary work on himself?

        I completely understand how his lack of involvement in digging into the “why” of the affair feels so disconcerting. My own H couldn’t even understand the question when I told him that learning why he did this was the key to unlocking something inside himself–why he made the choice he did and what it was giving him. I almost smacked him when he said “what do you mean, why did I do it?” He acted like I was speaking to him in Chinese!

        To this day, he says that he’s so sorry, he really f***ed up, but he wasn’t getting anything out of it. He thinks me naive if he really believes I’d buy this after 5 years of secrecy and lies with a woman he thought was attracted to him, and was pursuing him. As I said to him, if there was “nothing” to it, then why hide it! His response was, I didn’t want you to be upset about it…..and I said, “well I think that worked out really well, don’t you?”

        • Pippi

          Hi Lynne —

          Yes, we’ve been in counseling together since about a month after Dday. We are on our second counselor as the first one just didn’t seem qualified to help us. I’m also seeing a separate counselor on my own to deal with the trauma this has caused me.

          My husband is use not very open to counseling. He goes because I make him. But, that was kind of my point to EP. The CS needs to make an extraordinary effort to prove (via actions) to the BS that they are taking a close look at themselves and trying to understand their own behavior.

          If they don’t do this, then how on earth are we BSs ever suppose to feel safe???

          My husband, too, has thrown the OW ‘under a bus’ since Dday saying things like she meant nothing to him, he didn’t love her, he wishes he never met her. I think the lack of honesty is also telling and we BS can feel it in our bones.

          Like EP’s wife, we know. We may not have known at the time but once we know, we KNOW. And, now that we KNOW, the CS are not going to fool us with the ‘she meant nothing to me’ statements.

          If she really meant NOTHING, then why, oh why did you risk EVERYTHING????????

    • mona lisa

      EP,
      I will try to answer your questions. Right after I found out about the EA, I was a complete mess. I went through the same emotions that most everyone does. I thought I wasn’t pretty enough, thin enough, loving enough, etc. So I was going to prove that I should be the one he wanted, not the OW. We went on a two week vacation, had sex a couple of times a day, spent quality time, and had a great trip. However, when we got back to reality, I knew I had to find out “Why” my H decided to go outside our marriage. I would ask questions about how many times he talked to her, what they talked about, how many emails he sent, ect. He told a few things, but would lie about most everything I would ask. Most of the time the only response I would get is ” I don’t know” or ‘I can’t remember”. So after 2 long years, he still gives the same answers and just doesn’t understand why I ‘won’t leave it alone”. Basically, I feel like he wants me to settle for less than honesty, and I can not do that. Because of his refusal to come clean, I have built up a wall so high, I don’t think it can be broken down at this point.
      He thinks websites like this are foolish and serve no purpose. Hell, I have even contacted the OW in an attempt to get answers. That did not turn out so well.
      Bottom line is this….. All I have asked from him is honesty, and since he refuses to comply, I will NOT have a forgiving heart in the near future.
      As an end note, I have to say that the funniest response I have gotten from him about why he had the EA was ‘ it was something to do”. Now you got to love that!

      • Paula

        Pippi and mona lisa

        I TOTALLY get where you guys are at. I have had a real battle getting my OH to understand that this is a process that you just HAVE to go through, talking about it, then thinking it will go away is like pushing the proverbial uphill! It doesn’t work like that, and I think women, in particular, invest so much of ourselves in our relationships, that we can tend to lose ourselves to them (and children) My OH has been willing to do the work, he comes to the counsellor with me, does all that is asked of him by the counsellor, opens himself up, but I know he would MUCH rather not be there. Of course, if you let it, that angers you, because why are we bloody well there in the first place!! I get really pissed that I asked to go to counselling before he even was discovered, it may well have even been before he started sleeping with her, as I “knew” (felt) there was something off, and he refused, he could have avoided getting himself backed into the corner he felt he was by JUST TALKING to me in the first place, man, you’ve no idea how furious that makes me. I understand your feelings of being less connected than in the beginning, completely. We, too had the “honeymoon period” of probably 5-6 months, you just think if you work on yourselves, you’ll be okay, and the blip on the radar will fade, it doesn’t, it is an indelible mark on your life, and completely unscrubbable. I also am coming to the conclusion that there are some of us who just won’t ever be okay again, no matter how hard we work, no matter how much we want it. I’m afraid I may well be one of these, and I want to be more like blueskyabove, for example, and able to come to a place where I am at peace with the past.

        • Paula

          Oh, and the last comment by your H, mona lisa is absolutely priceless, lol!

          I have a little anecdote to share, once, when I was at our lakehouse with our kids, I invited the OW down to stay with her little boy. (Obviously, well before I discovered what she was doing with my OH!!) She knew my OH wasn’t coming, but she came down anyway (she was an old friend of mine) – by this stage they had been shagging for about 13-14 months – anyway, OH did get a chance to come down, a couple of days later, and when he was there, we were sitting about enjoying a glass of (my, she never brought anything, anywhere!) Pinot Gris, and OH went off for a fish, the stream mouth he was fishing from is just a few hundred metres from our house, and as he wandered away, in his waders, OW’s little boy (about 4 1/2) yelled out, Dad! Dad! Dad! (He’s never had a dad.) OW went a bit white and said to me, “he’s not his Dad, you know!” I just roared laughing and said, “of course not, I know that!” When I look back on that incident, I nearly retch, why didn’t I see it then??? Stupid, stupid woman that I am!! My OH never knew about this until after Dday, he says he can’t believe she even said that, but he does, he now knows how screwed up she is!

          • Pippi

            Paula —

            You are not stupid. I have quite a few things that I can think back on and say ‘how could I have not seen it?” But, you trusted your husband. Who would ever imagine this horrific mess as their life? This only happens in the movies or on TV.

            Sometimes I just marvel at things I’m emailing to my friends now and I think “whose life is this?” THIS is not MY life.

            What I’m living now is nothing I could have ever imagined or made up. I’m (was) a boring mom of two and I live in the ‘burbs. I’m not really sure WHAT happened to THAT life. But, it’s gone.

            Long. Gone.

            • rachel

              Pippi,
              That life for me to is gone.

    • Surviving

      @Mona Lisa, I have contemplated calling the OW just for some answers but I keep reading how it isn’t a good idea. Did you get any clarity from the OW?

      • mona lisa

        Surviving,
        The only thing I got from the OW was a lot of bullshit! She must have gone to the same school of BS my H attended. She told me nothing, other than how shocked I would be IF I only knew about some of the conversations they had.
        If answers is what you want, my advice would be to NOT contact the OW. It will only enrage you and set you back in your journey. At least that is what happened with me.

    • Surviving

      @Mona Lisa, love your line same school of BS.

      @EP why don’t you like to talk about the details?
      Why didn’t you leave your wife if all this was going on with you? Was the OP married also?

    • E

      EP, I applaud you for wanting to save your marriage. But for me, honesty was what I needed. It spoke volumes to me and yes it hurt and still does but it still helped me to begin to heal. Maybe that doesn’t make a lot of sense but if your wife is like me, she knows when you are holding back. And she cannot begin to move on knowing that.

    • Disappointed

      EP – can you explain more about the smiles, caring and attention? Were you really not getting those things from your W. My H does not want to talk about his EA, and I need to. He said she smiled and it was fun and exciting. But he told me he was in love with her. And two weeks out with tears in his eyes how much he missed her. She said NC and I believe there has been none. My husband and I have been intimate (some bss will hate that) and he says he prefers to think of it as just sex because if he thinks of it as making love it confuses him. That hurt me so much because I think that is because of feelings for her. I dont understand how the whole time their month long texting was going on we were not living like roommates. He still blames me for not tending the marriage and putting him first. But I know that is not true. I am fighting for a chance to try again…do you have any insights? We are 4 months from d-day and he is living separately. This limbo place is killing me. I am afraid that if he keeps taking so long that my love will start to dimish for sheer survival sake. This is the most painful experience of my life.

    • mona lisa

      EP,
      You say that you have used the same I don’t know and I can’t remember because you don’t want to go there. What you don’t realize is this….. Your wife knows that you remember and she knows that you know the answers, but are withholding. Please, for Petes sake, tell her the truth about everything. The brutal truth is far better than a beautiful lie!

    • JJ

      EP,

      There were a couple of little things in your responses that set off little alarms. Those were the following:

      Talking about someone else meeting your needs, that your heart is still with the OT and you know it feels right and wrong at the same time, and attempting to supress those feelings.

      Personally, I think there is a very large link between EAs and codependency.Those three alarm bells seem to speak to me of some form of codependent behavior.

      On the first note, nobody, not even a spouse is responsible for meeting your needs. The only one that can meet your needs is yourself. Yes, in any relationship, there are needs we get from ou partner. But it seems that typically when we talk about EA’s, the needs we feel are being unmet are not the types of needs that is our partners responsibility to fill. They are personal voids where we allow someone else to become a distraction from the issues that are really bothering us. We are actually using that other person, and using them to take time and attention away from ourselves.

      And why does it seem to work at the time? Because we found someone else just as emotionally messed up as ourselves. Why is it that most EA’s or affairs that develop into relationships never work? Because the attraction was to another damaged individual. Think about it, wouldn’t a “whole” person not become involved with you, knowing they deserved more that an attached individual?

      Why are you still in turmoil, know it’s wrong, and trying to supress wht you feel? I really dont know all the details, but i would venture a guess that you havent yet developed the ability to detach yourself from the situation, become introspective, and figure out what needs you are not meeting yourself.

      My wife and I had an interesting discussion over dinner tonight. Like everyone else in the world, we both came into this relationship with baggage. And at different stages of the relationship we would either work on our baggage, or add to it. At times, either of our baggage might be the size of a piece of luggage, or as small as a backpack.

      What seemed to happen over the last few years is that I kept adding to my baggage, and adding a whole new set of travel luggage to carry it all. And it got added by suppressing things, hoping that if they got buried, that over time they would just go away.

    • changedforever

      Wow…EP, when I read your last post, your comments could be that of my H. I am glad you are here to interact with this community we have here. I know you provide an insight for me into my H’s perspective of thoughts. I wonder how many others can relate to your comments as a CS….from a BS’s standpoint…

      • Yeah, Right

        I’d like to post a challenge to other CSs to respond here. I think a lot of us BSs would like to hear what the “I dont know” and “i dont remember” really mean. Is it as we suspect, that you do remember, but you just dont want to talk about it? And if so, is the basis for not wanting to talk about it that it’s painful/embarassing, etc. for YOU, or are you trying to protect your BS partner? Or both? Please elaborate.

    • Dee

      EP

      You don’t have to tell your wife you still have feelings for the AP……she will just ‘know’ this.

    • Notoverit

      E, if your wife asks a question that you have an answer to then tell her. You might preface it with your trepidation, i.e. “I know this is going to hurt you and you have to remember at the time I was an idiot etc. BUT we BS know when our OHs are lying. It’s this deep-seeded intuition that tells us the CS is lying. Maybe your wife feels that way. My counselor told us to write down the questions and deal with them a bit at the time. There have to be rules – no yelling, no accusations, be calm and if you (Me as the BS) feel like you are getting angry, say so and take a time out. Perhaps if you set a structured way to discuss the answers to her questions you can be more honest with her. My H was always afraid of how I would react so he withheld information. Eventually it came out and that started the whole loop all over again. Get it over with now, put it on the table and continue working with your wife.

      As for the feeling things still for your OW, there have been CSs on this site that have gone through that too. I know it infuriates all the BSs here but those seem to be legitimate feelings that have to be worked through by the CS (I still don’t understand – you choose to stay with your OH and you’re still feeling something for the other person – really hurts). Just try not to share too much of that with your W right now because I would actually smash something over your head about that little revelation. Seriously. That can come out later when you and she have healed a bit more.

      Understand that people on this site are also hurt and looking for answers. It might get a little heated but we all want to learn. Thanks for sharing your views; it must be hard for you.

    • Yeah, Right

      EP, I have to apologize for my reaction yesterday. This forum should be a place where you can come to honestly and openly comment. It’s not constructive to reply with anger (well, outrage). For me, I personalized your comments to my situation, because I know for a fact that my cheating husband struggled with his feelings of loss for his AP, especially in the first 6 months. I can’t begin to explain the pain, hurt, and anger that that realization brings. But I did not need to take it out on you! It’s now been 17 months since D day, and I think we’re much farther along, and neither of us are in the crazy emotional sh**storm that we were at in the first few months. You’re still there though. My best advice is to not expect this to go away quickly or easily, or ever, for that matter. Betrayal like this cannot be taken back, and saying you’re sorry will never make it right. You’re relationship will never be the same as it was, no matter what you do. But it can get better, IF you are willing to own up to what you did, put all of your feelings and defenses aside for awhile, and focus exclusively on her recovery, and winning back her trust. You can ONLY do this through ACTIONS, not words. Words are empty, and she no longer trusts them. You have to show her every day that you’re sorry for what she’s going through, and you’re not going anywhere, and she’s the #1 thing in your life. Period. And you have to tell her the 100% truth about everything, and not just when she asks. Trust me, she knows you better than anyone, and she can tell when you’re not being honest, even by a little bit, and even when it’s to protect her. That 1% of dishonesty and/or not telling the whole story is what holds a BS back from healing – at least for me. Until the CS is ready to be wholly transparent, it’s very very difficult for the BS to move forward.

      • Pippi

        Yeah, RIght —
        That is amazing advice. So succinct. I’m printing that out for my CS.
        — Pippi

    • Lynne

      EP-

      Your comments about the “I don’t know” and “I don’t remember” really struck a chord with me. My H used these a lot, particularly the latter one. He’s tried to convince me that he just has a really bad memory, but it’s interesting that he has a good memory for things not related to the EA. I’m curious from your prespective (and other CS’s), is this just a party line answer that you give when you don’t want to out yourself/behaviors?

      I’ve never contacted the OW, but I have thought about it a few times, just to get the real answers, instead of the “I don’t remembers”. This is what these kinds of responses do to us BS’s–we don’t trust that we are being told the truth and it really does prolong our healing! I CAN HANDLE THE TRUTH–just wish I could get it.

    • Ifeelsodumb

      Well…after reading the posts from just the last two days I have to say…HELLOOO CS’s out there…did you get that???
      HONESTY…that’s what the BS wants AND needs!! Get it?? We KNOW when you’re NOT telling us the truth….just do it, OK??
      The “I don’t remember” ,”I don’t know” lines are NOT going to help us heal…nope, not gonna do it at ALL!!!
      YOU want to stop talking about the EA…YOU want to put it behind you? Then ya better get with the program…because it’s not going away..until YOU decide to be honest with your BS…AND yourself.

    • Surviving

      @EP
      Thank you for posting on here and being so honest.

      I am almost two years from DDay and something you are saying resonates within. When you say you are with your wife because she is the right choice and your AP you were starting to trust but hadn’t quite.

      So that’s where I’m stuck, I want my H to want me 100 percent because of me, not because the O W may not be the right person for him, does that make sense? It’s like when my H took his wedding vows he wanted to marry ME.

      How long was your Affair? How did your wife find out? How did you end it? Did you AP spouse also find out?

    • beeleave

      I am almost six months since D Day and I have cried every day since I discovered my husband’s PA. We have not been apart since that day. He has given up his job so we can save our marriage and we work on it hour after hour after hour. I am totally committed to him and I want to believe that he is totally committed to me, but this is where I get stuck, -I was already committed to him for over 20 years. He broke so many rules and I am haunted continually by images I have formed in my head from the facts he has told me. He tells me I now know everything, I wish I could believe that, but once somebody has slept with someone else over a period of eight months, why would you ever believe them again?
      In November 2011 just two months after D Day we were both very keen to re do our vows, which we did privately. He put lots of effort into writing how he truly felt about me, promising that he would never go wrong again, but I felt as if I did not need to promise anything new, as I had not broken any of my marriage vows.
      He now wears a ring, he did not want one when we got married nearly 20 years ago. Somehow this recommitting to one another has given us both a degree of stability, and we have built on that day after day. We both really needed a positive focus in amongst the horror and nightmare of it all.
      I really struggle every single day with the knowledge that my husband made so many mistakes as we both still love each other madly. Now he believes he has woken from his midlife delusion, opened his eyes and tells me I am a pot of gold that he did not fully appreciate for a while. We talk for between three and six hours a day about it and it’s been both cathartic and very tiring. I now need some way of coming to terms with it and moving on.

    • csb

      It is now 5 months since DDay for me (H had 1 1/2 year ea with old girlfriend, reconnected on FB).

      The topic of Recommittment hits home with me at this point. While we all know that the trust will never be the same, I feel that my CS has severed all ties and is truly trying to rebuild. While the tearful discussions become less and less, I still find myself stuck. I know I have not forgiven him, which probably is causing a lot of these feelings. We are going through the motions, as we did before the EA, even making more attempts at focusing on us, such as going out to dinner, etc.

      I think my CS thinks we’re doing so much better just because there’s no constant discussions and we’re like the “old days” in his eyes. Can anyone tell me how they worked on rebuilding and recommittment while they still had the lack of trust and hadn’t forgiven the CS? Also, how do I not appear grateful that he is trying, yet let him know it’s not enough to “go back to normal”?

      • Healing Mark

        csb. Don’t beat yourself up at having not yet reached a point where you are able to genuinely forgive your H. At 5 months I had not yet reached a point where I could genuinely forgive my wife for her EA and the lies and deceit that resulted from it. Sure, I had told my wife a couple of times before that point that I forgave her, but soon thereafter it became apparent to one or both of us that I had not actually done so. My recollection of this point in time of our relationship was that we were doing more things to get genuine forgivness rather than things that might be viewed as “rebuilding and recommittment”. Big problems back then were my wife’s unhappiness at not yet having been forgiven (we each agreed that if I determined that her EA was something that I for whatever reason could not, or would not, forgive, our marriage would have to be ended), the larger degree of guilt and shame that she felt b/c I had not been able to that point to genuinely forgive her, and the miriad of negative emotions I was experiencing since her EA and all it involved was so top of mind for me and I had not yet been able to get the peace of mind that came when I was finally able to “get past” the EA and genuinely forgive my wife.

        Somewhere between six and seven months after D-day, I gained the strength to stop the EA from having such a material impact on my life and thoughts. Triggers occurred less frequently and with less of an impact. I for the first time started to believe that not only was my wife truly sorry about what she had done, but that she finally accepted that her behavior was not only harmful and disrespectful to me and our marriage, but was behavior that must be avoided in the future notwithstanding all the “good” things she got out of it. I guess for the first time I started to believe that my wife had learned enough from her mistakes, and had created a stronger internal governor to halt affair behaviors, that the likelihood of her ever having an affair again was sufficiently low enough for me to stay married to her. It was at this point, I believe, that when I went to her and said that I forgave her I had in my heart and mind truly done so and she almost immediately said to me that she could tell that this time I had truly done so.

        We then crossed our fingers to see if my emotions and our interactions would not be indicative of the fact that my forgiveness was a false alarm (I so much wanted to forgive her, so it wasn’t like I was lying to her when I said that I forgave her before I really forgave her, but instead that I was lying to myself I suppose b/c I wanted our marriage to survive and forgiveness was required). Ten months later and nothing that has transpired between us has even hinted at me somehow not having yet forgiven her. With the problems caused by her EA and its discovery as “solved” as these problems can be solved, my wife and I were free to concentrate more on being better persons, partners, lovers, and parents. The best thing I can say is that before genuine forgiveness, there would sometimes be conflict in our relationship that seemed to flow due to the fact that the EA had not yet been forgiven (kind of a “what do I care if I say this ugly thing since he hasn’t even forgiven me for the EA”), and almost all conflicts resulted in the EA being brought up, yet after genuine forgiveness, not only has the lack of this been a problem (obviously!), but as conflicts have from time to time arisen, the fact that the EA occurred does not come up (you can imagine how few conflicts got non-destructively resolved when prior to such a resolution the topic of the EA reared its ugly head!).

        Finally, 100% forgiveness is, in my opinion, possible. Forgiveness is not in any way condoning what happened. The EA was bad and wrong and something that should never have happened. My wife and I both know this. Rather than put a label on this, I simply needed to get to a point where I could answer the following question either “yes” or “no”: “Can I remain happily married to my wife notwithstanding the fact that she developed an EA and did/said the things she did/said during the EA?”. A “no” would mean I could not forgive her and we would then end our marriage. Thank God I was finally able to answer without reservation “yes”!

    • shark girl

      I hope we get to the recommitment stage, renew our vows. etc… I find myself missing my rings sometimes.
      The other day though was talking about my friends renewal and he was so derogatory of it and marriage, I found myself thinking why did he marry me in the first place.
      Another thing for the list if he ever gets to the point of been able to talk about these things.

    • Surviving

      @EP,
      Based on your answers and my experience and others on this site, your AP at some point will contact you and that is the turning point. You will either let your wife know right away or you won’t. My H called me right away and forwarded the email to me, this was the turning point in our marriage. Up until then even though he said he would I didn’t believe him.

      Your actions are huge, my H also has a very high position in the company he works for but lunch time was a huge trigger for me as they went out to numerous lunches, after the EA he took every call I made during lunch even if he was in a meeting.

      Hope things work out with you some parts of our marriage are better just wish we didn’t take this path to get there.

    • Surviving

      EP,
      Your out of the fog and on the right path.
      Your mind and heart are in the right place.
      Speak this to your wife and your new journey with her will be ahead.

    • Anita

      EP,
      I am glad you come to this site, because now I can see
      an affair from a male C.S.’s point of view. I am a former
      B.S. and have healed from my own experience, however
      now without all my own pain standing in the way I now can learn from a male C.S. their experience of being involved
      in an affair. So keep posting, I want to learn and thank you
      for sharing your side.

    • Doug

      Ep, Thank you for your comment and perceptive. When two people are involved in an affair their actions and behaviors could be misinterpreted as love. However when they look deeply into their actions they will discover it is all very selfish. The affair partners will do and say anything to feel good about themselves. They will manipulate or not be completely honest about their thoughts only to receive the attention from the other person. That is not real love.

      True unconditional love is the love we show our children and hopefully our spouses. It is not based on what we get in it return. We do things, make sacrifices, give compliments not because we want something in return, we do them because we want what is best for the other person. We do not expect attention, flattery, sex because we act a certain way, we just want the other person to be happy.

      In real life often times we do not receive the acknowledgement that we should, the “payback” but we don’t stop doing it. We continue because love is totally unselfish. I imagine in a affair relationship if one party stopped the affection, validation, compliments the relationship would die. An affair relationship is based on conditional love and when they are not feeding each other what they believe they need to be happy and whole there really is nothing left of the relationship.

      This is why so many affair partners truly do not trust each other. Not only because of the cheating, but they also wonder how real or honest they are being in their relationship. What are their motives, how far will they go to get what they want out of the relationship, do they really care about me or only about themselves. Linda

      • Doug

        Ep, I also wanted to add that AP are often amazed at the easiness of their relationship. They believe it has everything to do with the amount of love that they feel for each other. In reality it has everything to do with the type of affair relationship that they are involved in. It is easy because they are living in a bubble, not because this person is their soul mate. Linda

    • chiffchaff

      Linda – I agree with your point about the apparent ‘ease’ of an affair relationship. My CS has told me that the OW’s ‘love’ for him was unconditional and so easy. I think he assumed that because it was so easy it must be something truly special, something that couldn’t be avoided because it was ‘meant to be’ – when really, it was easy because neither of them had to give up their day to day life for it. She could continue the life of her won she had before she met my H and so could he.
      When it came to the day that a decision had to be made whether to give up the day to day life for the affair or give up the affair, all hell broke loose and confusion reigned, and still reigns.
      My H has described his OW as a narcissist who has an elevated opinion of herself above others. Because this matched his personality too he knew how to make her feel good – give her lots of compliments, attention, nice words, and she knew how to do the same. It was conditional on them both massaging each other’s fragile egos at a distance, topping up with special clandestine meetings whenever the chance arose. It was far from unconditional love.
      What I was doing as BS, staying and trying to understand what had happened and how it could be improved for both of us, despite all the hurt and lack of respect he inflicted, that was unconditional love. But he pushed me too far and unlike a mother or a father, my unconditional love was something I could withdraw when push came to shove.
      As you can tell, my anger and sadness is a wave with a very large amplitude at times…

    • Anita

      Chiffchaff,
      Even with my divorce and my ex remarried, I still have a
      love for him, as the father of my children. I consider that
      unconditional love. However, the love I once felt for him
      to keep a marriage alive is gone, I chose to end those
      feelings, and they are gone.

    • Anita

      Chiffchaff,
      I know that your feelings are raw at this point in time, and
      rightfully so.
      For myself even I had to sort out my feelings, I always knew
      no matter how hurt or disappointed I was with my ex, I could never hate him either. He’s the father of my
      children and there will always be that bond. However
      that’s where it ends. I don’t love or hate my ex, I see him
      as someone who I once was married to and it didn’t work
      out.
      But as I mentioned, I had to sort out my feelings and
      forgive him also. It takes time for wounds to heal.

      • Anita

        Chiffchaff,
        You mentioned your having waves of anger and saddness.
        Your in a greiving process, and that is one of the stages
        of healing. I am sure you already know this, but there
        are a few different stages you will go through. So be
        good to yourself and take care of yourself, I promise
        it does get better, and this pain won’t last forever.
        Next year at this time you will be amazed how far you
        have come, and you will have new self growth.
        Hang in there and keep posting.

      • chiffchaff

        It’s very raw Anita, yes. II’m in a very sad state today and just trying to get through the day after my sister went back home. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so upset at taking someone to the train before. I had to run back to the car before letting it out. I couldn’t drive the way I felt.

        Today it’s very hard not to let my H know I’m missing him and love him so much but it means nothing to him, hasn’t meant anything to him since August last year, so I have to deal with it and get over him as quickly as possible. The only thing that has mattered to him has been how he feels about the OW.

        I know I’ll cope with this eventually, I have before (a very long time ago though I must say). When I focus on my plans for the future without him I can feel better and more able to cope. I don’t focus on the hurt, the lies and the brutal honesty of my H recently – there lies pain.

    • Anita

      Chiffchaff,
      I have been in your shoes, and I promise, you will feel better with time. What your feeling right now is the worst
      it gets, so hang in there.
      With spring and summer coming the days will get longer
      and the sunshine helps also.
      Do you have your own family near by. My brother and his
      wife were there for me when I was going through my
      divorce. They were my shoulder to cry on, or I should
      say vent on. You will have lots of venting moments
      in part of this stage. I went from pain to anger and
      from anger to pain/ saddness.
      However I promise you will feel so much better in a few
      months from now. Just keep busy and vent when you
      need to. My Best to You!

      • Anita

        Chiffchaff,
        I also forgot to mention another brother of mine was also
        going through his divorce at the exact same time I was,
        also for the same reasons. So Him and I did many
        many phone calls back and forth. We did alot of venting
        also, however as we began to heal, our phone calls become less frequent, and returned to normal.
        It found my family to be the most supportive, and a couple of close friends. My one family friend and I have a on going
        joke about how much money I owe her for listening to
        all my troubles. So now when I need a piece of advice
        over something thats non important, I always tell her
        to put it on my tab.

    • Anita

      Chiffchaff,
      I also got book on divorce recovery, it helped me to see
      each stage as I was passing through them, that also
      brought relief seeing myself in each new step, and I knew I
      was healing. So I looked foward to each new stage and
      before long I came to the stage of acceptance. That
      was my favorite stage, because I was feeling better and
      was ready to join the world again. I started new classes
      and joined new events, and I felt good again.
      The more comfortable I became with my life, the more
      content I began to feel, and my life finally settled down
      into where I’m at now. The past is over and I’m waiting
      for my annulment to be granted.
      Hang in there!

      • Ifeelsodumb

        Anita,
        I love how encouraging you are!! I’m sure you’ve heard the saying ‘What doesn’t break you, only makes you stronger”….you are a living example of this!! 🙂

    • who am I?

      After 40 years together, my life was shattered by the discovery of my wife’s NPD and a taste of her ‘other life’. Often in reading the above responses I am perplexed about ‘forgiveness’, ‘recommitting’ and ‘renewing’. My wife apologized profusely and sought forgiveness from me. I pointed out to her that my discovery of her ‘other life’ had destroyed my sense of reality as I looked back on ‘our life’ and what really happened to us (me) for 40 years! Nothing was as it had seemed. Now I was asked to ‘forgive’ and I had the audacity to point out that I could not forgive what I did not know or understand. I stated I would like to find a way to re-establish trust and redefine our marriage but I thought that trust should be based on honesty and asked that she ‘put it all on the table’, an act of trust for us so that we could discuss what it would take to save our marriage in a way we both could participate in. Needless to say, I was ‘played’ for a few months and eventually felt that enough was enough. I divorced her and put her as far out of my life as I can with a child between us. Speaking just for myself, ‘sorry’ and ‘forgiveness’ are just words and if not backed with honesty and day to day ‘real commitment’ they are meaningless. Peace of mind comes slow, but it does come, and not having the fear of facing another day of potential dishonesty and infidelity reveals more of me and my life with family. I can not reclaim what I never had and I can not forgive someone who simply can not understand forgiveness. My revealed ‘inner landscape’, who I really am, has been a healthy and peaceful continuing journey that gets better every day. It is my wish for all who have been or are going through this life changing process.

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