affair recovery timelinePhoto by nicolgaravello

By Doug

If you’re a betrayed spouse, I think that you will agree with me when I say that your affair recovery timeline would be substantially shorter if only your ex-unfaithful spouse would actually put more effort into doing the necessary work.

And if you’re an ex-unfaithful spouse, you probably can agree that you could be doing more to help in the recovery process.

Over the years I’ve learned that the ex-unfaithful person can help to substantially speed up the affair recovery timeline by practicing just one thing.

And in this post, I’m going to lay it out for you.

So, here’s the deal…

Let’s assume for a minute that we are referring to a typical scenario where the affair has ended, the couple wants to stay together, yet they are struggling to get through the affair recovery process. I realize that’s pretty generic, but it’s a start.

I’ve mentored hundreds of betrayed spouses over the years – both men and women – who are basically going through this type of scenario.

And if there is one complaint/struggle that I hear from most it’s that one of the parties – almost always the betrayed spouse – is doing all the work.

They are the person who is reading books and blogs and participating on forums.  They are the one who has purchased programs, coaching, and marriage intensives. They are the person who is in individual counseling and utilizing other supportive outlets.  They are the one who is busting their butt to become the best version of themselves.

In short, they are driving the affair recovery bus and their unfaithful spouse is just along for the ride.

And they’re tired of it.

And resentment is building.

And I get it. 

Not too many unfaithful spouses want to deal with this stuff.  Not too many want to talk about the affair, their character flaws and all the ways that they screwed things up. Few want to look within to discover why they did what they did and/or deal with deep seated family-of-origin issues. 

Others simply do not have any motivation to change.  They are creatures of habit and stubborn to the point of resisting any change whatsoever.

It’s messy.  It’s scary. It brings out too much guilt, shame, embarrassment, etc.  Not to mention – it’s damn difficult. (But nowhere near as difficult as what the betrayed is experiencing.)

Even the unfaithful spouses with the best intentions struggle with all of this.  These are the folks who know what they should be doing – and are indeed doing some good things – but may not always follow through on what they say they are going to do.  They start off like gang busters and then tend to fizzle out and fade away.

They let their betrayed spouse take the lead in just about everything throughout the affair recovery timeline – and that’s just fine with them.

Here’s a Ted Talk by Mel Robbins on how to stop screwing yourself over – because everything isn’t fine.

 

 

The Affair Recovery Timeline – Let’s go back in Time…

There was a time where I was doing this exact same thing as described above.  I was doing some good stuff – acts of service mainly – but it wasn’t enough for Linda.  So, she told me so. 

Here’s how she described it in a post from back in 2011:

“In many ways I feel that I did take full responsibility initially for trying to save our marriage, and that for many months Doug didn’t make much of an effort to meet my needs and was just along for the ride. I questioned if he really did care for me then why did he continue to allow me to suffer so much? Why did it take so long for him to get feelings back for me when I was doing everything I could to meet his needs?  Why was he still here?…

I regret some of the decisions and actions I made initially when trying to save my marriage.  I regret being a “doormat” as you said.  I regret not making Doug accountable for his actions and taking steps to make our marriage better. I regret not having the confidence to tell him that if you want our marriage to work then we will come up with a plan together.  If not, then don’t let the door hit you on the way out!

I have said in many posts that when first faced with the effects of an affair, you are acting out of fear and raw emotion. You are alone and there is no blueprint to follow.  That is why I did so much reading and research on the subject.  I did what I thought was right at the time and have learned a lot about myself throughout this process.

I have learned to have the confidence to stand up for myself and what I believe, and to be completely honest with Doug about how I am feeling.  In return, he has learned to be receptive and supportive of my thoughts, feelings and needs.  We both are working to build trust and trusting that when we communicate our feelings to each other we do not become defensive and are receptive to each other.

Not too long ago, I stepped back and allowed Doug to take the lead.  Throughout our marriage I have always been the fixer and doer.  That is just who I am.  But I believe that Doug needed to take some responsibility. He really needed to learn what I need and follow through on it. As a result, Doug has really stepped up.”

 

As you can tell, I needed a little bit of a nudge to get going.  And I notice this same type of situation on a daily basis when mentoring folks.

Okay.  So, what is the one thing that will make the betrayed spouse do cartwheels?

Before I tell you, let’s review the 24 tasks that the unfaithful person must perform so that they can become the healer (From, The Unfaithful Person’s Guide to Helping Your Spouse Heal From Your Affair):

  • Stop all contact with the other person – forever
  • Be sensitive when your partner suffers from a trigger
  • Stop being so selfish
  • Take responsibility for your actions – and inactions
  • Stop trying to always be in control
  • Have some patience
  • Be trustworthy
  • Talk about things
  • Be honest
  • Show remorse and apologize
  • Acknowledge the depth of the pain that your affair brought to your marriage
  • Educate yourself about affairs and relationships
  • Figure out for yourself why you did what you did
  • Be thoughtful and reassuring
  • Stop being so defensive
  • Be loving and supportive
  • Stop thinking that the grass is always greener somewhere else
  • Listen – really listen
  • Stop blaming your spouse for your affair
  • Make your life and everything you do an open book
  • Check your anger at the door
  • Get some counseling or therapy
  • Ask your spouse what he/she needs from you on a regular basis
  • Gratitude or gratefulness

Now here is the pièce de résistance that will make the betrayed spouse do cartwheels, add mucho deposits to their love bank – not to mention help build trust and hope while reducing resentment. (And possibly lots more.)

It’s simple…

Three words:  Take the initiative!

The Cambridge Dictionary defines this phrase very simply as:

“To be the first one to do something, esp. to solve a problem.”    

 

Be On the Alert for Backsliding During Reconciliation

 

What does this mean from a practical standpoint?

Again, we’re assuming the affair is over and we’re working on reconciliation and recovery.

That said, here are a few things that might get you started (Betrayed spouses, please add to this list in the comment section with some things you wish your spouse would initiate!):

  • Get a book from the library or Amazon on relationships, infidelity, marriage etc.  Read it.  And then – now here is the most important part – take the initiative and discuss what you learned from the book with your husband or wife. 
  • Schedule a session with a therapist, coach, mentor or clergy person to discuss your current situation.
  • Start a journal.
  • When you are doing your introspection (which I know you are doing, right?), approach your spouse and talk about anything you may have learned about yourself and/or your situation.
  • When you finally figure out the real reasons for why you had your affair (and that is a biggie for most betrayed spouses), don’t just keep it to yourself.  Take the initiative and start a conversation with your wife or husband about your discoveries.
  • Plan and make arrangements for date nights and other special occasions.
  • If you’re at the stage in your recovery where it is appropriate – be more romantic.
  • If you have a new perspective about your affair relationship, don’t be afraid to share it.
  • Ask your spouse what you can be doing better.  Ask if there is anything he/she would like to discuss.
  • Start a self-improvement program; exercise, meditate/pray, read, listen to inspirational and motivational podcasts, get financially fit, etc.

Don’t let it scare you

Most of the time the unfaithful person is afraid to do these things out of fear (yes, some are just plain lazy).  They fear they will be shamed, guilted, blamed, interrogated, punished, argued with or rejected.

I venture to guess that if you take the initiative and do some of the things I listed, your spouse will do none of those things, but will instead thank you for it. 

I can tell you that when I started to do some of these things, it made all the difference to Linda and it made our affair recovery timeline shrink substantially. 

When it comes right down to it, I think it’s safe to say that nobody wants to dwell on this stuff forever.  No unfaithful person has ever told me that they didn’t want to move on.  It would make sense then to ditch yours fears, your poor attitude, your laziness or lack of desire, and instead put forth 100% effort into doing what you need to do…

Take the initiative!

 

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    57 replies to "The Affair Recovery Timeline – Shorten It With This One Shift by the Unfaithful Spouse"

    • Sarah P.

      Great post, Doug! It is very thorough and thoughtful. This is fantastic advice for waywards. Your posts are always great.

      Okay now I am going to open a pandora’s box because I realized an issue that should be further explored today.

      Hopefully you can shed some light on this because it is something I struggle with when I think of affair recovery. It’s an issue that I have absolutely no good answer for. If I don’t have an answer for something, we are in big trouble. I scour research articles for answers and found none. (I don’t have all the answers- I just pursue answers to the end of the earth and if none can be found, then I get skittish).

      Because there is an enormous elephant in the room I admit to NOT writing about and I have intentionally NOT written about it. Maybe I can’t write it because it will be an enormous trigger for me as a betrayed spouse. But it’s one where I don’t have great news for betrayed spouses.

      So let’s open Pandora’s box.

      Everyone duck because no one knows exactly what is inside Pandora’s box.

      Here is the crux of it:

      How can a person who has experienced something that is often an extremely pleasurable, experience remorse for a pleasurable experience?

      An affair puts the dopamine systems into over drive and someone’s brain on an affair is literally a “brain on drugs.” What you called the Affair Fog. (Oh the affair Fog is real, folks). The same neurochemical pathways and reward centers in the brain that drugs activate are also activated by infidelity. Of course, like drugs, the high always wears off. The human brain is not meant to sustain euphoria for years on end and has systems in place to habituate a brain to whatever chemical is being produced in excess.

      On the brighter side, because a “brain on an affair” is also a brain on drugs, in time and under the right circumstances, the other person will no longer make their married lover feel high.

      I think this is one of the many reasons marriages fail when people leave for their affair partners. They will get used to that person. When they do, they will notice the pile of laundry they never noticed before, they will notice how someone mis-uses money, or a million other things.

      In short, they will learn their affair partner is merely human, just like the spouse they left.

      From a spiritual standpoint, God does not authorize relationships based on infidelity and God does not authorize marriages between people who started an affair while married to others. The law recognizes these marriages, but God doesn’t. You see it’s impossible to be successful when a situation began in a way that was wrong.

      But… without bringing spirituality into it, there are reasons to be found within the brain itself that show the magic will always die at some point and in most cases. The magic with the affair partner will die given time and circumstances.

      Still, a wayward spouse MIGHT have memories of bliss while a betrayed spouse will have memories worse than hell itself.

      This is a philosophical question- can someone truly feel sorry for something they experienced as pleasure?

      They might feel sorry when they see their spouse crying for years on end… but I question if they can ever feel pain over something that was once blissful?

      So now that this five ton elephant has climbed out of Pandora’s box and is sitting in plain sight on this site…

      Does anyone care to comment on my question?

      Who wants to take a stab at the elephant in the room… er in the comments section?

      Let’s hear it!

      Sarah

    • Kate

      I agree with this.I believe people having affairs are like drug addicts – they behave in exactly the same ways. And I believe therapists should approach the situation in counseling a betrayed spouse in the same way they would counsel someone whose spouse is an addict. Women, in particular, are fed way too much romantic nonsense all their lives by a society obsessed with it. So they internalize their husband’s being “in love” with the other woman as something lacking in them & they take it far too personally. As a society we see being “in love” as the pinnacle of relationship. In fact, whether man or woman, their spouses are just crackheads (in my opinion)

      I have often heard that the cheating spouse is sorry for the pain they caused their husband/wife, but not at all sorry for the affair. To me this is exactly in line with how an addict behaves – they are very sorry for all the pain they’ve caused their families, but not one bit sorry about the high. I think therapists should tell the betrayed that their spouses may overcome the addiction – or they may succumb to it. Either way, it’s not really about you.

      Does this make sense?

    • Soul mate

      Sarah P.

      Yes, you can absolutely regret ever participating in a pleasurable event. In fact, you can hate yourself for it before, during and after it takes place. And that exact hate will forever change your perspective of what it was. In fact that experience can and will become a nightmare that could ruin your life. Ask any recovered addict.

      No one is perfect, everyone makes mistakes for pleasurable selfish reasons and live to regret it. It’s called sin/human behavioral patterns of abuse/addiction.

      I beleive my H when he says he is sick and ashamed and regrets what he did. That he can never forgive himself. That he now feels nothing but hate for the parasite who he was involved with for what he allowed her to do to me and himself.
      That it was a nightmare for him and that he wants to forget the whole experience. He has woke in the middle of the night thinking I’ve left him, hysterical, crying and holding me tight, telling me he loves me and he can’t live without me. It has sometimes taken more than an hour to calm him down. He has expressed his anguish of wanting the whole thing to end way before dday but just didn’t know how to do it. How it was hell on the days she was at work as she was clingy and hovering and he feared trouble and of course it did eventually happen. He was removed from the contract and let go by his company. How he only felt peace on the days she wasn’t there.

      Now he is in a new job and loves it and he is thriving. We are healing.

      People heal with time and forgiveness.
      They either learn from their mistakes and never repeat them, or they are doomed to the destructive behavior that will eventually ruin them.

      I beleive my husband has learned his lesson. I have too. I love him.

      Peace

    • Newl17

      When they crashed from their high by the OP’s selfish behavior, when they finally see the OP for what she really was, a gold digger who just used his vulnerability and played along with it to get the money and sex that she wanted. That’s when they woke up and regretted all the “pleasurable” experience.

    • Sarah P.

      Hi All,

      Thanks for the comments. Yes, I do believe a person can come to hate themselves WHEN they wake up. I do believe they can be absolutely horrified WHEN they understand the other person for who they are.

      I guess I was talking more about the affair Fog.
      I know as a betrayed spouse that even one day watching a spouse or partner in the affair Fog feels like a million years. It’s profoundly painful for a betrayed.

      Let’s expand this discussion—when people are truly in the fog they have a hard time understanding their partner’s pain. I have often wondered how to get someone to have insight when they are in the affair Fog because we are dealing with a brain on drugs.

      If anyone has ever had a family member who truly struggles with addiction, reasoning does no good. I feel like it has to be all hard boundaries and that these boundaries must be implemented despite begging and pleading.

      People caught in the grasp of addiction are the most notorious manipulators on the planet. I feel the affair Fog is like drug addiction. And it’s horrible for the betrayed spouse.

      Thoughts?
      Sarah

      • Hopeful

        I think there are many similarities if not the exact same issues. Now looking back my husband’s affair fog was really during his affairs and right after he ended them. I also think his behavior and experience was slightly different since his affairs were sporadic. He broke it off with both ow 15 months before dday. I think he repressed a lot of what he did but he was not caught up in it. He still did not have ideal behavior but he was not in any other relationships.

        All of the things you say an addict says or does, he did while he was in the affairs. There were excuses for everything. Especially if I wanted to invest or focus on him, us or the family. He has opened up a lot and told me that once he cheated one time he hated himself so he felt like there was no turning back. In the moment he said there would be some satisfaction but immediately he was filled with regret and shame. So he became more detached. He or supposedly these ow did not want anything more than flings. He has said that was the hardest thing facing what he had done to himself and the person he loved most in the world. So he hated himself every day for years, 10 years. He said he could not look in the mirror and could not look me in the eyes often. And he was so good at compartmentalizing that the second he walked out the door he never thought about me or the kids once. He also convinced himself since he was highly successful and doing very well as the breadwinner what else could I want.

        All of this has been hard for him to face. He told me the reason he minimized everything on dday was to save me from the real truth in case I left or he could not commit. He figured if he provided an abbreviated version that would be enough and maybe spare me. I still think it was protecting himself and his image.

        I have a feeling people that are prone to cheating also have issues with porn, alcohol, drugs, food, etc. When I look at him I can see that part of his personality. I think before cheating he always was able to balance that and never take things too far. But as he told me his boundaries shifted, he was insecure, self centered, opportunity presented itself repeatedly.

        So luckily I never dealt with the affair fog after dday. We had to work through things but I think that reason helped us move along more quickly. And honestly after 10 years of cheating if he had not ended it on his own so much ahead of dday I am not sure how things would have gone. Everything he did was horrible but maybe you could call it brownie points or gold stars for ending it. He was very up front immediately on dday that he could not bring himself to telling me what he did but he knew he could not keep it up and that is why he had to end it. He did say that alone helped him feel better but there was always a barrier or detachment between us. He said with that big of a lie he always felt guilt, shame and detached.

    • WorkingThruIt

      First timer here…
      This post is pretty accurate in my current recovery timeline. It’s been almost 4 months since DDay and 2 months since she revealed more vital details that shed more light on her involvement. Been together for almost 9 years and unfortunately only married for a few months prior to DDay. The A only lasted for a month from what I was told but after so many lies it’s hard to believe but I’m sticking with it. I believe she was in an affair fog days after DDay because she contacted OM after she told me she wouldn’t but later confirmed she did. Her mood was something I had never seen in the 9 years we had been with eachother. Not giving me much attention but contacting and apologizing to him instead. All contact with OM ended 5 days after DDay and that’s confirmed.

      Since then we have been going to counseling and things have improved, but triggers still seem to get the best of me some days. I find myself having a great 4-5 days and then I fall into the asking “why” rabbit hole n it takes a good 2 days to get past it. Because of the continuous lies I ask if they isn’t anything else i should know even tho I feel like there isn’t and I just drive myself crazy. I read multiple books on infidelity and self improvement and encourage her to do the same but hasnt. She reads a chapter n just puts it down and doesn’t feel obligated to continue. I feel like I have been doing most of the work and feel like she should be doing more than me. This post really hit home due to that fact. She has done so much and has changed drastically but There is so much more to be done. She doesn’t share her emotions n feelings like I do so it’s a bit one sided at times but she says she needs time n will work on her communication which i hope n believe she will. She continually tells me it’s the biggest mistake she ever made n I truly believe that she wants to work this out more than anything.

      Self Esteem took a nosedive but her reassurance n love helps so much. It’s been such a difficult and hard road road but I’m in such a better place than where I was first month post DDay.

      • Hopeful

        Working Thru It, So sorry you find yourself here. We have been where you are now. I also can relate to the what I refer to the roller coaster feeling of recovery. It is hard to comprehend how things can feel so different day to day. I feel that triggers can impact that a lot. I know I have felt at times like life is one big landmine. Many times it can be innocent one of our kids or a good friend saying something nice. But it could be a huge trigger.

        Honestly it took me a year before I started feeling better. Therapy was great. It helped me so much and provided support and guidance I could get no where else. My husband and I scheduled a weekly time to talk just about the affair and/or our marriage/relationship. In the beginning it was affair focused. I kept a daily journal. I could look back and see what was bothering me day to day. That way when we talked I could be more focused. Also I could reflect back and see that I had improved. That can be hard to feel when you are in the thick of things. We cut back on everything non essential. We said no to almost everything. We spent a lot of time together. Once I started to feel better about things I would say the reality of what my husband did started to sink in for him. I think he had suppressed all of that. But with working through it with me he had to face it. Granted that was his choice.

        I read a ton of books. They were a huge resource for me. My husband is in the mental health profession so he knew way more than I did. But still he could not get through one chapter without breaking down. He did bring home an article from The Atlantic, Masters of Love. I think it is a great article focused on one of my favorite Psychologists, John Gottman’s work. Maybe try that for a different angle. Also we saw the Men are from Mars Women are from Venus one man show. I think coming at things from a different approach can help. This is often done in therapy with patients, relating something to a movie or famous character. And if a book is too overwhelming maybe a different approach would work. We also looked at the Love Languages book. I think it is good for all relationships. All of it is connected.

        I could go on a ton more but maybe that will help. I did a lot of thinking and still do. I decided early on I was going to give it my best effort. That is who I am and I was not going to let my husband change that. He too did commit (in his mind he gave himself six months, he did not tell me that). He said to his surprise it was easy since I was willing to give him a second chance. I also knew that whether we ended up together or apart I wanted to work through as much as possible. I knew walking away was not going to solve anything and probably leave more unanswered questions. FYI we are almost four years past dday. I would never say I am glad he did what he did but we are closer than ever. I am thankful now that he was honest with me on dday. He contemplated leaving me so he could safe his image. There is some deep connection that we developed through this recovery process.

        Hang in there. I recommend all the John Gottman books, and Not Just Friends by Shirley Glass were my favorites. Please ask any questions, happy to help in any way!

    • TryingHard

      Had i seen an ounce of my h mourning or missing the OW during reconciliation i don’t think i could have stayed. The reason i went to MC with him was to ensure that remaining in our marriage was his priority. He convinced me and the MC that he did want to stay so here we are.

      I don’t know if he does or doesn’t miss that thrill the affair brought to his life back then. I believe he does regret everything about the affair and detests the OW. He’s stated many many times it was the biggest mistake he ever made in his life so there’s that.

      To be honest i cannot worry about his regret. Hopefully the regret he expresses will keep him from being a repeat offender. But this wasn’t his first affair. It had been many many years since his first affair and then he repeated a poor choice to betray me again. Maybe i was too quick to forgive and move on the first time?? I was a young mother and raising my children as a divorced women compelled me to eat that shit sand which. It was a different time. I was too busy to even think about it.

      So in effect, i don’t really know. I guess for me it’s a leap of faith that he does feel deep remorse but as I’ve learned personally that can change. Interesting topic. Thanks for bringing it up

    • Better days

      Sarah,

      That is one of the topics that really bothered me. I did get 100’s of “I’m so sorry I hurt you” sort of apologies. And I needed to hear that. I didn’t discredit those at all. However, for the first couple of months I waited to hear and even sometimes prompted for a different sort of remorse. I wanted to hear that she actually felt that what she did was wrong and damaging on a level beyond the problems cheating causes when caught. Because in my head, all of the “sorry I hurt you” translated to, “sorry I got caught” or “sorry you found out.” Which I also read into at the time (maybe over read), that if she could ensure that she would never get caught, she could do it again. I still don’t know to this day that she gets that it was damaging for the marriage, family, etc.., regardless of being caught. Only after I brought that concern up did she start to say the right things to address that.

    • Shifting Impressions

      You are so right Doug….if only the CS would realize they are just prolonging things by digging in their heals. But it seems to be all too common.

      But on the other hand I found driving that “ recovery affair bus” can become almost an obsession. As a betrayed spouse….I couldn’t stop reading books, talking about the affair, asking questions about the affair and it was the last thing I thought about before I fell asleep at night (on the nights I actually slept) and the first thing I thought about when I woke up in the morning.

      I think I wanted to “control the recovery”. I wanted him to come for counseling, read the books, give me all the details and on and on. I wanted to know WHY and I was HELL BENT in him telling me WHY. Things actually improved when I LET GO of some of my expectations. Some things were absolutely non negotiable such as no contact the OW etc.

      I think that even if our CS does everything right we are still left fighting an EPIC BATTLE inside of ourselves. It absolutely helped when my husband started to show true remorse, when he slowly started to listen to me express my pain and when he actually started to hear me.
      But I still had to go through all the stages of grief…the sorrow, the pain, the anger etc. I was broken and I wanted him to pay….it was easier to get in touch with my anger than the pain underneath all that anger. It was that battle inside my head and that roller coaster ride of emotions….it was my battle to fight. In my opinion it’s a process that can’t be rushed or bypassed, no matter how helpful our spouse might be.

      It was easy to get hung up on the fact that he was still NOT reading the books or going for counseling etc. He was still dribbling the truth and avoiding the “talks”. By becoming hyper focused on the things “he wasn’t doing and I thought he should be doing” I almost missed the things he actually was doing.

      I had to take a step back and let him go through his own process….it took a few years to get to that point but I think it’s part of what has helped us keep moving forward, it that makes any sense.

      • Doug

        Great perspective as usual, SI. I can relate, as Linda reacted very much like you did. Though I’m not so sure that she wanted to control the recovery as much as she was just freaking out and was scared – at least at first. Later on, as she gained more knowledge, she then shifted into “control the recovery” mode.

        • Shifting Impressions

          Exactly, Doug…at first I was just a puddle on the floor. The recovery control thing came somewhat later.

      • Hopeful

        SI, Exactly. I was always the one in the relationship to manage our lives. I am somewhat type A and control feels right. I learned early on there was no controlling this or even me and my feelings. I too had to work through them. It was a long process with highs and lows. And you are exactly right about taking a step back and letting them process it all. Early on i figured he made those decisions so what does he have to process. I was so wrong and he actually has had more to process than me.

        • Shifting Impressions

          Hopeful
          Thanks, it really helps when I hear that you experienced much of same thing.

    • Laurie

      Hi: It’s been 6 weeks since D-Day. My husband and i were married for 30 years. I thought we were in a very loving relationship. Since I found out about his affair, he left. At first he was texting regarding arrangements for our children and now he won’t respond to my texts. He’s still doing things with our children but communicates with them directly. We haven’t had an explosions or disagreements to create that non-contact so I don’t know what’s going on. I would like to work on the relationship but I know he’s in that fog and really doesn’t know what he wants. Is this “normal”? Is this fence sitting or should I take this to mean that he’s no longer interested in our relationship? I think he ended his affair when i found out. So, I feel like he is alone. I’m so lost and broken hearted. …I’m feeling like things are hopeless.

      • Hopeful

        Laurie,

        I am so sorry you are here and going through what you are right now. One thing I learned is none of this makes sense, the betrayal or the recovery at times. I would suggest you find a therapist and meet with an attorney asap. I think the support and guidance for you would be so valuable. Whether you end up together or apart they will help you both mentally and protect you and your kids. My therapist was helpful through the entire process. It was so important to have that one person to listen and provide guidance. I think based on what you are describing with your kids meeting with an attorney makes sense. It is best for you to know your rights as a spouse and parent. At worst it is information gathering and you never use it. But for me when I have information and a plan I feel better.

        I am sorry you are in this situation where he is not even communicating. There is no way to know what he is doing or thinking. It is best to focus on yourself and seek out professional help/support. Hang in there and keep posting even if it is to vent. We are here for you.

      • Shifting Impressions

        Laurie
        Hopeful has given you some really good advice. At this point you can only speculate regarding your husband’s lack of communication. It’s an act of cowardice no matter what.

        Are your children aware of the situation?

        I believe I would ask, not beg for a meeting with him and then leave the ball in his court. Then just as Hopeful suggested I would find a lawyer and counselor. You need to know your rights. Perhaps he is in the fog or just licking his wounds. But who knows…what else is going on?? You need to take care of you.

    • Standing Still

      I want to comment on the question posed by Sarah P. about feeling remorse for the pleasurable experience and not just for the actual betrayal to the spouse. I had an emotional affair with a much younger guy that eventually turned into a PA. I can assure you, it was not love. The sex was not even that good since I had much better with my H. I think what kept me going to this guy was more the fact that I felt wanted, desired and admired more than the physical aspect of it. He really sucked in bed, but the emotional aspect was a stronger bond than anything else. It’s been about seven years since the last time we were together and I can attest to the fact that I have completely, undeniably and absolutely repented from ever getting involved with this guy. My H never found out, so there was no D-day involved, and whatever affair fog there was, he was clueless about it. I didn’t want to end my marriage, I just wanted to feel valued and appreciated and desired as a woman. I asked God from the bottom of my heart to forgive me for my horrible sin and I wished to the heavens that I had NEVER, ever paid any attention to this guy (he was single, so there was no wife to hurt in this process) so, yes, you can feel remorse for the pleasurable experience, because, at the end, if you have any kind of conscience, you realize that you are doing a very wrong thing that can hurt many people. I regret ever doing such a bad turn to my H and have never again done anything like that so I apologize and hope that people don’t judge me too harshly for my lack of judgement at the time.

      • Hopeful

        Standing Still, I hope you don’t mind me asking you a question. Are you still with your husband? If yes, do you feel like never disclosing this affair has created any sort of wedge or disconnect between the two of you? I am wondering since my husband had two affairs and broke it off with both of them on his how. Dday happened 15 months after that. He said he felt like it was a ticking time bomb. No matter how close we were or how good things seemed it hung over him. It was rough of course but once it came out he was so thankful. He said he could not sleep or look at himself without disgust. It took him a good 2-2 1/2 years before he said he started to like himself again. His goal has been 100% transparency and authenticity. There was some trickle truth and it was a roller coaster. I know everyone has different experiences and none of our relationships are the same. And not sure how much being the a woman vs a man in the wayward role makes a difference. He said the same thing there was no love or desire to leave our marriage ever. He claims there was little emotional connection, it was just an escape.

        Thanks for sharing

    • UpsideDown

      Sarah, I have the same question. How can they truly be repentant about what was pleasurable? Four months since my d day. Thought I was doing better. Had a break down on our date night. Husband is upset that eap’s husband has hatred toward him. He feels bad that he has created a situation for her husband, his co-worker (no time to explain), and himself. Did not mention me. I always feel that he isn’t quite “with” me. He says he is but, call it women’s intuition, I’m not convinced. He said he wishes it hadn’t gone too far, they’d have kept it a friendship and her husband didn’t dislike him. Pretty straight forward, right?

      • Hopeful

        Upside down,

        Sorry you are here. Not sure what your entire story is and I understand you did not have time to go into details. All I can say is four months is really early in the process or at least it was for us. Honestly we are almost at four years since dday and we still discuss and face issues related to the betrayal. At times we laugh and joke about it. I know that probably seems strange from your perspective and I never thought we would be at this point. My advice is the same as above. At a minimum go see a therapist just for you. They can help support you and teach you how to navigate this process. Better yet go as a couple. There is a lot to work through no matter what your story. We all have issues from our past and lots of other things going on. It is a process to heal, and grieve the marriage you thought you had etc. I think communication can always be improved. None of this is easy for the wayward or betrayed. And my husband said there wasn’t much pleasurable about any of it. He hated himself the entire time but he felt like once he did it once he was a horrible person and could not face that. So he sank deeper. To me as we have talked about in other comments it sounds a lot like an addict. And as far as being “with” you all I can say is my husband said it was really hard. He felt so bad about everything, hated himself, wanted to help me get better but also felt like he could never say anything right. I mean kind of hard to say the right thing after what he did. My husband is a mental health professional. So saying that it is odd he did what he did with his bg and knowledge. But also it helped since he knows what it takes to recover from this level of betrayal and he knows what to say more often than not. In the end he transformed himself but it took a good three years of hard work.

        And not sure if he still has any contact with this woman but that is the first thing there is to be no contact. You cannot be friends. And you have to face that first thing. We personally did not have any connection to either ow but we talked about if he had and it was at work then he would have needed to change jobs. I would even consider moving he it was necessary.

        Take time for yourself and figure out what you want. Work with a licensed therapist who specializes in betrayal. You owe it to yourself. You cannot control him. You can only lay out the boundaries and expectations. It sounds like he has a lot of work to do if he is upset about the ap husband hating him. He needs to wake up to the consequences of his actions in all aspects.

        Keep posting and I am happy to provide more suggestions. I just don’t want to go on too long.

    • UpsideDown

      Thank you, hopeful. My husband has a problem, he wants everyone to like him. I’m the opposite of him in almost every way. I dont need everyone to like me, that’s just a bit crazy. He’s ice cream and I’m cake…she, of course, was ice cream, too. He says it’s over and he wants nothing to do with her but he says it with anger, which I’m smart enough to know is hurt. She felt guilty and told her husband and he severed all contact between his w and my h, no Facebook, texts etc. Left him with questions. He says I’m overreacting to what he said about wishing he hadn’t created this situation and that he’s upset the husband doesn’t like him. If he’d kept it a friendship, none involved would “hate” him. I take this as…I could also still be friends with her. Am I a nut-case? My emotions are always just under the surface and I was never a crying fool before. I have not done therapy, I’m not good about sharing my personal life and really don’t think I’ll ever go. Not sure it’s possible for me or h to ever let go of the fantasy between them.

      • Hopeful

        I understand where you are coming from. I know it can be hard. I resisted going to therapy but it ended up being the best thing for me. I chose very carefully and the person I found was an excellent fit. I do not think you are the nut case. Someone that has betrayed their spouse or the person they love most is the one that is the nut case. Not much makes sense that they say or think. To me it sounds like he is still in an affair fog. First of all just like we cannot go back and change the past neither can he. He has to decide what type of person and husband he wants to be. Or if he wants to be a husband at all. Then the goal is to put as much effort into that as possible. I remember my husband early on talking about how love is a verb and he had not treated it that way. He was treating it like a feeling. That whole I love you but I’m not in love with you etc… If you don’t want to commit to therapy yet I would suggest reading. That was a major resource and outlet for me. I loved all the John Gottman books and Not Just Friends by Shirley Glass. Also the article Masters of Love in The Atlantic is a great read. It was something my husband brought home and it was good to talk about it. Less threatening and involved than an entire book. All good stuff. In the end figure out what you want. And then what steps do you need to take to get there. I think it can be possible to recover from this but it can take a while and a lot of work. Also this will always be part of our marriage. Now we see it as a positive but it has taken a lot to get to this place (even though we see it this way we both wish he had never done what he did).

        As far as wishing they could all still be friends is besides the point. What allowed him to get this way. My husband admits he let his boundary lines shift. He used to guard and protect himself. But over time those lines shifted. My husband did not go from this upstanding person one day to omg I just cheated on my wife. And honestly looking back he can see where he cut corners in most aspects of his life and surrounded himself with people that made him feel better about himself vs people who would raise him up. Even beyond the betrayal he had to work on who he was as a person.

        I told him early on and many times that “not cheating” was not enough. I wanted more from my marriage. Now that this betrayal happened I was not sticking around for the same old marriage. My expectations elevated exponentially.

    • Standing Still

      Hopeful,

      I still am together with my husband. I repented so sincerely that I even forget I ever did him bad…..I feel no disconnect regarding that, at all, but poetic justice, he’s the one who cheated on me with a married woman and most definitely, was in love with her and had the circumstances worked in his favor, he would’ve left me for her…..only reason he didn’t, was because she always told him she wouldn’t leave her husband for him and she’s the one who broke up with him….now that he’s out of the affair fog, he realizes that he never really loved her either but was more of a sexual attraction than any true connection with her….we are in couples counseling and all that, but I feel like he’s not going the whole way as effort is concerned into winning me back….I don’t think I will ever admit to my stepping out on him, as my feelings for the other guy were never with the intention of replacing my h at all….

      • Hopeful

        It sounds like you have thought this over a lot and I am glad it does not affect your relationship. Each of our relationships is complicated!

      • Shifting Impressions

        Standing Still
        Why not come clean?? Even though you weren’t planning to replace your husband you still betrayed him. You say he didn’t know but many of us here felt there was something very wrong when our partners were having an affair even if we were in the dark at the time.

        I found out twenty years later after my husband had an EA and still remember the terrible feeling in my gut and the pain he caused me back then. He became very disconnected during that time.

        I think the truth has a way of coming out in strange ways….yes even twenty years later. You are in couples counseling….why not be completly honest??

    • Blindsided

      We just passed the one-year mark of our D Day. In fact, tomorrow will be the one year since I found out who the other woman is/was, and I find myself triggering like crazy. I can remember where I was sitting, what I was wearing, but I can’t remember much else … I went into a crazy fog of my own.

      I have 100% been driving the recovery bus. But, I am moving into the passenger seat. I am so tired. We have made a lot of progress, and yet we have stagnated as well. My control has been both the plus and minus of this process. (I am the betrayed spouse in this relationship). I have always been the proactive partner, and that has allowed my husband to react, to be a ‘question-answerer’. I have begged for him to TAKE THE INITIATIVE, but alas I have wanted it to happen on MY schedule, and I have been too impatient to actually let this play itself out … having said that, I tried incredibly hard to ‘take a break’ over the holidays (which my husband requested). And here we are on January 27, and I am still waiting for him to initiate something, anything. To be fair, late in the evening of the anniversary of D Day, he did bring it up … something about him knowing that this was a difficult day for me. I barely let him get the words out and i jumped down his throat. “Why did you wait all day to say something?!?!” (We were on vacation, and our adult kids were there) He said that he couldn’t say anything with them around. I suggested that he could have taken me off by ourselves – hmmmm, he didn’t think of that – that he could have said something in the privacy of our room immediately in the morning – again, didn’t cross his mind. So I had created a scenario that I didn’t clue him in on. I JUST wanted him to take the initiative. For all of you cheaters out there – READ what Doug said in this post!!! I concur that all of us betrayed spouses will do back flips.

      To Sarah’s questions – all i know is that the EA did make him feel so good. He has admitted that. As to being sorry/remorseful about it … he says he is, but it truly is like an addict. I happened to see an old clip this morning on CBS Sunday Morning, an interview with Keith Richards. The interviewer asked about his vices, those in his past and current. Asked what he missed. He said “I really liked heroin” and had a huge smile on his face. Bingo. I can’t imagine the hell that his heroin addiction caused him, but the thought of it stills brings a huge smile to his face. And I am guessing that if he could still do heroin without all of the negatives, he would still be doing heroin. I think that is what an affair is like. If the cheaters could all ‘do it’ without the consequences, they would be ALL in it 100%. With no remorse.

      We hear very little from the cheaters on this site, except Doug. I would love to hear you weigh in on the good that your taking the initiative has done for your recovery. Assuming that the cheaters are reading, I believe that it would do a world of good to hear real stories to confirm Doug’s words – that all in all, a lot of good comes from stepping up and doing what you seem to find so difficult. My question is, would if really be harder than what you are going through by NOT taking the initiative?

      • Hopeful

        Blindsided, That year mark was hard. It is all hard. I am almost at four years past dday. I remember being in your spot. For us we had a time once a week set aside to talk about the affair. It helped us in many ways. Once we were past the betrayal then we still would talk about our marriage etc. For him it allowed him to gear up I guess you could say. And that way the other days of the week we just spent time together. It was a welcome break for me too. And I would reflect back on my daily journals to see what was bugging me. I could see patterns. I was more pulled together vs my daily rants. The biggest benefit is he stopped being defensive. I also learned I needed to tell him exactly what I wanted/needed from him. He told me he was always scared. He never knew if he should bring something up, be quiet and enjoy the moment, he felt like whatever he said was wrong or would be thrown in his face. Not sure if I agreed with all of this but this is how he was feeling. The biggest advice during these talks was I talked less and listened more. This is when he started to open up.

        I do not believe my husband would have no remorse if there were no consequences. He broke it off with both women 15 months before dday since he was so miserable and hated himself. But he still said it hung over him since it was a huge secret/elephant in the room.

        I think for the wayward to come on here is brave and probably really difficult. For me I have loved sites like this to find others to share feelings, get advice and learn from others. My husband is in the mental health field and deals with it every day at work and says it is really hard on him. But he also feels he can help wayward spouses more than ever since he has been through what he has. Granted they never know what he has done/been through. I am proud of him and hope he can help even one couple fine their right path. Luckily I know he has helped many more than that. And I know he has a whole new perspective of the betrayed after working through this with me.

        • Blindsided

          Thanks Hopeful. Wise words. We were on a great schedule of having a “repair” session every Saturday, until my husband asked for the holiday break I referred to. We are not back on track, and it is clear that we need to be. I feel that we both believe that the repair is what is needed, and I believe that involves looking back at the rough spots, whereas my husband finds that very difficult. He mostly wants to keep feeling in the present, and looking forward. I want to find the meaning in the affair – as described in various resources and posts – yet, he can’t dig in much deeper than he was wrong, it was stupid, he thought I didn’t want him, he had very little self-esteem/self-image that was positive … essentially that he gave up and it was “dumb”. I wish that was good enough for me right now, but I need more. More about how those feelings manifested themselves into such a destructive action – how that, at the time, made sense to him. I so fear that the next time he feels unwanted, lacking self-esteem he will go looking outside of our marriage for it. It is all so simple and impossible at the same time! Why couldn’t he say, whoa … I am in a really bad space, and am about to do something that I have never considered doing before. I know that he has had all kinds of chances to ‘step out’ on our marriage – he is a very charming, very handsome man. Also kind, generous so extremely likable. I have seen women flirt and hit on him many times, and he never reciprocated. I am confident of that. Until that fateful day one year ago. So why was he taken in by a woman who, by all accounts, is ‘less’ than his wife? Not as attractive, not as smart, not as accomplished … a ‘bar girl’ who told him her sad tale of an unhappy marriage and listened attentively to any and all things he told her? I think she zeroed in on him, and went in for the kill, and he was – I agree with him here – stupid in thinking that THIS is what would make him feel better. THIS is what would fill the void in his life that he didn’t have the decency or guts to tell me was missing. I have said in other posts that I don’t for a minute think that I am blameless in the deterioration of our marriage. I DO know that I am not to blame for his affair. But what happened at that critical juncture that made him turn to her rather than me? I need to know what was going on in his head at that moment, that time. Maybe he was just thinking with his penis, which I think is oversimplification. Maybe he really wasn’t thinking at all. But I want to know, beyond “it was stupid” or “I don’t know”.

          • Hopeful

            Blindsided, Very similar circumstance here except my husband had two ow and it went on much longer. The one ow tracked him down and tried to secure his cell number for 4+ years. He pushed her away and refused for that long. One night she got dropped off at a bar late and she knew he was there from asking other people. There are not cabs around at all in our town. And she begged him for a ride. In the end everything he chose to do is is fault. But she was relentless. The other one was more of a one night stand type of thing. They did see each other more than once but only about 3-4 times over ten years. Again she tracked him through a friend. It was the same friend connected to both of these women. My husband had the ability from his education, professional training and work to not do what he did. He has told me he was screaming inside his head telling himself no don’t do it. He basically said he was stupid and selfish. He let his boundaries slide. He told himself whatever he needed to. He was super successful, made a lot of money, I was busy with my life work and kids, he had the opportunity. My husband is like yours. People are drawn to him. Others always wanted to be around him. For years I watched women be drawn to him. But he never even acted remotely friendly. He said his friends would actually tell him he was being harsh or rude to a waitress or other women that were doing their job but a little flirtatious. He had other excuses like he did not get to play the field. I was far from his only girlfriend even though we started dating somewhat young and married on the young side. But that was all him. He also said once he did it one time he felt like there was no turning back and he was a horrible person so why not do it more. One thing I have learned nothing in a wayward spouse’s mind or thoughts makes sense.

            I agree do whatever you can to get back to the weekly time to talk. If that was working tell him you need to get that back on your schedule. Often when I bring something like that up my husband will say he was thinking the same thing or he will agree and say he did not think of it but something was off. As far as figuring out more why it might take him more time. My husband got much more in depth I would say in years 2-3 post dday. It is a long time but he has really connected internally with what he has done and figured out more of the why. I think it will always haunt him. As he said there really was no reason he should have ever done that to himself, me, us or our family. We had it all. He is upset with himself since through all those years I would bring up needing to talk about us and work on our marriage. He would brush that off. And things would be good for a while. But knowing he had sporadic affairs it makes sense. When contact would drop off he would be more himself.

            This is a really hard journey. Make sure to figure out what you need and want. I was very firm with my husband and I still am about what I need and expect. I have learned I feel better when I let him know what that is. Otherwise I get upset and irritated then distance myself. Things are much better if I just say what I am thinking. Then he has to react. Some of that means I am leading the process. But if I am staying in this marriage I am going to make it the best marriage possible and only stay if it is working for me.

    • Standing Still

      Shifting Impressions

      Would my coming clean accomplish anything at this point? Like I said before, my guilt is enough burden to place on an already shaky relationship as HE was the one planning on leaving me for his EA partner…..we are trying to rebuild and I truly don’t see how this would enhance our relationship but rather tear it down further….I don’t want to sound flippant at all, but how would this knowledge help him in recovering his feelings for me? I ceased that relationship because it was not building me up in any way, but becoming a hindrance for my marriage and I valued my marriage more than I did my self-esteem…..I also am trying to regain my feelings for my husband as my triggers are too often and many times debilitating and my emotions can get out of hand….in no way am I trying to justify my actions , on the contrary, I acknowledge my poor judgement of thinking that two wrongs could make a right and the burden of guilt is mine to carry alone….he himself has admitted to me that he has secrets that he will carry to the grave with him….what am I to think of that? That this is NOT his first affair, but the first one to be uncovered? Like I said, we have been in couples counseling for over a year and a half now….he stopped his individual therapy since May of last year and I’m now going to be two years in therapy this March….it may not look like it, but I HAVE made tremendous progress and am in a much better place emotionally and mentally than I was 2 years ago….this is the first place where I have felt safe enough to disclose this trespass of mine as I have never told another soul EVER about this….I don’t expect sympathy from anyone reading this, just a measure of understanding on how affairs mess up people’s lives even when at the time they appear to be exciting and adventurous, they are just a ticking bomb of heartbreak and pain to all involved…..

      • Shifting Impressions

        Standing Still
        I really appreciate your point of view. I know that there are two trains of thought regarding whether to tell one’s partner about an affair. I would always be worried that the truth would come out one way or another. My husband had two EAs about twenty years apart. I inadvertently stumbled on the more recent one first and the earlier one about a year later….again very inadvertently!

        I wish he would have told me himself….I have a strong dislike for secrets of that magnitude in a relationship or in families. I would rather someone “slap me with the truth than kiss me with a lie”. By not telling me he took away my choice…of whether to stay in the relationship or not.

        The lies and deceit that go along with infidelity are one of the hardest things to overcome. So as painful as these last five years have been….I would want the truth. I feel I have a right to the truth.

    • Soul mate

      Standing Still,

      Thankyou, there are no words I can write to express my gratitude for your very honest confession here on this blog.

      After 14 months of hell after discovering my husband’s EA, I have come to understand the reasons for his weakness. And yes, even though he made the wrong choice, and hated it, I understood why.

      We have been married for 27 years and have always been close. I am more of the independent and planner of the family, while I discovered my h is more vulnerable and insecure. At the time when he met the parasite (single coworker) that he got involved with, he had several life changing circumstances occur and I was dealing with family issues, work, budgeting, and menopause.

      My H was severely attacked and suffered a severe head injury that I believe caused severe depression. His personality completely changed. He started to drink heavily. Hiding it from me and lieing about it.

      I can honestly say now that during the 5 years leading up to and of living through all of the troubled times in our marriage I too longed for the man I once knew. The confident, honorable, protector and wise man I married. My lover and best friend. The Special Forces Ranger I fell so deeply in love with all those years ago. I begged him to come back to me as he sunk lower into a pit of negativity and resentment there was nothing I could do to pull him out.

      I too, became angry, negative, when he didn’t respond to my begging then demanding he snap out of it. As my nights became lonely while he drank his despair away and passed out, I built up resentment toward him way before the EA. Way before he even met her. We were pulling away emotionally way before.

      I too had longed for that feeling of wanting to be looked at with desire, wanted attention, wanted an ego boost.
      And way before my h met his EA I had the opportunity that once I realized what was going on, the very moment this man said I was beautiful, my husband’s face flashed before my eyes and I went running as far away as I could get! I couldn’t. Just could NOT betray my husband, family and everything I knew about myself. So I accepted my life as it was. Stopped caring about my appearance. Let my hair go grey, gained weight. Stopped thinking about myself as a sexual human being, my emotional needs and started to really depend on my family for emotional support of which I gave all, but never had any in return. I became emotionless.

      On DDay I woke up. I realized I was to accepting. How I did not value myself to say no to the demands and disrespect of others and the neglect of those I would give everything, including my life and spiritual existence for.

      Now, I take care of myself first. I lost weight (alot), I excersize and treat myself to beauty salons and new clothes. I go out with my husband on dates and I set bounderies and expectations with my husband and family. I made me a priority. And my h loves it, encourages it. He tells me daily how sexy and beautiful I look.

      His experience as he explained it was a humiliation and personal hell of which he does not yet understand and has regretted way before I found out. He too never was going to leave and told his EA over and over that he loved me and would never leave. But he also thought I no longer cared. I believe him. Because I truly thought he didn’t either way before she intruded on our lives.

      Since dday, we are closer than ever. We hysterically bonded right away and haven’t slowed down since. We reattached emotionally very quickly as he severed contact right away and has been tied to my hip, again, like he had always been prior to the EA. He is loving, attentive and remorseful. He hates what he did and the person he did it with.

      This whole thing, as much as I hate it, has been a badly needed wake up call for us. To bad it had to happen the way it did. But somehow I’m happy that it happened, to one of us, because our love was challenged in the most grotesque way. And we have overcome, survived and we are alive, in love and enjoying each other again. Our love won the day.

      Things get better everyday. We still have a ways to go. But now instead of living a stale emotionless life, our lives have become awakened, exciting, in tune. Closer even, if that’s possible.

      This experience, if anything has taught me a few things I will never forget or give up again. That I am worth loving and I am sexy and beautiful. I am desirable and I am hot in bed. And I deserve to be desired, respected and treated with compassion and passion from the man who proclaims his devoted love and need of the same.
      Peace

    • Standing Still

      Soul Mate

      What you’re talking about is what I want for myself. That emotional reconnection and reattachment. The true remorse and wanting to win me back. I have never been a slob in my appearance. I was overweight, but always fashionable and well groomed and even attractive. My mistake happened several year ago and I have repented every day with wailing and deep regret ever since. I cannot undo the past or have a do-over; so, by moving on and having learned my lesson, I can promise you that i won’t make the same mistake. I long for the day where I look at my H and feel deep attraction at the sight of him, or him, of me…..I wonder so often if I should even keep trying to restore this marriage or just throw in the towel and call it a day…..

      • Hopeful

        Standing Still, When I hear your last line that makes me wonder if at some point it would be best to come clean. On dday my husband said he thought about leaving me and never telling me. Of course dday was hard. But to his surprise it was also one of the best days. You know why?? Because learning about his affairs was an “ah ha” moment for me. With his gaslighting and boderline emotional abuse towards me making me feel like I was the problem in our marriage or always complaining about him I always felt at fault for something I did not understand. I was always proactive, wanting to work on our marriage, focused on family, hard working, driven, supportive ….. Well hearing about all of this was horrifying but I can still remember the happiness that I felt thinking after all these years it had nothing to do with me. Four years later and I still thank him to this day for being honest with me and not leaving. He was going to leave to save face, image and reputation. He was not sure if we could rebuild a new marriage together. But we both agreed to try. My husband broke it off with both ow 15 months before dday so everything was over and he was not interested in doing it again but he said there was a wedge there between us. He felt guilty, ashamed, sad etc and we could never be close. Now it is as if we have done a 180. We are closer than ever. Despite his affairs we were always very close throughout all of our years together. But now it is hard to describe. We are excited to see each other and cannot wait to spend time together. I feel like we are teenagers or in college again. People have made comments that they are jealous the way my husband looks at me. Of course you can do what you feel is right but all I can speak from is my experience. I do not feel we would still be married if he had not been 100% transparent and authentic about the past and moving forward. Otherwise we would have been trying to rebuild a marriage on shaky ground.

        • Shifting Impressions

          Hopeful
          I can totally relate to what you are saying….when I discovered what was going on it’s as if a light went on. There was that ah ha moment for me as well.

          Standing Still
          Thank you so much for your open and honest discussion. My asking the hard questions is only to help me understand. Your input is really valuable. Of course you must do what you feel is best.

    • Kittypone

      Standing Still

      Do you ever look back and wish you did end your marriage and stay with the AP? Was there any time you toyed with the idea just to see if you would have the balls to pull it off? I’m not judging you, but I just want to see the perspective from the AP…..I even spoke for 3 hours on the phone with the harlot that my husband was involved with and you’d never believe how much she apologized and even sent a message to my husband with me telling him not to contact her anymore…..wouldn’t you know it? Exactly a WEEK later I taped him having steaming phone sex with her…..doesn’t sound like a “don’t-contact-me-ever” kind of response….he keeps claiming that at the time, he was just in “pursuer and conqueror” mode and she was just a conquest to him, but he truly debated leaving me just so he could have a chance of meeting her face to face and finally consummate the affair….the harlot even accepted money from him and never gave him any details on what she really spent it on (supposedly her daughter needed tests and her husband denied her the money to do that…..🤨🤨🤨🤨) so, what goes through the mind of an AP?!?!? I think you said that the guy you were with was single, but YOU were married, so, didn’t you think about YOUR husband and what it potentially could do to him? Weren’t you being the epitome of selfishness itself? Sorry to come across a little harsh, I just get incensed thinking of the harlot….:(

    • UpsideDown

      Affairs are selfish, no doubt. My husband and I were in a bad place, no communication, holding grudges on my part and basically living separately under one roof. I understand his ea and his need to have someone to talk to and it went to far. It bothers me how much time went by before I knew about the EA.(7 months total, 2 months of getting emotionally invested and then agreeing to just be friends. (my husband refused her advance at something more) and 5 months of remaining friends.) I feel like a fool for not knowing during the first 2 months. I let him know at the last 3 months that it was not a friendship that I was okay with. Anyway, I would be extremely angry to know I was lied to for even longer but, not being part of someone else’s marriage, I cannot advise what is best for anyone else. I feel like keeping secrets is never good in a marriage and takes away important information from one of the partners.

    • Standing Still

      Shifting Impressions

      At this point, where our marriage is in such shaky ground even though we are doing so much better than 18 months ago, I truly see no purpose in risking the flimsy stability we have right now by saying something that won’t be building our relationship up. Will I feel the same 2 years from now? I don’t know. The whole point of confessing in this forum was to answer Sarah P. question. I did that from my own experience, and I can assure you, I’m not proud or arrogant about what I did. I am thoroughly repentant and remorseful about it and I can’t change what happened or why. I can only learn from it and never repeat the same mistake again. Would I reconsider if the same scenario happened again? Most assuredly I would!! I now have experienced both ends of it and the BS portion of it is pure hell. I will make sure NEVER to inflict that kind of pain on ANYONE. I want to think I learned the very hard way, but learn I did….

      With much hope for the future….

    • TryingHard

      Standing Still— for what its worth SS i think you should not tell. That opportunity is past it’s point of being useful information. You should have told him when you found out about his affair. You know now first hand just how awful being betrayed is. You get to live with that guilt and that seems punishment enough. It must be awful to face your h everyday with only you knowing what you did to him. It must be equally awful to know that he is experiencing such remorse for cheating on someone that he believes has been faithful to him. But i agree with you. It’s too late. I bet you wanted to tell him but chickened out at the time.

      Maybe since you did the same thing you can better understand what he’s going through although not really because the playing field is very one sided. Yes being the betrayed spouse is awful. But having to look at yourself in the mirror and see a lie must be equally awful. I believe you have learned a lesson. I think telling him now would undoubtedly cause your marriage to collapse. Maybe your h has learned a lesson too.

      Keeping this secret may make your marriage collapse anyway. It’s a tough decision you have to make. If everything is moving in a positive direction and you’ve forgiven yourself, and that self forgiveness is what really counts not Gods lMHO, then i say keep it to yourself. It’s your total burden now. But Oy what a burden to keep. I feel for you. Not only do you have to bear your husbands betrayal but your own as well 😞

    • Standing Still

      Trying Hard

      I have forgiven myself. Especially because I have never again acted out in such a selfish and destructive way. The guilt I bear is the one where I ask myself “why did you do it?” The actions themselves can’t be undone, so, there’s no use crying over spilled milk, but the motivations behind the actions are the ones that need revising and examining…now being in the other end of the spectrum as a BS, I don’t want to inflict that kind of pain on my H, and even more so when he has been so adamant saying that he appreciates my forgiveness and grace towards him in wanting to restore our marriage, but if the shoe was in the other foot, he wouldn’t be as forgiving and would leave, no questions asked…..kind of hypocritical and self-serving, in my opinion, since he was so grateful that I didn’t boot him out yet he wouldn’t extend me the same courtesy, so, there you have it. At this point, any confession from me would DEFINITELY wreck what’s left of my marriage and we’ve been together for almost 35 years…..why would I want to risk that over a stupid mistake that happened over 10 years ago, that only showed poor judgement on my part and the other guy was adamant about a “no strings attached” philosophy? I wasn’t planning on staying with the other guy either, so when I tell you that none of this would add benefit to our marriage, believe me, that it won’t. I chalk my experience as a betrayer to the pile of bad memories, I’ve learned a painful lesson from it and now, I’m learning to live with the brokenness of being a BS. I think that brokenness is what made me repent even more sincerely of my own trespass and why I was readier to forgive my H even when his remorse is not very apparent to me. His behavior is more like he wants to sweep it under the rug, pay the least consequences he possibly can, and move on and forget it ever happened….THAT’S what I’m working with, so imagine what could possibly happen if I were to throw into that mix my own betrayal of several years ago….not a pretty picture…..again, I’m not asking for sympathy, but a measure of understanding of where I’m coming from for my reasons why not tell my H of the past betrayal.

    • Blindsided

      Thanks Hopeful! It’s amazing how so many of these stories are similar. I so appreciate your wisdom and honesty. We had it all too … until about 4 years ago, when we suffered a catastrophic financial loss. It set us up for all kinds of hell. We were limping through it, making some progress, then the affair. Again, the very last thing I would have ever thought my husband would do. I am hoping that my husband becomes more forthcoming as we enter into year 2, as your husband did.

      I will heed your advice to make sure I figure out what I need and want. I feel I have been on damage control, crisis management and have not really begun that hard work. I struggle with my loss of integrity, in that I made empty threats, ie, it is over between us if you have any more contact. (I did not follow through on that).

      • Hopeful

        Blindside. I think if you refocus on yourself you will start to feel differently. And when talking with him try being matter of fact. Once I was able to remove the emotion my husband saw me as serious and not freaking out. I would not beat yourself up regarding empty threats. This is something we have never been through before. I said I would never stay with someone who cheated on me. I said that to my husband… Are you able going forward to set down some concrete boundaries and expectations. Even put them to paper. Then discuss those together? For us too we got to the point where my husband was good with that and I felt like I needed more. There was no contact and doing everything else I asked. But then I realized I had issues with his friends and drinking. Once we started peeling it all back for me it felt connected. He never was with either ow except when he had been drinking. Basically he had transform his entire life. It was a lot but the early work helped so he was invested and did not take it personally. He knew he had to change. He came up with it himself but he wanted to be 100% transparent and authentic to me leading him to be the best possible husband and father first and foremost. He never put anyone else above himself ever in his life. He now says he is so much happier.

        Hang in there! It is rough. I forget do you have a therapist?

        • Blindsided

          Thanks Hopeful. Yes, I do have a therapist, but haven’t seen her for a while. I kinda felt like I needed to step back a bit and DO the work we were talking about, and that I was mired in talking about it rather than doing. So I have been working on self-focus. Probably time for another appointment.

          I really like your point of actually writing down the boundaries and expectations. We have done some of that, each having written what we needed from the other to restore trust, used as a guide in our weekly ‘repair’ sessions. So, the expectations part has been put to paper (needs an update) but haven’t put down boundaries. I think I have been looking at boundaries only in terms of “you cannot communicate in any way with OW again” , etc. I am now viewing boundaries more broadly.

          Back to focusing on self: Having been married for 35 years, raised two kids as a stay-at-home mom for 20+ years, there was not a lot of self-care (I felt that was selfish, a luxury …) I have changed to a point, but freely admit that it still feels self-centered at times. I have a full intellectual understanding of why it is so important, but in practice, I allow those nasty messages about if I deserve this, I can’t put my needs before others, we can’t financially afford this, etc. I imagine that many others on this site can relate.

          • Hopeful

            I totally understand. For me some of the simplest self care is going to the library, yard work, cooking what I want, listening to my music, watching what I want etc…

            And as far as boundaries go we had the no contact. But we also got really detailed. Call me on the way to work, on the way home from work, if any plans change I must be called no texts, if going out with friends we need to discuss first in person or via phone again no texts, he must have all the details, who what where when. He also discusses how late he will be out and how much he will drink. He added that last one since it helps him think ahead and be more accountable. And many more.

            I think a key fact was I do not like making decisions or communicating by text. I think a lot gets lost there and it comes off differently if asking questions or saying no. I feel the same way with my kids. Many of these boundaries felt odd at first or like I was the parent. But we both talked about it and decided if we were going to rebuild our marriage we needed to basically change everything. The old way did not work no matter how close we were. And he said he would do anything to ensure that I felt okay and could start to trust him or rebuild that trust. I think that is the big thing both people have to go into this wanting to improve the relationship and all the old habits need to be thrown out the window.

    • Soul mate

      I think the hardest part is the why question.

      When you know what led to the affair. But why when the situation is staring you straight in the face, they didn’t stop dead in thier tracks turn around and run like I did. To make it clear that the attention is not wanted.

      I know why I couldn’t go through with it. It’s called unconditional Love and way to much value for my husband, myself and my family. Regardless of our situation at the time.

      That is the part that I don’t understand. Why did he cross that line when it is clear that he loves me? He said he tried to stop it more than once, only for her to pursue him at work by using business as an excuse to talk, and before he knew it, it would start all over. He said it was a living hell. So why?

      • Hopeful

        Soul Mate,

        I had a hard time understanding it all. I too felt the way you do. I realized though through this process I would never do what he did because I cannot do that to myself. I love and care about myself too much. I am grounded and know who I am. That does not falter for any reason. I believe my husband that he loved me the entire time and never wanted our marriage to end. He hated it the entire time too. But from what I can tell he betrayed himself. I am caught up in his poor decisions. In a horrible way of course but he did this to himself. I think everyone has their reasons and I got to a point where no reason was good enough. He told me he convinced himself whatever he had to since the idea that he would do the worst thing to the person he loved the most, gave him everything, was a great person was too much to face.

        It took me/us a while to get to this point. But honestly it was like an “ah ha” moment. Really none of it was about me. He was the one who felt so poorly about himself, who lived his life in a way he hated, could not sleep, could not look himself in the mirror. And as he said once it started it was a slippery slope. He could not dig himself out of it all.

    • Soul Mate

      Hi Hopeful,

      It is exactly how my husband explains it. It was all him and he hated himself every single day that it was going on. That it was never about me. That he always loved me and never thought about leaving me and made that clear to his AP. That every time they came close to physical sex he couldn’t go through with it. After 14 months of his denial, I’m still not sure I believe that. But does it really make a difference?

      My husband has always been the kind that held his experiences to himself. His successes as well as his trauma and perceived failures. He always said that he didn’t like to be an “at a me” type and he definitely felt that if he shared his painful experiences, it made him appear weak.

      In some ways, because I knew to much about him, and went through so much with him in such a short period of time before dday, his fathers death, his health issues, his being attacked and losing his job. His failure at an attempt to build his own business, then accepting a job at a little less than half of what he was making before, was a huge hit to his ego. I believe that’s because his mother was an emotional as well a physical abusive woman who had always called him lazy and a trouble maker which is so far from the truth it’s ridiculous, however He felt like he failed me in a lot of ways and this is what caused his distance.

      Then along comes an attentive stranger. Someone who doesn’t know him at all other than he was a man who talked often of his family and how much he loved them. Someone who flirted and hovered over him at work looking for excuses to engage in talk other than the business at hand. Someone who had no clue of his fears and his perceived failures. Someone who he forget who he thought he was and gave him an escape.

      This I know for a fact from a friend who also worked with him and warned him about her. That she was a dumpy single woman who played a mouse. That she was not liked by many people she worked with because she wasn’t trusted, but came off like no one liked her and she had no clue why and she was afraid of people. That she did hover around my husbands desk constantly, follow him around on breaks and he on the other hand did not appear to pursue her. In fact my friend told me in several group conversations with her in it, she heard my husband tell everyone including the skank what he was doing on the weekends with his family and that he loved his wife.

      Now I know that she was sending him naked pictures of her anatomy, skyped him pretending she needed to have a work meeting with him and stripped off the robe she appeared in. He told her it needed to stop only for her to find a way to weedle her way back in. She sexted him and they kissed a few times and this is when my husband became very distraught and afraid to break it off with her because of his job or I would find out and he would be ruined. He told me that finally he wanted me to know but was a coward and couldn’t tell me so he left me clues. One time I caught him drunk, talking on the phone about having been removed from that job he worked with her, and he freaked out and handed it to me telling me it was Jim, a friend, but it was her. and he wanted so bad for me to take the phone and start talking. She asked him the next day why did he do that and he told her because he absolutely could not keep doing what he was doing. He wanted me to stop it, the whole thing, and he knew I would. Unfortunately I did not catch on and didn’t take the phone that night.

      Then came her anonymous letter to my job and the rest is history. And here we are.

      In the end I believe that my husband has a hard time dealing with what he perceives is his failure. And the thought that he has failed the people he loves. Like we would lose our value and respect for him. He has told me that he thought that I did not love him and that she even had insinuated that a few times. He said he refused to believe it but I believe deep down that was the knife that finally stabbed both me and him in the heart.

      She was his escape and ego boost. A dumpy, fake who gave up her only child at birth for adoption and never could find a man to marry her. A sad little viper who pretended to be a mouse with no friends. One who saw my husband as easy prey and valuable. She wanted my life. Little did she know that I’m a Mongoose. And my husband was telling her the truth. He loved his wife and would never leave.

      Peace!

    • Kittypone

      Soul Mate

      And how does one deal when your H becomes so engrossed in the EA, that he fully believes he’s in love with the AP; he even believes that his love for his wife is no more; that he will go to any lengths to travel the 2,300 miles separating him from the OW even tho she is married and he has no clue what he will do with her husband once he gets there; that he has not just one, but SEVERAL pastor friends counseling and advising him against his poor choices…..how does one deal with all that? I know that all of these scenarios are in the past, that they are no longer involved, that there is no communication (or so he has led me to believe), that he has said time and again that he no longer feels anything for the harlot, that he chose me over her (mind you, she’s the one who broke it off between them; I fully believe they would still be together if she hadn’t)…..how does one handle feeling like the consolation prize? Like he settled for staying with me because he couldn’t attain what he truly wanted? Only because she always made it clear that she wouldn’t leave her husband for mine? And even so, he was WILLING to be HER side piece instead of the main course!!! Where was his dignity?!?!? Why do I feel like he only exists with me, and he’s not fully involved with his whole heart?? I couldn’t believe all the endearments he would call her when I taped him speaking to her over the phone….he can’t even bring himself to call me “darling” but she was his princess, his queen, his love, she was so beautiful to him!!! Why do I feel like I am so lacking and still competing with the ghost of this harlot???? I know she doesn’t come to my heels when it comes to character; she’s the one who cheated on her husband, not me; she has so little education and it shows in her poor grammar, but she had SOMETHING that grabbed him and wouldn’t let go….what was IT?????

      • Shifting Impressions

        Kittypone
        I hear your pain….but remember YOU ARE NOT A CONSOLATION PRIZE!!!. You are so much more.

        I told my husband that I loved him and wanted to work on the marriage but I only wanted him to stay if he really wanted to be with me. No other reason was good enough. The kids are raised and financially we are in the place that we could go our separate ways.

        Also, him playing the victim card was absolutely not going to work with me.

        Don’t fantasize his affair….affairs aren’t real life.

        It was his behavior that was lacking…NOT YOURS!!

    • Soul Mate

      Kittypone,

      I have no answers for your situation that would be good. Your husband is a lucky man to have you.

      I told my husband on dday that it was me or her. No second chances. That I was disgusted and humiliated for him, myself and my family over what he did and would absolutely NOT play second seat to anyone. That if he wanted her he needed to leave.

      That I valued my life and wasn’t going to waste anymore time on a person who can’t have any respect for themselves little own me or his family. Someone I can’t trust. That I left one marriage before and would do it again.

      That the little bit of life I had left would be to pursue happiness and yes, that would include another as I love sex and needed for a long time to be desired, payed attention to and loved beyond all others. And he was not giving me any of that.

      He knew I meant it and did not hesitate. If he would have, so be it. I love my husband more than life. It would have hurt like hell if he left, but if he did, there would be no chance of coming home.

      I would have moved on. As painful as it would have been.

    • Kittypone

      Shifting Impressions
      Soul Mate

      Thank you for your encouraging words….they mean so much to me…..I did give my H the ultimatum about his affair….it took him longer than I wanted to end things and really re focus on our marriage, and I had to witness him going into mourning for the loss of the AP, and I truly wanted to strangle him for that, but we are in a better place than we were 2 years ago….I have deep hopes that we will be in a much better place in our relationship than we ever were before, so, I deeply appreciate your motivating words to me….I have learned to place boundaries left and right, and I even threatened to leave him if he ever even glanced in the harlot’s way, so it APPEARS as if he has been walking the straight and narrow….after all this time, I have accustomed my mind to the idea that if things don’t work out, I CAN make it on my own and make my way in life; I have been with this man since I was 14 years old, I never even dreamed of a life where he wasn’t in it, so having gone through this chaos that he threw us in, I have slowly come to realize that my life doesn’t start and end with him, but with ME. Yes, I do have emotional trauma and triggers left and right, but as time goes by, I trust that I will be stronger and more confident of my own fortitude and capabilities to stand on my own two feet regardless of what happens to my marriage….thank you so much for supporting me, a complete stranger (and we don’t even have each other’s real names to properly thank y’all) in sharing your experiences to help another betrayed sister…..God bless you all….

      • Shifting Impressions

        Kittypone
        To be able to encourage someone else through this pain gives some meaning to my own journey. I wouldn’t have made it through without the help of some really close friends and the amazing support on this site. If anything good can come from my husband’s poor choices….I want to grab on to it.

        My husband and I also go way back….started dating at 17. To be hit with a d-day just before our fortieth wedding anniversary absolutely shattered me. It’s been over five years now and the triggers are far and few between….but every now and again they still hit me.

        Baby steps….one day at a time. On step forward and two steps back. It’s all part of the process. Don’t be to hard on yourself…it’s a long hard journey. Take care of you.

    • aceporty

      I am really struggling after admitting to an EA with my line manager at work, what makes it worse for me is being autistic. The AP won’t admit to the EA, yes it was all me being emotional but she was happy for it continue despite half through the EA me pulling her to one side asking if I had overstepped the mark.
      My BS was very upset when the affair was revealed, but has really been supportive since. TBH I feel I have been let of the hook a little because of my autism and the excuse that it was just an obsessive crush because of my disability.
      I am using a therapist, she is adamant that it was an EA and AP at best was naive, not reading the signals.
      I know I should move on and get a new job. but being autistic makes it doubly hard as I like my comfort zones and routine.
      I am very depressed as I really don’t know what I want and that has to be key, I don’t was to upset anyone in the future as I have caused enough hurt.
      Does anyone else have any similar stories with work EA or committing an EA from an autistic background ?

    • Angela

      I don’t know about the rest of you guys but I’m at the point where I want no contact with my CS because of his lack of initiative. This can be very difficult and intense because we still live together and I have tried using physical boundaries to avoid any kind of intimate contact and to make him see how I really view our relationship now. I have tried for almost 5 years in every way possible to make a productive conversation happen which still most often ends up in an argument. I have tried in many different ways very bluntly to tell him exactly what I need from him and he may do it for two or three days and as soon as I start responding to him he just drops it like a hot potato when there is still so much more that needs to be talked about. There are things that we must talk about after being together for 10 years. Those things are financial matters and other matters that involve both of us. Beyond that though, I have nothing to say to him and no desire to have anything to do with him unless he is making an initiative toward healing and I guess when I get tired of waiting for him to take that initiative I will leave him. I cannot sit and casually chit chat with him about work or other mundane matters when the broken connection between us hangs around like an elephant in the room that everyone pretends isn’t there . That’s where I’m at with it.

      • TryingHard

        Angela–It sounds like you and he are at an impasse and you have a very big decision to make. This is no way to live and you’ve given him multiple chances given it’s been 5 years, right? Maybe time to move on?

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