I found the thoughts of the emotional affair were consuming my life. I had to change that.

thoughts of the emotional affairBy Linda

During my last counseling session there was much discussion on how the thoughts of the emotional affair still consume my life.  My therapist asked if there was any time that I do not think about the affair, and honestly I couldn’t really recall many times during the day that it doesn’t enter my head.

The thoughts are about memories, comparisons of the OP, understanding why it happened, confusion, etc.  He said that this is a terrible way to live and asked what I would be thinking about instead if the affair had never happened. 

I mentioned a few things and then I broke down and agreed that the emotional affair has robbed me of much of my happiness. He wondered why it still consumes me so much.  After more discussion, he asked if I feel the affair is my fault.  Through my tears I whispered yes.


We talked about that for some time, and even though Doug has told me many times that his emotional affair wasn’t my fault, some of the things he said concerning the affair points at things that I should have done differently in our marriage.

When Doug and I discuss our relationship prior to the affair, we both conclude that it was the way we treated each other that contributed to Doug getting his needs met elsewhere.  However, to me that is the same as it being my fault.

We then discussed what kind of wife I was prior to the affair and he pointed out that there were many ways that I was a good wife and Doug was lucky to have me.  He wondered why it was so difficult for me to see the good things I did compared to what Doug could have done to be a better husband.  I told him I was afraid to see Doug’s part in the deterioration of our marriage, because then I would be angry, and it was difficult to be the perfect wife and love my husband when I am angry.

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We talked about my need to be perfect and I how it was impossible to compete with the fantasy of the affair.  He told me it is better to be angry than to feel that everything is my fault. He also suggested I stopped working so hard on my marriage, as he felt it might take the pressure off and I could focus more on just being me.

So for the next few days I allowed myself to be angry.  I also thought about all the reasons why the affair was not my fault.  I began to see the affair as something totally separate from what I did and didn’t do in our marriage.  It really set me free.

4 Keys to Knowing the Affair is NOT Your Fault

I also began focusing on times when I wasn’t thinking about the affair.  I realized that when I was fully engaged in my job, the affair escaped my mind.  I also learned that when I brought up the affair, it affected the rest of my day.

Often in the morning when I would review new comments on our blog, I would find myself bringing up Doug’s emotional affair.  So I stopped discussing the web site, the comments, and the affair in the morning which allowed me to maintain better focus on my job and other aspects of my life, which allowed me to have a better day.

I also began to control my need to ask Doug questions about topics that are mentioned in the comments on the blog. I’m trying hard to separate issues that our readers bring up from issues within our own marriage. I analyze why I need to know these things and if they would help my marriage.

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For instance, the day that everyone was talking about how their cheating spouses had favorite songs with their affair partners, I had the urge to text Doug and fire questions at him about that subject.  Instead, I was empowered to not allow the fantasy of the affair to take over, so I wrote a post about debunking the fantasies of the affair instead.  I felt more in control.

I found that by not thinking about the emotional affair opened up my mind to be occupied by good thoughts. Good things like how beautiful the snow looked on the trees, how great my children are, how wonderful I feel when Doug and I are together, a new decorating project, etc.

For the first time in two years I felt like I was getting back to my old self again.  I am more focused, more productive and definitely more happy.  I hope that this will continue.  It really affirms that with practice and awareness you can control your thoughts and live in the present.



    31 replies to "Control Your Thoughts So The Emotional Affair Doesn’t Control You"

    • surprised

      Dearest Linda – thank you so much for being so vulnerable day after day to help us who are still struggling. You are both courageous to live it over daily to give us insight into how to handle this & I thank you both so much. Thank you for your honest post & it brought tears to my eyes. I also just bought your EA Journey handbook & your story of how things happened sounds so much like mine.

      I also have the EA dominate my daily thoughts (partly because it hasn’t completely gone away yet.) Thanks for insight today in dealing with that.

    • Kathy

      Thank you for this post, Linda. It more or less answers the questions I had asked today in a comment to another post.

    • citygirl

      I, too, am so consumed by husband’s affair. My D-day is Valentine’s Day (and week) and I’m having triggers due to the recent decorations being presented everywhere. I was able to stay busy and “not be bothered”, but I recently gave-up my job and now have too much time to think–ugh.

      Here’s my story: My husband, 2 kids and I moved to another state for his work and a better life. He moved 10-months ahead of us so the kids could finish school and I could try and sell our house. After we were all moved and living back together, we had a horrible time trying to make our finances work as the house still hadn’t sold. We finally agreed to a short-sale and it finally closed 9-months ago. In the mean time, my husband’s dear friend from medical school was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and this took a huge toll on my H. KL just lost his battle of cancer last week. We also found out a few weeks after we moved that we had been embezzled and our office manager (and accountant) hadn’t paid our Federal taxes for 2008. All-in-all, an extremely difficult time for our household. My H and I were a nice team and we knew we would pull through–no arguing and no fighting as you probably imagined. We “dove-into” time with our kids…trying to help them cope with the difficult time caused by the move….they both play team sports and I was busy spending time away from home (Thursday-Sunday) as our daughter was playing on an intense bb team. Still, my H never told me that he was unhappy.

      One afternoon in February, I decided to treat myself and “run-away” for a secret facial…no one knew where I was. After the treatment, I felt sick (probably from the guilt) and decided I needed to go home. A short-time after arriving home, I received a phone call from my H’s cell phone….I could hear him talking, but he couldn’t hear me. It came quite obvious that I was “butt-dialed” while he was with the OW….they were in his (our) car. I had the “pleasure” of listening to them for approximately 10-minutes–brought me to my knees…I wanted to die. At that moment, I had to pull it all-together and go pick-up the kids from school–hardest thing I had ever done in my life. I called my sister and told her I needed advice (she then called her attorney husband). I called my H–no answer. I texted him and I paged him. While I was driving to to get the kids he called and was acting sweet and “normal”…I told him I knew and that I wanted to know who she was…he told me that he was heading home. I called my GF and she told me to meet me at her house…I headed over there after I dropped the kids off at home. I told my H that I didn’t want to talk right then and that I wanted to figure out my plan of action first–he said he would support me 100% in my decision. Later that night I learned she was married too–13-years younger. She was a clerk in the hospital (not even college or trade educated) and obviously wanted a doctor.

      He had been rearranging his schedule so they could see each other. He was working all night while on-call so he could see her before she went to work at 4am. Per my wishes, H agreed to not work with OW again…if fact, he has left that hospital completely. He seems to have healed and moved-on…I’m stuck again.

      Through all of my Hell, my H never showed any emotional remorse and I think that hurts more than anything. My therapist thinks that that is because he is so embarassed and that’s how he deals with the pain–I don’t understand. Since then, I have become numb–I couldn’t really cry when my mom died in May–still numb as I the pain has taken over. Pain is pain.

      We are still together and our home-life is nice. Since D-day, I had my birthday, our anniversary and Christmas–all pretty crappy. My gf(s) thought he would take the opportunity to do something wonderful and make it up to me–not the case. His excuse(s) were that “he just was busy and ran out of time”. It also pains me that we had a beautiful VD last year right before I got the phone call. I understand he did it out of guilt…and was with her earlier in the day. Before our wonderful evening out, H brought me home 6 chocolate-covered strawberries–were they from her? Did he give her the other 6? He said “no” when I asked, but I don’t really believe him. If fact, a lot of his facts about her and “them” are very clear. He hasn’t planned or executed anything special since last VD.

      He tells me that he doesn’t miss OW and that it was all an escape from reality….he never loved her. He has regrets and wishes he had “escaped with me”. I believe him, but wish he would show more emotional remorse and take the time and effort to “spoil me”…show me that I’m special and not just tell me occasionally. I have told him what I need and he doesn’t get it. I have since educated myself and now understand that I’m the only person who can make me happy and the only man I should be answering to is JC.

      My frustration now is what do I do on D-day? Do I run away and make myself happy, or do I hope and pray he does something special with/for me? H offered to buy me a plane ticket to go see my family or friends, but I think that’s a cop-out. My local GF thinks I need to stay put and make the change…make him spoil me (yeah right). If I’m not satisfied on D-day I know I’ll go crazy….help.

      By the way, I did tell OW’s husband about the affair. OW also told my H that it took her about 5-months to get over him….I so want to take her out.

      I’m obviously angry and haven’t been this way for about 5-months. I’m no longer in therapy–just feel like D-day is temporarily playing a toll on me right now (gulp)….help.

      • Doug

        citygirl, I want you to know that for some reason our spouses actions do not make sense. You would think that after something so hurtful that they would try to do everything they can to make it right and in reality it just doesn’t happen. We seem to do all the work to make our relationship better, we act like we are the who had the affair. Initially I wanted Doug to make up for all the pain he caused, to make our anniversaries special, Valentines Day etc. and he just wouldn’t do it. I believe in the beginning he really didn’t understand everything that had happened. He just wanted to go back to the way everything was before the affair. He didn’t want to deal with the guilt, shame, how bad he hurt me, the reality of the situation. I believe he was numb and didn’t want to feel anything. He was afraid to look at the affair for what it really was, a fantasy and for the most part he was on autopilot for the first year after Dday. When he began researching information for this blog was when he finally began to come out of the fog and really look at his actions. He realized that the way I was acting and feeling was normal. He also began to understand how devastating and destructive affairs are. All this information took away the fantasy of the situation and made everything real and that is a difficult idea to face. I believe the reality that he could have lost everything due to his selfishness pushed him in the right direction. After that I began to see more effort on his part to make our marriage better and to provide the reassurances that I needed to feel secure.

        One misconception we often have following an affair that after the affair is over everything will fall into place. The cheater will be sorry and remorseful and they will prove how much they love us. There is so much happening on both sides that this is often not the case. There is resentment, anger, shame, pain that each party has to deal with these things separately before they can begin to heal a marriage. I have experienced all of your same feelings, it will take time and communication to make things better. Linda

    • Yuki

      Thank you, Linda. It’s good to read about someone who is farther along in the process than me, and that it does get better. I am not there yet – I am today feeling so resentful that it was my husband who screwed up, but I am the one paying the price. I am the one who has to play mind games and trick myself into thinking happy thoughts. He seems to rolling along just fine. At some point, I know I’ll have to play those mind games in order to live a happy, fulfilled life again. And I do manage to live in the present sometimes, even now. But most of the time, I am so bitter Ican barely function. One day I’ll be like you, Linda.

    • Rushan

      Thank you Linda for this very helpful comments. I also don’t want to think about the affair, but my thoughts keep going back there. Hubby thinks all is well, but inside I know I am not well. I am now going to start thinking about other things, nice things and also try to enjoy life more with or without him. You’ve helped me such a lot since I found this blog. I appreciate you and Doug for doing this for us. Thanks again

    • Yuki

      I read your post again, Linda, and came away with new insight. I have been telling myself that all this positive thinking was just a way of tricking my mind into being happy when it wasn’t. But actually, I would only be replacing unhealthy obsessive thoughts with other thoughts – like you said – thoughts that I would normally be having if the affair had not happened. Those thoughts are the real me, the me I want to be, the optimist who somehow got lost in the shuffle. I need to work on that concept.

    • EGBH

      Is this were I begin to explain a very painful EA that I am dealing with? I just found this Blog yesterday.

      • Doug

        Sure. Go right ahead EGBH

    • EGBH

      Well, I don’t know where to start with telling what happened to me and how I feel. What I do know is that I just found this blog yesterday and I have read every post I can. I can’t even begin to try and explain the pain I feel inside my body. I just found out that my wife of 9 years was having an EA with our son’s hockey coach. He is married and his son is also on the team. His wife does not know about the EA yet. I found out on Dec 30th, not a full month yet. I first confronted him at his home then I later confronted my wife that night. Where both admitted to the EA and that it has been going on since mid to late October to Dec 30.

      What I have found out during these last few weeks has caused me great pain and sadness that I cannot even begin to explain. During this time, I have looked at all of the cell phone and text logs, many times, over and over again. Hundreds of text messages and hours and hours on the cell phone with each other. I have been trying to understand all of the back and forth text messages and phone calls that were going on between the two of them. But it has been very difficult, my wife can’t even explain it too me, nor can he, both said it was the attention they got from each other. Both also admitted to kissing each other, (not pecks on the cheek either) which my wife told me. This took place at the hockey arena where our son’s where having practice. Trying to think about another male kissing my wife has almost brought me to my knees, and at times, I have cried my eyes out. I have cried more in the last three weeks than I have in my entire life. I have had non stop pain in my body. The thoughts of the EA have consumed my life, I have tried to think about other things, but I can’t. I have tried so hard to put this guy out of my mind. But, every week I get the great pleasure of seeing him at my son’s hockey games. Then I start thinking about the two of them kissing again and everything else. That image is burned into my head, and will never leave.

      I have had a chance to talk with her and ask as many questions as I like about what happened. At this time, I feel that most of my questions were answered, but I have so many more questions for her regarding this. I feel that she has ripped my heart out of chest. I can’t even begin to explain what I feel like inside my body, the pain, is almost too much to stand at times. Every minute of every day I think about what she has done to our marriage by having this EA. I have told her that I think I could forgive her, but it will take some time. At this point, I have no trust in her whatsoever. We have three great kids together I love them more than anything in this world! Several different times, I have thought to myself that I cannot stay with her. The pain I feel is unbearable at times. But the thought of not seeing my kid’s everyday would truly kill me. So, for that reason I have been telling myself that I can get through this three week nightmare, and try to make the marriage work. I wake up every morning hoping I will have a better day and the pain will ease up a little. Then as the day goes on, it is harder and harder to deal with.

      I beg anyone out there, which if you are reading this, PLEASE, help me understand this! Please say something, say anything that will make the pain go away, help me get my life back before the EA, make this nightmare disappear for me.

    • tryingtoowife

      Your e-mail brought tears to my eyes as it mirror the feelings we BS have so well. I too many nights and days were brought down to my knees thinking about my husband and the OW, and there where days were I did not know if I would be able to cope with it. But at those times, like you I always took strength at trying to do the best I could to protect my children until I was strong enough to do any better for myself. Few months on, now I am stronger and feel that I have learned so much, I am changed and I am a new person. I am person that can cope with the pain that was thrown at me few months ago, I know myself better than before, and the most important thing in this; I value myself so much!

      YOU WILL be able to cope. Take great comfort in the help of people here in this site. Or from counseling, from reading… YOU LIKE US will never forget this episode of your life but you will be ok , fast forward few months things will change, providing that your wife is willing to help you. Things feels pretty shitty now, but YOU will be better somehow. You will have good and bad days, but you will come out of it stronger and wiser. Hopefully in this process you and your wife will also restore your relationship too. Take care.

    • Yuki

      EGBH – we all feel deeply for you. What you are going through is one of the most painful experiences in life – I’ve read that the only thing that comes close is losing a child. But it does get better – slowly, but surely. For me, yesterday made three months since finding out about my husband’s six-year affair. Devastated almost seems like an understatement. But every week is just a tiny bit better. I lost 30 pounds – during the holidays – but am now starting to regain some appetite. We are all here for each other. You will make it.
      I often still feel I am living in a nightmare, but I am slowly regaining some feeling of control over my life. You will, too. Keep reading everything you can. There are some differing opinions out there, but you’ll start to see some patterns that you can follow. Doug and Linda are great at giving you food for thought and letting you know about great resources.
      I will add you to my prayer list.

    • Joanna

      I wish I had some reassuring words, but right now all I can say is that I totally understand your pain. My husband and I have not had a very happy marriage overall. Of course there were some good times, but overall the marriage was not a healthy one. I suggested marriage counseling a number of times, but he was never interested. For the sake of our children, I tried to make it work (and, I’m telling you, although there is controversy over what is best for the children, my daughters now say that they think my husband and I should have split up years ago). My husband always said he loved me, and didn’t want a divorce…that we could work things out. In late summer, my husband started acting differently, and I suspected that he was having an affair, but didn’t confront him or check our cell or home phone records or remove the program he installed on our computer to delete his history whenever he was on it. My sister, who was living with us at the time confronted him, as did my oldest daughter (21), but my husband denied he was having an affair. In mid- to late-September, I told my husband our marriage was over, and for the first time ever, he agreed we should get a divorce. Then I knew there had to be another woman, although I still didn’t confront him. My husband convinced me we should stay together until we could sell our house, but after two months (right after Thanksgiving), I essentially told him he had to pack up and leave. If he was having an affair, I just couldn’t take him still telling me how much he loved me, how he was still as attracted to me as he was when we first met, and the repeated requests for sex (which I generally did not deny). He moved out and in with his brother, and two days later I received a call from the OWs husband telling me that my husband was having an affair with his wife, and that they work together. Supposedly it has been “only” an emotional affair —- no sex, but lots of talking, texting, and emailing. I then checked our phone records and saw all the calls. Because my name is not on our home phone contract, I only had access (online) to the last three months of calls, but as far as I could tell from cell phone records (my name is on that contract), the affair began in early September, two days after my husband and I had returned from vacation. It wasn’t a “happy” vacation. I was depressed for a number of reasons: (1) our youngest had just gone off to college; (2) two friends of mine had both unexpectedly lost their husbands; (3) my husband’s twin sister had just announced she was leaving her husband; and (4) I was really uncertain about the future of my marriage and whether I had the strength to either stay in it or go. While I was in my depressive state, I guess my husband was doing a lot of thinking about this woman at work who he had started talking to. When the OWs husband called me, he said he was trying to get his wife and my husband together to talk with them both. He said he wanted to save his marriage. He said he would call me back to let me know what happened with the “meeting.” The next day he called to tell me that the three of them had met and that his wife and my husband agreed to end the affair. I found out around Christmas, when my younger daughter checked her father’s cell phone (he got a new plan so I no longer had access to his records), that they still are in touch. And I know from comments that my husband has made to both me and our daughters, that he is still hopeful that the OW will leave her husband for him, although the OW and her husband are currently in marriage counseling. In any event, my daughters and I feel that our world has been totally shattered. Although our marriage was not a healthy one, I still had hope after all these years (28 years together), that we could find our way back to where we were when we first fell in love. I didn’t want to give up on something that I had invested more than half my life in. I regret so many things, and unlike most (perhaps all) of the people who post here, I feel at a tremendous disadvantage in working things out with my husband since he no longer lives in our home. Each day is a struggle. I have lost 18 – 20 pounds, and am now down to 123 pounds. Not only do I try to cope with my own despair by going to therapy and trying to reconnect with old friends, but I also must cope with the hurt and despair of my daughters. Since my husband is no longer here, I have more to do than ever — working a full-time job, maintaining the house, paying the bills, trying on my own to get our house ready to sell, taking care of the family pets, etc., and I feel so alone since both of my girls attend college in another state. My therapist told me I should not make contact with my husband, and for the most part, I only contact him by email to discuss issues related to our daughters, the house, the pets, and our finances. My husband has limited his contact with me as well, and seems to pick and choose which emails he will respond to. He calls me from time to time to see how I am doing. I tell him I am fine. I don’t break down and beg him to come back. I don’t even know what I want — still haven’t figured that out. It all seems like a bad dream, and I wish I could wake up and things would be as they were before his affair (as unhealthy as our relationship was). On the rare occasions that he calls, he tries to talk to me as if we are friends, but I tell him we can’t be friends and I’m not interested in his friendly chit chat. He did respond to one email the other day saying that I was never happy with him and that I should see everything that has happened as a blessing. But frankly I think the whole separation/divorce would have been so much easier had he not had an affair that I know he is still pursuing. He also told me that he would always love me, that seeing me is a struggle for him, that he is so sorry for everything, but that he guessed we were never a good couple from the start, and that it shouldn’t have been so hard to make our marriage work. All I think of almost every day is him and the OW. I want to confront her. I want to confront the OWs husband and tell him that I know his wife and my husband are still talking/meeting, etc., and that he is a fool if he trusts that his wife and my husband are sticking to their word to end their affair. My husband told me, however, that because we are separated, what he does with his life now is not my concern. It has been 51 days since my husband moved out, and instead of seeing this as a “blessing” (in my husband’s words), I seem to be able to function less and less each day, and I too wonder when and if the pain will go away. In Maryland, where we live, we have to be separated for a year before we can file for a divorce, and with the economy the way it is, who knows when the house will sell. And although our house is a very nice house, it needs work, which my husband keeps promising he’ll do, but I feel like he is just biding his time waiting to figure out whether the OW will leave her husband (and their three high school/middle school sons) before he decides what he is going to do. I feel like I can’t truly get on with my life until we are able to divorce (and again, I’m not convinced that’s really what I want) and we can sell our house. Right now, my husband still has all the control, and I am just a pawn in this game that he is playing. I’m sorry for such a downer reply, but know that you are not alone, and as some people who post here and our further along in the recovery process will say, things will/can get better. I’m still waiting for that time to come, but I am hopeful, however desperate I feel today.

    • EGBH

      I want to thank everyone for their comments, it is helping me. I was so sad at work today, I had to leave, I could not get a thing done. This whole EA thing is very hard for me to understand. I am reading books, anything and everything to help me. Wife and I just started seeing a marriage counselor, it will be my second visit this Wednesday. I hope this person will help us save our marriage. When I try to talk with this person, there is a feeling in me that they, she in this case, does not truly understand what I am feeling like inside. I only can think people who have gone through this have a true understanding.

      Like I said before, this pain is unbearable in my mind. I have let the EA consume my life at this point. I have looked over all those cell phone and text logs so many times I cannot forget a thing about them. There is a strong part of me that would like to know what they talked about so much, what could have been so important to cause that strong of an attraction between the two of them. Then there is another side of me, that if I knew what they texted and talked about all the time, I would NEVER get over this. I am very certain that if I would have not found out about the EA, it clearly would lead to a full blown out affair. Then, I would have been done! For sure. When I talked with my wife about the EA, I asked her to be very honest, no matter what! I needed that from her to move on.

      However, I didn’t prepare myself for what I was about to find out. She first told me about them kissing it was like, nothing I have ever heard in my life. It took my breath away at first, I was devastated. I can’t even begin to explain the pain, but I am sure some of my readers have felt the same thing. I then asked her if she loved him at the time, she told me, yes. They each texted and told each other that many times, I’m sure. I then asked her if they ever talked about having sex with each other. She told me yes, they discussed it and that probably happened 8 to 10 times. She made it very clear to me that they never planned for this to happen, it just happened. I asked her if she wanted to have sex with him at the time when this was all going on. She said she did at the time, but didn’t. I had asked her when was the last conversation with him about that topic of them sleeping together. She said it was about two weeks before X-Mas. I just could not believe what I was hearing.

      She and I were out shopping for our kids, for Christmas, trying to make it a special time for them, and she was talking with her boyfriend about having sex, and what it would be like for them. In her defense, she thinks she may have never been able to do it, if it came right down to the time when it was going to happen. I have begged myself to get through this pain and deep sadness that I feel all the time. I am always asking myself how long is it going to take, just to feel a little bit better. I would do anything to make this go away, but it will never go away. It is there waiting for me every morning, when I wake. At some point my kids are going to suffer because of my non-stop sadness. My beautiful little girl who is only 6 has asked me to play with her. My son’s who are 8 and 11, are always asking me to play PS3 with them, I try. They want me to take them outside to play, to go hunting, sledding, etc. I have no energy, and find myself getting angry with them. Then that causes more sadness, because this thing, this EA that their Mother did to me, is NOT their fault.

      About two weeks ago, my little girl said to her mom at the dinner table, laughing as she was, “Oh, mom is going to meet her boyfriend at the tanning place tonight”. This always was a little side joke with my wife and I, we laughed about it prior to the EA, the kids were always laughing at her. But, I was not prepared for what I was about to hear out of my 8 ***EIGHT*** year old son’s mouth. He said, “Katie, mom is married she is not suppose to have a boyfriend”. This almost made me cry right at the dinner table. My son, who has never been in a relationship in his life, has no clue, knew that mom was married to me, and that she was not suppose to have a boyfriend. I was so sad, he looked right at her when he said it also. I could not even speak a word, I truly felt helpless at this point.

      Lastly, I am very aware of what I did and did not do for my wife that may have helped push her in the direction of the EA. I think about that everyday since I found out and we talked about it. I am so very, very sad that the attention, the affection that I failed to show my beautiful wife, have partly caused this to happen to me. I will never forgive myself for not thinking of her needs sooner. I just never thought that she would do this, this only happens to other people, not me, I thought. How wrong I was, and now paying for it. I loved her more than anything, but didn’t show her, didn’t tell her enough, didn’t kiss her enough, or just didn’t give her a hug when she needed it. I didn’t ask about her day, when I needed too. I just worked all the time, and didn’t see what was important to her. She needed me to be there for her, and I was not, therefore someone else stepped up. This truly makes me cry right now as I type this, and I cannot stop feeling I did this to myself. When will I ever be able to get past this.

      • citygirl


        I don’t have much time but I did want to say a few important things in reponse. Firstly, you are experiencing so much pain because it is like someone died unexpectedly–the death is your marriage. For several weeks and months, you will have some good and some really bad days, but you will notice more and more good days as the shock wears off. You do need to find a great therapist for you….go through your medical insurance because most policies will cover 5-10 sessions for free. Secondly, if you have any thought that your wife and the OM had sex then you need to go get tested. The important thing here is to NOT blame yourself…your wife is the weak coward in this situation. It was much easier for your W to “go and seek” her needs instead of coming to you and discussing what was lacking. So now, you need to do what-ever you can do boost yourself esteem and take care of yourself. I talked on the phone to my gf (therapist) in another state….I also talked to my friends that went through the same hardship. I went and got massages, facials, mani-peds, worked-out at the gym, read books, went out with friends–did something everyday to help ease the pain. I bought new clothes, got a new haircut, new shoes and put it on his credit card. I also watched the OW from a distance (saw that she was getting uglier and fatter as time went by) and drove by her house to see what a pig she is. Thirdly, the absolute best thing for me was to call and tell her husband about the affair. It was nearly 5-months since I found out and I just couldn’t take the pain, so I called the OW’s husband and told him. It pained me greatly to hurt another person, but it’s my opinion that I did them a favor. After about 9-months of therapy, I decided that I was just beating a dead horse and not getting any better so I ended my regular therapy sessions. Now, I call my therapist gf when I need to talk…it has been almost 6-months since I last spoke with her. I still have great days and awful days, but I’m getting familiar with “my new normal”.

        My difficulty now is that my D-day anniversary is coming up on Valentine’s Day and I’m clueless on how to handle it–do I stay or do I run?

        Let us know if you have any other questions. I too, just found this blog site and it seems to be helping me alot. Don’t think you need to reinvent the wheel….you will constantly be reminded by society–tv, radio, movies, magazines, etc. –they all talk about affairs and that will fuel your pain too. Hope this makes sense as I’m rushing to get to a meeting.

        Gotta go….good luck and you’re in my prayers.

      • Doug

        EGBH, Ok there are so many things that I could tell you right now but I hope if you have read many of the posts you are aware that I know exactly how you are feeling right now. I have experienced everything that you are and I understand how difficult it is to wake up every morning and realize that it is all still there, it isn’t a bad dream. It was difficult for me to read your words because I was feeling the same panic, pain, sadness that you are experiencing, however I want you to know that this feeling will not be with you forever. Hopefully you will be a lot smarter than I was and educate yourself on affairs and use this site to help guide you in this process.

        There is one big mistake that I made and I see by your comment you are doing the same thing, do not blame yourself. this was your wife’s choice to have the affair. I know that you made mistakes, I imagine you wife wasn’t perfect either, do not feel guilty or take the blame for the affair. Do not play over and over in your mind what you should have done to prevent this it wasn’t your fault. I am not saying that you should not take responsibility for some of the things you could have done to be a better husband, and your wife should do the same, but to be honest any of us could have been involved in affair because no one is perfect as no marriage is perfect. The affair was her choice and it just didn’t happen she made a conscious effort to engage in it everyday. By beating yourself up about what you should have done will take away your self esteem and you will begin comparing yourself to the OP and believing her fantasy. Please continue to read everything you can and I hope that we can all see you through this. Linda

      • mlb

        EGBH, I have nothing to add to your posts. I am going through the same thing. I am a man…. I know exactly how you feel. I also go through every day at work struggling to concentrate and keep my emotions in check. I also have cried more and harder than I ever have in my life.

        “Lastly, I am very aware of what I did and did not do for my wife that may have helped push her in the direction of the EA. I think about that everyday since I found out and we talked about it. I am so very, very sad that the attention, the affection that I failed to show my beautiful wife, have partly caused this to happen to me. I will never forgive myself for not thinking of her needs sooner. I just never thought that she would do this, this only happens to other people, not me, I thought. How wrong I was, and now paying for it. I loved her more than anything, but didn’t show her, didn’t tell her enough, didn’t kiss her enough, or just didn’t give her a hug when she needed it. I didn’t ask about her day, when I needed too. I just worked all the time, and didn’t see what was important to her. She needed me to be there for her, and I was not, therefore someone else stepped up. This truly makes me cry right now as I type this, and I cannot stop feeling I did this to myself. When will I ever be able to get past this.”

        Exactly my same thoughts, EGBH. I don’t know if it makes you feel any better, but I am right beside you with the same pain and emotion.

        ( I feel like we should be on Oprah ) 😛

        • Doug

          MLB, you know there were times when I wanted to talk to Doug and he wouldn’t look up from his computer, or if he did he would give me a look like I was bothering him. There were times when he wouldn’t leave his home office to greet me or help me carry in the groceries, and there were times when he only showed affection to get sex – and I didn’t have an affair.

          And on the flip side there were times when I didn’t answer his phone calls, ask him about his day, spent time with our daughters rather than with him. My point is we all have regrets, we did things we shouldn’t have done. We all had reasons to have an affair, however to move past this both the cheater and the betrayed spouse need to look at how to make your marriage better.

          Stop taking the blame for the affair because it is keeping you from moving on. The affair was your wife’s decision, stop justifying it for her. I am sure your wife was not perfect either. I am sure that you could have come up with many valid reasons to have an affair. I can tell you from experience, the more you beat yourself up about this the longer it will take for your wife to truly understand the implications of her actions, to feel remorseful and be ready to work together to save your marriage. Linda

    • Yuki

      EGBH – I was exactly where you are, and am still deeply depressed and just plain sad most of the time. If you feel your therapist does not understand, find another one before she does damage to your efforts to move forward. The first one I went to did just that, and we are still suffering the effects of her bad advice. My new therapist is wonderful.

    • Julie

      I love the comment about thinking the thoughts I would be happening if I wasn’t consumed thinking about the affair and the marriage. I am exhausted from the emotional time/energy it is taking me to worry about this. I actually want to forget about it and focus on “happy thoughts”. It’s so hard.

    • QuillsOut

      I wish I could control my thoughts about my husband’s multiple infidelities… The tiniest thing will trigger a thought about one of them, and from there it snowballs out of control.

      I have begun to do some things I enjoy, such as dive into illustration, I’m a passable writer, and am contemplating a self-published children’s book. I have also been divesting myself of responsibilities that my husband should be sharing with me that I had previously taken on all alone, and this is helping some, as when he pitches in and helps out I feel more loving toward him and have more positive thoughts to think about him and his behavior, taking focus away from the negative ones.

      It has been a terrible two years, but I am determined to survive at first, and then to thrive. I have decades more of my life to live, I cannot let this short time destroy all potential happiness in my future!

    • mil

      Do you know, I think all this talk of ‘fantasy’ is actually making me worse.
      When I first discovered my H’s EA (2.5 years ago) and he told me it was all just some sort of fantasy, I took some consolation in the fact that it wasn’t reality to him and therefore didn’t really mean that much. It made it sound like some passing adolescent fad.
      The more I read on here I realise that virtually everyone who has had an affair of some sort thought of it as a fantasy and that they were completely consumed in the fog it caused and in love with the person who enabled this fantasy.
      This has made me re-assess what my H’s EA meant to him and I am now viewing it as the great romance of his life enveloped in the fantasy of their ‘perfect’ relationship.
      What I’m trying to say is that I am seeing 2 meanings to the word fantasy, firstly as in a fantasy that could never be real life and so was never going to become serious or lead anywhere and they both knew that (the very words my H used) and secondly as in a fantasy that meant it was perfection and everything anyone could ever want and an all consuming passion for each other which they thought would last for ever.
      Do others of you agree that there could be these 2 different types of fantasy or do I have to come to terms with the fact that my H’s fantasy was no different to everyone else’s and meant beyond doubt that he was hopelesly in love with her?
      When I first found out, he was sooooo bereft and keen to show me how much he worshipped me that I CANNOT imagine he could have ever been truly in love with anyone else. He has continued to show me this without fail and has been near to tears many a time.
      When I bring it up he gets VERY angry and was even raising his voice in anger last Saturday in a restaurant and said he didn’t care who heard. Am I right in thinking this anger is a result of his guilt, remorse and embarrassment over what he did or simply anger at being caught and having me bring it up and questioning him on a regular basis?
      I am getting MORE confused as time passes with constant attempts to guess the truth and filling in gaps with things that my H says are so far and exaggerated from the truth and that’s one of the things that makes him so angry.
      Can anyone give me the benefit of their thoughts, experience or wisdom?
      Comment awaiting moderation.

    • Yuki

      Hey Mil,
      I understand what you are saying. I think fantasies can take many forms and can mean many different things to people. So, yes, I think it sometimes can be a passing fantasy that is never meant to become real or feel real, and sometimes it can be a wish or desire so strong that the feelings become real, and can last for a long time.
      I also think my husband’s EA was the romance of his life. The OW was also his first love back in high school, so that whole “first love phenomenon” was also at play. They were like two teenagers in love. They knew it, but loved being in the fantasy of it all, and did fall deeply in love with each other – again. It may have been a fantasy, but the feelings they felt seemed very real to them.
      That has been and remains one my biggest struggles. Fantasy or not, he felt at the time that he had found his soulmate, the love of his life. Even if he came out of that fog later, it has seemed to me that I was never that important to him. He loves me and is attached to me, but I am not that special someone he thinks he was meant for. That’s how it has felt for these past three months anyway. I am slowly rethinking some of that… I will elaborate more as I think it through.

    • Denise

      I just wanted to thank you for this post. I feel I am almost to the point of being able to tell my husband that I forgive him for the hurt he caused me by the affair, however, I too still have these lingering thoughts that haunt me everyday. Thank you for the suggestions and the continued support throughout this horrible time.

    • mlb

      EGBH…I just need to add, you must be a better man than I am. If I had to see that bastard on the ice every week, I’d take a stick and go to town on him.

    • JF

      I read a book that helped me tremendously in the first few weeks- it’s called First Aid for the Betrayed. It says in the beginning it’s not about fixing a marriage, it’s about helping to pull you out of the emotional hell you’re in right now. I just wanted to say thank you also to everyone who posts and comments here- I feel so alone so much of the time, and I come here and I feel like everyone echoes the same things I go through every day.

    • EGBH

      This post really helped me this morning. I had a very long talk with my W last night. It was a good talk and she was able to talk to me some more about her feelings, etc. I also asked a few questions regarding the OP and she talked about it a little bit. But when it came time for bed, I had a hard time trying to fall to sleep. And really didn’t sleep well all night for that matter. I also didn’t feel close to her last night, bad night overall. I told myself this morning that if she and I have any more talks, I don’t want to talk before going to bed. I got into work this morning and had to re-read this post again, as I have done so many mornings during this past month. There is nothing I wouldn’t do right now to have all this put behind me and in the past, and where I don’t think about it.

    • nony

      Although this post is great, does this mean that as long as I choose to stay and work on my marriage, my thoughts will constantly be consumed with “her”? I have missed a deadline for a work project due two days ago, I am not even remotely finished either. I can’t concentrate to save my life right now. How can I live normally? Part of me wants to leave just so that I can focus on something else, myself, my daughter, my future and leave my husband alone with his fantasy (which might come true after the OW has her baby and finds out he’s single – she would probably leave her husband…should I just let them be together?

      See, yes, this affair controls me completely?

    • roller coaster rider

      Well, it’s day three of reading these posts and it’s true one can get lost in all the thoughts. I so agree that sometimes it’s just a lot easier when the cheater spouse is not there, and I can’t believe my co-dependence at times…meaning that I want to take responsibility for what my H chose to do with her, instead of who I want to be this day. I find myself feeling bad for him and wanting to help him with his pain and depression (which is not bad to care about another’s pain, but in this case it is very misguided as this pain has nothing whatsoever to do with my choices). There is no magic bullet, but I do think it helps to know that in suffering we can help each other just by caring. Those who cheat will have to deal with their own remorse and regret, and hopefully find that they are forgiven and can even forgive themselves.

    • Brandon

      I know this blog is months old. I’m just looking for ways of my own to deal. My wife has cheated on me 3 times in the past 9 years. We got together when I had just turned 21, she had just turned 17. She cheated with my brother’s girlfriends son who has 17 at the time. He confessed and we managed to get through it. Next was in feb 2010 about 7 1/2 years into our relationship and one month after we got married. This was with a possible cousin on her might be step dad’s side. I was destroyed but didn’t want to lose her. She did this while visiting her family in Canada. After she got back, I couldn’t stop myself from throwing it in her face everytime we had an arguement. But it caused me to change a lot of the way I acted with her for the better but not completely. Then in end of June she left to see her family again. A few weeks of her being gone, she carried on an affair with another black man. This time however she had unprotected sex with him. She neglected our daughter and constanly left her with my mother-in-law. She would talk on the phone first it was fighting then we made up and it was sweet and she told me thousands of sweet things all while this other man was in the room. She told me to trust her because I still wasn’t fully trusting from the last affair but I agreed and that was a lie too. She finally confessed the whole thing over the phone to me. Even before I knew for fact I knew and I was consumed by my emotions. I cried continuously. I had no one here, no one to turn to so I had an abundance of time to my thoughts. She wanted to break it off with the other man but said she still liked him and wanted to save our marriage. she was giving me 50 thousand excuses not to come home before then and then finally did after the conffession.

      When she came back, We did work on things and we are really caring for eachtoher, she has not tried to contact the Om at all. She has been working on us and reassuring me she won’t ever let it happen before, and she even respects the fact I don’t trust her right now. She might possible be pregnant by this OM and it kills me. Torromow I can finally find out with a test. I’m worried and it keeps me up at night. The affair is always on my mind. She told me in detail the affair and it hurts like hell. I’ve done everything right as a man should do with his wife. I’m a devoted father, I’m loving affectionate, defend her honor, Show her I care. But I still feel like I’m not enough now. My hurt and pain sometimes preject themselves and I’m stuck crying my eyes out. I’m scared it will happen again and no I wasn’t always sweet and kind but i never ever cheated. I put my defenses down and I just want to put it all behind me, well that and break the OM face. Will I ever truely get over this will it haunt my dreams, almost everyday since she’s been home I’ve had a breakdown over it. She’s been back 2 weeks.

      Yesterday we visited some friends a few hours away and spent the night, she got really drunk and horny and we had sex. Only this time I was unable to give her an orgasm. I have since she’s been back but this time however I wasn’t able to and in 8 years that has never happened.The next thing I know I feel emotional like I’m not good enough in the sack now. I tell her she tells me at first I was never able to give her an orgasm every time. Then she tells me she faked them. Since sheactually exspells fluid when she does i know better and ask her when. She tells me 8 years ago. I said ok when else. She then says everytime. I tell her now I’m really hurt and I ‘m going to drive back home, She then says I’m the best lover she’s ever been with. That I always make her orgasm, that she never said that. she says she’s just drunk as hell and that must be why. She really was messed up I had to carry her back in the house after she fell asleep during this convo on the pavement. But it’s just the affair haunting me. ALWAYS! I want our love to work and will do whatever it takes to make it work if she continues to. I’m also willing to take the chance of being hurt again. It will be the last time if it does happen but I don’t want to think that way. but i do. I think it will happen again and that drives me crazy as well. I want to believe her so bad, but 3 times already and onejust over a year later. I hate it. I don’t want my daughter to find out and I want her to see us as a happy family and not just pretending. How can I let all of this go. I’m terrified she’s pregnant even though we’d have enough time to get it aborted. Wil lI ever just be normal again?

    • Lolo

      I don’t know where to turn…just found out my husband of 16 yrs and 4 kids is doing just this…he doesn’t believe it, says it’s just friendship…is it a coincidence that the past 2 yrs we’ve grown apart and his personality has shifted, fights with me more, yells at the kids which he never did before, is when his friendship with her started…they email lots with cute little things, they talk everyday on his hour commute to work, says it only work…right, talk about work for an hour every morning then get to work and talk more, has gone to lunch alot with her alone…I cannot deal with this pain, he says it wasn’t flirting but if I thought it was he will stop it all..DO I BELIEVE HIM? please someone with more experience tell me do I believe him?

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