Cheater’s remorse…What are some things the unfaithful person can do to show their remorse beyond just saying they’re sorry?

cheater's remorse

By Doug

One of the issues we’ve been hearing a lot about lately during our mentoring calls, is that of the unfaithful person’s lack of demonstrating adequate remorse for their affair.

Sure, the unfaithful person has said they were sorry, and otherwise feel that they are showing appropriate remorse. But the hurt spouse feels differently.  They feel it hasn’t been adequate enough.

And since most unfaithful persons have demonstrated a propensity for lying, gaslighting, blame shifting, stonewalling, etc. during their affair, many betrayed spouses may not quite be in the position to really trust and believe that what their spouse is telling them is actually sincere.

So, it comes down to actions.

What is the unfaithful person actually doing to reflect their remorse?

Don’t get me wrong though…The unfaithful still needs to verbalize their remorse with an effective apology, but then it needs to be backed up by action.

Elements of A Heartfelt Apology after the Affair


Actions vs Words

Idit Sharoni, a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in the State of Florida says…

“As a therapist, one of the first things I look for in affair recovery is whether actual remorse exists, how the unfaithful partner expressed it, and how that is playing out in a couple’s recovery attempt.

If I ask directly, ”Is he/she really sorry?” Many hurt partners will say, “No, he/she never expressed remorse. At least not the proper way.”

This usually, garners total shock or disbelief from the unfaithful partner: “ Why are you saying this? That’s not true! How many times did I say ‘I’m sorry’? How many more times do I have to say it to be forgiven?”

That’s a good question.

The answer? Remorse is about showing, not telling how you feel.

Apologies simply acknowledge that you’re willing to start the work. That’s it.

To recover from your affair, truth and trust repair are what matter now. Your partner needs to see you embrace the next phase of recovery. They need to see you are ready for the hard questions and hard work it will take to get back to each other again.”

(You can visit her site and read the full article here.)

See also  Lessons Learned from the Other Woman in an Emotional Affair

What are some things the unfaithful person can do to show their cheater’s remorse beyond just saying they’re sorry?

Take responsibility for your actions. When we accept responsibility, we are accepting the blame for our actions, and in a perfect world, also accepting the responsibility for making improvements in our lives. Take ownership of your actions without regard for the potential guilt and shame.

Stop being defensive. Being defensive is a selfish form of self-preservation. Defensiveness is a trust killer and destroys effective communication.   While your at it, stop the gaslighing, stonewalling and blame-shifting too!

Empathize without minimizing. Put yourself in your spouse’s shoes and try hard to understand and validate what they’ve experienced.  Do so without minimizing their pain, their reactions or feelings.

Take the Initiative.  Be the one to read books, make appointments with therapists and talk about your feelings and self-discoveries.  Your partner shouldn’t have to arm-twist you into doing these things.

Have patience.  Affair recovery is a long process and it’s a process that goes by your spouse’s schedule – not yours. Your spouse should never hear the words, “Just get over it!”

Live honestly. Stop the lies.  Offer the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth – in a timely and complete fashion.  Your spouse deserves this regardless of how hard it might be to give it up.  Work to live your life in a much more honest, transparent and trustworthy fashion.

Cheater’s Remorse – The Apology

Back to the actual apology. 

We received an email from one of our readers and mentoring clients who shared a link to a video about what a proper apology really looks like.  This person said that both she and her husband watched it and it moved them both.  You can view it below. 

See also  But I’m Telling the Truth! – When the Betrayed Spouse Doesn’t Believe the Unfaithful Person Even When They are Telling the Truth


Finally, please share in the comment section whether or not you/or your spouse has offered a proper, effective apology, along with the things that are being done to really demonstrate their remorse.  If nothing is being done, what are some things you/your unfaithful spouse needs to do to show you/he/she is really remorseful?



Photo by Sandro Lombardo

    46 replies to "Cheater’s Remorse – Going Beyond “I’m Sorry”"

    • Hopeful

      Even after four years my husband will still offer his apology and remorse for his betrayal. If anything with the passing of time and as we grow closer it sinks in more. It is odd but I feel more free where I think it still hangs over him. It was a process and I agree whether it is showing remorse, regaining trust etc the wayward needs to step up. I even think when it comes to love it is easy to say but it shows when the actions match the words. And not just here and there but consistently. Also a huge factor was my husband lived his life a certain way for a long time. It was not just the betrayal he had to face but really every aspect of his life. The only area I would say he never let slide was his professional life. While working with my therapist we got to the point where I had boundaries in place and things were going well. My therapist suggested to give some breathing room and as my therapist said “give him some rope” and see what he does. Does he hang himself or pull you along. It was hard to be vulnerable but it was the right timing.

      For us we had weekly meetings to talk about the betrayal then over time our relationship. We worked really hard to focus on ourselves and each other as our number one priorities. I also follow the saying talk less and listen more. By doing this I have allowed my husband to open up which has not been easy but has been very positive. The number one thing he has done besides being honest is not being defensive. That as he said is easy not that he has nothing to hide. This has been a ton of work but we are closer than ever and a better team then I ever imagined could be possible. We were always close even during the affair years but this is a whole new level. I credit my husband for opening up, being honest and transparent at all times since dday. It has not all been easy or without challenges. He thanks me all the time for giving him a second chance and I am thankful he told me so we had this chance to rebuild a new/better marriage.

    • Shifting Impressions

      The apology on the video is extremely moving…..I can’t think of anything they missed. To receive an apology that thorough would really be something….but I’m not holding my breath.

      For us it was more in the actions than the words……which can be a bit of struggle for me. My main love language is words and my husband’s is actions (doing things for me) I really appreciate that part of his nature but oh how i longed for the words…..the actual asking for forgiveness. I wanted to hear the words so that I would know he really understood what his betrayal did to me

      The video reminded me of actions he DID NOT DO…..such as a refusal to go for counseling, reading certain books etc. I know that I had certain expectations of what his remorse should look like. It should look exactly like the apology in the video, right? I had to let go of some of those expectations and look deeper. I had to look at what he was actually doing rather than what I EXPECTED him to do..

      It was a very slow painful process (d-day was five years ago) Slowly he started listening to my pain, becoming less defensive, not reacting when I am triggered etc. Slowly his body language would become LESS DEFENSIVE when we talked about the EA. He was willing to move so that we are not in such close proximity to the AP. That took about three years but he followed through. I have to allow him to show his remorse in his own way…….and trust me that is NOT EASY. But when I stepped back a bit and did that things definitely improved.

      Lest you don’t think I have bottom line… would be wrong. The EA was ended the day I discovered it. No more contact.

      There is a moment in the video where he talks about not be alone in our pain. No one should go through this alone. In my own situation I had tremendous support but some of my most valuable support came right here. I’m not sure how I would have faired without all of your support and care.

      • Patricia

        Beautiful. I’m right next to you. This has kept me sane.

      • Dave

        I just finished watching the video and it was right on the money. My wife had an affair 35 yrs ago. It lasted for 5 yrs. I found out about it after it had been going on for about two and a half years. When she left the first time she said it was all about me, and she needed for us to go to counseling to try and fix what was wrong with me. I won’t go through the whole five years with you because, that would take several days.

        She would come home on the weekends most of the time, and we would always spend the holidays together. I didn’t know at the time that her whole family knew what she was doing, but no one would say anything. We had been married for about seven and a half years and had been together since high school. When she finally came home we did not discuss what had taken place because I was afraid she would leave again. So four 35 yrs. I locked everything away in the back of my brain. Two years ago I dropped her of at the airport to go see her brother, and we had an argument on the way. When I dropped her off I asked what she was going to do and she said I don’t know. At that point the box that had been locked up was opened and all of the past that had to do with her affair came rushing out like a tidal wave.

        When she came home I confronted her with a million questions. Naturally she went on the defensive and said that was thirty five years ago and she did not want to bring up the past. I went totally nuts and for weeks I would just start crying uncontrollably at times, and was consumed with thoughts and visions of her with that asshole.

        Well it’s been two years when all that happened and I am better now emotionally, but I am still bothered by thoughts and visions from time to time. We have had two mentoring sessions with Doug and that has helped, but she says she does not want to keep bringing up that part of our lives, and feels that the more questions she answers the harder it is on me. That is true to a point, When I asked her how it started she said it was their working together that she started having feelings for him. Of course I was the guilty party on her side and his wife was the one on his side. When she told me the first time was in his office, and that she would wait until the other people in the office went to lunch they would meet there again. I asked her how long did this go on until she ,moved out she said it was about six months. This broke my heart all over again. I had loved her more than anyone I had ever known, and I felt my heart was being ripped out again. I have not acted on it but I would love to tie that fucker up and cut his dick off and stick it down his throat. The few people I have told this have said that would only put me in Jail, but I say they used to let you hang a horse thief.

        She has said that she was sorry for what this has done to me, and that she is sorry for what she did. I would like her to do more work with The Emotional Affair programs. I don’t know how to persuade her without her getting defensive. She doesn’t understand how the triggers and the obtrusive thoughts still haunt me. I’ve told her that I don’t think I will ever be free from these things. That they will always be ready to come out and torment me when I least expect it . I know I’m not alone, that many of you have gone through the same things, and my heart goes out to each one of you. I am still hoping that someday these feelings will leave forever, and I will never feel the pain and hurt that they bring to me.

        • Amando

          I’m right there with you. DDay for me was over 20 years ago. I just learned about acceptance vs forgiving as a way to make sense of your pain. We need our partner for true forgiveness to happen but sometimes their not ready or not available. Please consider reading Dr.. Janis Abrahms Spring’s book “How can I forgive you?”. This is a gift to yourself whereas the apology letter was a great start and validated that we are not crazy it’s just the start the book actually gets you going down the road so when your partner is ready you’ll already be in a better place. I love you for your brutal honesty and hope you take care of you first.

        • Liz

          You are not alone. My husband had an 6 1/2 year affair 35 years ago. We went through therapy and I was told not to ask questions. We did work on other things but the triggers were torture for me. Much later Through Doug and Linda, I read if you don’t get questions answered you can’t heal. So the questions and anger came out. It has been a kind haul but I must say the torture and pain is subsiding. Finally I feel better. Very glad I stayed married. Running to a new partner still would not have solved anything, at least for me or being alone. We have been married for almost 54 years.

    • Bor

      I think I have to let my expectations of the Apology go. Like SI it appears that my WW isn’t ever going to give me THAT apology or even act on it. Discussing the first time she was unfaithful when we were dating and planing to live together just a few months ago she threw it back to me that i wasn’t the easiest person to get along with. OK so go sleep with your old boyfriend who dumped you because of what you lacked for him. so still not taking responsibility for the 1 1/2 year affair and year of fence sitting so the length of the whole ordeal for me was over a year after discovery. She will say in counseling I am responsible for my affair but if i bring up a situation that is reminding me of her affair or how she was acting at home then i get either it was three years ago when are you going to let this go, or but you did this or that and that is a betrayal as well. So genuine remorse i have never seen and it keeps me really stuck, when she gets upset it usually about how she has suffered. Like the fact at last anniversary i said don’t get me a card or anything. So when she told her mother she deserved a trip to Italy this summer i got so pissed that i told her i wouldn’t be going with her. It never occurred to her to say to her mother i owe it to My H for all that i have put him through. For her it was its my 50th B day this year and our 25th anniversary. Never mind on on my 50th i was recovering from her affair and and on our 20th she was visiting her AP and dreaming about how she could step over the line and make it physical. So i am at fault for having that kind of reaction. Her habits haven’t really changed and it keeps me stuck. Any of my top needs for admiration and appreciation go unnoticed she says thanks. but thanks is not really focusing on the thing that you appreciate and it seems like a throw away. I asked her to do a gratitude journal. Nope. More affection and physical touch nope. I think the greatest testament you can really get from your spouse is the changes that they take on for meeting your needs and changing their habits to strengthen the connection on a daily basis with small acts. She feels that a big vacation should be all that it takes to get in the good and make us even. No seminars she will do. No reading material or articles i can send have no effect other than make her defensive as she knows that the reason i am sending it is because something she isn’t doing or is doing that causes me to be stuck. If i say its just information that was shared by an expert she says its just one persons opinion. All our counselors we have had she says Have agreed with her. I have to listen to what the counselors are saying. Just get over it. At least that is her interpretation of what the counselors are saying for her benefit. If i push back against that i get nothing but disrespectful judgements from her. I have told her her mind fuckery doesn’t have any power over me anymore. Like it did when she was cheating. I want to live my life and let her live hers. I am backing off and giving her the rope. If she drops it I am gone, she knows that. She has never said thanks for another chance since she relapsed 4 times. I know there are repentant women out there as evidenced by the apology above. but it takes a lot of introspection and death to ego to get there. My W has so much ego that I don’t think she will ever go to the true remorse and guilt over what she had done not once but twice in our relationship to do so would she would have to take off her mask that she portrays to everyone else.

      • Untold

        You describe my situation exactly. Now 7 years since first discovery. No more affairs but no real remorse. My wife’s attitude and behavior is just like yours. You are so right about how it makes you feel- stuck, ambivalent, resentful. Good luck and may God bless.

      • Make Marriage Great Again

        unfortunately it seems like women are more prone to be ambivalent and unremorseful after affairs. Many men are the same way, of course, but it seems like a higher percentage of unfaithful women are this way. I’m not sure if they feel more justified because society tells us that the man has to constantly be romantic and woo the wife, with not really any mention that women should do the same (I guess it’s just taken for granted that it is something women do naturally? Definitely not the case, most women are as uninspiring romantically as men!) So they tell themselves this grand story about how they’re not loved and they deserved to be pursued and loved, etc. But obviously I can’t know for sure.
        My situation is different – my wife is remorseful. She still has some of the same attitude and emotional issues that crop up now and then, but overall she has demonstrated remorse pretty well. Although, when she actually takes a truthful look at our marriage, she knows that I always took responsibility and did just as many things around the house, we’re equally active in parenting (honestly I take a more active role in the emotional needs of our children), our family never lacked for anything, I actually enjoy being romantic so I did pursue her throughout the marriage…she strayed because of a short time period where we had some things going on that had us both really frustrated. And then she let the affair drag on for 8 months. The whole time she was lying and also treating me like crap and ignoring the family, I just figured she was going through a difficult time and so I took the burden of everything and poured out love. Apparently, that finally broke her, she confessed to me what she did and said she couldn’t deny that even though she was treating me badly and treating her AP like the most important person on the planet, I still treated her exponentially better than he did. More gifts, more attention, more tenderness, more everything…even though I had 4 kids and 8 employees that I was responsible for, and he had no kids, semi-retired because his wife is a trust fund baby, etc. Basically the complete antithesis of me. I’m not perfect, but I did a lot of things right because my dad was a good teacher.
        Eventually, she couldn’t justify anything and she couldn’t do it anymore. Does that make me feel any better? Not really, because you wonder why in the world she would do it in the first place, but that’s what happened. So perhaps the reason your wife has no remorse if because she still believes the story in her head – she may not be cheating anymore and even agree that it is the wrong thing to do (therefore may not do it again on moral grounds), but she still thinks it was justified, given her circumstances.

    • Stashh

      Bor and Untold…………so much sympathy. I am 4+ years past D-day and yes I have received the apologetic “I’m sorry” etc but clearly will not receive the requisite change(s) in habits nor change(s) for meeting needs to seek to re-establish meaningful connection. Introspection, death to ego and awareness of what is being sought by the Betrayed is maybe simply a step too far for some of the unfaithful.
      Now, am no longer feeling stuck or resentful…. just disappointment at what she has chosen to do, sadness at what could have been and ambivalence. She was given the opportunity by way of a second chance but clearly has chosen not to take on board what has been offered. I now finally realise that she is not going to change and I understand that, like it or not, I have to make a choice: accept the situation that she will not change or do as I ask, stay in the marriage, make such effort as I am willing to and appreciate as much or as little as the relationship will offer bearing in mind it will be unsatisfactory and may well fall apart…………………..or accept who she is and that she is not willing to make the changes I have asked for and choose to leave (at such time when the timing is as good as it can ever be for children and therefore for me etc). It is a fact of life that not all unfaithful spouses are willing to do what is necessary for their betrayed partner. Inasmuch as the unfaithful chose to depart the relationship bounderies, it is also the unfaithful who gets to chose what they are willing to do to assist their betrayed partner. For some of the unfaithful the lack of respect for the betrayed partner in having the affair in the first place, continues as regards the process of attempted recovery. There is no “one size fits all” recovery and “what is necessary” in the pursuit of a successful recovery is that which the betrayed ‘needs’ not what the unfaithful is ‘willing to offer’. My ‘red line’ was that after D-day I would not accept any continuation of the affair: nor will I now accept her unwillingness to help my / our recovery as regards those aspects I have set out. I wish she and the situation were different but her choices are hers alone and I am not responsible for her choices: I must accept them or move on. All the very best to you gentlemen

      • Make Marriage Great Again

        I’ve read that sometimes also the unfaithful feels extremely shameful and to revisit that shame is painful which is why they won’t do recovery work. That’s not a good excuse, but it’s reality – let’s face it, if our wives were the type that did NOT run from pain, they wouldn’t have cheated in the first place. But they are runners – they don’t take a painful situation as an opportunity to grow closer to their spouse, or to communicate more, or to demonstrate unconditional love…they use painful situations as an opportunity to blame, shut down, be selfish…and run away.
        Recovery is this weird dance sometimes. The unfaithful definitely needs to be willing to do the work, shoulder the blame, etc….but they are so much weaker than us. Honestly, they are pitifully weak – on the emotional level of teenagers or children, many of them.
        Before I actually got a good apology, we talked about feelings and why she strayed, etc. I even asked her what she felt she needed from me, and communicated what I needed from her. I didn’t really feel like giving her anything, but I was already treating her well so I chose to just continue as I was, but let her know that it was my choice even though I didn’t feel like it. That helped her to see that she could have chosen to love me even during the time that she didn’t feel like loving me, when she felt like she cared about the other guy, etc. At first she blamed the affair on how I was acting during a short rough patch, and I just said “I understand how you feel, but if you dig deeper you know that’s not true. You treated me like crap for 8 months (5 months longer than the rough patch where she strayed) and I didn’t step out on you.” When she would talk about how she felt like I didn’t love her, I would say something similar, but ask her a question – I’d remind her of the things I was doing and ask “would someone who didn’t love you do that for you?”
        I did most of this by accident, but it helped her to see her story was a lie. But, it takes communication. If your spouse won’t communicate, what do you do? Honestly, if my wife didn’t want to communicate or do the work, I’d be gone. I wouldn’t want to stay.

    • Mentalcost

      Unfortunately my husband read that his words won’t mean anything during recovery so he should show his remorse with actions. Whilst he is doing his best to do that- reading the books, marriage counselling, individual counselling, sorting his medication, leaving his job, openness and transparency and all other recommended actions- he very rarely actually uses the word sorry unless it’s in the context of a very specific thing that has triggered me. For example he has to go into his old office next week and has apologised for not having found a way out of it but he doesn’t tell me each day that he’s sorry and he’s never asked for my forgiveness. He’s said he knows he can’t say anything to make it better so will show me but I still want to hear the words

      • Shifting Impressions

        Have you told him that…..have you said “I need to hear the words”? I know I have told my husband that he has never asked for my forgiveness. Perhaps I need to tell him more explicitly that I NEED him to ask me for forgiveness. You would think they would just KNOW…but I have found I can’t make those assumptions.

      • Deanna

        I wish my husband would do any of what yours has. Mine won’t read any books, go to individual or marriage counseling, change jobs even though he had multiple affairs over 14 years at his current job one for years with his direct report who he speaks with almost every day, etc. all I have gotten is I’m sorry and the resentment and defensiveness and contempt every time I have any triggers. Like others on here I’m resigned to the fact that my husband just doesn’t care that much and is biding his time until a divorce makes sense for him financially.

      • Hopeful

        Mentalcost, I have found what has really helped us is telling my husband what I need to recover and move forward. I spend a lot of time thinking about what I want and need and also what kind of relationship I want. And I tell him what I need. I also make an effort to thank him or tell him I appreciate when he does something. I agree words will not make past decisions better however for me I need to hear those things. I do not want it to be forced but the words do help. I always say that the actions need to match the words. I need both personally. When my husband says he is sorry and regrets what he has done I thank him and tell him it does make me feel better. I do not give my husband a pass at all on any part of this however I can see it is just as hard if not harder for him to navigate the recovery. I look at it as I make sure he understands what I want and need so there is no guessing or questioning.

    • Ironsides

      I know the person who wrote that apology letter, and have been walking with them in their recovery alongside for some time. I believe Samuel read it at the conference in order to preserve her anonymity. Her husband is one of the few fellow betrayed men that I have really confided in and come to rely on for support. Their story of recovery is long and painful, like so many others, but I can tell you how incredibly moved and validated he felt in her writing of that letter.

      I hope so much that this letter can find its way into the hearts of the unfaithful out their and that you can really take them in, because I assure you, what she is apologizing for is very much what your betrayed spouse is feeling today.

      • Sandy

        This is incredible. I know i will never hear this from my spouse but it makes me feel good that I am not alone in what I need to recover. I continually get blamed that I was not providing him what he needed and like it says, that is no reason to cheat, lie, steel, lie again and walk in two relationships side by side.

        • ironsides

          Have you looked for an infidelity specific couselor? One who actually knows WTF they are doing? Who knows that “not meeting your spouses needs” is not the cause of an affair? This is really big, and until hubs understands this, he’s just never going to get it. He’s not going to heal from his own brokenness either until he understands and accepts the FACT that you had nothing whatsoever to do with his choice.

          Was he providing everything YOU needed? Hell no. No one can fulfill all of another’s needs. Thats just how it is. Some needs to need to fill on your own, in healthy ways. Others will never be filled and you need to learn to grow up and just accept that as part of life too. You dont have some inalienable right to have all of your wants and desires in life be met. Sometime you just dont get what you want, plain and simple. DEAL WITH IT.

          As an unfaithful – you broke your promise. Guess what – when you made your vows there was no provision of “unless I feel like I’m not getting everything I want” to go along with the promise of fidelity. And if you want to change the terms of your relationship, then you need to have a god damned conversation about it. Hell, there’s couples out there that have mutual understanding and agreements about sleeping with other people. And maybe it works for them, and maybe it doesn’t But they talked about it and TRIED. As a cheater you didn’t try. You gave up and took the easy way out. You STOLE freedom from your partner. You took from them something you had no right to ever do to another human being – you took away their free will by lying to them, and hiding things from them. In not keeping your vows, they had the right to decide whether to stay with you or not. Whether to keep sleeping with you or not. Whether to use protection in sex or not. A cheater TAKES these choices away and that in my opinion is a theft of their very human rights.

          (sorry for using the YOU there. I know it wasn’t you – using it in the general sense)

          If you want to make it right, and have your spouse “get over it” you better start with accepting that this is what you did. Maybe you didn’t think it was that bad, but step back and realize the truth of my words here. Accept it. These are facts not opinions.

          This doesn’t mean there is no redemption, no chance for reconciliation. If your spouse is still living with you or even still talking to you, that is evidence that they WANT to forgive and they WANT to “get over it”. But they (and you especially) have a lot of work to do to get there.

    • Shifting Impressions

      the thing that I fear is that I will never quite get there…..never completely forgive. Something broke very deep inside of me whe he cheated and I don’t know if he can ever make it up to me. And this is after five years of struggling.

    • Puzzled

      SI- I know what you mean. It’s four years for me and I feel the same way. Something broke inside me and I’m not sure it can be fixed. My wife has apologized but it was “because I hurt you” or “what I did to you”. It has never been “I’m sorry for lying and cheating on you. I’m sorry for breaking your heart by having an affair”. I’ve screwed up in the 25 years of marriage but I’ve truly apologized for the exact things I’ve done. And I know that I struggle with true forgiveness. I’ve forgiven my wife with my head but not from the heart. But there are lingering questions that have never been answered & I think that stops me from true forgiveness.

      • Reagan

        I think this is a great discussion. How can the BS fully forgive when the WS hasn’t fully apologized. I believe each BS has things they specifically need in ways of information, answers, and apologies that will get them to complete forgiveness and unless the BS gets their needs Mets the total forgiveness never comes. I do not want to stay in a 3/4 marriage. I set a timeline and if not there it’s done , period. I am not wasting my final years with a half to 3/4 functioning relationship. I deserve better in my life. I have a spine and deep respect for myself.

        Affairs are decisions and choices fully made as are lies, half truths, deception, manipulation and the purposeful infliction of pain without caring.

    • Hopeful

      Forgiveness for me seemed impossible based on what my husband had done and for how long. I never thought I would make it through this all. I will say though over time while watching and listening to him that has changed. For me I have totally forgiven him since I really see what he did was he betrayed himself. He let himself down. And I see the pain he causes himself still day to day. It hangs over him without me ever bringing it up or talking about it. We are over four years past. It is not a daily topic but it does weigh on him more than me. I never thought this would happen. I thought it would be the death of me. I do think it guides him still though to this day and I personally think it is good it sits with him as a daily reminder. Life is so different too. I honestly feel like I am married to a different man. I would never wish this upon us or anyone else but I do feel that we are closer than ever because of going through this recovery. This is a long and hard road.

      • Sandy

        Thanks for your comments. I am trying to define if I am right there where you were. His shame is so great and he takes the cause on emotional distress. I have little chance to be upset and it is hard to let it go.

    • Shifting Impressions

      Puzzled and Hopeful
      Thanks your words have helped. Sometimes things are going along really quite well and then something just hits you up the backside of the head, seemingly out of nowhere.

      This absolutely is a long hard road. I am not sorry I stayed but I am not where I want to be in this yet. Slowly…one step at a time.

      • Hopeful

        SI, One thing I have come to the realization is that this will be part of my life forever and our marriage. I think even if we were not together anymore it would stick with me and influence future relationships both romantic and friendships. It has changed me so much. I try to see all the positive ways it has changed me. It is a long road for sure! I think we are all hit with it from time to time. Reminders are everywhere. All I can say is I try to focus on the present. Looking back at the past or into the future is usually where I get tripped up the most.

        • Shifting Impressions

          Thank you…..I feel much the same way. Just every once in a while it knocks me down again….but I get up much quicker than I used to.

      • SBK

        My husband was abroad when i found out my husband had an affair over a decade ago, (possible child, women was seeing two men, he’s tried to see the child, she won’t let him), I’d seen a text 11 years ago and phoned the woman but she denied it and I asked my husband he defined it, so after a few weeks I let it go. I caught him exchanging pictures several years ago, with another women he said they hadn’t slept together so I forgave him, naive, gullible me. He’s had other affairs too that he hasn’t admitted, in sure of it now.

        He wasn’t there for me and the children and never made an effort with us…I bent backwards for him. Over 20 years of marriage.

        Anyway when I found out that he’d really had the affair, I text him to let him know I knew and I told him he was dead to me.

        I packed all his clothes and put them in his car and his car was moved to his relatives house. I blocked him from my phone too. Sent a message through relatives, if he knocks on my door I will call the police on him. He came back a week ago.

        There is nothing he could say to me that I want to hear because I asked him 11 years ago and several years ago if he’d been sleeping with these women and he said NO. So what is left to ask, he will only tell lies again.

        He has been gaslighting and denying these accusations, I heard this through my son…. Even though my son got him to confess by tricking him into believing the other possible child had contacted him.

        I’m picking up the broken pieces of my life.

        • Patricia

          Listen to Louise Hay. She got me through some dark times. Love yourself.

    • Kittypone

      Shifting Impressions

      You just said the exact words that I was struggling to say……”something broke very deep inside me”……that’s exactly IT! I’m struggling with the broken pieces and I just don’t think that they can be pieced back together again……I feel like I lost all respect, admiration and love for my H and nothing he is doing will bring any of that back, and I am grieving that fact…..I am weeping as I write this, because I realize that whatever I still felt for my husband is no longer there, so what’s the point of staying in a marriage where you don’t love your husband anymore? Can someone please give me good advice? Thank you in advance…

    • Shifting Impressions

      My heart breaks for you….it’s all so very difficult. Picking up the pieces and then trying to put them together again is a long painful journey. I also wrestled with the age old question “DO I STAY?” OR “DO I LEAVE?”. For several years I gave myself permission to NOT have the answer for now. We had far too many good years behind us to NOT give it my best effort.

      I cried almost everyday for the first three years after d-day. It wasn’t until the fourth year that some of the deep sadness started to lift. Feelings for my husband slowly crept back into my heart…..almost while I wasn’t looking.
      We started to laugh together again.

      I have to accept that I will never be quite the same again….the pieces will fit together differently than before. The tear might get mended but there will always be scars. At the five year mark….I marveled that we had come this far.

      I know that I haven’t totally forgiven…..but I am much closer than I was. I do not regret staying.

      No one can decide for you whether you go or stay…..but I would caution you in taking the need time to make that decision. Allow yourself to go through the grief that betrayal brings.

      • Kittypone

        Thank you……it’s only been 2 years from DDay 1…..I no longer cry every day, but those days when I do, I feel like my heart has been broken all over again……I believe he no longer cares for the harlot he cheated on me with, but I also believe he doesn’t love me like before the affair happened……it goes without saying that I don’t feel NOTHING like before the affair, my biggest struggles are trying to regain my feelings for him back……I see a therapist weekly, we have a couples therapist that we also see weekly, we have mentors that check up with us, we have pastoral counseling available as well; it’s jist that I can’t seem to turn the page and really start afresh…’s like in my eyes, he hasn’t atoned enough for his trespass against me and my hurt and pain refuse to be swept under the rug like he would like it to……I came up with the idea of having a “symbolic” funeral of the harlot by burying a doll representing her; I mentioned it to both therapists and they were all for it; the couple’s counselor even suggested that we write letters; one from my h to “break up” with her and renouncing to any kind of hold she could still have over his heart and one from me to let go of my hatred and rage at her for interfering in my marriage and for feeding inappropriate emotions into him……I enthusiastically endorsed the letter writing until my h shot it down by saying that he wasn’t comfortable putting anything into writing that I could later use against him as evidence……like…..really???? THIS is what keeps you from helping ME to heal what YOU BROKE, you effing a**hole?!?!?! I feel like I am SO DONE with this jerk!!! Yet, at the same time, I DON’T want to split a marriage of 30 years!!! There ARE good memories there!! Not everything was bad and broken!! And we have 4 beautiful adult children that we raised together, who have turned out to be good, decent people, so we did something right……so…..I will NOT make a rash decision and will still keep trying and see if those feelings return someday….

        • Hopeful

          KIttypone, It is so hard going through this. It sounds like you are doing a lot of things to support your recovery. Honestly like SI at year two I was still in the depths of all of this. My husband did say he felt like no matter what he said it was going to get used against him whether verbally or written. I had a hard time at the time understanding that but I get it more now. And honestly the way he saw things evolved and changed through our recovery. What worked for us is I went to therapy. My therapist was amazing and only focused on therapy related to betrayal. I kept a daily journal and we set a time aside each week to talk about it all. That way it was not a daily focus. We also scaled back everything and basically only worked and took care of our kids. Everything else we did together. For us our major breakthrough happened once he started to let his guard down and work through the recovery. Initially I thought I would never heal but then once I started to get to a better spot was when my husband stared to focus on himself. And honestly I was shocked at how this has affected him more than me. I figured since he made these decisions and did what he did over the course of ten years that he had dealt with it. But honestly he transformed himself and opened up like never before. I will say though it happened on his timeline and basically I talked less and listened more. When I just let him open up was when his biggest changes came. Granted I will say he is a mental health professional. He has the education, training and personal experience to do this. He also knew what he was doing was so wrong and took our marriage to the brink and did it anyways. But my therapist advised me once we were through the major healing, set boundaries and expectations to give him some rope and see what he does with it. My therapist at list in our situation felt like he needed to step up and I cannot create these perfect scenarios.

          My advice is to figure out what you want, what is your ideal situation. What do you need from your husband and what can you do? And even though we all wish it never happened and we could go back and change time we have to move past those thoughts. But devote time to figure out what you want. For me I have kids at home and I wanted to give my 100% effort to make it work for them. That was how I felt on day one. If my husband did not then that was on him. As time went on I realized I wanted to try to make the most of my marriage and see if we could create a new one. Esther Perel’s work regarding most of us live longer and will have several marriages, will they be with the same person or different people hit home. Also I suggest reading and sharing an article from The Atlantic, Masters of Love. It focuses on John Gottman’s work. It is an article my husband brought home. My husband could never read an entire book about infidelity. But he read this article. And four years later he still references it. After reading that I read every John Gottman book. They guided me. I like how they are based on a lot of scientific research but provide many real life solutions.

          Hang in there we are all with you!

        • Shifting Impressions

          My husband wouldn’t have gone along with anything like that either. No he wasn’t going do anything written….because…WAIT FOR IT….Look how that turned out for him last time. (Meaning the incriminating emails I stumble across) If it wasn’t so painful all the excuses the CS comes up with are beyond ridiculous!!

          He also refused to go for counseling….encouraged me to go though. Again so frustrating.

          I really did have to take a step back and allow him to process things on his own time-line. That was so difficult for me as I’m much more of a let’s put all our cards on table type of person.

    • antiskank

      It pains me to even say it but for me it has been 7 1/2 long years since DDay! I completely get the comment that something deep inside was broken. It was a life changing event for me and has impacted absolutely everything in my life.

      At the beginning I grasped onto any hope that things would be better including the “affair fog” silliness. My CH told me that he would do anything to make up for his behaviour. Every word he said was a lie – after almost 3 years, I was told once again that he didn’t love/want me but wanted his AP instead. Many flip-flops followed.
      To this day, he has not willingly or honestly answered questions or answered for his actions and behaviour.

      I could almost understand the idea of him falling madly “in love” with someone else. What made this the most difficult for me was that he also took every opportunity to destroy me by telling me I was the worst piece of crap in existence – old, fat, ugly, boring, turned him off in every way possible, not worthy of being liked – never mind being loved, no redeeming qualities whatsoever. Not true, but devastating when coming from the person you love most in the world and have dedicated your whole life to. You get the picture.

      Since that time, his apologies amount to “I’m sorry for the stuff I did” or “I’m sorry for the stuff I said”. He also believes that it isn’t that big a deal as they didn’t actually have sex! He believes that taking responsibility merely means an admission of having the affair.

      I have asked him to address the affair, the constant lies, the gaslighting, the things he said. Still nothing, all he can come up with is his two pat lines – ” I don’t want to split up” and “But I love you”. The unwillingness to do anything but say those things does not convince me that they are true. Right after the first DDay, when he was pretending he loved me, he often said he did. When he finally admitted he was just saying it because it made things easier, I was devastated. I have explained that knowing how much he hated me and every thing about me (he went into great detail), I need him to address each of those things separately and explain how he feels differently now, why he feels differently, and how that change came about. Still nothing. He says he wants things to go back to the way they were before the affair! How can he expect me to just forget all of it when the things he said and did have not been addressed?

      I never knew that I could be hurt so badly by one person!! At this point, I don’t see much hope of a change. His behaviour shows me that I really mean nothing to him. Life is short; at some point you have to stop giving second chances.

    • Lost Control

      He was obsessed with the idea that I was cheating on him 6 months after I met him. His previous relationship instilled that in him, she cheated on him with anyone including best friends. Never could I reassure him enough that I was not her or her mistakes, eventually he took on a drug addiction that pulled him further to his pain and further away from me. He left me with no warning and I gave birth to his son alone at 19, after a brief but unsatisfying reconciliation I ended up giving birth to a 2nd son alone again around 3 years later. Always on my own efforts I would try and try to be worth his time, good behavior and dedication. Only to find out I was still being lied to and neglected. Eventually my parents found out I was still trying to contact him and be relevant, and kicked me out. We quickly had to pull together to become a family and for once he came through, got a job, secured a house and we came to it as strangers but became a couple again. I never got over that hurt years and 1 more son later I ran from my pain and into the arms of a co-worker and found affection in that person. Someone who totally manipulated my pain and would end up cheating on me in return. I lied to my fiance, I ruined his trust and betrayed him for another person. I made the choices to lie and cover up my shameful acts. I didn’t deny it for long compared to some stories I hear, the affair was on and off for 4 months. After admittion he finally revealed the truth of one of my suspicions he too had cheated on me in the past (didn’t divulge until 9 years later at that point). He gets to chose when to lie to me as well I guess.
      A year and a half after my affair here we are. He admits sometimes he doesn’t want to be with me, finds it hard if not impossible to be intimate with me and feels I’ve broken his heart. Part of me wants to shout in his face until I die of exhaustion the horrors and heart break he has caused me through out the years. Another part of me dies inside as I realize we about to have yet another son (4 boys.. I know!) and the trauma giving birth alone has scarred me for life, makes me on fire inside. I am impatient for some kind of forgiveness. Yet I know the hurt he feels because I’ve felt it at his hand too. I think today I will write him a letter, even though I’ve admitted all I can, I want him to know my bitter truth, I will not play victim I will acknowledge what I’ve done. And also divilge the utter fear I feel at not being able to control the outcome. He says he wouldn’t still be here if he didn’t want to, but I also see that he has been deleting messages from a former female co-worker. Don’t have to hide what you delete right? He says he has nothing to hide…
      For this to work I need to know we have the same goal, that we want to help each other. So far I feel like its slipping out of my fingers.

    • Kathy

      I am 3 years after finding out my partner of 20 years was having a sordid affair with our mutual best friend, and someone I have mentored and been a big sister to since she was 11. It was a double betrayal – from him who I trusted, and her too. Their affair is still going on because although we still share a home and business, he said from the start he said he would not give her up. That was a death knell on our relationship or chances to mend things. Its been an awful period of life, not something I ever thought I would have to endure. Throughout it all, I don’t feel he ever was really sorry despite how many times he says it, as his behaviour has never changed, and he feels entirely justified in doing what he wants. He says sorry, but its more like a ‘get out of jail free’ card. If he says it, it wipes the slate clean and he can continue his affair regardless of what hurt and damage it causes me. He’s increasingly angry that I won’t just accept what he is doing, that I should have got over it by now as its been 3 years, that he has moved on, that I am being unreasonable. And increasingly he is trying to paint me as the villain, the bad person in all this. All I am trying to do is survive this storm – and I am a million miles away from being a manipulative bitch, controlling, unreasonable, and all the other abuse that comes my way. He is trying damn hard to put the affair at my doorstep because of failures in our relationship – but he never said anything to anyone about any problems, least of all me. And of all the actions to have taken he knew that having an affair with a best friend was probably going to cause maximum hurt and destruction. I was completely blindsided by it all, and the fact he keeps trying to put all the blame on me, while feeling entirely righteous and self-justified, makes me feel like I am living in Alice Through the Looking Glass where what is wrong is right, and what is right is wrong. I believe that if you are sorry, don’t keep making the same mistake or causing the same hurt, change what you are doing. So from him ‘sorry’ has lost any value.

    • Thomas

      Going beyond I’m sorry is something that I really took to heart. Being the WS, I feel ashamed of my actions and genuinely want to make positive changes that in my life. We are only 6 weeks from dday. The first few weeks were very hard but quickly after we came together and are able to talk about healing. We have set aside time daily to just talk about the EA. We were really making progress. In the meantime I also started going to a therapist to get at my underlying issues. During the latest session my therapist recommended that I don’t tell my wife all the details we discuss saying it may be too hurtful. Heeding this advice I told my wife that I could share in vague terms my therapy discussions but not details. This hurt her extremely bad and she says that it feels like the EA again and referred to me having secrets. Now she has pulled back and won’t talk to me at all. I don’t know what to do. The therapy was supposed to help. Has anyone had to work through this dynamic in their recovery?

    • Sandy

      Every situation is so very different because every person is unique.

      When I was recovering from my WS, I wanted every detail. I needed to know everything because finding out something down the road can send the other back to the stress. I wanted to be able to process it as I needed not how he needed me to process.

      She has a great point in feeling there are still hidden details as I still feeling the stress now after 2 years when I hear a new detail or uncover something I was not told. Some people need to have it all out so they can get over it at one time and not be drug back when new details emerge. You need to help mitigate the triggers.

      Work with your wife and honor her request. If she wants it all give it to her but help her understand that the details are only for her recovery not to compare or feel she did something wrong.

      It has been a long road in recovery but what I need most everyday from my husband is the sincerity that comes in humility that he broke trust and will do anything to gain it back. I wish I could say it is all great but it is a work in progress.

    • Willow

      It has been almost a year since d day. My husband left me for another woman ( I should not call her woman, since she is a thing, and I should call her IT)
      He told me that he doesn’t love me anymore. He told me that our kids will be “ok, they are big”, even though our youngest is a teenager.
      He told me to sell our house immediately, and all our investments.
      That’s what I did. In a month I sold it all. In 3 months I moved to a condo. In those 3 months, I didn’t know that I exist. I could not eat, I could not sleep, I could not breathe, I could not work.
      I would cry for breakfast, I would cry for lunch, I would cry for dinner. I lost 15 kg.
      After 3 months my husband came back and said that he made a terrible mistake. And… I took him back. For the next 3 months, I watched him suffer for his AP. He didn’t even hide it. He could not, even if he wanted to.
      He would tell me that she is his soulmate, his twin. He would tell me that he had the best time of his life while he was with her. And he would always finish his story by telling me that he knows that it is wrong.
      So, I waited.
      The time came, he apologized. He does apologize ever since. Not only with words, but with actions too.
      And we are mostly fine. Mostly.
      I mostly can hide my pain and hope that it will disappear.
      I don’t know if his apology can erase words and actions.
      It was ugly, it was painful, it was sick.
      Thank you, Linda, you got me through.

      • Shifting Impressions

        I am so sorry you are going through this heartbreak!!! You didn’t ask for advice but I can’t seem to get your post our of my mind. Your words “I mostly can hide my pain and hope that it will disappear” are so concerning. It hasn’t even been quite one year since d-day. Recovery from this kind of betrayal is a long hard journey….something that just cannot be rushed or swept under the carpet.

        I hope you give yourself permission to grieve. Allow yourself to feel the rage and the pain. Are you able to share your pain with your husband? Is he willing to really hear you? It’s a long hard journey back to trusting. Many CS are fairly defensive and just want to “move on” and not really face the devastation they have caused.

        Do you have someone you can talk to through all of this?

    • Stuck

      I’ve been in a relationship since I was 18 (I’m 28 now). We met in college and had the same social circles. He is my first love, first everything. Looking back NOW, I can see all the red flags from the beginning. I initially started seeing red flags when we were reaching our 2 year mark. I went through his phone and noticed he would text other girls. This was the beginning of me losing myself… I became jealous, controlling, clingy. Felt like I was fighting for a spot that was already given to me. But since I never found anything really “incriminating”, I would get over it (but not really). Plus, he would reassure me he was just a friendly guy who only wanted me. He ended up breaking up with me two and a half years in because i caught him sexting a girl through snapchat. Yup, he ended things with me. Within this 6 month break, we never stopped seeing each other. It was hell feeling like a fuck buddy to the person i was in love with….feeling like i was no longer valuable in his eyes. After the 6 months, he finally asked me to be his gf again, promising he was sure. Welp, he ended up cheating on me the next year. I found out after he forgot his phone in my car. I didn’t want to go through it, but something in my gut told me to. I mean, every other time I had this gut feeling I WOULD find something. There i read countless text messages between MANY girls. All were flirty, but one of them he actually met up with and hooked up with. I was heartbroken and felt soooo betrayed. By this point of our relationship, I felt as if had never loved him more. I broke up with him, but ended up getting back together in less than two weeks. Within the next two years, he cheated two more times (THAT I KNOW OF<–ugh, hate thinking this), all different girls. What did I do? I stayed. Those years are all a blur to me honestly. All I remember is feeling so insecure, lonely, and sad. My closest friends distanced themselves from me because they didn't like my decision of staying. This made me more dependent on my boyfriend; I felt like he was the only person I could count on, and even then he was not dependable. Fast forward to today: our 9 and a half year anniversary. We are still together, but I feel like the tables have somewhat turned. My boyfriend tries really hard to show me he's a different person. We've had many conversations where we both cry about his betrayals. I believe he really is sorry. He goes out of his way to help me with anything. Like someone previously mentioned "something deep inside of me broke" because I'm still not over all the betrayals. After all these years, I still get soooo pissed thinking about everything he's done to me. The woman I am today knows her value, but I can't help but cry due to the shame and humiliation. Both our families and friends all know. I sometimes wish I could go back and break up with him for good, back when he was still an asshole. Because now I feel stuck. I know I love him, but is it going to be like this forever? Am I going to think of him cheating on me for the rest of my life??? Will it forever haunt me in my dreams???? Will I ever fully trust him again? I want to be in love like we were in the beginning. I'm afraid i'm too damaged now.

    • Shifting Impressions

      You might want to ask yourself some hard questions. Such as why you allowed someone to treat you so badly for so many years? Perhaps some individual counseling for you alone would help you understand.

    • Chance

      Helpful in that I know what to look for if my partner is trying to make things right. I often feel like I’m twisting her arm. She thought we were done because I said dont ask me for anything unless you’re making progress even though she was seeing someone else before that while she had me convinced it was a non sexual relationship. She doesn’t know that I know and I don’t know how to break it to her. She only told me after the fact after she thought we were done

      • DLN

        Hey Chance, how do you know it was sexual? I am dealing with the same thing. My wife has said they never touched but I have plenty of proof that isn’t true and I can’t get her to come clean. I haven’t given her all the proof because I want her to tell me. I will never be able to move on with the lies.

    • Connie

      This video really moved me. It felt like he reached inside me, opened up my heart and saw everything, I’ve been feeling and thinking for years. My husband has apologized and has said he’s remorseful, but sometimes it really doesn’t feel like it, becuase nothing has really changed since we have finally begun to “Deal and Heal” from this traumatic mess that was created bty his emotional affair. I’ve had to accept apologies that I never got to hear or receive and that has been hard, but I am trusting in the Lord to see me through. I’m planning on asking my husband to watch the video also, because I’ve tried telling him all the emotions I feel ( sometimes dozens in a single day), but I don’t feel like he really understands it. I’m hoping hearing the apology from another man that hits on everything I’ve felt will resonate with him. Thank you so much for this messgae and video.

    • Lisa E

      I am 3 mo. into catching my husband on the phone with his “affair partner,” and only 2 mo. into his coming clean with it being sexual and not a “friendship where I’m being a mentor to her boyfriend issues.” I am only 1 mo. out from hearing him confess she would meet him out of town when he was on business trips, and, him confessing that often when he told me he was out of town he was actually staying with her at her home just a few miles from our home.
      It took some time for my husband to finally stop the: “I don’t see how asking these questions help?” “I don’t think the things you want to know will move us forward.” “I won’t be badgered.” (That simply meant I was asking questions as simple as when was the last time you saw her and up to questions of how many times did you bring her to our home). Often he would get so angry he would pack a bag and leave because he refused to talk about the affair. (Where do you think I thought he was going?)

      NOW, he is patient, open, empathetic, and always reassuring of the commitment to me, us, and our future exclusively. I will say the letter that you posted from the husband whose wife cheated and he explained why he needed to know using the 1,000 piece puzzle example seemed to be the catalyst that showed my husband the importance of being transparent.
      There are times my fear is overwhelming. He lied to me without batting an eye for a year and a half. All the time presenting the façade of a great husband. A year into his affair she told him she didn’t mind the age difference (23 years), that she wanted the secret to end and wanted them to be together. Although he told her he didn’t want that, he continued to escalate the affair (Cialis, the trips started…) So, his actions showed moving forward more seriously even though he told her he had no intentions of a “long-term” relationship if he left me. Believe it or not, I feel sorry for her. What she was told and what she saw were very different. My fear is, could he be “playing” me? Is he really committed? We are seeing a marriage counselor and he is seeing another counselor to work through his personal issues. I see the work he is doing but because of his self-serving interest over the 1 1/2 years, and his desire to make sure everything worked for him alone, it worries me that may be what I am seeing.

      Thanks so much for your emails, your videos, the letter(s), and all you do to help us as we walk through this dark valley. It has given me comfort, encouraged me, and helped me know there is light at the end of this long tunnel.

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