Introspection after an affair on the part of the unfaithful person is what starts the process for personal change – and ultimately a turnaround in a relationship.

 

Self-exploration is very painful, but unless you do that, you will never know who you are and who you want to be.
— Iris Apfel

 

Introspection After an AffairMany readers have mentioned that their cheating spouses are not doing what is necessary to help them heal from their emotional or physical affair. 

The cheater is not working on themselves to bring about real change – or at the very least, come to grips with the reasons for why they did what they did. 

Last week I was asked what motivated me to start to look inward after my emotional affair, and I thought I would try to expand on that just a bit here today.

Introspection After an Affair

I think what starts the process for personal change and ultimately a turnaround in a relationship is introspection.   Introspection is defined as the inspection of one’s own thoughts and feelings; the process of self-examination.

Wikipedia says that introspection is…

“the self-observation and reporting of conscious inner thoughts, desires and sensations. It is a conscious and purposive process relying on thinking, reasoning, and examining one’s own thoughts, feelings, and, in more spiritual cases, one’s soul.”

Most of us never take the time to consider how we got to be the way we are now or why we do the things we do. We just are – or it just happened – and that’s as far as it goes.

The truth of the matter is the way we are and the things we do are influenced by a slew of factors such as, genetics, culture, family, education, social orientation, trauma, birth order, etc.

When we do something wrong (like have an affair), or when we argue we usually don’t think to our self about what our part in all of it was.  We typically don’t ask ourselves “What did I do to cause this to happen?”   We don’t because it’s so much easier to look without rather than to look within.

Part of looking within and taking responsibility for ourselves is having the willingness and honesty enough to question ourselves about what really drives us.  To go a step further then… introspection means a willingness to change what we see in order to make changes.

So the question might be asked…”How can I get my spouse to look inward and become introspective?” After all, chances are that if they were introspective to begin with, their affair might not have happened.

The answer is that quite frankly, there is no sure way to get another person to be introspective.   You can’t make anyone do anything about their inner self unless they see the benefit for themselves.

 

When we look inward, not outward, we can dismantle the parts of our personalities that have controlled us for so long – such as anger, jealousy, vindictiveness, superiority, inferiority.
— Gary Zukav

 

Here was my answer to the person who asked what motivated me to look inward: 

“The main motivation for me to look within was Linda’s struggles to completely understand why the affair happened. I realized that for her to be able to move on and for our marriage to survive I had to make some changes.  Part of making those changes was figuring out what the hell was wrong with me – what caused me to do the things I did.

There were also several extraneous sources that helped spur introspection: reading about affairs and why they occur, reading comments from this site, many discussions with Linda, and starting a meditation program. I think it also helps that I work from home where I’m alone the entire day and have plenty of opportunity to think.”

By reading my answer you might be able to interpret that my main motivation (or benefit) for introspection was to save my marriage

I knew that I loved Linda and wanted to stay married to her. I also knew that she felt the same way.  We had made a ton of progress after the emotional affair, but there was a small hurdle to overcome for her to achieve greater healing.  In my opinion, that hurdle was me.  I had to make changes.  But before I could, I needed to understand what changes I needed to make and why. 

I had to confront the question:  “Why would Linda want me as I was?”  

 

Understanding Why You Had Your Affair – The Simple 5-Step Process

 

So, I decided to work on my self-improvement to give her what she needed to heal and to give her good enough reason for not kicking my butt out on the street.

Sometimes the Unfaithful Person Just Doesn’t Get It

Okay, so that’s how I got started and I think that a cheating spouse needs to take a similar path in order to achieve their own self-exploration and self-improvement.   I think many cheaters say they’re going to change and may even put forth some work, but often their actions will still reveal that they just don’t get it.

They try to rush the healing, put the affair in the past and just move forward.  They remain self-centered and become angry and frustrated at the lack of their spouse’s progress.  They become more concerned with their own recovery and not that of their partner’s recovery.

The cheater often has no clue of the pain and the agony they have inflicted upon their spouse as a result of their own choices. And even more so, they have no clue why they made those choices to begin with. They show blatant disrespect by the way they are treating their spouse and rushing him/her to move beyond the affair.

I understand all of this as I did many of these same things.  But somewhere along the way I started to get it and I would open up and listen to Linda process her emotions and her pain. Though my emotional affair can never be justified, Linda was able to begin to look into her own life and address her own issues.  It became quite obvious that I had to do the same thing.

It stands to reason that when we as the cheater come to grips with just how much we have hurt our spouses and understand the reasons for why we did so – regardless of the sacrifices – we not only help our spouses heal, but we make our own goals and desires that much easier to attain. The result can be a marriage that is much more loving, rewarding and fulfilling.

 

You can’t lie to your soul. 
— Irvine Welsh

 

Introspection is not a magic cure for all relationship problems

It is a valuable tool for growing up inside and becoming a happier, more complete individual. In my opinion, the self-discovery found through introspection is its own reward, but more practically, being honest with yourself can generate greater peace in life – peace from within and with others.

 

 

One question I still receive quite often from other ex-cheaters I mentor is how to go about looking within to figure out the “why’s”.  One really needs to peel away the layers when asking themselves the tough questions.

The affair inventory might help get the ball rolling.  You can read more about that here:  http://www.emotionalaffair.org/recovery-after-an-affair-the-cheaters-affair-inventory/

Also, this 20-minute video with Dr. Diana Brickell, a philosopher specializing in the application of rational principles to the challenges of real life, answers the questions:  What is introspection? Why should a person introspect? What should a person introspect about – or not? How can a person introspect effectively? 

It has nothing to do with infidelity, but offers some good information on the process nonetheless.  

 

    158 replies to "The Path to Introspection After an Affair"

    • Lynne

      Great post today, Doug. This seems to be what so many of us BS’s want–and we want our other half to come along on this same journey with us. And it is a two way street–as much as we want our CS to be instrospective, we need to be willing to do the same. Growth IS a beautiful thing!

    • chiffchaff

      Great post and great timing Doug. I’ve recently returned from visiting a close friend and she has encouraged me to create my own plan for the recovery of my marriage. The next step is that my H must start, or even show tangible evidence that he has started, to investigate why he stepped out of our marriage and had a PA. If he can’t even do that, even book an appointment with a counsellor for himself, then we have no future because I cannot help him work that out.
      I have made it clear to my H that I understand that he was having a desperate time at work, had low self-esteem and that I didn’t help at the time. However, I won’t accept that this ’caused’ his affair and certainly I won’t accept the myriad reasons blamed on me for why he had an affair. I understand that she, the OW, was there at the right time for him and made him feel fantastic. However, he actively chose to have a sexual affair (as many other articles on this great blog describe), the very concept that he chose to do so, it didn’t just happen, seems to be too much for him to ‘get’ in itself. It’s a massive barrier to our development but I love him so much. I want him to feel confident in himself, to be able to trust himself, to be together, with me, in our marriage. Then we can grow together.

    • blueskyabove

      Doug,
      I am Blueskyabove’s husband. I am thankful for all of your post’s, but today’s is especially meaningful. The task of looking within is not easy or readily understood. It is especially difficult to do with all of the other issues involved during this trying time. My past failure’s and bad decisions have caused my ego to try and protect me. This has been difficult to combat and takes a lot of time to get under control. I am working on my behavior everyday,but of course only my lapses of poor behavior show up. Your opening up of yourself to the rest of us despite your ego is a tremendous asset for you and Linda. Please continue your efforts as some of us may not always tell you when your words are so helpful to us.
      Thank You

      • Doug

        Thanks Blueskyabove’s husband. Nice to finally “meet” you! Thanks for the kind words and best of luck to you.

    • Disappointed

      My H and I have been separated since 4 days after D day. He has had no contact with the OW. We see each other a few times a week. Today is the 20th anniversary of our first date. I have arranged a special dinner in a private room and am wondering if I am an idiot to do so. My H’s introspection has prompted him to express appreciation of all that I have done for him, the fact that I carried the financial burden for 17 years and that he has not been a good partner. But it also has him saying that he thinks geographic separation is necessary so that each person has space. He is isolating himself more and does not talk to anyone about what he is going thru. His introspection seems to lean toward deciding he is better off alone. I think the best I can hope for is an offer of together but living separately. As much as I love him, that is not what I want. He keeps looking for signs that I am getting ready to put myself back on the market, but the only man I want is him. While the fog appears to be lifting, I am so sad that he does not seem interested in doing the work. I deserve so much more and he simply does not want to give of himself or really look at his behavior. Has anyone experienced this?

      • Joanna

        Disappointed,
        At my request, my husband moved out of our house two days before my suspicions of his EA were confirmed (two days after Thanksgiving 2010). We saw each other very seldom during our separation. And when we did see each other, he made it clear that because of our rocky 22-year marriage he was never going to come back. The few times he did come over were to either visit with our dogs or to do some work (painting) on the house so we could get it ready to sell. He was mean, cold, and very uncaring — never once giving me the smallest hope that he had any intention of trying to work things out. In his eyes, all our problems were my fault, and he let everyone in his family know it. He didn’t need to work on anything. I was just a b—-, who was angry all the time. I went on with my life the best I could — taking care of the house and the family pets, working full time, seeing friends, taking better care of myself, packing up the last of my husband’s things, preparing our house for sale, and planning a spring vacation for when my daughters came home for their spring break. I missed my husband more than I ever thought I would, and I hoped our separation would help him figure out what was really important in his life. I also came to fully understand my role in the problems within our marriage. I asked my husband to temporarily move back in the week my daughters and I planned to be away so he could take care of the dogs, etc., while we were gone, and shortly before we went away, nearly four months after he moved out, my husband asked if he could move back home to stay. I told him that there was no hope for us if he didn’t agree to couples therapy. He called various therapists, scheduled the appointment, and here we are, nearly one year later, and things are better than ever. It hasn’t been easy and several times I have been ready to give up (even as recently as the past couple months) because I didn’t think he was putting in much effort in looking at how his behavior contributed to our problems. I even told him I was no longer going to go to couples therapy because I didn’t see the point when I was the only one working to make things better. He has surprised me the past month or so, however, because even though I skipped several appointments, he went by himself… a huge positive for me. Things can get better. I had no hope for our future a year ago, but have so much hope now.

    • Carm

      Doug, great post I totally agree with om this post. My H has try to look within to find out why he had EA he is going back to childhood, but think he is looking in the wrong place. He was a wonderful father and husband before this but he said his ego got to him that another women was attracted to him he was ready to have full blown affair if i did not catch, I just cant get over that he had been with me for 20yrs and he could betray me like this. He said he was in a fog because father was in his death bed and the OW keeped him dristracted. Now he is doing everything to change and better himself, but i cant get images out my head. I love him very but i am very hurt.

    • Calis

      Doug this is a great post. I am the CS i am looking for that inner peace working on being honest with myself. I am on this journey with my wife. I just hit a pothole yesterday and we are both down going to try get back up. Thanks Doug

    • Sue

      This is something I need my husband to read as he was the CS. Do you suggest I send to him, tell him I read an article of interest or let it go? We are into second recovery, seven months in, and little changes have occurred. He is stil in denial, and I’m not sure how long to hang in there since he refuses counseling, won’t participate in book programs, and I’m the only one recognizing that there is a problem with his EA…thanks, I love this website…it has opened my eyes to many issues…

    • Holding On

      Great post, Doug. I have really enjoyed the last few posts. You have shared and opened up and thought through your situations, actions, and feelings. I appreciate you sharing with us.

      I think we all want/need more introspection and then sharing what we have come to learn through this with our spouses.

    • stillbroken

      doug, i resent you and all cheating partners including my cheating spouse.. he too right now full of regret, and like you, try to introspect himself and try to look inward to find answers why he did what he did.. i say bullshit, why not doing it before? why not doing it in the time you’re about to enter an affair? you want to say you never instrospect yourself before? one must be very very selfish to take pleasure from an affair because deep down he/she knows that it hurt his/her spouse but decide to continue.. and to have an affair and even think that your spouse is the reason for you to have an affair is even more selfish and arrogant.. even if its true that your affair partner is the love of your life, or even if its true that your marriage is not good or what you want it to be, taking pleasure & hurting your devoting spouse behind his/her back is an evil thing to do as human being..

      linda, how you manage to forgive doug? dont get me wrong, i’m not saying you shouldnt, in fact i’m asking you this because i have trouble forgiving and accepting what my spouse did to me, even with all his remorse and all his attemp to repay it now..

      i cant forgive the selfishness.. i cant forgive the evilness.. i cant accept that he didnt think for my sake at that time.. how can you be with someone if you know that person used to be able to stab you with a knife?

      • Doug

        stillbroken, I can’t argue with anything that you say, so you can resent me all you want. Please keep in mind that we have been going through this process for over 3 years, so we may be quite a bit ahead of you as far as being able to forgive and to understand why it happened. Forgiveness is for you, not your husband, and it is something that happens when you are good and ready. Hopefully at some point you will be able to forgive him. Linda has written several posts on forgiveness. Here is a link to one: http://www.emotionalaffair.org/my-process-for-forgiving-the-emotional-affair/

        You can do a search for others if you wish. Best wishes.

        • Kristine

          Forgiveness is also not instantaneous. It takes time to fully forgive.

      • sharkgirl

        Doug is so right you have to forgive for you to let go off the anger as it only hurts you. If you can forget enough to be at peace with it and to live life with them again is the question. You need to forgive which ever direction you move in, forgive him, her and yourself.

    • rachel

      I just discussed this same issue with my H this morning. Who by the way is still here. Says he can stay until divorce day. Oh sure in june he was all ready to leave, now he wont leave and he won’t open up about the ea. I am very frustrated and very tired of his behavior. He wants to try but he’s not doing a thing. Walking around like he is the victim. Well, I’m in the drivers seat now. I do need opinions from you all , so later i will blog.

    • D

      Stillbroken, there is not one among us who doesn’t understand the pain, anger, and confusion you’re going through right now. You have a perfect right to feel anger, to express it, to let it out in order that it will subside. But your anger at Doug is misguided. He is not your problem. If anything, he is offering you valuable insight into what your husband is very likely going through. You might walk a mile in his shoes before you judge him or anyone else.

      Believe me, you are not alone in this and your pain is not unique. And you should contemplate this: forgiveness sets YOU free. This is not your burden to bear. You’ve done nothing wrong. If nothing else, you can forgive your husband for not being the man you needed him to be.

      Doug, I’m happy to hear about your journey. My wife took the same path and we are stronger today as a result . Good for you AND Linda.

      • Notoverit

        Wonderfull D! You said it better than I ever could. Stillbroken, you sound as though you are early on in the EA discovery. Please read the posts that Doug suggested. He is baring his soul for us and I appreciate it. None of our CS ever did any introspection but it is never to late. Hope you get to feeling better.

      • stillbroken

        D, you’re right, my anger to doug is misguided, my apologize to doug..

        i’m in a phase where i have trouble dealing with my anger.. i already come to conclusion that my husband is indeed still the same good person, that the affair is an incident, that he’s full of remorse and doing everything he can to repay it to me.. but i still have my anger.. i feel wrong to address my anger at him because he looks as vulnerable as me right now and he’s doing everything a cheating spouse can.. i feel wrong because i should have move on already, but i havent.. i feel wrong because i have all the reasons to live happy again, but i’m not.. and i’m tired

        i feel sorry for myself that my marriage is not as perfect as i try to make it to be.. i feel sorry for myself for being an affair victim.. i feel sorry for myself for not being happy right now despite all the positive that is happening right now

        i’m angry & i feel wrong that i’m still angry.. i’m tired..

        • Notoverit

          Stillbroken, one thing to realize – the anger comes from the hurt. LIke a cornered animal, when we are hurt and backed into a corner, we come out fighting. It’s human nature. I can tell you that as time passes the anger (along with the hurt) will start to fade and you will begin to have good days. But there will be bad days. When those bad days come around, try to separate yourself from the object of your anger (your H) and go do something that will give you distance. In time, that will happen less often. I am thirteen months out from D-day as of today and I still have those angry moments. But there are good ones too. Hang in there!

          • Carol

            Hi, Notoverit — thanks for the response to stillbroken. Like stillbroken, I am struggling a lot with anger. I totally understand where stillbroken is coming from!! My H is trying — I can see that. And sometimes I feel guilty for not feeling happier or more grateful about that, because I see people posting on this site whose spouses aren’t making much of an effort at all. But like stillbroken, I am still in shock and still so angry that sixteen years of fidelity (at least on my part) was thrown away so quickly for a woman who was very obviously selfish and cruel from the start. She never concealed who she was — but my H was so ego-driven and selfish that he couldn’t see past himself. Two narcissists: perfect for each other, heh. I hope I’ll be able to get past the anger, for my own sake. But Notoverit, it was helpful to be reminded that the anger is really coming from a space of deep hurt, and that it is still early days (we’re about 4 months out from D-day). I just can’t imagine getting to a point where it doesn’t hurt any more, and that saddens me.

          • stillbroken

            notoverit, you’re right, i’m still hurt.. guess i’m gonna take your advice to separate from him when i’m about to blow.. thankyou

            angel, i know what you mean with putting happy poker face..

        • Angel2

          This made me cry. I feel the same so much of the time. Am I just an unforgiving person? I want to truly forgive to free myself also to be a better person, wife and most of all mother. When I look deep into myself I realize I have too much pride, I’m afraid of what other people will think, that I didn’t have the strength (or brains) to leave him, of what I would be without him. It pains me to the core when people say ‘Your husband is such a great guy, a great father! You have such a great marriage’ Sarcastically I think to myself, what a farce it has been, how he never thought of what his teenage children would think if they found out, or our family and friends. What his coworkers would think of him if they knew he had been screwing (unprotected) around and EA (Ego Affairing) with one of his coworker’s wife. I’m the only one who knows and the one friend I told- I found out she’s having an EA affair. (arghh!)

          My husband has really stepped up to the plate in trying to make this up to me and I am trying to also, though, and the big barrier- he has almost always has gotten angry during our disscussions, throws things in that are not related into the conversation (to throw me off?) He assumes things of me and yet gets pissed and defensive when I assume anything about him. Then it’s I who backs off. A pathetic power struggle. I do take the blame for half. Half the time I’m either angry or really sorry for him and embarrassed at his immaturity that he got us into this mess. (home and work)

          Today is Valentines Day, he’s already done and planned more than in our 20 yrs of marriage, so I’m going to put on my happy poker face, something I have gotten very good at and enjoy it for what it is and fake it til I make it! At least I hope I make it and that I don’t let my wounded pride define me. Oh, my wounded PRIDE is the major factor that is deterring me from moving forward I’m sure! That and fear that he was capable of deceiving not just me who he has built up resentments for and I for him, but his decent coworker who did nothing to him. OK, now I’m just venting…sorry!

          From this day forward I’m going to try my very best to be a better person, treat him and everyone else how I would like to be treated. I cannot contol how others act, just how I act and respond- and LINDA- YOU ARE ONE IN A BILLION!! I look UP to you for your grace and integrity- you too Doug for trying to figure out who you are too.

          • Angel2

            I was trying to reply to ‘stillbrokens’ comment about getting over anger. Don’t think it posted in the right spot for the context of it. oh well….. Happy LOVE YOURSELF DAY!

          • D

            Angel2, Stillbroken, hang in there. Anger is a double-edged sword, you can’t, and shouldn’t., suppress it. To do so would only increase its strength. But It’s going to come out one way or another so it’s best to control it, to let it out constructively. I took huuuuge meditative walks, got into yoga, went to therapy, talked with friends. Sometimes I blew up, but it’s when I calmly expressed my frustrations to my wife that we came away with something positive. Mind you, very little changed from those discussions beyond just letting her know where I was at, but I found that it helped me to regroup.

            I sincerely, more and more, believe that infidelity is not the end of the world so much as it is merely the end of something. youth, fantasy, infatuation, romantic love. As T.S. Eliot wrote, “The end is where we start from.”

            Since both of you say your husbands are trying to make amends, you’re both in good positions and should see hope in the future. Breathe.

            • Angel2

              Thanks D. I really like that quote “The end is where we start from.”

              Breathe. Just Breathe.

    • ifeelsodumb

      Doug…My Gosh..you hit it out of the ballpark with this one!!! Holding On and I were just talking about this exact thing an hour ago!! Wow!
      Will make sure my H reads this one, if I have to print it and put it all over the house….because I KNOW this is what is holding up my healing and forgiveness!! Bravo Doug Bravo… 😀

      • Doug

        Thanks IFSD, and you can use that new nifty print icon too! 😉

    • Sad

      Dear Doug, must tell you how grateful I am to read this post, you brought tears to my eyes. This “small hurdle” to greater healing is very difficult to overcome indeed. Thank you so much for opening up to show us the way. CSs desperately need to hear it from you. It is so much more powerful and persuasive than coming from BSs or any other sources. It should certainly convince CSs to thoroughly internalize the need to introspect, my H included. Forever grateful.

    • Paula

      Doug, thanks. You really are going deeper and deeper, and I admire the pair of you, so much.

    • Disappointed

      @Joanna – thanks for responding! I feel very isolated and alone. I am envious of all the BSs that still have their husbands home. My H is opening up to me a bit and I think all of this is more of a midlife crisis and dissatisfaction with his daily life than anything else. We agreed to a six month separation which will take us to the end of May. The fog seems to be lifting but he is getting too comfortable with his 5min commute to work, etc. He should be re-courting me, but I am the one who is saying the majority of the appreciative words. I think he needs to hear them whereas I prefer to see actions over words. I sometimes think he is testing me to see how little I will settle for. Ironically since the EA I want more than I had before. Much more. And I don’t even know if he is capable of it. I am coming to grips with how self centered and long suffering he is. I will continue to be patient til May, but this is torture.

    • melissa

      Great post, Doug. Thank you.

      • norrine fay

        Yesterday was Valentine’s day. I thought my partner was trying to make amends, the 12 roses, posh food in the fridge and and offer to pick me up from work. Looks like I got it wrong again. I came home and he had disappeared. No note, no text no phone call. Tried calling and he refused to answer is phone. In fact he cut a few calls off. I was sick and tired of these mind games and believed he played them because I did not talk to my family, his family or friends. Decided to call his family to let them know on Valentine day he had disappeared and I did not know where he was. I was sick and tired of his mum blaming me for him not marrying me but when I point out its her son dragging his heels she pretends she does not know what I’m talking about. Yesterday after causing problems between my dad by trying to manipulate him into
        forcing me to get het son down the aisle, my dad called her out

    • rachel

      Called the Lawyer today, I’m filing.

      • ifeelsodumb

        Rachel,
        I’m sorry it’s come to this, but you have to do what is best for YOU!! You are a strong, FAITHFUL woman and if your H can’t see what he is throwing away, all for a 30 yr old fantasy..then he IS a fool and you deserve better! ((hugs))

    • Surviving

      @Rachel,
      Thanks for posting, please keep letting us know how you are doing and whats going on…

    • chiffchaff

      My H has now declared that contrary to what he said a week ago, he doesn’t need any individual counselling. He’s decided that he would never do it again, regrets the pain it caused me (though he wouldn’t go as far as to say he regretted doing it at all or that it was a mistake on his part) and knows that he could never put anyone through that pain again.
      All this came as quite a surprise. I’m not sure what to feel now. I had hoped that he’d look within himself too and change his approach to times when his self-esteem is low, which will no doubt happen again as it does for everyone. Now I’m worried that he will do it again, eventually, simply because he hasn’t really looked at why he did it. He says that he did it because he didn’t feel loved and because the opportunity presented itself when he was low.
      I’m worried because our communication is still poor. I had to prise all of the above out of him, it’s not like he volunteered his new view about what he was feeling. Why is this with men? He knows I’m concerned, he knows he’s hurt me and that we need to have betetr communication in our marriage but still it’s up to me to start discussions. I just don’t get it.

      • Lynne

        Chiffchaff-

        Even though your H feels that he doesn’t need individual counseling, is he on board for couples counseling with you? If so, this may be where he needs to start……the couples counseling might ultimately lead him to understand that he has work to do on his own, too.

        Are you in counseling together now?

        • chiffchaff

          sorry, I posted on the wrong board in response.
          Lynne – we had couples counselling initially after Dday#1 but he was still lying then, to me and the counsellor. He had individual counselling then and told me recently that it was to ask if he really needed to tell me the truth about his PA. They told him he had some serious issues to sort out if that’s how he wanted to continue.
          Since Dday#2 he’s rejected the idea of counselling as he says we don’t need it anymore as he’s come clean and stopped all contact.
          I’m wondering whether to tell him that I want to go for a few more couples counselling sessions with him and if he doesn’t want to come then I want to know why.

          • Lynne

            Chiffchaff-

            Again, this is all about what YOU need! He’s saying that he doesn’t need it, but who cares–what matters is that you need and want it.

            Are you not at a place that you’re comfortable saying that this needs to be done your way? If you don’t get what you need to heal your way through this it may takes years for you to come to grips with it. Is that what he wants–years of turmoil and pain, or a meeting of the minds and soul that bring you to a better place FASTER?

    • chiffchaff

      Valentine’s day was quite nice after all, I couldn’t bring myself to buy a card ( those zones in card shops made me feel queasy this year) so I sent him the 20 things I love about you instead, which he liked alot. Thanks for the idea.

      Like lots of other people have said, I have found myself capable to reviewing how I act in our relationship and enjoy finding new ways to show my love to my H. If my H made even half this much effort – wow – I’d be swept off my feet. Fixed firmly to the ground until then.

    • Sidney

      Doug,
      Very good post. I agree with the whole introspection concept. My question to you is….do you have a list of questions for the cheater to ask themselves to help with the ‘figuring out’ part?
      Thanks!

      • Doug

        Hey Sidney, Here a few that come to mind: When it comes to the affair the first question should be “Why?” “Why did I have the affair?” “What character flaw(s) do I have that might have caused me to behave that way?” “What past event or circumstance may have contributed to this flaw?” “Am I being selfish, self-centered, or egotistical?” “What do I fear?” “What do I need to do to help my spouse heal?” “What will life be like without my spouse?” Those can get you started and hopefully can lead to additional questions and revelations.

    • ifeelsodumb

      Doug!!!!! My H read this post yesterday, while I was out to lunch with a friend…and when I came home he had a legal pad half filled with notes, and he was only on the first question that you posted above in your response to Sidney!!
      As he read what he had written to me, his eyes filled with tears, his voice was shaking…this from a man who bottles everything up inside…in 27 yrs together I have NEVER seen him cry…ever!
      We talked and talked and TALKED about his childhood, the emotional abuse he suffered…”You’re stupid, you’ll never amount to anything” “I wish I had stopped having children after your sister” type of stuff!
      And he had written down on the paper that the reason he started talking to the OW was because his mother HATED her while they were dating all those years ago…and as he was at the family event (a wedding) and the OW showed up and started talking to my H, he did it to hurt his mother! He said he just realized that he was hoping his mom would see him talking to her and it would hurt her…like she had hurt him for years and he never gave any thought to how I would feel because it never was about me!!
      I’ve KNOWN for months, after all the reading I’ve done AND this blog, that my H had deep issues and it all centered around his family…His dad is an alcoholic and a cheater…his mother a VERY bitter woman who never had closure over her H’s affair(s).
      The EA was never really about me, our marriage, our life…it WAS about my H NEVER opening himself up to me and letting me in…he has held me and everyone else at arms length…to protect himself!
      I feel that we can now FINALLY start to move on and have healing….YEA!!!
      Anyway, just had to share that with you…and to others reading this blog…DON’T give up! The EA IS NOT about you…yes, we can ALL learn and grow from this, change things that need to be changed, since none of us are perfect…but the hard work HAS to come from the CS…they have to start looking inside of themselves and ask the hard questions….otherwise I don’t feel there can ever be complete healing for the BS….just acceptance, but not healing….

      • Doug

        IFSD!!!! That’s just plain awesome! Sounds like your husband had a real awakening. Isn’t it amazing that he has kept that bottled up for so long? Loved your last paragraph too – great words of advice. Keep up the momentum!

      • Bobse

        That is wonderful! It gives hope at a time when I’m struggling to hang on. I hate this limbo time. Can’t work on the marriage and can’t move on from it. I wish my cs would show an ounce of compassion. Guess this is post valentines blues….

        • ifeelsodumb

          Bobse…how far out are you? It’s over a year since DDay for me…and the first 11 mos my H really didn’t contribute all that much….it was soooo frustrating for me!! I kept asking myself….HOW can he say he loves me, wants to be in our marriage, is sorry for what he did….yet he leaves me alone in all this pain and sorrow, and doesn’t help me at all??
          It’s a lonely frustrating time, I can tell you!
          And he wasn’t in “the Fog” as far as I can tell, he seemed very glad when he got found out!
          Posting on here and building a few friendships with others on this blog has really helped me a lot!
          Hope things get better for you, soon!

          • Bobse

            18 months. (multiple ea’s) She has come back to the relationship several times, but never agreed to no contact with om. The last time was it for me, I can’t let her back in again, unless I see she is remorseful and can agree to no contact. Anytime I bring up no contact, she calls me controlling. I hope that is “the fog” talking.

            This site has been wonderful. Its nice to see the cs posts too, Its nice to have some understanding of what they are going thru and how it might relate to where my wife is.

            Valentines was hard, for the first time in 18 years I did nothing for her. I cant get the love I want from her and know I cant move on yet, limbo.

            Thank you ifsd.

    • Peggy

      I so relate to stillbroken. It’s been a year since I found out about my husband’s affair. And still today, he broke a promise to me. He had an affair with a co-worker that he admitted to being attracted to for four years. There’s no way that the entire office didn’t know what was going on. He left the office and went to work in another office of the same company and all I asked is that he not have any contact with the other women in the original office. Today he sets up a showing, (he’s in Real Estate) and invites all the people from his original office. I feel so betrayed all over again.

      I also understand the guilt because he’s so much better now then he was before. He did the introspection, but he continues to not understand why I feel so betrayed by all those women who are still close friends with the OW even though she left town.

      Also I can’t get past the fact that if she had stayed in town they would probably still be together. She dumped him and I’m the second choice. There’s just no way I can see it. He didn’t leave the OW. She left him so now he has decided he’s in love with me and I don’t feel it. He’s wonderful to me, but I can’t trust it. I have good days when I can actually feel kindness towards him because I see his suffering, too. But there never needed to be suffering at all so I get sick of feeling bad for him when I’ve been destroyed by him.

      I feel the same as probably all of us who have been cheated on that were in long, loving relatinships. I will never understand how he could have done this to me. I keep reading everything and they all say that I’m supposed to look at my part in the affair. I’ve looked and looked and looked and I did nothing wrong. I’m not being stubborn or unenlightened of self-preserving. I’ve seriously searched my soul. I just did nothing wrong in my marriage. It was all him and he knows it.

      I was reading this article today and Marianne Williamson wrote “When you give your life as a wholehearted response to love, then love will whole heartedly respond to
      you.” Well, to this quote I say bullshit. I was so in love with my husband. We had had it all. Other’s looked at our relationship as a goal to reach in happiness. We were so solid and then I guess it just wasn’t enough for him. The lies and betrayal are beyond pain. He lied so well. I’m a year out from finding out about his affair and I can not get over the anger and hurt. And then today he zings me again. He says he’s just trying to make a living, but if he did get me he would understand that those women betrayed me, too. They knew about his affair. I can’t stand the feeling I get in my gut just thinking that he’s spending a day with all of them. Being friendly and happy to see him. It’s all a betrayal. I’m back to day one again.

      • Paula

        Peggy

        I’m with you, I’ve searched my soul to see what it was that I did “wrong” and all I did was love, and work, and give every part of my soul to this man, the love of my life. He is vey ashamed of the way he has treated me, he got angry and felt I had abandoned him (I was very, very busy, and distracted during his affair, that is the only “fault” I bear) but I hadn’t, I was just trying to do it all! I still adored him. He used this anger to justify what he did (at the time) he now knows that was childish and selfish, and showed a real lack of maturity and communication skills, hell, I didn’t even know he was unhappy! The big problem is that it is done. You can’t change it. You can’t get your feeling of safety back. You don’t feel you will ever trust again. For me, it has been a question of if I want to live this way, it’s not bad, but it isn’t the life I had, it’s a bit of a half life, but do you walk away from everything that is not too bad, because you want the best? It is a real adjustment, and I still don’t know if I’m willing to be so-so. I actually feel really sorry for my OH, he has lost all of the stuff I have, too. Our perfect little world is shattered, forever, and he did it. I know this sounds like I did nothing wrong, I’m not perect, but I tried to be the best, most honest and loving person I could be, and guess what, I was a pretty damn great partner, but it wasn’t enough to stop this happening. It sucks, plain and simple.

        • Notoverit

          Hey Paula, I am right there with you. i have the same doubts and sadness about how things turned out. Maybe I have decided to just settle for this. I cannot keep upsetting myself (and I haven’t) with trying to get him to change. Change comes from within and I cannot force my H to do that. So,like you, I ask: should I just settle for this half-life? I am moving on now; trying to pull myself up by the bootstraps and learn to be by myself in the marriage. Not great but it’s what I have right now. Sorry to sound so down but that’s the way it is. I don’t want a divorce, neither does he so here we sit. What to do is certainly a question I ask myself. I doubt I would be happier without him but the days of unconditional love and trust are over. It’s just sad.

        • melissa

          Paula
          Same for me except that my H has never ‘vocalised’ any of his introspection or guilt or resolve to be a better H. Which leaves me in limbo. Yes, our life together is much better. Yes, he’s more attentive, more loving and as far as I can see (but I don’t pry anymore) there’s no contact with the OW. He tells me he loves me, seems happy in my company but I’m still waiting for the words ‘I was stupid, insensitive and wrong, I will never hurt you again, I now understand how much hurt I’ve caused’. And yes, the trust issue never really disappears. The difference between what I had (or what I THOUGHT I had) and now is huge. Better in some ways, worse in others – and the lack of trust is what makes it worse, together with the thought that I never really knew him and I’m not sure I know him now.

          But life is never perfect and this may be as good as it gets.

          • Sam

            It’s amazing how the human mind/heart work. I feel exactly the same way. I read your comments and I feel like I’m listening to myself. So sad 🙁

        • Jackie

          Paula, Melissa, Notoverit,
          I agree that the fantasy marriage is over now. We now have a marriage with real people and real problems. But that doesn’t necessarily make things worst. True, it was so much easier and nicer being in our fantasy, fairy tale marriage. Just as our CS felt it is so much nicer being in their fantasy affair. But it is not real. I have learned to accept this fact.

          The problems and lack of introspection in our CS has led us to this point. I know I am not perfect, but I did all I could to communicate to my H when things weren’t going right in our marriage. I realize today, he has not done the same. He has been holding grudges to tiny stupid things as well as things that were important to him through the years. I guess during the 20 years of our marriage he just let issues slide thinking they weren’t important. I now realize he has been unable to open up and be honest with me or himself. I’m not sure he will ever be able to.

          We BS have done and are still doing everything we can to have a good marriage and be a good supportive partners…it is now time for our CS to do there part, if we are to have a meaningful long term relationship.

          I guess we could say our CS tried their best to do what was right…they thought that cheating at the time was best for themselves, as thoughtless as it was. They were certainty not thinking what was best for their marriage, children, family.

          I always said to myself, ” I would have to be out of my mind or mentally ill, before cheating on my spouse.” I have to say my CS was.

          Hopefully out of the ashes , a new more connected, accepting relationship will form between us. If it ends, I will feel I did what I could to save our relationship and will have no regrets.

          It is so nice to have such wonderful people to share thoughts with here.

          • Paula

            Jackie, thanks for your very thoughtful post. I do have to disagree a little, though. I always had a real relationship, it wasn’t a fantasy, we had our differences of opinion, but we were incredibly close, incredibly intimate, and had great communication. I always voiced my opinion, even if I was wrong, or overruled. We worked stuff out. We have just had a night away, in a luxury hotel, that didn’t go so well, unfortunately :-(. On the way home, my OH said to me, “well, if we were going along really well, and then the affair happened, then we could think, WTF.” I was silent for about 5 minutes (a lifetime for me, lol!) and said, “but what you forget is, I thought we were okay, you never communicated that you weren’t, so I bloody well didn’t KNOW!!!” He thought for a minute and said, “well, you were a bit of a fool then, weren’t you, because we WEREN’T okay!” I was furious, and said, “how the hell could I know that things weren’t okay, when every time I asked you, you said things were fine??” He eventually agreed that he didn’t communicate all (actually, any!) of the issues to me that were going on in the build up to him “jumping the fence” – these were a couple of years in the making, and he tried to “sell” me the idea of the new farm/business, AFTER he had unilaterally bought it, without consulting me, when I was doubting the figures (I was right, by the way, it isn’t as profitable as he was trying to make out, I could do the sums) but, for him, it wasn’t about the business, it was about the change of lifestyle that he needed, to find his bliss. If he’d explained that, I would have understood better! Building something better is hard when the first, demolished building was your dream home, lol!

            • Jackie

              Paula,
              I agree with you totally. A clarification of what I called “Fantasy Marriage”. What I was referring to was the feeling of innocence in the marriage that the BS feels, that something like this couldn’t happen in the relationship that we feel is really a good one. I also thought my marriage was a great one. Before the EA we were coasting through life and just being happy, working out the kinks in the marriage occasionally…then things would go on as before.

              Today we are faced with uncertainty, living day to day, and very strong emotions that are hard to control. These are all more real, scary, and uncertain…but were really there all along. It is just that our CS was hiding them from us, by not discussing these things, so we BS were in a “fantasy bubble”. That is we had no idea these thoughts were going through our CS’s mind….until now.

              I look at all this as a good thing for our marriage, as painful as it all has been. It is an opportunity for me to understand my H better. A chance for him to open up and be a real person, not one who pretends that everything is fine even though they are not. As long as I can keep the anger and shame, and blame out of the picture, I think we both can grow from this.

              Of course I wish my H had just opened up in the first place instead of having an EA. But again, I realize that he with his history wasn’t able to. I’ve always tried to be a loving and understanding wife. This has been one of the greatest challenges I’ve faced, and I have had numerous difficult challenges in my lifetime. I have reluctantly grown enormously and rapidly because of this EA. I don’t like it, but if life gives you lemons, make lemonade.

              I could have written exactly what you did. I felt nothing was really wrong with our marriage. I’ve also always talked things out with my H on things I felt concerned us, and our family.

              From all these posts, I realize the EA is really all about my H. How he has been unable to express to me his fears, worries, doubts, or anything that truly bothered him deeply. Instead he like many, felt he needed to solve them himself, and not worry me with his personal concerns. He chose to run away from everything we created into a fantasy affair. He even knows this, but still he rationalized by blaming me and our marriage, rewriting history, and pointing fingers at anyone, including his kids, rather than looking at himself. He goes back and forth probably due to him refusing to let go of his obsession of the other woman.

              This Midlife crisis, Affair, “in Love” feeling, has been his way to escape what he perceived as his unhappiness and fears within himself. Cheating spouses seem to get most bogged down when they think of the Affair partner as their “true love” the person that they are really “in love” with, and meant to be with. When it is really mother nature’s powerful chemical to get animals to procreate and perpetuate the species.

              I feel, until CS understand this, that what they feel is not real love but infatuation, obsession, addiction…they will remain somewhat in the fog. The movie industry doesn’t help this matter, since it is filled with people who fall in and out of love all the time, changing partners with the change of the wind. Part of the problem for us BS is that the “in love” feeling is so powerful and feels so good that the CS is unwilling to let go of the high feeling. Some experts say it acts in the way cocaine does on the brain. Therefore, it is highly addictive and hard to let go, especially for those prone to addictions and obsessions, like my H.

              Some people clearly get out of it faster than others. Some never do. They just keep doing it over and over, destroying lives as they do so. And others waver for a long time leaving their lives in limbo, but not being able to completely break free. Each person is so different with different histories, it is so hard to see which path they will take. I feel for my H he needs to feel things are better in his life before he can let go of his crutch. Only time will tell for me.

              What I find amazing as I read so many of these post, is how similar they are in the way people think, both the CS and the BS.

            • Paula

              Thanks Jackie, I think you’re amazing, and have a wonderful attitude about things. I think I know what you mean, and without belittling all the EA BSs here, the long term (15 months) sexual affair that happened in our case has been excrutiating. My partner has never believed he was in love with his AP, however, he did question whether he should be with her, briefly, instead of me, when I was the enemy! He did use her to make himself feel better during one of these crises you describe, as he felt he couldn’t burden me, as I already had a lot on my plate, of course I would have wiped the plate clean, in an instant, and helped him, had I known, had he asked! I have also grown enormously, but have acquired new hang-ups (eg sexually, after contracting an STI because of their selfishness) that are hard to shake. I actually thought he was having an EA, as I knew there was texting, etc going on, and I wasn’t actually all that worried about it, crazy, huh? She was my friend, too, and I thought they were just friends, just chatting. I did question him a couple of times about the content of their chats, and I did ask him near the end if what they were doing was appropriate, whether he would be able to say the things he was discussing with her, in front of me, of course he said, “oh, Paula, please!” And of course, I felt horrible that I’d asked! It is very difficult separate the madness of who he’d become during the affair with all the lying (his answer to this is “that is the nature of an affair, I hated who I became, but had to keep lying to try to protect you from the horridness of what I’d done/was doing”) from the kind, protective and loving man I’ve known and loved for more than 24 years, however, I am trying! How do you ever come to terms with that fully, and feel safe enough to trust that it won’t happen to you again, if not with this man, another? That is what I am working on at present, letting myself love without fear.

            • Jackie

              Paula,
              Your quote,”How do you ever come to terms with that fully, and feel safe enough to trust that it won’t happen to you again, if not with this man, another?”

              I think you come to accept that this is one of those human traits that we can’t quite know we are safe from. Just like addictions and obsessions. We can control them somewhat, but sometimes under certain circumstances things don’t work out the way we expect…perhaps due to our state of mind at the time.

              I think after the pain, and trauma caused by the affair, hopefully the CS starts to put boundaries in place to not allow it to happen again. Discussing it with your spouse definitely would help. But if your spouse is like mine, he doesn’t want to even think about what happened, let alone talk about it and what can be done to prevent it from happening again. It is his way of dealing with stressful emotions…just bury your head in the sand and hope it all goes away.

            • Paula

              Jackie, my spouse is really great about all of the discussion. He’s open and willing, he’s doing all of the introspective work, he understands what it was in his upbringing (now) that caused him to react the way he did. He gets all of the background hurts that were running him, and causing him to justify the way he was treating me, the way he was justifying hurting me (thinking I was the enemy, and he knows I did nothing to deserve feeling this way.) I’m just so disappointed that this far out, I still feel so miserable so much of the time, even with all of the minute-by-minute work I do on myself. I am constantly scanning the way I am feeling, trying to use all of the tools I have acquired, I never just get to live in the moment anymore, it’s exhausting. I don’t know what else he could do (except magic it all away, lol!) Maybe I just need to cut him free, maybe I am incapable of happiness anymore, it sure feels that way almost all of the time. It’s so bloody sad, because he wants us to be better, I want us to be better, I hear everyone talking about how much better they are now they’ve done the work. I’m not better.

            • Jackie

              Paula,
              It sounds like your H is trying to do the right things, doesn’t blame you, realizes that you two have a good thing, and is willing to work on it, but it sounds as if you are still hurt and haven’t been able to forgive him for what he has done.

              Remember, forgiving is for you. It sets you free. You don’t have to agree with what he has done, to forgive him. With forgiving you come to a place of acceptance. Acceptance that this has happened, not that you like it or approve of it.

              I think this is the area you need to work on, for you. Get to a place of acceptance of where you are today. Then to forgive and start to move forward.

              You have been dealt a very difficult blow by the affair. You didn’t choose this, it was thrown at you. But you can learn to see where you are, and make things better.

              In my case, my H is still kind of stuck. In yours, you are. But the good news is, you have control of yourself. 🙂

              Be gentle and love yourself.

            • Paula

              Thanks Jackie, the frustrating thing is I know all of this, I knew about forgiveness being for myself the day I discovered his affair, I’ve been working on it, really hard for nearly three years! There’s been times I thought I was there, or nearly there, then I fall back into the realisation that I don’t fully forgive him. I feel like I have accepted it, I know full well it happened, I can’t change it, etc. I forgive how awful he was feeling before starting this affair with our friend, but I don’t forgive him for not telling me he was in trouble. I don’t forgive the choices he made, and continued to make, even when he had worked out that what he was doing wasn’t helping him feel better, just creating a whole new raft of problems, and still he continued to fuck her, because he could. I don’t forgive him for fucking her again last April, just as soon as he could after I kicked him out, I understand why he did, but I’m bloody disappointed! You have no idea how hard I have worked at this, I just live this every minute of every day and night, it is NEVER not in the front of my mind. I think you must be incredible to be this together when your spouse isn’t, well done, you, I love it!

            • Sam

              Wow Jackie,

              Reading your posts is very inspirational and encouraging. I really want to get to the place where you are! I want to see this whole EA issues as an opportunity to grow and to become better, to get closer to my husband.

              However, no matter how I slice, I can’t feel grateful or happy for this opportunity. I can see many ways in which my husband is kinder, more attentive, and more open to me since his EA, but at the same time the pain I’m feeling far overweighs any benefits I can reap from this experience.

              I feel extremely betrayed and disappointed. My husband and I have been together for almost 16 years, and after all this time, I feel like I don’t know him at all. I feel like the OW actually got to know him better in the time that they were e-mailing each other. This is not only hurtful, but also scary. It really makes me wonder if I should stay in this marriage.

              I am in love with my husband. This is a feeling that has NEVER changed, from the moment I met him. He claims to love me, but I have such a hard time believing it. I can’t believe he could do this to me.

              So many issues are coming out to the surface as a result of the EA. Like many here, I also thouht that things were fine between us. He never expressed any feelings of discontent in our marriage. How was I supposed to know?

              I feel like I was cooking lentils for him every night for the past 15 years, and he kept eating them, never protesting. But all along, he hates lentils! He just never said anything about it. 🙁

              I’m about 8 months after D-day, and still having a terrible time with all of this. I wish I could go back in time and erase it. I know I can’t. I don’t know what the answer is.

              I know that divorce would hurt too many people (mainly my children) but I wonder if it would actually better to just end this marriage and move on? Right now, I just don’t see how I can ever be fully happy again. I know that I wouldn’t be happier without my husband… but is it better to be miserable and alone, or miserable and married?

              Ugh. I hate being such a pesimist. This isn’t the person I used to be. 🙁

            • Jackie

              Sam,
              Love the lentil analogy. It describes so many of our CS, not giving us a chance because they never told us BS anything.

              “is it better to be miserable and alone, or miserable and married?” The obvious answer to that is that it is better not being miserable.

              You need to come to a place of understanding of your H. He also needs to understand what he put you through and feel sorry enough that he will make every effort not to do this to you again.

              My H never had a PA, in fact I don’t think he even got to first base before it ended. Perhaps that is why he has so much trouble letting go of the fantasy.

              I believe it is much harder when a CS has a PA. It is another trust the CS has broken. A person can damage many types of trust, emotional fidelity, physical fidelity, feelings of safety, money issues etc… With each trust the CS makes, it gets harder and harder to mend the relationship the further the CS goes, the length of time, how much damage they cause in the relationship, by the things they do and say.

              Only you can repair yourself. That is your job. Whether you stay in this relationship or not, you must repair yourself from the damage that the affair caused. You need to find ways to feel you are a wonderful person no matter what your spouse does, because your are!

              Love yourself, be gentle, and believe in yourself again. Just because your spouse does stupid things, does not reflect on who or what you are.

              I think we who have been married for a longer time tend to lose our identity in the marriage. We become Mom, teacher, cook, housekeeper etc… After a while we forget who we are, because we give, give, give, and expect little in return. It is time now to take care of ourselves, like we have of everyone else for so long. We need to get in touch with who we are, who we were, and who we want to be. I guess it is the same for our CS. Because until we do, how do we know we really want to stay in this marriage, when we don’t know who the two parties are any longer?

            • Sam

              Hi Jackie,

              My husband’s EA never progressed to a physical affair. Although it lasted about 3 years, most of it was conducted over e-mail. In the past year, the OW started asking my husband on coffee dates and I think they met like that at least 3-4 times before I showed up to one of their “dates” and confronted them.

              I truly believe that a PA affair might have developed. I think they were on that track, but because I found out it didn’t escalate. (In a way, I’m glad because I would have gotten a divorce right away. I would not even have tried to work this out!)

              In some cases an affair of the heart is worst than a PA. I’ve actually wondered if it would be easier for me to move on if my H had picked up someone in a bar and had a one night stand, never to see them again. It’s a lot harder to digest that he developed a friendship and intense feelings (even though he denies the ‘feelings’ part) for someone else.

              I know what you say is true. I know I have to take care of mysef. Love myself. Somedays I look in the mirror and I want to slap myself over the head! I need to stop being so pathetic.

            • Lynne

              Hi Sam-

              I presume your H hadn’t told you about the depth of his friendship prior to catching them on their coffee date. What does he claim was the nature of this “friendship”? Also, did you know that they had been communicating for 3 years?

            • Sam

              I knew NOTHING about the existence of this woman. At all!

              I found out when I was checking prices for airline tickets on his computer and a new e-mail popped up. The title of it was “coffee and sweets”, so of course I was curious and opened it! You know that sinking feeling you get, when your heart starts beating fast and you just know that your life is about to change? That was it.

              We’ve been married for 15 years and have two beautiful children. I wouldn’t say we had a “bad” marriage. I honestly thought we were happy. He never mentioned any discontent in our relationship, so of course, I was totally blindsided.

              I went back and looked up every e-mail I could find from this woman’s address. I read them all – or at least, about 8-9 months worth of them. I wanted to confront my H right away, but he was already asleep so I waited till the next morning. When I asked about her he said “Oh, she’s just a friend!” And then I asked WHY I had never heard of this friend!! He said “Well, because you’re jealous and I knew you’d react like this! And see, you’re freaking.” He did say he’d known her for about 3 years and that they’d exchanged “a couple e-mails” over the years.

              There were tears and a big argument, and then his promise of introducing me to her. (Right!) He promised never to see her again without telling me first. (Because I was still giving him the benefit of the doubt and allowing him to go with the “just friends” story.) However, he made plans to see her just two days after our big argument and tried to cover his tracks by deleting the e-mail that included time/location. However, he didn’t clean out his trash. (Obviously an amateur at covering up his tracks. Duh.)

              I showed up to the coffee shop and surprised them . It was the OW’s birthday. I’m sure it will be one she never forgets. And neither will I, unfortunately.

              About a month ago, I went into his old laptop and retrieved even MORE e-mails. I went back to 2008, which is when they first started their “friendship”. To this day, he still denies that this was an affair and still insists that he did nothing wrong. It has taken a long time for him to admit that hiding things is exactly what made his friendship NOT innocent at all.

            • Kris

              Sam, reading your post 8m out from D-Day reminds me of how I was at that time too. Just like your husband, we were married for a long time almost 16 years for us before I found out my H was in adultery. He said some things as he was going out the door that I never knew he felt thought of were on his mind. It was a knock upside the head to say the least.

              Now we’re 19m out from D-Day. I do promise you it will get better. It takes a lot of processing, a lot of talking things out, you will find yourself REPEATING a lot of the same questions over and over. It’s because you’re trying to understand, trying to accept. That’s ok. It’s part of the process.

              I too could not understand how someone could not say ONE THING ever about the issues he had with me and then JUMP SHIP (he moved out for a short time). I was always honest, always saying what I felt, what I needed, what ever needed to be said. My husband never said A WORD about anything negative to me ONCE in all the years we were married. I even thought it was odd about 3 years prior to the adultery. I remember I said to him “how come you never say anything negative to me about anything, do you really not have any issues with me?” His reply was “I would never want to say anything to hurt you.” I said to him then, way back then, “I’d rather be hurt and be in the light than protected and in the dark.”

              Fast forward 3 years after that he’s in adultery and guess what? DUH! I’m hurt!!! How’d that plan work out? *rolling eyes*

              Anyway – things will get better but it’s going to take a lot of conversations, and you’re going to need your H not just to show you he still loves you but to show you he’s working on HIM and why someone would never say something. Why is he like that? What happened to him that made him that way and how is he going to NOT stay that way? When my H started doing the hard work on himself (he still has a ways to go though) is when I could finally start to feel like I could get to a healing place. But for me to know he didn’t know how and why he did this and in the way that he did this, I could never heal.

              Praying for you and everyone here. This is tough terrain but there is beauty on the other side of hard work.

    • Jackie

      Doug,

      These last two post of your were meaningful and so helpful. It is so much more helpful to hear the CS point of view, because there aren’t very many CS who are willing to open up as you have.

      Your words have helped us to understand what may be going on in our CS head. It helps give us understanding as to their internal struggle, that they seem to have trouble understanding or sharing. I hope my H is able to reconcile his EA and come to terms with understanding himself as you have.

      We all see the deep thinking you have done, and how far you have come. Both you and Linda have provided a wonderful service, and a place for many to express themselves on this journey that an affair causes.

      It is good to see what good can come from the difficult journey. That it all can be worth it. It gives us hope.

      Each of us has our own journey to travel, at our own pace. We have all grown from this experience and learned much about ourselves and our spouses.

      Thanks again Doug and Linda for sharing your journey with us. We are happy for you both. You both deserve the credit for doing the work necessary as well as helping us who struggle with it day to day.

      • Doug

        Thanks so much Jackie. We cannot over state how much that Linda and I have learned from all the readers and commentors as well. If not for the knowledge gained and the interaction, this blog probably would have gone away a long time ago.

        • Holding On

          A big thank you from me, too. This site has been a life saver. I have copied and pasted helpful comments to me and others, read and reread posts, and met some amazing people.

          Thanks you Doug and Linda! And thanks to all the commenters who share their struggles and insights and support. This is quite an amazing community.

          I appreciate all the hard work and effort that you both put into the blog, the posts, and the new forum coming soon! Thanks again!

    • sharkgirl

      Just really like some thoughts please, I feel this is where I’m at. He say’s it was just a bit of fun and that we’d stopped been an us, this isn’t enough for me. Are my expectations to high, it clearly was more than fun when he couldn’t stop when it took 3 DDays and he had thought about having a life with her kids and everything. Yes we stopped been an us and I felt shit and was bloody miserable but I didn’t even consider doing what he did. I know how what I did maybe helped make things worse to stop myself feeling rejected I went to bed later than him so he was asleep and I didn’t have to suffer him just getting in and rolling over away from me, the only thing I could so was be a good housewife – maybe I spent too much time on this, all this things I’ve looked and I know I lost me but I’ve found her again.
      People talk of it taking years so do I wait to see if we can be ok even if he doesn’t do what I feel he needs to do, just because I feel he needs to do does he? Will I reach a point where you know what we won’t move on because I can’t see him moving on and dealing with this. How long do I wait? What can I do now to help him, I feel talking is just me going on now and dragging it up continually only hurts me.

    • Jackie

      Paula,

      Think of you husband not being in his right mind during the affair. Think of him being an addict, willing to anything to get his drug fix. Yes it was destructive to himself and everyone who loved him. Yes, he screwed up terribly.

      For some reason, it helped me enormously, to understand the drug like influence an affair has over a person. Especially when a lot of CS say on this website, how they became another person…that it was not who they really were, how desperate they had become.

      Perhaps because I have encounter mental illnesses in people so much in my life…I can see how the mind can sometimes completely “lose it”.

      I can see why it is hard for you to forgive when your H keeps literally “fucking up”. It is easier for me to forgive, because my H is in the fantasy alone…the OW isn’t even fueling the affair…he and only he is. I still think it is a waste of time and energy that could be put to so much better use, but he has to come to that conclusion himself when he is able to.

      In your case your H must have “no contact” because the CS and AP keep adding fuel to the fire. He must stop this behavior or your relationship will not have a chance to repair. So it makes sense that you have trouble forgiving him at this point. He hasn’t proven that he is done yet.

      You must do what is right for you in your circumstance. Although all our situations are similar, they are also very different. Trust in yourself to do what is right for you. There are no easy answers here. But a lot of people here who understand and want to help each other grow and heal.

      • Paula

        Jackie, thanks, everything you say is stuff I have already/am still worked/working on, I know he was mentally ill when this happened, I know he’ll die regretting it, but he is so much healthier than me about it, doing it “right” – learning about himself, dealing with the “whys,” showing all the right behaviours (with the exception of the replying to her texts for two years, and not changing his number for 2 and a half, BIG mistakes!) I so want to forgive him, as I do bloody well still love him, and I see he is still the good guy I fell in love with, there’s no denials, no hiding behind excuses anymore. He didn’t want anything with her after he ended it (he’d worked it all through in his head, and made his choice, me) except, naively, her friendship – before she told me. He kept telling her to leave us alone, but, of course, she was getting her fix from him when he replied, even if it wasn’t what she wanted to hear. I guess I feel like he never “took my side” – a childish phrase, I know – if someone hurt me as badly as she hurt me (yes, he hurt me far worse!) If the shoe was on the other foot, and it was him so hurt by our friend by having an affair with me, when I “came to my senses,” I would be outraged and protective of OH, and I think quite disgusted by the OP. He wasn’t/isn’t, he still managed to have sex with her again, after we separated, I would feel nauseous even seeing the person who helped cause so much anguish to the person I cherish more than anyone in the world, certainly not “turned on!” It feels even more disloyal when he was out of the fog, to shag her again, even though I’d asked him to leave (just hours earlier than their meeting, and three days before he was back in her bed – as he needed to talk to her, to try to figure it all out, sorry, but I don’t talk with my genitalia!) As you can all see, I’m back in the bloody pit, aaaargh! I just don’t know if it’s ever going to end, my lack of coping here, makes me feel terrible about myself – yes, I know that is destructive thinking – as I’ve had other sad life events where I’ve had to be strong, and survive, quite big ones, why is this making me so weak and incapable? Why am I not able to make the choice to be happy this time? I’m trying bloody hard. So disappointed in myself.

    • Disappointed

      My H made it a whole week without bringing up the OW. But my trust is so shattered I find myself wondering if contact has been re-established even though it is highly doubtful. I hate the way my mind works now. He left this morning for a two-week ski trip with his sister. She will do everything in her power to keep us from reconciling and I am fearful of what frame of mind he will return with. It was just a month of texting with a couple emails and under 2 hours of phone time. He does not call it an affair because it was not physical. When they were face to face nothing ever happened. Not even an in depth conversation until the “we better cool it” talk. My question: how can this EA have so destroyed my life and how I think?! I question everything. My H says it was the effect and my neglect of him was the cause. But I did not put him last. I do not understand. If it was fun and exciting and new and he has decided we cannot go back after 20 years together… What am I to do? How can she be a soulmate and the great loss of his life? And how can I be with him when I feel like second choice and not even that since there is NC. I will hate the OW until the day I die. She was not a stranger to me and knew what she was doing. She is a mother of two who was mad at her husband for working too much and she resented staying home. Well boo hoo for you. If u r reading this, I will never forgive you or forget what you did to me. I encouraged the development of your talents and considered you a friend. Some friend?! You must feel so great at home with your life intact while I struggle to pick up the pieces including having to find a better paying job so I can stay in our home. I hope you are very proud of yourself. What do you see when you look in the mirror? When I hear your name or think of you it is all I can do not to throw up…

    • Lynne

      I am putting this here “under the path to introspection”, as I think it has benefit for both the BS and CS. It’s an article on setting personal boundaries and has great relevance to those of us that have struggled with a cheating spouse, too. For me, letting go of the outcome is a powerful thing, and can set you free. Being clear on what you want and need is crucial, as is the acknowledgement that you have no control over anothers actions, only your response to them. It also talks about letting go of judgement and expectations of others. To do less than this is making ourselves victims rather than recognizing we have choices in everything.

      I don’t know if my H will ever involve himself with another woman again, and I refuse to live in fear of it, but I do know I have control over my own boundaries and choices.To those of you that have focused on trying to change your spouse, trying to control their moves, telling them what to read or what to say to the OM/OW, this is a must read. I hope it speaks to you as much as it does to me.

      http://joy2meu.com/Personal_Boundaries.htm

    • Lynne

      Sam-

      Well that’s a huge load of shi……I mean DENIAL! Your H says he didn’t do any wrong. Ooops, other than keeping a secret about a female friendship for three years, and saying they only exchanged a couple of emails over the years. If he’s really trying to sell you this he’d love the book “NOT Just Friends”. I seem to remember that the kiss of death statement is, “we’re just friends”.

      I’m all for healing and making an attempt to work through these things with first-time cheaters, but do they really think that we’re buying what they’re selling!!!

      • Sam

        As far a I know, this is really my husband’s first inappropriate relationship in the past 15 years. For that alone, and because I’m fairly certain this did not progress to a PA, I’m willing to give him a second chance.

        However, I’m totally with you. This is total crap. I don’t believe for a moment that he didn’t realize he was doing something wrong. My favorite university professor used to say: “If you are doing something that you wouldn’t want someone to find out about, then don’t do it. It’s most likely wrong.”

        The fact that he kept this ‘friendship’ secret for so long must meant that a part of him knew that it wasn’t innocent at all. I just wish he’d admit it. Whenever I ask him what exactly was going on, his answer is always “I really don’t know. I’m SO sorry. What else can I say or do.”

        Ugh, yes, apologetic… but still very frustrating. 🙁

    • Abby

      Sam-
      Wow!! This is almost identical to what I am going through. Married 29 years-3 kids. Always thought it was a strong marriage-of course we’ve had our “slumps” which my husband referred to when pressed to evaluate our marriage after sensing there was an EA. The difference is I know this OW-she is a coworker and VERY attractive. My husband finds her and another female coworker a lot of fun and crazy. He has gone out with a bunch of coworkers a few times (he works with all women in the medical field-very stressful job). Two of his female coworkers, including the one in question, have called and texted him about personal problems after work hours, of which in retrospect I found inappropriate. He has never put any demands on my social life, since I also love occasiionally going out with coworkers-the one difference is they are all females and very close friends. I have NEVER felt insecure in the past but last November I had the opportunity of being with my husband and his coworkers at a social event. His behavior was that of someone with a new crush on someone. For me it was obvious that he was attracted to her and when i asked him he did admit to being attracted to her. He made it seem very matter of fact and telling me -“well, look at her-you can see for yourself that she is very attractive”. I have resorted to checking out cell phone bills to see what calls and messages he has received. Many were from her. Unfortunately, he all of a sudden would constantly delete these and always keep his phone on him at all times. He was never this way about his phone before-he would always forget about it. I know nothing physical has happened but I did express my concern that he is setting himself up for the possibility, especially if we were to go through a rough patch. He agreed but reassured me that SHE is not attracted to him (so….he tought about this???) She is 40 ish and single. I expressed my concern that when they are out, that he is a very good listener and that that quality combined with alcohol can lead to something physical. He agreed and promised not to go out with them anymore. I of course feel like a b****, b/c I do realize the importance of bonding woth coworkers but I also feel like in his situation he needs to refrain. As a side note-he has lied to me about receiving texts from her last Christmas time (of course deleted them immediately) and on other matters referring to her. I know he thinks he is protecting me but the fact that he is not forthwright with me regarding this and it is still so hurtful. I feel so foolish that this seems like a minor problem but in my gut I know he hasnot told me everything. i am normally a confident person but feel like this has become an obsession. He couldn’t be more attentive to me but I still feel like something “big” is between us. How sad is it that I want to recover previous text messages to prove to myself whether or not there was something there? I feel like I am at my lowest.

      • ifeelsodumb

        Same thing here Abby….my H started carrying his phone all over the house with him…and it was always on silent or vibrate…the few times I noticed it I would ask him why he had it on vibrate, he said it was when he was meeting with a client and didn’t want it ringing…Dumb me, hence the name, believed him, even though he’d never done that before!
        When I finally checked his cell records, I was shocked to see thousands of texts and daily phone calls to the other woman…and my H also started going to bed earlier than normal…all classic signs of cheating!!
        Trust your instincts!!

    • Abby

      Thank you EP for repsonding, especially from the other perspective. If you don’t mind me asking you your opinion on something I would greatly respect it. How can I get him to be honest about why he deleted texts from this OW while keeping others (from family) on? I feel embarrassed by being obsessed with this fact but really need it answered. He of course could make up anything or claim forgetfullness which is what he does when i ask him specific details. Please note he always comes home after work (in the past only went out 4 or times) but they do work together everyday. I don’t know how to ger my self esteem back-I hate what this is doing to me and him. He knows how i feel and was very receptive and even though claims nothing has happened he can understand why i would think that and has promised to do his best to put us first. I can’t seem to move forward.

    • Disappointed

      Abby – I am sorry, I don’t want to make you feel bad, but that is how it was with my H. She was one of his students (late 30’s , married with kids). The first thing that changed was him mentioning things from their lesson discussions. It was a bit of a pygmalion thing combined with her feeling ignored by her workaholic husband. The big thing was that he carried his phone at all times which he never did before. He started getting up early and going to bed early. I discovered later that is when they texted the most. I torture myself wondering if we would be separated now if I had confronted him when my gut first kicked in, before all the sharing via text… Before he “fell in love” with the “one person who understands and shares his view of relationships”. NC since a few days after D-day. The thing is, for the most part the CS will go thru this at their pace. I do not know what to tell you, only you know your relationship. I am so sorry that you are experiencing the mental torture that an EA brings whether the CS recognizes it as an EA or not.

    • Abby

      Thank you all! I appreciate all your advice!

    • blueskyabove

      I found this article regarding behavior and habits on another forum. Although it is long, and doesn’t appear initially to have anything to do with the topic at hand, I think you will find that there is some interesting information toward the middle of the article that might help some of you who have questions regarding your spouse’s behavior.

      You might also find it kind of spooky how much info companies have been able to discover about you, but that’s a different story.

      http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/19/magazine/shopping-habits.html?_r=2&ref=magazine&pagewanted=all

    • chiffchaff

      My H during his PA kept his blackberry with him at all times but would say he was busy with work (would that he were – since Ddays he’s told me he had no work to do at all so she filled his day, when she was up given the time difference). They used BBM as I had no idea how his phone worked (I do now), he encouraged her to change phone service provider and phone so they could BBM for free (he’s scottish).
      He would encourage me not to go with him on dog walks or to the shop in the evenings because this was when he could BBM with ehr without me being there. It was only later that he was brazen enough to BBM with her while he was sat next to me.
      People in the midst of PA/EAs really are on another planet and just like druggies, they’ll do anything to get their fix and to make sure it’s kept a secret, because that’s where 90% of the pleasure is derived from, the secrecy, lies and sneaking about.

    • drowning

      HELP!!! Not sure if this the right place to post. This weeks been bad for me, not sure why just load of little triggers and memories, things I can normally stop have built up and last night he knew something was wrong. When I told him I got the reaction I knew I would ‘shit happens’ shit happens, shit happens does he have no idea. He can’t give me answers to why he did it, why he lied, why he kept on hurting me when he saw how he was destroying me – he doesn’t know/remember and it’s the past to be left there.
      What was his reaction about – guilt, doesn’t want to address who he is, what? He did come out with a new insight he said he thought I was been like this because we are going out and that I always do this. Have tried discuss with him this morning, he’s one who won’t talk, before the affair seems maybe I did this. For me I can only think because I’m not a sociable person I feel uncomfortable going certain places and my self esteem was so low I wouldn’t have wanted to go for that either, nothing to wear, etc… He felt I didn’t want him and I wonder is that still there a little, he won’t talk but I saw some e-mails and if I was him would break my heart knowing I’d seen them and make me question why they would want me.
      Things are good other than these moments and normally I’m more in control normally but when it’s bad like that it’s so easy to spiral and I do think is it worth it. It’s all been so good otherwise, I don’t think he realises the moments or thought I have. I’m worried I could be in for a bad run, first DDay was May last year so all this time last year was a lie, after this first DDay it was rough and I don’t have all the answers but least I know where I was. I just have to make it to there plus in my head I have a date that if he’s not home still by then because it’s not right, even though he stays most nights, then it never will be and I have to end it. If it’s ok though can I ever truly heal if he doesn’t to? Do I stay or do I go, to protect myself?
      I know I can’t change him, I did nothing wrong but I was responsible for my marriage and how I treated my husband I’ve done a lot of self development and continue to do so. I’m on my way to accepting its his problem if he doesn’t learn and grow from this but it’s the impact this will have on me can I accept I will never hear from him the why’s but I have to trust what I’ve learnt from this and other sites to be the truth.
      Last night on hug, I’m sorry, so many small things he could’ve done that would’ve made the world of difference. Nothing though and today he’s going the gym and then fucking of out to get drunk’ leaving me feeling like this and with the kids on a weekend when it should be family time.

    • Anita

      Drowning,
      It seems whats got you stirred up at the moment is your
      husband is going to the gym and possibly get drunk later,
      and your left home with the children, and its sabotaging
      family time together.
      First of all com down and relax with some breathing exercises.
      I understand what your feeling at this moment, I have
      been there and know your frustration. I know your level
      of trust in your spouse at this moment is small, and
      I understand.
      Now the best thing to do is not to over react, you can’t
      stop him from going, so don’t put yourself through that
      misery.
      Instead plan something fun for you and the children.
      and when their asleep take a nice warm bath with
      candles.
      Its seems your husband is more interested in the
      bar scene than he is with you and the children.
      You can wait for him to grow up on his own, or
      you need to take action and let him know this is
      unacceptable for him to be out without you, or at least have
      an agreement between you 2.
      Drowning, counseling would be very helpful to both of
      you at this point in time.

    • Anita

      Downing,
      It does seem your marriage could use some intervention
      right now, counseling will at least help you even if he
      doesn’t go, it would be better if both you go, but at least
      go for yourself.
      Your very right you can’t change or control your husbands
      actions, however you can control your’s.
      Your husband has a lot going on with himself right now,
      and he may not even understand himself at this point.
      Is drinking a problem for him?
      If not, why now?
      Whats his reason for wanting to get drunk tonight?
      However you also have a responability to yourself and
      your children. Leaving you and the children so he can
      go out for a good time, is not being a good husband or
      father. Unless its been agreed upon between you two,
      for him to go out with his friends for a couple hours.
      However if he’s doing this as a retaliation that is
      unacceptable behavior.
      Please do yourself a favor and get some counseling
      to at least help you cope with his behavior, and help
      you decide what to do.

    • Jewl

      Doug,

      My husband had been denying he did anything wrong. “No sex no affair” has been his attitude. I have been working with him for many months now. I am losing hope. He went through his self-evaluation and his conclusion had always been “I did nothing wrong”. He lives in a fantasy world. In his case, he should look outward and hear what everyone else is saying!

      • Lynne

        Jewl-

        Has he taken this assessment? If he were to sit and take this, and the scoring of his answers told him that he was in murky waters, would there be a greater chance he’d consider this differently? My own H scored on 4-6 checkpoints, which indicated, YOU ARE IN OVER YOUR HEAD. Sometimes they won’t listen to us because they feel we are pushing OUR definition on to them, but might look it otherwise from an objective outsider.

        SELF-TEST:
        EARLY SIGNS OF AN INAPPROPRIATE RELATIONSHIP

        When does an opposite sex friendship cross the line?

        Rather than answer all of the above questions about fair ways to define affairs, I have compiled a list of questions that tempted or involved persons can ask themselves. The purpose of these questions is to evaluate the degree to which one has wandered through the murky waters of an opposite sex friendship and reached the other side into affair territory.

        These questions are early “red flag” indicators that one is either close to crossing or has already crossed the line into an inappropriate relationship. The more “checks” the more inappropriate the relationship.

        DO YOU…

        -Act evasive when questioned about the relationship?

        -Have secret contacts with the other person that your spouse does not know about?

        -Go out of your way to be alone with person of interest? Are you lingering after work or arriving early to get some exclusive time together?

        -Talk to others about the person of interest in glowing terms?

        -Confide in each other regarding struggles in your respective marriages?

        -Feel sorry for the other person because he/she is in a hurtful or neglectful
        marriage/relationship?

        -Engage in secretive behaviors? [i.e. hiding when accepting phone calls, staying up late or getting up early so you can text or email this person, keeping secret e-mail accounts, making excuses to do errands so you can call or be with the other person, quickly exit the screen if spouse walks into room while you are emailing or instant messaging the other person]

        -Fail to pass the “well-lit-room” test? Ask yourself: How would you feel if your spouse or children listened in on your conversations? Or, had a secret camera to see what you are doing or talking about with the other person? How would you feel if your spouse unexpectedly “caught” you alone with your person of interest? [If the answer is “guilty” “nervous” “defensive” or “self-conscious,” you do not pass the test].

        -Find yourself putting up walls with your closest friends and family?
        -Subscribe to the belief that the nature of the relationship is no one else’s business,
        including your spouse?

        -Suspect others are getting that “Uh, oh” feeling that something wrong is going on, even
        if they can’t put their finger on it?

        -Find yourself overly concerned about your appearance: exercising more, losing weight,
        wearing more provocative clothing, trying to look younger?

        -Force others to ask questions very specifically about the relationship before giving them
        anything that resembles a straight answer?

        -Act sheepish when caught accepting phone calls from the other person?

        -Show high anticipation about next contact with the other person?

        -Find yourself preoccupied with the other person? Constantly analyze the meaning of
        past conversations?

        -Dig your heels in when confronted about the nature of the relationship?

        -Refuse to listen to others’ cautions or objections, about the relationship?
        Especially from your spouse?

        -Come across slippery, evasive? Try to invalidate others’ concerns?

        -Insist others show how much they know first before you admit anything?

        -Delude yourself into thinking you won’t get caught?

        -Find yourself developing paranoid habits like checking up on who is checking up on
        you?

        -Find yourself enjoying the company of the other person more than your spouse?

        -Find yourself feeling more and more disdainful toward your spouse and thinking more
        and more positively toward the other person?

        -Use the “divide and conquer” technique of trying to make sure none of the questioning
        parties (spouse, friends, relatives, coworkers) have all of the information so they remain
        in the dark, unable to piece incriminating pieces of the puzzle together?

        -Spy on others to find out what they know or are saying to others about you and your
        new relationship (spyware on computer, phone records, etc.)?

        -Parse words and terms to deflect from the true nature of what has been going on? Guilty
        people tend to hide behind technical use of words to evade the true nature of an
        improper relationship.

         Have you “only” hugged, touched or held hands, kissed other person on the cheek?

        Score:
        1 – 3 checks = the relationship is already inappropriate
        4 – 6 checks = you are in over your head
        7 or more checks = high likelihood you are in a full-blown affair or on the precipice of one

        • Sam

          I’m pretty sure that my husband fails this test. =P

          Guilty as charged.

        • Healing Mark

          Hah! Lynne, you beat me too it. My wife took a similar test, and she had 20 “yes’s”! I’ll throw out a few additional questions below that when answered “yes” are also indicative of the fact that the relationship at issue is one that is damaging to an existing marital relationship. Good news for me is that my wife finally accepted responsibility for the fact that an “inappropriate relationship” developed and that we both had to deal with all of the good (yes, she feels as though she learned a lot as a result of this relationship and that some good came out of it, not the least of which is that she and I both recognized how important being happily married is to us and we have taken steps to, notwithstanding the pain and temporary loss of trust, to now be more happily married than at any time since our first child was born) and the bad resulting from it. The bad news, perhaps, is that if my wife had insisted on maintaining a relationship with her AP that continued cross established boundaries (for example, continued discussions with the AP about aspects of our marriage) and thus continued disrespect my feelings and continued to harm our marital relationship, we would not be married today.

          One key for my wife and I was reaching an agreement that, for a marriage to survive and thrive, boundaries per the spouses respective comfort levels must exist and not be crossed. We discussed with ourselves and with our counselor the fact that we each had various “deal breakers” the existence of which would lead one or both of us to end our marriage, and we acknowledged that since we both wanted to be happily married to each other, we needed to prevent these from occurring/existing. At one point I pointed out to her that I might be happier if a couple of times each year I could have sex with another woman. However, since this was a deal breaker for her, I simply had to decide whether attaining this additional happiness was more important to me than remaining married to my wife. Conversely, since continuing an inappropriate relationship with her AP or any other person was a deal breaker for me (and for my wife too!), my wife had to decide whether continuning her relationship with her AP was more important than remaining married to me. It was not about whether her relationship was right or wrong. Whether it was right or wrong was irrelevant, and nothing about the AP or his feelings mattered either. All that mattered was my wife’s choice, and luckily for me and our children, she chose our marriage and has given up the “good feelings” she got from her EA. Not surprisingly, the harm that getting those feelings was causing has also gone away and we have gotten back to being pretty decent partners for each other!

          Again, answering “yes” to any of the following was not designed, per se, to prove that my wife’s relationship with the AP was “bad” or “wrong”, but was instead designed to establish that our mutually agreed marital boundaries were being crossed, so my wife could either continue actions/inaction leading to “yes’s” leading to a “deal breaker” for our marriage and the attendant ending of the marriage, or change her actions/inaction so that “no’s” became the honest answer to each of these question (and the questions posed in Lynne’s post).

          Have you begun to have feelings of attraction to your friend?
          Have you wondered what it would be like to kiss or make love to your friend?
          Have you and your friend admitted your attraction for each other but vowed not to act on it and certainly to not have sex with each other?
          Do you ever feel that your friend understands you better than your spouse and is easier to communicate with?
          Have yu daydreamed about your friend or felt “in love” with him or her?
          Have you wondered what it would be like to be married to your friend?
          Have you thought that yu might have ended up married to your friend had you met your friend before meeting your spouse?
          Have you thought of your friend as your “soul mate” or characterized your friend as such when talking to your friend or to other friends when talking about your friend?
          Have you felt a sense of companionship with your friend that you then find lacking with your spouse?
          Do you find yourself flirting with your friend more than you normally flirt with other friends that are of the same sex as your friend?
          When something eventful happens have you shared it with your friend before your spouse, or shared it just with your friend?
          Has something about your friendship with theis friend bothered your spouse?
          Have you accused your spouse of having an affair even though there are few, if any, signs that he/she might be having one?
          Have you caught yourself thinking or saying “but we’re just friends”?
          Have you given your friend gifts that you would not normally give to another of your friends?
          Have you gone out of your way to make a gift from you to your friend “special”?
          Have you found unusual reasons to give your friend gifts?
          When discussing the days activities, have you ever excluded mention of your friend when in fact you saw or communicated with your friend?
          Have you dressed more nicely than you normally would when there was a chance you might see your friend?
          Would you be embarrassed if your spouse knew what you were thinking about your friend or with your friend?
          Have you had crush-like thoughts like “He’d/She’d love this song” or “He’d/She’d love this video”?
          Have you sent pictures of yourself with friends to just your friend or to your friend via a separate email or text?
          Have you found yourself telling your friend more details about your day than you do to your spouse?
          Have you sent texts or emails to your friend that you later delete because you would not want your spouse seeing them?
          Have you said things to your friend or done things with your friend that you would not do in front of your spouse?
          Have you discussed thoughts you have had about your friend or your relationship with your friend with other close friends of yours?
          Have you found yourself spending less time with your spouse than you normailly do?
          When asked an question by your spouse about your friend or your relationship with your friend, especially one that can be answered with a simple “yes” or “no” (for example, “Did you talk, text or email with “X” today?), have you lied to your spouse?

          Jewl. Good luck with your efforts to communicate to your H that his friendship with this particular co-worker is harming your relationship with him. Again, it’s not whether what he is doing with her is right or wrong, or whether he should be able to have this type of friendship or whether discontinuing this friendship might or might not hurt the OW, but instead whether he wants to continue hurting you and pershaps ending the marriage that currently have. Perhaps it’s just me, but I do not tolerate friends, much less a spouse, who knowingly do or say things that they know hurt me.

      • Doug

        Jewl, I guess the good thing is that he made a commitment to you (based on what you said in your other comment),but at some point he needs to give up his denial and face the music.

      • Sam

        Hi Jewl,

        I’m 8 months post D-day and for the longest time my husband had the same attitude. “No sex, no affair.”

        It has taken me a LONG time to communicate to him that an “affair” isn’t always about sex. An affair is about betrayal, about going outside the marriage, about sharing with another woman what should only be shared with your spouse.

        On my husband’s part, he never told the AP that he loved her. In fact, in his mind, I’m sure he really thought he was doing nothing wrong as he always referred to her as a “good friend” and somoeone with whom he could “communicate freely, and easily.”

        So, in his mind, he had this good friend that would listen to him and understand him, etc. Most of the contact was done over e-mail and went on for about 2 1/2 years before she started asking to meet in person (which they did, a few times before I discovered the whole thing.)

        Anyway, my husband has finally admitted that what he did was totally wrong. He says it was a horrible thing and he wishes he could go back and erase it. It seems to me that in retrospect, he can see that his behavior was unacceptable, but at the time of his actions – for some reason or another – he was unable to see the situation for what it was. Whether he was in denial, rationalizing or justifying his behavior doesn’t matter anymore. The damage is done. It sounds to me like your husband might be in the same boat. I know you’re hurting, but maybe with time he’ll come to see things from your point of view and realize what a horrible mistake he made?

        Good luck!

      • Jackie

        Jewl,
        My H was acting exactly the same towards me. It was the worst in the first 6 months, a little better after a year. The second year was 50% better. The 3rd year about 75% better. Now I feel, when I bring it up in talks (H avoids those talks) that H is finally admitting to some possible inappropriate behaviors on his part. Note I said only “possible”. H still has trouble admitting that he had done much wrong. I still get him admitting to wrong doing…and in the next breath saying that we had drifted apart..blame again. Which I totally agree, that we had drifted apart. H still can’t seem to see his part, or lack of participation in our relationship, that has led us to this point.

        I am a firm believer that affairs are like an addiction. Some CS claim it is being “in love”, others deny that it is love…but it comes out to the same actions and feelings. That is, one of obsession with the AP, who in the CS’s eyes is perfection itself. The CS mind is so hooked on the love drug, that they can’t see rationally or think rationally. That is why they don’t seem to make sense most of the time. The CS is working from the emotional, irrational, side of the brain, rather than the thinking rational brain. Basically, the CS is not in their, “right mind”, both figuratively and literally.

        The blame, anger, and denial seem to be related with the guilt the CS feels for doing something they know deep in their core is not quite right. It seems also as a great way to deflect the anger and pain of their spouse…making the CS feel justified in what they are doing. Know it is not you that is the problem. Be confident that you are and have been doing the right things. Don’t let the CS words and actions throw you off balance. This is hard to do. But you must.

        I think the scary thing for us BS is that our CS can be so caught up in their habit that they can’t even see all the damage that they are doing…just like an alcoholic or drug addict. The fix is all they want or care about. How far will the CS go, before they come to the realization of whom they have become…how much they have destroyed or damaged?

        What can we as BS do to help our CS come around faster, get our CS out of the fear and denial cycle, put them back into their rational thinking side of the brain, with the least amount of damage to the us and our kids? Because once you enter into affairs, it becomes all about damage control for the BS…minimizing the mess created by our CS.

    • Lynne

      Jewl-

      I don’t know your situation (don’t recall reading it here), but presuming that he was at least hiding and be secretive about his friendship with the OW, that would suggest that he was feeling that he was doing something wrong, or that you wouldn’t approve of.

      What does he say was his reason, even if HE SEES IT as a non-affair, why was he hiding things? Guilt, fear, shame??? Also, if you see it as something that you were uncomfortable with, isn’t that what matters. In the end, you may not get him to agree with you, but it’s really about whether it crosses your boundaries. Sometimes people get stuck in trying to convince others of their viewpoint rather than saying, “I may not be able to get you to see this for what it means to me, but that doesn’t change whether this is something I value and hold dear”.

      Hang in there Jewl–if you’re at least having conversations about this that are productive (and non-attacking), you are making small headways.

    • Jewl

      Thanks for your replies. My first time to this board. Yes, he hid the whole thing from me. This is a woman at his work. She was fired as the company went through a series of changes. He influenced the management and brought her back. He spent the day with her having too many conversations. Told her all about our marriage problems. Went on smoke breaks with her 5 times in a day. He never smoked since we were married. He did her work and went way out of his way to please her. Called her a precious friend. Texted her while he was driving. He acted rude and daring with me. It seemed all of a sudden he had so much courage to tell me all the wrong things I did to him during our marriage. Then I discovered the OW became too special to him. All were hid from me.

      When I discovered it, things got worse. I fought me tooth and nail denying he did nothing wrong. This is a man who never fought me against anything. But he fought and protected this OW, as if protecting her were the mission of his life. I asked him to cut her off. He wouldn’t. He stil won’t. I was in a terrible shape, mentally and physically. He wouldn’t do anything to help me or heal me. His mission was not to hurt this OW. I am deeply hurt and devastated. Where is the loyalty of this man to whom I gave years of my life and dedication. Our children are hurt and he still refuses to cut off this relationship. Saying he couldn’t do anything to an innocent woman which would be unethical.

      I tried everything for a very long time. I have had enough of this. A man who would not respect me or my feelings should be left behind. He said he wanted to be with me, but his actions take exactly the opposite course. I feel angry and hurt.

    • Disappointed

      Jewl – my husband did the same thing. “She is innocent.” His only concern was protecting her. He threatened to destroy our business and said I would never see him again if I told the OW’s husband. He then moved out and told me howw much he misses her. I know how much it hurts. No explanation can make the hurt go away. What helps me most is to think of it as an addiction. Based on texting patterns and volume, I believe the OW also initiated. The only innocents are me, her husband and her two kids. Best of luck to you. This blog has been a lifeline for me I hope it helps you too.

    • Joe

      Wow, so many appropriate and enlightening comments. I am new to this blog and trying to catch up. I discovered my wife’s infidelity in October 2011. We separated December, she stays with him the nights she doesn’t have our daughter. She has alienated her entire family and friends, only responds to our child and does so admirably. She has told people that she and the OM are just friends, however I have discovered again (there have been many lies and deceits along the way) that they are still staying at his big beautiful house on her ‘off’ nights. She tries to be friendly with me but has short patience with my hurt and emotion. She constantly complains of her being confused, stressed and I can see in her behavior that she is not happy and feeling guilty. She has made comments about missing the family unit.

      OM – older, wealthy, hermit, no family, never going to be a familly man, neighbors dislike him, short tempered, egotistical, intelligent, admitted womanizer.

      CS – great upbringing, just turned 40, been known to stretch the truth, excellent mom, we were both very popular and visible in our small community.

      Me – inconsistent employment last 3 yrs, very domestic, committed, loving father, moody, other irritating behaviors.

      My questions. How does mid-life crisis fit into these affairs?
      They are now going on 5 months, 4 since exposure, shouldn’t their ‘connection’ be subsiding?
      Am I naive to believe she will still have a shock of reality, and try to come back, counsel, etc?
      I have been dealing with this on every emotional and intellectual level I can, and with all my introspect and unraveling and therapy, I still would try to make it work. We were way too good of parents and a couple to give up on 8 yrs of marriage. Even when she hurts me the most and I can’t believe the pain, I love her. I compare her to other women, and I still place her on the highest pedestal, knowing she is a cheater and liar.
      I’m looking for answers, I want hope, I’m struggling with the enevitable.

      • Doug

        Hey Joe, Sorry you’re going through this. Hopefully one day she will emerge from her craziness to realize and regret what’s she’s done. Here is a post on mid life crisis that may be helpful: http://www.emotionalaffair.org/midlife-crisis-and-infidelity/

      • helenback

        Hi Joe,

        All I can say is don’t give up hope – definitely don’t give up.
        I would have put money on my husband never backing down, admitting he made a mistake, listening to my feelings & wanting to put things right – he is a very proud, stubborn man. However, here we are, admittedly more than 2 years since D day (there have been 2 further D days since then) and I’m FINALLY seeing again the man I married. He is ‘different’ now than he’s been at any time during the last 2 and a half years – If you asked me, I couldn’t even put my finger on it, but he’s definitely different. We are working things out, slowly but surely.

        I think mid life crisis has a lot to do with affairs that occur in long term marriages (our relationship is 30 years long, married for 22 years – never put a foot wrong before this terrible time). It was as if he had a personality transplant.

        Please don’t give up hope

        • Jackie

          Helenback,

          My situation is similar to yours “married for 22 years – never put a foot wrong before this terrible time). It was as if he had a personality transplant.” You took the words right out of my mouth. Definitely a midlife crisis for my H too. He had all the signs and symptoms.

          Same problem with being proud, stubbornness and admitting anything wrong on his part. I think these traits make it take longer to come around. But now I occasionally hear comments like “possibly inappropriate relationship”. After about 3 years things are better, but still difficult to talk about marriage or our relationship. Definitely seeing signs of his old self again, interspersed with a lot of distance and moodiness.

          • helenback

            Jackie,

            Thanks for you response. Even though I’m two and a half years past D Day 1 it certainly still helps to know that others understand and share my experience. It confirms for me that I’m not crazy after all. Our CS do indeed seem very similar and I’d estimate I was at your point in the journey maybe at around Christmas time – some admissions but nothing concrete.

            Two months later my husband now admits he was wrong, never really knew her, was taken in by her, made the biggest mistake of his life (all his words, not mine) This has all just happened quickly and I’m trying so hard to take things slowly and keep him at arms length to a certain extent. This is the second time he has returned to me and I’m far to scared to rush in since his last return lasted only 10 months before he went back to her.

            He is living with a mate just now (neither of us seem brave enough just yet to suggest moving home) but he texts all the time, calls round almost every day and we talk A LOT.

            It’s difficult to say exactly what feels different this time but he is answering all my questions whenever I have them without becoming irritated or defensive. I truely believe that he hadn’t even considered that his marriage might end and when divorce was mentioned it was a bolt from the blue. Also I have always seen him on Saturdays when he came to take our son out for a couple of hours and he was aware that I was socialising with friends and often asked me where I was going, who with, who my flowers were from etc etc. He now admits that the thought of me with someone else terrified him since we’d only ever had each other since 14 yrs old. (Well how on earth does he think I felt!!!) He cries a lot now as well, saying he can’t bear to look at me knowing how he’s hurt me.

            I’m hopeful for the future but know that it’s a long long road ahead. We are both very warey but I think the fact that he no longer works with her is MASSIVE in our situation. That and the fact that she showed her true colours and ‘the bloom was off the rose’

            I sincerely hope that your situation goes the same way as mine and I whole heartedly agree that as our men are stubborn and proud (some might say arrogant) our journey is longer than others. However that isn’t to say it can’t have a great ending.

            Good luck, take care.

      • Jackie

        Joe,
        Sorry you have to join this club, but there are a lot of supportive people here, who care, want to help, and are in the similar situations.

        Although, you can’t change your wife and what she is doing, there are a lot of land mines to avoid that can make things worst, or make the situation last longer. Try hard to avoid them.

        Try your best not to blame, shame, or get angry at your wife. I know it is so easy to do, when the CS is creating this nightmare for you and your family. Instead, try to understand what she may be going through. Try to remember it is all about her, not you…so don’t take things personally. She may say a lot of bad things to you to justify what she is doing…she knows it is somehow not right, but the drugs in her brain are driving her right now.

        You must be confident enough in yourself to know, you have done your best to love, care, and understand you wife. Really work hard to come from a place of caring and understanding, even though none of this makes much sense.

        She needs to figure this out by herself. Good she feels guilty…she knows she is doing something wrong. She doesn’t want to break up the family, but she is somehow very unhappy and blames everything in her previous life for her unhappiness. Good she is not blaming or abandoning your child. She needs to come to the realization that happiness comes from within oneself.

        Reality will hit sometime. Unfortunately there is no time frame. It depends on so many things, childhood issues, fears of death, coping mechanisms, things that happen with the OM.

        I have come to look at this as a journey that we as a couple must take, because somehow our CS was not able to deal with issues as they arose throughout the years. Years of stuffing fears, emotions, and inability to talk about it, explodes into this crisis.

        It is not fair. It is very painful. It feels wrong. But it is reality for now…even if our spouse seems to not make any logical sense. Remember, they are not thinking from their logical brains right now. It is the emotional brain running amok. The logical brain needs to take control again in time. This is the confusion CS feel. It is a very internal battle.

        The hardest questions are, how long do I wait for her to come around…come to her senses? Will she want to stay? How much more of this can I take?

        Let her know you both miss her and wish for her to return home. But don’t insist. All pushing, persuading, convincing, rationalizing, will usually backfire and make her dig her heels deeper. Sympathize to her confusion. Offer love and support if needed. Think of her like a child that needs to learn to walk on their own. She must do this herself. This is really a major test of patience….when all you want to do is scream. To me it felt as if my H became that confused adolescent, with an identity crisis. He just didn’t know who he was any longer, nor did he know what he wanted. He was just following his emotions blindly.

        Do not allow her to both verbally or physically abuse you or your child. For yourself and your sanity, do things you like to do. Take care of yourself both mentally and physically. Be around people who support you, and love you.

        Good luck!

    • Joe

      Helenback, thank you for your encouragement, I wanted to hear from people that are making it work. I’m not giving up and I’m not relying on our reconciliation. I actually have moments of pride in my commitment, character and resolve. I just hope it isn’t a blind insecurity.

      Jackie, what you say is what I know to be true, just hard to pull off. It is almost like gamesmanship in determing when to say what and how. Not knowing anything about this new world, when D-day occurred I lashed out with accusations, insults, threats, (not physical, more about her reputation) and really let her know how disappointed I was. It wasn’t until I backed up a bit and researched and read that I understood the damage my reaction had done. I do know they are blinded by the drug, so all I can do is be true to myself and occassionally let her know my heart is open. I am still trying to understand the fine line of what to tell the CS. I have given her a card at V-day and other times to say I still love her. Then I hear it is best to let them think you are moving on. I just can’t seem to try to play these games with her, the moment I get her attention I open up like a bag of Jiffy Pop. Her sister, parents and a few friends have had no impact on trying to tell her the damage she is creating, so I surely will have no luck. I wish it was as easy as her stumbling onto a great blog site like this, but I realize that won’t happen either. Here I am an impatient, type A, Virgo having to sit and wait while the most beautiful, smart and grounded woman I had ever met sleeps in this vermin’s bed while I’m struggling to keep our house, care for our daughter, feed our animals. Yeah, not fair.

      I am so thankful, yet bummed, that there are so many wonderful people who comment and share on this site to help us newbies. I hope to be a help to someone in the future and maybe like so many other social illnesses, blogs like this will help reduce infractions.

      • Jackie

        Joe,
        When CS are so much in the fog, showing your love just confuses them more. It can invoke numerous negative feeling in the CS. Make them feel guilty, which makes them more angry at you. Make them think you are a mushy bothersome fool. It rarely makes them feel loving towards you. For me, it was a wasted effort, as my H couldn’t care less how I felt. All that mattered was that he felt great in her presence.

        One of the experts, Dr. Huizenga would say, to stop telling the CS that you love them during this time. It really confuses the CS more. I have to agree with it. It is better for her to think that you are moving on. It puts pressure on her, that she just might lose you. It will throw her off balance, make you unpredictable, and makes her question herself if she is doing the right thing.

        It is also amazing how CS will abandon everything they once believed in, integrity, friends, and family. Just like a drug addict does. My H basically abandoned the whole family, and occasionally lashed out on everyone including the kids. Luckily for you, your wife is still there for your child. Although, I am sure your child is also becoming confused. Mine were and still are.

    • helenback

      Joe,

      This is, without doubt, a very difficult game to play. My husband and I have two sons one of whom has autism and since his birth 16 years ago I have learned to be more patient than the average parent needs to be but believe me, I didn’t really know the meaning of the word until I started ‘playing this game’.

      All the bloggers who advise looking after yourself, getting out & about, exercising and doing things you enjoy are certainly speaking the truth.

      I genuinely believe that giving things time is the only answer for all of us. My husband’s affair was never going to end until either he or the OW decided it was over – nothing I could do was going to make a difference. However never lose sight of the fact that nobody can maintain their ‘perfect self’ forever. That is to say eventually they will see each other for what they really are, warts and all and it will be the beginning of the end.

      In my case I eventually decided that my boundary was while he had any sort of relationship with the OW I wouldn’t be married to him so I told him (and truthfully meant it) that I would file for divorce and move on with my life. I decided to exposed the affair to their work colleagues as I absolutely had nothing to lose & if I’m completely honest I wanted to shame them both. WHY NOT!. The side effect of this was that my husband resigned as the embarrassment was too much for him to bear. As it turns out his OW really didn’t know him in the slightest as she thought that he’d appreciate her opinion & advice on his resignation! Had she known him a fraction as well as I do she’d have realised that nobody on this planet tells hubby what to do. She was livid at what I’d done and his refusal to ‘behave like a couple’ with her and listen to her opinion resulted in her letting her mask slip and he saw the real her and wasn’t very impressed.

      So in fact my decision to ‘move on’ inadvertantly brought about the end of the affair purely because my husband no longer wanted her in his life. Him no longer working with her has been the BIGGEST help to our relationship recovery. She isn’t ‘in his face’ every day, talking to him, massaging his ego and to a certain extent manipulating him. It’s only been 6 weeks and the partner I’ve known since we were 14 yrs old is slowly re-emerging.

      I absolutely believe that until cheaters tire of each other, see the reality of a life together and understand what they risk losing in their marriage partner, they will continue to self-destruct. Nobody has the power to end it before the two of them are ready to do so. It takes time and time alone for this to happen.

      Just waiting and waiting is a very, very difficult thing to do. I waited more than 2 years and eventually had decided that enough was enough and my life had to go on. You clearly love your wife very much and seem prepared to wait, forgive and work on a future with her so I’d say hang in there! It’s worth it in the end. I so nearly threw in the towel but I’m so glad it didn’t happen.

      Good luck and take care!

    • Joe

      Great insight Jackie, you have definitely experienced many angles of this issue. I have no choice but to wait it out and just concentrate on being the best dad I can be and live the life I feel is appropriate, healthy and productive. She will know what I’m doing simply by the forced interaction we have with the child and our small community. If she is drawn back to the life we had, I will happily make surface adjustments to accommodate, but I won’t sacrifice the character and activities that are getting me through this unbelievable period. I know my path and lifestyle is ultimately best for my little girl, if it brings back the wife, or even attracts another partner, then that is a bonus.
      I hope your progress continues with H and the love you receive equals the love you give.

    • Joe

      Oops, I mean Helenback. I’m so confused I’m getting my blog mates mixed up. Sorry.

    • shark girl

      Hi Joe

      What everyone says is true and you’ll find this site a lifeline. only sometimes doing what you know you need to do is hard.
      My DDay was May last year only he never really gave her up, 3 months down the line I knew I couldn’t live like that and told him to go and decide what was more important me or his ‘friendship’ with her. At the time maybe he wasn’t ready to give up but also she was the only one could make him feel good about himself, and also I guess to some degree that helped justify what he was doing, at home he felt shit because he couldn’t handle the state I was in. Only he was making it work cause it was the fact I knew contact was still gong on but not what it was and that was making me worse.
      He went and I grew strong, found me again, looked deep into myself, etc… he said he wanted us to work so we started dating had an amazing night away only when he finally agreed to end it with her I saw e-mails that made me realise he couldn’t. During this time I also posted on his facebook account (after making loads of new friends) that he was a lying cheating bastard who thought it was ok to still be in contact with the bint from work he’d had an affair with, that has killed him everyone at working knowing and he can’t but for her she thought it meant she’d got him.
      It was over for me and I filed for divorce, fully prepared to go through with it, but he never signed and why because he didn’t want it.
      When we split he carried on seeing her but it wasn’t ‘fun’ anymore, she started talking and making plans for their future, calling him ‘her fella’, questioning what he was doing talking to other girls, where he’d been all day when she was waiting in for him and can you believe the desperate cow even questioned what she’d done wrong and said she’d change for him. Reality set in, luckily for him I’d not moved on enough to say no to a last chance and truth I still loved him, wanted him.
      We’ve been back together 4months, and it’s good sometimes I question if it’s right and that seems to be my down days and they seem to be fast and furious at the moment, think thats a lot to do with the time of year, anniversaries, but we are creating memories so this time next year I’ll have them memories to look back.
      I’m still waiting for him to deal with things, and how long that’ll take I don’t know. It’s something I have no control over, I know that, I have to accept it. Sad things is I truly believe I know more of what’s going on in his head than he realise or knows himself, yet till he realise or wants that help nothing I can do hopefully again when he’s ready he’ll come to that on his own accord and if he want’s it I’m there for him 110%.
      All any of us can do is carry on living life, and if our spouses decided to come and join us on that life then great but if not we are better placed to survive for the work we do on ourselves. I love my husband so much it hurts, but I also know I don’t need him I can live life without him, sometimes I think its easier without him, but I want him in my life and it appears he now realises he wants me in his so hopefully we can be a success story. I never gave up hope but I accepted I couldn’t do anymore, I couldn’t stop the contact and I couldn’t live with it either and I realised I loved him enough to let him go so that’s what I did and most importantly I was comfortable and ready to do that.

    • Joe

      Good for you SG, I hope it is a success story. I don’t know why he would ever cheat on a someone named Shark Girl, that alone would scare me.

      ‘Friendship’ is funny word the infidels use. My W has told some friends and her sister that they are just friends. Friends that live 3 blocks apart and still have sleepovers? Whatever. She has also said to me on a couple occasions that I don’t understand their relationship. I am curious about their sex life, that is probably not a healthy concern, but it doesn’t sound like the passion fruit they initially bit into.

      One way I am trying to look at everything is that she is so confused right now that it is like being underwater and out of breath. She is struggling, panicking and trying to surface. I actually do believe that there will be a reality day (R-day) and that will be like her reaching the oxygen. As she grasps around on the surface looking for a hand, I want to be the guy in an oxford shirt, sitting in a wooden dingy extending my hand. No questions, no judgement, no illicit affairs during my free time, just a caring hand that says, “I have been sitting in the boat patiently awaiting your ascention from the bottom of the lake.”

      In reality, my sharp tongue will make a remark about the sucker fish carp she was with down there and piss her off. I haven’t read a lot of the posts, but there doesn’t seem to be a lot of OW,OM bashing. I could fill a data center. Maybe a testament to my early stage of dealing with this.

      • helenback

        Joe,

        Don’t kid yourself that you’re the only one OM bashing. I’ve done sooooo much of that in the past – think I just got bored of it in the end. You seem to be doing really well considering that D Day was so recent. I was a mess back then, not sleeping, couldn’t concentrate, lost about 10kg (still don’t weigh much more than 50kg even 2 years later, but I’m working on that) My children, family, friends and job kept me sane. Don’t expect too much of yoursef just now. Be kind to you! Easier said than done I know.

        I used to also wonder quite a lot how my H was feeling – Was he confused, scared, panicing etc. From what he is saying now about how he felt back then, he was extremely confused and didn’t really have a plan from one day to the next. He seems to be genuinely unable to remember details of events and claims to have spent a lot of his time sitting alone in his car thinking about me & our boys. This could of course all be more lies but I thought I’d let you know what he’s saying as there isn’t much input on this site from CS themselves. All we have is information from BS moving forward.

        I think there is always a chance that when the fog clears CS will seek familiarity and security so if your desire is to save your marriage then I think your comment below is spot on.

        No questions, no judgement, no illicit affairs during my free time, just a caring hand that says, “I have been sitting in the boat patiently awaiting your ascention from the bottom of the lake.”

        Just keep doing what you’re doing. It’ll take time but what else have we got? Take care.

    • Chris

      I have been with my wife for 12 years (married 2 1/2) and am guilty of having an EA for approx. a month and a half. I do not blame my wife for any of this, it is my fault and mine alone. I am looking into counseling for us so that we can work through this. As I read this blog/comments sobbing like a child, I know that I need to look inside myself for those answers of why… It is not an easy thing to do but it is something that I must do. I have had no contact with the OW since my wife discovered the texts, and there will be no contact in the future. I know what I have done is wrong and all the hurt that I’ve caused and there is no way in hell I am going to let that happen again. After reading these comments and knowing that it is going to take a lot of time and work, I am ready to do anything that it takes to make this work. I have done such a terrible thing and can only hope that with time and healing we can be at a place of peace and understanding. I look forward to using this site as a tool to help that process. I thank my wife for showing me this. And to my wife- I love you so very much and that will never ever change…

      • Sidney

        Chris,
        Glad you are here (not glad you are here because you are hurting, but glad you are here to heal). This web site is a powerful tool for the CS as well as the BS…so read all you can so you can see what your wife might be feeling. I think it’s wonderful that the two of you are both reading…..

        Good luck to you both!

    • shark girl

      Joe,

      Lol on the sharkgirl tag.

      Sadly all we can do is wait, I wasn’t strong enough to wait around living my life with him when he was still sending stupid amounts of texts to her each day, I even found out he went to see her, all this was killing me more than what happened so he had to go. Fortunatley for me it’s worked out.
      I think he always wanted me, he never actually left me and if it was the great love affair it was said to be, he had his chance to leave for god sake he’d moved out we’d separated and he had divorce papers. Actually in the end he left her for me, kind of.
      He was just digging himself deeper and deeper in this hole and I see it as an addiction to the way she made him feel and then when it came out he could carry on getting that feeling or deal with the consequences and his guilt, and I think it was that he couldn’t handle. Same as now I think a large part of him not dealing with it is him facing up to who is, and he’s not ready for that.
      Her well I can’t say on here what I’d like to do to her, yes he’s to blame too, but what kind of woman goes all out for a married man with kids. She wanted him, the whole package ‘my’ kids n all, I’ve never had such dark thoughts. I still need to forgive her, but for me not her she doesn’t give a toss. Right now I have revenge ideas I could carry out and in the early days if it wasn’t for my kids I think I would’ve done something. I also believe in Karma though so what goes around comes around, and one day she’ll get hers, in the meantime part of me wants to bump into her while we are out loved up and happy another part of me is dreading that day.

    • Joe

      I need some opinions. I just had lunch with my W (she is CS) at our house. It was set up as a time to catch up, I was concerned that meant she wanted to discuss divorce agreement, but she came with no agenda.

      It was a nice visit, even when it turned toward us. She stated she has had some relief since moving out from the pressures of living with me. I finally opened up a little about what I have come to know about this entire affair process and said that I believed she is still sleeping with OM. ( I actually know this to be true, but dont’ want her to know that I checked up on her) She didn’t deny it anyway. So, they are 5mos into this affair, 4 mos since D-Day and 3 mos freedom of her not living here. They don’t seem to be coming to the reality I had hoped which is that they don’t work, he is an a-hole and this life she has chosen is destructive. I think she is still enjoying the freedom of half custody of our child, the nice things he can buy her and their sexual encounters.
      I find it a good sign that they are still trying to figure this out on their own, it gives me hope that when it is over she will have realization and come back to me. But, I am a little concerned that it is still happening for them. Should I be?
      I really appreciate anyone’s insight on what she may be experiencing. Is there still hope for a R-Day? Could they have something real? How can she be so cool and calm when I know things are very confusing for her?
      Are there any CS wives on this blog that may have some insight ?
      Thank you.

    • helenback

      Joe,

      This is probably hard for you to hear right now and it’s only my opinion but it could be that at 5 mths since D Day you are not very far into this horrible journey at all. There could be a long way to go and your wife and her OM quite possibly haven’t revealed their true selves to each other yet – especially if they are not living together full time as a couple. Maintaining the fantasy is likely to still be easy for them. My OH and his OW never lived together during the entire affiar so maintaing the fantasy was easier for them and probably prolonged the relationship. I believe if they’d ever been together for real it would’ve ended sooner than it did.

      My OH and I are just a couple of months into reconnecting and he is talking to me A LOT now, in a way he has not done for the last 3 years. (D Day 1 was two and a half years ago) The affair only ended when they were done with it (I honestly believe that it is now over for good between them) When I asked him why it ended his answer was along the lines that he saw her for what she really was. They had known each so long that keeping their ‘perfect masks’ in place was too difficult. In essence they started to throw the little tantrums that are part of ‘real life’ in front of each other and didn’t seem that impressed after all. This is what he is telling me and I can only pass this on to you as first hand input from CS is very limited on this site.

      I know very well that playing the waiting game is soul destroying, takes away your sanity and fills your every waking moment. There is no easy answer to this and no way to hurry it along, they will take as long as they take to tire of each other and their little make believe life.

      You seem to be doing very very well under the circumstances, far better than I did early on. I understand that how you feel on the inside is not the person you show to the world but you are stronger than even you give yourself credit for. Believe in yourself and don’t give up on your wife. My OH is the stereotypical man who doesn’t own up, back down, show weakness etc – well now he’s doing all of those things in his words because he ‘doesn’t want to lose the person he’s loved since he was 14 yrs old, his lover and best friend’ I never thought I’d see the day………..

      When I ask why it happened he tries very hard to explain. Our elder son was leaving home for University and hubby hadn’t had that opportunity. He’s always worked full time and I only worked part time, he’d never had that opportunity. I usually choose where we went, what we bought for the house etc, he felt he wasn’t having an input and a thousand other small, seemingly insignificant things, but the cumulative effect eventually felt crushing to him and he wanted out. Some might call that classic midlife crisis. The OW wasn’t the love of his life and quite probably could’ve been anyone in the right place at the right time massaging his ego and appearing to be fun and stress free, that is until she showed that she was human after all and not half the woman he already had.

      Hang in there Joe but prepare for the long haul!

    • Joe

      Thanks Helen.
      You aren’t kidding about the destruction of the waiting game. It kills me. But also, I’m not quite sure what I am waiting for. Prior to my ‘study’ of the emotional affair, this blog site most valuable, the idea of taking her back was nonexistent. I was committed to having absolutely no contact with someone with such disdain for common morals, that would jeopardize the well being of her daughter, that would tell lie after lie and, the most obvious, that would have relations with another man while still sleeping in my bed. Even typing that out makes me wonder why I would ever consider taking her back. Many in my support group are aghast that I would consider reconciliation.
      However, my information is telling me that I shouldn’t condemn her for her actions while on this ‘drug’. She will have to own her actions and she will have to have complete remorse and contrition for those actions, but they seem forgivable under the justifciations presented as potential states of mind.

      That knowledge has provided me hope, but if she never does come around, then I am left with hopes for a person with the character of harbor rat. The waiting game isn’t so much til the time I get her back, though I do miss her greatly, but more about waiting to see who I was really married to – a good person that hit a bad patch, or a morally bankrupt individual that was hiding her corrupted mind.

      Could she really have built up such a wall over the years that she doesn’t even see what she is losing, the people she is affecting, the impact she is leaving? I really don’t believe they have look far enough into the future. He is enjoying a sexy, younger, goregous woman; she is enjoying a rich, retired, player that doesn’t like children. Heck, I could see that going on for many months, what a great deal. When she came home to me she had to help with the kid, listen to my day, figure out schedules and deal with finances. Now she goes home, is handed a glass of Cab, sits in the hot tub, has uninterrupted discussions, goes to sleep in a bed with full views of SF. Hell, I would sleep with the guy.

      Do I really want to be with someone that would find that more appealing than snuggling with a 7yr old and her dad? She either has to come out of this ‘illness’ soon, or I have to write her off as a very, very bad decision.

      Helen, thank you for your encouragement and support. You are a good woman. (at least I hope you are a female). 🙂

      • helenback

        Hi Joe,

        Good to hear from you and yes you presumed right I am female and called Helen (the fact that the name helenback is so apt is just a happy accident – or should that be unhappy accident LOL)

        In response to your comment – ‘the waiting game isn’t so much til the time I get her back, though I do miss her greatly, but more about waiting to see who I was really married to’ – In my experience my OH is now once again behaving like the man I married 22 years ago and with the benefit of hindsight I’d say that our partners have not pretended to be someone else for the duration of our relationships. The person we see for the relatively short ‘snapshot in time’ of the affair is not the ‘real’ person. We do know the ‘real’ person, they’ve just been temporarily replaced. Nobody could keep up a pretence day in day out year after year after year, it’s just not possible. Eventually they will wake up from the ‘drug’. Your wife is still deep deep down the person who ‘snuggles with a 7yr old and her dad’. The only real question is whether you will still be waiting when her real self re-emerges.

        Incidently for exactly the same reason, that pretending to be someone you’re not can not be sustained longterm, all fantasy affairs end eventually.

        You’re right that your wife will in the end have to own her actions and show remorse. That is exactly what my OH is doing right now and it’s very painful for him and very painful for me to watch but it is happening. I honestly thought my husband was the one who’d stand out from all other CS on this site and never come back. ie, not the type to look inside himself and figure it all out but he’s proving me wrong. Don’t write your wife off just yet.

        Look after yourself and your lovely daughter, she’ll be needing you more than ever.

    • Jackie

      Joe,

      “Hell, I would sleep with the guy.” Glad you still have your sense of humor. We all need it during these times.

      “Do I really want to be with someone that would find that more appealing than snuggling with a 7yr old and her dad? She either has to come out of this ‘illness’ soon, or I have to write her off as a very, very bad decision.”

      No one can tell you what is right for you. The waiting game is a tough one, especially when the CS seems to have a complete character change, completely ignores the BS, and just isn’t acting like the person you have known for so many years.

      A lot has to do with how much nonsense is being thrown at you, and how much you are willing to put up with…How it affects you and your child and your mental health. Only you know how much of this you can or are willing to put up with.

      Some people file for divorce, and then the CS is shaken enough to come around. Sometimes it doesn’t happen. You must do what you must for you and your child. You can’t expect your CS to make rational decisions at this point.

      The scary part for all of us is, will the CS come out of the fog, and if so, when? Then do we feel safe enough to trust that they will not do this again. Unfortunately, no one can predict this….so much depends on what the CS decides to do and how they view the situation.

      It would be easy to wait if you knew for certain your CS will eventually come around, but how long do you have to wait?
      I read the “in love” feeling can last anywhere from 6 months to 4 years, and that is when you are with them continuously. Most fizzle within 2 years. I don’t know how true this is. I just read it in a few places.

      When things get really bad, like they are for you, often the recommendation from many experts, is to wait for one year. Then at that point, re-evaluate the situation. Don’t do anything sudden or rash…anything you will regret in the future.

      No matter what your CS is doing, don’t just wait. During this time, do things for yourself, connect with positive supportive people in your life. Involve yourself in things you love to do. Make sure your daughter has equal time with her mom. During those times, treat yourself special and do what you enjoy most. Read or do things that help you feel good about yourself. Be the best person you can be. We have all made mistakes in our marriages and our lives. Learn from them, improve yourself, and grow from the experience.

    • Notoverit

      Joe, Jackie’s last paragraph is perfect. Listen to that. I never had to deal with my H leaving me for the OW. When he got caught, it was over. However, I went through the mess of wondering if the marriage was over. How could my H be in love with someone else? What about me? That hurt quite a lot. I don’t know how you are dealing with it.

      Now, totally as an outsider, I think you might be right – harbor rat or as we say here in the South a wharf rat. She is getting all the good things out of both relationships. I can’t tell you what to do but I, being a pretty cut-and-dried person, would tell her to leave me alone and limit the contact to only those things that had to do with your daughter. I would not give her any hope that I was still sitting in the wings waiting for her to wake up. Until she is ready to wake up, she simply won’t. Surround yourself with support, ignore her and certainly do things for yourself. I know you still love her but you know sometimes that makes them feel contempt for you. Don’t give her that ability. The “backing off” works. Simply cut the personal contact and let her realize you are moving on, with or without her. Whew, am I going to get in trouble for this? Probably, but she sounds like she needs to get off the fence.

    • Joe

      Thank you all for your comments, I agree that I need to back off, go forward and take care of me.
      I spent this past weekend with her family, sans her, for my daughter’s sake. It was very nice and I realized my W hasn’t just separated from me, but from everyone. She is estranged from family and friends. This demonstrates that it isn’t me that she is running from and that the affair is the issue.
      I have some good things in my life to concentrate on over the next couple weeks and can ‘ignore’ her for a while, will see how that goes.

    • Sad

      Doug,

      I am struggling today, and have a very heavy heart. My husband had a PA, and I found out about it and that is why it ended. He said it would’ve ended anyway, as the OW was getting ready to go work for another company (in the same town), but that he wouldn’t have continued. Today I am really struggling with WHY he stayed with me through it all. Why did he stay after I found out and told him to leave? He says that he loved me the entire time, that he has always loved me, but that he didn’t feel that I loved him, so didn’t feel committed when he had the affair. So today I am sad and struggling with WHY he is really here with me still. It has been 9 mos since I found out, and we have been through hell, and he has shown remorse. How was it for you that you knew that you REALLY loved Linda again after all of your mess? Did you decide to work on the marriage and the love came back over time, or did you REALLY love her before you made the decision? I just feel like I am second best here, which is unfair since he married ME! My feelings for him have changed in that I don’t trust his love, and loving him makes me sad…. I DO love him, which is the only reason I am still around. How do you go from being with Tanya to being back in LOVE with your wife after cheating? I guess I just need the CS perspective from someone who will be honest that has no reason to lie…. Thanks!

      • Doug

        Sad, My heart goes out to you. Being able to look back at things I came to realize that during the EA I still loved Linda but I felt that she didn’t love me, and I was too stupid and cowardly to do anything about it. Much like your husband it seems. I felt that I wasn’t “in love with her” but that was really fueled more by the dynamics of the affair itself, ie. the infatuation that was building at the time for Tanya. So, when the affair ended, I think the foundation of love for Linda was still there and then the “in love” feelings came back over a period of time. Now they are at an all time high.

        Your husband could still be there with you for a number of reasons but I suspect it’s because he does still love you and he probably never had any intentions of leaving in the first place. He was having his cake and eating it too but he got caught and he realized what he stood to lose and therefore ended things with the OW. If I’m off base, perhaps at some point (if he hasn’t already) he will look within and figure it out for himself and be able to communicate it to you.

        The concept of being considered second choice is a common one and is a tough one to get over. I can’t remember who said it, I think Dr. Willard Harley, but try not to get too caught up in the “why he stayed” question. He says it doesn’t matter why. The fact is that he did and now the important work of redefining and rebuilding the marriage and the passion are of primary importance. If you can do that then the true love will come back and it will be a love you can trust. You may not agree with Harley’s way of thinking at the moment but you might want to consider it.

        I hope that helps. Stay strong!

    • shark girl

      Sad…my heart goes out to you as you are where I’ve been and on the odd occasion I let myself go back there. You’re actually getting a hell of a lot more than I did or have with the I love yous and the remorse. I think you sum it up that I too don’t trust his love, I had him about it one day all I wanted was a clear I’m back here because of you, how I feel about you, what you mean to me, etc… He keeps saying he wouldn’t be here if he didn’t want to, and I know he wouldn’t. I tried to turn it get him to say why he felt loved so we could then explore why I didn’t he said he didn’t know if I did love him, my response of course I do I wouldn’t be here else fighting for it would I – EXACTLY, he had me didn’t me. Though I did add the things I think I do to make him feel loved, I don’t get it off him and right now need that reassurance, if only he could see.
      I’m trying to live by what I know, which is he does love me, he never had any intention of leaving me (actions speak louder then words). I’m pouring too much negative energy into thinking about if this will work rather than getting on with and seeing if it will. Its a new relationship, treat it as such, fall in love again. If they don’t work out we are stronger people for what we’ve been through and we will have the courage to leave, move on and be happy. Whilst we are focusing our energies on the negative we aren’t giving things the proper chance they deserve, and I know it’s hard knowing what you have to do and then actually doing it but that’s the only way. If you want to chat let me know.

    • Sad

      Doug and Shark Girl,

      Thank you so much for your support. This is SOOOOO hard, and I can honestly say that it is the worst thing I have ever had to go through in my life. I guess I never thought he would really leave, or he would’ve. He made the money, and I stayed home with the kids, so he had the means to go… and he said he knew things would never go anywhere with the OW because he was “smart enough to know that a relationship built on lies would never work”, though he does at least admit to thinking about leaving. I just honestly never thought that HE could do something like this – a cliche, I know, but…. I just felt I was so careful in picking my life partner… I guess you are both right that I need to focus on the here and now and be positive, it is just really hard some days…. Thank you again!

    • shark girl

      I know it’s hard, I wouldn’t wish it on anyway other then the OW when she finds some sucker to settle down with LOL. I know this was never about him leaving me, it was about him and still is cause in some ways he’s not as far forward as your OH is. Mine too could’ve left, several times, and even had the divorce papers but it was never what he wanted and I truly believe he dug himself in a hole he couldn’t get out of and taking my hand meant admitting what an idiot he was getting trapped amongst other things.
      Now for me is good it really is, and when it’s bad it’s cause I let my mind wander questioning everything, tying myself up in knots, all the ifs and buts, etc… that will destroy me and us if I let it. So be strong and see how it goes, it’s not easy but sounds like me you think it’s worth it. We are all always here for support.

      • Jackie

        Shark girl,
        “and when it’s bad it’s cause I let my mind wander questioning everything, tying myself up in knots, all the ifs and buts, etc… that will destroy me and us if I let it. ”

        I totally agree with you with you on this line. After 3 years this is the battle I face constantly…but what I believe can help us heal vs. destroy us both. That is, trying to keep in the present, and not dwelling on the past, especially when things are much better.

        I also agree that it is much harder if your H won’t talk about what happened to you both as a couple, before the affair, during, and after. It is that inability to talk about both H and wife’s issues during all those times. I don’t need to talk about the OP or what happened any longer, but just about us as a couple, and what happened to us to lead us to this crisis in our lives.

    • Chris

      Well my wife and I are going in for our 4th therapy session and things are slowly getting better. I’m still having a hard time opening up about my feelings and communicating, but upon suggestion of our therapist I am also going to be seeing someone on my own to get help with that stuff. Had a rough night on Sat., we both had a little too much to drink (St. Patty’s) and it turned into a huge fight. Neither of us have ever acted this way before. A lot of yelling, screaming and swearing! It was terrible! After a nights sleep and some thought I realized it was my fault and we talked about it. We now have some rules about when we decide to have drinks. And if we argue and are able to resolve it, instead of just silence we high-five! Still a lot of work to do. It’s hard to convince her why I did this. It’s almost as if she wants me to tell her that I fell in love and have romantic feelings or even slept with this other woman. None of which is true but it seems like she wants me to say that to get some kind of closure. I haven’t brought it up yet but I plan on it. Looking inside myself for answers and trying to build my self esteem back up is extremely difficult but it needs to be done. And I have to remember that no matter how much it hurts me to go through this and how badly I feel, I can never put my feelings before hers after what I’ve done. Been reading a lot of good stuff on here, very inspiring!

      • Greg

        Chris,
        I can only comment on my case but I kept trying to get my wife to say those things as well. It wasn’t due to wanting closure but due to the fact that I didn’t think she was telling me the complete truth and that there was more that had happened than what I was being told. We just had our first joint therapy session yesterday and even her just recounting the events and timeline of the affair gave me an anxiety attack later that day. Being able to talk to her after I got home from work calmed me down but I got a nice case of nerves for a few hours from it. It’s only been recently that I am able to believe that my wife has actually told me everything about the affair and even with my brain on board my emotions are still a little lagging. I would try sitting down and asking her if she truthfully believes that you have told her everything. Don’t get mad if she says no, it’s how she feels right now and there is nothing you can do about it. When I told my wife that I didn’t completely believe her she didn’t try to convince me but had tyo accept that I didn’t trust her and it would be a long time, if ever, if I did. Interestly enough her saying that actually helped me trust her better than her trying o convince me ever could have t that point.
        As for communicating with her, if you feel unomfotable telling her verbally write it down. For those who have a hard time verbalizing how they feel, myself included, it is sometimes much easier to write it out. This also lets your partner read it in bits at their own pace and comfort level so that they can take it in in a more non-confrontational setting, ie, the lying face of all their painful memories is not in front of them.

    • downbutnotout

      First time commenting and new to the website. I have been married to my CS for almost 18 years and I am 4 months from D-Day number 2. (The other EA was over 5 years ago) My worst fear is that my H doesn’t have what it takes to be introspective- honest and truthful as to what it is about him that makes it so easy to go outside the boundaries of our marriage and betray me. In the last few months he cut off all personal ties he had with the OW, (they worked together and he was her immediate supervisor). She is a seasonal worker and left a month after I found out. She’s out of the picture for now. My CS has shown remorse, has said he will do whatever it takes to save our marriage, has been open to talking about whatever I want, but let’s be frank, I have heard it all before. To be fair, he gets it this time I think, that this is it for me. I just won’t be disrespected and betrayed ever again and I will do whatever it takes to protect myself from such selfish behaviour. I feel guilt and shame for being with him. I struggle to show my love, thinking he just doesn’t deserve it. I try hard not to let his actions define my ability to be who I am – someone who is loving and caring by nature but can be ‘critical’ of his behaviour when I don’t understand it. I love him but it’s just so very hard to filter past the lies, deception and betrayal. A quote keeps haunting me – ‘ You can never make the same mistake twice because the second time around, it’s a choice’.
      I fear his ability to not truly understand the motivation for his behaviour will be the demise of our marriage. He told me it was just texting and there was nothing to the relationship aside from common interests and friendship. I know better because I called the OW almost the moment I found the texts, have access to his emails and phone records.
      The content of the texts were totally inappropriate and crossed the line of our marriage in so many ways. I I have pushed and pushed to have a picture of what took place over the 2 month EA. He’s hardly offered any clarity of all. I can’t get over that over the 20 years we’ve been together he has not once come to be and been honest about his actions, I have always found out about them. He acknowledges that the EA would have continued on had I not found out and that just makes me so angry. I keep asking why he didn’t just leave me if he had reached a point where he didn’t see’ the worth in our marriage. ‘ I can’t fathom the whole ‘getting his cake and eating it too’ mentality. The selfishness is beyond my comprehension! Being committed and faithful to him hasn’t paid too many dividends it seems.
      I get that he has to work towards introspection on his own, that I can’t direct him – a behaviour I am working on. Does anyone have any suggestions on what I can do to support him looking at himself and the behaviours he has shown that has allowed these OW into our lives? Any comments would be greatly appreciated.

      • Linda

        downbutnotout, You are correct when you said that you can not make him look within himself, just as I could not make Doug either. It was a long process that Doug had to figure out on his own. What I did, which mainly was unintentional, I began working on myself. I went to therapy, I discovered a lot about myself and actually began to believe that I was worthy of love. I set boundaries in my relationship with Doug and continued to move forward in my life and in our marriage.

        Doug had a choice, he could either stay emotionally where he was or begin figuring out some things about himself and why he was vulnerable to an affair. As I have said many times this was not an easy task. It took time and patience. I do not think our marriage would have survived if Doug would not have done this. For one, I was not able to heal until he stopped using justifications and downplay his actions, and I could not commit to our marriage until he “grew up”

        Until you believe that you are worthy of more than what he is giving you he will continue to act the same. You need to show him that you deserve better. For me is was very difficult because I wasn’t accustom to voicing my needs or believing I deserved better. you can’t control his behavior but you can influence him to improve by being a good example and showing him what it means to be a confident woman. He will follow you lead just give it some time and effort.

        • downbutnotout

          Thanks Linda – some very practical advice and something to work towards.

        • Believe

          Hi Linda

          Thank you for this good advice. I’ve sent my wife so many articles to “help her” but it’s clear i cannot force her. I have been a controlling a lot of her life so maybe this is her way of saying no more. However, i am constantly choosing to let go of my controlling ways and it’s such a relief. I am mindful these days of my thoughts, words, feelings, etc as they can lead to actions that may not be the best for our relationship. When my old controlling ways come back i reflect on it and go back to her the next day and admit when i was wrong. I can see she really appreciates me taking into account how my actions affects her feelings.

    • Amy

      Dear Linda and Doug,

      Firstly let me thank you for all the great work you both are doing through this website. My husband cheated on me twice. Second time was physical affair with a co- worker. When I found out the second time, I asked him to leave but he didnt as he wanted to work on the marriage. The affair went on for an year or more after my discovery and I was in pathetic state( he lied and denied through out). I could not leave him because of our children. Long story short I gave him many chances but he falls short on my expectation and does not want to truely make an effort to help me with my healing.

      In a very clear discussion he said that I am part of his life but not his whole life and he has expectations beyond us. He is very clear that what he did was wrong but cannot keep discussing this as its a constant reminder to him.

      He told me that he knows I need my time for healing and tries to do most of what is required but cannot do everything.

      Otherday I casually asked for his office laptop password for which he got very upset and expressed that this has to stop. Although I had access to that but he changed his password.

      It triggered back all the hurt and anger in me that I almost walked out. My question is if this is his reponse and attitude after what and how much we had to go through especially me, do people like him ever look inward or introspect?

      I really need your help. His last contact with the OW was 7 months back as per his confession.

      • Doug

        Hi Amy, Tough situation indeed. First of all, he is taking the standard position that most cheaters take and that is “You need to move on.” Perhaps he hasn’t said that in those exact words but that is what he means when he says he doesn’t want to talk about it and that it’s a constant reminder. To that I say, “tough s**t” He made his bed, so now he must face the music. You need more than just time to heal in my opinion, you need help – from him. Of course, I think you know that.

        To answer your question…If his attitude continues, it may be the case that he never makes the effort to look within and figure out why he did what he did, etc. You certainly can’t make him do it. He needs to do this on his own. Often I’ve seen that it may take something to motivate a person to do so. Your husband may be motivated in many different ways. Ways that certainly you may know much better than I since you know what makes him tick. For me it was realizing what all I had to lose and my desire to help Linda heal. Your husband may require something more or less and perhaps he needs to really hit rock bottom before he feels he must make the effort.

    • Falling Ash

      Finally, after 20 months post DDay, my OH is seeing an individual counsellor to try to fix what is broken in him. Maybe I need IC too because in many respects I am getting worse, not better. I struggle to see a happy future for us. Maybe I am just back in my pit today and will feel better tomorrow. I do hope so. Maybe it is the impending Christmas holiday. I used to love Christmas and everything about it. Since DDay it is a trigger as I have seen the phone bills showing how when I was lovingly cooking OUR Christmas dinner in 2013, he was texting both his OW and the woman at work he was starting down that same slope with. I can only hope his new level of introspection via counselling will do what I have failed to do since DDay and make him a better person. A girl can dream, can’t she?

      • TheFirstWife

        Falling Ash. Like you my Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays were ruined 2 yrs ago with my H’s affair. While it was over on 12/2/13 for good the hurt and pain are triggered every year. Our 25th wedding anniversary is the biggest hurt. He planned this very romantic evening for us but was still in love and in contact with the OW.

        So I understand how you feel. I have gotten past most of it. I look at those months as his issue. His problems. His poor choices. His mistakes. I have tried to move on.

        My H continues to try and work on things. But he refuses counseling or therapy. He only wants to go when he thinks I might leave him. But then doesn’t go. So be glad your H is going for counseling and willing to try and do the hard work. It may pay off in the end for both of you. That is a huge commitment on his part.

        Try and celebrate the good instead of focusing on the past mistakes. That could make it a better holiday for you. Though I do know exactly how you feel. My H sat in front of me while I was putting away groceries and sent his OW a very romantic and personalized card. In front of my face and then lied about it 3 weeks later when I found out.

        His issue not mine.

    • Falling Ash

      TFW – I completely relate. OH laid beside me in our bed texting a flirty arrangement to meet with his OW…the conversation I found on DDay 2 (18 days after DDay 1). At the time that I thought we were both working really hard at rebuilding our relationship after DDay 1, he was up to his old tricks and getting his “fix”. That ultimate betrayal still cuts me to the quick.

      I am grateful he is going to counselling though. It does show willingness on his part to truly work at”us” at last.

      Still, I have to admit that I am dreading Christmas as we are alone again for it for the first time since DDay. I just hope I get through it without a meltdown.

      • TheFirstWife

        Yes I understand where you are.

        For me the affair is one aspect. I think what I struggle with is that he planned to leave me (for her) twice. Two years ago we went for joint counseling session and he sat there and told thetapist he really wanted our marriage. 2 days later he walked in the door from Starbucks and wanted a divorce. Told our therapist the same thing a few hours later.

        Would not give a reason. Would not talk about it with anyone. Just wanted a divorce.

        So that is why I have lingering doubts. That nite I called OW and she told me everything. They were still together blah blah blah. This is why I have lingering issues. I felt I was doing better last year. Not sure why. Nothing has changed except my doubts are still lingering. Cannot shake them.

        • Strengthrequired

          Tfw, doubts still lingering here too. My ch texted me that he chose the ow, as he had found the person he wants to be with. Next thing he was back home a few days later. However while he would tell me he wanted me and our marriage, he still snuck around with the ow for another year after that. Several days in between, several I’m sorries, that he would no longer see her, nolonger contact her. Blah blah blah.
          So doubts still linger here, because after all of those days and fake attempts at giving our marriage it all, he just didn’t. He preferred to lie, protect himself and the ow, than to protect his marriage, to protect me and our children.
          You don’t forget, that doubt is so hard to get rid of.
          Has anyone noticed that Christmas seems to be a popular time for these affairs. That’s when my husbands started. Definately ruins the time of year, even anniversaries and Valentine’s Day, just seem like another day, nothing so specially anymore. Just ruined.

          • TheFirstWife

            Amen!

            Hard to know we were not first (gor however long it lasted).

            Hard to read emails where your H is planning to leave you and has told the OW his plans but not you (his wife). Hard to know the guy you have loved for so long is just a lying cheating jerk – just like so many other guys.

            It is just hard some days. Wish I was doing better.

            • Strengthrequired

              Tfw, if there is anything you can take from this, is you are not alone. So many of us are feeling the same.

    • Falling Ash

      I too feel I was actually doing much better this time last year. I think that is because I thought we were living a life of openness and transparency at that time. We were 8 months post DDay 2 and I thought we were healing together. This year I have found him out in two major lying incidents in April and again last month which has destroyed my fledgling trust each time. In some ways it is no longer about the affair as such, more about lying and hiding behaviours… which I will not tolerate in our relationship going forward. It is up to him to fix himself or leave. I am done trying to heal both of us, Just going to work on me from now on. Well that is how I feel today anyway. Tomorrow may be different. I am fed up with this emotional roller coaster. Can I get off now please?

    • Strengthrequired

      Tfw, I think we are all lining up to get off this roller coaster ride.

      • TheFirstWife

        Yes but I cannot figure out why 2 years later I feel so sad and struggling with it all. I was doing so much better 6 months ago. Now I just feel sad and lethargic about it all.

        Nothing has changed. My H is still doing a great job and supporting me.

        I just feel so shattered by the whole affair and it all.

        It seems to consume more of my time and thoughts than I would like. Not sure why.

    • antiskank

      Is it just the time of year that has us all feeling sad and low?

      In November last year I was getting excited about Christmas, At that time, it was two and a half years post the first D-Day. I was feeling mostly pretty good. I had been trying very hard to forgive and move on with life. My H had declared he wanted to be with me after some really nasty lies and declarations of love for his skank. Now he was so over her and couldn’t understand what he had ever seen in her, blah, blah, blah. We had been doing many fun things together and in my addled mind, we were creating new and wonderful memories, rebuilding our relationship.

      I knew I was dealing with it all in a better way but something was missing. Although he frequently declared his love for me and was more attentive, he just didn’t seem to be putting in much effort and we never talked about “us” or “them”. When I asked him why, that was when he chose to tell me that he was still fantasizing about her, wanting her. He didn’t actually have any feelings for me as he still had those feelings for her. He had done nothing because he just didn’t want to be with me, didn’t feel I was worth the effort, etc…. After all of the time that had passed and the efforts I had put in, I was shocked and devastated to say the least. Of course when asked to leave, he insisted he needed another chance – he really did love me, he was confused. FA – I can really understand what you mean when you say it is not so much the affair but the lying that is hard to deal with.

      Now a year later, not much has changed. He still declares he loves me, is completely over her but will not talk to me about anything more controversial or important than the weather. I don’t feel any emotional connection or bond with him. I still feel the hurt from the horrible things he said to me. I have told him that I need explanations and apologies for each of the cruel things he said but he only says ” I shouldn’t have said those things, sorry”. Not good enough!!!

      I find it particularly difficult to deal with such a lack of feeling loved or special at this time of the year. Christmas, anniversaries and birthdays seem so hard to get through. This year I do feel stronger and more able to make important decisions. I have expressed what I want in a relationship and if I can’t get more than I am getting, it just isn’t worth it to me. I can’t build and maintain a relationship by myself – it is a two person job! He is on notice!

      If anyone figures out the secret to getting off this roller coaster ride, please share ASAP!! I am getting tired and dizzy. It has been a long haul and I am ready for some fun and stability in my life. I think we all deserve happiness and peace of heart for Christmas. Life has to get easier! Hang in there…

    • Falling Ash

      Whenever we have a few days that we don’t talk about the affair I get really anxious. It is as if I don’t bring it up, it is forgotten about. Those are the days I start sliding back into my pit. Desperately trying not to do so at the moment, but it is a daily struggle.I left him a little note in our special place on 1st December and it is still there, unread. We agreed were supposed to check every few days. I think the time of year makes it worse. I loved Christmas so much before DDay. Now I find it hard to drum up any enthusiasm.

      • TheFirstWife

        Sometimes I think the CS wants to not talk about it and hope we forget it and it goes away.

        We just passed the week of Thanksgiving where all hell broke loose and I would have thought he would have at least mentioned something about what he did. DDay2 came and went and nothing was said.

        Makes it easy for the CS and heartbreaking for the BS

        • Falling Ash

          Totally relate to that, TFW. Sad but true.

    • Creston

      Tomorrow is 5 years since the last known contact and I discovered it on 1/7/11 – DD #3. It’s hard to believe I still feel so much pain! I found out thru underhanded sneaky measures – he thinks I hired a private investigator! I’ve learned so much and don’t feel the least bit guilty for what I’ve done and the secrets I have kept. I feel like I could open my own agency just to help others who are going through what I went through. I wonder what percentage of BS’s are the same personality type??? Trusting and secure that their spouse is truthful and would NEVER lie and cheat? Have really only loved one person and see everything as black and white. And have given their heart to someone that can get drawn into a life of lies? None of us are perfect…especially me! It’s about choices and a slippery slope once you make the wrong choice. I love my husband and am resolved that I will never get the details that I want. That’s ok. I know he loves me. But I will also never let my guard down again. My methods of discovery are still in place and it makes life livable. Innocence lost I guess.

      Btw- just found out AP is envolved in EA with yet another married man. I am dieing to tell my hubby but it’s just another fact that I will keep to myself!

      • TheFirstWife

        Can I ask how you uncovered everything? I found out some things on my own the first part of the affair b/c my H came home and admitted it.

        But it was mostly lies and neatly packaged like it was no big deal. I found something on his iPad by accident which tipped me off to what was really going on.

        He was so good at sneaking around and getting away with it (ie telling me he would return from business trip on a Wednesday ( but really returned on Tuesday to spend night with Her). I just want to check up on him so I know exactly where I stand should I ever have a sense he is cheating again.

        He had secret email accounts that only found out about when the OW sent me emails in her revenge mode.

        Share only if you can. Would love to have insight.

        • Creston

          So this info may make some cringe but I did what made ME able to cope and not lose my mind…

          Hubby is in business by himself, lots of free time. I got his work credit card and set up online login which he had not done for himself. I check it from time to time. I discovered 3rd DDay because that’s how he paid for the EA dates. I was out of town for work, returned Friday, checked it Saturday and he was busted! Charges for most expensive restaurant in area, not his story he told. Said he was at business meeting a few hours away

          Also, had friend (also been thru same thing as me) order liveview GPS .. It is expensive but awesome! U can track it live on your phone. Just hid it in his car. Got it after 3rd DDay and it helped to know that he always told me where he was and I probably used it for 2 years.

          We have same cell phone carrier which is in my name. I get log detail with each bill. Also can order (for $10/month) log of text numbers. I haven’t done that in a while but will if I get suspicious. And he knows I can.

          Also, got copy of key to his office and randomly check that too.

          I realize some of the things I’ve done to protect myself may be possibly illegal.. Idk. But when I discovered the EA, told doctor at check up (cause I was a mess) and he insisted on checking for STDs you really don’t worry. We’ve been married 31 years, dated in high school and college and the skank is an old HS “friend” that I knew was trouble even back then.

          I know that most, if not all people hearing my story will say that it had to be a PA but think she just wasn’t someone to pay her bar tab and mess up yet another marriage. We ran into her and talked briefly, and I didn’t punch her but sent her a FB message to google the term EA and stay away from my husband and that what they did was wrong!

          Our marriage is in tact. He is so appreciate that I stuck it out and forgave him. But doubt I can ever forget

    • Creston

      And FYI, u can set up zones on the GPS and it will email u if the unit goes in certain areas so u don’t have to continuously check it .

    • Hockeynut

      The sad part is how we live in fear now. We are now slaves to the idea that something is not right. I had bought small recording devices and planted them where she would not find them. They were my tool to crack the case and find out information. I also bought a gps that tracked her every move and recorded it. I dont know if I can ever trust her again.

    • Believe

      Hi

      I found out in Jan 2015 that my wife had an affair with the same married man for a year in 2011 & then 2013 to 2014. I’ve had to get rid of the sofa and our bed as they were triggers of where they were intimate. I told her that the old bed and other triggers were still in our yard that were triggers for me. She becomes defensive and says she knows she must get rid of them. I guess i should be the betterr person and get rid of it myself. I know i will not allow my anger to get the better of me regarding the triggers. I would tell her i find it hard to be intimate with her and she pulls away and it’s like she does not know if she can help to overcome my fear of intimacy. I would pray every evening. I would tell her i’d like us to pray together and she sort of agrees. It amazes me when she does little to help regarding our recovery. She would ask me to help with our work/kids/house but the recovery is too difficult for her to help with. I find this behaviour similar to the way it was pre-affair and during the affair. I believe she still has a lot of selfish ways. I’ve sent her so many articles to read about affairs and recovery but i stopped that as i cannot force her to do something. However, I’m working hard on myself as i realised my ways that were factors that pushed her to an affair. I’ve recently taken up ballroom and latin dance classess – really outside my comfort zone. She does not know i’m doing these classess. It helps with my confidence and helps take away the daily challenges of the affair. It’s also about doing something for myself. I usually put her and the kids first. I was thinking i supported her idea to study full time as a student and that allowed her for free time to have an affair. It was all God’s plan that things happens this way. In a way i’m glad i am growing from this painful experience and it’s up to my wife if she wants to grow and face her fears.

    • natalie

      My husband and I have been married for 5 years. I found out about 1 and a half years ago that he’s been having an emotional affair with a married lady who works with him since 2013. It was purely emotional and as you can imagine our marriage has been an uphill struggle. we’ve ended up getting divorced however we still love together – we have two kids together as well. we have tried on numerour occassions to work things out however we’ve always failed at it as i could not remove those thoughts from my mind and get through the trust issues. there were a few times where he said he does not speak to her yet i found out that he does through messages on his phone and each time i confronted him he got angry and verbally abusive. He used to tell me things like he didnt want me and dont i understand that he doesnt love me and she is more women than i will ever be. Then she eventually told him she couldnt leave her husband as he would take her 13 year old son away from her. Then he decided to work things out and recently he’s been trying to open up in an effort to work things out…he has told me details of the emotionally affair things such he felt a connection to her ever since they met when he started working at the company, a connection where they feel each others pain, a connection where he has chest pains when he’s not with her and when he sees her it goes away. He hears her voice at night and things like that….he says he’s sorry for everything that he’s done & he wants to work things out but he needs time and patience from me in order to move past this and refuses to get professional help. He says he hates himself for loving a women who doesn’t want to make him part of her life and doesnt love a women who wants to love him….i don’t know how to feel or what to think – every emotional connection i’ve felt for him feels lost and i feel as though i have been living a lie all these years yet i cannot seem to find the heart to walk out on him…how is this possible

      • TheFirstWife

        This is so sad. He is using you for emotional support. His sob story is so “oh poor me”.

        I don’t know what I want (he says). He won’t let you go but if the OW magically appears ready willing and able, you are kicked to the curb.

        In my experience he is unable to save himself from drowning and he is pulling you down with it.

        I think you should build a parenting plan with him. That is it. No more than that. Be friendly and a good co-parent but do not enter the relationship waters.

        You should not allow him to cross the line any more. You have made him a priority but he has not made you a priority unfortunately.

        This pattern will continue. Shut it down now.

        Reflect on the past year or so and now that you are divorced he should know he cannot have it both ways.

        My suggestion is you deserve better. kids deserve better. You all deserve better. Stop pampering him. You don’t need a second or third child.

        I hope you can take a step back and ask yourself what are you holding onto?

        Sorry it has to come to this.

    • Tony

      After reading this maybe it’s too late for me and for us

      • Anon

        What are your issues Tony?

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