after the affairHey everybody!  Since it’s Linda and the girl’s spring break, we’re going to take a little time off and head to the mountains for a little R&R.  I’m sure we’ll be checking in periodically but we didn’t think we would feel much like posting anything new. 

So…Here is a post that was originally run back in July of 2010.  In addition to what Linda wrote, there are lots of good comments as well.  We hope that you can get something out of it.

I Want More

I was reading some of the comments this weekend and I felt that so many of them had the same theme and many of the same problems voiced by the betrayed spouse after the affair.

I also felt the same sentiment but I really couldn’t put my finger on just what it was.  I guess at times I just feel empty.

I know that our marriage is better than it has been in a long time.  Our relationship is great and the time we spend together is enjoyable.  For some reason I feel something is missing.  I want more from Doug but I am not sure what that is.

I brought this subject up with Doug in the hopes that he would be able to offer some insight.

I wondered why after the  affair the betrayed spouse wants the perfect, happy marriage.  Why are we not happy to settle with mediocre? Are we setting the bar so high that no matter what we do we will never be satisfied?

Doug seemed to think that we want compensation for our loses.  We want our spouses to make up for all the hurt and pain. We want everything we believed they had in the affair.  I am not sure if that is the case. 

See also  Discussion: How Do You Cope With The Negative Thoughts?

It made me think about the book by Willard Harley, “Surviving An Affair” and wondered if that could hold the key to my discontent. Harley says that all of us have emotional needs, and an emotional need is a craving that, when satisfied, leaves you with a feeling of happiness and contentment and when unsatisfied, leaves you with a feeling of unhappiness and frustration.

After I found out about Doug’s emotional affair, he stated that Tanya filled a void that was missing in our marriage.  I reacted by doing a lot of research on emotional needs and meeting the needs of my husband. I know that I have tried to do everything to figure out what Doug was missing in our marriage and feel that I am doing a pretty good job at meeting his needs. I feel for the most part he is happy and content.

Now I am trying to figure out what my problem is.

Why am I feeling happy one day, and unsatisfied with my marriage the next? Could it be that Doug hasn’t figured out how to meet my needs?

Harley states that the five emotional needs that men usually place at the top of their list are usually at the bottom of the list for women and vice-versa. No wonder men and women have so much difficulty meeting each other’s needs. Maybe he thinks if he does what I am doing we will both be happy and content, but in reality only one of us would be happy.

Harley also discussed the concept of the “love bank.” When we are meeting each other’s most important needs our love bank is being filled and “love units” are being deposited.  When your partner does things that make you feel bad, love units are withdrawn.

See also  Open Discussion: Are You Working on YOU After the Affair?

Unfortunately, as we are trying to deal with the emotions after the affair, our spouses are withdrawing love units from our account–even though the affair has ended.  Just thinking about it can cause the “love units” to be withdrawn.

Harley provides an emotional needs questionnaire in his book and I am going to suggest to Doug that we both fill it out  because at times I am not really sure what my needs are, and I need a refresher course on what Doug’s needs are.  I am hoping that maybe this will help with me with my empty feelings I sometimes have after the affair. 

Maybe if Doug can learn to meet my most important emotional needs consistently,  my “love bank” will be completely full and everyday I will feel love and happiness.



    49 replies to "After the Affair – I Want More"

    • Broken

      Linda… I feel empty to, and I can’t exactly put my finger on it. Sometimes I think if my H gave me everything he gave the OW i would be happy, then other times I think that wouldn’t be enough. I’m not exactly sure what it is that I want. But I do know that what I have now isn’t enough.
      I’m starting to think about this a lot lately and how I can fill that “empty” feeling. Maybe the empty feeling is there because I want what I used to have. And now I know that I will never have my old marriage back. I miss who we were as a couple before. I miss the honesty, love, affection, and security we had before. I just miss being us without all of this affair bullshit. The empty feeling is maybe the loss of my old marriage? At other times I think the empty feeling is knowing that our marriage was not affair proof or strong enough to withstand temptation. I guess I was living in a fairy tale world. I always thought it would be just me and him. Now I know that it wasn’t. It’s a huge loss to lose a marriage you once had, even if the marriage you have now is better. Or maybe the empty feeling is knowing that no matter how good my marriage can be in the future it will only be because of the affair. There’s a void somewhere on my side of the marriage and I want it to be filled.

      • stupidandtrusting

        Linda, I also have this same feeling of not enough, of emptiness, and still a knot in my stomach. For me, I have known for only two months. During that time, my husband has worked hard to communicate, show care and love, create experiences, and to heal us. I am fairly confident that he means it, at least for now. I am recognizing a pattern – when things are really great between us, I have a meltdown afterwards. This has happened after some great weekends, dinners, a mini-vacation. I think this must be fear but it is also this feeling of emptiness. I do think Doug makes a point about the need for compensation, be it time, experiences, words, or gifts. So far, my experience has been that nothing he can offer is going to be good enough because it doesn’t meet my vision of what he offered the OW. My husband’s affair began at a time when he experienced a significant depression along with a number of other factors. Now that he is well and he has ended contact, he says he can barely remember what he said or did. There are so many questions he can’t answer due to his memory loss during depression. So, I may never have the answers to fill my void and this is affecting me. I know all situations are different, but would love to know how long it took the betrayed spouses here to move to a place of higher functioning, of having less intense pain, of knowing they can survive and forgive.

        • Holdingon

          I just love the loss of memory they all get. Make up some crap to tell him you learned about the affair and watch how fast he says that never happened or I never said that. I did that to my wife and see got an” I just f**ked up”. They don’t forget.

          • Holdingon

            The look on her face knowing the jig is up was great. But she still won’t tell me anything.

            • Butterball

              Actually, if it is a mid-life crisis and it sounds like that is what it may have been for stupidandtrusting, they genuinely don’t remember from all I have read. Not sure why, maybe what they go through is so traumatic for themselves that they have to suppress the memories to function.

        • Avery

          I’m still not there yet. My wife’s emotional affair took place from April 2010 – and “supposedly” ended in the summer of 2011. It’s been 9 years of near constant pain. Ironically, my marriage is only starting to improve because of my inability to let go of the past. I feel like most of my marriage has been an illusion of security. I still feel the emptiness you describe.

    • Michael

      I’d like to see the questions. Are they available online?
      In my research, the first few months I read about love as a tank or bank analogy. I didn’t see it then, when I read it. But after these long months I’m starting to feel less giving to my wife. And it feels like I haven’t gotten enough from her to sustain that giving feeling.

      Try as I might I just don’t feel that she wants or needs the same things from me. That we are destined to just be there and let life take us where she sees fit.

      I think sometimes that I just need to take charge and plan things and try things. But when I do, it just doesn’t seem to be what she wants.

      Even to the point where a month ago, after some time of telling here I wanted to, we finally went and bought her some new lingerie. Well needless to say it has sat in the dresser the whole time.

      Back in Janurary she mentioned a pair of boots that she saw at Macy’s. A couple days later we went for her to show them to me. When she tried them on, she looked like she really liked them and wanted them. So I bought them for her and a new purse to match.

      She wore them once. And now that even bugs me, because that was while she was secretly still talking to him. And telling me everything was going good for us.
      Why did we even buy them?
      Because they were on sale? NO. Because they were the only pair left and they were her size, NO. Because she would look good in them? No. Because she seemed to liked them a lot and wanted them, and I wanted her to have them.

      I feel the same feeling, as Linda has, that I don’t know what I really want from her. Or what she wants from me. But inside I know I want more.

    • Karen

      Your posts always challenge me to think – I feel exactly as you do – empty some days. A few questions: is any one person able to meet all our emotional needs? That’s why we have friends, right?? My husband and I are trying to use the Love and Respect acronyms (CHAIRS and COUPLE) to guide us right now, so maybe it follows that he’s not meeting the requirements of the COUPLE acronym that day??? But I’m sure I don’t always meet his needs also – maybe my worrying about where he’ll go to meet the unmet needs is
      why I feel empty. Doug’s input also intrigues me – I don’t feel like I need compensation – I just want to be done with the grieving/forgiveness process and move forward (not yet unfortunately). But maybe a little bit of revenge is what I’m looking for . . . . hope not.
      Thanks for making me think . . . . .

    • Jeffrey Murrah


      I often recommend Willard Harley’s books. I think that you are headed in the right direction with seeking answers to unmet emotional needs. Rather than play armchair therapist, I will share what I have seen. When I have encountered this before, I often ask if the emptiness was there before the affair or even before the marriage. If so, then the need was ‘pre-existing’ so to speak. In other cases, it goes back to commitment missing or inconsistent in the relationship. I have also seen the emptiness going back to the two spouses not having a sense of spiritual oneness in their relationship.

      These are where the emptiness came from in others. Searching for its source is often hard work. The important part is not so much where it came from, but rather how Doug helps you in dealing with it.

    • D

      The only person who can possibly fulfill unmet emotional needs is the person who needs them fulfilled. We have to look within ourselves. Even the betrayed spouse must look inside to find forgiveness, acceptance, courage, strength, love. I understand this emptiness. It’s because we loved someone and found they didn’t love us back – or at least not in the way we imagined they should – so we have decided we we are unworthy, we failed them in some way otherwise they never would have strayed. It’s bullshit to saddle ourselves with this burden. But we need to ask why do we saddle ourselves, why do we feel we failed or that we’re unworthy? We’ll find those answers within and we’ll find that we are worthy of love. We haven’t failed. The spouse who cheated failed, miserably, selfishly. What we will all gain from this journey, for those courageous enough to do the work, is that all we are guilty of is putting our faith in someone else and giving away our power over our happiness to someone else in the first place.

      A spouse, a friend, a family member can improve our life. We can feel happy, loved, wonderful in their presence, but it is our decision to feel those things. That’s our power. And we can have that power again.

      It’s true the emptiness is from mourning a lost love (our marriage) but rather than holding on to something that was obviously to some extent an illusion, better to let go and begin anew with something honest and real, along with the courage to look in the mirror and say, “I’m worthy of respect and honesty in my relationship. If I don’t get it, it’s my decision to move on or to stay. It’s my decision.” That’s the power we all have. I say don’t be afraid of pain or failure. In fact, follow the fear. The truth shall set you free.

      • SS

        Thanks D
        Your response is so hraling to mr.

      • SS

        Thanks D
        Your response is so healing to me

    • Jenny

      I also have these times when I feel empty or like I’m missing something. I feel like I’ve gotten past my husband’s EA in so many ways. I honestly don’t obsess about the fact he may be in contact with her any more or harbor secret feelings for her. I know that it wasn’t my fault, that I’m loved, he feels remorse. But yet I don’t feel the fullfillment I used to feel in my marriage. I think that part of it is because I feel that all of the pain I felt should lead me towards some sort of enlightened relationship with my husband. I feel like my forgiveness of him and even her should be rewarded. I should have the marriage of my dreams. He should be so grateful, see me as this wonderful person and do everything he can to make our marriage a success. We are told “no pain, no gain.” I guess I’ve gone through the pain and now I’m waiting….

      The reality is my husband still has trouble opening up emotionally. He still forgets to pick his underwear up off of the floor, leaves dirty dishes in the living room and becomes very defensive when I try to tell him how I feel. My forgiveness didn’t magically fix all of our problems and now I’m more sensitive to them because I’m still healing.

      I’m still keep hoping that I can turn these lemons into lemonade, but there are times when I feel like I’ve lost the recipe and am just ending up with a sticky mess.

    • Broken

      Jenny isn’t it interesting that the betrayed spouse has to work at repairing the marriage and meeting all of these “needs” that weren’t met before. Well what about the betrayed spouses need? How come our needs aren’t being met? How come we feel empty? Because we are not focusing on ourselves!!! It’s all about them and making our marriage so great that they will not cheat on us again. In reality making our marriage better and fulfilling these needs they have is only benefitting them and not us. Were still in the shadows. Maybe that’s the emptiness. I think Jenny got a very good point here.

      • D

        I love this Broken, Jenny. I felt this but couldn’t articulate it. Excellent job.

      • Jenny


        Sometimes I don’t feel like my needs are being met, but I can’t completely blame my husband for that because I’m not always sure what those need are. I feel like a person who just got off of the tilt-a-whirl trying to regain my balance. Even though I know there is steady ground beneath my feet I still feel unsure because I’m still reeling from the effects of the ride.

    • luna

      D, I totally agree with you…I some day feel the emptiness, but genereally not. When I do is when I start thinking, some what obessiving over what I have lost and how badly I wish I could get it back and make all this go away, but I also know that I can not get it back, that I will never look at my husband the same and that this thing happend for real, that this is my reality, yet I still love him…

      Knowing this, I have two options: I can just leave, or I can stay to figure the answers to all the things I do not know of the future, yes it is really scary as no one can guarantee me that this will not happen ever again, but I chose to stay it is my decisions, and I am ready to face the future if this ever happens again. If it happens again, well I ‘ll be a lot smarter and will be able to better handle this. I will also be sure that he is not worthy of me, and that this was not just a “big mistake” that he had learn from.

      As for what I have lost I know I can’t get it back, so why spend more time dwelling over it. For me it is all about now, living the moment and doing things that make me happy, fulfilled.

      On a side note, Linda and Doug, I really admire what you are doing, but I sometime wonder to what extend this is really good for you guys. It seems like every day or so you guys sit down and write about this…I feel that reading about others’s pain and troubles can only make your own resurfaces and it probably makes it hard for you guys to just “move on” down the line, that said I really appreciate what you have created here and I am really gratefull for it. It has helped me a lot

      • Linda

        luna, you are right, I often wonder is this website is beneficial to my recovery. I know that it gives me the opportunity to feel that I am not alone in my thoughts and feeling and that is a good thing. Almost like being in a support group. I do wonder though if the constant affirmation is healthy. I related it to being in an affair, when someone agrees with our thoughts we begin to believe that they are true, whether they are or not. We begin to act on them whether they are real or just a thought. The post on “emptiness” generated a lot of comments. I do agree that after an affair we all do feel some sort of emptiness but the reasons behind the feeling will be different for each person. I realize that in order for me to benefit from this website I need to look at my situation personally and figure out how I can grow from this experience. Even though everyone’s story is unique we all feel that we can relate to it, but we also need to figure out how we can learn from it and grow.

    • Rushan

      I also feel this emptiness inside me. some days everything is wonderful and I amso happy and then one morning I get up and it feels as if I miss something as if it is dark all round me and I just end up crying and praying to feel better. My hubby says he wants me he loves me he only wants me but I feel sometimes it is so insincere not coming fromhis heart that it is only liptalk. Why can’t we be satisfied with that? We were so happy before everyone that meets us told me that they wish they could be so in love and soh appy like me and my hubby. Now afterwards they also tell me that you are lucky to have such a wonderful husband who loves you so. But they do not know the truth and I am not going to tell them what happened in 2008 and 2009. But it is still in the forefront of my mind. I know I must try to forget and carry on but this void is still there. I am going to fill in that questionnaire to see what is the matter. Thank you LInda for telling us about it.

    • ruth

      Thank you Jenny I too haven’t been able to express what I was feeling until I saw what you wrote. I need something but I am not sure what he can do to help me anymore. I want him to wipe out this nightmare like it never happened but he cant.

    • D

      This post has really started my head spinning. Is it just that time needs to pass before both parties can return to the marriage? Is it possible to ever return? My wife tells me we are creating a new relationship. But there are days when I ask myself if I actually want a relationship with this woman. That’s when it gets scary because it’s almost like having access to too much power carrying that decision. Like an atomic bomb, I have the ability to destroy everything. And the question constantly arises, “Is it the right decision or one I’ll regret?”

      I definitely feel unfulfilled, but I keep reminding myself that it’s only been 6 1/2 months. I told her I’d give it a year to decide. It is getting better. There are only two of us in the bedroom now. We talk about a sharing future plans again. I can stop myself – usually – from ruminating the details. But I still ruminate, still question, wonder. This post has offered a new perspective. What about my unmet needs, my loss, my pain? She wants to forget it and move on. “We only have this moment, right now.” Not at all assuring. And I’m left to wonder if he’s the one who got away, or does she really love me and he was the aberration. Or was it a little of both? I don’t think I’ll ever know. That’s where the unfulfilled feeling comes from. It’s not that I don’t trust where she is some nights. I don’t trust that she cares where she is.

      • Linda

        D, is it possible that we spent so much of our time and energy trying to figure out what they were missing in the marriage that we totally ignored what we were missing. Most experts will say that when a spouse enters an affair both spouse’s needs are being neglected, and both are vulnerable for an affair, one just had more opportunity than the other.
        I know that I totally focused on what Doug needed and very rarely addressed what I needed to be happy. I guess at the time it was too overwhelming to focus on both which was very stupid because it put the blame on me rather than us. Also by totally giving Doug what he needed he assumed I was happy and getting everything that I needed from him, and in the beginning I was afraid to tell him what I wanted from him.
        I believe it all comes down to honesty and trust and after an affair that takes a long time to restore. I was afraid to be completely honest with Doug about my feelings, afraid to push him away. I know that I need to trust that he loves me and is here for the long haul, and not be afraid to tell him what I need. Which will be great when I figure out what that is.

      • Hopeful

        D 6.5 months is still early (even though I doubt it feels that way to you right now). AT 6.5 months, I was still dragging the truth out of my H. I had to know the truth and feel a dramatic shift in his understanding and remorse and responsibility before we could move on. That took us like 9 months and THEN we really started healing. Now, it almost two years out and we are in a dramatically better place. It didn’t take two years to get here, but nearly that for me to stop feeling the power of the triggers. I think about it still but MOST days it doesn’t take hold. I don’t wonder if he loves me or thinks of her. I mostly think about my new exciting life and mostly think about how grateful I am to have gotten here.

        I ramble, but I’ll say that if you need more time and help to heal, your W needs to participate. It is EARLY. And if she thinks you should be over it by now, SHE DOESN;t GET something fundamental about the pain or process of healing, imo. My H was slow to help but now is the one taking leadership in assisting me.

        And, agreed, it is a nice shift to think about our needs, too.

        Do so, imo.

        Hugs c

    • Broken

      Linda… I was thinking the same thing last night. I was not completely happy with my pre affair marriage. I always put him ahead of myself. But why did he choose to have an affair and I didn’t? Is it because I didn’t have an opportunity? Don’t think so. This is where the character issue comes in. Something about their defective character gets them into the affair and keeps them there. I know that if I had been given the opportunity I wouldn’t have taken it, that’s me.
      And just because they are the ones that had the affair doesn’t mean that they are the only ones who feel neglected in the marriage. It just means that they choose to put the marriage at risk and look for those needs somewhere else. I’m going to start focusing on me. Let my H worry about my needs. Because it seems like even if I fulfill all of his needs and create a better marriage, that he will maybe do this again anyway, since it is a character issue.

    • D

      Linda, to be perfectly honest I had a roving eye the past two years. Looking back I can see why. My wife was emotionally unavailable to me. I didn’t realize it at the time because she, very wisely, distracted me with an increased sex drive (and I really shouldn’t complain about her having sex with another man since I benefited greatly and got way more than he did by a 5 to 1 ratio – is that a fucked up male perspective or what?). But seriously, I was definitely open to an affair. But when the opportunity presented itself I couldn’t see it working and bowed out gracefully. Unfortunately, I loved my wife and respected her too much. I only wish she felt the same way.

      After d-day I have been obsessed with making sure I am the man she needs me to be. But honestly, what about me? It sucks that a spouse can “leave” a marriage but when the thing she left for falls apart she comes back kind of begging, kind of remorseful, kind of committed. And we feel like shit for that because somehow we are the ones who let her down? That’s messed up.

      But this is what I was saying before, why do we automatically assume it was something we did or didn’t do? It’s about control, having control over the outcome of our lives. If we love someone enough they are bound to love us back. This is based in religion, believe it or not. If we pray hard and accept our savior we will be rewarded. But we have absolutely no control over anyone. We can only control how we respond to circumstances presented to us. This is the work within. Robert Bly refers to this as “Warrior work.” A warrior fights for a cause, something he believes in. As opposed to a soldier who merely fights for control – power or profit.

      I think it’s powerful to ask if we are happy in our marriage. Because we deserve to be more than ever. If our demands are too great for the spouse to meet, then maybe they aren’t worthy of our love and devotion. Now is the time the spouse can really understand what it is they jeopardized. When we have the power to say, “You know, you’re not enough for me anymore. You’re going to have to try harder, and without whining about it, please” then we’ll be better able to fulfill that emptiness inside us.

    • completely crushed

      I recently found out that my husband had an EA. I was stupid enough to believe him when he said it was just flirting that got a little out of control and that the attention felt good. We were trying to put things behind us and even took a vacation without our daughter to reconnect. I very recently found out that he had developed feelings for her and even went as far as telling her about these feelings after we had planned our trip to put our marriage back together. Because he wasn’t able to be honest with me initially I feel that I have had my heart ripped out twice in one month. He is now going through therapy for depression that had gotten so bad that we had to postpone marriage counseling so that he can get the help he needs and get back to being his old self. He is taking anti-deppressants and i can’t help but wonder if he says he is happy and wants only me or if his mind is being tricked into being happy and he doesn’t really know what he wants.

      I completely understand the empty feeling. We are talking a lot and really trying to be honest with each other and put things back together but I just feel so alone all the time. I was going to talk to an attorney but know that i am not really ready for that yet. I just feel that i don’t know what to do or how to act. My husband is being patient and I really believe that i have all of the details of the affair. I know now that our marriage was not in a great place at the time and that i was in complete denial about that. I feel like i still don’t know what is going to happen due to his therapy and my inability to move past this, it hasn’t been long and is still very fresh and new. We have taken a “one day at a time” approach. On one hand i feel that this is the best option for me at this time and it was my idea but on the other hand i feel that i can’t continue to live my life this way. I feel like a pathetic mess that doesn’t know what she even wants anymore. I just can’t move past this at this time and i have absolutely no faith or trust in anything anymore. I told my husband that I feel i have lost my past because it now feels tainted, my future bedcause it is so uncertain and my present because i am just lost in pain.

      I have constant nightmares and cannot sleep. I will be starting my own therapy next week because I know that i need help. I feel so confused because when we try to have normal time together without constantly talking about the affair and our marriage and feelings, it feels so good. Then when the day ends and it is time to go to bed, I have not been able to sleep in our room because it just doesn’t feel right, I just feel intense pain and sadness. I literally feel that my heart is breaking.

      I have read so many of these posts and everyone seems so eager to fight for the marriage and put it past them and i just don’t know if i can. I feel like second best and i don’t know how to move beyond that.

      • Linda

        completely crushed, right now you are in deep pain and all of us can relate to where you are. There were nights that I felt that I couldn’t make it through the night because of the pain. Somehow I would wake up the next day and move on. It confirms how strong we can be. I believe your therapy will help and knowing that each day will be better. I know it hard to believe this now but there will come a day when you will put most of this behind you and the pain will only be a prick whether than a hard blow. Continue to be strong and know that all of us have been there and have emerged stronger and wiser. We are here for you. Linda

    • completely crushed

      Thank you so much. I have been doing a lot of reading and research and this site has really helped.

      It feels good to know that i am not a complete basket case that can’t control her emotions from one minute to the next. I felt so good to know that this is all completely normal to have good quality normal time and be happy one minute and feel lost and alone the next.

      I know that someday i will be able to deal with the pain in a more rational matter. My biggest question is will I ever be able to move past feeling second best?

      • Alice

        completely crushed (you posted in Aug. not sure if you still check this post but here it goes) – I’m not sure if you were second best. I mean, she only got scraps of his time. She had to be hold all the time, until he got a spare moment to call her. You still got birthdays, holidays, all the most important stuff. She was the second rate woman. And when it came down to it he chose you over her. It’s you he wants to spend his future with. And those “feelings ” he had for her, are mostly like just infatuation. Infatuation as a result of his ego being boosted. What you share together is a real mature love.

    • Kry4Help

      It has been almost 4 months since Dday and I too feel something isn’t right with me. We have been in therapy for 3 months and it has helped a great deal. I am trying so hard not to obsess. Sometimes I feel so uneasy like my skin is crawling and i just want to tear at myself. I know it sounds crazy. I thought that my marriage was perfect and this situation would never in a million years happen to me. Now that I am in reality how do I overcome this total sense failure, unworthiness, and loss. He has come out of his “fog” and tells me several times a day how much he loves me and that i mean everything to him and she means nothing. I want to believe that but I keep thinking that I am doing all of this hard work and what if he does it again? I think I would totally fall apart and have to be institutionalized.
      I decided on Sunday to finally tell the OW what I thought of her on a FB email. She of course wrote back and told me to move on that its been month and if I want my marriage to work and for her to be out of my husbands mind that she would have to be out of mine . She’s right and really her email could have been a lot worse since i wasnt exactly pleasant to her. I felt better after finally writing it and I was glad to get a confirmation that they haven’t seen each other in 3 months but i felt like she was lecturing me and how dare she tell me to “get over it!” I wanted to write back and so far have resisted. She is only 21 and my husband and I are 35 so I shouldn’t expect her to even know what mature love is.
      I just feel that I am alone. She has moved on and my H has moved on and I am paralyzed in pain. I try to hard not to think about the affair but then i feel so numb. I dont really know how to get back to myself or what to do with myself. I am a stay at home mom of a 3 year old. My life consists of going to the gym, housework, taking her to her little activities and grocery shopping. I dont remember what I used to think about before dday. I feel stuck. I just want myself back, my life back and to forget about all of this. I just wish i could cut that part of my brain out.

      • Doug

        Kry4help, Getting over the thoughts of the affair and the OW can be extremely difficult. Linda still at times will compare herself to the OW. First off, I’d let go of Facebook and any thoughts of contacting or obsessing on the OW. That just gives her more power in your life. The next thing that I see is that you need to learn to trust yourself again and ultimately trust your spouse again. This is very difficult and can take some time, but it can be done. Stay strong, find some good support, and do some things that help you build up your confidence again. Linda has had every thought and emotion that you are now experiencing and these are some of the things she did to find herself again.

    • Kry4Help

      Thank you for commenting back to me. I am feeling pretty good today and i haven’t been obsessing really. I am scared that he was capable of such a horrible act and I am holding onto that it wasn’t real in anyway. Therapy is helping but this site has really been pulling me thru the hard times. This was the first time I wrote on here and I am so glad I did. I am scared of the next time I have a bad day. And I read on here somewhere that it can take 2 years to get over this event and that scares me even more. That seems so long to feel this way. Everyone around me keeps saying that they couldn’t do what I am doing and they wouldn’t be able to get past it. I am so tired of hearing that and then of course they follow up by saying maybe you should separate or get a divorce. I feel that pushing thru this pain and becoming a better couple even though it is crazy hard is better than the alternative. I have been with my husband since we were 17, we went to prom together and college together. I have never even been with another man. He has been my true and only love and I can’t imagine being without him. Its hard to think that he was capable of this when it had never crossed my mind and I would never want to hurt him this way. I feel sad that he was able to go there and I could never. Is it a character flaw that I don’t possess? If so what if he can get rid of it? We have delved into our past with Torn Assunder and other books. His father cheated on his mother several times and he did not have a close relationship with his father until he was a teenager. Before we were engaged his father died of lung cancer. I want to believe that he has seen what he has done and he is in the place that I am in (that I could never ever cheat on my spouse).
      We were supposed to be trying for another child this spring and now that is on hold. I am scared to even try after this summer. When will I know is the right time? I am going to be 35 in July and I am fearful of waiting too long.

    • Kry4Help

      Doug, thank you for the ebook. I really enjoyed it and I sent it to my husband. If you have any other ebook links I would love to read them. Reading about coping and healing seems to be my only Saviour right now. I am pretty much reading all day to help stop my obsessive thoughts and it is helping me control them. I also listened to Linda’s interview about contacting the OP yesterday. Even though I already contacted her it helped me stop thinking about replying to the OP email. I was happy to hear that Linda in no way would even consider contacting her now and does not think about it. Its hard for me since the OP is on campus where my husband works for classes and does not graduate until next December so I hope I can stop thinking about her before then. Reading this site reminds me that she is not important in anyway and everything they had together was in no way real. My husband see’s that, now I just have to keep reminding myself of that when I start comparing.

      • Doug

        Kry4Help, Your welcome. You may also want to visit the resource page and check out the books in “The Library.” Lot’s of good reading. You’re doing what Linda did after D-day — lots and lots of reading and web surfing. Keep doing what you’re doing as you’re headed in the right direction, and seems that your husband is too. BTW…try not to compare yourself to the OW. I know it’s tough, but it will drive you nuts.

    • GrassPond

      I am a woman and was on the other side – I fell in love with someone outside my marriage whom I thought to be my soul mate. It is strange, the relationship never really progressed beyond a platonic friendship but I hid certain aspects of it from my husband. It still hurts – it has been more than 4 years now.
      My husband knows about it.

      The really hard part is that I don’t even know what I want, a part of me does not want to be married anymore even if I can’t be with this other guy.In fact, I don’t believe that much in absolute monogamy anymore.

      I am confused and lost but the paradox is that this entire experience has been something like a spiritual awakening, in fact, I have discovered parts of myself that I probably would never have.

      Marriage is a human-made institution, falling in love can happen even after one is married. It is just that the dishonesty involved hurts your spouse and is unfair to them.

      • Holdingon

        Yes, it is a man made institution, but that means nothing, you still take a vow to give your life to someone else, to love and honor them, no one is forced to marry. In my opinion divorce should never be allowed, period. Why, because you vow to be there, for better or for worse, and if you couldn’t divorce you may think twice about taking those vows. You could always leave, but you would never be free of them, what was yours will always partly belong to someone else, and who’s to say the next marriage would work, to me you should only get one shot, why give you a chance to ruin someone else’s wife, bottom line, be extremely sure before you say I do, because they are yours until death. Just my opion.

        • Holdingon

          Ruin someone else’s life, not wife.

    • Andy


      I wish there were more responses from the other side. I am the husband that had the affair and I am working hard to fix things. The affair came on so fast I wish I had seen it coming but then at the time I think half of me wanted it, which haunts me to this day. For some stupid reason I thought that meeting someone new would solve things and it made things a TON worse and if not for a loving wife that is giving me a second change it would of ended what I value the most… a family and a loving wife.

      I cut off the affair not long after it began. I felt like I was lying to two people that I ended up caring about. My partner told me we could live together and built this whole dream idea of what our life together would be. I couldn’t see it. I saw the loss of my kids. Hurting my wife that I cared about and I knew I couldn’t lie to her even more. That wouldn’t be fair. So I told my wife and she suggested counselling. We have been going and it made me a believer that things could be better.

      Our relationship has gotten a ton better in a lot of ways. We both wanted the same thing (closeness) but didn’t know how to get it from each other before. Now we take walks and find ways to share time with each other. I feel like we are getting the relationship that we have always wanted.

      My problem is that every once in a while I feel like something is missing and I can’t help but think of her.. It BUGS me. I have been trying to figure out what is causing it but haven’t figured it out. I notice that I tend to remember the good things and gloss over the bad in that relationship and I KNOW that and it drives me nuts. I have everything in the relationship I have now and can’t understand my own feelings at times. I can’t talk to my wife about it because I don’t want her thinking that I am trying to get back together with the partner cause I am not and I hate thinking about her. But sometimes I want to talk to someone about it. Vent maybe?? I know there is going to be a loss but I want to fill it the right way and make my relationship with my wife stronger.. any suggestions? It is hard having a loss that you can’t express or even talk about because I was the ahole who screwed up. I know that. I accept that. I will forever be trying to make up for that, but sometimes it feels like I am standing on my own. Luckily my wife has been amazing in showing her love for me. (which is a double edge sword. Makes me feel horribly guilty I didn’t see it before, but forever grateful that I see it in her now.) It takes a special woman to see the good in someone who has betrayed her trust. I just want to give her all of my love and not feel anything for my affair partner. Wish I could say it was easy.. all I know now is that I wish I had never done it.

      • Linda

        Andy, I don’t have any personal experience in this areas seeing I am the BS and maybe Doug can chime in but I believe it is normal to have those feelings after an affair has ended. You did not tell me how long it has been but I suspect it is fairly recent. My thoughts are that is you are still in the process of trying to figure everything out and are looking deep inside yourself to come up with a reason why you chose to have an affair you will find the reason why something is still missing. It could be that you are not really missing the relationship or the person but are missing something deep inside of you that may have surfaced while you were in the affair. It could be the excitement, or the sense of youth. Often times we search for something we think we need when in reality it is something totally different that will give us peace and happiness.

        I can also understand why a cheater focuses only on the good in the affair relationship, I believe it helps to ease the guilt and lack of judgement. It is difficult to admit that you were willing to risk your family and the wife that you love for something that wasn’t so perfect or great. However you will be able to get over the affair and help your wife heal if you are able to see the whole situation for what it really was. It was just a fantasy that lacked so many of the qualities that make a healthy marriage, with time you will be able to see the OW and the affair for more clearly.

        I highly recommend that you read the book “Why Men Behave Badly” it has a section for your wife to read also. In addition have you thought about meeting with the therapist on your own to discuss your feelings. It is important that you have someone that is a friend of your marriage to discuss your feelings. What we keep inside grows, when we share it we are able to put it into perspective.

      • chiffchaff

        Andy – Perhaps on those occasions when you feel that something is missing.. and then think of her.. it’s just because that was just what you got used to doing during the affair. it’s maybe just become a habit and doesn’t necessarily mean anything or even that you’re missing the OW.
        When I have unhelpful thought processes (I’m the BS) then I try to just do something physical that stops my brain being able to focus on that unhelpful next thought, such as going out for a walk, a swim, or hoovering the house. this, over time, eventually breaks the connection between the feeling and the next step of having the unhelpful thought. these days I’m more likely to have the feeling and then think ‘I must do something to distract me for a while’ instead.
        Gizfiled is right – sometimes you just have to get used to having the feeling and not acting on it. it’s just a feeling.

    • Gizfield

      Ok, Andy, I will give some input from the “other side ” as you say. I cheated on my now deceased first Husband with my high school boyfriend over 20 years ago. Things were really bad in my life at the time. That is no justification, the whole thing was just as vile as I had always previously thought it would be. I will say that thinking about your “affair partner”in any kind of positive light will only lead one place and that is divorce court. You didn’t really give any specific info, but I’m assuming she knew you were married and that you had a child. Maybe she is married too. Is this really the kind of person you want to spend your life with? Have an influence on your child? I didnt think so. I would suggest you research “limerence” and ” false love.” You wil think I’m crazy but the secrecy of your thinking is probably giving it strength. You are not seeing your girlfriend for who she really is. I also know that it is possible for those false love feelings to leave you in the blink of an eye, it did for me and it was GREAT.

      • Linda

        Gizfield, I totally agree that keeping those thoughts a secret does give it strength. It is much easier to believe that your affair partner was everything you ever needed to be happy, than to look at the situation for what it really was. I know that many therapist ask the cheater to write down everything they did during the affair so the cheater can see how deceitful and crazy it all was. The affair and AP begin to take on a new light when the cheater can look at their actions the way they we see them. Everything isn’t so warm and perfect anymore.

        In order for the BS to heal the cheater needs to go through this process and come to a conclusion that their affair was just a fantasy. This person they believed they were in love with was not at a true representation of the real person but a product of the situation. Anyone could fit into that role and make someone believe that they can give them everything they need and deserve. They were just roleplaying, molding their words and actions to make the other person want them, feed their ego’s, make them look better than their wives or husbands. Honestly it was just a game that eventually fizzles out because it is difficult to keep something like that up for a period of time.

        • Linda

          I have just downloaded Daniel G. Amen’s book “Sex on the Brain” I love his work. I find a chapter titled “Use Your Brain Before You Give Away YOur Heart” and I found an interesting paragraph. It says:”When we fall in love , many people experience what I call the Oasis Effect. Coming out of the desert of being alone and longing to be in a relationship helps them feel more complete, many people find that new love feels like an oasis of beauty and nourishment. When we fall in love , there is a large release of the bonding hormone oxytocin. This chemical has been found to increase our sense of trust, even in situations where we should be more cautious. Similar to the dusty, dirty, loney desert traveler who is euphoric upon finding the oasis, falling in love feels unlike anything else, exciting, fulfilling and satisfying. When first coming out of the desert, travelers are often so ecstatic to find the waters they fail to see anything else. The anxious state of euphoria causes them to overlook the warning signs around the oasis, such as diseased animals. Those who have drunk from those same waters are sickened, evidence of poison along the edges. So, too, in love, when we come out of the desert of aloneness, we are often so happy, with the love chemicals coursing through our brain, we fail to see the trouble before our eyes, the metaphorical dead animals around the oasis of love.” Very appropriate for anyone thinking of starting an affair.

        • Holdingon

          From what I’ve read they say it’s extremely difficult to get over an affair that involves a person’s first lover, it’s said that they develop an emotional, physiological, and psychological bond to that person, that when they get back together it’s like no time has passed, even after 20 or 30 years, that’s really scary. The last thing he said to me was “if I wanted her I would have her” speaking about my wife, it’s troubling to know that he was probably telling the truth, she’s says it’s not true, but she told him she never stopped loving him, but she would never let me hear her tell him she didn’t want him, I believe that she won’t because she doesn’t want me to hear his reply, which would probably be “I told you to stop contacting me. I know she’s still lying to me and we are a little over a year past dday.

          • Butterball

            Actually that’s not scary, that’s heartening. For those of us who were our WS’s first love at least.

      • Butterball

        I’ve read about limerance myself and it really hits the nail on the head in what I see in my husband vis-a-vis the OW. There’s limerance n the beginning of any relationship but one started on top of another relationship runs a risk of burning itself out when it runs its course, rather than turning into something more permanent.

    • Gizfield

      I totally agree with Linda. Just think of all the situations you have seen your wife in, then imagine your girlfriend doing the same things. Not quite as appealing, is she? Maybe shes sick and had been hurling all night. Shes had too much to drink and is acting in an unappealing way . She just woke up, after a sleepless night, no makeup, hair looking crazy, not particularly interested in YOU. One of my favorite television episodes is an old Jerry Seinfeld. He and a woman he is dating go to a bed and breakfast early in their relationship cause he “thinks shes the one.” It rains, they are trapped inside together and can’t STAND each other. Try to see things realistically. See if you can control your thoughts instead of them controlling you.

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