After an affair our infidelity support group is often friends and family. Sometimes this turns out good but other times…not so good.

infidelity support

By Linda

When faced with infidelity we often turn to friends or family for comfort, advice and support.  Sometimes this turns out to be the right thing to do and other times it can be a huge mistake.  So it’s important to be careful who you entrust to be your infidelity support system.

In our situation, no one in our family knows anything about what happened or what we have been through.  I did however, approach a few friends for help and support.  One friend eventually stood out from the rest and wound up helping me the most.

One thing to note is that I made sure that who I confided in was able to consider what was in my best interest, and wasn’t a member of the Doug-hater club. The friend I confided in also helped me to see both sides.

And honestly, I never really bashed Doug. I never said anything negative about him. I really did talk about how I contributed to the situation: “I did this; I did that.” My friend never really had to say, “Oh, Doug’s terrible. You should dump him!”

There’s Positive and Negative Infidelity Support

Many times when people are hurting they’re looking for someone to build them up.  But there’s a big difference between building you up and somebody that joins with you to tear down your spouse.

The tearing down of the spouse can energize you as a negative kind of energy that typically takes you to some really nasty places. It may get you out of the pain at first, but it’s going to end up delivering even more pain in the end.

See also  The Real Reason Why Men Lie and Cheat

Fortunately, my friend’s concern was mainly with me and my well being.

4 Reasons Why Couples Counseling is Not a Good Idea if the Affair Has Not Ended

We really didn’t talk much about the dynamics between Doug and I and what was happening. Her main concern was to make sure that I was okay and that she was there for me. She didn’t try to boost my ego or make me feel like I was always right.  She also didn’t become a spouse-basher, which would have become more destructive than helpful.

The Impact of Friendship Energy

Both types – the ‘builder upper’ and the ‘tearer downer’ (sorry for that) – generate some energy.

The kind of friend that builds you up is generally more of a positive type of energy than the type that puts you out of pain by tearing other people down.

The person who tears others down may help get you out of pain, but the negative energy becomes a vortex like a roller coaster.

Once you’re on it, you can’t stop until the end – and the end is not a pretty place, because all that venom and stuff like that is going to come out, and it’s going to end up being an obstacle to getting things worked out between you and your spouse.

Navigating Negative Influences in Relationships

What can happen when you start sharing the negativity is that the other people start taking it as their own. 

For instance, if I was mad at Doug and I started talking to somebody about how he hurt me, it would be real easy for that other person to become a member of the Doug-haters club, even though Doug hadn’t done anything to them.

See also  Helping Your Spouse With Healing After an Affair

Those members of the ‘club’ can get in the way of healing for the relationship when it comes time to heal.

It’s almost like you’ve got a whole crowd of people who have their own agendas as opposed to just helping the spouse who was hurt.  And that will not only create problems in your marriage, but can also create tension between you and the person who is trying to be supportive.

So think things through very carefully before choosing your infidelity support system.

If any of you have experiences – good or bad – with friends and family as your support system after infidelity, please tell us about them in the comment section below.


    44 replies to "Choose Your Infidelity Support Group Wisely"

    • tsd

      I agree with this post….I told two friends who like you, we’re there for me and my well being. I did however, tell one of my relatives who went thru this himself, and my husband looks up to immensely. So when I told CS that so and so knows, he was devastated. This person is a role model to him, but of blood relation to me…my relative was the one who was calm and became the rational one when I was falling apart. He told me to clearly take time rather than let my emotions control my steps. He was the right person for me. And I embarrassed my husband to boot!!! Worked in my advantage…tee hee

    • Jim

      None of my family knew about my W EA. She told some of her family. Eventually she told my Mom that we were “having issues” but she also told her that she messed up.

      My support has been the Higher Healing Forum. Thanks to you guys, I have been able to sort through these issues.

    • E

      I could not agree more … sometimes you may not know what kind of support or feedback you may get from your friends and family until they know what is going on. In our situation, pretty much everyone knows – friends and family. I had some who told me that there was no way to save a marriage after something like this. I had others who were supportive, and I had others that were indifferent. I was surprised by some friends and even a family member and had to distance myself from those that were “Doug haters” (to use Linda’s term) and I continue that distance today. Believe it or not, I had one who even told me that they knew a man they could fix me up with!

      The friends and family that I clung to were the ones who said to me “I support you – whatever you choose to do with your marriage from this point, I am here for you”. These friends/family members were invaluable to me.

      Keep in mind, some family members that you are very close with – your mother for example – are going to say things about your spouse, in the moment, because they can’t stand that you were hurt so badly. I think these reactions are just normal. You have to choose what you tell people.

    • Healing Mark

      Yes, choosing wisely is very, very important. It’s a personal choice, so I don’t think there is any right or wrong choice at the time it is being made, but what happens as a result of the choice of persons to whom the existence of the affair, and the extent of the details of the affair, can certainly, in hindsight, indicate a right or a wrong choice, and whether in hindsight it was right or wrong could depend on what your goals were at the time of disclosure (i.e., want to save the marriage or just want out and the affair is a basis for getting out).

      I told no family or friends other than my W’s sister, who my wife told, and a very close mutual friend who my W had already confided in both during and after her EA. I relied on these two women, our marriage counselor, this site and other resources dealing with emotional affairs. But primarily, I worked with my W to get to a point where I could genuinely forgive her and trust her like I did before the EA. We also worked on various aspects of our marriage that could stand some improvement and I can now say that we are better marriage partners than we were before the EA. Finally, I relied on the “healing” aspect of the passage of time, as my ability to be happily married to my W today (19 months after D-day, 25 months after end of EA) is much easier/better than it was just a few months after D-day.

      • livingonafence

        How do you consider a woman that knew your wife was cheating during the EA a ‘close mutual friend’? She’s clearly a close friend of your wife’s, but you? If she knew you were being cheated on and didn’t tell you, she’s no friend of your marriage.
        Most advice says that people that aren’t friends of the marriage shouldn’t be involved in your life once DDay occurs.
        What does your counselor think about this?

        • Healing Mark

          Excellent point, LOAF. When the close mutual friend was told by my W, I had already discovered the existence of the EA. Or so I was told, and I believe this to be the truth, as my W and the AP worked hard (but not hard enough) to keep their relationship a secret from all lest either me or his W find out about it from someone else who they might have told about it. Given how well I know this close mutual friend, I could tell how she responded to the news from my W and how she spoke to me afterwards that she had no idea of the existence of the EA. Not surprisingly, what my W would disclose to this friend was different from what I knew and later found out to be true about the EA (some differences were simply due to my W not disclosing all of the “details” of various aspects of her relationship and activities related thereto). Also, when my W told this friend, it was in part for her to get some support and guidance following the EA discovery, and also in part to give me someone to go to for support and guidance following the same, and finally due to the fact that we both felt fairly strongly (and correctly in hindsight) that this friend was truly a friend of our marriage.

          Only one other person, a BFF of my W and friend to me, other than the persons I mentioned in my earlier post know of the EA, although I don’t think that this other person really knew all of the gory “details” and certainly not enough to initially realize how much damage this new “friendship” was doing to our marriage and family. While this person kept her promise to my W to not tell me anytthing that she was being told by my W about the “friendship” (of course, it was not labeled as an EA or anything that would remotely indicate that anything improper was taking place), she ultimately came to the conclusion that what my W was doing was wrong/harmful and should be stopped, was influential in convincing my W that the relationship should be ramped down to something that most people, myself included, would consider more appropriate (for example, stopping sending 100’s of text messages to each other and no more long phone calls late at night after I had gone to bed), and informed my W that their friendship notwithstanding, if my W did not end her inapproprate behavior this friend would not lie to me if I asked her if she knew or thought that my W was having an affair, whether I correctly identified the AP or not. I applaud her approach in this regard rather than contacting me out of the blue to in effect confess for my W, and I still consider this person a friend of our marriage, and she has been a proponent of my W and I staying married and doing all that we can to “save” our marriage, and she was actually the person who recommended our marriage counselor and for this alone she deserves my continued friendship and thanks.

          Our marriage counselor already knew this person well as she worked with the friend and her husband several years earlier (they now say that they are more happily married today than before counseling, and that the work with the counselor helped immensely in this regard), so we never really got into what the counselor thought about this friend’s involvement. Don’t know that what the counselor thought in this regard would have mattered much. I agree, and our counselor agreed, that people that aren’t friends of our marriage should not be involved in our life once D-day occurs. Our counselor also advised us to avoid, if we could, any persons who might be against marriage in general (not that we knew or now know too many of these). What my W seemed to have difficulty with is accepting that the AP was not a friend of our marriage, and thus should not be involved in our lives. The thing was, he often argued my side when my W would complain about things in our marriage, never advised my W that she needed to get a divorce, urged my W to seek marriage counseling before deciding to do anything like separate or file for divorce, and agreed to, and did, significantly ramp down the intensity of their contacts/friendship once my W asked him do so (not quite a break up until D-day, and his actions following D-day have always been as I have asked and consistent with my efforts to forgive my W for the EA and move on with a better marriage than before and during the EA). So she thinks that he was a friend of our marriage, and I see him as someone who just wanted an EA on the side of his desired marriage to the detriment of me and our marriage, and at least when he saw that the EA was so destructive, he stopped the thing, but in large part do to his desire to never have his wife find out about the things he was doing with my W during the EA.

          • Anita

            Healing Mark,
            Your councelor agreed and you agreed that people who aren’t friends to the marriage should not be involved once D-day occurs.
            Maybe for you that worked but for me, my family was so wonderful to me when my exhusband was cheating on me.
            My exhusband surely wasn’t looking out for my best interest or our children with his involvement in his affair.
            My family looked out for my best interest and that of my
            children. I trusted them and they were there for me, and
            our children before and after my divorce. My exhusband
            wasn’t a friend to our marriage or me. He was to busy
            chasing his affair partner, who dumped him a year later,
            no surprise there. I think its only rational that I trusted my
            family and friends, and totally irrational to trust the
            man I divorced.
            They weren’t haters of my exhusband, instead they loved
            me and my children. My exhusband sure didn’t love me,
            otherwise he wouldn’t of chased another woman.
            I could actually say the opposite where he hated,
            even though my family and friends attended our wedding and gave us their best wishes as well as
            gifts. In return I got a husband who cheated, who hated
            who? Friends to the marriage, I guess it has to start with
            the cheating spouse themselves.

            • Anita

              Healing Mark,
              Is the reason people don’t tell their family and friends, is because, they know that they then have to defend the person who cheated on them?
              Myself I didn’t have the energy to defend something that was so sinful, I could forgive, but I chose not to defend or
              return to a man who could chase another woman, she
              could have that prize.

            • Anita

              Healing Mark,
              I can only speak for myself, knowing when to leave a toxic
              relationship is also important. I don’t need my families
              or friends approval or disapproval in any relationship,
              however when my ex was involved in his adulterous affair,
              I call that a pretty toxic relationship, and how do you trust
              again? Or believe anything they have to say? Family and
              friends are pretty valuable at that time, and can be trusted,
              a spouse involved in adultery, well lets just say they lost
              their way, and how do respect them again, I can forgive!

            • Healing Mark

              Anita. Yes, if you are trying to forgive your spouse for an affair and improve your marriage, sharing the fact that your spouse cheated on you will almost certainly require that you defend your choice to stay with your spouse, especially with all those, myself included, who are inclined to knee jerk and believe that infidelity ends all marriages. I suppose in a certain sense you would likely also end up defending the CS, at least having to make a case that the mistakes they made resulting in the affair are not so bad as to cause you to stop loving them and end the marital relationship. To me, it seeemed like too much energy to have to expend when at the time I needed all the energy I could muster just to begin to regain trust and to put my W’s EA in the past and move on with our lives. Finally, my W had enough guilt and shame for what she had done, and she had ended the EA and begun marriage counseling with marked improvements in our relationship by the time I discovered the EA’s prior existence, and to compound that by letting mutual friends know about the EA was only going to make our healing efforts much more difficult, if not impossible to pursue.

              Now, had things not worked out and a decision was made to divorce, my W was of the firm opinion that at that time I would spill the beans to all of our mutual friends for a variety of reasons. At first, I selfishly agreed with her in hopes that this “threat” would make her more willing to make honest efforts to improve our marriage, even though I felt inside that I would never do what she feared. Later, as we got closer to a point where I was able to genuinely forgive my W, I confided in my W that even if we ended our marriage, I would not ever speak of the EA, primarily to maintain my W’s potential support group for her post-divorce and the attendant benefits this would provide our children as my W and I dealt with the negative effects of a divorce, but also in part due to pride. I did not want our friends knowing that my W could fall in love with another man while we were married. That said, I likely would have told family members and some of my friends who were not a part of the social circle that involves me, my W and my children. As to friends who were a part of such social circle, my W and I agree that the best “story” would have been that we had problems that we both contributed too (true), we did everything that we reasonably could do under the circumstances to try to save our marriage, including marriage counseling (true), and and that one or both of us simply came to the conclusion that the best course of action for one or both of us and our children was to end the marriage and begin raising our children separately. Again, neither of us felt that we wanted to have to spend any energy at such time trying to defend ourselves or the other spouse with persons who might be judgmental about affairs, especially because we anticipated having to deal with persons who might be judgmental about couples who have gotten divorced.

              Best to you as you move forward with your life.

    • Anita

      My family and friends were a hugh support for me they were
      the ones who were there for me. My exhusband at that time
      was so wrapped up in his affair partner, my tears meant
      nothing to him. My family gave me that strenght to leave
      him and to start a life of my own. His affair was his choice,
      and his doing, and he was to one who hurt me. My family
      and friends helped me in realizing that a good husband
      doesn’t cheat on his wife, and yet on top of that deal with
      his hugh inflated ego. They helped me to see that if he
      was a decent husband, he wouldn’t have gotten himself
      entangled with another woman.
      My family and friends are not at fault for any advice they
      gave, it was my exhusband’s fault for chasing around on
      me while he was a married man. They helped me to build
      that strenght to leave and get myself out of that unhealthy
      relationship, and yes they were proud of me for not staying
      with someone who treated me so badly.
      With time and healing I forgave my exhusband for his
      adultery, but it was him who chose to entangle himself with
      another woman, and it was my family and friends who were
      there wiping my tears away, and telling me that I had worth
      and value, and I didn’t have to stay in a relationship where
      I was being treated so badly. Instead I could have a new
      life where I was free from that kind of mistreatment.
      My family and friends didn’t have to bash my exhusband
      his own actions spoke loud enough for him. They were
      there because they loved me. My exhusband wasn’t.

    • chiffchaff

      Initially my sister was the first to know, literally within minutes as I knew I was in danger of doing something silly to myself.
      After that she was initially very helpful but definitely in the ‘H-haters’ club, a founder member. I think she really couldn’t cope with seeing me so hurt through all the trickle feeds of lies and new Ddays such that she eventually fell straight into the ‘complete hate’ camp and became less than useful to me when our marriage turned a corner towards recovery in April.
      we tried not to tell too many people initially. My H’s best friend’s wife was very insistent at knowing all the details and interrogating me which felt supportive for a while but over time she revealed that effectively her agenda was to get me strong enough to leave him as she believed that my H wouldn’t have done what he did unless he was really on the cusp of being with the love of his life, the OW. I should just step aside. It has soured that friendship forever I think. I certainly don’t see her the same way even though I don’t think she was being mean in what she did, she just had her own personal agenda based on her beliefs about romantic love. That I don’t share.
      My most valuable friends in all of this mess turned out to be, as you say, friends who were mainly concerned with my happiness and did not blame my H. My best friend has even recently said that she’s over the moon to see us still working on our marriage rather than giving up. She just listened and spent time encouraging me to do distracting things. Another best friend by contrast just wanted me to leave my H as she’d decided he must be insane. I think she still thinks that.
      It was also a time when I was actually pleased my mother was no longer with us. Although she could be compassionate at times I just know she would have been like my sister but with the added skill of being able to make me feel downright crap about myself and my prospects at the same time. She knew how to press my low self-esteem buttons. My dad was surprisingly ambivalent, in a way that made me laugh sometimes, which was also very useful. He tried to give a man’s perspective from time to time which turned out to be a 1960’s man’s perspective that made me think that he though my H had turned into Don Draper.
      So yes, you have to be careful who you tell but to be honest, I’m not going to beat myself up about who I told at the time because, as with other things post-Dday, you just do what you think is right at the time with the energy you have left.

    • Carol

      I have an ongoing situation that is still very painful for me. When I found out about my H’s EA, he continued to lie to me for a week, all the while swearing he’d told me everything. (He hadn’t.) When the final day of that awful week came, and yet more revelations that contradicted what he’d said before, I told him to move out the next morning. I couldn’t take it. To prove he could come clean and own up to what he did, he asked me to listen in as he called his parents to tell them what he’d done (basically, a 6-month EA with one physical encounter, an EA initiated, sustained, pursued ardently by HIM, not by the OW who was more or less using him for ego strokes). When he told them, my MIL’s immediate reaction was to say that what he did wasn’t so bad, that what he’d done ‘happened’ (note passive verb) to a lot of people, that for all he knew I’d done the same thing since I’m ‘attractive’ and ‘travel a lot,’ that what he did was understandable as I ‘hadn’t always made it easy on him.’ My FIL told my H it was ‘just one kiss’ and to simply do what the marriage counselor said and everything would be okay. He didn’t stop or contradict my MIL one bit. My MIL then told my brother in law, a computer whiz, to change the passwords on my H’s iPhone account so that I could no longer see the evidence of his betrayal, and she tried to get my H to join her, my FIL, and my BIL for Thanksgiving instead of spending it with me and the kids.

      Now: my MIL has always been overbearing. She announces when she’s coming to visit, she announces how long she’s staying — until very recently, at my home. She shows up with multiple carrier bags full of gifts and stuff for the kids, despite my H asking her repeatedly to cut back. She tried to change the date of my son’s baptism; she put my BIL’s name on the certificate as godfather even though my H told her directly that BIL was not a godparent. She invites herself and my brother in law on our vacations, she invites my brother in law to my house without telling anyone, much less asking. My H cannot see the inappropriateness of any of this, because he thinks she’s simply being ‘generous’ and just ‘wants to help.’ I have bitten my tongue for years. And in return for my restraint and my basically letting her do whatever she wants when she visits us, when my H plunged the knife into my back, she reached over and gave it a good hard twist.

      She apologized in January — it took her three months, during which time she continued to make excuses (she was ‘only trying to comfort her son’) and to complain about me to my H (e.g. I have never liked her, I never liked traveling with her, etc., etc.). Since the apology, she has complained to my H on more than one occasion that it’s been 8 months and I should be ‘over it’ by now and that if I can’t forgive him, what sort of person am I? To my face, she’s sweet and warm; behind my back, this is what she continues to do.

      I was out of town in June for a week, and told my H to invite them here to visit while I was gone — a good chance for them to see the kids, and I wouldn’t have to deal with her, which stresses me out to no end. Just five days ago, they announced they were coming in town again, for an entire week’s visit. They are staying at a condo my BIL bought in town, and my H thinks that since he has a condo they are free to come and go as they please and announce their visits whenever they want.

      I NEED A BREAK from these toxic people. My H has been almost abusively passive-aggressive with me for years, and I have a hard time not blaming them for his issues. He was always second-best in his family; his interests were never as important as his brother’s or as worthy of his time and effort; he always had to do what his mother wanted; his mother always, always made excuses for his poor behavior and never insisted on her sons’ growing up and taking responsibility for their own lives. And then my H marries me: hyper-responsible, hard-working, driven. And proceeded to behave ungratefully and unfaithfully. In response to which she yet again made excuses and blamed me.

      So: I apologize for this long post, but I really don’t have anywhere else to vent. I thought that maybe, maybe if my MIL knew about the affair I just might get a little love and support from her. She has yet to say one supportive thing to me or one sympathetic thing for all that her son has put me through. And my H continues to make excuses for that (she’s ‘afraid’ of me, because I never ‘liked her’; she’s on ‘eggshells’ around me, etc.). I suppose the lesson is not to expect that you’ll get support from your H’s family. In my case, they have basically acted as if I’m not a full person, certainly not a full member of the family Firm.

      • livingonafence

        Carol, I feel your pain on any Inlaw issues. I have to agree with your H on one point – if they have a condo in town, they are free to use it at will. It stinks, but it’s their condo. Not much you can do there.

        Beyond that, what a horrid woman! To actually claim you had probably already done the same? That’s not ‘comforting’, that’s bashing for no reason. My inlaws have done more than their fair share of bashing me, but when my H told them about his cheating (trying to say it wasn’t cheating and I was just ‘nuts’, they were silent. He was looking for support to not feel so low. The problem is that both his mother and sister have been cheated on in the past, so they weren’t interested in bashing me this time.

        Once I pointed this out to him, he stopped running to them.

        You MIL sounds like a jealous woman. I hope she doesn’t behave this way around your children.

      • Teresa

        Carol… Having a mother like that has damaged your H….I know this because my H was raised in the same kind of household….not so much a controlling mother, just an emotionally abusive and distant one, plus a cheating alcoholic father!
        My H is emotionally distant himself, it’s something he’s been working on the last few months, with a LITTLE success…every small triumph has to be noticed by me, can you say, low self esteem…another wonderful byproduct of his growing up years!
        Until your H gets into counseling and addresses his issues, you’re not going to see any big changes!
        My H hasn’t been to counseling in a couple months….that is going to have to change im thinking, since he’s not doing the work he said he could do on his own….personally, I have to wonder if the damage is so deep, CAN he change?? I want to go talk to his counselor myself, to get his take on things…is it always going to be like this, my H fighting to give me the emotional support I need?
        I think the big test will be next week, we are going to his home state for a brief visit…he has to go there for 2 days, work related, so we are going as a family, and taking a few extra days for ourselves….we are planning to see his parents..ONLY…Since his two cousins also live there and they helped facilitate the EA, and the cow lives there also and he has two sisters that live there and other family members. But none of them have been supportive, actually, my H doesn’t even hear from any of them…again, can you say dysfunctional family??
        We don’t have a bad life, he’s a hard worker, always helping out around the house, talking more to our boys, helping them with things in their lives, etc…there has been no contact since Dday, he’s truly sorry for the EA and accepts full responsibility! It’s just that he struggles with opening up emotionally…well, with ME that is….he obviously had no problem with the COW!!
        BTW, Carol….my H’s two cousins, when my H told them I knew about the EA, and was very upset with them, because they are good friends with the Cow and helped to cover up the EA for my H…they told him they didn’t care, that I wasn’t “family”! This after 25 yrs of marriage to their cousin, and four children together! So yea, I understand about the severe lack of empathy with your in laws, but the difference between us is…My H cut off ALL contact with them, and really sees his cousins for the empty shells they are…living lives filled with bitterness and hate and he wants nothing to do with them!
        Your H needs to step up to the plate and defend you to his mother, instead of hiding behind her…a good counselor will help him do that! Good luck!!

    • Teresa

      Carol, forgot to mention this website… check it out and also the book they wrote! It’s helped me and my H a lot….has really opened up our eyes to how destructive his childhood really was! My H is an Avoider…I’m a Pleaser..,two very different personalities, all in one marriage! Lovely…LOL!

    • AngelWings

      I kept my H EA to myself for about a week. After that I just had to tell someone so after much debate as to who I could turn to I chose our best friends. They are the only ones who know about the EA. I think it helps my H to have someone to talk to if needed, although I don’t think they really ever have since we told them. But it is of great comfort to me to have someone else to talk to. They have been nonjudgemental and truly are there for our well being. No one else knows. We live in a town where everyone knows everyone and my H (and I) have a well respected reputation. I wouldn’t jeopardize that for him or our family. I don’t need the negatively from total strangers or family and friends. Since I have chosen to make this work, I know I made the right decision. I agree, chose wisely. Know what type of support you are looking for. If you are going to stay in the marriage to make it work, chose those are will support you and not hurt you in your recovery.

      • Anita

        You mentioned “If you are going to stay in the marriage to
        make it work, chose those are will support you and not hurt
        you in your recovery. You also mentioned ” I don’t need the
        negatively from total strangers or family or friends.
        AngelWings, your husband hurt you, not family, friends or
        strangers, who don’t even know. If your choosing not to
        tell them that is fine, however they have done nothing or said nothing to hurt you. Your husband on the other hand
        did. If you want to protect his secret of him having an affair
        don’t turn this on family or friends or even strangers saying
        they would be negative or hurt your recovery. Your choosing to stay with him and by doing that, own that choice. Be proud of him and forgive him then, however
        don’t accuse others of something they’re not even aware of.

        • Anita

          I know this hurts but the reason you don’t want others to know its because this whole situation is painful and you
          don’t want others to know what he did in hurting you.
          However your not resposible for his choice in him having
          that affair, he gets to own that. I know by you not telling
          others is because you want to protect him, and his reputation, its to bad he didn’t concider this while he involved himself in that affair. However family and friends
          in my situation at least helped me to open my eyes and see
          how awful he treated me, and that I didn’t need to protect
          him while he was off chasing another woman, instead
          they were there wiping my tears, and giving me the strenght
          to leave a relationship that was so unhealthy. I didn’t turn
          it around and say oh there being so negative and haters of
          my exhusband, instead I listened and seen what they saw
          from the outside, which was a very unhealthy marriage I
          was involved in, and they loved me enough to be honest,
          wheather I wanted to open my ears to hear it or not.
          I chose to hear it. My marriage ended but it gave me a new
          life free from a husband who cheated. I would say my
          experience with family and friends was positive, however
          my experience with my exhusband having an adulterous
          affair was negative. I own that choice!

          • Battleborn


            Where you may have had family and friends who could be honest in their assessment of your marriage, many people here do not. I may be incorrect but it is not always the best for couples to “tell” anyone. I for one, decided not to tell anyone. It isn’t because I owe him protection nor do I need to protect him. I chose not to tell people for one reason only. It’s NONE OF THEIR BUSINESS. I go to counseling weekly and my husband joins us when I ask him to come.

            I am happy for you that you come from a family that can support you. I am happy that you chose to divorce your cheating husband, because that is what you wanted to do. But we need to remember that not everyone has that support system.

            I could have chosen to tell my parents and his, but you know what, my father had just found out he had cancer and my mother was not in good condition to let her know. His parents would have just killed him not literally but close. There are a million reasons why one does not share their story with anyone. I am glad that I did not tell my father, he passed away believing his son-in-law was a decent man. He did not need the extra pressure of worrying about me. My mom is 80, she needed my husband to get her through that difficult time… he was there for her and she made it through. So why would I tell her anything? She needed my husband and he was there for her. I can’t taint that.

            In short I guess what I am advocating is what Linda referred to. Be selective but make sure that it is really what you want to do. As my mother always told me, there is more than one way to skin a cat and sometimes it means going it alone.

            • Anita

              Your right each person will have to choose wheather or
              not to keep their spouses affair a secret or not.
              When my exhusband was involved in his last affair (adultery). I lost my repect and trust in him, he was lost in
              his own world of sin. My family was a hugh support for me
              since my exhusband was busy chasing another woman.
              They were so good to my children who were older at that
              time, and me. My family weren’t haters of my exhusband,
              but instead loved me and our children.
              As far as their business, my exhusband has no business
              involving himself with another woman, and my family was
              there to support my children and I.
              Why should I have kept that secret for him? Unless of course I planned on never leaving, then I could see why
              it would be a royal pain to have family and friends knowing
              the truth. However I did forgive him!

            • Anita

              Its been a few year since this all happened, however by
              me leaving that unhealthy marriage, there’s no reason
              for me to defend it, its over. Our children and our familes
              have since healed from this, also I have no regrets.
              I have a good life now and so does he. Sometimes
              its better to end a toxic relationship that’s unhealthy, and
              leave that life behind and start a new one. On the other
              hand for those who feel that their relationship is worth
              saving and the cheating spouse has repented of that
              lifestyle then by all means and if the betrayed spouse can
              forgive it and leave it in the past .
              Whatever choice is made healing and forgiveness is
              important. To each their own.

            • Battleborn

              And I can appreciate what you had to do in order to leave a very toxic marriage. I am sure that your family saw it that way also. I just find that many people do not stop and think before they leap – as in telling others about the affair. You are an intelligent person therefore you could make a reasonable choice. Others I am not so sure about especially someone who just had a D-day. I guess what I am trying to say is letting others know about the affair is a double edge sword. There should be a cooling period before letting anyone into the fire storm that may be brewing.

              I read some of these posts on the blog and my heart just aches for those who do not stop and think about the consequences that may occur because of haste. Having a strong support group, whether family or friends or professional help is important but just like choosing a counselor, one just doesn’t point to a name in the phone book and settle on them. We as BS must always remember that we have had a severe jolt to our psyche and the first thing we should be doing is step back and assess, not jump into the fire by telling people who may or may not be looking out for our best interest.

            • Anita

              I agree, and yes every marriage is different.
              When my exhusband refused to stop his affair with his
              affair partner. I refused to remain silent to my family and
              friends while he did as he pleased. Your right there is
              a double edged sword in that they helped me to realize
              that I didn’t have to stay with him any longer. Instead I could
              be free from a man who didn’t repect me.
              However I give him credit for being the one who told our
              children and I didn’t have to. Yes my children were upset
              at first, and my oldest daughter came to me asked why
              I let her dad treat me this way. She loved me enough to
              let me know it was ok for me to leave the marriage.
              My children were more upset about his cheating then
              they were with the divorce. Yes the divorce hurt them,
              however they healed. It bothered them more to see their
              dad cheat on me their mother. At least with the divorce
              their dad was single again and could date others without
              it being cheating. My ex husband later met a very nice
              woman to whom he is now married to. My children and
              I are happy for them.
              As for me I am now free from that whole situation, and
              I am happy once again.
              I guess its how we each look at this, for some they would
              say this is awful, for others they see it as a marriage that
              didn’t work out, and each went on to a new life, without
              each other, but in return we are happy again.
              Time and forgiveness does heal, but its important to
              leave the past behind no matter if you stay or leave.

            • chiffchaff

              As you said battleborn, on Dday you receive a massive blow to your psyche. I’m not sure I was capable of any ‘stepping back and asessing’ at that time. I was in utter shock. Yes, months later I would have made different decisions, but I could say the same about many things I now know that I could have changed before Dday too but there was nothing I could do at the time either.

            • Battleborn


              Perhaps I did not state my case in the correct way. I didn’t mean to step back as in a long period of time, I just meant immediately after the shock. It would seem to me that if I ran to my parents or friends as soon as I found out, the outcome could quite possibly be more damaging than waiting for a spell.

              The best example I can give is one that I went through with one of my friends. She told everyone about the affair and within a couple of days she found out that she did not have all the information correct. Oh yeah, he did have an affair, but there was more to it but she had already told everyone what she thought was the whole story. Come to find out most of the people she ranted and raved to began to shirk out of her way because she couldn’t keep her story straight and everyone felt she was beginning to embellish her story to make them “stay on her side.”

              It is for that reason why I am always cautious in telling people my problems. Most everyone here agrees that having someone close is helpful, but it must be tempered.
              Some of us go it alone and that is okay too.

    • Disappointed

      You do have to be careful who you tell and sometimes people surprise you in a bad way. The OW told three of our shared friends. The one I knew least was apologetic, supportive and said I did not deserve any of it. The one I knew best dismissed it all “as it just happened” and “you were having problems anyway”, you have to understand “they are both very closed off people and when they fially let someone in it is very intense.” Also told me she told OW “look how badly he trreats his wife, he is not who you think he is.” Remembering it still hurts. There was no acknowledgment of my pain or that my H’s and the OW’s need for attention and escapist fantasies has cost me everything. If our roles were reversed, I would never talk to the OW again out of loyalty. Some things are not right and one of them is pursuing a married person. The only person she is not talking to is me and I did nothing wrong except trust my H and OW.

      • livingonafence

        Disappointed, some people don’t know how to offer support – they just aren’t good at it. I’m curious – why did your friend making the comment about ‘look how badly he treats his wife’ hurt you? He was cheating – that’s treating you pretty badly. That was probably her way of telling OW she was in fantasy land.
        Also, until you are a BS you really don’t realize the pain it causes. I don’t think any of us could say for certain we wouldn’t speak ot OW if she were a friend ‘out of loyalty’.
        I’m sorry all of this hurt you, and don’t blame you for walking away from these people, but everyone has their own story – I don’t think your friend’s intentions were to hurt you.

    • Disappointed

      If my H and I ultimately divorce I will tell a number of people the truth about what happened including the EA. My life is in ruins and the OW still has everything: her H, kids and stay-at-home status. I cant be the only one who pays the full price for their choices. The sad fact is most people wont care, but I dont think I should be the one to feel the shame. Her pursuit of my H and their choices have taken everything from me. I will not pretend otherwise.

      • Battleborn


        So if you divorce you will tell people about your H and the OW. My question to you – are you going to tell people to make yourself feel better or to try to cause hate and discontent amongst everyone you know? When I read your post I immediately thought about how it would look if you divorced and began telling your story… you would be the “bitchy wife” and they would think no wonder he left you. That, I think, would hurt you more in the long run.

        If you are going to do divorce, do it with dignity. You are the survivor here, not him. You need to be the stronger of the two and hold your head up high knowing that you did everything possible to save your marriage. There is no shame on your part… there is only hurt and pain.

        I would mention one other thing. What about the OW children? They did not ask for any of this. They are innocent bystanders. Yes, their Mom is slutpuppy, but they will suffer right along with her if you tell everyone about your H and the OW. I am not sure you would want that to be placed upon your shoulders either.

        So while I really understand your feelings, I would only suggest that you think about all the consequences before you begin to announce to the world that you just divorced a jerk.

        PS. I would probably do the same thing, but she didn’t have any kids so who cares… :}

        • Rollercoaster Rider

          Well said. — I’m in a similar boat. Haven’t told any family — and if we divorce I have to be careful about what I say and to whom — mostly as I don’t want things getting back to our kids that will hurt them. As such, I’ll likely be extremely selective of how knows the truth — and not “we just grew apart”

    • Disappointed

      Me telling a few friends will not do anything to the kids. They are in a completely different circle. The OW left our circle when I found out and she angrily informed her husband she was falling in love with my H. I will not send a mass email. With a divorce I will not only lose my H, I will also lose my “child” a small nonprofit we founded and all the people associated with it. I will be left with nothing while she has retained her life and he all of our friends who are also his students. I have a right to not cover up what they did and claim whatever to make it palatable to others. I wont be vindictive, but the two of them do not get to pretend they did nothing. Taking the higher ground – which is all I have done since this started – will not include keeping their infidelity a secret once all hope is lost.

      • Battleborn

        Disappointed, I must have misunderstood when you were referring to children. I do agree with you about not letting you lose your nonprofit. In that case they are treading on thin ground. It is one thing to hurt others, but when it includes your livelihood, that is something entirely different. It is sad to think that he is so self-centered that he cannot see that he is hurting your nonprofit as well as you. Of course if something goes wrong with your “baby” he will also blame you. I hope that is not goign to be the case… you have worked too hard to get where you are now.

        My apologies for misunderstanding what you wrote. :}

      • Anita

        If this does end in divorce, hold your head high. My heart goes out to you. When my exhusband and I first divorced
        the news of it spread like wild fire, however within a few
        days it was old news. My family and friends were there
        for me during that time. I also had a sibiling during that
        time who divorced 3 months earlier for the same reason,
        so both of us were in the same stages throughtout our
        grieving process. In the beginning we talked on the phone
        everynight, and as we began to heal it became less frequent, and back to normal. My sibling remarried just
        about a year ago to someone very nice.
        Besides my family and a couple of close friends I didn’t
        share my whole divorce story, only a few people know
        about the whole ordeal, other people just know I am
        divorced. Over time people just don’t care why your divorced. Also in time it becomes part of your past.
        I hope your spouse has a big change of heart and gets
        his priorities straight for your sake. However if he
        doesn’t just remember to take the high road, you will
        never regret that.

    • LotusBlooming

      Doug or Linda, im having a problem with the site and can’t find a “contact us” icon. I had previously read and replied to the discussion post “the impact of affair” and even get emails for follow up comments. However when I click on the link in the email to read the comments it says “oops wrong membership level” I’m still a regular (free) member I just joined a couple weeks ago. Help? Thanks
      Ps the top of the page shows I’m logged in…

      • Doug

        Hi Lotus, I just sent you an email responding to your question.

    • AngelWings

      Your right in the fact that I shouldn’t assume family and friends would say anything negative, but past experience has taught me that there is a high chance of that. There has been infidelity in the family (aunts/uncles who have cheated) and I do hear what is said about that. I don’t wish for my marriage to be spoken of in that manner by others. I did not tell family more because I knew others would eventually be told and then everyone would know. I can see where this would be uncomfortable during holidays and well just visits in general. It’s not to protect him so much as it is not to have those “doug-haters members”. I can’t say our marriage was bad more than it was just in a “rut”. We were busy raising children, working and just not appreciating each other as we should have been. H is truly sorry for the pain he has caused me and we are working on strengthening our marriage again. I can see where judgmental remarks could make this even more difficult if others knew. For now I know I made the right choice about who I told and in not telling others. It has been for the best in all areas of recovery.

      • Anita

        When I speak of family and friends, who comforted me,
        It was my siblings and their spouses, and my friends
        were close friends from my childhood that lived in different
        cites and states. These friends didn’t even know each other, so there was no talk between them. So I felt safe in telling them. After my divorce I moved to another state,
        and a couple of coworkers know, but they don’t know my
        exhusband. My parents have passed.
        I am very close to my siblings and their spouses, so I felt
        I had no reason to hide this.

    • Gizfield

      I’m not really sure where to put this so I’ll put it on the latest comment. Anyway, 13 years ago today, July 10, 1999 my first husband died of a massive heartattack at the age of 49. I mention this because I have seen a couple of comments before that stated it is probably easier if your husband dies than commits adultery. I’m not sure I agree with that. I woke up one morning with the man I had lived with for 20 years and by the end of the day, he was totally, completely gone forever. I have to say this was very traumatic, even if he had major issues, the chief one being alcoholism. I was home when it happened, but there was no chance to say good bye. I was very alone because my parents died about 10 years earlier and I had no children. I was really lost for a while, not surprisingly, fell into Heavy Drinking myself. It is creepy being a widow, I didnt really feel like I belonged anywhere, people dont know how to act around you, I pretty much quit eating and got really skinny. Very similar to the adultery thing, but you are totally cut of from the person, but they didnt pick someone else over you, and everyone is really nice to you. I think I was in a severe depression when I met my current husband a year later and did not even know it!!! You’re not ready for a relationship but you are tired of being alone. I think some of our problems are a result of all this, too, Baggage if you will. Anyway, if you have any questions about how this felt similar/different just let me know and I’ll try to answer :~)

      • LotusBlooming

        Girzfield, I’m very sorry for your loss. I am one of the ones that made that comment. I don’t literally wish he had died, of course. In fact, when I first found out and we separated for a couple months (while he was seeing the OW openly, almost 2 years ago) I told a close friend that I was trying to count my blessings, that I’d rather be divorced than widowed. I would never wish him harm or pain, and sincerely hope that I’d we don’t “make it” that we will still be in each others lives, as friends, or something. What I meant, was that this indicisiveness is tearing me up. That if he had died, I would know how to grieve, I would KNOW that I was alone and hopefully some day heal. This not knowing makes it hard just to put one foot in front of the other, because I don’t know which direction to go in. But, death would have its own set of pain, worse, pain for my children, having issues that are unresolved and create regret. I understand the message you are trying to convey, and I thank you, for I needed some perspective. I really try everyday to recognize all that I have to be greatful for, to recognize that I do have blessings in my life, it’s not ALL bad, but sometimes I get lost in the pain and I forget.
        Today is also the birthday of a great friend I lost to breast cancer when she was just 38. On these days I usually try to reflect on good memories, to focus on positive things and try to put aside the negative for a day. I’m very sorry for your loss, and I hope my comment did not offend you, and again I thank you for sharing and giving me something to reflect on.

    • Gizfield

      Lotus, you are perfectly fine! I am not easily offended, and my major concern is to share things if it might help others.I think if you can get through this without committing a Felony you are doing great! Thank you for your condolences!

    • Ashley

      I am the cheater and need support. I have no one to talk to and looked at as an awful individual that did wrong. Need support to get through this.

    • Sue

      When I found out about my husband’s affair I did not want to tell anyone but I knew I needed support through this. I chose three people to reveal my husband’s affair to, my brother, my dear friend who was widowed, and a co-worker whose marriage survived an affair. I chose these three people because I knew they would not judge and would be sound in their advice. My brother I told first and his advise to me was that I did not have to make any decisions right away. He also told me that the affair is not my fault and that my husband is less doing this to me and more that he is doing this FOR Himself.
      His words calmed me and in some quiet way empowered me to know that I am good and I am worthy and no matter what direction this may go I will come out better and stonger. I knew I could trust my brother not to judge my husband nor my decision and that he would support me wherever this may lead me.
      My widowed friend helped me understand grief and to know that No matter what, happiness will a part of my future, and my co-worker gave me hope that all is not lost.
      My marriage is now on the mend and with the support of these three people and this website I and my husband are on our way to recovery and the future together looks bright.

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