Sometimes when the wayward spouse says, “But I’m telling the truth,” they really are. But it can be hard for them to believed – for good reasons.

but I'm telling the truth

Photo:  jintae kim

By  Doug

Having mentored quite a few well-meaning wayward spouses lately, I’ve noticed a common frustration that several of them mentioned…

Their betrayed spouses (BS) not believing them – even though they are telling the truth.

(Note:  I suppose that there is a possibility that these Wayward spouses (WS) were lying to me when they told me this.  But I did not get the feeling that they were, as they really had no reason to lie to me. So let’s proceed on the assumption they were being honest with me.)

I sense that this is quite a common problem for couples and keeps many of them from moving forward.  They’re stuck!

Linda and I certainly went through this phase and it was frustrating for me/us back then, but with the benefit of experience and knowledge, I know that in most cases it makes total sense – and the BS has every right – to be skeptical that the WS is telling the truth.

Here are a few reasons why…

Destruction of Trust. The affair destroyed pretty much every ounce of trust that previously existed in the marriage.  The WS has betrayed, deceived, minimized, etc.  To the BS, their words don’t hold much water right now – often rightfully so. 

Past Behaviors. Perhaps the WS has been lying, releasing details in bits and pieces (trickle truth), not being upfront and transparent about their actions, whereabouts, etc., and refusing to answer the BS questions.  Or it could be a matter of the WS not being able to fully remember specific affair details when asked.

Manipulation. The WS has been defensive and has used manipulation tactics such as gaslighting and stonewalling.

No Confidence. The BS’s confidence and self esteem have taken a huge hit.  They are not confident in their feelings of what is real and what isn’t. 

What can the WS do?

Put yourself in your BS shoes for a minute.  Try to understand how your words and actions are affecting the situation. Would you trust YOU?  

To that end, here are a few things that I feel are important for the WS to practice:

Always tell the truth!

Lying and affairs go hand-in-hand, but there are also many out there who have made a practice of lying throughout their entire lives. Changing life-long habits can be difficult.  It’s tough to just quit cold-turkey. 

Part of the reason for this is that a person who has lied to others has usually first lied to themselves. They have rationalized their behavior and told themselves whatever the felt they had to in order to deal with the gap between who they were and who they pretended to be. Only when you begin being honest with yourself can you be more honest with others.

Be consistent in your trust building activities.

This can be as simple as leaving your cell phone at home when you are running an errand or on the desk when you are at home.  Provide all passwords to email accounts, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.  Block the affair partner from your cell, un-friend them on Facebook and don’t search for him/her just because you’re “curious.” Be transparent in all that you do.  (There’s lots more, but this is a good start.)

Commit to a life of honesty and integrity and practice it on a daily basis.

Living an honest life on the outside requires you to live an honest life on the inside. Doing this allows you clarity when you have to make hard choices in the future and you won’t be at war with yourself over which path to choose.  With consistency, your spouse will grow to trust and respect you again.

Take responsibility for your actions and demonstrate that you are changing (have changed) and are trying to improve yourself.

Go to individual therapy and learn from reading books.  Be proactive in initiating conversations about what you’ve learned from your therapy sessions and/or reading and share any, ‘a-ha’ moments you experienced.  Work to understand why you had your affair and talk with your husband or wife about your discoveries.

Show patience and a willingness to answer the questions that your betrayed spouse asks.

Don’t gaslight, argue, stonewall, or otherwise try to manipulate that conversation with the intent of proving him/her wrong or shutting him/her down.

Do your part to help rebuild his/her self esteem and confidence.

One way you can do this is to reinforce the fact that the affair was not their fault and that it was all about you and your issues – not theirs. Reassure him/her that you are committed to them and to your marriage and that you are in this for the long haul.

Show you care and that you love your spouse throughout each and every day. Love can conquer a lot, and if you continually act in a loving manner towards your spouse, his or her self-esteem and confidence can soar.  It can also help in the trust building process.  Not to mention giving her/him the feeling that you are committed to the marriage. 

What If I’m the Betrayed Spouse?

The most often cited culprit that has been communicated to me from WS that works against them being honest is the BS reactions/consequences when they do tell the truth.  Such things like anger, yelling, punishing, etc.  Many WS feel as though they want to tell the truth, but if they do, it will be the final straw.

Basically, it’s the thought that there isn’t a safe environment that promotes the sharing of thoughts, feelings and details, or that the possible consequences of telling the truth are too great.

So, it’s kind of a mixture of feeling they are being shamed and punished with a dose of feeling they need to protect their own asses.

Creating a Safe Environment for Honest Communication

I understand your frustrations and emotions and I agree that there are times when the WS needs to have their ass chewed out, suffer serious consequences – and more.  However, if the intent is to understand things so that you can better put the pieces of the affair puzzle together and move forward with recovery, then I feel it’s imperative that a safe environment is established.

Does that mean that at times you can’t get angry or that you have to bury your emotions?  Not at all.  Blow-ups are going to happen.  And it’s OK. But if it’s a consistent thing where you see that your actions or reactions are hindering open and honest communication, then perhaps you should consider an adjustment.  (And I’m sure that usually the WS needs to adjust their reactions as well.)

For most WS, it can feel “safer” to lie than to tell the truth; but once they commit to rebuilding the trust that has been broken, they need to see that it’s now both safer and smarter to tell the truth.

Encouraging Truthfulness without Punishment

So, while it may seem unfair for the person who has been hurt by the earlier lies to be supportive of their partner’s efforts to tell the truth (especially when the truth hurts), if they are ever to overcome the tendency to lie, it’s critical to avoid “punishing” them when they do tell the truth. (Since most of us do or say whatever “works,” if they feel it’s not working to tell the truth, they won’t be motivated to continue trying to break the habit of lying.)

And finally, there are times when you need to consider the possibility that your WS is indeed telling the truth.

Please share your thoughts and experiences related to this in the comment section below.  



    100 replies to "But I’m Telling the Truth! – When the Betrayed Spouse Doesn’t Believe the Unfaithful Person Even When They are Telling the Truth"

    • Fatherof4

      My wife of 20 years over the course of her 8 month EA looked me in the eye and straight up lied to me at least 4 times that I know of. Those are the ones that i had smoking gun evidence either during or after the fact. She would only come clean if i had that smoking gun, if not, she always explained things away as innocent, I was being overly sensitive etc. Always stringing me along. I never knew she that in her to do that to me. I would have crumbled early, especially if it was all so innocent as she claimed. So in the aftermath, once that trust is shattered, it is extraordinarily hard to get back to any semblance of a trusting relationship. As most on this website can attest. It throws everything they say and do into question. For how long? I don’t know. I’ll let you know when i get there. So when the cheater asks “why don’t you trust me” they should ask themselves “would you trust you if you were in my place?”

      • Cheryl

        Wow!! I am going through the same thing with my husband of 25 years. He worked out of town A LOT!! When I sensed there was a woman involved I shrunk to the size of a kitten. I felt like a kitten in traffic. It’s been SEVEN YEARS for me and I have tried to let it go. I have no proof but his actions (yelling at me calling me crazy, it’s all in my head) make me crazy. Watching movies trigger what he did yet when I bring up the fact that I need the truth in order to move forward he calls me every name in the book!! How could an innocent person be innocent as he says he is and call me all those names?? Thanks for your story. It helped me a little bit. Hope all is well for you in your part of the world!

        • Shifting Impressions

          I’m sorry for what you are going through….you mentioned you have no proof of the affair. But yet you allow yourself to be treated poorly….name calling is absolutely a form of abuse. Perhaps that is something to deal with as there is no proof needed,

          • Cheryl

            Yes, you are right! I had a retired police officer tell me the same thing. He said “if you saw it with your own two eyes, why do you need to hear him confess”. Lately he has been saying little things, like I brought him a tums and he said “you make me nauseous. Out of “no-where!! I acted as if it didn’t bother me, and when brought up again he said “I was only kidding”. I have already contacted an attorney to file for divorce., he doesn’t know this yet but he will. Saying mean things then saying he was only kidding is just not a joke to me. Even though I am 56 years old I’d rather be alone then be alone anyway with him here. Thank you for your kind advise!!

            • Shifting Impressions

              There is that saying that when someone shows you who they are, believe them. You deserve to be treated with love and respect.

              Take care and all the best to you.

    • TheFirstWife

      Doug these are good points. All of them.

      I think (for me) I watched to see “did his actions follow his words”.

      That helped restore trust and healing b/c if re-enforced his commitment to being honest and reliable both in words and actions.

      If he said I’ll be home at 9 pm and he was – perfect! If he called and said I’ll be late b/c of traffic or late trains – great!

      Accountability. Transparency. Honesty. Reliability. When those things consistently happen then trust can be restored.

      When you see the lying or omission of facts is no longer happening – it can move your recovery and reconciliation further along too. But it must be consistent. And sometimes I think the WS doesn’t understand why one small lie can derail Reconciliation and healing.

      It implies so much more unfortunately.

    • Hopeful

      For me without knowing all trust was lost during the 10 years of affairs. I was always proactive in wanting to work on our relationship/marriage and many times I would ask direct questions. The questions varied from more general but also detailed asking if he had connected with women either emotionally or physically or ask about getting attention from women while out or travelling. Every single time he looked me in the eye and said never or something to that affect. He wrote me the most meaningful cards and poems every holiday.

      So when a questionable text came across his iPad he forgot at home while out of town with friends at 2 am I knew something was not right. Granted he had ended both affairs and the text was more stupid than anything but it pointed to he was lying to me over and over for years directly to my face.

      So on dday when I confronted him and he opened up we had very honest discussions that day. I also made it clear to him that day and going forward I expected him to tell me everything and that now was the time. What he did was he minimized everything that day and for five months. So he did not lie about the actual affairs and who they were with but he cut off about 5 years etc. Also, through information I took screen shots of the night before dday not knowing what I had uncovered I discovered he had a fake FB page and a fake email. Neither was used for the affairs. I had to find those. I had to confront him regarding his use of porn.

      He has explanations for it all. I cannot say he is wrong since that is how he feels however as my therapist said my husband can justify this all in his mind but his perception of things is distorted and it needs to be my way now.

      My husband first of all said on dday that he did not know if we were going to last/make it so he wanted to minimize the truth. He also had no idea if he wanted to stay in the marriage since I caught him off guard. He had this feeling for 10 years that he was a horrible person since he was able to do everything he did but I never did anything wrong, he loved me and I did not deserve to be with someone like him.

      My husband also felt like it was easy for him to be misinterpreted or to have his words used against him at a later date.

      My husband also said he really did not remember some details I wanted. Like what year one affair began. He cannot remember which year it was out of three years. He only knows it was the fall. He said he tried to repress the details and it was not something to be celebrated or remembered.

      Dday was a horrible day however the five months post dday and dday 2 really was the lowest point. It about destroyed me. I can intellectually understand why he thought he was doing the right thing. However over the course of those five months I asked him over and over about what he had told me. None of it made sense. I could not piece it together. And I am not talking about wanting sexual details etc. I knew he was not telling me the whole truth but he told me over and over he told me everything. In the end he made me feel crazy and gaslighted me for those five months. I reached my lowest point on dday 2. I got severely ill after dday 2 and fell apart. I had lost so much weight that I did not have to lose and could not get out of bed. It was way worse than dday 1 even though there was no new information besides that the affairs lasted 10 years instead of 6 and 5. But it was how he treated me still.

      Bottom line is after destroying the trust in the beginning and then to stomp all over it was a way worse violation than the actual affairs.

      • Cat

        Just curious if you worked it out?

    • Shifting Impressions

      Creating a “safe environment “ is a lot to ask of a betrayed spouse. Usually our partners are less than forthcoming with the facts. They will only admit to what we have proof of. Then they spend a lot of time stonewalling and gaslighting. And then to top to it all off they play the victim card when we try to share our hurt and pain.

      And yet, it seems that is the only way that they will open up and I get that. I just don’t know if the CS realizes what it takes to create that safe environment. Often the BS is in complete shock after d-day, I know I was. It’s like our heart has been ripped out and then stomped on over and over again with the continued deceit, gaslighting and stonewalling etc.

      So, I don’t think a CS should be all that surprised that we don’t believe them when they are “actually telling the truth”. For me the deceit and behavior for a year or two after d-day were just as destructive as the EA itself.

      Sometimes I think when the CS is honest and lives his life with integrity, in all the other areas and then lies and deceives the person closest to them it hurts even more.

      This is a good post but this topic always touches a nerve with me…..because the deceit is so hard to deal with. And it is sorely unfair for the BS to be put in the position of creating a safe place for the CS. Cheating is such a cowardly act and it takes bravery to tell the truth regardless of the BS’s reaction. That bravery seems to be in short supply when it comes to CS but yet so much is asked of the BS.

      A bit of a rant, I know…..but it touches a nerve!!!

      • Doug

        SI, I hear what you’re saying and I agree that just after D-day it is quite difficult for the BS to crate a safe environment. And for the most part, a CS shouldn’t expect them to (except for physical safety). I think there needs to be expression of anger and a release of emotions.

        • Shifting Impressions

          Doug, the thing is, the CS’s behavior after d-day can be so demoralizing. I was in no shape to take that. As EG said, here you are bleeding on the floor and they are complaining about the blood or even worse, denying the fact that you are bleeding or that it even happened at all. Or perhaps we could just move on…..yes those are just the words you want to hear as you are bleeding out.

          I finally backed off because I was just so tired of trying and yes that did create a better dynamic for him to open up. I swear I cried almost everyday for three years….a little less cowardice and a little more bravery on his part might have spared me some of that. Still makes me crazy when I think about it.

          • Doug

            Again SI, no arguments from me. Unfortunately, less cowardice and more bravery are not typical of most CS – especially right after D-day. It’s too scary. Too risky. Later on perhaps this becomes less of an issue, but not always.

            • Shifting Impressions

              Doug, the thing that seems so backwards to my way of thinking is that they “risk” so much more with the continued deception. It seems like such a common thread amongst BS’s that the trickling of truth and continued lying enrages and breaks us even more.

              ‘When I was raising my kids I would always tell them, if they told me truth I would be much easier on them than if they lied.

              So as you say later this might become less of an isssue to the CS but in the meantime they have made things much worse in the eyes of the BS.

            • Hopeful

              SI, I totally agree with all that you have said. For at least my husband it came down to him not wanting to feel worse by admitting everything, forgetting/repressing as much as he could and he had become a liar and a master at deception. I honestly do not think he knew the difference between a white lie and a big lie. I had to get the point across everything is bad. I do not care if it is something simple and meaningless to me. A couple weeks after dday he had this discussion with me how he did not think it was best to be totally honest. For example if he does not like what I make for dinner or what i am wearing he thought it was better to lie. Or he stays for one more drink with the guys vs what he tells me he stopped to get gas just as an example. I had to get the point across that he had to be 100% honest all the time. That does not mean that he has to be mean.

              It is funny you bring up your kids. I totally agree and have said and felt it many times that my kids have better judgment, decision making and morals than he did. It is so frustrating to me. I want to say to his parents what the hell did you do or not do. I have always told my kids to work hard, be honest and treat others respectfully whether you know them or not. And you can not undo a bad decision it is better to back away. For my husband it is an extra struggle since due to his profession he told me he knew better, had not one issue with me, and knew he would take our marriage to the brink and did it anyways. He never wanted to leave and never loved either woman. All I can think is how much he must have hated himself. I just do not get it and never will.

              I am not sure if it ever goes away. I have been thinking about this a lot and he crushed my soul and every part of me. I just do not think I will ever heal. I fake it and put on a happy face.

            • Shifting Impressions

              I will never really get it either. He runs his business with integrity, is an amazing father and really cares about the people around him. There is an audio in the post about revenge affairs by Gary Huizinga (hope I spelled that right) that describes my husband perfectly. He spent so much of his life (childhood included) doing the “right thing” and never making waves. He was the ultimate people pleaser. He needed to be the good guy. But over the years he became so out of touch with his own needs and feelings. The affair thinking was “he was finally doing something for himself”. He was acting completely against his own moral compass….which of course made him totally miserable.

              I asked him last week if this was an accurate assessment of the situation and he wholeheartedly agreed. Unfortunately his actions and deceit almost destroyed me.

              I am slowly healing, but there will always be a scar.

            • Doug

              True. I often hear from BS that the lying is what really hurts them. But a good deceiver never thinks they will get caught and many of these folks are life-long liars and are quite skilled (or at least they think they are).

        • Tired

          Doug, I don’t want to sound confrontational, but you are a cheating spouse. I agree it is very difficult for the betrayed to create a ‘safe’ environment. It must have been very hard for Linda who was being betrayed. What did you do Doug? Did you make the same mistakes our partners have made? Did you keep lying? If so, what was Linda’s response? What did you do to to facilitate these safe conversations? I am guessing your advice about what to do to comes from your experience about what NOT to do?!

          • Tired

            Did you delete my post? There are two sides to every story. And there are screen shots.

            • Doug

              No. I don’t delete posts unless there is really offensive language. I checked in the comment spam and trash folders and there were no other comments from you.

          • Doug

            Well of course I made the same mistakes. I was covering my own ass for quite a while. I was defensive, I stonewalled, I gaslighted. I did it all. So yes, I’m referring to my own mistakes and those of a bunch of people I’ve talked to. Linda’s response changed over time from reacting in an emotionally charged way that caused me to get defensive, etc., to a more safe way where she communicated more calmly and from a stance of trying to understand as opposed to attacking and blaming. When that happened, we had great conversation where I was open and honest and answered her questions calmly and without defensiveness. Often the result was us being able to reconnect in a more intimate fashion as well.

            • Tired

              I’m very glad Linda’s response changed over time.

              t seems to me that you are saying that this was all on Linda. If Linda had not come to the party, so to speak, then you would not have come to your senses?

              Shame on Linda for having an emotionally charged response to your betrayal.

              Can you please explain to us all why Linda had to be this nice person to you after what you had done to her? I think there are a lot of betrayed spouses who would like to hear this answer.

              What you say makes me angry because it seems like you are putting the onus on the betrayed spouse.

            • Doug

              Tired, I’m not saying that at all. I’ll attempt to explain it better…It was both of us. And this was well after the affair was over. Our communication skills were not good and we BOTH figured that out and how to better create an environment for sharing. I commented previously on how I did everything wrong. I screwed up and didn’t handle it in the proper manner. I was fearful of the consequences, fearful of Linda leaving me, afraid of her reactions and her emotions, etc. I felt it better to respond the way I did in order to cover my ass. Our situation improved when I realized (through a talk with Linda) some things about Linda’s motivations when she approached me to discuss things, and that she wasn’t out to attack me and blame me and leave me (which is what I thought/feared), but she wanted to just vent and/or understand things better. It also helped that she realized that the way she approached me made me get defensive and shut her down. So she felt it was better to address me in a safer fashion. That worked for US. Was it every conversation? No. Will it work for you? Who knows. Does the CS deserve to get their ass chewed out at times. Hell yes! Does that usually work as a tactic to have a meaningful, honest conversation about things? Not typically.

            • Tired

              Thanks Doug. I apologise for all of my comments. Something in that article triggered me. The WS had been lying…

            • Doug

              No worries Tired. I understand completely!

            • chelsie

              This always seems to be the case….the BS has to do the tough work of rebuilding the marriage by creating a ‘safe place’ for the CS. Crazy. Should be the other way around, but it simply isn’t that in all reality. The BS is doing the reading, contacting marriage counselors, etc. I get the excuse that “I’m at work, you have the time.” I told him that if it was that important to him then he had to make the time while at work. We have conversations about the betrayal and they always end the same, with nothing resolved and feeling even worse. He has two tendencies….(1) start talking about other things that are completely off course, in an effort to try to make me feel sorry for him….poor him, his family is dysfunctional, poor him, he doesn’t have the loving family I have (which although true about his family, but equally frustrating is that he has chosen to distance himself from them the last 30 years and my entire family has completely embraced him as their own) and (2) the horrendous false accusation that “what about you, 25 years ago, I know something was going on with you and the neighbor.” HUH?!!! Couldn’t be further from the truth and why he would even suspect something like that is beyond belief. But that is typical CHEATER speak, to try to blameshift. He doesn’t have a leg to stand on with me and blameshifting b/c I’ve been a good wife and mother and did NOT cheat so instead has created a horrendous false scenario in his mind. So where is the safe place? He does this every time. Now I just blow up when he pulls this card and conversation over. I stopped counseling b/c the counselor stated that she cannot get through to him that his EA was an affair and damaging. He still stands that he is a “good” person b/c he works and doesn’t go out to bars and physically abuse me. Good people don’t deceive and cheat on spouse. He lacks empathy and she can’t make any headway with him. These things tell me he is not truly remorseful for his actions and HE is NOT safe. Feeling very stuck in this situation.

      • Tired

        SI and Hopeful, I completely agree with you. It is true they only admit to what we have proof of. You would think any sane person would see how duplicitous that makes them look, but no. It seems all common sense goes out the window. They are in damage control mode. The lies my husband told me are so insulting. No intelligent person would believe the rubbish that came out of his mouth. That he thinks I would have believed it is very offensive and still is to this day.

        “But I’m telling the truth!” The mind boggles at their rationale. I used to say: “What, THIS time?” Why would I believe anything after all the lies? SI, you say finding further lies after D-day were just as destructive as the affair. To me the deceit and behaviour after I discovered it were much, much worse. He said he had told the truth but I discovered things one by one and it became a long drawn out and very torturous saga. He made me doubt him with his ongoing lies.

        Maybe he did this because of what Doug is saying: I made him scared to tell. There is some sense in that, but it still the very idea makes me furious. The insinuation that I am somehow to blame for the continued deception of a lying husband really makes me mad.

        • Doug

          Hey Tired, I certainly didn’t want to insinuate that BS are to blame for the CS lying and deception. They certainly did that on their own and are often too cowardly to fess up on their own. They are 100% responsible for their actions. But it’s the unfortunate reality of the situation that the whole hamster wheel hell of deceit and lies will more than likely never end if there isn’t a safe environment (on both sides) so that sound, effective communication can take place.

          • Tired

            Yes there are always two sides to every story. Then there are screen shots

            • Doug

              Screen shots? I lost you.

        • Shifting Impressions

          I know, this is a very sore point with me as well. And I worked extremely hard to create that safe environment…..and I continue to.

          • Hopeful

            I find when I replay to my husband what he said dday and that entire first year after dday he is appalled with himself. And yes he had just gotten used to lying. I think for me is I have never been a person who attacks or is nasty. I have always tried to create meaningful discussion with the purpose to move forward and problem solve. I have done this our entire marriage. I am careful and have always been to say this makes me feel or talk about me vs using “you”. Even during the hardest times. And it is still hard to believe how he was able to lie to my face pre and post dday to very direct questions that I asked calmly. This is where I struggle. It was not as if I had my head in the sand and was clueless about what can go on in a marriage. And then he has admitted to me that he knew before he did what he did and especially after that he took our marriage to the brink of disaster.

    • Hopeful

      I am not sure if I will ever get to the point of believing 100% of what my husband says about anything. I think the harm done might be too deep. Honestly I look at everything and everyone with skepticism. In the end the only person i can trust or depend on is me.

    • Exercisegrace

      Shifting, I completely agree. It touches a nerve with me too. My dad always used to say that one “aww shit” will erase ten “atta boys”. There was no safe environment for me when my husband was putting me and the kids through hell with his affair. There was no safe environment when our teenage daughter began to self-harm because her father’s choices drove her into a depression. The best my husband could hope for was me being calm, actively listening and not screaming at him!

      We reached a point where we had to agree to only discuss certain things with the therapist. The problem though with cheaters, is they know every detail about the affair. They have had all the time in the world to process information and emotion. You can’t hit someone across the face with a baseball bat and then ask them to go bleed somewhere else because it’s upsetting you to see their blood all over your carpet! I don’t think I have heard of one single cheater who immediately offers up the entire truth. It has to be dredged out of them. THAT is where most of the rage comes in. When I found out about the affair, I was told it only last a couple months (close to two years), they never had sex at our house (they mostly had sex at our our bed, in our master bathtub, etc), she had no diseases I needed to worry about (she has HPV), and this list could go on and on.

      Someone who truly wants to save their marriage will take their lumps. They will stand in there and bear the brunt of the rage and pain THEY inflicted. Having a counselor is key. Setting boundaries for discussions is another key. We also agreed that if one of us got overwhelmed, we could stop and take a break. Pick it back up when we felt calmer. But I made no apologies for how I needed to fix what he destroyed.

      • Sarah P.

        Hi ExerciseGrace,

        Hope you don’t mind that I chime in. But, I have a question. How did you manage to keep your rage under control?

        It’s like this: everyone I ever worked with in the corporate world, no matter what job, would joke about how I had a “poker face” and no matter what was going on, I was calm. Everyone else freaking out about a software release date and hyperventilating? I would be at my computer with my “poker face” sending emails to all stakeholders and negotiating realistic timelines. The delays always had to do with the development team and their manager was the gatekeeper. I was either the product or project manager who would have to go between our business stakeholders saying “we want release date #1” and a development manager saying, “My team can only manager release date number two.” By the way, the idea of a poker face is not my name for myself– it is what my coworkers always said. I could sit in a room of yelling executives with my ‘poker face,’ taking notes on important information, and figuring out how to call them down and say: “hey there is this other thing I just thought of that might work.” People could yell directly to my face and I did not flinch or raise my voice. Why? Because it was work. It was nothing personal. They were stressed and displacing anger onto me. (Those people always apologized and ended up having respect for me.) The point is, I could do all of that because it WAS NOT PERSONAL. I did not have to share a house with these people, raise children with these people, or share a bank account with these people. So, I kept my normal face which others have often interpreted as a ‘poker face.’ I simply do not get angry easily. It’s not a poker face– it’s an “I don’t get angry easily face.”


        Let’s say my husband did what your husband did and I had a teenager participating in self-harm. And then I got HPV. And then I found out my H was f***ing a disease-ridden whore all over the master bath and master bedroom I personally designed and decorated.

        Well, to keep it simple, I would go CRAZY.

        I would go incredible hulk on him.

        But maybe that is because my cheating ex gave me cancer from the HPV the other woman was carrying. Maybe I would do that because I have been there, done that, lost a house over it, lost all the money I put into the house over it, and then had to have surgeries to remove the cancer and hope and pray these surgeries did not prevent me from having kids. Because the doctor told me flat out I may not be able to carry a child. I prayed, and prayed, and prayed. Yes, I believe in the one God and I believe in metaphysical healing, but I believe in doing that along side all that western medicine has to offer. I am alive. I managed to carry two children (without miscarriage) even though I now had an “incompetent cervix.”

        So, I have been there, done that, got the shitty t-shirt, and I became a “member of the club NO ONE wants to join.”

        The me back then? Docile. Frightened as hell. Crying. Suicidal. Had plans for suicide. Felt like I caused what he did. Terrified I would never get married. Or terrified I would die of cervical cancer first. Hired and attorney to speak to him because I could not manage talking with him without becoming more suicidal. If we were at dinner and someone announced yet another person’s wedding, I would burst into tears and leave because I could not prevent the deep, heaving waves of sobs that would follow. I could not imagine starting over at 30, losing the house, losing all the money I used as a downpayment for said house. I could not stand that he was living in the house with the OW, but I was too terrified to confront him. And he even wanted me to pay her rent. Luckily I had still enough in me to send word through my attorney that the answer was, “Hell no. You move out of the house, I will move in, and I will cover the ENTIRE mortgage myself.” Nope. In fact, he wanted the house to be dumped below market value and yet he would NOT allow me to buy him out. Seriously, my ex must have been CRAZY. Or why didn’t he just buy me out? We ended up selling that huge, brand new 3 bedroom/2 bath backed up to a greenbelt for 165k. The house that could have sold for 300k. I still wonder why on earth he did what he did and then tried to destroy both of us financially. What the f???

        That was me then. Since you had not been through it before, you were probably more like me– maybe not crying and suicidal, but you were in new terrain– terrain you had never navigated before. You were trying to figure out how to navigate the terrain you were never prepared to navigate and you had no idea what was coming next so you just kept going and going and going.

        But, let’s say your situation happened to me now, I would NOT be able to contain the absolute rage. I would probably show up at the OW’s work and grab her by the hair and pull her outside. But I would do far worse to my husband. Far worse.

        Why? My husband knows every detail of what happened to me. He knows. He met me during that time and I announced to him what I was going through and told him if he wanted to date, he would be dating a broken (but good) person who wanted to find a good man and have children. He married me. He knows about what articles I write and I tell him stories of the latest and greatest news story of people who screw each other over and how hurtful it is. Yesterday’s news story was about some “innocent-looking” married female teacher having sexual relations with a 13 year old at her house when her husband was gone. (No this is not Mary Kay Latourneau. This is someone else entirely in another state.)

        Knowing all that, I would go crazy and the craziness would go OUTWARD and not inward like the first time. I have told him that I love him but if he is feeling it for someone else at work, he must talk to me before it gets out of control. Otherwise, he will wish he never met me or married me because the fallout will be like a thousand nuclear bombs going off at the same time.

        Is he here out of fear? I don’t think so. He was abandoned with no warning by his first wife and she cleaned their apartment bare, took all his student loan money, and filed for divorce. I know he hates that kind of drama and he still talks about how that experience still affects him. He doesn’t like surprises or situations that are unknown or could get out of control.

        Doesn’t mater though. If a guy wants to cheat, he will do it. And if it happens again, I will not be able to contain my rage.

        So how do you contain your rage? That whole thing about only talking about certain things and not others at the therapist would NOT work for me. I don’t like lying or intentionally suppressing the truth so that someone does not have to answer for their actions. It’s a form of gaslighting. (Gaslighting comes in MANY forms).

        So what do you do to keep an even head? I am so sorry about what happened to you. How do you cope? Please share because I know my own mind well and I would not be able to cope. I would turn into the incredible hulk and who knows what would happen after that. You are very strong…


    • Exercisegrace

      One last thought. My husband spent over twenty years of marriage displaying a sterling character and trustworthy behavior. Then he cheated. When I voiced my fears and suspicions, he lied so convincingly. He acted so wounded that I could ever think he would do such a thing. Then he lied some more. Then after d-day, he lied some more.

      Cheaters have a character flaw that allows them to cheat. If they are good people, they will seek help to figure out this part of themselves and how to guard against that piece of them that is capable of that kind of behavior. But you can’t undo it. I truly thought my husband was incapable of cheating. My trust is probably back to 99%. He wishes it were 100%, but understands you can’t unring a bell. Even our therapists told him, that once you break trust with your spouse it never totally comes back. Cheating just causes too much damage. But the cheater CAN live an open accountable life, and not put themselves in any situation that could cause doubt. I don’t check my husbands phone, or snoop around anymore. He also hasn’t given me reason to do that. But if something off happened, I’d be lying if I said it wouldn’t cross my mind. I think it’s something cheaters have to learn to live with. Like a scar or limp.

      • Shifting Impressions

        I thought my husband was incapable of cheating as well. You are so right….it can’t be undone.

      • Hopeful

        Me too. I felt the same way. I even asked my husband directly if he ever cheated over the years. I was not stupid or naive what happens out there. And I could understand his appeal. But he lied right to my face each time. I do think it is something in him. I have seen improvements but I think there is always a hint there. That level of selfishness and narcissism together. I agree and feel the same about the trust. He thinks if he does nothing connected to women then he is in the clear. However if I am going to be in this marriage I have many expectations beyond not cheating. I think of the scarlet letter. Instead in our society it is a hidden issue.

    • Assurance

      Loved every word of what you have said here Exercise Grace. So much TRUTH in each comment of all who have spoken. Much respect to each and every betrayed Spouse. GOD Bless!

    • Nearly Normal

      Hello, all.

      It has been a while since I’ve posted here. I’ve been busy with my plan to heal and to get things in my marriage to a better place.

      This is actually relevant to the discussion (I think), so bear with me.

      About a month ago, I contacted a therapist on the phone. I felt like it would be a good fit for me (she specializes in EMDR, which I think is what I need most). This is a big step for me, as I have never had counseling, either marital or individual. So big step, much nervousness.

      Of course, I needed to tell my wife about this. I couldn’t sneak around behind her back and get counseling. If nothing else, she’d notice the money disappearing. (This is not to be taken as a condemnation of anyone who needs to get counseling on their own. Sometimes I think that is necessary. This is speaking to my situation.)

      So I told her. I vagued up some of the details, which I was not ready to go into. I said that I was depressed because of various factors, most of which have to do with what she did (at least one emotional and physical affair about twenty years ago).

      She was a bit shocked that I was suddenly bringing this up, which is natural. As some of you may remember, I have been holding my pain inside and dealing with it as best I can on my own without talking to her about it, for various reasons that I don’t want to rehash now. My wife’s insecurity kicked in, questioning such things as why I would go talk to someone else about my problems but not my wife (a fair question).

      I think I reassured her as much as I could, and she has said some very good things. She hopes that I get the help I need. She recognizes her fault in causing my pain. This is some wonderful, open communication after almost nothing for years, so Yay!

      Here’s the relevant bit: I keep hearing this voice in the back of my head, kind of like the commentator on a DVD film. My wife says something and I think, “Is she just saying that because she thinks I want to hear it? Or is she sincere?” Ugh! I am trying very hard to give her the benefit of the doubt, especially because she has not been caught in a lie for almost two decades. And STILL I am suspicious.

      Partly I think this is because of the ongoing pain, almost certainly PTSD, that keeps reminding me of the past. Hence the counseling, in which I can hopefully take the edge off the pain, thus helping marital communication, among other things.

      So I went yesterday for my first session. I feel like this will be helpful.

      P.S. I mentioned in my session that my online group was helpful to me, and that I see this as a stepping stone to help me get to other things. Not that I’m leaving or anything. this is not graduation. Just want to express my thankfulness to all here.

      • Shifting Impressions

        Nearly Normal
        I think it’s fantastic that you are seeing a therapist and wish you all the best with that. As for your wife’s surprise it just shows me again that the CS doesn’t really understand the tremendous heartache and pain they have left us with.

      • Hopeful

        Good for you. Sounds like you are taking the right steps. I think it is so smart. Maybe your therapist and you can talk about her initial uncertainty. My therapist and I would talk about what I would tell my husband. It ended up being a good sounding board and my husband had some good conversations after I went to my therapist each time.

    • Sally

      Over a year since d-day and my husband is still gaslighting and stonewalling – and refusing to admit he has ever been anything but faithful – throwing tantrums if he even thinks I suspect him of anything when I know the affair is ongoing and taking place at our house when he thinks I won’t be home. he has been a liar since his teenage years by his own admission and now I look back on it throughout our marriage – not just over fidelity but on money matters and anything else he wants to do and doesn’t want to have to compromise. The total disrespect that he has for me I know stems from self loathing as he likes to present a good guy image to the world and he experiences cognitive dissonance over what he is doing but not enough to change his behaviour or seek therapy to change it. he thinks if he does the cooking and washing up and a bit of gardening that it will atone for his infidelity!!!!!!!!!! While I feel hopeless that this can ever change and really want out…

      • Shifting Impressions

        A really good book to read is THE GASLIGHT EFFECT by Robin Stern. This might really be helpful in dealing with your husband’s gaslighting etc.

      • Tired

        Hi Sally. This is awful. What do you mean that you know the affair is taking place in your own house? Do you have proof of this? How disrespectful to say the least. Why are you still there? He is going to go on taking advantage of you if you just put up with it. I think he needs to see you take a stand. Tell him to leave. He will only realise how destructive his behaviour is when it all comes out in the open. Otherwise it seems like he will just go on cake-eating. And if you tell him to leave and he keeps acting like an ass, leave yourself. And don’t come back until you know it is finished for good.

        Tear down that ‘good guy’ image if he takes so much pride looking so respectable to the outside world. I told some of our mutual friends about my husband’s behaviour when I found out about the affair. It was a lot harder for him to justify his behaviour when he saw how it must look in their eyes. I am glad I did that because he didn’t like the way he looked either…

      • Katrina

        That just sounds like narcissistic characteristics to me. Sometimes people just have that mental illness and they definitely don’t act in the same way as someone without narcissism. Research it…. goggle works wonders! FYI if im correct…. 9 t I mes out of 10 it doesn’t get better so sometimes its better to just get away. Goodluck. Godbless.

    • TheFirstWife

      Hi Sally

      I understand your frustration. And the pain and hurt you feel.

      It appears as though even if you had a videotape of him and the OW he would still not admit it is him.

      How do I know? Because that is my H. I showed him a photo on the OW’s blog – it was a photo of the two of them in a date at a bar. I swear it is his arm and Hand and wedding ring. He refused to admit it.

      The date coincides with an email of the two of them making plans to meet for drinks to discuss “work”.

      He still refused to admit it.

      I hope you have a counselor. For you. To help YOU deal with him. It doesn’t appear as though he will change so you are left to deal with him as is.

      My therapist gave me this advice. You don’t know if he will stop cheating. If he refused you have to decide if you can live with that or not. If not you leave or D. If so then you accept his cheating.

      That seems to be where you are. He won’t stop lying, he won’t admit he has cheated and will only do what “he wants to do” and continues to disrespect you.

      Now it is time for you to decide what you want to do.

      Sorry it came to this. I know you hoped it would have a different outcome and he would recognize his mistakes.

      I guess that is asking too much if him.

    • Tired

      Thanks for the great post Doug. I know I probably sound like I am being sarcastic but I am not. I do really mean it. I really hope someone with enormous self control reads this prior to confronting their cheater and does things in a smarter way. That person was not me.

      Unfortunately no one reads these blogs until after they have discovered the affair. Discovering an affair makes it enormously difficult to be even civil, let alone so sensible and rational. I temporarily lost my mind. If I knew then what I knew now I would approach things much more differently. Ah, the benefit of hindsight.

      When cheaters lie to your face and expect you to believe outlandish excuses it is hard not to feel angry and resentful that you are being taken for a fool. Even worse, when you are being shamelessly told how wonderful the affair partner is and how badly you compare to them.

      The last thing I was thinking when I found out I was being cheated on was how I could tip toe around being nice so my husband would not clam up. I didn’t even think that. I expected him to own it! I expected him to tell the truth. Instead I heard a whole bunch of excuses justifying the affair and making himself out as the victim! If that is not enraging I don’t know what is. By the time I realised I was shutting him down I had already scared him into keeping quiet.

      • Doug

        Hey Tired, Thanks for the comment – and no arguments from me. To think that a person can tiptoe around being nice 100% of the time, especially when just finding out about the affair, isn’t realistic. You should be enraged and the CS needs to experience your rage at some point. Just not all the time and with every conversation – if the goal is to recover, heal and reconcile. FYI…Almost all of the CS/BS that I talked to were experiencing this issue 1+ years after D-day.

        • Shifting Impressions

          That’s just the point Doug, the lies and dribbling of the truth continue for much longer than 1 plus years. Even after we are told they want to reconcile and save the marriage. Even after backing off and working hard to create a safe environment.

          After all that does he somehow magically become proactive at filling in the missing pieces of the puzzle?? Not in my case. Why you might ask, because wait for it HE JUST WANTS TO MOVE ON. Or another classic LET’S JUST CREATE NEW MEMORIES.

          This is what keeps the struggle alive. It’s like a cat and mouse game.

          • Tired

            Shifting, I totally agree. Even when I backed off I still got lies. Or omissions. Or just nothing. So it ends up in a cat and mouse game like you say. I back off…I feel pissed after a while that I still have questions so I go on the attack again. The cycle begins again. Why don’t they get it??!

            I didn’t want to be this person repeating the same thing over and over again. It made me hate myself too. But I was determined to find out the truth. Yet the fools don’t realise the thing that stops them from being able to ‘move on’ and ‘create new memories’ is because we will always be stuck in their affair until they tell the truth! And not their version of the truth either. We need a truth that actually makes sense and fits in with everything else we have been told, not a ‘truth’ that has large gaps to keep us wondering what really happened. I was sick of telling my husband that.

    • TheFirstWife

      Tired. I respectfully disagree that “you made him afraid” to tell the truth. I think in some cases it is a CYA mentality and no matter what you did or did not do the CS would lie.

      I gave my husband 6 months of love and support. Consideration. Understanding.

      He walked all over me like I was a doormat – which at the time I was. Trying not to rock the boat.

      Asking to have an honest heartfelt conversation. Instead I got lies.

      For far too long. It was his second A too.

      And when I hit the brick wall I still did not yell or scream or curse him. Calm. Rational. Sane.

      And I still got lies. Anything he could do to minimize and lie. I explained our M depends on full truth. We can minimize the length of time we face this if we can be honest.

      Chose to lie. He had no faith in me.

      How sad. I proved my loyalty and compassion every step of the way and he still was a coward.

      I understand your pain. Just wish the CS would understand our motivation and get on the same page.

    • Joan

      I’m 6 months from d – day2 and my partner of 28 years gave me outright lies then half truths a now, within these last two weeks, some truths , but mostly ” can’t remembers” . My problem is that after uncovering the EA he ended what was an intense affair at it’s height but says that he has no withdrawal feelings whatsoever. I just can’t get my head around that as up until the disclosure he had been in touch with her up to 30 times a day emailing, texting, phoning and each time telling her he loved this OW in every way possible.Then an abrupt end and ” he felt nothing”. How can he not have feelings of withdrawal? He felt so madly in love with this woman only the day before. Has anyone any thoughts on this? I would be so grateful as it’s something that is holding me back from believing anything that he says now.

      • Tired

        Hi Joan. I am sorry for what you are going through. Did you see the texts/ hear the calls?

        I say ask this because I am thinking that maybe he was never in love with her at all. My husband also abruptly changed when he finally told the woman firmly to never contact him again. I have come to realise that he was never in love with her, and he has said that. She was just an ego boost to him I think, but he got the shock of his life when he realised what he was going to lose…I threw him out and he was forced to see reality.

        My husband said a funny thing once when I found an email from the woman after we had reconciled. He almost jumped out of a moving car because I was so angry about it discovering the messages. He said he thought the continued contact with her ‘was harmless.’ I was in tears and screaming at him saying I was leaving, the other woman was crying and nagging at him via texts and emails, and he was trying to jump out of a car. Harmless? It was not rational at all!

        So did you actually see the texts or hear him say that to her? I say this because I saw those emails between my husband and the OW and he was clearly trying to keep the peace by replying to her politely, but he was not saying ‘I love you’ or anything like that. He has admitted now that he felt bad that she was so distraught and he felt he had misled her. He was worried about what she would do, too. But when he finally realised he had to put his foot down to her I knew the whole saga was finally over…and all I saw was his relief.

        I think he made a huge mess out of his silly need to feel an ego boost and when he actually had two women at him both nagging and demanding he just lost it and couldn’t cope. He didn’t know what to do. It is kind of funny when I think of it. My husband has no clue about women and how he ever ended up in such a situation is puzzling.

        So maybe your partner realised what he had to lose and came to his senses. I didn’t feel any withdrawal in my husband. He was over it immediately too.

        They usually don’t love the other woman you know Joan, even if they say it in a fit of madness. They are just chasing rainbows because it feels good to be wanted. It feels worse when the one they really love is prepared to walk away.

        • Joan

          Thank you so much for replying to me , i appreciate it. Yes I saw all the emails , he deleted them but I went to the trouble of retreiving them and now there are many many more messages , in many more ways telling her how much he loved her and highlighting all her wonderful virtues and what he`d like to do to her. I`m not anywhere near over that affair yet as he has only told me what I found out for myself, as many others have experienced. My nightmare came about 4 months ago when I found out something that I SUSPECTED ABOUT 26 YEARS AGO WAS TRUE, he had been having a very sexual affair with a woman who was a neighbour and who he encouraged me to befriend. This woman used to come around while I was working. He said it started out “INNOCENTLY” when she started coming around after Id set off for work at 5:am each morning. How innocent was it when he never mentioned it to me? I have found out a few things but as it happened over 27 years ago ( we had been together for only 3 years and I thought that we were both in love) but not much. The shocking part was that the affair continued for 17 years even after I`d found them sat in the dark together when I came home from work early one morning. He talked his way out of that one by saying: “You know that I never put the light on in the mornings when I watch the tv, she came to ask about Wayne ( another married man who was a colleague of my husband`s and had been diagnosed with cancer. She was having an affair with him too! He died within 6 months of my husband starting HIS affair with her ! I thought that I was coming to `acceptance` of the E.A. but now I can`t stop thinking about what happened between them and the treatment dished out to me since the first time he had sex with her to the present time, He treated me so badly for all those years but I loved him so dearly – how stupid have I been??? I`ll tell you how stupid : for 25 years he feined a diagnosis of E.R. and low testosterone and made me feel sorry for him while having regular sex with her!!!! I know what many will be thinking: “His wife must be a real uptight “dog” and the lover must be so “hot”. Well they`d all be wrong , I was the “passable” one who had a healthy love of sex and she was pug ugly and dirty and would have sex with anybody! I`m told that I still look pretty good for my ageThis is well known in my area and not just me being green. I `m completely devastated but he`s still telling me lies. I know what I should do, but he won`t move out and I`ve loved him so deeply and for so long. I`ll never be free now, not even at my age of 70. I `m so very miserable . I`m beginning to think that death would be a blessing when it comes and the only release from this horrible confusion and excruciating pain. Whoever reads this , thank you so much for listening . And thank you to my two `angels`, Linda and Doug for being there for all of us. Love from Lancashire, England.

    • Tired

      TFW, I was initially going to say I agree with you that they would lie no matter what but that I still think I ‘made him afraid’ to tell the truth. But I re-read your comment and I see what you are saying now. That perhaps you were too supportive and got taken advantage of? Is that what you mean? So you are saying that even if I had done what you did he would have lied anyway. I think you are right. I varied between being loving and respectful and suddenly flying off the handle at him. I think I was like Jekyll and Hyde. I do think however that when I was being loving he felt even worse and that is when these firm conversations from him to her began. I am also aware that sometimes when I flew off the handle he may have been more likely to respond to her silly messages. It felt to me like he was yo-yoing between us at that time. Still, I feel I was entitled to that, and that he was not entitled to expect me to be pleasant. I think he should have had the humility to accept that I had a right to be upset.

      You are right Doug that it will go on forever if the betrayed spouse just keeps getting angry. Of course the cheater will shut down and say less if there is an explosion every time they make a revelation. But the cheater should I think be truthful no matter how ‘afraid’ they are that they will be told off. If they don’t, they send the message to their husband/ wife that their own comfort is more important than the pain they have inflicted.

      I do think that the cheater has in some way relinquished his or her rights to feeling completely comfortable in conversations. They DESERVE to be ranted at. The rants on my behalf came from a place of pain, yet my husband always took it as a direct attack against his character. Well he deserved it.

      And what do you think about what TFW posted Doug? I take it to mean that she did the exact opposite to the scenario you describe, yet her husband took advantage of that to keep carrying on the affair? So it’s damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

      You are probably thinking about further down the track when the other person is way out of the picture (I hope). If so I can understand what you mean by making the environment safe for the cheater to tell the truth. Unfortunately if the other person is still hanging around the betrayed is living in a high state of anxiety having absolutely no idea where they stand. They feel threatened and panicky. Is their whole life going to pulled out from under them? That is how I felt. I think they are perfectly justified in demanding the truth, even getting angry! It is only when the other party has been given marching orders that any type of sanity will prevail.

      • Doug

        Yes, Tired, I’m definitely talking about situations where the affair is over and things are further along.

        • Tired

          Notice how you have actually done nothing?

          • Tired

            You did not make a comment on the TFW post.

            • Doug

              Hey Tired, Sorry, I was in a bit of a hurry earlier. Anyways, of course a BS can do all the things possible to make it a safe environment and the CS may choose to continue lying. TFW’s husband is a good example of this. And I’m sure that happens all the time. Nothing is 100% effective. And yes, there are times where a tough love approach will be the best approach, where the CS needs to experience consequences for their actions. And even that approach doesn’t work 100% of the time.

    • Tired

      So let’s get down to it. I think instead of hearing complaints about cheating spouses, most of us have to hear from a cheating spouse. And we do NOT want lies and omissions.

      What did you say to Linda? What happened when she discovered the affair? You said it was only emotional, but can we trust you on that? That is the big question for a lot of us. You have told so many lies that we do not have the truth. I would really love to hear Linda’s opinion on that. I think Linda should make an article.

      I would also like to add that I do not respect people who delete posts

      • Doug

        First of all, nobody deleted any of your posts. I’m the only one that deals with the comment administration and I don’t delete them unless there is horrible, offensive language.

        When Linda first suspected something was up (via texts on my phone), I denied there was anything going on and that the phone number a co-worker’s who I was doing a real estate deal with. (Which was true) Then I quickly turned the conversation around to talk about how I was unhappy, and our marriage wasn’t going very well, etc. Several weeks later – and after my continued detachment and relatively shitty behavior, Linda demanded the cell phone account password so that she could see the call/text details and it about floored her. That I guess would be considered our first real D-day where the truth of the extent of the EA was known. I had no choice but to come clean at that point. Though I trickle truthed her over a period of time as well. So, without writing a book here, you can see I did everything wrong.

        I’m sure that there are posts from seven or eight years ago that address your questions in greater detail. I’ll try to find them and update this comment later.

        • Tired

          So when Linda became suspicious you quickly turned the conversation around to unhappy you were? That is interesting. My husband didn’t realise that he was unhappy until there was someone willing to have an affair with him.

          Once the affair partner was there however, he suddenly realised that he had been unhappy for years.

    • Shifting Impressions

      I think this is just such an emotional topic for many of us Betrayed Spouses. It always hurts when someone betrays or lies to you. But when the one you chose to share your life with, the one you had children with, the one you gave your heart to and the one you thought always had your back betrays you…..It simply breaks you like nothing else can. The betrayal came from within….came from what you thought was your safe place.

      I believe it changes something deep inside our core being. As said in the above discussion “It can’t be undone” “you can’t unring a bell”

      Four and a half years after d-day my husband and I are doing quite well….slowly working through the process of healing and forgiveness. But a discussion such as this one touches the pain and brings it to the surface immediately! As I read through the responses I feel everyone’s pain as well.

      • Tired

        Hi SI. It is an emotional topic. You thought this was your safe place. So did I.

        I can’t have children. The OW used that to promote herself.

        I am glad I’m not married to Henry VIII.

        • Shifting Impressions

          I’m sorry…that’s a terrible thing for her to do.

          No kidding about Henry VIII….Lol!!

    • TheFirstWife

      Tired. Yes I am saying you could have made it the best and safest environment for your H to admit to the A with complete honesty and he still may have continued lying to you.

      I just shared my background to say I did not become confrontational or yelling and my H was not honest. And was happy to let me believe his lies. He had no intention of correcting facts or details.

      When the OW sent me 300+ emails – that is when I learned some of the facts. Or the truth. The real story.

      Not his version.

    • TheFirstWife

      Joan. I’m sorry you are still struggling with the aftermath.

      My H had a 4 year long EA but it was a bit one sided. The OW loved him but he did not love her but was definitely excited the ego boost she provided.

      Then there was his last A that ended 4 1/2 years ago and it was about 12 months long. My H wanted to D me over this last A. 25 years of a good M and he is convinced he loves the OW.

      I can tell you he wasn’t smart enough to know the difference between infatuation and love.

      I will finish this post later

    • TheFirstWife

      So yes at DDay2 he asked for a D. He swore up and down he wants a D. I had no idea the A had started up again.

      Then a few hours later he is begging me to reconsider. He doesn’t want a D.

      I was tired of being a yo-yo in this M.

      He begged for a second or third chance. The problem was I told him I could not be a yo-yo anymore. I wanted out.

      But he convinced me to R. So we did. Successfully.

      I saw the emails where he wrote “I❤️U” to the oW. Where he was planning to D me. How he told her to please hang on and wait for him. She was pressuring him to leave me.

      So he ended and never spoke to her again. Stopped all emotions for her. I found that hard to understand. He was going to D me to be with the love of his life – and 2 hours later he no longer has any feelings towards her?

      I liken A to an addiction. When the CS finally wakes up – the only way to end it is to go cold turkey and have no further contact. I think your H finally woke up.

      Hard for a rational person to understand. The CS acts so out of character. It all makes no sense.

      Maybe your H finally realized the feelings towards her were not real. I don’t know. It doesn’t make sense. But I think he was caught up in something out of his control in some ways. I can only speculate.

      But he has never spoken to her since then. It is over. and maybe your healing can begin. Finally.

    • TheFirstWife

      Joan. One final point. I spent years with my therapist on a number of these issues. Why this or how come that? All the things that didn’t make sense.

      My very wonderful therapist said it doesn’t make sense. Not the A. Not the person you were married to during the A as they become someone during that time.

      It is not rational. An A is emotional.

      And you just cannot make sense of emotions sometimes.

      Think of it this way. I dated a guy and I thought he was the one. Seriously – I loved him like no other guy before that. The day I found out he was cheating on me – I ended it. I felt nothing for him. Just like that.

      I hope this helps to explain the feelings of your H and OW.

    • TheFirstWife

      EG. I am so saddened when I read your saga.

      I just wonder how you managed to reconcile all of this?

      I ask b/c I recently viewed a YouTube video by Will Smith the actor. Very well done discussion about fault vs responsibility.

      One of his points is that we are to heal ourselves. We nerd to take responsibility for our lives – no matter what happens – and commit to healing ourself (with support and help obviously when needed) and stop living in pain.

      Easier said than done. But I wonder with all you face how you deal with it all.

    • Sarah P.

      Hi Tired,
      I just read that part about how the OW used the idea against you that you cannot have children. Wow, that makes me want to fly over to wherever you are and “sort out” this little destroyer of lives. (The OW). Not to say I would not sort out everyone’s OW. But the kind of cruelty displayed by the OW went lower than most OW’s go. Don’t get me wrong. They are already in the sewer. But when an OW is using a personal detail that is so hurtful and distressing to you— one that you cannot help and one that is emotionally distressing to women — that is lower than low. I thought I had heard the stories of how rock bottom an OW will go to destroy a marriage. But using the wife’s fertility? That is lower than rock bottom. So low that you would have to drill several miles into the earth to get there. And I hope when the other woman goes drilling down several miles, she would hit hell by that time. But I am not sure even the devil can take someone like that. I don’t know. This just struck a nerve with me. I have friends who have gone through failed in vitro. The heartbreak that they feel could fill Mt Everest. I was pissed at what the other woman already did and she was/is an immature and narcissistic twit. But now I see her as Evil.

      I am so sorry you had to encounter this person.


    • Tired

      So am I. Unfortunately the OW comes from a culture that thinks getting ‘things’ is very important. And husbands are considered ‘things,’ like a new accessory. My husband has come to see she was a manipulative liar. I think her main point in getting pregnant so quickly to someone else (and I know for a fact it is not him) was to rub it in our faces because it is all over social media. I don’t think he even bothers to look. But for me….well this is a problem that is not going to go away. And this makes me upset with him. Which is probably what she wants. Endless cycle. I have to stop looking at her posts!

      This issue of children has been a worry for me for many years. Him: “Doesn’t matter. Don’t want them.” All of a sudden affair, want children. Doesn’t help that there is pressure to breed from some people. Anyway, he chose me. I just wish I could believe that was permanent.

      You asked me what culture my husband was from. I didn’t want to answer this online. But you had a friend that you mentioned who gave you some advice. About someone who wanted an affair with her and she refused? That is as far as I am going to go.

      You also said in another post if someone cheated on you and you had no children you would leave. That post upset me. Yes my husband cheated emotionally, but he chose to stay with me despite the fact that he knows he would probably end up childless. Yet he had this young, bubbly (ugly though! sorry, had to put that in) woman flattering his ego and he still chose me! I could easily have left, but our long relationship and my knowledge of him told me that he was in it for the long term. And that was why I gave it a go. He wants me for me, and I know he always has.

      I know you are worried about your husband being poached. You’re in a much safer position than me. You have kids with this man. One of the things my husband said when he was in this silly limbo period was that “intellectually” the other woman had a bit of a deficit. She had a large piece of her brain missing in my opinion. The empathy part.

      But that is really the thing isn’t it? We can’t be sure of the man unless we have children. Then we have them. But there is still no guarantee. Husbands leave wives all the time. Wives leave husbands all the time.

      I think being a woman sucks big time. At least we won’t have our heads chopped off

    • Sarah P.

      Hello Tired,
      First off I wanted to say that I am glad you told me that I upset you when I talked about leaving a cheater if I did not have children. I want people to feel safe here and so if something I say causes a trigger, totally speak up. I am glad you did.

      Wanted to say that what I say or write about one day may not be my opinion a few months from now. I guess I should have clarified the affair part. How I feel right now is that my marriage could survive an emotional affair. And I would need to have a full STD panel, including HPV testing to see if it was really emotional. I have been tested for HPV several times over the years and I am HPV negative. Some doctors offer these tests other do not. So if one day I became positive for the type of HPV that has been negative for years, I will immediately hire a private detective to see what the hell is going on. I would have a very hard time staying in a marriage if I got an STD. Some women have successfully sued when they have been able to show medical records and prove their H gave them an STD. I would track down those attorneys and if I also had concrete proof of an affair, I would sue for enormous amounts of compensation. Why? Because I have been through that story before and got cervical cancer from the OW. I did not fight. This time I would fight because having extra marital sex is one of the most cruel things you can do to a spouse if that sex results in a betrayed spouse getting a deadly STD. No one from the medical community has adequately educated the public about HPV and cancer. So if that happened to me again, especially since my H saw the fall out of all of this, I would have to walk away. Again, if my husband had a sexual affair, if a detective were able to get photos of sex, and if I got an STD, my husband would wish he never met me. And my sons would stand right beside me on that. The oldest one has witnessed the nasty nurses and he has said he would go CRAZY if one tried to break up our home. He has had male friends whose moms have cheated and he witnessed his friend’s lives ruined. He knows all about infidelity because his poor friend would come to school each day and talk about how mom left dad and now has a revolving door of different men coming through the house. My son found out about this ugliness that affairs cause from his friends, not me. So that is my caveat. I might be able to survive an emotional affair but the woman would need to be long gone.

      Oh what heartbreak this other woman has caused you. It is infuriating. She is evil. I think I get what culture your H is from or at least what part of the world he is from. There are huge cultural issues. I am going to assume you were raised in the West and that he was raised in the other culture. If that is true, that will be a big cultural difference. I had a very long term relationship with a European before I met my ex. I thought an American and a European could make it work especially because I had lived in that country for so long. He spoke my language fluently; I spoke his. Problem solved, right? No way. Even though it seemed like no big deal, once he asked me to get married, the problems started. I did not want to get married. He did. He wanted one life that I just could tolerate. Was it a bad life? NO. Many people would have said it would be great to be married to a gorgeous European man. I even got a prestigious job offer at the large university in the town where we lived: a full tenured faculty offer at the age of 24. If someone wants to be an academic, that’s great. But I just did not want that life with him. All the other girls thought he was so cute and he was really attractive and tall and all that good stuff. But I just could not do it. I had to get this parents involved in the break up because he went nuts that I did not want to be engaged or marry him. He had some ISSUES. No, he was not a cheater and I did not have the knowledge to accurately diagnose him. But there was gaslighting every day (from him) and all kinds of psychiatric issues. Me and his parents and his very best friend got together and begged him to see a therapist at the very least. He was starting to see and imagine things that were not there. And it was freaking out his parents and friends. So I had to get out. The End. However, even before all that really bizarre stuff started to happen, we had different financial goals, different views of how to raise a family, etc etc. Almost all of them were due to his culture and due to my culture. So if you are from a Western culture and married to someone not from a Western culture, you will have to confront all kinds of cultural issues. When some sociopath tried to poach your spouse and if your H is from the culture I am thinking of, there will be a lot of trying to please all the people all the time. But most of all, if your H is from a certain area of the world there will be the issue of tremendous shame that is “losing face.” Never lose face. Many cultures from a certain part of the world have this concept so when something like an affair happens or a spouse poacher comes along that concept of losing face will always be in the background. It will cause only certain (not shameful) information to be given because losing face with a loved on is a Big Deal. Huge deal. I have worked with many different people from Asia and yes I know the difference between the Korean culture and history, the Chinese culture and history, the Japanese, the Thai, people from Cambodia. I have had friends from all those countries but this idea of NOT losing face is there on one level or another. Having an affair is losing face. I am not trying to turn this into a lecture on Asian culture based on my personal experience.

      Regardless of that, what the OW is doing is evil. Has anyone told whatever sucker she fooled that he just won a sociopath. Hooray for him! That’s so sad she is pregnant. If she has a daughter she will tell her daughter to “hussle” and use her body to catch men and it will not matter if that man is married. She will say, “Oh don’t let a wife stop you. You are so much better than any wife because you are my daughter and my daughters deserve the best because I am the best.” That is what she will tell her kids. I also know that from personal experience because I have witnessed certain moms saying this to their daughters. God help the men these women marry. These men are making a deal with the devil and the woman will own his soul. Poor, stupid guy. But these women also put on such a nice facade until they are married. I am middle aged and have seen it play out over and over again.

      As for being a woman, it absolutely sucks to be a woman. I totally agree there. I was a tomboy and the second my body started to look different than those of all the neighborhood boys, I felt like I was being punished. I was the skinniest most underweight kid in the neighborhood. Then that changed. My body became female overnight. But the worst part was, when I did not know my ex was cheating he started taking pot shots at my body. He would say he thought he would marry someone with a boy’s body knowing full well about how I felt about my body and the puberty change. He implied I could not follow him up steep mountains because my breasts might cause an issue. Seriously? I was super athletic. I lifted weights, I trained regularly on a mountain where people train for Everest and he and I did this together. Now all of a sudden my body made me handicapped. Really? I was the most physically fit woman I knew at the time. It did not matter how thin I got, I still had a woman’s body in terms of the shape. It was an extremely thin woman’s body and now he was telling me it might prevent us from doing sports that we had always done together. That’s my rant on being a woman. Then there is my husband. He collects comic books and I have a small collection too. When we were dating he would show me drawings of these athletic curvaceous females and how he always wanted one and how I was one and how he LOVED that. But my ex did too until he met the OW who (no surprise) made it to adulthood with a boy’s body. She was not from Western culture and there was a huge incentive to poach my ex. There was no way I was going to compete especially after I realized the slut gave him cervical cancer. She was almost 10 years older than us and had a lot of time to sleep around. Anyhow, these other women are just the worst.

      And I am still so seriously pissed off that the OW in your life is trying to break your heart via Facebook. She has serious psychiatric problems as in grade A sociopath. I am just sorry that the twit won’t go away. May she accidentally take a long walk off a short dock (as they say).


      • Tired

        Hi Sarah. I think you are spot on, as usual. Yes, you are right about the losing face. My husband’s shame prevented him from talking about it at all. In doing this he actually made things worse. Because when I finally dragged everything out of him and found some emails, I realised that for two years I had been traumatized wondering if his feelings for her were much worse than he admitted, wondering if they had sex, etc. But then I found out that what he DID tell me was basically true. She didn’t want to accept the end of their “friendship” and kept on and on at him. She was sending him photos of herself and silly love missives for at least 3 months after the real ‘no contact’ was established. So this time he was not responding to her. He had not told me she continued to contact him until then until quite recently but if he had, her emails would have proven that he was telling the truth! How stupid of him to hide this because he had said he would be transparent if she contacted him. But he was lying again. So finding this out, when it should be a relief, actually made me angry. I feel like I have been put through much more trauma than I would have if he had just been honest. He was truly shocked when I said that to him. How stupid can men be. I said “I told you all I wanted was the truth.”

        At first I was relieved to hear that the affair was not what I imagined it to be. Now I’m wondering what kind of person I am married to that would continue to lie to my face like that. It does not matter that the lies were because he was afraid of a confrontation and he did not want one. On some level I can understand that. What matters is that he is a liar. I think back to the time when I first caught him. I caught him quickly because his lies were so obvious. He has always been very honest so it stood out. Now I think of all the times he lied about this ongoing contact and looked me straight in the eye:

        “Has she contacted you?” No

        “Would you tell me if she did?” I would now. Of course I would.

        Lies! How could I ever trust him again?

        So rather than putting it all behind us as I thought I would do, I’m seriously considering divorcing him. I hope I can get over this.

        As for the other woman…I feel sorry for the man too! I am sure the pregnancy was “an accident.” I have thought about sending him some info, but he would just dismiss it I’m sure. My husband can’t even see the depths of her cunning even if he does admit she manipulated just about everything to get her own way. I think he still basks in being admired so much that he doesn’t want to think she was only using him as a means to an end. So I think her man would just dismiss it too.

        All this was just a big ego boost to my husband. He told me no woman had ever pursued him. At that time he needed an ego boost, and she knew that. I’m still annoyed that he kept those emails. Obviously his ego is more important than our relationship.

        She sent selfies, all of herself, trying to look pretty and engaged in all sorts of adventurous outdoor activities, in bikinis on the beach, drinking cocktails. Her desperation makes me sick. She thinks all you have to do to get a man is look exciting. And you know what? Maybe she is right. They do seem to be taken in very easily.

        What do you think of people who use social media addresses akin to “I’m delicious,” “i’m Brilliant,” and “My name is Princess.” These are not the actual names but they are close enough. I too think she is a narcissist. And like most narcissists, most people don’t suspect it. They are too charming.


        • Sarah P.


          People who use social media and pose in bikinis and have narcissistic/sexual names like “I am delicious”?


          These people are advertising their narcissism, but most of the population does not know what narcissism looks like. Well, that is what narcissism looks like.

          I don’t use Facebook, I don’t use twitter (or twatter as some call it), I don’t use instragram. I don’t use any social media except for writing for this blog and answering comments. That’s as far as it goes. Being on Facebook all day long is like the 9th rung of hell for me.

          As for a divorcing your husband… I would give it time. I would see if he is able to seek counseling with you.

          By the way, I hate liars. But, almost every man I have EVER met has lied to some degree about that “friend at work” or “that friend visiting from Europe” or that lady who gives death stares when I am around.

          I do not know of any heterosexual man who runs away from a smiling woman giving him a compliment. That is just part of the wiring of heterosexual men. But when this happens, a man meets a fork in the road. He can say thank you and walk away, or he can lean in closer and ask for more. Or, he can stand there and passively receive comments and adoration. Most men stand there and passively receive adoration.

          But, here is the trouble with that. These men let woman lead.

          Some women are flirts and smile at everyone and everything, including inanimate objects like rocks. These women also like adoration. But, many of them are not cheaters. They just like receiving verbal adoration outside of their primary relationship. They don’t take what they are doing seriously and they see it as fun.

          Then there are the ones that do this to poach. These female poachers know that an average nude and receptive woman weakens any truly heterosexual man. Here is the problem. The man’s primary source of reasoning (his brain) shuts off and diverts blood flow to his source of non-reasoning (his willy) and it is awakened. Willy’s are not reasonable.

          Think Helen of Troy. The woman who launched a massive war because she was an expert at diverting blood flow away from men’s brains and into their willy’s, thus starting The Trojan War. (Ever wondered how the Trojan brand of condoms got its name? Well, that’s how. It’s because of Helen of Troy. Or maybe it’s because the so-called horse in the Trojan war actually contained men, just like a Trojan condom.)

          Anyhow, sometimes we have to laugh over these things otherwise we would be crying.

          As for a divorce, I really think that you two need to see a counselor before you can decide that. Your husband needs to understanding that lying does not work and why. He needs to be schooled in Western culture before you can really make a decision.

          Is it a good marriage otherwise? Or was it a bad marriage before?

          You said he is a doctor, right? All doctors are TARGETS. I am thinking of a particular doctor in our community (who works in a different hospital.) He looks like a model. HIs wife met him as an undergrad and they got married before he went to medical school. His wife has become crazy due to all the times this man gets hit on. I know him on a personal level and I can say he is not that kind of guy and she is very lucky. Yes, he looks like a model, but he is very committed to his marriage. I can tell these things about people. And he is just not wired to cheat and he does not respond to the nurses who work around him. On the other hand, there is another doctor who looks like a famous football player. He is on TV sometimes. His wife had to come and work as the head office manager in the office they owned. He liked the attention from women a little too much. Then, there was a doctor from my husband’s residency who slept with every nurse, medical assistant, and many patients. He had to go to an obscure town in the Midwest because that was the only state he could get a license. I looked him up for fun one day and some patient reviews were online, One female patient said: “No one knows a woman’s body like him.” I spit out my coffee because I was laughing so hard. She was right– he had been with hundreds of women and definitely knew their bodies. All of them.

          So, my best advice is to go to counseling.

          Has anything new happened recently? Tell me about your marriage before this fiasco.


          • Tired

            Hi Sarah. Thanks for your reply. That was the new stuff I found out over the last couple of months. Our marriage was very good until this woman inserted herself into our lives. It was only then that my husband realised he hadn’t been happy for years, as they all do when they are trying to justify their bad behaviour. . In truth, he was not happy and I knew it, but it was more his career not going the way he wanted it to rather than us. Then he ended up working at a place that he thought had hope, but he did not get on with his boss and this was a man who made everyone miserable. He was trying to hang on because eventually he would be placed in his own clinic and he wouldn’t have had to work in the same place with the man. The boss was horrible…he would fling doors open when people were in the middle of a procedure and scream at them in front of the patients. And he would suddenly fire people on the spot and leave them with no nurses. I think the stress of trying to hide his anger really got to him. The bimbo understood because she worked there too, so that’s how she was able to worm her way in. Then he had that clinic option taken away from him suddenly and he thought he should offer to go interstate to another clinic because he knew the boss wanted to open that one for years but never had a doctor to staff it. He knew I didn’t want to go, although I would have gone. That’s when she started the ‘your wife doesn’t support you’ but of course she had his best interests in mind. SHE would go if she was his wife….

            I have to say I probably got a bit sick of hearing the constant complaints as I didn’t work there. So I suppose he started complaining to her rather than me. I think he became a bit dependent on her as work support and it grew from there.

            The thing is, his cultural background also impacted on the way he interacted with his boss. He just shoved all his resentment under the carpet and that was not healthy. So the problem is really his personality.

            He agreed to go to counselling but we have never done it. My feeling is that counselling can’t change his cultural beliefs. I don’t know. Maybe we should.

    • Sarah P.


      PS— one clarification. The slut gave him the virus that causes cervical cancer and he passed that virus along to me. I had no idea he was cheating, so we had physical relations every day. Had I known he was cheating I would have not had a physical relationship. But I was given no choice. He would go and have sex with her while I was working late, I would arrive home and we had physical relations before we went to sleep each night. (Believe it or not it’s a cure for insomnia.) I know TMI. But, this is important TMI because it busts several myths:

      Myth #1: The female betrayed spouse had not had sex for years. She was frigid.

      Truth: Many betrayed spouses have a wonderful sexual relationship with their wayward spouse prior to the affair. My ex had a relationship with me that was usually once in the morning (to wake up) and once at night (to fall asleep). Oh my gosh I was so frigid to this man! So frigid he was getting blue balls. (Sarcasm) To further clarify, after marriage and two kids with special needs that no longer happens. We have to schedule it because both kids are so needy. The youngest one always ends up in our bed at 2am. It stinks.

      Myth #2: If he is having an affair, he will not have the stamina to have sex with his wife.

      Truth: Affairs often cause the cheating spouse to be more sexually active with his spouse. The betrayed spouse might think it’s cool her husband is trying new positions, but it never crosses her mind that this new-found enthusiasm is because he is having sex with another and wants to try that new posit or technique on his wife. In my relationship with my ex, there was really not a lot new to bring in (at least he knew the things I did NOT do and wanted to save for marriage.) So, he would start buying me lingerie and things like that. I was kind of offended in the way he did it. It was very crass. And I was never against lingerie. It’s beautiful but he was buying it out of context and it made me feel weird. Now that I am married, anything goes between me and my husband. There were certain things I would not do or allow to have done to me until after I was married. I wanted to give something “special” that was reserved only for after I was married. But this did not cause my ex to cheat. People do not cheat because of sex. They cheat because they want to.

      Myth #3: Sex is always safe as long as people wear condoms. Yes I am going to talk about HPV again. Numbers 16 and 18 cause cancer.

      Important Announcement to all readers:

      Both men and women can get cancer due to HPV numbers 16 and 18. Aak your doctor for a test. Why?

      Well, because I overheard a scary conversation one time. One time recently two doctors were talking about HPV. Doctor #1 asked doctor #2 about what caused abnormal pap exams. Doctor #1 explained that abnormal paps are caused by HPV numbers 16 and 18. Doctor #2 who had been in practice a long time and did not know HPV caused cancer or that there were different types of that there are over 200 types of HPV. So doctor #1 gave doctor #2 a lecture on how HPV 16 & 18 CAN cause: anal,, penile, vaginal, cervical, oral, throat, and uterine cancer.

      Your doctors may not know, so inform your doctor. Get tested. Ask for HPV tests. Become your health advocate.


      Hey men: That’s right, men can get penile, throat, oral and anal cancer from the HPV virus. That condom you wear will not protect you. So if there are male wayward spouses who could care less if they give their wife cervical cancer, you wayward spouses can also get cancer. The only thing that will save anyone from HPV is for two people to be in 100% monogamous relationships forever. (That is if both people test HPV negative and stay monogamous). Men you can get oral and throat cancer for giving a woman who has cancerous types of HPV oral sex. Dental dams cannot stop it. So wayward spouses who are reading. Even if you could give a shit about your spouse, one day you could be punished by your own behavior. Also, if the other Woman or other man says they are clean, you are an idiot if you believe it. If someone has the capacity to carry on an affair (which involves lying) why would that person tell the truth to whomever they are cheating with. Cheaters— there are always repercussions to cheating. Always. And cheaters, you might end up getting cancer from your actions. I know if you are cheating, you could give a crap about your spouse. That is why I am appealing to your selfishness and your “all about you-ness.” You too can have terrible consequences because of your affair. So since everything is about you, wayward spouses, you should probably choose monogamy.

      One last thing— here are the things that constitute a physical affair:

      Touching another person’s private parts under or over clothes.
      Receiving or giving manual sex with hands
      Giving or receiving oral sex
      Giving or receiving vaginal or anal sex
      Penetrating the other person with a “toy” such as Bill Clinton’s cigar
      Sending or receiving nude erotic photos
      Having sex/masturbation via Skype with someone other than your spouse.

      Have I missed anything?


    • Geoffrey

      Wow there is a lot of comments to read for this blog! As an ex cheater I have benefited a great deal from reading from BS’s. I am gaining understanding as to how and what my wife is dealing with concerning my betrayal. D-day for us was 8 months ago and I have been out of the house for 6 of those months per her request. We have now been married for 7 years.

      I had lived a double life. My wife and everyone around me knew nothing of my sexual addiction and emotional affairs I had involved myself in. I hid that awful perversion for nearly 30 years and had prayed and begged God to take it away. I hated myself but was hooked on its ability to release me from other pain I developed since childhood. I was an expert lier, so I thought, but all the stuffing I did came out in other forms such as anger, resentment, bitterness etc. until eventually the devastating truth was discovered by my wife.

      I was crushed (as was my loved ones) by the now public knowledge of my secrets by everyone, most notably by my wife. I am by no means justifying what I did after D-day but the truth is is that I was not able to see past my own nose. I lied, minimized and omitted to protect myself. I felt as though I was protecting my wife also but I know now that was not the case. Because I was so brainwashed I was not able to respond to her needs as I should have. I was in a mindset to “fix” and “problem solve” and thought by doing so I would be able to keep only the tip of the ice berg exposed and handle the larger picture within myself. For example, I felt that I could simply say, “yes I had an EA with someone but it’s over” or “ I had used a burner email account for signing up for sex sites and email chats”. I believed I could hide the greater ugliness without exposing too much. Well the truth was is that my EA lasted my entire marriage and even started during courtship, my burner email contained an electronic EA. The truth came out in portions, my wife was given access to my emails where she read the disgusting things I wrote etc.

      I took all that my wife gave me, her tears, her questions, sadness, yelling, hitting me, throwing things at me. I would and will stand for anything she feels she needs to deliver me, but now minus the physical abuse she dolled out because that does no good for either of us.

      I destroyed her deeply and I do not want to turn my back on her and my children.

      Is there a fog a WS goes through? Yes. I was in a serious one as I was confronted with the false life I was living. I was unable to come clean about everything and slowly confessed on my own or when confronted. I am coming out of it now, slow and steady. I am learning through therapy and self examination the tools I need to help myself and my wife.

      I dug myself into such a deep hole that I do not blame my wife one bit for not trusting me regarding the truth. It is hard for my wife to believe me on anything. For me to have had an 8 year EA with an ex girlfriend, be involved with so much porn and Craig’s List ads it is hard for her to believe that I refrained from a physical sexual affair. I am working through the consequences one day at a time and have hope that my wife will open the door to begin reconciliation.

    • Sarah P.

      Hi Geoffrey,
      Thank you for sharing with us.

      I have been working on a piece the past several weeks about sex addiction. I am examining a very rare life story of a sex addict and his wife. Both are close to 80 years old.

      Geoffrey, I have some questions and some comments. My first comment is that childhood pain causes people to act out if they do not see a good therapist and go to the root cause. I would like to ask if you are seeing a therapist trained in childhood trauma and if you see that person once a week.

      You cannot break through the sexual addiction until you go into the black abyss of childhood trauma.

      I know a man who has had severe depression and other serious psychiatric disorders his whole life. He had a mental breakdown at age 19 due to the unrelenting physical and emotional abuse (as well as some very disturbing sexual things) that happened to him at the hands of his mom. Not all moms are nurturing and kind. Some are evil and evil truly is the only word to describe such people. This man was provided excellent in patient psychiatric care for a couple of months after his mental breakdown. They provided him with medication that helped subdue his obsessive tendencies and his extreme depression. However, they also told this man that until he was willing to 1) go no contact with his mother forever and 2) dive into the abyss that was his childhood and heal it with a skilled trauma therapist, he will never be healed. The medication will simply poorly subdue such tendencies. He refuses to do either thing— especially go no contact with his mom. Every few years he finds himself back in the therapist’s chair because of some life issue. Every therapist who he has seen — and he has seen many — has told him the same thing: he must go no contact with his mom forever and he must go through trauma therapy. He refuses both. Until he actually does what is needed — that is doing the necessary thing that he needs to do— he will keep floating through life – occasionally seeking the help of a therapist who will “pretend” with him that his mom is not the problem. Fortunately no one has been willing to pretend. That would only mess him up more.

      So this is why I am asking you if you are willing to see a therapist about your childhood issues and go no contact with whomever caused problems. Until you do this, you will not be able to stop acting out sexually. You will feel it is beyond your control and even if you hate yourself you will keep acting out. This is just a fact of the matter.

      Are you willing to confront childhood pain and sever ties not only with your abuser but with those who support your abuser’s narrative?

      If so, please get a couple of years of trauma therapy. Do not ask for reconciliation.

      I would also like to ask a question. It is the million dollar question for me and I sincerely hope you will answer it for the sake of the world and my own continued understanding of these topics. I am always looking to get to the bottom of things to help people rebuild their marriages.

      But here is the million dollar question: WHY on earth would you want your wife back when you had several affairs throughout your entire marriage? Why would you want your wife back when you started cheating on her during your courtship?

      In essence, why do you hope to reconcile with someone you clearly do not want?

      You may say you want your wife, but your actions show me you do not want her at all. You prefer to feed your sexual addiction rather than your marriage.

      Now you are free to act out your sexual addiction without hurting others. I truly believe that if people are incapable of monogamy they should not get married.

      For example, if you were completely single and seeing prostitutes every day, I would not blink. You are single and you are doing what you feel is sexually satisfying for you. You are hurting no one and everyone is consenting.

      If you were single and wanted a polyamorous life style, I would not judge you either. If everyone in your life knew where they stood — that is they were part of a polyamorous relationship, I would have no problem with that.

      In fact, I am NOT a sexually conservative person in terms of my view of the world. Here is what I believe: what consenting adults do behind closed doors is not my business. The word consent implies that all adults have a truthful understanding of their relationship. Nothing is hidden. People cannot even fully consent to marriage if one person is having an affair and hiding it. The other spouse did not consent to their partner’s affair and this is in violation of the marriage contract and their rights as a human being.

      You are now free to live a polyamorous lifestyle and experience sexuality with as many people and as in many ways as possible?

      So please tell me why you want reconciliation with a monogamous person. You know the rules that person has, I will tell you that you will violate them again, so why reconcile with so that you can be in a situation where everyone loses?

      By the way, I am NOT being sarcastic. I am truly and sincerely trying to wrap my head around why you would want to return to a lose/lose proposition for both you and your wife? You are free to live your lifestyle now— so why?

      I really need to understand this and I would greatly appreciate it if you would let me know very truthfully what is going on. It would be a great help to so many of us who are trying to wrap our heads around this.

      Thank you for commenting. I really appreciate it. Getting all perspectives help us all.


      • Geoffrey


        Thank you for responding and asking questions! It helps me process my actions and put them into words.

        I am overcoming by admitting my past addictions. I liken my sobriety to a cancer survivor in remission. God through my repentance, therapy and support is healing the wounds of my past and all its by products and I am learning that I am no longer bound to the filth I was in whether it be emotional hurt, addiction and ill behavior.

        Why do I want to be with my wife? Because I love her and all that she is. I hated my past life and each day I wanted out of the bondage I carried but I was too far in denial and acceptance of who and what I came to believe I was. Addicts can love despite what they are addicted to. A drug addict will still do drugs even though it hurts their spouse, an alcoholic will still drink while loving their spouse and a sex addict is no different although the damage may and probably look different.

        I do not want to engage in sex of any form outside of my marriage, it is totally outside of my moral compass. I hated it, I hated myself for doing it! The cycle was vicious and trying to rid it on my own was impossible. Each time I acted out or sought companionship from a female other than my wife brought me nothing but guilt, sorrow and condemnation. All of which made me more depressed, which in turn led me to deeper into self pity which led to more pornography, Ea’s etc.. Like I said, the cycle of addiction is vicious! For example, I felt like a failure at the beginning of courtship with my wife because I vowed to myself and her that I would not have sex with another woman besides my wife on my wedding night. So when we did have sex before marriage I had already felt like a failure to myself and her. I doomed myself and our marriage from the very start. I was not man enough to seek the proper help to protect my future with her. Resentment set in early and lasted through our marriage. It was a key contributor feeding my addiction and not allowing me to love as I should. Do i believe my love for her was genuine, YES! Did I hate who and what I was doing behind her back, YES!

        I can also speak well on the topic of “mom”. I am the product of emotional incest by my mother but will have to have more time to discuss that.

        I hope I answered your questions but if not please let me know, i typed this briefly as the kids get ready for school.

        • Sarah P.

          Hi Geoffrey,

          You mentioned some very important things and I would like to speak with you about these things privately and confidentially via email. I have asked Doug to reach out to you for your email address, if that is ok. I can then send you an email. (Your identity stays private and confidential as well as what you say.)

          I would NOT diagnose you formally as a sex-addict and I would like to discuss this more privately over the email, if you are okay with that.

          However, please do NOT stop all of the things you are doing currently to heal snd get help. They will be your life line.

          Yes, I can help you get your marriage back, but some of the things I want to discuss are not appropriate for public comments/forums. Also, I am going to steer you in a slightly different direction that you can add on to what you are doing now.

          Thank you for answering my questions because you really are not a sex-addict and I can explain why in an email.

          A piece on sex-addiction will be published on Tuesday. But, you do not fit the profile of a true sex-addict, so when that piece is published, take it with a grain of salt. You don’t meet the requirements for sexual-addiction as the root cause.

          Your way of thinking as well as your past has caused sexual acting out to be a way to self-medicate. And it is true you will not be able to stop until you get the right help. I have some research I have been doing on the side that will probably give you an aha moment. (The research I am doing is something very few people know about, let alone are involved in). I can help you see your way out of this since you have insight into your situation.

          After that, you are welcome to comment (if you want) on the public forum but that will need to be your choice.

          Otherwise, this will be handled over email if that is ok with you.


          PS- To all the readers, I am not trying to hide information from any readers. I am trying to come up with a theory and a treatment plan for particular cases that are not about infidelity even though they involve acting out sexually. I always write about ideas once they are fully formed and I have a solution for everyone. T

    • TheFirstWife

      Geoffrey. Thank you for having the courage to share your background and experiences.

      My H had two EAs – one 15 years ago that was 4 years long and the last 5 years ago that was about one year long.

      The last one – he wanted a Divorce. Typical mid life crisis A. But I suspect he had other less important EAs during our 30 year M.

      He was that good looking shy guy. He had one HS girlfriend and me. We met in college.

      We married. And the more successful he became the more the women were attracted to him.

      Not hard to see his flirtations were ego boosts and making up for lost time so to speak.

      I’m not sure how we reconciled when he was saying “I want a D” for many months. But we both committed to it. He has changed. He is not the guy he was during his A.

      He understands the mistakes and poor choices he made. If you are at that point in your post A life where you can see the “why” and are doing all you can, it is possible to reconcile with your wife.

      Trust can be rebuilt. But it is a ????% commitment. You are transparent. If you say I’m going to the store – you go to the store. Not the store and the bar and the racetrack.

      You act in a way that gives her hope and eventually confidence in you.

      And you communicate with her. Not chit chat about the day. But you share your feelings and let her know how important she is. Every day. In some way.

      You willingly and openly share your pain and devastation regarding the state of your M. Not just once. Not twice. But once times a thousand. Once times a million.

      Thank her for every opportunity you speak – and then every opportunity to try to make amends.

      And last – you need to instill in her that you think she is the sexiest hottest woman alive.

      No matter what – you desire her love and affection and compassion all wrapped up in a great package with a bow on it.

      I hope she is willing to listen and take a chance. I know in the face if all the odds I should have D my H at DDay2. But I gave it a last chance.

      It’s not been easy but we do have a good (better) M now and we are both happy.

      • Geoffrey


        Thank you! You are an encouragement. If my wife responds negatively do I continue with the words of emphathy, commitment, compliments etc?

    • TheFirstWife


      If your W responds negatively you listen. Then tell you understand WHY she feels that way but you are no longer that guy.

      Tell her you are willing to do whatever it takes to make amends and that you acceot all the blame for your past choices. But you will prove to her each and every day you are committed to her.

      Ask her if she would like to be alone to recover OR if you can do something fun with her for awhile? Just to relieve her pain or anxiety or re-direct her thoughts.

      • Geoffrey

        Thanks again FW, I will keep up with my attempts to connect! I think the most recent trigger that began our current “distance streak” was when we went to our timeshare with our kids. We were around many women in bikinis and doing things we once cherished. Even though I had my A+ game on, feeling like I was doing all I could to be attentive to her and the kids it still played havoc on her mind and emotions. The resort was her idea and I will do better next time to steer us away from a place or activity that could be a trigger for her. Until then I will take your advice and keep plugging along one day at a time.

    • TheFirstWife

      If she keeps hearing the commitment she will start to believe it. Eventually.

    • Geoffrey

      Sarah P,

      Wow and thank you! I am gracious to receive any help by being able to share my experiences and past. My hope is that I would be used to help others and that certainly seems what your heart is.

      I have given Doug permission to give you my email address for further correspondence.

    • Sarah P.

      Hi Geoffrey,

      Yes, everything I do is to help others (primarily victims). Sometimes I help people overcome affairs other times I help people escort the other person out of the marriage.

      Also, there are MANY other men in your position and you fall into a category where you have been victimized in childhood by the person you were supposed to trust the most — your mom. Very few men come out and ask for help and when they do, they do not want real help. Or I hear from their wives and how it is destroying the marriage at the center. I have been trying to figure out how to help such men, but none speak to therapists long enough to actually have a breakthrough. The only other person I have come across that is trying to crack the puzzle on how to help men in these situations lives in Israel. She has a book of case studies, which I have read, but she has no answer. I am trying to find out how to treat these cases so that everyone can be more emotionally free. It seems that you have hit your rock bottom and you want to get rid of your pain. I hope your pain will allow you to have courage to explore early childhood experiences so that you can become whole. I am also an expert in trauma and trauma bonds. Apart from my degree, I have logged hundreds of hours of research on trauma/trauma bonds– the kinds that are born out of childhood abuse and how to treat them. Becoming whole will be the end goal for you because right now you are dealing with a fractured self. Parts of the fractured self act out when triggered. Sometimes people act out daily (or many times a day) to try to out-run the pain. One more thing I wanted to mention, but this is not meant to make you lose hope. I have been interviewing a retired therapist who spent 40 years working solely in the field of sex-addiction. He has been getting very ill so I have gotten only bits and pieces of what he learned. He said the most difficult trauma bond to break is trauma born of the mother-son relationship. The difficulty is not in breaking the trauma but in a man’s willingness to explore the specifics so that the specifics can be addressed during the actual treatment for the trauma. I am happy to help you, via email, and the specifics you talk about stay confidential. (Unless you want to come and share your thoughts in the comments. But that is your choice.)


      • Geoffrey


        Thank you again! I am feeling some pretty raw emotions as I ponder your thoughts and words. Uncovering my past trauma is my desire as healing and answers come my way.

        Unless you recommend staying in this specific blog thread I may reserve my comments for another thread concerning this topic specifically for the reason of not blowing up or shifting the topic that Doug initially intended. I want to make sure my comments are in the right facilitated place so that others can be helped.

    • TheFirstWife

      Tired. Your H and my H have the exact same history. Stalled career. Miserable boss. Loss of status and pay decrease.

      And then he meets Miss OW – but my H pursued her. I have to be honest and admit he was trying to erase his “unhappiness” with an A.

      My H only went to counseling a few times. His heart wasn’t really in it. Cultural thing too. His family is not from US and view any kind of help as “being weak”.

    • Tired

      Hi TFW. Thanks for replying. Yes, my husband too was also trying to ease his unhappiness with an affair. It is true she pursued him, she was like a dog with a bone. When I saw these emails recently, I discovered she had kept contacting him for 3 months after the real no contact! With no response. That is true persistence, or narcissism, or whatever you want to call it.

      But the truth is no matter if she pursued him, he still went along with it! I am glad he didn’t respond to her blatant attempts to draw him back into the affair. He just didn’t respond. That seems to be when she finally moved on. He didn’t seem to realise that she was the type of girl who was going to take any kind of response to her as an invitation to keep going. It upsets me somewhat that he had such an ego that he couldn’t just block her. He probably enjoyed getting these desperate photos and that’s why he kept the emails.

      In one email she had the hide to write to him: “Don’t be a loser when you’re fifty.” I found that really, really insulting. After all he is a doctor and who is she? Some silly tart who was planning to give up her career the moment she found another man! That is what happened with the next man. It is a shame that my husband didn’t see that those words were actually saying she must have thought he was already a loser. He doesn’t feel the impact of those words I don’t think, he was too busy feeling flattered that she was still pining over him. But I do. Or perhaps she thinks anyone not in a relationship with her must be a loser.

      My husband doesn’t think going to counselling is being weak. He has even suggested it a couple of times. He has actually had some insight in saying that he knows he can only behave the way he does in his own hometown (tip toeing around and not saying what you really mean so as not to offend people) and that it doesn’t work so well where we are, where people think it is best to be up front. I talked to him about how I thought his relationship with his boss was also due to this. The other doctors were more self confident and didn’t get treated like that. Or if they did they were able to dismiss it and not take it to heart.

      We haven’t gone to counselling partly because I didn’t push the issue. As I said, I don’t think he can change his cultural behaviour with counselling. Maybe it would help. At least he would learn how not to respond to me….ie: hiding things and burying issues under the carpet.Not sure. I might think about it. At the moment one day I’m leaving him, the next I’m not. Aaaaah.

      • Shifting Impressions

        Have you gone for individual counseling??

        • Tired

          Thanks for replying SI. No, I haven’t but I think I might. I was thinking about it a lot after I read your reply.

          I feel like I might have some sort of PTSD. It seems terrible to say that because people have been through much worse that have this disorder (eg: seeing people killed in battle), not just their dumb husband having a frivolous ego-licking fest with a colleague. But it has been over 2 years now. Some of that has probably been because he has been very slow in trickling out the truth.

          I think it really damaged my security. One day I thought life was fine, we had just come back from a holiday. All of the sudden my whole life was pulled out from under my feet. It is probably the same for all betrayed spouses, but I don’t have children so therefore I think I’m probably more disposable.

          Lately I haven’t been sleeping and I’m waking up when I do sleep, and nightmares. They are always about how I’m in some kind of terrible jam and he doesn’t do anything to help me. I think that is how I feel….I felt like this narcissist attacked me (her) and tried to slay my reputation and he just went along with it and believed everything she said. So I can not feel safe now.

          • Shifting Impressions

            Don’t minimize what happened to you and how it has affected you. When You mentioned that your husband became physically abusive during the affair….I wondered if that is something you have not dealt with yet. You just sort of mentioned it in passing when someone else brought up the subject.

            I went for several individual counseling sessions after the affair. My therapist definitely helped me work through some of my emotions. It took me a long time to feel comfortable sleeping beside my husband.

            I don’t think anything cuts deeper than the betrayal by someone you trust completely. Than he went on to physically abuse you. That is a lot to deal with.

            I encourage you to go for your own sake…’s important to take care of you.

    • TheFirstWife

      I think the comments from the OW are difficult to understand when we don’t know what our CH is telling them.

      My H was unhappy “supposedly” for 18 months. So when the A started (which my H instigated) he had the OW convinced (and I do mean convinced) he was leaving me.

      And every time I said “you are free to go and be with the OW” – he changed his mind. Did not want to leave. Lather rinse and repeat.

      The last contact with OW – he did not respond. So she did the next best thing – harassed me in social media for 2 years.

      What made it funny was the hilarious things she would post. The most comical wss her comment that “she would never stay in a relationship with a cheater”.

      Referred to me as a loser.

      So I guess it is “ok” to be the OW then. Hahahaha

    • Tired

      Very true, TFW. I’m sure he lied to her as well as to me. According to my husband he told her nothing about our relationship and she could just “tell” that he was unhappy. Well that is a furphy if I ever heard one. Of course it must be a lie. Knowing his personality, he did his best to look unhappy so she would feel sorry for him. So he is being honest when he tells me he didn’t, but let’s face it, it is not really being honest is it? So when you say your husband pursued the other woman….I’m not such a fool to think mine had nothing to do with it. Of course he did. He just did it more sneakily. Like keeping the emails. Not telling her firmly. All gauged to get her to keep licking his ego. Poor, sad victim that he is. Aaaah.

      The other woman in our lives did not post anything so blatant as yours did. It was sneakier. She would post things that would trigger me. Like song lyrics I knew they had listened to. Or pictures of her in a bikini with motivational quotes. I now realise that is because she thought she still had a chance with him…otherwise why keep emailing him for months after. At least your husband must have made it clear it was over. This is why I’m considering divorcing him. He is so hard to read. I could never know what he is really thinking.

      And how dare she refer to you as a loser. After all, she lost didn’t she? And the only reason she would bother doing that is because she knew it.

    • Robert

      I have, a question? Why would I have to give up all things in my life, I am a very private man who got involved with a woman online after my wife betrayed me in 2015-16 by meeting men online and then meeting them offline? In my situation, I am being treated worse than what she experienced when she tried to commit suicide over the other man. I have visited her in the hospital when no one in my family would even go to see her. I am sorry but how can I be transparent with someone who has betrayed my trust. I have heard that emotional affairs are even worse than the Real Life affairs. Is that True? I love my wife, but I don’t trust her and I don’t see why I should be treated much worse than what she got away with. It makes no sense and is hypocritical……Help me out here?

      • Shifting Impressions

        You are really not giving us enough information in order for us to be of help to you. Who is treating you worse??? Your wife??

        did you have an EA to get even with your wife??? Also I don’t know if EAs are worse than physical affair….they are both destructive and a betrayal of trust.

        Anyway a little more info would be helpful.

    • Lost

      Been married 17 yrs found out 3 years ago he was having emotional affair with co-worker.. said they were just friends. Puked phone records and not the case.. I saw a not so good text from her and confronted him and then there was nothing. After that I had ask several weeks later about him speaking with her and he said he hadn’t and I busted him, then came the porn I found out about and mire and more.. I have been with him for 22 years and he has been my best friend so I thought. I don’t even know him. He was a firefighter and found out just how much he was “flirting “ not to long ago. And the thing is we always talk about how he couldn’t stand how all the other guys did that behind there wives backs and he wouldn’t ever do that! Now he is treating me great one minute and then will say something to me like must really suck to feel that way! Knowing I would not if he hadn’t done anything like this! I have become so angry and he knows just what to do and how to say it to push me over the edge… I am so confused and lost

    • Bran 76

      I had an EA that ended over 4 months ago. Both of us are married and things never got romantic or anything, but we became very close friends – closer than married people ought to be. It’s taken me time to understand that an emotional bond can be as destructive as a physical affair. I feel bad about it, but I’m struggling to be as remorseful as I should be.

      I’ve been married almost 25 years and I’ve had numerous discussions about my emotional need for intimacy over the years. I’ve tried every way imaginable to lovingly communicate on this, but it has been a problem for a long time. It’s only because of the aftermath of the EA that I’m understanding how starved I’ve been for emotional connection. I have taken full blame and responsibility for the EA – that’s entirely on me. But neglect of my emotional needs at home was a contributing factor. This has left me angry because the EA is a huge setback for my marriage and it’s put me in this position of having to rebuild trust over an inappropriately deep – but not romantic – friendship that came about because I was emotionally starved at home. I’m trying to figure out how to be remorseful and selfless, but the years and years of trying to address this issue has me filled with so much anger at the same time. I hate that I’ve hurt my wife, but does this EA negate the years of neglect that contributed to this?

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