For a betrayed person to get their self-esteem back and recover from infidelity is by loving and accepting themselves and realizing that, yes, they are okay just the way they are – faults and all.

can you ever recover from infidelityBy Linda

I saw this article recently by relationship expert and author Bree Maresca-Kramer M.A, and I felt many of us could relate to it and that it might offer some good information for those of us trying to regain self-esteem and recover from infidelity. 

It deals with the challenge from a female point of view, but I’m sure there can be some takeaways for you men out there as well.  I’ve included excerpts from the article in the gray boxes and my comments directly below.  

Can You Ever Recover From Infidelity?

“Following the shocking and painful discovery that you have been cheated on, people frequently exacerbate the damage by “acting-in” through self-sabotaging behaviors. Unfortunately, we are starting to see signs of this in recent photos of Demi Moore, in light of Ashton Kutcher’s alleged infidelity. In recent photos, Moore appears emaciated and drawn.

This is one of the more common ways a woman will “act in” after the pain and damage caused by an infidelity. In addition to not eating, a woman may participate in excessive drinking, taking drugs, smoking, withdrawing from daily life activities and responsibilities, random sexual encounters, and/or blaming and emotionally beating herself up as the cause of her partner’s adultery.”


After our D-day I couldn’t eat or sleep and lost about 20 pounds that I really didn’t need to lose, so I can attest to this completely. I also had a very hard time focusing on my job and spent a great deal of time beating myself up and blaming myself for the emotional affair.

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It’s seemed to be a natural response at the time, but as my recovery progressed I learned that beating and blaming myself were quite the wrong thing to do.


“So why, after such devastating pain from the actions of her unfaithful partner, would a woman do this to herself? It is actually due to a faulty coping mechanism. A coping mechanism is a behavioral tool used to offset or overcome adversity, anxiety, or stressors without correcting or eliminating the condition. For example, if someone is experiencing too much stress at work and cannot make a career or job change, they could use breathing exercises or meditation as coping mechanisms to compensate for the stress. When a woman reacts to infidelity by participating in self-destructive behaviors, her coping mechanisms are undeveloped.

One of the top reasons this happens is that the foundation on which she bases her worth is built on unstable ground. In other words, her self-esteem is based on factors outside of herself, such as how much money or success she has, who her partner is, how she looks, what her social status is, etc. When a woman’s worth is based on these external elements she will always be vulnerable to falling into this dysfunctional and self-destructive behavioral pattern.”


I’m not sure I agree with the statement that this only happens to those whose self-esteem is based on factors outside of herself. I know I don’t base my self-worth on things such as money or looks, or social status one bit. I think that I simply was in too much pain.

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“A woman with a sound and healthy self-esteem would experience the shock and emotional pain of an infidelity; yet, she would not continue the damage by engaging in self-destructive behaviors. After the initial shock, this woman would process her emotions, dust herself off, stand back up, and move forward with her life whether that included continuing with her partner or not. She would know that she is not responsible for her partner’s behavior. However, she would be willing to look at herself and the relationship to see if she had any part of the reason the infidelity occurred without emotionally beating herself up for it. She would choose to learn from the experience and come out of it a richer and deeper woman. Whether she decided to work it out with her unfaithful partner or move on, she would forgive him as she knows that holding onto the anger and not forgiving him would only cause more harm to herself in the long run.

So how can a woman who hurts herself after an infidelity stop this madness? Love and acceptance, it’s that simple. This love is not the Hollywood romanticized form of the word but rather a true love and acceptance of herself. This sounds easy enough but can be quite difficult for a woman who has never felt good about who she is on the inside rather that what she has, does, or looks like on the outside. But, it can be done.

This process of re-building self-worth based on the essence of who one is as a human requires that they accept all the parts and pieces of themselves, even those they may not like to look at or want to admit to. Just as with any healthy relationship, building a healthy self-esteem takes time, commitment, and follow-through. There are many self-help books, therapists, and coaches who can help and guide you along the way. The most important piece is that you take pro-active steps to build this new way of valuing yourself and stop the self-destructive behavior. This will ultimately will lead to a fresh and fulfilled life.” See original article.

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It always sounds so simple when you read things like this, but I agree that for a betrayed person to get their self-esteem back and recover from infidelity is by loving and accepting themselves and realizing that, yes, they are okay just the way they are – faults and all.

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    59 replies to "Can You Ever Recover From Infidelity?"

    • roller coaster rider

      I know that initially after D-Day 1 I began to really have lots of painful moments: Why would he do this to me? What is wrong with me? I looked long and hard at all the factors that may have played a part in the infidelity and tried to be sincere and honest with myself about the role I may have had in bringing him to this state of needing another woman’s approval and wanting her admiration so much he would say whatever she wanted to hear and do whatever messed up thing with her in order to please her (and I’m sure satisfy himself). But in that process I began to see very clearly that the affair had so little to do with me. That was a part of the ‘seeing the truth’ for me. I began to realize that I really did not matter much at all; nothing I did, said, wanted, or hoped for was a factor in my H’s decision to continue in that relationship. So now, although the marriage is over, I have to continue to ask myself the hard questions in order to be the person I know I can be and want to be as I move forward. And if I can do anything to help (especially) my sisters on this website, it is to encourage you to trust your gut, and don’t settle. You each have so many amazing, wonderful qualities and you should never assume that that man cheated on you because there was/is something wrong with you. Yes, you still love him. But should you? Is he really honoring you as his wife, and desiring you as an equal partner in this life journey we’re on, or does he use you, take you for granted or even abuse you in some way? Don’t let him.

      • Whirling

        I am sitting here when I should be at work. I don’t know what do. It’s been a very long weekend. I haven’t slept or eaten. I can’t concentrate enough to even watch tv. Mostly, I just wonder around the house.

        He went to Chicago on a business trip for 4 days. He called at night but didn’t text or email. I got a weird feeling. Woman should always listen to their gut feeling. Texting me friday at work to say we needed a heart to heart. Got home friday to hear he had met someone through which was professional and could make good contacts. About 5 minutes into the conversation, I found out they had dinner the first night. Then she texted him the next day so they had drinks that night. Then he came back. As the conversation went on he had discussed his first marriage and our relationship with her and she had lots of good advise. A note here she had been engaged 3 times and but never followed through. Oh, and he was attracted her. I thought I had been sucker punched. I never ever thought he would do this. I couldn’t say anything I just walked away. There’s been alot tears. He doesn’t think he had done anything wrong. He apologized for hurting me. But wants to stay in contact with her as there is nothing wrong – she’s a friend now. On Saturday, I said he has to terminate texts, calls etc with her. He said he would. Yesterday, I said I wanted to be cc on the message. He said he wouldn’t do that. So, I said ok then I want to be included on the texts. If you have nothing to hide, then it shouldn’t be a problem. He said I was too angry to have her address and we should just constraint on the positive and work on our relationship. I said I couldn’t work on our relationship until we/I had worked through this.

        Did nothing wrong eh?

        • Whirling

          PS she also has been texting him since he returne home…..

    • InTrouble

      Good post rcr.

      • Paula

        Agreed, she is a truly wise woman

    • Anita

      It took my exhusbands last infidelity, before I actually got it.
      In the beginning I had placed the blame on myself, what I did done wrong. Was I a perfect wife,” no” and could I had said and done things differently along the way that may have made a difference, “yes.” However, what I did or didn’t do, gave no excuse for my exhusband to have had a full blown adulterous affair. I also wanted to blame the other woman, and yes she played her part, but she had her own problems, who in their right mind becomes involved with a married man, unless their desperate.
      Did pride and self rightousness play a part of me leaving, “yes” However, the Bible states Matthew 5:32 , we can divorce.
      I did give him more then a second chance, “yes.”
      But I had no control over him and his affair partner wanting to be together. Did I get over his infidelity “Yes.” Plus also I forgave them.
      My exhusbands adultery, actually built my self esteem, and self growth.
      What I learned the most was, through God, I am a whole complete person. Marriage nor anything else, defines who I am.

    • Anita

      I also want to add, that when we have psychological autonomy, we have the emotional ability to stand on our own two feet.
      We can recognize the importance of a relationship, but at the same time it, prevents our identity from being swallowed up or destroyed by another person.
      Also our world does not have to end when a close relationship ends. Even if we are alone, we can still create a rich, satisfying life of our own. We can continue to live, instead of self-destructing.

    • Anita

      Doug and Linda,
      Thank you again for this site.
      From where I was a few years ago before I got my civil divorce to where I am now, was a long journey. I now have peace, love and joy. I also have a renewed excitment about life.
      I am glad to have stumbled on to this site, it had given me the chance to reopen my past and look at it again. By doing that, it
      has brought me even more healing, and forgiveness. Today I go in and start working toward my annulment at my church.
      Instead of going with bitterness and resentment, and anger. I now go with a renewed excitment that the final end to this has come after my paper work is finished. This chapter in my life will be finally closed. I now cry tears of happiness and Joy!

    • D

      It’s important to note that truly giving of oneself takes an incredible amount of courage. In order to experience a deep, loving connection with another human being, whether it be a spouse, friend, parent, mentor, etc, one has to be vulnerable. The greater the vulnerability the deeper the emotional connection.

      But it isn’t easy. Vulnerability means you open yourself to hurt, obviously. When we are betrayed by someone in whom we put so much trust it is only natural to close our hearts and mind, to put up our guards, which in turn will affect our bodies and focus, and to question our worth. After all, we’ve given ourselves and were rejected (whether that rejection is valid or not is beside the point, the feeling of rejection is the same.)

      I definitely lost weight, but that was due to the PTSD. I simply didn’t have the energy to eat. I couldn’t sleep or work either. I was a mess. In hindsight I’m a little embarrassed by my behavior, but I also wear it as a badge of honor. I gave of myself, freely. It takes a lot of courage to do that.

      • ifeelsodumb

        DO NOT be embarrassed, D!! Please!! Your CS should be the one that is embarrassed! Everything you said is so true! I love reading comments like yours, that let me see that I am completely normal in the thoughts and feelings that I have had and am still having!!
        I’ve told my H on so many occasions, “All of our stories are different, but the thoughts, feelings and emotions are the same, I’m not crazy, I’m acting completely normal for this situation”!

        • D

          You are definitely acting normal. The weirdest thing about this experience, which I would bet 98% here could attest to, is the scripted formula affairs follow, the set up, the fall, the language used, the behavior, even our reactions are all so similar. Freaky.

    • tryingtoowife

      I have my reserves about this article.
      Following the shocking and painful discovery of my H adultery, I don’t think that the behavior I displayed or indeed of most betrayed spouse display any sign of “self-sabotaging”. I do believe that the signs we, either male or female show, are just consequences of loss of our known reality that DDay, provide us with. Life as we knew, is over, dead, then comes the huge voice created by such feelings.
      I did not feel like eating or sleeping because there are plenty of other feelings feeding our body. To list few but powerful ones, the pain, fear and sadness. Food might be a comforting feeling for some to fill that void, but for most, is the last thing in our mind. It is not a conscious act. It is just the least important thing at that time. I already had a small framed body, and without even noticing I lost 10KG in one month. But so did my H. I drank, but I did not need to drink much as with the lack of food in my stomach, the little I had gave me the comfort I needed. To be honest, in those first days, without the glasses of wine I had, I think I could easily have had a heart attach, because of the tension I felt. I was also not beating myself up as the cause of my partner’s adultery. I was instead, for being so stupid and for not having read the clues, all there in my face, like a HUGE red light. How more stupid could I have been? ”Off course my coping mechanisms were undeveloped, I did not believe that my H would EVER be the guy he turn out to be.
      I can only agree that my self-esteem is based on factors outside of myself, when it comes to my family, my children. If I can see them happy, I am happy. I never based my happiness in how much money or success I had, I always ever only wanted my partner to be happy in whatever he was doing and helped and supported him as much as I could, I don’t base my happiness in how I look, although I always tried to look healthy, our social status is not damaged because no one knows what happened to US, so my H and I, are still seen as the very lucky people that married each other and are very respected in our jobs. As Linda said. Pain was the thing that knocked down my self-esteem.
      I agree that the process of re-building self-worth is based on true love and acceptance of myself and not what my H showed as he saw me with his actions, but it has nothing to do with the material side of things I have, although it is nice to have a nice job, house and holidays, this things means nothing to me if the people I love most would not be part of it. I think that this article might strike a note with some people, but for saying that feeling sad and hurt is self-destructing – consciously – does not help someone reading it if they have just been hit with the devastation of your H/W adultery, making them feel responsible for creating the negative feelings, which in truth with time, this feelings must be validated and worked on, an let go off. But all in good time. And then when you are ready, you will know if you stay or go. But happy.

      • ifeelsodumb

        Agree 100%!!!

      • Angel61

        I agree. I don’t think anyone has the coping mechanism for such a painful event. The pain of facing the loss of our marriage ranks as one of the greatest of all, akin to death, and sometimes even worse because with death one will not feel the rejection and loss of self worth.

        I don’t think the losing weight and depression are the self destructive behaviours as they relate to the relationship. It is allowing anger and resentment to build up, which then could poison all our thoughts and not allow us to move forward. Forgiveness and love, on the other hand, can even bring back the marriage.

    • Anita

      When I met with my pastor yesterday he told me somethings that make very much sense. Forgivness is when we see the scar, we never forget what happened, but we no longer feel the pain.
      He also told me with divorce, that it takes about, 7 years to fully heal. I also remember a friend of mine telling me the same thing. My first thought back then, was you have got to be kidding, 7 years, but now I can say I agree with that, I am not at my 7 year mark yet, but I’m getting close.
      He also said, when you enter into new relationship without taking the time to fully heal from the last one, that you end up carrying more baggage, into the new relationship, thus making another unhealthy relationship.

      • Doug

        Anita, I like the scar analogy very much, and have no arguments with your statement about needing to fully heal or you carry more baggage into a new relationship. But if it takes 7 years, then there are a heck of a lot of couples out there in unhealthy relationships because no one waits that long it seems to move on to a new one.

        • Anita

          That maybe one of the reasons, the divorce rate is higher for second marriages, than first marriages.

          • Doug

            I imagine that is indeed the reason

      • ifeelsodumb

        Anita, I’m going to pass that on to my sister…she is 2 mos out of a EA turned PA that destroyed her 35 yr marriage! And she is looking for another relationship already!
        I’ve told her it’s to soon, but she won’t listen to me! Maybe if she knows that she could sabotage her new relationship with all her baggage, she’ll move a little slower! Though I doubt it, she is so afraid of being alone, she let’s it rule her life…

        • Anita

          Its hard watching a family member do something, that you know isn’t good for them. But all you can do is be there for her, when she need you.
          2 months out of a 35yr marriage, and she looking for a new relationship, she needs to see a counselor. But if she doesn’t, be there for her.

    • Dol

      D: “I gave of myself, freely. It takes a lot of courage to do that.”

      I found out about my partners EA about this time last week, still in the blast zone. This is currently the hardest thing for me, D – I did the same, I gave myself completely – made that choice consciously. And the sense of loss I now have is unbearable. The incredibly light and easy, but deep trust I’d had for years has been so recklessly shattered… I know it’s only a week, so the pain’s still all I can really see. But I just have no idea whether I could ever give of myself in the same way again. Maybe not – gonna have to grieve for that.

      So far as myself, at least, I’ve been swinging between hiding under the duvet and going running. Haven’t run for ages: it’s amazing how the physical struggle of running is so much better than the emotional pain! It feels right, as quickly as possible, to commit to doing what needs doing *for me*. I have to choose to fight for the relationship, not do it because I fear choosing to leave. I have to believe, to steal a crowded house line, “I could start again, you can depend on it.”

      p.s. i would be a looong way from good, healthy thoughts like that unless I’d discovered this website last Friday. Everything here has helped sooo much, thank you..

      • Broken

        I can feel your pain like it was yesterday. Just roll with it right now. You dont have to make any decisions…just live moment to moment. It will get better but its a long hard road. I know we all ask how could this one person you completely and freely gave yourself to….how can they do this selfish awful act? We will never have that answer….it just is and now you have to learn all that you can about the EA. Try and take care of yourself allthough its hard. Give yourself permission to be first in your life now….. Hang in there.

    • Holding On


      Sorry you have had to join this group, but you are right that this website is a great site to gain information, insights, and know that you are not alone.

      I think it is great that you are running and doing good things to help you.

      Hang in there!

    • Dol

      Broken and Holding on, thank you for your kind words.

    • Dol

      Sorry, might not be quite on-topic, but I’m wondering if I’m ever going to recover from the current feelings I have. Some background to it: they had about a six/seven week EA that was terrifyingly close to falling into a PA. My partner had to go away for a month just as it started. Plenty of scope for the distance EA stuff, which they did A LOT of.

      The night after I found out, a week after she got back, I couldn’t sleep: no surprise there. She’d said about emails, so I did something I’m so not proud of: tried to find them. She’d been much more thorough about logging out though! But: I found three journal entries that layed out in the most extruciating detail imaginable the whole thing. She had not been really honest with me initially: that sounds fairly normal from what I’ve read here.

      Then I knew the full horror of what had happened and the full strength of her feelings. Again, I’m not proud of what I did, but in a way it’s been good because it’s short-circuited having to dig much more out (though there has been plenty.) On the other hand, I’m not sure anyone should be made to endure reading about the strength of those feelings, of the profound effect just a single text can have. EA cheaters know what I’m talking about, particularly those where the physical attraction is powerful very quickly.

      Among many, many little lies and deceits, today I’m struggling again with two. First, near the start, they arranged to meet somewhere when she was away for the weekend (before leaving for the month). I know that she knew they’d kiss, that it’d probably end in sex. She fought with herself, she cancelled. (Through all of it, that toing and froing took place.) In the month away, she came back to see me once, got claustrophobic, decided it seems that was me, and on returning to the month away asked him to come down the following weekend. Thank Christ, he couldn’t make it – if he had, I wouldn’t be here writing. Again, her writing makes clear she knew how that would end, and she knows how bad it was. I know for a fact I could not cope with that, I’d leave. Some people can try and work that through, I could not.

      Up to this point, it’s been the most incredible relationship. There’s been no hint of this. When it happened was at the most stressful points in both our lives imaginable – everything from work, jobs, houses going wrong, last week of intense 4 year project. But none of that is helping me reconcile the person I thought I knew with… whoever invited that man down for the weekend. At the moment, though I’m fighting for this relationship, and though I believe she’s fighting too, and has made clear who she chooses – daily I just don’t know how I could possibly recover from this. It’s just too enormous. I wonder what it’ll do to me in the coming weeks and months.

      I have to hope, to quote recoveringmommy, she is a ‘a good person that made a monumental mistake’. Right now, I can’t begin to understand how I could get to that point, and that’s terrifying. Perhaps if I endure a day at a time, things will get clearer…

      • Recovering Mommy


        It does get easier with time. I am now a year and a half out from D-day. My H engaged in an EA with a women that, I thought, was one of my best friends. My H and I went almost a year without any contact with the OW. Now that our children go to school together, we are in a situation where we are forced to be around the OW sometimes. It’s not easy. But I know that my H is not the person he was 18 months ago. Do I still have questions? Yes. Do I still have bouts where I just don’t understand how he did this? Yes. I even still have nightmares about him deciding to leave me for her. But over time you learn to allow the thoughts to come and then quickly dismiss them without dwelling on them. I discovered the EA purely by accident when I saw emails my H had received from Facebook alerting him of a message he’d received from the OW. All this time had passed yet I only had read one side of the story. I had never seen what all my H said to the OW. I had only seen what she said to him. A couple of months ago while checking his Facebook account, which I do from time to time with his knowledge, I discovered (after a lot of digging) all of the messages he sent to her. It was very disturbing. It shook me to the core and took me back to D-day. All the feelings and emotions came rushing back. But after processing my emotions about what I saw and understanding those messages were almost 2 years old, I was able to dismiss it. But had I saw that in the beginning, I’m not sure how I would have handled it. You will be in my thoughts and prayers as you process through information.

    • ifeelsodumb

      It DOES get easier,, I’m 11 mos out from D Day, but as I found out…this is not something that goes away after just a few weeks, so brace yourself! It takes many months of tears, distrust, emotional highs and lows…I found myself loving my H one day, and hating him with an anger I never knew I had in me! It was so shocking to me!!
      I tend to forgive quite easily, but after all these months, I haven’t forgiven my H yet…and forget about the OW, I’m not wasting my energy on HER!!
      You didn’t say, but is your partner remorseful? Has she expressed deep sorrow? Does she want to make your relationship work? These things are important…even though in my case, my H said all the right things, broke off all contact…. he didn’t want to leave our marriage for the OW, but he also didn’t do much to help me heal either!
      Don’t make my mistake and try to do this all on your own! I seriously thought I could just take a deep breath, shed a few tears, tell my H what a scumbag he is…and move on! NOT!! This is a process, you have to grieve for what has been lost.
      There’s a book you can get “How to Help Your Spouse Heal From your Affair, by Linda MacDonald. I haven’t read it yet, I refuse to buy it, I told my H it’s HIS responsibility, since he’s the cheater, and so far he hasn’t!
      In a blog posting from last week, Linda and Doug posted some of the info from the book, you might want to take a look at it with your CP,(cheating partner) if she is willing.
      Sorry you’ve had to join this “club”! There are some great people on here, use what is written on here to help yourself heal, and also, if she is remorseful, have your CP read the posts and comments, so that she can see how damaging this is!
      Just hang in there, it DOES get better!

    • ifeelsodumb

      And try to not think about the text and email messages to much…while in “the fog” they become different people!! Almost a case of ” innocent by reason of temporary insanity”!! :/

    • Dol

      ifeelsodumb, thank you so much for all that. Was just reading the bullet points from the linda macdonald book – my partner’s actually doing pretty well on all those very quickly. Apart from the collosal, serial, repeating massive errors, she’s generally incredibly self-aware, which is helping us.

      So e.g.: early on, I’d read here about making rules, writing them down. I’d thought that was extreme – until I went in the shower, and in those two minutes she checked to see if he’s msgd on facebook! After the initial trauma of that, we quickly realised what sort of framework we needed to put in place to rob her of any little ways back like that. They’re written out.

      And the one great thing from that is: she told me as soon as she’d done something even slightly dumb, and could explain the ridiculous mental thought processes that had allowed her to. It’s another thing I struggle with the most: temporary insanity, maybe, but it’s also an utterly terrifying person, driven by the strongest godawful drugs from our evolutionary past… fighting that hurts so much.

      I do believe, even if she goes wrong, that she’s being honest and that she’ll tell me about it straight away. It’s the cardinal rule: if she bumps into him at work (it’s going to happen) she needs to email me immediately, even if I won’t read it for hours, so she knows I know and there’s less way back in for the addictive feelings. No contact allowed: again, she has to let me know immediately. Transparency and honesty are the only things that will get us through. I’ve made sure she knows in no uncertain terms: the slightlest slip-up is playing Russian Roulette with our future, because I really don’t know how much more I can take.

      Which has got to be the most horrible thing I’ve had to do, but at the moment I’m amazed to discover that my love for her appears to mean I’m actually going to fight. If you’d asked me 3 months ago what I’d do in this situation, I would have said I’d walk away.

      • ifeelsodumb

        Dol….I’ve had five, yes, FIVE of my friends that I’ve known since childhood, get divorced because of adultery…I’ve always said, ‘No way, he does that to me, I’m outta this marriage”! Wellllll…here I am, dealing with an EA, adultery in MY book…and I’m fighting to make this work when some days I think it would be easier to just pack up and go…until we are put in a certain position, we just never know how we will react!
        But having my 15 yr old son, who is half a foot taller than me, tears pouring down his face, climb on my lap, saying, “No, No, please don’t get a divorce, please mom”…well, how can you NOT try to fix it?
        You do what you have to do….even when you’re doing most of it alone… :/

        • Paula

          IFSD, I think most of us were not prepared to stay with a partner who disrespected us so much they would cheat. You’re right, though, once it happens to you, you do things you didn’t know you were capable of. In my case, I thought cheating was a low-life way of dealing with life’s problems, that it was simple, just don’t do it. Leave your marriage first, if you are that unhappy. But, here I am, still here. In my case, I looked at the previous 22 years, and realised that 20 of them were AMAZING, not just okay, not just good, we were a great fit, and we had a special bond, and incredible love and passion for each other (I thought that was enough to sustain a relationship) I wasn’t about to walk away from a good guy because he’d stuffed up, at least, not without a jolly good go at trying to “fix” it. I also thought I would let him have it, he would apologise, and mean it, and we would heal, and (I laugh now) I would feel much better after a couple of months, 6 months later, and we’d be fine. I was shocked when I heard one of my OH’s friends tell him about another of his friend’s wife, who would still talk about it after two years. Geez, that wouldn’t be me, what was wrong with her? I didn’t fully understand the damage, or the healing process then. I thought that you “just get over it.” I don’t think you ever do, you just learn new coping mechanisms, and communicate better, so as not to get into the same situation again. I will never “get over it.” It is a permanent scar, but remember, scars don’t hurt all the time, the way the fresh wound did, but they are there to remind you not to repeat the incident.

          • ifeelsodumb

            Glad to know I wasn’t the only one who thought this would be over so quickly…never in a million years did I think 11 months later that I would be having so many down days…

    • D

      Dol, all of this will pass, but the dreaded fog is thick indeed. What makes it all the worse is that we, the faithful, are the ones asked to swallow are pride, anger, humiliation in order to help them heal. But do yourself a favor and let her own this. Be there for her, comfort her if necessary, support her, but never at the expense of what you need.

      Chin up, mate.

    • Recovering Mommy

      I don’t completely agree with this article. I don’t think it’s fair to say that a woman with a healthy opinion of herself wouldn’t go through all the self-blame and “what ifs.” I believe that it’s in the nature of every women to want to please others. So when something catastrophic like this happens, I think any woman would initially assume that it’s something she did wrong. I don’t think it’s right to put that kind of label on women who do go through those struggles. The BS should be allowed to cope however they are able to without being labeled as having a poor self image.

    • Notoverit

      I haven’t posted in a few days. Today is D-day or rather tonight around 12:51 AM. I thought we were healing and working on our problems but after nearly a year my husband decided to come clean. He kept saying all year that he felt nothing for the OW – it’s was just the excitement of texting and talking. I never believed that and I have always told him so. Well, last Friday he decided to fess up and said that, yes, he did fall in love with the OW. BUT it only lasted for a couple of weeks before he realized it wasn’t really love. Now I have all the healing to go through again. I collapsed internally and now am an emotional wreck. I just don’t think I have it in me to do this again.

      I hear most of you saying well you knew it in your head any way so what’s the problem. The problem to me is that he just kept lying all year while we were in counseling and I was trying so very hard to understand. I think we build constructs based on the information we are given by the CS and then try to make sense of the whole mess. My construct was shot to hell. He thought he was being honest, which I appreciate, but for heaven’s sake, couldn’t he have done it a little earlier? So here I go again, maybe. I just don’t know if I can make it again.

      As for the post, the article is pure BS. I never based my self-worth on outside factors but rather how I felt about myself. Yeah, I lost weight and yeah I pitched a royal fit. So what? As my psychologist told me, we are still animals with those instincts. When we are cornered and threatened, we strike back. I think that our reactions (all being the same just about it) show that theory very clearly. Fear is a survival mechanism and anger is just an offshoot of fear, i.e. being threatened by the EA/PA. And I NEVER felt responsible for my H’s adolescent selfish behavior – he’s grown and he made the choice. I did nothing to deserve this. I think the article is just waaaay off base.

    • ifeelsodumb

      Notoverit, I’m so sorry! :'( I went through the same thing a couple months ago…all along he kept saying they were just “friends”, just having conversation, but he finally admitted he was infatuated with her..and it crushed me! I KNEW he had felt that way, you don’t become a bald faced liar for a “friendship”, but to actually hear him say it, wow, it hurt so much!
      Just please remember, he didn’t really love her, it was the fog! Why he would come clean to you NOW, after all this time is so stupid!! Good grief!! Don’t these men think?? Why can’t they just “man up” and tell the truth, all in one awful moment!! This stringing this crap out is SO cruel!!

    • Donna M

      Thank you for this site… As the spouse of a cheater, I knew I wasn’t the only one that was going through it! BUT at times felt all alone and that no one understood… Thanks to this site, I see I am not the only one that has all this feelings, of both Love and hate.
      I am still with my husband. I felt after being married 10 years I didn’t want to throw it away.. There are days I feel I should have walked when I first found out.. I can only hope that one day I will be able to look at him and know I did the right thing…
      He had a EA with a woman at work, he calls it lust. Some thing new and exciting. they were together for almost 6 months. Same days off and so on. She fell madly in love with him. The affair ended well over a year ago and now she has contact with me. Telling me she is still in love with him. He quit his job and has had zero contact with her. She wrote today to ask if I would meet her so she can prove that she wasn’t the only one that fell in Love…He has told most of what happened. But has held some things back. I have my break downs and some so bad that it turns into Bashing him.. I have to figure out, how to let go of that side. Back in May I some how became so obsessed with it. That I started to email her and calling her names, almost made this HS games. I even put her on a website for cheaters. I was on the local news and talked about their EA. I emailed her son and family , letters that I had found that were so detailed of what the two of them were doing, to ask, are you proud of her! Just want to know how to get back to normal. He has taken away the one thing I always took pride in TRUST. DO people really recover or am I nuts to think that there is a better marriage on the other side of the rainbow?
      Does anyone know of a online support group? I was thinking maybe a skpye I have been looking and nothing is out there…
      Thanks for letting me vent…

      • ifeelsodumb

        Oh Donna…I feel so badly for you! Haven’t you had anyone to talk to, confide in? I didn’t, that’s why I’m so grateful for this site…it’s been my “therapy”.
        What did your H say about everything you did, the letters, TV, etc? was he OK with that?
        As for the loser OW…I’d tell her IF my H thought he was in love with YOU, it was because he was in”the fog” and he would say anything then, but obviously he isn’t because he wouldn’t still be here with ME…so back off and find your OWN man…preferably unmarried!! The fact that your H quit his job and has had no contact speaks volumes about his lack of “love”!
        I would cut off ALL contact with the OW…it just gives her power over you…

        Anyway, trust WILL come again, it just takes time… in fact, I think since he DID quit his job, and the fact that you know, from the OW herself, that he stopped all contact, you need to see that your H is trying and go with that!
        I obsessed over certain things also…was he still in contact with the OW…my H has a lot of free time, no accountability, because of his job…so I worried over that A LOT! THAT was when he’d call her and text 1000’s of messages…in his car, while driving of all things!! I’m soooo furious over THAT!! He could have killed someone or himself!
        Anyway, read over this site, post, vent, rant, do all of these things so it helps YOU! I also keep a journal now, something I never thought I’d do…but it helps me control the anger that comes over me…and also, if you didn’t already…tell your H about your “triggers” the little things that set you off…for about 4 months after D Day, I was all alone, hadn’t found this blog, didn’t know what was happening to me! When I read about triggers, it was like a light bulb went off and I knew I wasn’t this crazy woman that I thought I was! So tell your H that how you are reacting is completely NORMAL…that what works for me, might not work for you!

        Btw, does your H talk with you about the EA when YOU want to talk about it…does he have patience with you? These are important factors towards healing….My H and I are not quite there yet…we are still struggling in these areas, 11 mos out. He’s doing better, but still resistant to talking about it, or cutting me off when I bring it up…

        BTW, I did have a nice little laugh over the letters and the cheating website…lol!! Don’t know if you should have done it….but it WAS funny!! I am woman,HEAR ME ROAR and DON’T mess with my man!! LOL!!!

        • Donna M

          Thank you :)… I have had a great support group, IE: friends and family. Even with them, still felt alone. They were great to talk to, but none of them had a husband who cheated, so as they said they don’t know what they would have done. My friends have told me to walk.
          I guess my thinking with the website and emailing her family was my way of getting back at her. Again High School BS. I even told her, stop emailing my husband and have no contact with him or I will make a fool of her.. She so worried her Son (27) would find out. She wrote me and asked how could I do something like that to her, I sent her an email and said well how can you sleep with my husband. The emails stopped after that for awhile, and then for whatever reason a few later started.
          He does talk to me about it, then it turns into the bashing of him. Reminding him of things he was doing. I guess when he say’s well I don’t remember talking to her that much, I bring out the phone bills. Even went as far as time stamping things we were doing at the time. I reminded him again on our Anniversary he spent the day with her (at work) and at night he was on the phone with her. Things like that.
          My H did write her and call her, and told her to leave him alone that he was never in Love, she was a bump in the road, part of his midlife melt down. He blocked her number so she was no longer able to have contact with him.
          I didn’t realize about triggers until I found this site. We both try to avoid them. Like I told him, its the dumb things. Today he said “Did I tell you today how much I love you” It just flared up with OMG did you ever say that to her. These are the things that are running through my head. Again its the little things.
          Thanks for letting me vent 🙂
          Yes WE all do need a laugh every once in awhile.

    • InTrouble

      Donna M – I am sorry for your situation. My advice (for whatever it’s worth!) is if you are committed to making your marriage work you need to double down, and make it ALL about your husband and you. STOP contacting the other woman, do not permit her to contact you, stop outing her, just stop everything about her. It isn’t about HER anymore. It is about you and your husband. Don’t allow her to control you.

      • Donna M

        Thank You.. I have tried everything to this point. But then something will set me off (trigger). I changed email address’s, but sometimes go check the other one just to see if anyone besides the OW has emailed me. There is always a few from her. I do delete them and then go back and undelete.
        He has recommitted himself to me, but sometimes just not good enough. We have blocked her from FB and Calling.
        I am trying to make this about us, but not always an easy task.

    • Dol

      A lot of awesome comments. It helps so much to hear all this, and to read them to my other half! Seconding what InTrouble says: yes, I’ve also been tempted to obsess about the other man, find ways to get back. It can’t be what it’s about: that obsession is just the dark flipside of your partner’s EA. You both need to get to the point where their life and what they do is simply of no concern to either of you. I suspect initially that has to be a daily, repeated conscious choice.

      • ifeelsodumb

        You’re right Dol…I haven’t looked at the OW’s fb page for 3 days now…and that is HUGE for me! It’s so ridiculous…like looking at her picture is going to help me?
        And I like how you referred to the obsession being the dark side of an EA…it REALLY is!! Good choice of words!

        • D

          I did this for a while and it bewildered me. But I’ve come to understand two things:

          1) In confronting even the photo I’m facing my fears. This is a man who remains a threat to me. Even though my wife has no interest in him, has moved on, is thoroughly embarrassed by the episode, he remains a symbol. And I refuse to be intimidated. I was also nervous about running into him, which I hated, so I started to expect to see him. This prepped me so that I wouldn’t be nervous or ever feel awkward or angry or whatever. When we finally did run into each other it was a non-event. I was prepared. It was awesome.

          2) My wife’s affair cut me off from a part of her life. This is a woman I’ve been intimately connected with for the past 20 years and someone I’ve felt I’ve known all my life. For her to have such an emotionally charged experience that I’m not a part of felt incredibly weird. I think I became somewhat obsessed with the OM simply because I wanted to insert myself into that part of my wife’s life. In some strange way I wanted to share it with her, if only to understand her better.

    • Dol

      ifeelsodumb: to an extent we have to do things that we know won’t help. Like, wearing out a cycle of questions to get more detail. It’s a tricky line to tread: one’s worst paranoid side can obviously come to the fore (mine certainly has!) But we also have to draw that line somewhere. Funny, maybe, but some of the things that help cut off the EA may help us. My partner agreed to block the other man’s facebook profile after she’d checked for messages in the two minutes I went in the shower! After that we made a set of transparent rules, based on honesty if anything goes awry, and that’s worked so far, fingers crossed. But you may want to just block them on facebook too: avoid that horrible gut-wrench when you think ‘hmm, there might be a new profile picture…’ If you block them, you can then unblock them – but then you’re stuck with them for 48 hours before you’re able to block again. The little barrier might help you avoid the temptation to check.

      As for the article, there are some valid points in there, but I agree with many of the criticisms. Some people can enter into relationships where none of their own self-worth is woven into the fabric of the relationship itself, but I’m guessing that’s colossally rare. Any affair is going to blow a hole in your chest, regardless, if you’ve trusted your heart to your partner. That act of trusting has nothing to do with low self-esteem.

      Not saying there aren’t issues around self-esteem, of course they are. I think, for my partner, they played a large part in why the other man’s outpouring of adoration had such a powerful effect. But the overtone of the article seems to be if you’ve sorted your self-esteem, you’d just go “ow ow ow! bugger and botheration!”, dust yourself down and carry on. I think it’d be some kind of weird relationship to start with if you could do that.

    • D


      One side note to all of this that gets lost in the all muck of pain and anguish, is that the betrayed loses a great deal of respect for the betrayer. We love our spouse, want to keep the marriage together, want to get passed the pain, so we make all of these concessions, but when the dust settles there is this part of you that has simply lost respect. I think that’s what we mean when we say, “I don’t know who you are anymore.”

      The betrayer too, whether they admit it or not, also loses respect for themselves (unless they’re really a monster.)

      In recovering from infidelity this is an area that often gets overlooked because, for a while, we may be so desperate for reconciliation that we disregard this major component to our relationship. It seems the only way to manage it is to accept that your spouse is not the person you thought they were and to allow that you have a right to your disappointment. Not an easy thing to do, especially if one doesn’t recognize this issue in the first place.

      • tryintoowife

        What you say is so true and sad. My H says that the hardest thing for him to accept, is to know that I lost the respect for him, that he used to see brightly in my eyes. That is very hard to go through the days knowing that he did it to himself. He says that he will work towards rebuilding it, until his last breath. I only know that he lost the respect for me first, and I only did when I found out about the A. He is a great man, so many great qualities. I hope I can get it back. Love and respect in my book goes so much hand in hand. He hates the man he became at that time, and it is so true that he believes that he went down on his own idea of what he believed to be honorable. He also fear what his own children thinks of him, and he was a great father. He feels very low. So much loss, my God! For what?!

      • Paula

        D, I remember saying to my best GF not long after I found out that I didn’t respect him anymore, and she replies that that was one thing her mother had always told her, you can’t love someone without respect, at least, not in a healthy way. There are aspects of his character that I do respect, I respect that he broke things off with her when he came to his senses, I respect that he has hung in here with me for two and a half years, and it’s been really tough, I respect that he has been, and is willing to go to couselling with me, even though he struggles with the concept. But, I don’t respect the weakness that went with all of this, the fact that he didn’t even care enough about me to wear a condom, regardless of the fact that he was doubting what we had, he should have at least protected my health, I am the mother of his children, and I have always loved and cared for him, and the weakness he showed her, by not getting angry with her when she was harrassing us for two years afterwards, and that lack of respect definitely overpowers all else.

    • Holding On

      Good points D.

      I think that is why I wanted so much information and details about what this EA was. I was left out of a part of my husband’s life. A huge secret thing that lasted months. I wanted in. I couldn’t believe he had a life that I was not aware of or in some way involved in.

      I also agree with you saying that you lose respect for your spouse and have disappointment to work through. There are so many thought processes and looking at at and accepting hard things after an A. It is hard work to process all of what has happened, your own feelings, and then trying to reconcile and move forward in your marriage with while working on those thoughts, realizations, and emotions. It is very difficult work. I can see how just doing all this mind work will make me a stronger person. Whew!

      • Broken

        Can we ever really believe that we have all of the information or if the information is the whole truth and not some glossed over version??? I struggle with that.

        • Notoverit

          I think it’s a glossed over version. Seriously, I just dealt with my husband finally admitting he “fell in love” with the other woman after denying any feelings for her for nearly a year after D-day. I knew there was something he was holding back and I just wouldn’t let it go. He told me that he was scared to tell me, scared that I would leave and disgusted with himself for falling for such a manipulative, crazy nutcase. He said he finally couldn’t take it any more that he was continuing to lie to me about something so important. Any way, I think they gloss over the ugly truth because they don’t want to face something they did and, if they are truly afraid of losing you, they don’t want to give you one more reason to leave.

          I was sitting in the kitchen and pointing out things that she did which clearly showed she cared nothing for him (using him at work to protect herself – real drama queen who offends any one) and I realized that all this was hurting him. For the first time, I realized that I was the one causing pain. Okay, silly as it sounds, bear with me. He knows what she did, he told her he was “fond” of her to, I guess, see if she felt anything for him. No response from her. That, I think was when he started really seeing her for what she was – it made him uneasy. The point to all this is that he, regardless of how angry and hurt it made me, felt something for the bitch. It has to be a big blow to him to know he was being used. I was hammering him about that, permit me a cruel chuckle, when I realized I AM BEING CRUEL to a man who has taken all my screaming and ranting without a word, a man who is sorry and a man who still loves me. In all of the year (yesterday was the anniversary of D-day) that I have been going through all this mess, thinking he didn’t care for her, I had never noticed that I had the ability to hurt him. Yeah, the argument is that he deserved it yada, yada. But if I want to get out of this mess, the endless cycle of what-ifs and whys have to stop. This constant “on-edge” feeling when we are together is doing nothing to help me heal. When I am hammering him, all I am doing is upsetting myself. It serves no purpose – we both know what happened (even if I don’t have all the truth) and it WON’T be changed by constantly going over it again and again. I have to learn that he chose to stick this horrible mess out with me, not her. Yes, I deserve the truth and he is working on trying to remember things to help me heal but the real thing is that nothing will be accomplished if I don’t put aside the hurt and really see that he is trying. I will probably have meltdowns but I am seriously going to try not to just say things to hurt. It’s not who I AM.

          Sorry about that but I guess what I am saying is that we (BSs) have to, at some point, realize we are damaging ourselves. The pain and the hurt are there, yes. But to keep on with it, constantly upsetting ourselves is not healthy. Oh, I do want to know every little detail but I think that isn’t going to happen. Do I want to dwell in the past about things that really don’t matter now or do I want to move on? He said he fell in love, simple as that. He says he isn’t in love with her now and that this love only lasted a couple of weeks. The question is, do I want to keep reliving that two weeks (or for some of you months and years) and ruin the rest of my life or do I want to rebuild? We are the stronger spouses (sorry to the CSs but we didn’t decide to look elsewhere even when we weren’t getting anything out of the marriage either) so I guess we pull up our bootstraps and deal. I intend to do that because I hate to lose.

          • Holding On


            Thank you for sharing that about causing our spouses pain and going over it again and again. That second paragraph was powerful for me. I copied it to reread when needed. This is where I am right now or maybe I just think I’m at this point now…and I still have a while to go??

            I have just been letting him have it with ANGRY, YELLING words. Words to hurt, words to try to cause him pain like he caused me pain. Words to make him understand my hurt. It caused our therapist to suggest anger management, when I am not like that. This EA has changed who I am and how I act. Once I heard that, I stopped immediately. I am not that person. I am done hurting him. He does know my pain. He has talked over and over this with me these past months. I am heading down a destructive path.

            I decided this weekend to actively let go of the cycle thoughts – WHY, HOW, WHAT WHAT HE THINKING, etc. I need to stop those. I have gone over and over them and come to understanding as best as I can. As a couple, we have gone over and over the EA and I know he is being very honest and trying all to help me. It is time to leave the cycle stuff in the past. There is still lots to think about and process on the consequences – like lost trust, lost respect, etc. But the cycle thinking about the actual EA, I have to stop that.

            I know there is still questions and still things to figure out and ponder on, but I hope this is me moving to a bit of a better place in healing and moving forward? Thoughts? Or am I on a roller coaster to crash down again and again. I guess I’m ready for either but I sure would like some smoother waters! I sure am ready for some peace and hope and comfort!

            Anyways, that’s my new plan. It seems like I’ve been coming up with a lot of them since D-Day!

            • Broken

              I got to that point to….where I actually felt bad for my H for hurting him and I was the BS. It was like if I wasn’t angry at him then was I letting him off the hook? Not in the least. Its just the next step in the healing process and you have reached it. Time to let it go. It doesn’t mean you will not be angry again but you have turned a corner. My H once said as I lashed out at him with anger “I am human too and I am hurting too” and I just stopped and said your right. I was being no better then he was if I were causing him pain over and over again.

              We all get to this point eventually.

              D…the worse part about the pedestal thing is the kids. They didnt know for the longest time. I once asked my son if this had changed the perception he had of his father and he said ” he was knocked down off his pedestal”. Just wondering for the CS if that was worth it. To be viewed in a different way by your children because of your selfishness…..

        • InTrouble

          No, you can not know if you ever have “all” the information, and there in lies the problem with pursuing it all costs. It becomes a viscous cycle which just circles around and around whatever the real issue is in the marriage.

          My guess is that in 99% of the cases you will never, ever have all the facts. To save a marriage you probably have to accept that. I know it’s hard or maybe impossible.

          There’s my 2¢.

          • D

            I had nearly all of the information, (the idiot OM deleted every email but never emptied the delete box.) Believe me, while it may satisfy your curiosity, in the long run it’s better to live without it. Especially since, in the fog, in the heat of the moment, can you really give that much credence to anything said or done? Think back when you were a teenager in love, or even in your twenties. It’s probably some of the most embarrassing moments you’ve ever had. Same thing in affairs. My wife looked at some of those emails and couldn’t believe she ever wrote such drivel never mind actually meaning any of it.

    • Broken

      D ….LOVE your post. Your thoughts are spot on and I really never thought of it that way or at least could never put my finger on it. All that you think about is getting over the pain, reconciliation and we do make major concessions at the expense of ourselves. I don’t care if you had the best self esteem before it began… will be destroyed in the aftermath. I am 15 months out and I still look at my husband with a loss of respect which goes hand in hand with how could you do this to me? Sometimes I stare at him and I think to myself…why…why would you hurt me like this…you are not the person I thought you were and that is exactly what it is…a loss of respect. I don’t think I have lost respect for myself…I think I have lost trust in myself and my own judgement.

      • D

        Thanks, Broken. I will add that it is quite liberating to knock your spouse a bit off of their pedestal (not that they ever asked to be placed up there.) Not only can we view them honestly that way (perhaps beyond our own fog we’ve nurtured throughout the relationship), but we can look at ourselves again as a single unit, to once again embrace what we love about ourselves knowing we cannot rely on outside validation any more.

        And while I lost considerable respect for my wife I am gaining some back as I watch her fight the good fight. To second Notoverit’s sentiments, is it not a demonstration of one’s love to know you’ve caused such damage yet continue to try to make things right?

    • ifeelsodumb

      So much wisdom written here…I think we are ALL starting to get it!! 🙂

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