affair relapse

Affair relapse is a common thing, but it doesn’t have to be inevitable.

By Doug

I’ve never really kept track of the numbers, but I’m guessing that well over 50% of the mentoring ‘cases’ I’ve been involved with experience an affair relapse. 

Here’s a typical scenario…

“I caught my wife cheating on me 6 weeks ago. She stopped the affair immediately, telling me that she loves me and wants to work on our marriage.  Since then I have found out she has been lying and has resumed the affair with him again. I know she does want to quit but is having a hard time.”

I hear this sort of story on a daily basis.  Usually it’s from the standpoint of the betrayed spouse, but often it’s the unfaithful person too.

In a past post I addressed the 5 phases that an unfaithful person goes through once the affair is discovered, and I offered my opinion that it most often occurs in Phase Two:

“Phase Two:  The ‘I Need a Fix’ Phase – More commonly referred to as the withdrawal stage.  This is where the affair has ended by some means and the cheater is in a funk.  They are missing their affair partner and are feeling the effects of being cut off from the ‘high’ that the AP provided.  I believe this is the phase where most relapses occur. In this phase the cheater may experience the following:

  • Anger
  • Resentment
  • Blame
  • Depression
  • Easily shuts down during discussions and/or arguments
  • Reminiscence
  • Emotionally withdrawing/distancing
  • Ambivalence
  • Missing/longing for their affair partner. They feel they need to contact the AP.
  • Quiet – not talkative”

Indeed, affair relapse is a common thing, but it is inevitable?

Well, obviously not all situations and people are the same, so it’s impossible to really know for sure.  But here are a few things that the unfaithful could do to perhaps lessen the possibility of an affair relapse.  (Note: I’m not referring to serial cheating.)

 

Getting Over an Affair: Dealing With Affair Withdrawal

 

4 Ways to Help Ensure There Isn’t an Affair Relapse

Don’t Just Wing It.  You need an affair recovery plan. And a good starting place for that plan in my opinion is to really know why you are doing it. Why is affair recovery and/or saving your marriage so important to you (or your spouse)?  If you do not know the Why’s, you may not be (remain) motivated enough and will tend to slip back into old habits and tendencies. You need at least one compelling, motivating reason why you want to go through this.   

It’s like trying to lose weight.  If you are trying to lose weight so that you look better in a suit or a dress, you might not be motivated enough to follow through with your weight loss program.  However, if your motivations for losing weight are that you will have a heart attack and die if you don’t, then that might be the motivation you need to follow through.

The same goes for preventing an affair relapse.  You have to know why you are going through the affair recovery process.  You need to look at yourself and really determine your motivations.  Are they strong enough to keep you going?  I believe that it has to be more specific than “so I can save my marriage.”  And your reasons may change over time – which is not a bad thing, by the way. 

In addition to knowing your affair recovery motivations, your recovery plan should be specific to infidelity and include strategies that address such things as introspection and self-discovery to understand why the affair happened, individual and couples therapy when the time is appropriate,  putting in place certain boundaries and guidelines so that an affair doesn’t happen again in the future, and an agreement with the betrayed spouse on what to do in case of unintended contact with the ex-affair partner.

Having a plan is great and all, but it also requires that the unfaithful follow through and actually work the plan as diligently as possible.

Remove the Temptation and Opportunity.  An alcoholic can’t go into a bar without being tempted to drink.  So, why would it make sense for an unfaithful person to feel that they can “still be friends” with their affair partner, or that they will not be tempted if they continue to work with that person?

Likewise, you (or your spouse) cannot carry on in such a way that provides you ample opportunity, which is an often overlooked and underestimated risk factor for an affair relapse.

Lynn Margolies, PhD says that…

“Opportunity poses the most danger when people:

  • are not onto themselves and fail to accurately assess their vulnerability to acting on temptation;
  • fail to consciously register the potential affair partner’s intentions;
  • do not make an explicit decision, or plan, to protect themselves from acting out.

Taking steps to remove temptation and close the door securely protects the unfaithful spouse from continued secret contact during the chaotic transition out of the affair relationship. The unfaithful spouse not only feels guilty about having the affair, but often feels torn and guilty about ending the affair relationship. During the goodbye process, he or she is prone to give the affair partner mixed signals, even if unconsciously.

In ending an affair, the unfaithful spouse often suffers grief, feelings of loss and preoccupation with the affair partner. These feelings may need to be processed in the context of therapy where the function and meaning of the affair can be understood, rather than acted upon. Successful endings of affairs typically do not involve processing feelings with the affair partner because the likelihood of doing so will further intensify the attachment and lead to re-engagement. If there is something else that needs to be said, it should be with the spouse’s full awareness and consent.

People who have difficulty emotionally letting go of the affair partner even after having cut off contact usually are continuing the relationship in their minds through remembering and fantasizing. Fantasy provides the fuel for affairs — leading up to them, perpetuating them, and then making it difficult to back away or let go. Swept away by the addictive, intoxicating power of the “rush,” romantic fantasy and infatuation is confused with the complexity of intimate relationships and real life. The failure to believe that one is caught in a fantasy drives the process, leading to the false belief that this feeling is sustainable and a rigged comparison with a marital relationship.”

 

No Contact.  Forever.  Period.  I could have included this under the temptation heading but I wanted to make it separate so as to emphasize it more.

Lynn Margolies says, “An affair that is suddenly exposed or ends poses a particular risk situation for a vulnerable marriage with an unfaithful spouse. Feelings of loss, conflict and pressure can make it difficult to let go of the illicit relationship, compounding the lure that led to the affair in the first place.

Effectively establishing closure with the affair partner — including ceasing all contact — helps guard against relapse and is an important beginning gesture toward restoring trust in the marriage. This is not the time to rely on good intentions and discipline alone.”

As I’ve stated in the past…When I ended my affair, I did so cold-turkey and have not had any sort of contact whatsoever since.  I sincerely believe it was a vital element for me to quickly move through the withdrawal phase and toward commitment to the recovery process.

But I realize that others may struggle with doing it this way.  The person with an addictive personality will struggle.  Those who were in a long-term affair will probably struggle.  Those who had their affair end abruptly will probably struggle.

But I can tell you, no contact – whether direct or indirect – is a must. 

So, it should go without saying that there can be no texting, calling, WhatsApp-ing, Facebook messaging, etc.  But also, no reading old letters, texts or emails.  Stop staring at his/her picture or stalking the person on social media.  Toss out any gifts or anything else that can remind you of your affair partner.  Any reluctance to do so will only keep you mired in a funk and keep the affair fantasy alive.

Cold turkey, one day at a time. It works.

 

 

Get Support. One of the things I truly wished I would have done when we were going through this was to talk to a trusted friend, expert or another person going through the same thing.  It would have been nice to have their objective advice on direction, for accountability and to bounce thoughts and ideas off of, among other things.  I feel it would have made things so much less uncertain and chaotic, and would have stopped me from screwing up as much.

To think that you can depend on your own ability to figure things out and help yourself, your spouse, and your marriage at the same time – is kind of crazy.  Most of the unfaithful people who have just ended their affair are of no mind to help heal their partner or marriage – at least not right away. 

Though we (as the unfaithful) did create this whole shit-storm, usually we are unable to figure it out or fix it on our own.  We need to be able to understand ourselves and the situation better.  We need vastly more knowledge on a variety of relationship issues. We need to know what the hell to do. We need help.  To think otherwise is not realistic – to put it mildly.    

And down the road, you may find yourself falling back into bad habits, slacking off on your recovery plan and other relationship patterns that could possibly lead you to an affair relapse.   It’s a typical struggle for anyone.  But it’s at those times when you need to dig deep and utilize any ammo in your arsenal that can help prevent you from relapsing. That can include talking to your spouse, your therapist and your support/accountability person – among other things.

As they say, “It takes a village.”

Please share your thoughts on this and whether there were certain things that helped – or didn’t help – you or your spouse from having an affair relapse. Thanks!

 

 

    30 replies to "Will I (Or My Spouse) Have An “Affair Relapse?”"

    • Exercisegrace

      The one thing I have to be grateful for about my husband’s affair was that he ended it a year before (although they still worked together) his whore ratted it out. So…… lucky me! I got to skip any angst or grieving he may have done. Because I’m not sure I would have dealt well with having salt poured in my wounds.

      When we went to one of our first counseling sessions (before the whore went full frontal psycho), my husband commented that he felt bad for causing “everyone” pain. Wait what??? He felt bad for hurting his affair partner?? After I said that our counselor said “well isn’t that the type of man you want to be married to?”. I began to laugh. And laugh. And laugh. NOPE. I remember saying that the only person deserving of his sympathy was me. The only person he needed to hold any guilt for was….again, ME. I didn’t choose to have my life, marriage, family, finances and health violated. Nobody asked me if it was okay for him to indulge in an affair. I told him that the two of them chose everything they did. Eyes wide open. They CHOSE. I didn’t get the luxury of a say in it. His whore knew she was pursuing a married man with four kids. She knew it was unlikely that he would leave us for her. If I robbed a bank, I would not expect anyone’s pity as I sat in jail. I chose the actions fully knowing the potential consequences.

      Far too often, cheating spouses want their feelings considered in the immediate aftermath. They want sympathy. This isn’t surprising given the incredibly narcissistic thinking it takes to have an affair in the first place. CS who are ultimately successful in marriage recovery are the ones who can put their own needs on the back burner, and who are willing to look deeply into the abyss of themselves to understand the things that drove their bad choices to begin with.

    • Kittypone

      This is one of the reasons why I am having such a hard time trusting my H again……I can’t GUARANTEE that he hasn’t contacted the harlot ever again; that SHE hasn’t tried to contact him (she broke it off between them); that he isn’t thinking on the “what if’s” they could’ve consummated their relationship (they never met face to face, it started on Facebook and progressed to phone calls pics and naked videos) soooooo……all this to say…… IT’S BEEN 2 YEARS AND I STILL CAN’T TRUST HIM ANY FARTHER THAN I CAN THROW HIM …….am I in the wrong for feeling this way? We are STILL in couples therapy and seem to be making some progress, but I just want to be free of pain and hurt and anger and rage……tell me it DOES stop at some point, please…..anybody???

      • Doug

        Kittypone, there is no right or wrong way to feel. If you can’t trust him, you can’t trust him. There must be a reason why that is. I’m guessing because he’s not exhibiting trustworthy type behaviors like honesty, transparency, not being defensive, etc.

        • Kittypone

          Thanks, Doug for taking the time to answer yourself to my plea……you just said it: he is antsy when it comes to sharing passwords to his devices (he doesn’t share any of them. Period.) he becomes highly defensive about protecting his “privacy” and how I shouldn’t be all over his case over it because he never snoops around my devices and “trusts” me to be an adult and not do to him what he did to me…..I couldn’t swear on a Bible that he is still involved with that harlot, but just last night he asked me why I don’t let my hair grow long (I wear a pixie-type of style) and of course, ALL my triggers went off (the harlot has really long, silky type of hair) and I asked him if he wanted me to resemble someone in particular and he said no, he’s always liked long hair so I told him to let his own hair grow long, then!!! I got SO angry because i TOLD him how offended I felt,….I asked for an apology, and he told me that I couldn’t force him to apologize to me, so I guess that whatever little progress we had made, it’s down the drain……I gotta go, there’s an appointment with the barbershop I have to make today…..

          • Doug

            Kittypone, your husband’s remarks are a bunch of crap. In my opinion, a person who won’t willingly share his devices and uses the ‘privacy’ defense, is hiding something. It might not be related to an affair, but he’s hiding something nonetheless. Basically, it is not a trustworthy type of behavior – which sends your radar through the roof. HA! Love that you told him to let HIS hair grow. Good stuff!

            • Kittypone

              Doug…….He SWEARS by all that’s holy that he’s not hiding anything, but his demeanor just says the opposite!! I decided not to be hyper vigilant anymore for my own sanity, but I swear to you, that I no longer feel any kind of love for this man….I feel irritated with his mannerisms (which only slightly bothered me before) I feel so often that his intellect is below mine; I no longer miss him if we are apart for a length of time…….I’m praying with all I’ve got for God to return the feelings I once felt for my husband, or I don’t see this marriage surviving in the long run….

            • Doug

              Listen to EG…Trust your gut!

      • Exercisegrace

        Kittypone. Here’s the thing about affair recovery. As the betrayed spouse, YOU get to make the rules. When my husband’s affair was outted by his whore, he said he regretted it and would do anything to stay in the marriage. I gave him my list of “deal breakers”. This included him shutting down his Facebook account, giving me the passwords to ALL of his accounts, and full access to his phone (texts, emails, etc). I also gave him all of my passwords. The ONE exception was my exercisegrace account that I use to participate in certain online support groups.

        If there is ONE thing I have learned? Trust your gut. If something feels off? Something IS OFF. Over a year after dday, I kept saying something was wrong. I was still being lied to. Even our therapist began to gently suggest I was struggling with trust because he SWORE he had disclosed everything. Wrong. His whore used a fake social media account to deliver a fresh attack. He had to admit things he had withheld, or outright lied about. That led to me scheduling a marathon counseling session that I gave him one week to prepare for. I told him I would be asking questions, and he would be giving the full truth. Anything less and we would part ways. His choice. It was a turning point for me. I finally took agency in my recovery. I finally took back the CONTROL that two slimy cheaters had held over me for so long. Recovery is long, hard, messy work. It is a journey and not a destination. Seven years in? It’s much easier. The triggers are so much fewer. My ability to brush them off is so much stronger. This will never entirely go away. I will have reminders. I have accepted that and it helps. I no longer see myself as having “failed” at reconciliation because I have the occasional bad day or a rough trigger.

        • Kittypone

          EG
          Thing is right now, I don’t even FEEL like investing much of myself anymore…..I’m just going with the flow, and whatever happens, happens….all the fight has gone out of me and I don’t even think that I can muster the energy to be jealous of that harlot…..I screamed at him a couple of months ago to “just give me the damn reason to leave you” !!! if he was still keeping it up with that harlot…..but I feel like I don’t even CARE anymore…..and that truly scares me….

          • Hopeful

            I agree with EG. Also I remember my therapist saying my husband has zero trust, zero freedom and zero rights. He had all the freedom and ability to control his own destiny and he threw it out the window. So now it is what I need and want as the number one priority if he wants to try to save the marriage or even figure that out. It is impossible to do that if either party is not invested. I remember early on talking with my husband and about how love is not a feeling but a verb. I think in our society people get caught up in a feeling. But it is about your actions. And what I did was to watch if my husband’s actions matched his words. Hang in there!

            • Kittypone

              Hopeful…..you really are an example of your screen name….you give me hope (I know, my hope really should be in Jesus, but you know what I mean) and reading your words gives me just a bit of traction to keep trying a bit longer…..thank you for that….

            • Hopeful and Optimistic

              Kittypone, the advice given so far is right on target, trust your gut, if you are going to work on your marriage, transparency is a must, without it recovery is near to impossible. To go along with your comment about not having the energy to invest in your marriage, I was at the same place a little under 5 years ago. Just a little back story on me, my wife had an affair and told me about it on Christmas night, things were rough with us for a number of months, we had our up and downs, but things seems to be progressing in the right direction. It wasn’t until about month 6 that I noticed she was less open about things and my gut was saying that something was wrong. After this point, our relationship deteriorated to the point when you are now. I was exhausted mentally, I had all but given up hope that our marriage would survive. It was at this time that I reminded my wife that she had agreed to give me her password to her work email, she pushed back and said that she didn’t know why I needed this, and that she might get in trouble if she gave me this. Ultimately she didn’t give me her password instead she wanted to open her work email and just show me that there were no emails from this person, which there weren’t, it was only when I asked her to put in this persons name in the email search bar that an email popped up that my wife had sent only hours before, but had not deleted yet. Needless to say I was done, we happened to be on vacation when this happened. I told her she no longer got to choose whether we stayed together or not, I was going back home and filing for divorce. The reason I bring this up, it was only after the affair was exposed and my wife said she wanted to save our marriage, that I watched to see if her action matched her words. We talked for a while and she told me everything, she answered every question, some she questioned whether I really wanted to know and if I did, she told me.. It wasn’t until this point that I saw her as being truly honest, and like your therapist said, I knew she was being honest. It was this honesty and transparency that gave me the energy and hope to also fight for my marriage, I share this because, that was almost 5 years ago and we are still married and doing great. Was it all easy going after that, no it has been a long road and a roller coaster of ups and downs, but it was worth it and we are miles away from where we were that day. I truly pray for you to be able to get the answers and honesty you are seeking.

    • Miserable1

      I’m sorry to say that I am almost to the 3 year mark and I still feel all those emotions and they seem to be getting worse as more time goes by.

      • Doug

        Hi Miserable 1, I’m sorry that things are not going well. Can you perhaps share a little more about what’s going on so we can better help you? Thanks!

    • Confused

      A little over a year since I discovered my wife’s emotional affair. Says she didn’t have sex with him, (we all work for the same agency), and he denies any sexual contact. Sexting, oh yeah, I have the actual text messages! We made progress until today. Seems her confidant hooked up and had sex with him. This pissed her off! When I confronted her, I had to pry it out of her that it pissed her off! We both agreed no more secrets, and to let one another know if something has upset them. Well, trust that had built up, GONE! Do I start over, do I cut and run, what?!? Confused as all get out right now!

      • Doug

        Confused, only you can determine if it’s time to cut and run, but it would seem that since you just made this new agreement, you might want to give it a chance to see how it works out. And you might want to start it off by letting her know just how deeply this event has upset you. Perhaps addressing this issue of her being pissed off (and why) more in depth might be worthwhile as well.

    • TryingHard

      This was an obsession for me for the first 3 years into recovery and reconciliation. I was obsessed with him secretly contacting her again or she him. I became pretty good with gps, key loggers, apps etc to see what he was doing and where he was going. Never saw anything. Now that could have been a fools paradise. Maybe my skills weren’t good enough. Maybe i interpreted the data wrongly. So i stopped.

      I fact there is NO guarantee. Nor will there ever be a guarantee. I finally had to settle and accept that i already knew all i needed to know.

      I never saw any sadness or regret about breaking off with the OW. But i never saw anything different with him during the affair Had i seen him missing her or being down in the dumps about it i think that would have been enough. The line in the sand. Never saw it. Not sure if he experienced it or not.

      The thing that convinced me i would know was a reassurance from my therapist. She assured me I’d know. That my senses were hyper vigilant and I’d see the signs if there were a next time. I think she was right.

      One ting i def know, he can and is perfectly capable of doing it again. Whether he will or not remains a risk i take

      • Hopeful

        TH, I was the same. My skills were honed. I felt like I was a private detective. Looking back I think it was a phase/process I had to go through. I turned up things he had forgotten but most of the time it was nothing. I finally got to a point where I gave up. I was honestly thinking of putting a tracking device on his car. I was studying battery life etc. And one day it hit me. I cannot continue living this way. I was driving myself crazy. And as I thought about it I was not actually stopping anything from happening. With technology it was possible he could find a way without me knowing. In the end I came to the realization he has to want to stop and not do it again. And I cannot control that. I can be aware, vigilant and invest in myself and our relationship. She have pretty strong boundaries and expectations still to this day.

        My therapist said the same thing. That I would know. My husband said the same thing too. If I have a question about anything at all my husband wants me to asks and is not defensive. He wants me to look at his phone whenever without notice. He said he has never slept this good in his entire life. He said his head hits the pillow and he actually likes himself. I agree though it is possible it could happen again even though he says never even if we were not together. He said he hated his life so much he would never do that again. He loves being authentic. We do talk about it as time goes by and things evolve. It does come up in conversation and discussions. It is not lost on him at all.

    • Confused

      I should probably clarify something, we agreed no secrets when the affair was discovered and I had to pry that out of her.

      • Hopeful

        I can only speak to my experience but honestly it was a roller coaster after dday. Nothing seemed as open, honest and transparent as I was expecting. That was over 4 years ago now. If I bring up something my husband said that first year after dday he does not remember most of the time. Or he also now sees it all different and at times is confused or disgusted by what he said. I think he was treading water and just trying to keep forward progress. For us he broke up with both ow 15 months before dday. So in a way he was ahead of the game since he decided he was done having affairs. However the burden of the shame and guilt has taken a lot longer for him to deal with. The first year was all about me facing the pain, hurt, upset and realization of what happened. At a year I was starting to stabilize. I focused more on myself individually. That was when my husband started to cope with what he did. During that first year we set very structured boundaries and expectations so it was not that stuff was happening. However at a year he started to finally look inward. Up until then he spent so much time supporting me and helping me through.

        Saying all of that it was a total roller coaster. Things would feel great and then all of a sudden not. And that was without him not meeting the expectations or boundaries set. There was a time where things felt too good, too normal. It felt like pre dday. That sent me over the edge.

        I agree with Doug that only you know if it is time to move on. I spent a lot of time with a therapist who specializes in infidelity. It was amazing and what I needed. It was a space just for me and gave me the support I needed. I am happy to share more and answer questions. I don’t want to go on too long. But honestly what she expressed and hiding it I can see as potentially being somewhat normal. Not ideal but normal. One good read is Masters of Love in The Atlantic by John Gottman. It is a great magazine article that really hit home for us early on in that first year.

    • Dawn

      I discovered my H affair one week after V-day. She “broke it off” for like 2 secs. He was not willing to. We started marriage counseling. Found out he was still contacting her. But not seeing her face to face. He started off by saying he didn’t love her and wanted me. But then moved to saying he was confused and the affair was my fault. He’s still blaming me. But has moved to saying he wants a divorce so he can be with her. She is also married. He’s not willing to start the divorce process. He has also not yet asked her if she plans to leave her husband. We are now separated. i couldn’t take hearing that being with me was like cheating on his AP.

      Knowing all that, I wonder what the percentage is that he or she will have an affair on each other?? I have twin 6YO boys to consider. I don’t want them around her. She left her own kids with her ex when he couldn’t take anymore of her cheating.

    • Fractured heart, wounded beat

      I have been visiting this site often since I had my first DDay on February 10th. I was gifted with a second DDay on March 16th. My third DDay was on April 30th. We have been married for 18.5 years and together 24 years. My husband knowingly violated our agreement and lied about having contact that HE INITIATED with the OW (who he works with). My immediate reaction was to say, ENOUGH! I cannot take anymore (as I’ve said many times when talking about any contact after the second DDay). I told him it was done. Hoping to give him a reality check, I explained the logistics of divorcing at this point with so many comingled finances, the kids, belongings, living situation, etc.

      We are planning to tell our children we are separating tonight. However, I have started asking more questions of my husband and now am concerned that he is STILL in the affair fog. Particularly, this article states the most intense withdrawal is in the first 3 weeks and more difficult for those who have an addictive personality and when the affair was ended suddenly. Based on my calculations, he has never made it beyond 3 weeks before reestablishing contact, has an addictive personality, and the first two episodes were ended abruptly when I found out. He claims that he thinks this is real, romantic love and he cannot stay away from her. He said most recently that it is deeper than I understand and he cannot have a life without her in it.

      I am so distraught about what this will do to our kids (10 and 14). He’s in denial about how this will affect them in the short-term and long-term. He thinks that if its handled well, the kids will be just fine. (Our daughter KNOWS what he did)

      I explained to him that if he falls on his face, I will no longer be his home base or safe place to fall. That is over.

      Although I feel some optimism at the idea of being on my own and having some closure over this disaster made of my life by his selfish choices, this is a permanent move and I am not sure he is feeling what he thinks he is. Karma does have a nice ring to it, don’t get me wrong, but after all these years…..REALLY??….this is going to be what ends it?

      I drew a line in the sand and he happily danced over it, in my estimation, to force my hand since he’s too much of a coward to end it himself. I had a moment of the control and self-respect I have been lacking for nearly 3 months since I was blindsided by his affair and in truth, I don’t know that I can go back and ever have trust after all these lies and broken promises.

      We’ve had some deep conversations and made better emotional connections through this but my radar goes up that something isn’t right every time contact is reestablished and then things get much darker. Eventually, he comes clean. I just cannot stay on this roller coaster. It’s like he’s two different people and I’m not sure where the man I actually loved is anymore.

      I feel confident that this will all fall apart when reality enters the picture but I cannot wait around for that. He seems pretty sure this is the love of a lifetime and he just cannot stay away. This affair has turned him into a bumbling idiot! (By the way, this woman is OLDER than I am, divorced after being cheated on by her inattentive husband, and was married the exact same amount of time, divorcing at the same age I am now! She has displayed some bunny boiler tendencies but that seems to die down when he willingly jumps back on the hook.)

      So many years of my life wasted on this man…..I just cannot ride this out.

      • Healing heart

        To Fractured Heart- I feel your pain as you sound like I did 3 years ago. I felt as if I was married to Jekyll and Hyde and neither was acting like my husband of 31 years! I said/did a lot of the same things as you as I anxiously waited for the very real affair fog to clear. I held firm on “this is your affair and if you want to leave-there is the door as I’m not divorcing you”. It was unbelievably tough as you well know and there were so many times that I wanted to give up and change the locks. But through lots of prayer and personal counseling I survived it. He never had the courage to leave, the fog finally went away and he finally began the walk of shame back to our life. It is so not an easy road back but it is possible if all parties finally shape up and fly right by doing all the work that must be done to recover. You will never get over the trauma and hurt but you will recover whether he stays or leaves and be stronger for it. Another thought that I had was that regardless of his decision to stay or go I would always have the history of his affair and all the crap that went along with it so either way that memory was going to be there so I put it in God’s hands and rode it out. I survived, he survived, we survived and are now moving forward into our relationship together in a good way. Bottom line, your message really touched my heart and I wanted you to know that many people have been where you are and we made it through. You will be healthy again regardless of his decisions. Take it one day, one hour at a time. Prayers and blessings to you and your family.

      • Hopeful

        Fractured, I am so sorry you are here. This is a really hard and long road. I am over four years past dday. I never thought I would make it through it. I had no idea how I was going to do it. You have to do what is right for you. I would say you are really early on in this process. It honestly took me the entire first year to process. Once I was in a better spot my husband finally started processing what he had done. It honestly hit him harder than me which was a big surprise. We did not have much affair fog since he broke everything off 15 months before dday. But if I tell him things he said during those first 6-12 months he has no recollection. My husband has talked about it and basically he was trying to make things better but not say the wrong thing to upset me, make things worse etc.

        My only suggestion for you is to think about what you want. Do you want to leave/separate or try to reconcile/work through it. Neither road is right/wrong/easy. When I was in the thick of it I just focused on the day I was on. I tried not to look back or forward. I could not change the past and thinking about the future was too much. Also I would suggest seeing a therapist for you and your kids. No matter what happens having that support is so valuable.

      • Better days

        Fractured,

        Your marriage is already over, he destroyed it and is not showing any signs of rebuilding a new one. Get yourself out of this mess. The kids aren’t being done any favors by being in this environment watching their mother take this tx from a sorry excuse of a man. You have your whole life for him to earn you back(don’t hold your breath on that one). You are showing him time and again that there is no real “line in the sand.” Stop listening to anything coming out of his mouth. Stop making excuses. Time to take action.

        • Fractured heart, wounded beat

          Better days,

          I’ll admit, your comment seemed quite harsh to me at first. I even read it to my H and he took umbrage at the “sorry excuse for a man” comment. However, you were right.

          First, I want to say that he has given much lip service to fixing our marriage, treating me differently, acknowledging what he’s done over the years and in the affair. He read books, did a mentoring session with Doug (and lied to him too), and invited God into his life. He cried repeatedly as he apologized and talked about how much he hated himself for what he’d done. He said he regretted everything and wished it had never happened. After so many years, it still amazes me that this man is such a skilled liar that he can lie to my face and be so convincing (with a pinch of truth bias on my part early on). He was not lying in many of those exchanges until the thoughts and feelings started again and he kept them secret in direct opposition to the plan we’d made together. Secrets have power. I knew something was different, even when he assured me over and over that was not the case.

          I am absolutely not defending him but perhaps myself. I’m not an idiot (although I’ve apparently been sleeping next to one for 24 years). He put me through hell for three months because he was conflicted. We have a life together, kids, everything. We’ve been together more than half our lives. It’s astounding that he actually thinks this relationship built on lies, betrayal, and pain to so many others is the real thing. But he does…. He’s out and I told him this door is closed to him forever.

          He’s been a good father and promises he still will be but he’s incredibly unrealistic about how many hours are in a day. He also has no idea how this will impact him financially because he hasn’t paid a bill in nearly 20 years. Chances are good that he’ll eventually realize this was nothing but a selfish, fog induced mistake. Whatever. My kids are strong and we’ve formed our own team. They’re sad and hurt, as am I, but we’re supporting each other.

          One part of this that is incredibly difficult is reconciling how this man could be so different all at once and actually leave all of us. Who does that? I told him how badly this will affect our kids and how much this one decision would increase their risk for so many negative outcomes. Even after our daughter wrote him a letter about how much she wanted to hate him for breaking our family and asking why he would do this, he left. Even after I told him she WILL hate him before long, especially when she finds out he’ll be living with a girl of the same age, playing daddy to her after leaving his own daughter, he left.

          My daughter told me I was different already, a good different, and my kids wanted to sleep in my bed last night so we’d all be together. We’ll be fine, eventually, but this part is hard. It’s hard to fathom all the projects we were planning for, the future, just vaporized. I don’t understand how all of this, all of us, suddenly mean so much less to him since this whore gave him attention and made him feel like a real man. 🙄 He isn’t who I thought he was, who our kids thought he was, and he certainly isn’t good enough for any of us. As my sister so eloquently stated, “Enjoy your demise, douche!”

          • Kittypone

            Fractured,
            I didn’t think my heart could stand any more heartbreak, but I was wrong…..reading your comment, my heart broke for you…..it will never cease to amaze me how some “men” will happily trade their own children and raise someone else’s like they’re baseball cards…..may karma dish her best (and her worst) being the bitch she is, I’m getting my popcorn ready for what is coming to them bastards!!! I wish you peace, many blessings and the strength only God can grant….

          • Hopeful

            So sorry for all you are facing. It sounds like you are on a good path and your kids are lucky to have you. You are creating the most possible stable situation for them. All I can say is I think for a wayward spouse to reconcile, change, come back from betrayal they have to transform and change themselves to a whole new level. There are many hard things people face in life. This is something only they can do. No matter how much we want it for them, their kids, family, friends etc they have to want to do it themselves and then take action. From what I have watched with my own husband this is not an easy process. Just from my observations someone who was able to betray their wife/person they love most in the world, family/kids etc to have to face all that they did in that process is next to impossible for some. It really is a transformation of self. It has been 4 1/2 years since dday and I in many ways feel like I am married to a different person in a good way. It has taken a long time and much longer than it took me to go through this recovery process. It makes sense considering all that he did and convinced himself of through the “affair years”. Best wishes for continued forward progress.

    • Better days

      Fractured,
      Firstly. This truly sucks and I’m sorry and can only image your path. What’s sometimes recommended is to put your daughter, sister or best friend’s name at the top of your post and re-read it. What would you tell that person? Your first post read “denial” to me. Your last post shows a lot more like you are here in reality. My name calling of your husband was solely about being a role model to your kids. No one deserves this tx and we have to stand up for ourselves. Wishing you the best.

    • Healing heart

      Fractured heart,
      You and your kids have been in my prayers since I read your post as I’ve thought of you often throughout the days. I’m now praying for you all to have strength, courage and peace as this chapter closes and you all move onward. Not how you’d write your story but you will put your life back together again and be better for it no doubt. I can tell by your writing that you are the rock of this family and you can see the big picture. My counselor told me that strong women typically come out the other side far better off than the one who has just left. It won’t be easy as you know but take comfort in knowing many have been down this road. What goes around comes around and no doubt, your soon to be ex husband and his black widow spider will get all that they deserve. Take care and may God bless.

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