backing offOne thing that I learned after I found out about Doug’s emotional infidelity was the importance of backing off.  That is, to not pressure him or continually fire questions at him at every opportunity.  

Now unfortunately, I didn’t figure this out right away, but as soon as I did I discovered how powerful a tactic it can be that ultimately helped us save our marriage.

The main element of their emotional affair was the communication between the two of them which resulted in a bond formed by this so-called “helping” each other out. I determined that by pressuring him I was actually inadvertently feeding the fire of the relationship!

So I decided to stop talking about the affair. It was very difficult to do as I couldn’t quite stop asking questions about their relationship completely since the curiosity was killing me.  But I certainly backed off noticeably.

If I were to do it all over again, I would have stopped asking questions about the affair all together until such a time where I felt it safe to do so.

The point is, the more you ask, the more your spouse will feel pressured. The more your spouse feels pressured, the more he/she will want to flee.

I’m sure my actions were puzzling to Doug. I asked him how he slept. I wished him a good day. I asked him how his day was when he got home. I praised him when he mentioned something good that happened, supported his business ventures, thanked him for the least little things he did and tried to put a positive spin on every interaction we had – no matter what.  In fact I still do these things today.

Now tell me, how do you think that Tanya felt when she heard how nice I was?  I’m sure that this approach helped immensely when it came to Doug finally realizing he was making a huge mistake.

At the same time that you are backing off, you still must find out as much as possible about the affair partner. No drastic investigations here, just try to determine what is so appealing about this other person. What exactly does this other person do or say to have this hold on your spouse?

The goal here is to find out what need your spouse is fulfilling by spending time with this person, so that you can do a better job fulfilling that need yourself. You need to make some changes.

Obviously, no one is perfect, including you (and your spouse’s affair partner), so there are probably things you can work on and changes you can make. Your spouse may not even realize what these are.

For instance, I have worked on becoming independent, more sociable, more fun, easy going, and more in tuned with Doug’s needs. I think these were all good changes for me. One thing I did not change was my devotion to my kids, but I’m sure Doug can see the value in that and how important it is to me.

So if you can find anything about the other person it can be helpful to see the differences and contrasts in you and help you figure out what changes to make or not make.

If you find yourself blowing up at your spouse and giving him/her the third degree every chance you get, give this tactic a try and see if it works for you.


    30 replies to "Backing Off Can Be Powerful"

    • Kristi

      I tried this but it does not work because he has changed so much that he is someone else completely selfish, he goes out every other night and never will tell me who he is with or even where he is going as it is none of my business. My husand has completely changed in his personailty and he says that he likes the new him. I am at a cross roads and thinking of leaving him if this does not change. Says he wants the marriage but also he likes being the new him.

      • Holly

        Kristi’s reply sounds very similar to my situation. My husband is trying to find the “genuine him”. He goes out dancing once or twice, sometimes three times a week. I’ve stopped asking him when he plans to return because that seems controlling to me. I ask him if he enjoyed the dancing or music. I ask him how he slept. I don’t ask him when he got in. He wants the marriage too but acknowledges he doesn’t know if I (EMPHASIS ON THE I) can handle it and will want to stay in the marriage. He is very self centered and says he needs to be – his whole life has been about pleasing others including trying to be what he thought I wanted/needed him to be and he can’t do it so for once he’s being honest with himself and me (although not really because he hasn’t told me how many women he has had sex with and who they are but he’s told other family members)

        It just seems like all crazy talk but my head is spinning so much that I’m not able to sort it out clearly and I find myself telling myself that what he’s saying makes sense and I’m the one that’s all screwed up!

      • alycon

        I feel exactly the same Kristi, my husband is getting on with his life oblivious to the damage he’s done to our marriage and the phsychological, emotional and spiritual turmoil he’s inflicted on me; lately he says, ‘it only gets to you because you let it’, ‘I won’t put up with your nonsense’, ‘you should be moving on’, ‘why can’t you get over it’. Last evening we went for a walk but I ended up turning round and going back ‘home’ because he was miming what I was saying with a harassed look on his face, but all he was talking about was what he’s doing in his exciting new media career. His response to my saying he treats me with contempt was ‘why can’t we go for a nice walk and enjoy it’!

        He doesn’t sit down with me and calmly and maturely discuss our marriage; he never has. I’m just expected to follow his lead on everything, I’ve never had a say in how our marriage is conducted; he was dreadfully spoiled by his father and now expects to come first all the time. He has a tendency to focus on what he wants. At the moment I don’t feel very confident that our marriage will survive because he vascillates from ‘sorry’ to denial. He’s even said ‘if you’re not happy with me you can always leave, I won’t stop you’!

    • surprised

      I have learned the hard way that I need to back off my constant questioning & texting & phone searches. It seems to have improved our relationship that he is not getting “interrogated” as he calls it (since he won’t admit it was an emotional affair, just something he shouldn’t have let go that far.) However I still check phone records online & when I’m up in the middle of the night (like now) I check texts on his phone.

      He recently had a heart ablation (out patient surgery) and now there is yet another woman at work that is calling & texting him every day to see how he is! (the original OW has backed off.) I just don’t get my H need for a woman other than his wife to give him daily affirmation & kudos! I have been giving him daily kudos & love & praise but he is ALWAYS looking for it from others outside our marriage too.

      I don’t think this woman texting & calling every day to see how he is is another EA but I don’t like it. What is wrong with so many people knowing what is & is not appropriate for co-workers? If H were alone I could see it but he has an extended family of a wife, kids, & grandkids all around him!

      Plus, having gone through one EA, I feel a little PTSD & feel like I’m looking for another thing not to trust around the corner. Do you ever feel like that Linda?

    • Empty and Numb

      Good Lawrd … again … For me … I would have let Tanya keep that prize. No offense at all meant. Im proud you both fought hard to evolve. Yet, Just what I did. I had no tolerance. There is no way I could nor would ever want to compete with a cheater.

      Every situation is different.  For me and what I still need to work on is forgiving myself for entangling myself with such a dope and someone who was remotely susceptible to an affair.

      And we did two years of therapy.  In the end … As I was the entire “worker” in the relationship … I left and have not looked back.

      My cheater went to his affair and cheater on her too.  Lol! He has no life. And I take a bit of glee in that but also feel sorry for him. 

      I have much forgiving of myself left to do. One, for ridiculously working so hard with someone that could so easily dismiss me for someone young enough to be his daughter. Two, for putting up with it and working too hard.

      Thank you Linda and Doug.  You’re situation is different and I’m glad you’ve worked it all out! Thanks for your continued help in my healing!

      • alycon

        I’m intolerant of this behaviour too, I just can’t get how anyone can be so selfish and cruel as to do this to their partner.

        My H knew at the start of our relationship that any man who cheated on me had been dumped immediately; trouble is when you’ve invested 16 years and thousands of pounds in working wages to keep a roof over your heads and pay bills it’s a lot harder to give the relationship up.

        Interesting to see you mentioned the PTSD, I’m so bad that even if my H mentions his job I react badly; it was when he got involved in the media that all this horrendous stuff happened. He’s still working with one of the b*****s that he humiliated me with.

        Anything to do with his job triggers the anger, pain, humililation to the point that I don’t even want to discuss it. I’ve told him I don’t want him talking about any woman he works with, that I’ll never trust any woman around him (they go along with his ‘shenanigans’) and until I can see that he’s genuinely doing what I need him to do to recover I can’t trust him either.

        I hate what he’s done to me and our marriage. He had the option of sitting down and engaging with me, showing an interest in our life together, but he’s so self absorbed that he can’t focus on anything else.

    • Paula

      Just remember that Linda said backing off CAN be powerful, not that is is the only answer. She and Doug were at a place in their recovery that allowed this tool to work for them, Doug was getting ready to “come back to her” – that is for want of a better phrase – and Linda was starting to get a small amount of self-confidence back, she knew she needed to be independent to survive. Not all relationships are salvageable, and some of them should be terminated, but everyone needs to try, to see if it is just “affair fog” or whether they have a serial, narcisistic cheater, who does not, and will not want to change. I wish you all well, sometimes you just need to re-evaluate and decide which type of man/woman you have, then you can make some informed decisions to work on your happiness, once again, together, or alone.

      And Surprised, you do “learn” to be more wary, and I think this is ultimately a good, self-protective thing, your mind just constantly scans other people’s actions, trying to work out their intentions, we are a little PTSD affected, it’s our brains trying to protect our hearts from further hurt. It is still a bit of a problem for me, but that is what the cheater has created, and they just have to live with the new way you process every contact with other people. So do we, and I personally hate it, but I do understand the purpose of it.

      • alycon

        Seeing your comment about narcissists Paula, I have to say that I’ve often wondered if my H is one. So I ‘googled’ narcissism. And OMG – everything he says, he does, he thinks, his mindset, the need to be seen with ‘important’ people, the lack of empathy, the selfishness, the cruelty – IT’S ALL THERE!!!!!!!!!!!

        So, fellow BS’s – how do I handle this now? Do I leave? From what I’ve read not many marriages survive this ‘disorder’.

    • Donna

      come back and check the site every so often and I have to say that backng off for me was a HUGE answer to my prayers. I agree with all of you. Men and women who cheat suck and have no right to put us through this hell. HOWEVER…. I also see that we are all very human, we all have flaws and we all do things in life that I am sure we are not proud of or would even be horrified for the average person to know about. I am sure I may get flack because of this, but through this 18 month journey, I have discovered so many things. I will not judge Doug or my husband who have and are still working so hard to overcome this flaw that they had. No one should have to go through the pain that we betryed experience, but it happens and we nee d to prepare ourselves with the best knowledge possible out there if we still see a future with our spouses.

      My backing off after 9 months of yelling and asking question after question and then me getting hurt by the answers (he was still deep in affair fog) and then more yelling and even hitting made me realise I did not like what I had become and more importantly figured that asking questions and yelling was getting me no where. So I decided to just back off. Ask no question, do all the things Linda did. Be kind and pleasant and love him for who he was and not try and force him to change. He is not perfect however he is perfect for me and I was not about to let my husband slip away. One thing he did say to me while still in affair fog was that he would not leave me for ow although he was supposedly in love with her, he would only leave me because of me.. how my actions were. He got that I was hurt, what he di not deserve and he is right was all the nasty words and spoiteful things I could think of to hurt him. In my head I just wanted him to hurt as much as he had hurt me, all it was doing was pushing him into other womans arms becasue he did not feel safe with me.

      After doing the backing off (it was DARN hard as I wanted to ask questions) but resisted it became so very easy. My husband moved back home although he still left 95% of his things at his place where he slept before. I still asked no question as to why, I just let it be although I was baffled. I htink he was treading water to see if I would go back to the questions and yelling. Over a 6 month period, slowly clothing and such was moved home and put in the closet. I never commented, have just let it be while I silently rejoiced at the progress that was happening. From a man who would not touch me to a man who sought out a hug here and there to a man who would get up and go to work and say goodbye to a man who comes and kisses me goodbye, to a man who went to bed and not say goodnight to a man who comes and kisses me goodnight or asks if I am coming to bed. The change has been amazing. To a man who I can now ask the occassional question will actually answer it and I can see the fog has parted. To a man who said he was so inlove with OW and wanted her for is wofe now says that he doesn’t want her and his feelings have changed. A man who was home but just a shell to a husband and a father who is present again laughing running around and playing with us again with JOY in his eyes. Again, the progress is joyous.

      We still have many barriers to go through, however the transformation of this man and myself has been wonderful. It has been hard, it has been very ugly at times and it has had many tears along the way, but we are becoming beautiful again, something well worth fighting for.

      Linda, Doug, I have said it many a time, but thank YOU both. At times I had no hope and look where we are. We are going away in 3 weeks for the first time with out the children for 4 days, we are both so looking ofrward to it. I still have fears and I still cry, but boy have we come so far and it is because of the valuable lessons I have learn’t on here and by myself.

    • Empty and Numb

      I don’t know if I missed the “post button” or if my last post just was not posted.  I started on this blog as “Maria” … I was the first one to bring this up on this site.  

      Longterm cheaters ( as my research goes … Publishing book and talk show circuit next year booked ) fall into the category of passive, passive aggressive which encompass narcism.

      Spent two years in therapy with a passive aggressive/narcissist. Would never degrade myself like that ever again. This man could logically see his behavior was horrific but couldn’t feel it, nor see he was a monster.

      The “fog talk” cracks me up.  Are you kidding me? What freaking adult comes under a fog? When do we learn lying and cheating is wrong? 

      Again … I applaud those who work things out and swallow things to manipulate their spouse back to the reality they want them to be in.

      I couldn’t do it.  Personality disorders can be modified but never changed.  So ( again my research ) to live with someone one always has to watch their back with … To me … Was ridiculous!!!

      The manipulation to change oneself and swallow their rights to be treated with dignity astound me.  Again, my opinion and I don’t mean to judge. It just blows me away.  The victims are so deserving of so much better than to reduce themselves to such degrading levels to win back garbage.

      Again … My opinion based on my thoughts. 

    • melissa

      Backing off seems to have worked for me except for one thing: we still haven’t been able to discuss the EA fully and my H thinks it’s all OK now whilst there isn’t a single day when I don’t think about it and I have so many questions still. BUT if I do ask questions (which I haven’t for quite a few months), his behaviour becomes threatening and it’s not worth it. Does that mean he’ll do it again? Does that mean I should not stay in this relationship? I don’t know.

      I did wonder what there was about the OW that I didn’t have. She was ‘fun’, she was young, she stroke his ego big time and gave him the admiration he needed. That is such male behaviour: I do like compliments but I do not need them to buid up my ego. My H lapped it up and he also loved the fact that he was ‘helping’ the OW (how pathetic, she used him through and through).

      What I do know is that we seem to be happier, more tolerant of each other, more in love. I have learned to show more interest in his well-being and in his work (although when he was in the midst of his EA, he didn’t care, he was dreaming the OW would meet his needs, whatever I did was wrong). We have just spent a few weeks on our own and it’s been good. I know I love him and these days I can feel my love for him a lot more but I haven’t regained trust and that’s a huge stepping stone, one hurdle we cannot get over if my H is unable or unwilling to talk.

    • Still hurting

      Is it just me, or does “backing off” of asking questions seem more like letting the cheater off the hook. I disagree a benefit of backing off allows the BS to “get more in tune with” the cheater’s needs. Why doesn’t the cheater take the time to get in tune with BS’s needs? I sacrificed my marriage, my peace of mind, my security, my trust among many other things. Why should I “back off” to make the cheater feel more at peace?

      • Paula

        Still Hurting, I understand your frustration, but you don’t “back off” to let the CS off the hook, you do it for yourself, to see how strong you are, what else you have to offer, to give yourself a break. The CS is peripheral to that, if he/she wants to participate in a truly loving relationship, that is completely up to them to “pursue” that (you?) and this gives everyone the space to decide what they REALLY want.

    • Empty and Numb

      I think, if I can read between the lines … Backing off means for the victim an opportunity to heal themselves and see what the cheater will do to help with that. This gives the victim a chance not to take the cheater personally and decide if they want to stay married to such a loser in the first place. Time to step back and judge how the cheater reacts or doesn’t! Will give the victim an eye opener to the next move.

    • Brian

      I’ve come to learn that backing off was good for both of us. It put me in a better place emotionally which was good for us since I was more of my old self… more confident, fun, assertive. This forced her to reevaluate our relationship and now things are definitely better. Things aren’t perfect, but she now gives me kisses hello/goodbye, good morning/goodnight, and she tells me she loves me daily. Also, we are doing things together again, laughing, enjoying each other’s company. While we still have a long way to go, things are much improved and I am more hopeful than I’ve been in 6 months… but still cautious.

      Back off, take care of yourself, realize that you have needs too and ask yourself if those needs are being met. If not, CALMLY discuss it with your partner/spouse, you just might be surprised at the result. I was.

      My thoughts and prayers are with you all…


    • Abby


      I’m not married and don’t know what it’s like to be invested in such a relationship, but reading your comments is killing me. Wtf is wrong with you all?! Backing off so that your piece of crap husband can freely sort out his bs behavior while humiliating you in the process?! Lift your tits up and fight fire with fire: have a affair.

      You’re all beautiful and deserve to have pleasure just like the H. That a.hole didnt ask permission – he just went out and did it. You should too. Stop feeling sorry for yourself and sacrificing yourself for him (and your kids). You might think that backing off and keeping the peace and playing passive will help keep your kids stable, but it won’t, especially if you have girls. You need to show them strength and that females are powerful and can do anything that men can do. Don’t teach them to stay in a toxic relationship. If divorce happens, so be it.

      Live for you and don’t sacrifice yourself to keep the house stable. You are sexy bitches! Go find your new lover and relish in the oral pleasures your terrible H’s no longer give you, but give to their slutty secretaries. F**k like there’s no tomorrow! Your H’s are…

    • Abby

      *and gentlemen. Eye for an eye. If the bitch is seeking pleasure elsewhere, you do the same.

    • Empty and Numb

      I could not agree more! Well said!!! These longterm cheaters were always worthless to begin with! Lol!

    • JimBob

      I was the betrayor. I have not commented before, but I have been on this site many times, read articles and blogs, many through the encouragement of my wife. Maybe I can be helpful since I see only betrayed persons on here and rarely a Betrayor.

      Some quick history about our story. My wife found emails on my computer between myself and another woman….this would fall into the category this site calls “EA”, and there was never anything physical.

      When my wife had found these emails we had already started couples therapy for a few months, and when she found them I had already believed that the emails and contact was done. And within a few days, my wife and I crafted an email to the person I had been emailing with ending any further communication, and I have never had any contact since.

      My wife had already been studying psychology, self help, etc, and right after the discovery she amped up the studying and I was willing to look at myself as well because I knew something about me was not quite right. It did not take long to determine that I am “passive aggressive”, maybe some narcissim in there too. We changed therapists and my “Passive agressive personality disorder” (PA for short) was confirmed.

      The basic problem with PA is an inability to deal with anger, it gets buried and then comes out as negative behaviors, and another big issue is the PA people are desperate to be loved and at the same time fear with a passion, vulnerability and dependancy……that makes for a bad double edged sword.

      I would encourage all of you to do some research on avoidant personality disorders, PA and narcissim fall as subgroups of avoidant and see if your partner falls into one of these categories because, through research, we have found that many cheaters are in these disorders.

      With that said, I cannot not talk to the thoughts of your partners not wanting to give up the other person because I was never there, but I can certainly give input to the “backing off”.

      I blamed my wife for everything wrong with our lives and marriage (which is a PA trait) and had withdrawn deep, and I was avoiding her, which was a defense mechanism for me, to not have to hear how my behaviors were harming her, and then this bled over to our children, and how badly I was affecting everything.

      But I was willing to go to therapy and change who I was…..this has been truly difficult…..but everyday I get better….which I really hope will lead to my wife and I having a great relationship for the rest of our lives.

      Now, my wife for the last, just under 2 years, has yelled, screamed, hit me, said things I could not believe I would ever hear coming from someone aimed at me. I believed I was taking it…..she says I just shoved her anger back down her throat. But, I can tell all of you that the yelling and screaming, constant question, and threat of divorce, makes me withdraw and try to protect myself, and being passive aggressive, I can only take it for so long (and this can mean hours or days on end) and then my switch gets flipped and I lash out (I know this is the absolutely wrong this to do) and attack back. I have gotten much better at this, but there are times when I regress.

      As for the backing off. Your partner, unless they are completely a dumbass, knows that they have hurt you. I know how absolutely devastatingly hurtful what I have done has affected my wife. I have ripped away trust, any sense of security, all of her self esteem, I have robbed her of years of joy and happiness, the dream of that great marriage that everyone thinks of, my kids have suffered greatly……what I have done has ripped my family apart to the core…..and it is all my fault……I have no misconceptions here.

      Still to this day, the questions come, the yelling and screaming, and the threats of kicking me out……and a lot of this has to do with the EA but also has to do with what a PA’s behavior does to someone……there have been many points where I dread contact during the day because it all comes out again… the point, and please do not take any disrespect from this, where I have felt PTSD because the yelling and screaming and threat of separation or divorce can come out at any time.

      So backing off……if your partner truly knows how much they have hurt you……backing off might be a positive solution. My wife always wants us to come to this site daily to work on repairing after an affair……this scares me because to me it feels like going to a place that will drive her closer to divorce. I feel that working on building our relationship is the most important thing to do…..and although I know talking about affair repair is important…….I feel that the relationship is the most important. I know my wife was not happy before this, nor was I….even though I now understand that my PA behavior put us there, but I feel that working on the relationship is extremely important…….and if a person truly knows they have to change it makes it more difficult if they are constantly in that place that makes them feel they need to withdraw……no matter how much they don’t want to.

      My wife does not agree with me on this point……and that is for us to deal with, and I still live with the threat of seperation or divorce everyday……which is the last thing I want.

      But if you are considering backing off I would only do this if you know your partner knows the harm they have inflicted on you and that they are willing to change…..if so this could work greatly for you.

      • Doug

        JimBob, thanks for the great comment. I believe that in order to really save and improve a marriage each partner needs to look within themselves first. I know that many BS do this almost instantly after they learn of their spouse’s affair. It tends to be somewhat of a wake up call for them, however often the cheater feels that they do not need to do this. Mainly because their affair made them feel so confident, they have difficulty believing that they had anything to do with their own unhappiness. You have definitely learned a lot about yourself, I know how difficult it is to change those behaviors that gave you a sense of security. Those behaviors become a habit and trying something different is very scary. I have found that once I identified some my behaviors that were pushing Doug away rather than bringing him closer to me I began to make a conscious effort to avoid them. It has really been beneficial to the rebuilding of our marriage. Thanks again. Linda

    • Empty and Numb

      I am an expert in PA person. I’m 54 years old and was married for one for far too long.  Jim Bob, I can guess you still are not being honest, kind, caring or truthful with your wife.  It is why she is still angry.  You are avoiding her anger when you need to listen and talk at length about what you did.

      Most likely you still lie to her. She has yet to have a D-Day. How can you rebuild trust when you refuse to face her? It takes a special woman to or man to marry a PA.  This is a “Cluster B” personality type and crosses into narcissism.

      I would also guess you are still abusing her.  You need to support her by showing empathy and telling the truth.  

      I urge you to buy Linda and Doug’s books and read these blogs and responses back to back and at least 20 times each!  

      My second ( and terrific husband and father ) husband is a psychiatrist and has clearly read in-between your lines.  You carry the classic “I’m innocent” … tone. In fact, PA’s are the most awful spouse anyone could end up with. You are still lying and abusing her.

      PA’s usually lose everything unless they part take in years of therapy and become urgently motivated to educated themselves.  PA’s rarely can not be accountable and rarely tell the truth.  Their partners end up leaving because the abuse becomes too much!

      You bring up the topic I have continued to bring up. Longterm cheaters all fall into Cluster B personality disorders.  Some more severe than others.

      I applaud your bravery but try giving her what she needs. She has been telling you what she needs your entire marriage. If you had been meeting her needs I am sure you would never found yourself in this situation.

      I feel awful for those married to PA’s.  They rarely, if ever change. 
      I hope you are in therapy? You may have a small chance. That would depend on how much more your wife can take.  Assuming by your blog you don’t have much time left. 

    • Kevin

      Jimbob, No where did you say that this other woman didn’t mean anything to you and that your wife does. You accuse her of yelling and screaming. Have you don’t any research on what cheating does to a person?

      I did not hear anything in your blog but selfishness. Are you really trying to give us victims advice? Have you done any research to know what your job is as a cheating spouse? It doesn’t look like it.

      How often do you tell her your wife the truth? Any rational person would calm down eventually if you were doing what was needed to prove yourself. You state you don’t want to face affair repair but some how your relationship is important to you? By your own words you are still avoiding your wife and her needs and repairing the damage?

      What are you doing now to help your wife? Avoiding, is what I read. How do you communicate with your wife? Are you honest? She is still angry for a reason. It would be interesting to hear her side.

      How often are you the first one to bring up the topic and talk at length about your remorse? How do you handle her triggers? What have you done for your wife to communicate that your wife means everything to you and always has?

      I have lived this. My wife is a cheater. Cheaters never had a grasp of what a marriage is. When the going got tough, the cheaters got going. This is the cheaters biography.

      No where in your blog do I feel you have empathy or remorse. Your giving advice? Lol! You just want it to all go away without doing any work.

      Within all your words, you sound like my wife. It is “all about you” and what you feel. All about your selfishness.

      Crises seems to hit a marriage when the couple turns 40. One spouse realizes how imbalanced the marriage is. It is usually the responsible spouse that will seek to repair it while the irresponsible spouse will ignore it. This is what happened to me.

      My wife cheated both physically and mentally several times before I discovered her affairs. She had been doing this for years. She said she just didn’t feel that “in love feeling” and needed to feel that.

      Are you kidding me? “Needed to feel that”? How does one gain that “loving feeling”? They give it. And my wife gave that loving feeling to her lovers and never to me because she wanted real love? My wife wanted instant gratification and she is lazy.

      While she was out doing nothing for our family; I worked two jobs, took care of the kids and managed to romance her. She never provided much help with the children or in her career. She put more effort into being a Zumba teacher, than being a wife and mother. She never planned anything for me. She didn’t plan anything for the kids. She just expected that I do everything. I did.

      I discovered my wife was a narcissist in therapy. Our therapist says that cheaters are and were always narcissist. Narcissists never grew up to understand that real love is about growing into a deep equitable relationship. Real marriages require two people that are able to fight well and love well and respect one another.

      Marriage is business, not butterflies all the time. The butterflies come from an overall health, well-being and accomplishment of the family. That requires two grown up spouses to be on the same course and in constant honest communication and negotiation. My wife didn’t want to be accountable.

      The pain my wife caused her teenage sons, they will never forgive her for. We were in repair therapy but are now in divorce therapy. Our sons don’t want to have anything to do with her. They barely know her and all they know is that their mother hurt their father.

      She doesn’t care to listen to our therapist. She refused to accept my anger, refused to meet my needs, refused to follow repair rules. I was there to work. I recognize this pattern in you. This pattern is very clear within your blog.

      Empty and Numb has great points. Buy Doug and Linda’s books, educate yourself on what you need to do. Stop making your wife do all the work in the relationship. I would even suggest mentoring by Doug and Linda. I believe Doug is a recovering narcissist, too. I believe all cheaters to be narcissists.

      Now that my wife and I are in divorce therapy she seems to be taking things seriously and wants to do the work now. I think it is too late. I am only 44 and have done well financially. I no longer want my boys to see their mother as a role model. I don’t know what to do next. The pain she has caused she will never be able to make up for.

      My wife behaves as you do. She has the mind set of a spoiled child and the work ethic of an entitled princess. I do not want my sons to repeat by choosing women like her. I may not have a choice in that but I am determined to educate my sons on what type of people to avoid.

      I didn’t think I was good enough. I married my father, according to our therapist. I enabled her to treat me like crap! My sons have only known me as their care giver. They won’t truly miss her. I don’t know if you have kids but I would suspect that my wife’s future looks much like yours.

      She will leave you. My wife has nothing in her life. I don’t have much love left for someone that can’t return it.

      The destruction cheaters place on spouses and children can cause serious health problems. I had a mild heart attack and fell into a major depression. My wife ignored my serious health condition which was related to the cheating.

      I am just starting to come out of my depression. I fear my wife’s new found work ethic is not enough for me to take her back.

      It is cheaters that have never cared enough to take responsibility for their lives and victims like me do all the wrong things by enabling and trying to win back pieces of shit.

      If I had to take it back I would have divorced her immediately. I am still confused. If your wife is threatening to leave and you want to save this marriage, than it is up to you to do the work.

    • too little, too late

      Well ladies, I’m here to tell you…the backing off thing worked for me, but I don’t give a flip. So I’m married 13 years… Don’t stay for the kids, thinking when they get older they’ll be able to understand better. I waited too long and it’s very hard for them now as young teenagers. I’ve wanted out since year 4, told him so and he cried “I’ll be better, I’ll pay attention to you and I’ll help you with the kids” He was good for about a week. Then he started doing hard drugs and staying out all night, playing the “hide and seek” game not answering his phone…this shit went on for another maybe 7 years. Plenty of the “i’ll be better” talks but no real change, until he started up with a religious cult. Then it got worse. because now he “found God”.! I tried to go to the cult gatherings with him just to be supportive and before I knew it, he expected me to be totally into it with him. See, I was so busy doing all the heavy lifting, essentially raising 2 kids by myself, I forgot who the hell I was. He’s always felt more like a teenage son to me, never around to help…just in to change his clothes and eat after work and back out the door. He won’t even mow the lawn. He lost our nest egg and I’ll tell you it was over 6 figures, so even if I wanted to go I had no money, my credit’s ruined (and it was perfect when we first got together) so what could I do? I got so depressed I gained 50 lbs in about 6 months and was at my lowest point in my life. I told him I wanted to die more than anything, I told him how alone I felt…all alone in the world, and I’d try to talk to him when he came home, but he’d turn on the TV right while I was reaching out and pleading with him to help, give me some shred of affection, some “thanks for sticking through all the shit I dragged you through”, but he turned his back. I could’ve died…I was that desparate and miserable. then earlier this year an old friend of mine passed away, he knew him too but apparently it was no big loss to him…just the guy who introduced us….and in my obvious painof course no support…I wasn’t even allowed to show my grief or to talk about it with him. (not that he ever let me talk about anything) That was a turning point for me. I could see this man didn’t love me, clearly. I decided to spend the next few months planning to get out but decided that he could change my mind if he tried. He didn’t. We had many talks, because I started standing on my own and losing weight and finally making some friends in the state he dragged us to 3 yrs ago so he could stay away from his drug buddies…. nothing changed, not even for a day. then IT happened. This past Friday he hid part of his paycheck from me and when I accused him of it, he acted like I was being a bitch for saying such a thing, when I was right all along. I found out as soon as I opened his truck and he came running out of the house to stop me.That was it. As if $500 could ever make up for the money he has cost and lost. I have never screwed this family out of a dime…and that was IT. I was done right that instant. I told him as much, and for the first time he realized how much of a selfish dick he’s been to me. But i realize it too now. Before I just felt it, but now I’m really conscious of it all…the years of neglect and acting entitled…and financial abuse. For him to act like I can’t be trusted with HIS money…oh no no no. But he’s always been of the mindset that my money is our money and his money is his money…funny that’s just how a teenage son would see it. So suddenly now he’s trying to talk, he’s got 6 page apology letters. two of them.since friday. tonight he brought me a sandwich. Like he just made a sandwich and brought it to me without asking if I wanted one, and didn’t make one for himself. He watched me read the letter last night and all I could do was get angry. I finished it after laughing sarcastically and said “If you really love me, then you’ll let me go without a fight.” I can’t do it, I can’t go back. A switch went off, a fuse blew, Idk..but I just can never feel anything for him but sorry. And mad. Because this was all I asked for all along, so many times…just a conversation while I’m cooking your dinner, some flowers maybe and in 13 years of marriage he couldn’t be bothered until now. I’m sure some people will see it as me being stubborn but no one knows what it took to get me to this point. I’d have to fill 5 pages this big just to get started…And it infuriates me that he really did know how, he really did have the ability. He just didn’t care enough until he had to cover his ass…of course, he doesn’t want his mommy to walk out, who will wash his underwear and fold them and put them away?who the hell would want to lose a perfectly good slave? And now my kids see him trying so hard and they feel sorry for HIM, and my oldest wants nothing to do with me if I go. It’s so offensive. Him being Mr. Wonderful now that I finally can see clearly and the spell is broken…Its actually more insulting and hurtful than the years of neglect.

    • too little, too late

      I just read that back and realized how it made me sound like I was begging and crying for his attention literally. No, I wasn’t a sniveling crybaby over it. But I was empty inside and I told him in no uncertain terms how much I needed human connection…I’m in a new place,no friends, no family, no work. I left my career back home to follow him here to quit drugs. My line of work is commission only, and you need to know people to get referrals. Plus, you have to be able to walk out your front door, and I was far to emotionally stifled to accomplish that at the time. I was so far gone by then that I wasn’t even capable of tears or crying. I was void, all I asked for was to sit at the kitchen table and talk to me while I made dinner. Even after agreeing with me that it doesn’t take much more energy to have a conversation instead of watch TV, he still would’t do it. He kept saying he didn’t know what was wrong with him, he was saying he thought it was heart disease (doubtful in mid 30s)but he wouldn’t go to the doctor…. I could easly fill up 15 of these pages with horror stories. All I kept tellingmyself is he doesn’t beat me and he doesn’t cheat on me. Give the guy a medal. Anyway, I owe my life to FB as crazy as that sounds. It literally was my only connection with other people. And it gave me a last year with my friend who passed away. Say what you want about that site, it was life support for me.

    • Empty and Numb

      I am so sorry.  And the narcissists, passive aggressives and passives march on.

      Your pain is unimaginable … as are all of those who suffer the abuse of not only cheating but emotional abuse, as well.  You sound so strong! Go forth, heal and don’t repeat.  There are so many wonderful men out there.

      Your story is much like mine.  This blog site has been a blessing.  The time I wasted in therapy … trying to work with a cheater … it still pains me.

      My only regret is going to couples therapy and not walking out immediately and seeking therapy for myself.  In my situation …. His personality disorder was not able to be changed.  He has led a very sad life since our divorce.  I went on to lead a very successful life, remarried an amazing man and all children have turned out great.  I wish this for you.

    • LilyHopes

      My husband had an EA with my Au pair who is only 20 years old. His reasoning for this is, that I have mentally and verbally abused him while I was in depression. Please understand that I knew that I wasn’t the most perfect wife and I knew I took it out on him when it wasn’t his fault. I even told him and my therapist that I felt bad about it but he told us that he understood my issues, supports that I am seeking help and will stand by me. Never once did he actually tell me that it was affecting him so badly that he had to turn to our aupair for emotional support. actually, he denies that this is even an affair because there is no sex involved except in emails or texts messages. Even for a few months before I actually found out, I suspected something might happen. I told him that his friendship with Aupair was getting too much for me and that he needs to draw a line. So he stopped messaging her but decided to create a secret email address and communicate with her. At first, it was just friendship. She was telling him what was going on at home, with me, what I was planning etc. somewhere down that line, I got really uncomfortable and accused them of having more than friendship and told them to stop and asked aupair to leave. Since then, I found out that they are still having contact and that friendship has gone to higher levels. He says he has feelings for her because they are so much alike in many ways. He knows that he can’t be with her because of the age and her dreams , and our 3 kids. He said that he doesn’t love me that much anymore but he is willing to try our marriage again but wants to continue his friendship with her. I should not interfere in their business, not check on them, let him have his peace and quietness etc. My problem is, I can’t. I feel like I am the second woman. He is with me because he can’t be with her and I am the mother of his kids. That if we get a divorce his life will be more complicated. He travels often and on these days he doesn’t even call home to talk to us. With his current job, he may have to look for another job if we go into coparenting. Everything is taken care for him now. I am at home for the kids, housework,…everything. He just goes to work, comes home late, kisses kids goodnight and busy with his stuff. I need to beg him for some attention,mwhere I get blamed for “there you go again”. That I only want what I want and never cared about his feelings or his needs. Trouble is, I do care for what we want in OUR marriage, for OUR kids and not only about myself. If thats what he thinks, then I would have taken the job that would make life “difficult” for him eg. Sending the kids to school in the mornings, not travelling on weeks that I have to work afternoon shifts etc. Nursing was my dream job but I can’t do it now for him and the kids. I just have to look for a normal 8 to 5 job. I’m ok with that, why? Family comes first! When I ask him to stop his EA or friendship…I’m controlling his life. I don’t know what I can do. I can’t live like is anymore. if I hit the road of depression again…I don’t think I will survive. Should I let him do and just carry on like it is now? Do I take a stand and maybe risk losing him and ruining my kids life? Before all these happened, he was a very good and loving husband and father. His family was his priority! I don’t know if talking to him is a good idea because he feels that all we do is talk and he has had enough. He just wants to move on…with me and together with his friendship which I can’t accept! Somebody pls tell me!!!

      Obviously, there are some things that I haven’t mentioned…we had physical fights, and he called the police on me…I took the hammer for self defence because he pushed me unconscious to the floor, then i used it to bang the door to ask him to get out so that we could talk, he refused, so I threatened to hurt myself or the kids….so yes, now I am labeled abusive spouse. He uses that reason everytime. I told him that I was not thinking straight and just wanted to talk. He says He can’t trust me with the kids but leave them alone with me for days on end. Please before commenting..understand I am not the only victim…I have my shares. I have realised my mistakes and want to move on but how?

    • SoManyTears

      I have discovered that my CH is a narcissist/sociopath. The OW I caught him with was the longest member of his “harem”…41 years. I uncovered a secret life he’s been living for our entire 12 years together (11married). He keeps all his ex’s and potential girlfriends captivated and available to him by keeping in contact with them. They all think he’s such a nice guy, even though he’s deeply hurt most of them. He asked me, the other day, if I would still be his friend IF we divorce and wanted to know if I’d go out on a date with him sometime. I refuse to be part of his harem. It sickens me to think about it. I don’t know, but I suspect all cheaters have some narcissistic characteristics. His past proves he is a classic narcissist. I didn’t see any signs for 9 years because of his ability to lie and hide things and my trusting ways. He even told the OW he wouldn’t get caught because he was “a good liar”. Now that his mask has fallen off, he has become mean and abusive. I grieve for what I thought I had, but know it was all a game. It’s the worst thing ever and I’ll never be the same. Mean people suck.

      • Rachel

        So many tears,
        I have a great book for you to read.
        Narcissistic Lovers by Cynthia Zayn and Kevin Dibble

    • Beckyb2

      I discovered my husbands whores 8 at this time I doubt I will ever know how many for true he had. I learned he prefers dumb / retarded yes low intelligence it made him think he was smart to be able to lie and twist our story to the opposite of reality he wanted sympathy and ego stroking he wanted to look like a hero even while he was lying and cheating to get sex WOW . Yes he is character fucked up I have some ideas from 3 1/2 years of his hiding and lying his almost 36 years of being on the receiving end of his dysfunctional and abusive behavior. He is a conman which I never knew til recently strange how we see and experience it yet can’t put a name to it . I have stepped back way back and I feel as if my heart has closed up as if every lie he told me added another brick to the wall he built between I have put my love into my children and my grandchildren. Sad when we love and give our all to the one we love and all they want is less than love less than life together less than honesty it makes stepping back too easy.

    • SoManyTears

      Thanks, Rachel. I ordered it this morning.

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