An unfaithful person looks back in time and ponders his actions and wonders wonder if the partner who has had the affair is really understood.

unfaithful person

By Paul Hopkins

Looking back in time and pondering my actions and my capabilities I cringe.

However, I do not riddle myself with guilt. I used to, until I made a conscious decision that guilt does not help the healing process at all.

I make no excuses for my actions. But sometimes I wonder if the unfaithful person is really understood.

Do we really divulge what we went through or going through?

I am not talking about a selfish act or someone who does not care about hurting their partner. No, I am talking about a person that has a track record of being faithful but veers off the path for one reason or another.

I believe that there is a great deal behind a random act.

Sometimes it is just a lack of awareness on both sides of the fence.

My problem was I did not speak up. I was unhappy with certain aspects of the marriage but failed to relay this to my partner.

I hinted and made remarks hoping that something would change but I never actually sat down and discussed what needed to be discussed. Why? Avoidance? Pain? Awkwardness? All of these and more.

Infidelity in Marriage: It’s Always a Choice

The truth is by the time I really needed to talk I had made a bad decision which inevitably caused the conversation I should have had with Michelle to never actually happen, until we were at the point of what seemed no return.

The crazy thing is I had an affair instead! How more awkward and painful was that than a conversation?!

What is done is done. But, getting over the affair has been one of the hardest battles I have ever dealt with. I truly cannot describe the pain. The mind can be a place of uncontrollable thoughts. Thoughts just appear from nowhere and for no reason. Then you must deal with them.

So much so, that even suicide was amongst the none supplying answers. Yes, that is how bad it was.

Not only was I in pain, but I was creating and oozing more pain in Michelle’s direction, who had already put up with so much.

I ask myself how did I get through that?

Well for far too long I suffered as I tried to deal with the emotions. I did seek help from my councilor who was amazing yet again. But the battle was really my issue. Only I could truly deal with the pain.

I was still going through a loss even though I had gained so much (my marriage back).

The truth is, ending an affair is extremely difficult in itself. The fact is, one bad day and you could be back at the very beginning again. You actually go through the bereavement cycle.

How to End an Affair – The Right Way

It is true what they say that it takes 3 weeks to remove the desire from the system, or at least for it to settle to a manageable state. When I say manageable, I mean only just manageable.

Dedication and a strong will, a must and the reality, you will need to be separated from the affair partner at all times. I never believed that at the time, but it is so true.

The truth is that even two years after an affair you may still have feelings. These feelings will lesson but they will haunt you.

You need techniques as you move through time.

  • You need to focus on what you have. Look deep into the goodness and be thankful for it.
  • Make new memories as a couple.
  • Expand your horizons and do things you would not normally do.
  • When you are reminiscing about the affair partner, focus on something else.

The truth is the unfaithful person will be suffering. It sounds awful to say it after the pain and all the bad emotion and feeling they have created. But it is true. I am lucky Michelle was very understanding towards me and allowed me to heal in my own time.

It is two sided. I never actually understood – or understand – what Michelle went through. Michelle does not actually truly understand what I went through. But we meet in the middle and hold each other.

Understanding the Pain of an Affair

I do try to understand what Michelle went through as I need to appreciate what she did for me.

Time is the great healer for sure. Emotions and pain do not go away in weeks, months or ‘x’ amount of years.

This all sounds very strange and a lot of people would say “STOP!” Why on earth would I even consider the pain you are going through? You had the affair! Maybe that is true.

However, if you want to save your marriage, it is deeper and more complicated. It is not just about one person but about two.

To make it work we must understand that both parties have been through a crisis and that both parties need to heal.

Someone somewhere said:

“Healing doesn’t mean the damage never existed. It means the damage no longer controls our lives”

**********

Thanks so much to Paul for sharing his perspectives with us in the aftermath of his affair.  Paul has a site call “To Blossom and Back” where he offers more on his experiences and lessons learned as an ex – unfaithful person.

We love to share articles from our readers.  So if you’d  like to submit an article for us to possibly post on the blog, feel free to contact us about your ideas.

    41 replies to "An Unfaithful Person Ponders His Actions and His Pain"

    • Shifting Impressions

      You are right about one thing…..I doubt the BS will ever truly understand. For me, it is over seven years after d-day and still, every now again the thing that pops into my head is “How the hell you could you have done that to me?”

      Although I seek to understand the reasons and what really happened…..I feel no need to sympathize with my husband. Maybe that sounds harsh, but I make no apologies for it. I guess I am curious to hear if there is anyone out there that actually feels empathy or sympathizes with the person that lied, deceived and ultimately shattered their hearts.

      • Exercisegrace

        SI, I totally agree. A cheater looking for sympathy after dday is like a drunk driver standing at the hospital bed of his victim wanting sympathy because he has a hangover. This sense of…..but what about MY feelings?? That is exactly what caused the affair in the first place. We are eight years out and it gives you a great deal of perspective. Cheaters must focus first and foremost on the selfishness that drove the decision to cheat. Not marital issues, not spousal flaws. Sympathy (at least in the first year or so) should be sought from a close, same-sex friend and the individual counselor. Healing and taking care of the betrayed spouse should come first. Repairing the soul you crushed should be by far the main focus. I’m not dismissing the cheaters feelings. There is a time and place for that. But much like their affair, cheaters seem to want to address their own wants and needs first.

        The first thing that happens in affairs is that the cheating spouse conveniently forgets that all the things that are driving them? Their spouse experiences too. For us, My mother died, his father died, our business was faltering in the recession, etc. I buckled down and focused on my family and what we needed to do to get beyond all of that. He bailed out into an affair. The second thing that happens is that history is rewritten. My husband always described me as his best friend and partner. I carried all the weight of the household and kids, so he could pursue his dream of starting his own business. He was proud that we were high school sweethearts, married for so long. But once the affair partner came around? My role in the script was rewritten. We had married too young, I was too focused on the house and kids. I just wanted to spend the money he was making. The affair partner grabbed a shovel and helped him make mountains out of the normal molehills of married life. Post affair? He is very ashamed of how he flipped the script. Personally I needed that early time to rage and grieve and cry and work through the worst betrayal someone can experience. Because if you skip that part? If you gloss over the damage? I believe it bubbles up on down the road. Best to deal with it up front and move on to a healthy future.

        • Shifting Impressions

          EG
          I agree that the cheaters seem to want to address their own wants and needs first. That first year or two it became all about him!!

          • Seenthelight

            The sad truth is that it has always been about the cheater and they want and expect it to continue. They play on betrayed’s kind heart/nature to continue “getting their way”. It’s the same old game, with a little different chorus.

            • Queenzee

              This is exactly how I feel! Like it’s still my job to fix things between us. He’s still directing the spotlight fully onto him and his struggles. Total victim mentality. Selfish, selfish, selfish attitude and he just wants things to be forgotten about and to move on. Wants everything to be better, but isn’t prepared to make himself uncomfortable in any way. Feeling almost emotionally abused wading through this and if it wasn’t for the enormous damage a divorce would do to our 5 children, who have already had to deal with a lot more than most kids, I’m not sure I would keep hanging on 😔

      • TryingHard

        Yep. Agree

        Further I could not care less what kind of pain he was in at the time. Especially about letting the OW go. He did it all to himself. If he did struggle, I am so happy I did not see it or realize it. Since my radar was way up a the time, I think I would have seen it Had I seen grieving for that person I’m not sure what I would have done. Pretty sure it wouldn’t have been anything good 🙂 I wasn’t about to force anyone to stay with me. When he would refuse to communicate I often told him there’s the door. Either work at this or leave.

        You all know I’m not 100% certain there wasn’t some kind of communication between them at all since he broke it off with her. I don’t know what I would do if I found out there was.

        I know this article is supposed to be helpful for many BS trying to get inside the heads of their cheaters. I guess I’m past that point. I don’t care anymore what was in his head. I hope this cheaters wife doesn’t care either.

    • Paul

      Hi. I understand. To be honest 3 years later I still find myself in the place where I wonder how could I have done that?
      I think sympothise is maybe the wrong approach. Maybe it is more just an glimmer of understanding, but saying that it is also ok not to understand the why?
      The truth is, it is about the now and what we can make of it. Not to let the past interfere with what we have now. Although what we have now I would hope is a lesson learnt. That lesson hopefully taught us so much even though we may not fully understand.
      I still do not fully understand. I never will. But I have learnt a lot.
      The truth is each party will not truly relate to each other. Two different worlds of pure chaos.
      I do know that time helped as did friends this website and counseling. Plus a partner that is truly amazing in many ways.

      • Exercisegrace

        Paul, with all respect for putting yourself out here in this blog? You need to do the work in counseling. The why is buried inside. It’s probably not very pretty. When my husband went through this eight years ago, it was like he was trying to look straight into the sun. It had to be done slowly and carefully. He had/has a lot of family of origin issues. Alcoholic father, emotionally bankrupt mother, many other things. He had never truly examined those things, how they shaped him, how they left him with vulnerabilities. It was easier initially to blame me, or the marriage, or the busyness of four kids, or the stress of work, or…or…. He saw himself as stronger than he was, it was hard to admit to being vulnerable and acting selfishly. But to his credit he dived deep for almost two years in counseling. And even if we had divorced? He NEEDED that. He needed to do that for HIM, first and foremost.

      • Shifting Impressions

        Paul
        I would love not to let the past interfere with what we have now, but that’s simply not possible. I am no longer the same person….I am irrevocably changed, and that does affect the relationship. Yes there were two different worlds of chaos but I had no choice in the cause of that chaos….he did. And yes there were lessons learned though the painful journey….to be sure. But those lessons were more about my own strength and the amazing support I received from my children and close friends. I gave him my whole heart and he shattered something very deep inside.

        We are in much better place than those early days and yes I still feel a deep love for my husband but In all honesty I don’t care about his pain regarding his betrayal. I always had his back and totally believed in him and he threw that in my face when he betrayed me. So no, not once in the last seven years I have I felt one bit of caring about his pain regarding the betrayal!!! We had been married almost forty years when I stumbled on his EA and in that moment I no longer felt married.

        • Paul

          We are definitely not the same that is so true. I take your point something that affected us then is a life changer. For better or for worse?
          I must stress though that this is not about the betrayer, but about both.
          I would say my wife feels the same. I am ashamed that I did the same to her. Hindsight is a wonderful thing.
          The truth is, to understand a snippet is interesting. Not for sympathy or to make them feel better but just to maybe answer that question. Why?
          Your comments are good.

          • Liz

            Hi Paul, I just replied but didn’t do it in the reply box! I would love your opinion on my opinion!

    • Liz

      Paul,
      Now married 30 years with 3 daughters and I am almost 5 years out from dday #1 of finding out my husband was having an affair with a waitress 17 years younger than us. After dday 1, there were 18 months of hideous lies trying not to be found out. The lies did as much, if not more, damage as the affair. The most stereotypical mid life crisis ever. And thank god my husband owns it. But what seems to get lost in the discussion of the pain both sides go through is the fact that the betrayer was in full control of all decisions and actions, knowingly hurting their spouse at the deepest level. The betrayed is a complete and total victim, fully in the marriage, while the spouse is living a secret life. At least that is my story. I love the drunk driving analogy but at least the driver can use the excuse of being under the influence of alcohol for their terrible decision to drive. In the case of an ongoing affair, there are absolutely no excuses except utter selfishness, thoughtlessness, recklessness, and ego. A betrayers pain doesn’t belong on the same planet as a betrayed’s pain. A betrayed is a victim, a betrayer is a perpetrator. I wish I knew having an affair was an option- that is 1 of the reasons I was so blindsided. I never knew it was an option. I lost 3 years of my life due to PTSD, confusion, disbelief, lack of sleep, rewriting 25 years of marriage every night at 2 am, etc. What we as betrayed go thru causes us to rethink everything we once thought was true in our lives. It provides us with a new lens thru which we see the world. And until you have been betrayed, you will never understand the pain you caused your spouse. I know for a fact my husbands ego could never withstand what he put me thru. He would have had to leave me in order to live with himself, in order to have any respect for himself. I’ve asked my husband how he can stay married to me after the disrespect I’ve been willing to endure. Who would want to be married to a doormat? He has said he is so grateful I’ve stuck in there and that’s all that matters. Mostly good days around here but I still curl up in the fetal position some days and sob. Your wife deserves a Medal of Honor and a Purple Heart. Hopefully you spend the rest of your marriage trying to make it up to her. Don’t wait for her to initiate any sort of relationship building actions- you need to make her feel like the most precious, loved, appreciated, sexy, beautiful, perfect spouse on the planet. Don’t expect a 50/50 relationship, it’s up to you to fix this, not her.

    • Paul

      Hi Liz
      My first thoughts are regarding ‘ But what seems to get lost in the discussion of the pain both sides go through is the fact that the betrayer was in full control of all decisions and actions’
      Full control is debatable. Yes decisions were made, bad decisions, but control hmm. In my experience and being the one who had an affair (shame) I often question as to whether I was in control and this is a really hard topic to discuss. My affair was not a case of me looking for an affair. It was a case of I became to close to someone and emotions took over etc. The problem was those emotions controlled me. Rightly or wrongly. So much so that I was so torn I became a non functioning human absorbed by emotion and grief. Now I have always known that a lot of people would say, what a cop out. You made the choice. yes I did but the choices I made were based on emotional confusion. Yes I knew I was hurting my spouse but I was so absorbed in another world that I tried to lie my way through not hurting her. Sounds strange but it is true. Justifying, lying, I found myself in a place where I did not want to loose, loose. or hurt, hurt. The bottom line is I needed to man up.
      Yes the spouse is a victim.
      The drunk analogy is related to the torment the drunk goes through due the addiction. As they look at the alcohol longingly trying to make a good decision not to drink it. Damn 1 hour later they drank it and 12 hours later they regret it.
      Yes it is a selfish act but it is not thoughtless. I guarantee you that. if it was it would have been easy. It was not easy.
      No ego involved. Not for me. I just got absorbed and to close to someone.
      I would not even try to compare the pain of a betrayed or the pain of the betrayer. It is not a competition. It is about understanding. Not understanding so that it was OK but understanding that it was not easy.
      If a person has an affair with no guilt or remorse then there is a huge problem. probably narcissistic.
      Are perpetrators unforgivable. I am ashamed and forever sorry that I put my wife through the horrors that you describe. I will live with that and rightly so. I agree I will never fully understand the pain my wife went through.
      My wife does deserve a medal in fact more.
      I do disagree that this should not be a 50/50 relationship. If to make me suffer for the rest of my days is an option then game over. It was up to us both to fix our marriage for different reasons.
      There is a full account of my affair in the book To Blossom and Back it tells the story as it was. It tells about how I failed and what I should of done and it praises those that helped me see clearly. I needed guidance and support. I needed friends, counsel and for my wife to show me that I was not me. She is a great woman. I would do the same for her. I suggest people read it. It is more than a discussion but a full account. I slipped. I fell. I was torn. i was drained and so much more but I do not live my life as a perpetrator.
      I do regret what I did. We did fix our marriage and we do work together 50/50 to make the most out of our future.
      My children make mistakes I forgive them. No one should be punished for ever.
      All the best Liz. Thanks for your post.

      • Liz

        Paul~
        Thank you for the lengthy, well thought-out response. If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the past 5 years, it’s that every case of infidelity has its own nuances and then there are so many themes that seem to run thru all. My husbands was 100% ego driven. A full on midlife crisis from making horrible decisions that led to him feeling horrible about himself. In walks a young waitress (she was a friend of a friend who introduced them) who thinks he’s her next meal ticket, plying him with compliments and wham! A full on sexual affair that lasted 6 months. He too has described his experience as being drugged. That each text or phone call was like a hit of the drug. He says he had moments of clarity but then she would initiate contact and he would crumble. He said the way she made him feel about himself was the high. I agree that perpetrator is harsh but it comes from so much pain. I think a better way to put it is that we hurt because of someone else’s selfish actions. We are complete victims and I believe as the victim, my husband should take a bigger role in leading the healing. It would have made a huge difference and would have definitely hastened the process but we had no idea with what we were dealing.. I didn’t mean for you to think the marriage should be more the betrayers responsibilty- just initiating repair. I totally agree it’s 50/50 when working on the marriage, not the infidelity. My advice to all betrayers is to do the best you can by really digging deep to imagine yourself in your spouses shoes. The lying, the deception, the disrespect, the hurtful things said out of fear, etc. To feel understood by the betrayer Is huge.. And then initiate, initiate, initiate. You can’t talk enough. Tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth and most of all, figure out where empathy lies. Forgiveness comes when the betrayer shows remorse, answers any and all questions, initiates conversations, opens up their whole life to scrutiny, and expresses huge amounts of empathy. I’ve been able to put myself in my husbands shoes and understand how it felt to be so flattered and chased, he is still working on putting himself in my shoes but he gets better at it every day. But my view of marriage and commitment is still tarnished and that makes me sad. Thanks again for your reply, it helps to hear from other men who have been thru this.

    • Paul

      Hi Liz
      Everything you say is right. I relate to what you say and yes the betrayer certainly should try very hard to make the betrayed feel like a queen.
      There is so much to deal with it is overwhelming. You have said similar things to my wife and it particularly hurts me to know that I have tarnished what my wife and what she thought of love, marriage etc. I will have to live with that. that is a pure consequence of my actions. It saddens me to know I did that to her.
      I really hope you get to a place that is great, even if you feel a pin prick every now and then.
      Pleasure talking to you Liz.
      All the best.

      • Barbara

        Paul & Liz,

        Thank you both for your wonderful responses.

        However, I disagree about one thing, saying recovery/marriage should be 50-50%. Both H & BS should be in it 100-100%. When I was betrayed he had 100% responsibility for fixing it as he was the one, without my agreement, permission or knowledge, who broke our marriage. I had to give 100% to even stay in our marriage and suffer the devastation to our family and especially our 3 children. One doesn’t give up to 50% stop and sit waiting for the other to give a matching 50%.

        Here’s an example: When you have your 1st child you feel that you could never love another with all your heart, 100%, as you do the first. Then, when a 2nd comes into the family surprisingly you can and do give that child 100% of your love, too. To your surprise the limit is not 100% which has to be shared, cut in half. Another 100% of love pops up.

        Before you start screaming, know that I am a very logical woman. I KNOW the math is logically flawed but it’s true. There are times in a marriage when 50-50% is simply not possible. Example: one partner is terminally ill, feeling awful, having nothing to give to the other. The healthy partner picks up the slack, loving , nursing, caring 100%. No statistics are logged, no numbers to tally, just doing what needs to be done in a loving marriage.

        I speak as a betrayed wife decades ago, having had to work on our marriage for just shy of 60 years.

        • Liz

          Barbara-
          I totally agree. What I mean about 50/50 is youre both in it equally. But you’re right- 100/100 is more like it! Sometimes one has to give more, and hope that is reciprocal when needed. And I’m pretty sure my husband would agree that I have always put out more effort to be supportive of him than he of me. I have also given 100% in recovery- actually 150% in recovery as I have had to do all the heavy lifting, including that part about not leaving him. I have done all the research, got us professional help, sent him YouTube videos from Affair Recovery, even scheduled him to talk with Doug. He goes along but I don’t feel he “owns” it. He definitely relates to the videos I send him and that has really educated and opened his eyes. This whole process would have gone a lot better, faster, successfully if he had jumped in from the beginning and taken control. He caused it all but I’m having to lead repair. 5 years since he ended the affair and I feel like he’s finally, truly beginning to get it! And he does want to be a better husband and father moving forward. The funny thing is, pretty much everything I send him to read, watch, or listen to has been in an attempt to get him to understand what he has done to me and what it feels like to be me. He needs to do the research to figure himself out and what part of him allowed himself to do what he did for 6 months but I need my pain to be understood. I truly don’t believe I could live day to day while betraying him. I just don’t think my heart or conscience would allow for it.

        • Paul

          I hear you.
          It is true we need to give everything. 😊
          And more to be honest.

      • Shifting Impressions

        Paul
        It will never be “just a pin prick “…..no matter how good it gets. Everything is put in the context of before d-day or after d-day or worse yet that was during the affair. It happened just this morning….an unexpected photo of our little granddaughters….one of my first thoughts was, that was during the EA There are dates forever etched into my brain.

        I am much better now…..and my husband does show true remorse. But after three years of crying followed by two years of deep sadness it will never be remembered as just a pin prick.

    • Another One

      I’m only seven moths out from Dday but I don’t ever see myself as sympathising with my husband’s “pain” at having to let go of the affair. It’s an unreasonable expectation IMO.

      I sympathise with his regret at the damage he caused to our relationship, with his shattering realisation he’s not the man he thought he was, with his pain at realising that he could have saved us both all the pain we’re currently experiencing if he’d only been less selfish and more open to me, with his frustration at himself for having wasted all that time and effort on someone who wasn’t worth it. But I will never willingly feel sorry for him that he’s lost someone “special”. And while my husband has made mistakes in our healing journey so far (and so have I) he has been smart enough not to show me any of his “suffering” at having to end the affair.

      • Paul

        I agree. That you should not feel sorry for him losing someone special? Hopfully you are the special one.
        I think it is more a case of an understanding or relisation of what the betrayer went through.
        Bearing in mind betrayers are different which plays a part.
        I never looked for sympathy. That would be wrong.

    • LB

      I’m 11 months D day after receiving 4 anonymous letters in the mail from his affair partner (his high school girlfriend)disclosing their 8 year affair! Denial from him came then ten months of trickle truth. Yep just found out the day she came by our house she really just didn’t have coffee they went in basement to mess around. Then it was shower together at cabin and AP got hotel . Otherwise it was sex in a van…. fun huh…..Lots of lies to protect him and probably not hurt me only makes it worse. He’s always minimized contact and said she was the pursuer but I’m finding out he had a large part as he loved all the admiration, affection and ego she was giving him!:( they were both just too narcissistic jerks feeding each other‘s egos.
      The toughest part is when he kept seeing her after our 27 year old son passed on my birthday… sucks
      To realize this stuff now. It’s been two years since the affair ended he wants nothing to do with her but I have so much to process .!’8 years , long time not seeing each other but 2 month or every other month but talking daily, weekly… breaks my heart💔 we have had several short separations now we working on it , he said yesterday this is hard work!
      Yep would happen just easier if you just come to me and told me you weren’t happy
      Men……He has many FOO issues to deal with

    • Dead Inside

      4 years out and my husband is still the victim. He’s never moved beyond, “She’sjust a friend”. Says he’s “offended” by my accusations of him.
      Everything….spending extra time getting ready to go to work…texting outside of work/non-work related things…even after I asked him to stop. Geling his hair up..hadn’t done that in 26 years of marriage/not since we dated…my feeling that something was off…
      Lies…I went to talk to her after he stopped working there…she called to tell him that I was irrate with her…I had no reason to be…I was trying to believe him that they were “just friends”…why would she lie about me?
      He blew up…which I totally get! How embarrassing for him….however, he sided with her. All of sudden, I was a liar, while crying due to my world crumbling…he said “Oh poor you! You’re scared? What about her? Don’t you think she’s afraid that her husband will find out that she was having an affair?”
      Although I, for 26 years, heard stories about many women that he’d worked with through the years….I never heard anything about her until I saw a text come through on his phone, “You’re amazing! I’m so blessed to have you in my life.” Why had he never talked about her? The same woman that after I went to talk to her and things really blew up…he texts her “You’re a great friend and always will be.” She’s a great friend and I had no idea she even existed? Why?
      Since then, he’s told me about his unhappiness…not openly….roundabout ways during other conversations….I never wanted to marry a smoker….When was the last time we were happy? 26 years ago? You look ok after having 2 big babies….etc…
      I’m hurt…to my core. I don’t feel at all attractive to him…he’s all of sudden best buddies with a woman 15 years younger than him who’s “a really nice person”….he rated her as “someone he’d sleep with, like all men do”….
      We have no emotional connection….we have no intimate connection….
      I understand a person getting lost….I understand a marriage/wife not being appealing after years of strife….he was sick and then got depression which led to anger and lashing out on his part which I didn’t understand at the time being part of his depression….so I lashed back…I know…not helpful…but again, I didn’t understand where the anger was coming from or what it meant.
      Woman 15 years younger, married with kids, but obviously willing to sleep with other married men that give her attention, comes along telling him how “amazing” he is…while his wife is only a constant contention at home….I get it…still not an excuse…could have talked with me….separation…divorce….this isn’t working….etc.
      I no longer feel attractive to him….he refuses to talk about the EA…can’t move forward without some sort of resolution to why it happened and figuring out how it won’t happen again….can’t just sweep it under a rug and move on without him getting what this has done to me….no safety…no trust (developing best friendships with other women secretly)
      I’m crushed. My marriage is dieing/no help/every day we’re further apart/ruminating thoughts daily…all day long/defeated/he refuses to discuss and if it ever comes up…again, he’s the victim…turns around whatever I’m saying to poor him and how he has no friends and nobody cares about him.
      Yet, he’s here….fulfilling our obligation to our kids….why? Why would a man stick around with a woman he hates? Someone he’s been unhappy with for 26 years? Someone who, like SI above mentions, is no longer like we’re married….since his EA I no longer feel like I have a place….he put her in my position…he ran to her side the day I went to talk with her to “make sure she was ok”…who am I? I’m not who I thought I was to him….his EA has taken me out of my wife position…I no longer have a say….she does…she gets to dictate what happens in his life….his life where I thought I was in the main position/sharing his life….nope…all of a sudden she has that position….I no longer feel like I have a family….it’s my kids and his kids…no us….
      My heart is broken and I suffer daily due to this…he has no clue…acts like he wants us to work out…but thinks that’s going to happen just by sweeping it under the rug….thinks I’ll forget and at some point we’ll just move on….he has no clue what this has done to me….no clue that he’s killed me.
      All I feel like I can do is sit here and wait for the kids to grow up while I watch us die more and more daily and that kills me.

      • Paul

        A couple of possibilities here.
        1. He truly does not know what to do. An emotional affair does this. In my case I would not even accept I was in an emotional affair. Crazy!
        I truly never knew what to do. I was so confused.
        This is hard because he may want to do the right thing but his addiction will not let him. However he needs to seek help or he needs a reality check to jolt him into what is going to happen
        He needs to man up as I needed to find reality and be fair to you. You deserve that.

        2. He wants his cake and he wants to eat it.

        I hope things work out for you. You have a lot going on. I hope you have a good support network. If not find it. It probably will not make you feel better but at least there is someone to grasp on to.

        • Dead Inside

          So he tells me he hasn’t seen or talked with her in 4 years. I believe he woke up at the point when he told me, “I should call her! I never should have stopped talking with her!” and I said, “Yep! You can call her! And I can leave!”
          I saw him go through the grieving period. Up all night listening to old time music that was about
          missing her and wanting to be with her and her not being his, etc.
          I believe that he went through it. Christmas 2018 he told me that he wanted us. Things got better for a bit but then he tried to snuggle with me in bed one night and I pulled away. He hasn’t hugged or kissed me since stating that the last time he tried to hug me I pulled away. It’s still about him!
          After 4 years, I don’t believe that I will get him to discuss what was lacking in our marriage and what caused him to go to another woman for comfort because he won’t admit that he even did it! If we can’t even discuss what the issues are/how to fix and move forward…there is no moving forward.
          I’m so sad about losing my marriage. This July will be our 30th anniversary. The last two have gone by without any acknowledement by either of us. I’m so sad. Cannot talk to him because I don’t think that he cares.
          Not only have I lost my marriage but I’ve also lost my best friend.
          I have no support system. Nobody understands. Married people just want to ignore it and stay away from me…it might be contageous. Other friends have told me to just go back to my marriage and forget about it. People are sick of hearing me talk about it……4 years! I’m sick of talking about it!
          But I have this intense pain inside that won’t go away. Living with him and feeling like it won’t ever go away until I’m away from him and able to move forward alone.
          To be clear, we don’t argue. We don’t fight. We watch tv together and interact with the kids together, etc. Just room mates. He acts like everything is fine….other than staying up all night alone drinking. My soul aches all day long.
          I’ve prayed for restoration for 4 years. I’ve had my eyes open to a lot. Many mistakes I’ve made in my marriage. Can’t go back at this point. So much I don’t understand.
          Feel, how can he love me at all if he can’t be honest with me?
          Tells me that he feels like he’s living a life suffering consequences of me having a dream because what I say isn’t true. She was “just a friend”.
          I saw what I saw. I know my husband. I know the nagging feeling I had during that entire first year.
          I know that he wants to do the right thing. If he doesn’t love me, than how is that a positive thing if he stays only to “do the right thing”? I don’t want to be “the right thing”. I want to be the only one, like I had been for 26 years of our relationship.
          It’s hard to want something so bad and know that you can never go back and have that again.
          I love him. I always will. I don’t feel safe with him. I don’t trust him.
          He doesn’t care enough to figure out what to do. Don’t think he really cares about our marriage. Only doesn’t want to be outed as being a person that would turn to another woman. And I also feel is protecting her from being outed to her husband as sleeping around with another married man for 2 years.
          That’s a pain point! Ha! My husband lets me go, in pain for 4 years….but protects a woman who sleeps with other married men for 2 years. 2 years! That’s not a whoops! That was a decision that she made! That’s the person that she is and he chooses that over me?!
          I just don’t understand.
          Thank you for your perspective. I appreciate it. I’ve often wondered what his mind is doing. I’ll probably never know from him.

          • Paul

            Hopfully his mind will clear. It needs to.
            He should be with you for the right reasons.
            It does take a long time to get into the right place though and I think many take to long and miss the right path.
            I also felt that I was hammering my friends. They must have been sick of me. But they stuck with me and helped.
            I found that no one judged me, that helped.
            Seek friends or a really good counselor.
            My counselor really helped me see clearly.
            Julia was my second counselor as my first one did not help at all.
            All the best.

    • Sandi

      My husband I have been married for 21 years and have 3 teenage boys ages 14,15 & 16.
      On September 17, 2018 my husband confessed to the affairs he had between the years of 2003 – 2006. I won’t go into the reasons he confessed after so many years, it’s a loooong story.
      After the initial confession in September I knew in my gut that he was not being completely honest, so I scheduled a polygraph. On January 14, 2019, prior to the polygraph he revealed the additional betrayal which also occurred between 2003 and 2006. He has also admitted to viewing pornography at different times throughout our marriage (which I am also not okay with) .
      He took the polygraph and passed, so I at least feel somewhat secure I have the truth…at least on the questions from the polygraph.

      I love my husband and I truly believe he loves me. I want our marriage to work. I want our family to be healthy and remain intact. I’m just so very broken and feel so lost and confused .

      I feel I’m in a unique situation (a unique kind of HELL) because it has been so many years ago. He’s had all these years to “forget” and pretend it never happened , but for me, it’s as though it just happened yesterday. It makes me Question everything in my life and marriage during the affairs, but also for the years in between. It’s also difficult because he “claims” to have “forgotten” so many details because it has been so many years ago. I suspect he conveniently uses the “I don’t remember “ line just to avoid dealing with the shame as well as fearing how I will react. Of course he wants to just forget it, leave it in the past , move on and focus on each other and the future. I, however have SO many unanswered questions and feel like I’m trying to make sense of our entire marriage. I feel like my marriage and what I truly believed I had was all a lie. I’m constantly trying to figure out what parts were real and what parts were just an act. Because I was not involved with him ending those affairs, I find myself wondering how difficult it would have been for him to end them had he been forced to. I wonder if he “missed” them? He claims he had no feelings for them and only used them to fulfill his selfish desires and make himself feel better about himself.

      Anyway, that’s the VERY short version of my struggles and heartbreak. I’ve been through many difficulties in my life, but I’ve never felt the complete devastation I feel from this.
      Some days It’s all I can do just to function even slightly normally.

      • Beth

        Sandi,
        My thoughts go out to you as this is never easy. I have been thinking about having my H do a polygraph as there has been so many lies after D day which is coming up on a year or trickle truth. He had a 7 year affair with high school girlfriend. How do these polygraph questions work? Yes/no questions,do you write up questions ? I got him to confess more by simply calling his AP husband so I think I have it all but one never knows. I got the most information from Verizon phone records on how much they were talking weekly. Thanks

        • Sandi

          Hi Beth, I am also sorry you’re going through this hell. To answer your questions about the polygraph-
          I was able to ask 4 questions. They had to be yes or no questions.
          For instance mine were the following-

          1. Since you’ve been married , Have you had any other inappropriate relationships or contact with any other woman, other than the the ones you’ve admitted to your wife about?

          2. To the best of your knowledge have you truthfully answered all your wives questions about the woman you betrayed her with?

          3. Are you purposely keeping any information in regards to your affairs from your wife?

          4. Have you ever made fun of, spoke poorly, degradingly or disparaging about your wife to any other woman?

          I hope this help.

    • Paul

      In some cases the I don’t remember is for a few reasons.
      I hate it when I am asked about my emotional affair. But I know I must be open and honest about it to my wife.
      Why do I hate talking about it.
      Well in the first instance it confused me when I was questioned. I would ask myself, why is she asking this? Is this a trick or a trap? Why bring this up if we are trying to mend etc.
      I also really disliked talking about it because I knew my wife had been through so much pain why would I want to hurt her more by answering these questions? Why would she want to hurt herself more?
      I knew though that she had a right to know. I read an article that Doug and Linda had released on this website which helped me understand why the questions were being asked, and why I should answer them.
      If trust is to be restored then questions should be answered.
      However the questioning should be in a well thought out way. A way that is safe for both to ask, answer and discuss. Lay some rules. Don’t let it lead to arguing tension or other. Hold hands and discuss like adults. It is hard.
      I still cringe today if a question comes up. It is hard. That is also partly why I wrote the book. It is all in there.
      I don’t answer the questions with please refer to the book though. I have to look my wife in the eyes and answer the question. I owe her that.
      The truth is I actually feel better with all the openness. It does help the healing process.

      • Shifting Impressions

        Paul
        It would be ideal if our questions were well thought out and asked in way that made the person that betrayed us feel safe…..but that’s asking a lot of someone that has been traumatized.

        • Paul

          Understood.
          Of course timing is involved. It would be iitrational to expect a traumatized person to think about making the betrayer feel safe. Of cause the betrayed needs to feel safe.
          The whole mess of an affair goes through a timed process. That was my experience.
          What is that timed process? and let us not forget that the process is different for both parties.
          Are we concerned about the timing at the time? No.
          The process works itself out with input from other sources without us even knowing. However the timing of reality does hit at some point.
          When it does things do change but again over time.
          As that time moves on more gets revealed. Why because the betrayed needs to know and the betrayer needs to be open to assure the betrayed that things have change. This all takes place over time and as it does the environment becomes safer. For both.

    • Tired

      How lovely, a cheating husband here to make his terrible sadness seen. How awful that he had to grieve for the affair partner. I wonder how he would have felt if his wife had expected him to do the same for someone she was seeing on the side! This guy is actually plugging a book online to make money. Has anyone else noticed that? I wonder what his poor wife feels about that. But of course, he is really here to help us heal. What a wonderful man he is. He’s already said he could have chosen to do other things than have an affair, like talk for instance, or not have an affair, or be a decent loyal person, full stop. However, he was probably too interested in pursuing his affair to think about it until long afterwards, when he decided writing a book just might be a cash cow. There are some really sad people in the world. Don’t be one of them, and don’t support them either.

    • Paul

      Hopefully one day you won’t be Tired.
      It is not about me or my terrible sadness. It is about reaching out. People can accept that or not. I am fine with that.
      Let’s not prevent tools from helping others though. Someone might find it useful. Not everything is for everyone.
      My wife supports the book as a tool to help people. She is writing a book as well. We would like to help and create something good from the mess.
      If I made money from a book it would be a miracle. I will never make money from a book. That fine. I just hope some finds it useful.
      If you want a free copy let me know.
      So much to tell.
      Wishing you well.

    • Michelle

      I actually am the wife….. the book Paul wrote was actually a cathartic effort which we thought might help others (and yes, the betrayed also need help too). I cannot deny the affair was traumatic and would I want to go there again? …. that’s a resounding NO). But I also saw a great deal of confusion and suffering as did our friends. If this had not been evident I would’ve felt differently about events and would not entertain a new relationship with my husband. But please do not pity me. I am not so shallow as to not expect feelings of bereavement from the break off of a relationship. We both lost something/someone and it is unrealistic to expect otherwise and grief is a natural and I would go as far as to say ‘a healthy’ process, but it not pretty. Do we get it right all the time? That’s a no. I could be bitter and twisted like my mother (who was divorced and used her family as a tool to punish my fathers indiscretions…. but then again my father was a serial offender). But I believe this behaviour in the longer term is damaging (although I appreciate it is all part of the cycle of grief). Unfortunately some people become stuck like my Mother, become trapped and are unable to move forward; hence the need for good counselling. However, honesty is key to rebuild trust. This painful journey has taught me much about myself, for example that I don’t actually ‘need’ my husband, but I actually want him (believe it or not). We have learnt much about one another, does it hurt…. yes. Some may argue this to be weak and pathetic, but believe ultimately this ordeal has made me stronger. We are both continuing to heal and this will be ongoing, yes we both have regrets, but also have a future, and I hope in the future our experiences will help others to heal.

      • Another One

        Hi Michelle,
        I truly don’t believe anyone here thinks you weak and pathetic, after all most of us have chosen to stay with our cheating spouses and work on our broken relationships. However, What I believe many, definitely myself, are not happy with about this blog post is the incredible selfishness shown by your husband when he expects to be able to grieve the end of the affair in your presence AND receive understanding for it. No, just no. That is one step too far. I know there is grief involved at the ending of any relationship but if my husband had been so cruel as to show me his grief at the end of his affair I’m not sure I would have been able to take him back. He showed grief and remorse at his bad decision making, the damage he caused to our marriage and to me and he also showed a lot of self-blame and guilt. That’s fine, and maybe concealed amongst all that was sorrow at having to give up his mistress but he was smart and considerate enough not to let me know. In the (distant) future we’ll possibly be able to talk about that calmly but to expect sympathy about his lost relationship any time soon after d-day is taking selfishness too far.

    • Michelle

      I guess it’s difficult to understand another’s perspective from your vantage point. Paul never actually expressed his grief to me, but I know him well and he cares about my feelings. But it is naive to think this doesn’t happen when we break off a relationship. I believe most unfaithful choose to bury their feelings, thus avoiding these uncomfortable discussions with their partners mostly due to fears of a negative reaction or causing upset. Tbh if he had not experienced any form of grief by the loss of the OW I would feel rather offended as I would’ve gone through an awful ordeal for nothing; after all at that point in time I was viewed as the alternative… and as such an option. At least I know she was perceived as valuable and for me that makes the trauma more bearable. I think if you actually knew Paul and was aware of his confusion at the time you would understand my reasons for thinking this way, it even made our close friends and family puzzled, he was so contradictory, Confused and emotional etc. I agree (and he will validate this) there is absolutely no excuse for an affair and he is remorseful for his actions. If he was the selfish individual you believe him to be I would no longer be investing in our relationship. But it wasn’t until I decided on a divorce and things escalated that things changed. Yes, I could choose to punish, but I choose to move on and concentrate on a future… learning lessons from the past mistakes. I place the majority of blame (if that’s what you want to label it) with my husband and OW. But also have to allocate myself a percentage in the equation as nobody is 100pc to blame. I hope that helps.

      • Another One

        You’re right, it’s always hard to try to see another person’s point of view, especially when emotions are involved. But I think I understand what you mean when you say that it made the trauma more bearable for you to know he considered her valuable.
        My story is quite different as my husband had an EA. So I know it wasn’t just a meaningless physical fling. What I’m very grateful for is that he understood MY grief and sorrow enough not to show me his when he knew I wouldn’t have been able to cope with it. To be truthful knowing he truly cared for her is actually more hurtful than anything else he did.

    • Paul

      I must admit I tried to avoid any questions about the affair. I did not want to discuss it with Michelle as I had already hurt her enough.
      For me talking about it made me feel like I was just hurting her more.
      But I was asked questions. Awkward questions and felt it was right to answer those questions. As painful as it was Michelle had the right to know. I gave up my rights.
      I have read that after an affair honesty is the best policy. I had to be fair to Michelle and explain what I could. It was hard and it is really difficult to be truthful when you know it is going to hurt someone.
      Since my affair I have tried to be honest, not only with Michelle but also myself.
      It has helped us both I believe. I will not understand why the question is being asked! Sometimes I just want to instantly jump off of the nearest highest thing, just to avoid the question. But deep down I know I owe an answer. And if it helps Michelle even though I don’t understand then so be it.
      I may try and answer politically but she knows.
      I cannot hide. I have to be truthful and I have to rebuild. That is the least I can do.
      So far it has helped us both.

      • TryingHard

        Hi Paul
        I give you credit for answering the questions you wife asked. Often time we BS will ask a question hoping for a different response. We are looking for some glimmer of hope that maybe all that crap didn’t happen. I know it’s weird but that’s the way at least I worked and I’m thinking some other BS do too.

        I commend you for being brave and forthright and honest with her. At least as honest as you could be. I can only imagine the pain of telling the truth. Infidelity and betrayal is so ugly in the bright light of day. I asked my husband if he missed her. I only asked once. He told me he didn’t miss her, as he had felt for a long long time he wanted to get out of the relationship but was fearful to do that and wasn’t sure how to do it since he stupidly hired her as well. So it wasn’t as if he could break it off and never see her again. Plus according to him she continued to relentlessly pursue him. I don’t blame her. That was all on him i.e. grow a pair!!! He explained he missed the fantasy and the distraction. He compared it to his smoking habit that he’d wanted to break as well. So I never saw him mopping around missing her. That would have been the bitter end for me. Plus I knew if he truly wanted to be with her he would have been. I wasn’t holding a gun to his head and neither was she.

        Of course in my mind I always wondered if he did miss her so I looked for signs. My spidey senses were on high alert as you can imagine. I saw nothing so I never asked again. I figured if he did miss her he would have to work that out for himself as I was not ready to console him over that. I was putting on my own oxygen mask first. Also I learned to detach and not take the affair so personally. That is NOT an easy thing to do. Especially at the onset of discovery. But learning how to detach emotionally was the thing I needed to heal and move on. So when I say now that if he was missing her I just don’t care. That was his problem to work out. But the OW in my case is dead now so even if he did miss her there’s nothing he can do about it. However if it was just the fantasy and habit of the relationship he missed he could certainly kick the trash can and find someone else to take her place. This world seems to have no shortage of people who are willing to act badly.

        Glad to hear you and your wife are doing what it takes to make your relationship work. I wish you both the best of luck and thank you for your article

    • Paul

      Trying hard
      There are many fears. Unexplainable to be honest.
      I must admit The fantasy and exhilaration was a high It was being at school all over again and having those feelings of nerves, excitement etc. However not an excuse or a reason at all and those highs should be found with your partner through other means, that is my goal to live those experiences with Michelle. There are so many activities to do as a couple that can fulfil that feeling of excitement. Not always easy but doable.
      Of course your oxygen mask was a priority and I like the analogy.
      Questions are strange and as much as we want to ask a question sometimes I think it is best to not ask. Sometimes I think we have to ask what is this question going to achieve?
      Not a get out but a reality.
      Wishing you well in the future. And thank you.

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