Happy Wednesday!

After the affair your marriage will never be the same as it once was. That’s a simple reality. The affair has forever altered the course of your relationship and your life.

It can’t be taken back and you can’t pretend it didn’t happen. You will never forget the affair.

If you work to heal and save your marriage, it probably won’t haunt you as it does now, as you can get to a place where the memories and the pain move to the back of your mind and only arise on rare occasions, but you can’t erase the event from your memory no matter how much you try.

What you can do is make your marriage better than it has ever been. You can get to a place where you experience more happiness, more safety, more honesty, and more love than you did before the affair.

Believe it or not, it’s possible that you can use the affair as a means to catapult you to a marriage that is far better than it was before. I know that might be hard to imagine at this moment.

Dr. Gunzburg in his book “How to Survive an Affair” says there are four things you need to start the process toward making your marriage better than ever:

1. Love. Without love, no marriage thrives. Love is the foundation. You can’t have a deeply connected relationship without it.
2. Commitment. Both of you have to be committed to each other and to the process of working through the difficulties in your relationship if you’re going to heal it. If only one of you makes this commitment, it will be much harder and perhaps impossible to save your marriage.
3. Hard Work. This process isn’t going to be easy. Healing from an affair takes diligent attention over an extended period of time. That’s just reality.
4. Knowledge. Even if you have love and commitment and you both are willing to work hard, if you don’t know how to make your marriage better than ever, it probably isn’t going to happen. You can seek out and acquire the knowledge you need as long as you have the other three factors in place.

Our topic this week centers on these questions…Do you dream of going back to the way things once were in your relationship? How would it be useful to return to the past-what changes would you have made then that you could make now? What are your thoughts on creating a marriage that is better than ever after the affair? Do you think it can be done given your current circumstances?

Please respond to each other in the comment section.

Have a great day!

Doug & Linda

    22 replies to "Discussion: Can You Make Your Marriage Better After the Affair?"

    • michael

      Done, for now.
      1 is mostly there
      2 don’t know
      3 ist going to happen
      4 without the others this will never come.
      So done for now.

    • Vanessa

      I do truly believe that my marriage can be stronger than before the affair. And I think at times we are getting to that point. The affair brought to the surface what was wrong with my marriage and how we both took each other for granted. But the affair also took away the trust, and like you said our marriage will be the same.

      I do dream about my marriage going back to the way it was in certain aspects. I dream about 100% trusting my husband again without doubting him, that is what I miss most and I know he misses that too.

      One thing I would have changed in the past is to pay more attention to my husband and my marriage. I got wrapped up in me, kids, house, etc. and I didn’t pay attention to him like I use to. We both got comfortable with the relationship and I guess we both stopped trying. Now we are more open with each other and talk about what bothers us in our relationship and how to make it better. We are taking time as a couple, just us and no kids, and that is helping us a lot. That was something that got lost in our relationship. Before the affair my husband and I had not alone time at all. We only went out alone a handful of times since the kids were born. Now I hired a babysitter and we have date night at least once a week. At times I feel like we are dating again. But with that said the pain of the affair is still there for me and I am trying to shelve it to the back but it is hard and something I am working on daily.

      • Doug

        Thanks Vanessa. Your past marriage sounds a lot like ours was.

    • anaffairtoremember

      I hope to be on a path to having my marriage better than ever, but it definitely is a lot of hard work. One of the things that made me fall in love with my husband was his character and integrity, and I feel that what I most admired is gone and I do dream and wish that I had that back. I don’t know how to get that back? I definitely admit to and realize that I was not the wife he needed, but he also was not the husband I needed and yet I never would have done this to him and to our kids (who know nothing about this whole thing). I sometimes wonder if this disappointment in seeing him as someone who was willing to walk out on his family is what will prevent me from ever healing. But I’m trying.

      • Yuki

        Oh, that’s me, too. I always held him in the highest regard as a man of character who could be counted on to do the right thing, even if it was difficult. So do all the people who know him. It has been hard for him to deal with the fact that he has fallen from that estimable place in my eyes… even harder for me. I don’t think I’ll ever get that back.
        I don’t know if we can build a better marriage. It’ll be different, that’s for sure, but better? I don’t know. The couples who have reached that point all say it can be better, but aren’t they in the minority? How do we get there? Can I really get there?

    • EGBH

      I read this over and over, and all I can say is that I am trying. I just think this EA is too new for me and I am still trying to understand why it happened in the first place. I am so exhausted over the whole thing, and trying to get through the first month, has truly been a walk through hell. However said, I can only hope that our marriage will be better after this. But that seems so far down the road for me right now.

    • David Montrose

      Marriage can never be the same after the affair. Something dies inside of you when you find out your better half (man or woman) has betrayed the love and the oaths they took to one another.

    • melissa

      Like Vanessa, I dream of trusting my husband 100%, as I did before but I know it’ll never happen. I never took him for granted, in fact, I put him first most of the time but I think HE took this fact for granted, that he’d always be first and that made him lazy. I guess his life was not exciting anymore, he wanted the thrill of the chase.

      He finds it impossible to voice his emotions and fears and that’s been a big stumbling block, I feel communication is not at the level I’d like it to be and I also still mourn what I would see as a true, heartfelt, expressed-in-words apology. But we have been doing more things together (cinema, holidays, work trips…) and knowing that we can really be good together sustains me through the dark times.

    • Stephanie

      My husband had his EA a few months ago, the problem is that I didn’t put two and two together at the time and until after I noticed he was reading an article about emotional affairs. I was intrigued because I never really thought of what happened as an affair. Now with this knowledge I have started going the emotions I guess. I have my good days and my bad days with him but he understands why. See the OW he had the EA with is an old girlfriend from junior high, and unfortunately they seem to think they can be friends(its a long story but in short she was seperated and now they are working on their marriage). My husband is seeing a counselor and his counselor has even suggested to him to disconnect all communication with the OW. Needless to say, my husband thinks we can go back to how we used to be but I admit I have doubts and this blog only confirms it for me.

      On the plus side we are trying to make our marriage better than before. We have started back having date nights(no kids allowed). The hardest part I think is the trust between us. He and his OW are friends on facebook( I am on it too and it clearly says we are married to each other), however she has me blocked so I am unable to see any communication they have and it bothers me to no end. My husband is well aware of this but like he said, he cant make her change her mind about how she feels towards me. I hate having this feeling of mistrust with him and while he says he understands, it does not help the guilt he lives with everyday(hes going to counseling for this as it stems from his childhood).

      • Yuki

        That first love phenomenon is a tough one. The emotions run very deep. That’s what happened to my husband. If your husband wants your marriage to work, he really needs to end all contact with her. I wish you well.

      • trying to trust

        My husband’s EA is somewhat similar. Ex-Finance from 17 yrs ago, we’ve been married 15. They dated for 3yrs, got engaged, then he broke it off. Last May he ran into her while in her home town. started talking/texting constantly day and night. Lied to me over & over & he truly thought it was no big deal. 4 months ago it finally hit him that it was wrong and stopped. 3 months ago she moves to my town because of her husbands job and now lives a couple blocks down my street. i see her almost everyday and my husband thinks its no big deal, he’s not talking/texting her anymore. Lately, we have ran into her both together & seperately and they had a longer conversation just the two of them by the mailboxes. The EA then tried to friend me on facebook and has started texting me – “since we are in the same neighborhood now, if you ever need anything we are here!” I feel like she is taking over my neighborhood, my security and my husband wants me to do the christian thing and be friendly with her. He refuses to set a boundary and defends her actions of reaching out. He refuses to say hey, you can live in the same neighborhood, but we don’t need to continue to talk/text/facebook or even interact except for the obvious run into’s at kids school, grocery store, ect. My husband says he loves me and wants to be with only me, but i am having a very hard time trusting and accepting that given his response to her moving to our neighborhood. Its hard to not think that this was some plan to get them closer, cause more friction within the marriages that exist and ultimately they end up together. It is very hard to try and forgive when it is in your face almost everyday, there is no escape for me. I am christian and i struggle finding reason behind this action ~ what is my lesson here? This all brings new meaning to trust and letting go and what is meant to be will be.

    • changedforever

      Wow…some great comments here…lots to digest…I am about a week short of 4 mths since MY DDay…wow. Seems like its been a LOT longer than that. I live for the articles on this blog as they keep me going…
      Thanks to all of u for sharing your thoughts…you are the ‘friends’ I need to hear from…and ‘talk to’ when the bad thoughts come & the dark days are upon me….such a long path of recovery I am on….one question to all though re & to all who went thru EAs….are you ever maybe a little bit thankful that you CS didn’t go thru a physical & an EA? Mine went thru both at the same time with the same monster….anyone else go thru this horrifying scenario?….

      • Yuki

        My husband and his OW are across the country from each other, which was a good thing, but they have met each other when he was on business trips. He swears nothing happened, but I don’t believe him. The most hurtful part for me is that he gave himself emotionally to her and detached himself from me. And in his case, it was his first love, which has been described as “love interrupted.” So it was love, not just affair fog. That hurts.

        • Holdingon

          Always keep your spouse away from their first love, they are an extreme threat to your marriage, if you have to quit your job and move as fast as possible.

    • Trish

      Hello Yuki
      I feel for you so much. I discovered 4 months ago that my husband of 46(!) years has been having an emotional affair for the past 5 years with his first love i.e. the girl he went out with when he was at school. They met up at a school reunion and within days he was totally obsessed with her, phoning her several times a day. I can’t believe I didn’t realise — just goes to show what an excellent liar he is. He is basically a good bloke, but what he has done has destroyed me. He says it was only a telephone relationship, but he had plenty of opportunities to meet her outside of school reunions, and I can’t believe he didn’t. I’ve spyed on cell phone records (which makes me feel very grubby) and found that he appears to be totally absorbed with her. When we were on a family holiday last July, he phoned her at least once, and on occasion several times, a day.

      When I first discovered the affair (I found a birthday card to ‘my love’) I was met with resentment, denials, and lies, but over the past few months a clearer picture has begun to emerge. He says he is remorseful, he loves me and wants to be with me, but if I hadn’t found that card he would be carrying on as usual — how can I begin to believe that he truly wants to be with me and is not just going through the motions because he wants to maintain our comfortable lifestyle?

      I haven’t told any of our friends/ family as yet, because I don’t want to destroy the relationships we have with them, but I feel very alone and isolated. I really would welcome any feedback from anyone who feels they can help.

      Trish

      • Yuki

        Oh, Trish, that is so much like my story. I wish I could say something that would make things better for you, but I haven’t found the answer, either. We may never be completely sure if they are in love with us, or if life is just easier this way.

        I also feel so alone because I haven’t shared this with the people I am closest to. If we should make it through this hell, then I want him to still be friends with them. They would never forgive him for hurting me like this.

        This site has been a great source of information and also a good place to share things with others. I am also seeing a therapist and my husband has attended a couple sessions with me.

        Don’t lose hope. You have so much history between you. It would be a great loss to let it go now, so close to your 50th anniversary.

      • Holdingon

        I have no good news for you, I hope things have worked out by now.

    • Frank Lewis

      In our case our marriage has been much better since the disclosure of the affair. I would never want to go back to the way things were. By that I mean, there wasn’t much depth to our relationship. Oh sure, I thought there was. But now I know what true intimacy is really like.

      I do miss the perceived innocence of what we had before. But it was just that…perceived. And I have to remind myself when I think back to what we had before. It wasn’t real.

      Now things are so much different. We are nice to each other ALL THE TIME. It’s amazing to me how much we care about each other now and how kind we are to each other. This is what marriage was supposed to be like all along.

      It scares me to think about what it would be like for both of us now if we had let the affair separate us. I don’t think I would have ever been happy again. For someone who is still struggling with forgiving their self or their spouse, whatever the case may be, it may be hard to understand what I just said.

      But in response to the post I must say that it is true for us. The fact that we have gotten past the affair has made it possible for us to move on to the kind of relationship that most people never have.

      • Doug

        Frank, I know exactly what you are saying, I feel that Doug and I are at the same place. Yesterday we took the day off and spent it on the couch, I asked him the same question you mentioned in your comment. What would have happened if we decided to separate instead of trying to work this out? He said he tries not to think about it, I think if would have been tragedy because we never would have experienced the kind of love we have now. Thanks for you input. Linda

      • Trish

        Frank, what a wonderful message. A ray of hope amidst all the unhappiness and pain. I can see tiny glimmers of what you’re talking about – i.e. the kindness and caring – but it all seems so fragile, and as though it can’t last. I feel as though it is just the guilt talking and we’re actually walking on eggshells above a big black hole. Can I ask how long it is since your D-day?

      • Yuki

        I feel like Trish that all the kindness and caring seem a temporary thing to try to make up for the pain. But Frank’s post gives hope.

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