We received several emails from readers wanting my point of view on Linda’s post from yesterday. Though none of the emails were specific on what they wanted me to comment on, I thought I’d share my feelings regarding the resentment issues.  Linda’s post was the result of a rather lengthy, emotional discussion we had the night before regarding this issue.  It is an issue that we discuss frequently. Hopefully, I will satisfy the readers’ curiosity.

I’m going to pick this up from the point where I ended the emotional affair with Tanya.  As Linda mentioned, I did harbor resentment towards her initially.  I guess it was lingering resentment from back before the affair even started. I was resentful for her basically putting me as low man on the totem poll and ignoring my most important needs.

The resentment carried throughout the affair because (as I’ve learned since) the fire of resentment was being fanned by Tanya quite effectively.  This contributed to me basically being an asshole to Linda, which is something I severely regret now doing.  But naturally I was blind to this during the affair.  For the record though, I have never felt that Linda was not good enough, pretty enough or smart enough for me.  Quite the contrary actually. I was just pissed that she basically ignored me for quite awhile previously.

In the early stages of our recovering from infidelity, I became aware that was the root of how I was acting and feeling, and to be honest, I got over that resentment rather quickly.  I also realized that I was just as much, if not more to blame than Linda for the discontent in our marriage.

What lingered on and caused me not to come back to Linda quicker was skepticism (trust) about whether or not the improvements that were made in the way we were communicating, the affection she was displaying towards me and all the other wonderful things we were doing at the time would last.  And that they weren’t just “staged” in order to keep me from continuing the affair.  I found it hard to believe at the time that she could change her feelings and actions on a dime like that.

At this point, to me that doesn’t matter anymore either because by Linda doing what she did, and acting the way she did—by basically satisfying all of my most important needs, it transformed our troubled relationship into a good relationship, which ignited a spark between us that had been dormant for years. Tanya had become nothing more than a distant memory at that point.

It’s been a learning experience

At the same time, I have learned a lot about myself, about relationships, marriage, and what it takes to keep a marriage strong.  I feel that I have made great strides towards improving my communication, my affection and ability to satisfy Linda’s needs as well.  Though I admit I still need to continue to work on getting better at it. And to tell you the truth, even though Linda is concerned that some day I will run into Tanya and my feelings for her and everything else would start all over again, I feel quite positive that would not be the case.

You see, looking back after the affair from a now happily married person, knowing what I now know regarding the dynamics of affairs and why they occur, makes me realize that it was all an illusion and that it was a stupid, selfish, narcissistic thing to do.  I feel tremendous guilt for hurting Linda the way that I have and will forever feel remorseful.  It certainly was not the way to treat the person who I have 30 years of history with, 3 children, and so much more.  I guess now I get to look forward to Linda punishing me!  LOL!

    15 replies to "After the Affair: Doug’s Resentment"

    • Heartbroken

      Doug – I wanted you to know that I find your perspective very insightful into better understanding, what, perhaps, happened between my wife and the OP. Last June, I was within one hour of catching her at the Best Western a few miles from our home in the arms of another man who has a wife and family of his own. Prior to that day, I would have sworn to anyone that our relationship of 16 years was a model marriage and perfect to a fault.

      My world as I knew it is forever gone and here I am 9 months later still trying to reassemble my life and understand how we got here. In a flash, probably the only person in the world who had my total and complete trust became a total stranger to me. Our wedding anniversary had just been the week prior and we were just finishing a six-week couple’s orientation to join our church where we would talk openly about how great everything was in our marriage. The crazy thing is that I believed it never considering that there could be a whole secret life that I didn’t know about.

      There clearly is an inherit danger in spousal use of Facebook. She reunited online with a man who she had dated around 1992. As a further shock to me, it turns out that she knew he was married then to the same woman he is still married to today. He travels a lot with his job and apparently she would go with him around the country (back then) without his wife. At the time, they had even spent a week together on a roadtrip to Arizona. This certainly was a shock to me and had I known when we met, I’m confident I would have moved on to someone with a greater respect for the institution of marriage. So much for hindsight.

      Anyway, to bring this full-circle, I feel like she is a totally different person than the one I initially fell in love with…I’m questioning everything, and mostly questioning myself. How did you both reset the clock, so to speak, and get a fresh start? It is kind of like I’ve made it into the center of a tornado where my world is spinning out of control around me and there is an eerie unsettling peace right now between us that I fear will not last. My world as I knew it is gone. The woman I married has metaphorically died and can’t return.

      So, while I am fully aware that any comparison between you and she would be totally inappropriate, you are at least somewhat like an apple and she like an orange pulled from the same basket…I’m sure you didn’t set out at the beginning of your marriage to wake up and say ‘some day I plan to have an affair’. I’m constantly walking on eggshells worried that she will initiate contact with him again. You said above that this is a total non-issue in your situation and I’m curious if you have any advice on how I might leave the hurt and visions of them together behind and focus on building something new. I thought I was doing all the right things all these years and was clearly wrong so I’m trying to think more like an orange so I can remain a positive force in our relationship looking forward. Any thoughts or direction from your perspective would be greatly appreciated.

      • Doug

        Heartbroken, Without a doubt the events that you’ve had to endure over the last 9 months have been traumatic to say the least. I sincerely feel for you. The visions and hurt that you have endured– as Linda can attest, are difficult to erase. It will certainly be a process and not an event. To leave those visions and hurt behind, your wife needs to prove to you that it is safe to do so. I believe that I’m doing a good job of that, though Linda’s healing process has it’s ups and downs.

        Your wife will need to take full responsibility for her actions, and accept the fact that she needs to make changes for you to heal, feel safe and trust again. She must also take full responsibility for the depth and gravity of her actions, and understand just how deeply you’ve been hurt. She will also need to be with you while you struggle with your emotions. She must understand why the affair happened in the first place and change her ways so that it never occurs again. You both must determine if there are conflicts within your marriage that existed which could have caused the affair. Finally, what really worked for us was that we found ways to court each other again, enlivened our communication and set boundaries to help keep our marriage safe in the future. The result has been a stronger marriage now than we have ever had.

        I’m not sure I’ve answered your question, but I hope that this helps in some way!

    • Heartbroken

      Thank you for your perspective. Even now, I still feel like I’m constantly walking through a fog or bad dream. It consumes me. At some point, I hope she can demonstrate to me that she is remorseful and responsible for her actions. She did say she was sorry, but even in counseling, would prefer not to talk about it anymore and sweep it under the rug like it never happened. I suppose that would be okay if I could just forget it, but a battle remains in my mind of lost trust and betrayal. The blatant lying to my face, I think, has become as hurtful as the affair itself. We keep working on it though and hope that over time that trust will regrow. Thank you again for your feedback.

    • Kristine

      Doug it’s refreshing to read how far you’ve come – certainly this is one of the great things about marriages being put together after an affair it’s not just GETTING OVER the affair it’s the UNDERSTANDING of it and how to make each other happy and what constitutes a marriage in the first place. It really is putting your marriage first (after God) and learning all about what makes your relationship work. A marriage CAN be better after such devastation and your posts and looking at yourself your relationship and sharing with others is proof of that. Thank you!

    • Dianne

      Doug, I keep reading over and over throughout this site about how much responsibility LINDA is taking over the state of your marriage prior to your EA, but I’m not seeing anything regarding yours. Did you ever let her know how unhappy you were and that your needs were not being filled by the marriage? For the life of me, I cannot see how Linda was at fault at all if you did not. Women may be spectacular, but we’re not mind readers. Neither are we responsible for teaching our ADULT husbands how to be emotionally mature and responsible for, and for APPROPRIATELY creating, their own happiness in a relationship.

      Can you speak to this, please, because this is the roadblock in the recovery of my marriage right now, if there is to be one. We are raising two special needs kids, both still very young and at home, at an older age than most parents of young kids (read: tired, often sick, and terribly achy! Lol), and then to add to this I lost my baby sister to suicide a year before the EA started, and then my father, too, unexpectedly. Yes, between my heartbreak and grief and the usual daily grind, I was not the ideal wife. My husband never shared his discontent with me, and I absolutely refuse to feel bad for a single moment for his immature reaction to such a difficult time. How does one get past something like this?

      • Doug

        Dianne, I was stupid and did not let Linda know how unhappy I was at the time – not until she discovered all the calls and texts on my cell phone. But I must say that neither one of us were effectively communicating our unhappiness back then. I’d have to say that through this whole ordeal, communication is probably what we have improved the most in our relationship.

        In most troubled marriages, I think it’s safe to say that both parties are usually at fault in some way for its breakdown. Certainly an affair isn’t the way to react to it, but both parties need to analyze what contributed to the marital problems and work to change or fix things if they want the marriage to ultimately survive. You certainly shouldn’t take the blame for his affair, and in no way does it excuse his actions, but perhaps you should at least acknowledge your role in the deterioration of your relationship and discuss it with him. And he should do the same. If nothing else it will open up more your lines of communication and perhaps give you guys a road map to recovery.

    • Dianne

      Actually, Doug, I WAS communicating my unhappiness. He just wasn’t listening. I think it’s extremely insulting to give a blanket statement that every time there’s a cheater, that cheater has been given reason for discontent. And to TELL me that I – and every other betrayed spouse out there – MUST have had a part in our partner’s discontent seems to me like making excuses.

      • Doug

        Actually, Dianne, I never said that every time there is a cheater, that cheater has been given reason for discontent, nor did I say that every other BS must have had a part in their CS discontent. All I said was that in most “troubled marriages” both parties have in some way contributed to the deterioration of the marriage. That is NOT a reason to cheat, but is a reason to have communication between the both of you to fix what went wrong. Best of luck to you in the future.

    • Lynne

      Doug, thanks for the clarification in saying that “in MOST troubled marriages”. I would agree that you should always look at yourself in this process, too….to see whether there are opportunities to be a better partner. In my case, we met in our mid-40s (so no kids together, no long history) and we have both been loving, respectful and appreciative of one another (and openly showing it for almost 6 years now). However (and this is where I am really looking at myself and asking the hard questions!), I should have left three months into the relationship and never looked back. Why three months? Because this was the first time I caught him in a lie about the OW.

      The same “female friendship” has been woven through our relationship, until 8 months ago, when he was finally caught and the proof of his actions could not be denied. Although we have been together for several years, I have never met this women, despite asking for this 2-3 times By the way, I have met ALL of his other friends. The last time I asked, he said it would be akward, but couldn’t get him to expand on why. Of course it would be akward because there is clearly something more to this relationship. There have been secretive emails, phone calls and lunch, but never divulging these to me…..some I have found out about along the way, but he has passed them off as nothing, and said that he didn’t want to upset me by telling me. He has told me in the past that he thinks she is attracted to him, and that when they met (on an online dating site), he really wanted to sleep with her, but she didn’t seem to be interested.

      So, this is something that has paralelled almost our entire relationship, which suggests that it wasn’t about something he wasn’t getting from me–I’d say its in the camp of having your cake and eating, too! Sadly, I see it as a character flaw in him. This shows a lot of emotional immaturity and disrespect.

      I am stuck and struggling to heal, as he says it was not an EA, there is nothing to it, and that I need to get over it and move one. I see that the biggest mistake I made was staying with him the first time he lied to me about her several years ago. In so many ways, he is the most wonderful man, but he has broken my heart, and has shut down on me as if this is my problem, not his.

      The biggest question now is whether to stay or to walk away and be grateful that his true colors came out before marriage–we are engaged, but I know that I can’t marry him unless he is willing to take ownership for his actions. This seems unlikely when he won’t admit to what was truly happening in this friendship.

      What do you do when you are being led to believe it’s all in your head, but the evidence and the lying about the same women for five years are real?

    • Theresa

      BRAVO!

    • Theresa

      and may I repeat, BRAVO!

    • Robin

      Doug, hello and may I start off by saying your site has been a wonderful tool in helping me get through, during such a horrific time in my life. It’s been almost 3 1/2 yrs since finding out about my husbands emotional and somewhat physical affair. I say somewhat, because from what I know it moved on to some hand holding and kissing 2-3 times. Anyway, with that said, today I have become very upset with what I read on your site. (After the affair, Dougs resentment) I don’t know why I hadn’t seen or read this post in the 3 or so years I have been devouring your site, but today I read it.
      I am so disappointed in this post. I feel as though you stripped everything good from all the info I have acquired up till now.
      I do know both parties in the marriage BW and CH share in some of the demise of their marriage, but to read your words about how you were not feeling safe or trusting in believing that your wife was now being authentic in her changed behaviors is hitting a real low. Regardless of the state of your marriage, and or the lack of communicating or attention, under no circumstances would that be reasons to cheat or to decide if you should come back to the marriage fully! Your words and I quote ” What lingered on and caused me not to come back to Linda quicker, was skepticism (trust) about whether or not the improvements that were made in the way we were communicating, the affection she was displaying towards me and all the wonderful things we were doing at the time would last. And that they weren’t just staged in order to keep me from continuing the affair. I found it hard to believe at the time that she could change her feelings and actions on a dime like that”. I cannot believe what I’ve read this morning. In these three years of recovery for me, I’ve read hundreds if not thousands of Blogs, Posts, Articles, Polls, etc…. And the one thing I’ve learned and is true thru out, is that it is not the BS who needs to be authentic, prove anything, be romantic or any other ridiculous action at the time of discovery, actually the CS is the one who needs to be these things. Most betrayed spouses were blindsided. The discovery of an affair whether married short term or long, causes pain so unbearable, that it’s a wonder how most survive that beginning time at all!
      Do I believe that in order to heal, and of course I’m talking about sometime after disclosure, that both parties need to do some work? Of course. And in no way am I saying that the betrayed spouse should hold no responsibility for the problems in the marriage. But, with that said, it is NOT, I repeat NOT the betrayed spouses fault that you chose to cheat! Nor is the their responsibility to try and get YOU AWAY from your cheating partner and affair! You and only YOU CHOSE to do what you did! We weren’t given a choice, and as I said before most have been completely blindsided! How dare you write as though it was partially up to your wife, to help you END or get away from your affair? I am disappointed and find it absolutely disgusting, that you had these thoughts at all to begin with, fog or no fog! I thank you for the ‘good’ help I have gained from your site, but I truly cannot continue coming here after reading this, and will not recommend your site.

      • Doug

        Hi Robin, Thanks for sharing your thoughts and for the kind words. And let me say that I agree with everything you say in your comment.

        But in my defense, Robin, that post was written 5 years ago and it described a frame of mind that I was in probably 2 years prior to that. A frame of mind that many cheaters exist in while in their affairs. A frame of mind that is very wrong.

        If you have devoured this site as you say you have, then you should know that I do not believe in the least that an affair is the fault of the BS and I know from the bottom of my heart that it was my choice and my ultimate failure.

        Best wishes!

    • Robin

      Doug, Thank you for answering my little rant. I am sorry if I offended you, that was not my intention. I realized later on and after re-reading that you were posting something from a long time ago, and of course do not feel that way now. I guess it hit a nerve, and just threw me into defense mode. I can and do see how far you’ve come since those early days of your affair. Again, my apologies.
      I really have gained much insight since discovering your site 3 1/2 yrs ago. I can almost go as far as saying, your site has been a saving grace for me through some of my darkest times. A little of my story: I was married 25yrs at the time of discovery, and to say that I went into shock would be putting it mildly. I found out by accident of course via phone records. That night as I stared at my computer screen, I couldn’t believe my eyes. Hundreds of calls, thousands of texts! After 30 yrs at one job, my husbands company was bought and taken over by new people, and he was given a new person to help him out in his one man office. He had worked alone except for the few men who would come through periodically. It was a woman, almost 15 years younger. Not attractive in the sense of say, a head turner. She was quite overweight, and in the beginning he even complained she had body odor (I find that laughable now). She started there in May of 2011, and by Aug of 2011 (4 months after celebrating our 25th anniversary) they were in an EA. He sat less than 12 inches away from her, 5 days a week, 10 hrs a day. I never felt threatened. I was never the jealous type. Actually I had high self esteem and always a positive outlook. I took good care of myself, I wore makeup everyday and flattering clothes. I kept a good home. Our sex life was good. We were the best of friends. All of our friends and relatives would comment on our marriage and say how wonderful it was. I never in a million years would have felt this could happen. And I suppose thats what made it so much worse, the blindsiding. When I found out, supposedly it was only going on for 3 months (only?) It could have been three years to me, deceit and betrayal doesn’t matter if its 3 days, 3 months, 3 years, feels the same. He of course tried to downplay in the beginning, and he was very slow with information. Took almost a year to hear most of the story, which to this day, I don’t believe I know it all. I insisted he call her in front of me, and tell her I knew and that it was over, which he did. I also told him under no condition would I be okay with them continuing working together, especially considering the close working conditions. I insisted he go to his employers and have her removed, to which he agreed. Of course he never intended to do that. He actually came home one night from work a few days later, and told me he wouldn’t be having her removed, didn’t want her to have to lose her job. That was the first of many, putting her before me and my feelings. I went to his employers and had her removed. By then he wanted her gone. He finally woke up, and has pretty much done everything right since. For three years now he has been the person I remembered and fell in love with, I am just not there. I have tried for over 3 yrs to move on, but I just cannot. I have come to terms with the EA and slight physical affair, but I can’t get past how he threw me to the curb in those early days. How if he had wanted to save his marriage as he claimed, when caught, he would’ve done the right things by me. He has said from the very beginning, the moment he was caught, that it meant nothing to him, was just some fun, that he never intended to end his marriage, yet, when I needed him the most, when I was completley falling apart and physically sick from his affair, he didn’t commit right away, even with the threat of our marriage being over. That it took quite some weeks for him to wake up, is something I just still can’t get over. I am still here, but Im hanging by a thread trying to stay in my marriage. Well, thats my story. I thank you for listening, and again thank you for all the insight. Your site was truly my saving grace, especially during those early days of discovery.
      Thank you also to all the readers here also. I have learned so much from them. Most are so kind.
      Continued success and happiness in your marriage, and keep up the good work here!

      • Doug

        No offense taken what so ever. I understand where you were coming from. And besides, after 5 years of doing this, I’ve heard much worse 😉

        Thank you for sharing your story and I’m sorry that you are “hanging by a thread.” I wish nothing but complete healing, recovery and happiness for you and your marriage.

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