cheating spouseI look back on how I misinterpreted so much of the information from the affair and how this information really affected me. Much of the time I was way off-base.

We have been hitting on a lot of great information during our Affair Recovery Group sessions.  Our last session on fantasies was especially valuable for me. 

I have gained much insight into Doug’s emotional affair and am getting closer to fully understanding it.  The more I understand it, the more I feel removed from the affair. I am seeing it in a whole new light.

In the past I put all the blame on me, my personality, my habits and my ability to be a good wife.  I now understand that even though I wasn’t perfect, the affair had a lot more to do with our relationship and what was going on with Doug than it was about me personally.

During the session, Jeffrey Murrah talked about listening to the story of the affair.  That is, really clueing into what your spouse is telling you when they are discussing their relationship with the OP. Clueing into what they are receiving from the affair, because this story will give you an indication of what they really may have been needing at the time.

He also cautioned the betrayed spouse not to get all fired up about everything the cheating spouse says because much of their story is magnified.  The cheating spouse may believe that they strongly needed certain things, but in reality there may have been other things that were missing.

For example, a person may have an intense physical affair believing that sex was what was missing in their marriage.  However, it may actually mean that they were missing admiration, or the feeling of being desired from their spouse.  They may not need sex as much as they thought.  Jeff recommends that you listen to their story, but try to use what you already know about your spouse to decipher this information.

When Jeff suggested asking about the story of the affair, I thought about how difficult it was for me to hear Doug talk about his relationship with Tanya.  I took everything he said personally, and I really didn’t concentrate or understand what he was telling me.

For instance, when he said Tanya was always positive, I thought to myself that I must be a negative person.  I must be a terrible person to be around.  It made me feel worthless.  I now believe what Doug meant was that Tanya didn’t complain to him about things he was or wasn’t doing.

From listening to some of the things Doug said about Tanya, I know she wasn’t always positive, especially when it came to her husband. What I believe happened, was that Doug heard me complaining about finances, or his lack of help around the house, but there was no way he was hearing that from her.  She was always positive when it came to him, which of course is easy to do when you aren’t living together.

Doug also would talk about how much fun they would have, and consequently I started to believe I wasn’t a fun person, that I was boring or we didn’t have that much in common any more. Then I tried to prove to Doug how much fun I really was by constantly telling him “I am fun.”   Well that wasn’t very productive.

Instead, I think Doug meant that he missed our time together. It appeared to him that I was always cleaning, running or taking care of things, and that he wasn’t a priority to me and that I had no desire to hang out with him as we once did.

Doug also said he was bored and lonely.  Well of course I looked at this as though I couldn’t excite him, be interesting enough, and that I wasn’t there for him. 

He just recently told me that I really had nothing to do with his boredom, as it had more to do with what was happening with his job and other things in his life at the time.  His loneliness had a lot to do with how busy we were and how we didn’t have time to spend together.  Also, this happened at a time when our son became more independent and wasn’t around as much for Doug to be with.

I look back on how I misinterpreted so much of the information from the affair and how this information really affected my self esteem. I truly took everything personally, and believed it was all my fault. 

I am now re-analyzing the stories Doug has told me when I first found out about the affair and am trying to figure out what was missing and what he really needed. I need to figure this out to get more insight on how to make our relationship the best it can be.  I suggest you do the same.

For more information about the Affair Recovery Group, click here.

 

    15 replies to "Deciphering the Cheating Spouse’s Stories"

    • michael

      My cheating spouse has shared very little about her affair. I have very little to go on. Very little to understand. And very little proof that’s its over. Its been a year of this and I don’t know what to do. I’ve tried what I can think of.
      Mondays suck.

      • HURT

        I had to pull out every bit of truth with my spouse, he continued to lie about his OW for three weeks , until I had to break him down. He was covering his coworker romance with another online affair.

    • debbie

      Sorry you are having a hard time michael. Limbo sucks. You don’t know what to do? Move forward with your life. save yourself. There is nothing you can do to end her A other than to change things up with you. Your strength will be appealing as will your joy in life. After a year, some tarnish will be forming on the A and she may just want to catch up with you.

      Cluing in to what my H has said about the A was important for me. At first, I got a lot of garbage. “Bad wife, bad mother, bad at everything” Lots of blame which still echoes in my head at times. But, as time (and the A) went on, I heard “I like who I am when I am with her.” It is Not me, it’s him! He is the one falling for a delusional, ubsequious, sychophant. Now he gets to hear how wonderful he is for abandoning his wife of 20 years and his children. I know this can’t go on for long…the dishonesty the A is built on will cause it to implode….and much more quickly than my lack of demonstrating appreciation for my H imploded my M. Watching and waiting.

    • Andrew

      I went through the same thing for months, my wife wouldn’t tell me anything, and when she did, it was very vague and guarded. In recent weeks she has told me more about the EA, but it is all in just bits and pieces. Of course, I took the things she would say personally, because it is hard not to. Our human nature makes us start comparing ourselves to the OP, because that is exactly what the cheating spouse is doing, in order to justify the affair, and make them feel less guilty. Once we get through the initial stages of self doubt, and feeling worthless, thrown away, etc, we do need to realize that it IS them, not us that has the problem. My wife told me the other day that the OP deserves to be happy too, which is what he told her. She also told me that he told her that we were only married on paper, because we don’t really have a relationship, and that if it hadn’t been him, then it would have been someone else. Now, I told her, that he was just justifying the EA, and telling her things to get her on his side. She said that those were his observations as an outsider. HA! I told her that he is NOT a neutral observer, he is an active participant in the affair, and that he benefits from our marriage failing/ ending. She is still so delusional about the EA, that she cannot see what is really going on. It is a difficult situation all around, and I honestly cannot see any end in sight. Today is one of the bad days.

      • Doug

        Andrew, very insightful comment. You certainly realize what is going on, and eventually let’s hope your wife does as well. If the affair continues, over time she will start to see that he isn’t so perfect, and vice versa.

        • Andrew

          Thank you, Doug. I hope she will see it too. All I can do is to just hang on, and hope for the best, and continue to set the example. Your website and EA Handbook have helped me tremendously. Thanks again.

    • Donna

      Oh my goodness, I am having a really bad night. I want to run and hide from the world right now. My husband’s 3 week holiday away is just about over. We have had some real positive talks while he has been away. He has called us 98% of the time to talk, I think maybe 1 day has passed where we did not speak. I have felt that we were heading in the right direction. He is excited t be coming home and we are all excited to see him.

      THEN…. my world tongiht has been turned upside down. Not by him but by news that the ow’s husband has a girlfriend and that he and the ow have settled on a divorce come March. I am feeling sick as it now mean’s that ow is woman will be open for the taking. I have no idea if my husband is een aware of this and if he is even in contact with ow any more. I will not ask husband as I will not bring up the affair or ow anymore, I will wait for him to talk now rather than me harping on about it.

      I am actually scared about my husband coming home on Thursday. I am so excited to see him yet I am so scared that things will go back to how they were.. the sneaking and the lying and the contact if they are not in contact with each other. What does one do??

      As for the affair, I have looked at it nad heard what my usband has told me. I get he was upset at my lack of housework, I get he felt I put the kids before him, I get he felt I was unmotivated about my weight, I get he felt I didn’t respect him. Some of what he has to say is validated, some not so. I saw it differently, yet he saw it another way. Anyway, soethings I have changed, not for him but for me. It has made me feel better. Hopefully he will notice.

      I am in turmoil tonight nad all stirred up in the tummy over the news I heard abouyt the ow’s divorce. I feel so sick!

      • Doug

        Donna, I bet hearing about the OW’s impending divorce is very unsettling. Hopefully by now your husband realizes where he needs to be and has used these three weeks to clear his head and fix himself as he intended. Please let us know how it goes upon his return.

      • Yuki

        That’s a tough situation, Donna. For me personally, I would want my husband to hear it from me and not her. But you know your situation best. Take care.

    • Jane

      I am going to share this one with my husband. Thanks so much for putting it out there.

    • cindy

      This coming Tuesday is our 1st visit to the marriage counslers,I’m really nervous. Been recieving these emails from Doug and Linda for about a month and learning alot and it’s been a long road for me and my husband. I’ve only been married for 2 and half yrs. Shortly after we were married I felt something was a miss, and for over a yr and a half I’ve been questioning and finally serveral ppl clued me in and I’ve confronted him with the information I had and honestly I felt it all along. I’m deep into depression with panic attack’s it all came crashing down Nov 15 2010. I get little to no info from him but he has had 3 or more EA in the past 2yrs,I believe they have been full blown affairs but he has been reluctant to admit to them. I’m a private person so this is all very hard for me but I believe that this will help,posting a comment I mean. We both have been married before and he was married twice before me , he has had a problem being faithful in those marriages and before I married him I knew that and I believed with his maturity and the lose he suffered he deserved to be given another chance,besides it was’nt me that he did that to and as he reassured me he would never go there again, he learned is what he told me. I dated him for over a yr and we moved in together for 3 yrs before we got married. I fiqured that this might of happen right off but it did’nt, well as far as I knew,so he seemed to be the man that had no issues in being unfaithful and we got married. Since then it’s went from the love of my life to I don’t know this person. We have a long road to go yet and I only hope that we can make this work. So far he has been a text book case from what I’ve read I’m afraid of where we are going.

    • Jane

      My husband had an affair. It lasted 22 months. I found out. Confronted him. We decided to work on our marriage. For the last 10 months I have asked for all info about the affair. He gives info. Then I get the feeling he is lying. Guess what he is. I have caught him in these lies, give him opportunities to tell me the truth and he doesn’t. He bought her a necklace and pendant from Jane Seymore collection; the open heart. It cost him $212. I didn’t get crap from him. But yet he says I didn’t have sex with her; she is just a friend. I can’t buy it. He says if I continue to harp on this thing he doesn’t know how much more he can take. We are in counseling. He lied there to her too. His phone calls to the op for 11 months; I am missing the other 11 months of phone records; are 1834 minutes. She lives out of state. He has seen her 7 during the affair. He insists that they only did public things. I am having a hard time buying all this. I need some feed back from other people who have gone through this too.

      • Andrew

        Jane, I can totally relate with you on this. My wife has been having an affair for going on 11 months, and I have known about it all along. She keeps denying it, and claims they are just friends, and that she does talk to him alot, but that’s just because she didn’t see him very often. The problem is, I know she was/is seeing him as much as she can, and just kept lying to me the whole time. She still lies directly to my face as a matter of fact, and thinks that I don’t know what’s really going on. She still is secretive and won’t be open with me. She also believes that she isn’t doing anything worng, because we are “separated”. We are only separated in her mind, because the state we live in does not recognize separation, and we still live together, and I support her 100% financially. She uses that as justification for the affair to continue.

        My wife has bought gifts and cards for her EA partner as well, and did not give me a birthday gift, anniversary gift, or Christmas gift. I know, because I have seen reciepts, and on the bank accout where the money is going. She didn’t even give me a card for any of those events, but I know she has given him those things. She claims that she doesn’t want to give me any false hope, so she won’t do anything to show me any appreciation. Pretty messed up, I know. I know exactly what you are feeling right now. I felt the same way, when I didn’t get anything from my wife.

        I have a hard time believing that my wife and the OP haven’t gotten physical as well, because we stopped being intimate 11 months ago. I also found condoms in her school backpack, and in her purse. Yes, I did snoop, being suspicious of what was really going on. She also went and got back on birth control, even though I had a vasectomy in 2007, after the birth of our second child. I have also found motel soap in her purse, and in her car, though she claims she nor him have ever paid for a hotel room, or been in one together. My intuition tells me otherwise.

        As you can see, cheaters will go to just about any length to continue the affair, regardless of what the consequences are. They honestly cannot see what damage their actions are causing, even after we confront them. They are blind to everything except the affair. It is very upsetting to know all these things, but as we know, and they, the cheaters, will not acknowledge, is that the truth always comes out eventually. So, you are not alone. She cannot see right from wrong, because of the state of mind she is in. An affair will do that to someone, for the fairy tale is always more appealing than reality. The way I have been able to deal with this, is to just remind myself that they are not really themselves, and that they are in a delusional state of mind, that will eventually come to light. I also stopped obsessing over everything, as it only caused me to worry, and lose sleep over it. Once I decided that I wasn’t going to try to compete with the affair, it was very liberating. I am still hurting, don’t get me wrong, but I know that I will be ok, no matter what. If my wife won’t get out of the fog she is in, then so be it. I am going to stop letting the circumstances control me, and allow it to ruin my life. It is easier said than done, as it takes conscious effort to keep building myself up, and to stop agonizing over it. It is not impossible though. You can and will make it. Remind yourself that you are a great person with alot to offer, and are a lot stronger than you think you can be. I know, I have been there.

    • HURT

      I need advice!

    • Linda

      We are three months past D day. I am still mad and hurt becasue he stills works with the OW. He says he doesnt talk to her although they share the same office. They started their romance back in March near my birthday. He was having another onilne affair with another too at same time she was clear across the country to cover up the office romance . I caught him on a weekend after I had visited my grandbaby overnight. He was always going to the store or working late. My suspicions grew more and more, one day he went to the store and came back 45 minutes later, we live in a small town so traffic is not a prob. I watched him through the window while he drove up, he was talking on the phone and then he deleted the number. When he came in I asked him to use his I phone for a recipe I wanted to look up, he said go use the desktop, I replied I dont want to ,have you got something to hide I asked. He gave me the phone I found no number of recent call but found where he didnt clear his messenger after his conversations with her. Very graphfic I might add. I handed him back the phone and I said “caught you”! He was so surprised and then I layed into him. I didnt know about the online affair until I cracked his email, saw where he added several women he worked with . I dont even know the people he works with but recognized the work emails. I went back a month on the phone bills found phone numbers he that matched work emails. Hummm to my surprised I called one of the numbers a women answered I identified myself as his wife and I asked her point blank if she had been sleeping with my husband. She said that was ridiculous, I aske her if she meet with me and she said no way. So I said again are you sleeping with my husband? she replied I dont have time for this crap and hung up. So it took 3 weeks to get the truth out of him , he just kept lying he didnt know her or the online OW finally I proved to him by printing off his email the name and number on our phone bill and the number on phone bill that matched his cowker OW. He was a busy guy !
      My first marriage ended after 24 years with spouse cheating and cheating. It took me a long time to start dating again and to let my guard down to trust another man so I remarried, now being almost 5 years. All the emotional turmoil I had buried from first spouse cheating has come up again, betrayal, trust issues , everything! He is going to counseling once a month I have gone a couple of times . I relive it constantly in my mind, I bring it up once or twice a week. It bothers me he is still working with her. He broke his I phone in a mad rage, he uses his work phone so I cant access his phone records, I feel like I am pushing him further away instead of getting closer . He blamed me for everything I took on the blame , I did this with first spouse,too. I asked him what our strengths were with our marraige, he could nt give me one except he said we use to have fun.
      I feel all the baggage from first marriage is ovelapping on to this one. I feel I would be better off just leaving him inorder to get some sanity back. He is really good about hiding his feelings and masking what bothers him. So he is hard to read most times. I feel stupid for trying to make this work.
      Please help me with some good sound advice.

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