Good Wednesday to everyone!

The discussion topic for this week is actually inspired from a thread in the Higher Healing forum.  One of the members made a comment that struck me as being pretty crazy and I felt it would make for a good topic for discussion.

The member (a betrayed spouse) indicated in her comment that one thing that she would never forget was that the other woman texted her, and in that text this person said “You won.” Though she did not indicate so in her post, I’m assuming this was because her husband ended the affair with the other woman and chose to stay with her instead.

The member’s response to the text was “Did I? I didn’t even know there was a contest going on. Thanks, thanks for letting me know that I won.”

I don’t know if this person showed her husband this text that she received from the other woman, but I wondered to myself what his response would’ve been if she had. Did he view it as a contest? Did he pit the other woman against his wife for his affection and undying love?

So this week our discussion will center around the thought of ‘winning’ after the affair ended.

Do you feel that you ‘won’ when your cheating spouse decided to end the affair and stay with you?

Did you feel that it was a contest in the first place?

Does this tell us anything about the mindset or motivation of a cheater?

How would you have responded if you received such a text?

We’d be interested to hear some comments from you all who may have encountered or experienced a similar situation as this.

See also  Survey - Healing From Infidelity

As always, please reply to one another in the comments area below.

Take care!

Linda & Doug


    41 replies to "Discussion – Did You ‘Win’ When Your Spouse Ended the Affair?"

    • Paula

      Not me, but that was the gist of what has happened here, wish I felt like a winner, lol! Thanks again you guys! xx

    • E

      I never felt like I won and I always felt like I lost, even now. I did feel like it was a contest in a way, I remember thinking at times that I was in the fight of my life. I don’t believe that my H encouraged any type of competition at all, but from what he tells me – there was definite jealousy and hate towards me from the OW, so that makes me think that she felt it too. She did everything she could to convince my H that I was horrible and didn’t deserve him. I would not have responded at all if I had received such a text, but I have to admit that it would have given me a little satisfaction.

    • rollercoasterrider

      I did feel like I was back in Junior High: now after all these years, I have to fight for him? Honestly, the only way there can be any winner in infidelity is if the marriage grows as a result of working through the pain, and there is forgiveness, repentance and healing. Otherwise it’s kind of like asking who won after the hurricane, or the earthquake…

      I will add that now post-divorce, as H realizes the many things he was unaware of before, I feel like that evil that killed our first marriage is finally dead. Throwback to The Wizard of Oz: “hip hip hooray!!! The witch is dead!!!”

    • Healing Mark

      #1 – No
      #2 – No
      #3 – Yes. Among other things, a “You won.” text is rather immature.
      #4 – “You think?”.

    • Recovering

      I don’t feel like I ‘won’ anything. He was my husband and promised to be faithful… Should’ve kept his promises like I did… In all honesty, I lost everything. I am working SOOO hard to try to move past his affair and all that I have LOST! He stayed where he promised he would be… geez, thanks! Yes, I am glad that he stayed to work on the relationship, but I didn’t win. There NEVER should have been any sort of competition anyway!! The first thing she asked him when he told her that I found out about the affair was if I had left – guess he always told her I would leave if I found out. Should have clued her in that he didn’t WANT me to leave since he kept it all a secret for 2 years!! He openly admits he thought I would never find out – STUPID reason to even allow yourself to keep doing what you are doing, huh? If a tree falls in the woods, it DOES make a sound even if there is noone there to hear it!!!! Had there been a competition I would’ve won, and still do, because I am a better person than her, and him, anyway. He would’ve eventually come to realize that she was a lying cheating whore and if she would do it to her husband then she would do it to him, too… I would never do what they did. I would never sacrifice my family. I KNOW that I am the better person with a better heart, and that I am stronger than they will ever be… so I ‘win’, just not in the way I am sure she would’ve liked to ‘win’. She was hoping I was going to leave him… why I will never understand because then SHE would’ve had to stop lying to HER husband and children, and THAT never would’ve happened… Disgusting fantasy at it’s worst!!!!

    • Alone

      As a cheater, my two cents worth: no one wins. And if you want to get t the heart of the matter, there shouldn’t have been a contest to begin with.

    • hurtbythem

      I didn’t feel like it was a contest during my husband’s affair, mainly because I didn’t know about it! After D Day I guess with my jealously and self-doubt about myself I did compare like it was a contest. Through-out my healing journey my husband always remarks that I should try not to think about her and his affair because we are moving forward and working to put this behind us. As he says “I won him, I got the booby prize.” But he is glad I stuck it out, believed in us and he is the winner because I did believe!

      • jewel

        hurtbythem: AMEN sista!!

    • chiffchaff

      I never felt like I won anything. I feel like I stuck things out and hung on in there, not winning.
      In answer:
      Yes – probably that the OW in the case you describe wasn’t really interested in the cheater but in the competition? as well as it being very high school, esp. by text. FFS.
      I would have shown it to the CS and left it at that.

    • knb

      I don’t think my husband would say that he won anything – even though we are still together and love each other, he lost his trust in me. Once I said “I do” he wasn’t suppose to ever have to “win” me again after that. From my side, there was never any competition – I was never going to leave my marriage for anyone or anything else. Now I am faced with trying to win back my marriage – not from someone else but from my own selfish behavior.

      • livingonafence

        knb, this is how I feel. I thought I won the game of life when he and I exchanged vows. Now? I feel like I lost. His EA was over before I found out about it, but still, the fact that he had it at all took so much from me. I didn’t win anything.

    • Jim

      The way I see it is that the only one in the contest is the AP. They are the one trying to win. As the BS, I lost! I lost all trust. I lost all respect! I lost the “best” wife a man would want. The only thing I won is a HUGE awakening that it can happen to me.

      The EA is still going on so if there is a contest, I am coming up in 3rd place. But sometimes 3rd is better. If you win the GOLD at the Olympics your are a hero. If you win the Bronze (3rd Place), you made a valiant effort and you are glad you have 3rd place. But if you get the SILVER (2nd place) you wonder if you could have tried harder. What you could have done to change the outcome. This will haunt you. This will always be in your thoughts.

      So right now I see it 1st place is my W. She is getting me and him. He is in 2nd because he has her. I am in third. I can only do so much and I will need to hold my head up high and say I did my best! If that was not good enough for someone else that is their problem. I did all I could! I am the best me I can be!

      • MELKEL

        I really liked your comment. I like that you are able to distance yourself from their crap/mistakes/bad decisions. I have real difficulty doing this. Your 3rd place analogy encourages me to behave in a way that I will be proud of…whatever the outcome.

    • dreamer

      I did show this text to my husband. I think it actually helped me show him what kind of person she really was. What kind of person knows you are married and pursues you anyway? dont get me wrong he still holds plenty of the blame(the OW did not make me the same promises on our wedding day that he did) I do not think he viewed it as a contest, but I think she did see it as one. I dont think he wanted to leave me and be with her, but once he started walking down the path I think he felt like there was no going back.

      She sent a number of e-mails and texts to him to try and persuade him to pick her and not me after he told her he was done with their relationship. This text was one of the last ones(maybe she accepted that she could not convince him to come back). Some of the ones before this included things like her trying to convince him I was cheating on him! It did feel like high school…childish.

      I do agree that nobody “wins” anything in this situation.

    • Disappointed

      When the OW said she could never see my H again and that he should “hate her if he needed to” when he told her he was still leaving me, he called me and told me “you won” I will never see her again. I told him, I did not win. My win would have been for this to have never happened. I am trying to be patient and there are some positive signs, but I feel in competition with how she made him feel. I cant be new. She is more athletic and slimmer, but most importantly he put her before me and us. Even if we get back together I am afraid I will feel like second choice.

    • Anne

      I think APs have to tell themselves all kinds of stories to convince themselves that there is a likelihood of payoff. APs need to believe that the marriage is in shambles, that the BS is a loser who doesn’t truly love or show love to the CS, which is why they are seeking it elsewhere. None of this is necessarily true–affairs have more to do with the CS than the BS. But to admit this would mean the end of a fantasy that the AP can make the BS happy. In reality, of course, we are all responsible for our own happiness. There were definitely times I felt like H was comparing me to the fantasy of the OW, but deep down, I’ve always known that there is no competition here; even if we weren’t together, she wouldn’t be a viable partner. Certainly now, H realizes that it was a fantasy and says that he never told her he would leave me and or that he didn’t love me. In her mind, it was a competition because she thought that if I was out of the picture, he would be with her. Not the case. She was a fantasy; a wake-up call–not about me, not even about the marriage, but about work he needed to do on himself. To the extent I’ve won (and I’d say “survived” is more like it), it’s because we’ve used this as an opportunity to work on ourselves and that has in turn improved our dynamic and the marriage.

      • Jamie

        Good for you Anne. Very well written. I feel the exact same way. I’m still really pissed off, but I’m working on that. And there is comfort in knowing in my heart that his actions of an EA had little or nothing to do with my character or our marriage…in the end, it has to do with his own issues of insecurity, non-communication and emotional distance…and all of those things happened simply because he didn’t talk to me about any of his own needs and issues. The whole EA happened because he didn’t communicate what he needed and wanted and sought. That definitely doesn’t have anything to do with me.

        I do, like you, accept that I have had some part in his feelings as to why he felt he couldn’t/shouldn’t/didn’t or wouldn’t communicate his needs with me. That’s as far as I’ll go though. This EA has nothing to do with me; and like you stated in this post…it rarely does when it comes to the BS.

    • Greg

      Well said Anne. I wouldn’t say I’ve won anything but I have been giving an opportunity to make something better.

    • Jamie

      This may be a touchy sentiment…but here goes nothing. Women are socialized to “compete” for affections of men. In particular, women are socialized to feel competitive towards other women. It starts in Jr. High. We’re actually taught to compete for affection and attention of men..all the while, rejecting our sisterhood.

      When your relationship is “threatened” by another woman it’s natural to feel/see that the invasion is a competative threat; because of the way women are socialized in American society.

      Yes. I felt it was some sort of competition; until I actually saw the OW; at that moment I KNEW my H wouldn’t ever be interested in her in a sexual way, but instead there was self doubt about my own esteem and value..and worth, in my marriage. That’s where the competition root stemmed from.

      Yes. I do feel like the winner. It took me months to figure out that none of this was a competition with the OW; but a loss of confidence that invaded my self worth, not only as my H’s chosen partner for life and fidelity (or so I thought) but also as a human being. I made the EA a competition. My H used it as an “escape” from his mounting stresses; a bad habit, from his single life (he was single for 11 years before we met 2 years ago). I’m still comparing myself to every woman that turns my H’s head (I’m not an idiot…I know everyone looks at an attractive person from time to time).

      I’m having a hard time with focusing on the fact that I’m a good partner, there’s NOT a competition with the OW or any woman in that sense; and that I’m a worthy partner, a good lover and wife, a great mother…etc.

      It’s the loss of confidence that makes the “competitive” spirit regress in the open world when you feel wounded and threatened in your romantic relationship, as a woman. I don’t know if it’s the same for men in the BS situation. I’d like to know if it is, though.

      When it comes to texting the OW or her sending texts to me; we had a few exchanges; I was not a nice person to her. Nor will I ever be. As far as that goes, I hope she gets a good dose of karma. Furthermore, if any OW acts like “fighting for over your CS” is a “competition” I suggest that person is very very immature and has some serious self esteem issues if he/she is still living in the junior high mentality. You’re married to the CS…so of course you already won.

    • Paula

      Our OW did almost the exact same thing, “I won” – get over it, move on, what harm was done? (The last statement was followed by, “the silly bitch.”) Also via text. She has never had a meaningful relationship, so had no idea what harm was done.

    • mamak

      Did I win? No. If anything, I lost. I lost respect for my husband. I lost the ability to trust. I lost a big part of who I am. I lost time. I lost the ability to function properly for a long time post D-Day. I lost a whole lot. Yes, I got lucky and my husband chose to end the affair and leave the OW behind, but I don’t consider that a ‘win’ – I wasn’t playing a game.

    • SamIam

      I did not win anything. She used him, He put her before me. She tossed him when he no longer could secure her career. I lost the innocence of my marriage. She has moved on, I am staying here with the man who broke my heart and trying to love the marriage that I have now. It is no win at all.

    • Anna

      No, I didn’t win. I agree with those who talk about loss. I lost the life I thought I had, the marriage I thought I had, the best friend I thought my husband was. I lost safety, security, self-confidence.
      But whatever she stole from me, I do also have that feeling inside that I am better than her. I would never have done this to someone else’s family. I would never have lied and cheated. I am no whore. And however perfect he’s trying to keep her in his mind, I know that I am a good person.

    • Notoverit

      I never believed I was ever in a contest with the OW. She is so much less than me – less educated, less attractive, less loving (she’s got some big personality issues) and most of all less everything. That is something I look at just about every day: so what made her attractive to my H? Her false personality – a sham that she was bright and bubbly when in fact she was a raging, low self-esteem woman. But I digress. After talking to my H about this very issue, he said he never even thought about leaving me; that he never compared us. What he did was place us in separate boxes in his mind. We were never compared; it was just that he put her out of his mind when he was with me and vice versa. As a woman, I have a very hard time understanding this – my world overlaps in everything I do. However, the more I read, the more I see that men can actually do this. They have the ability to separate things in their lives, i.e. having separate “boxes” in their brains. So alien to me. i was never in competition with her in his mind – we were separate people who served separate needs in his life.

      Fast forward to now. I have ranted and raged about this. How could someone I had been married to for 30 years forget me? It just makes no sense to me. I made this EA a competition, not him. I think there may be some truth to what Jamie said – it was my loss of self-esteem that made this a competition. The root of the problem was my H’s lack of communication, lack of his own self-esteem and simply his fault. I do not share in the fault now – he chose not to talk to me even when I kept asking what was wrong, could I help etc. So, no affair is ever a competition unless you let it be one. The OW saw it as one – she perpetually kept comparing herself to me (I’ll bet she came up short, even in her twisted mind). But my H said he never thought of it that way – we were just separate in his mind. (Still amazes me even I as I write this)

      I didn’t win. I lost everything – my deep love for my H, my trust, my best friend, my respect for him, just about my whole life. Rebuilding it is hard. Some days I just wonder if I can do this. I didn’t win anything but heartache and hard work.

    • Patsy50

      Hum, I never thought about the EA to be a contest. When my husband told me about his EA with a young coworker who he was sexually attracted to and 30 years younger then him or me, I remember my self esteem was just ripped from me.

      I told him, I cannot compete with a 30 year old, there’s just no way I can turn back time. I’ve been there and so has he.

      I was proud to have reached the age I am and just maybe he had to accept it for himself.

    • ChangedForever

      19 mths later i can now honestly say that it was ME who ended their affair, not him, nor the OW. I ended it. I ‘found out’ what was going on behind my back, i texted her to ‘f—k off and go get her own husband & kids, not mine…’ i blocked her numbers & all the email addresses, i blocked her facebook requests that kept rolling in, and i emailed her. He just found another back door method to keep in contact with her…until i found out. So as far as any competition goes, there was none: there was e secret game of ‘risk’ they were playing, and i ‘picked up the board and shouted ‘game over.’ … winning? Not even close. I am so tired of ensuring my H remains faithful…i’ve had many jobs in my life but THAT is one that should NEVER been shoved down my throat…
      And all this recovery? Have you ever seen a hamster on its wheel?…

    • WriterWife

      I was actually afraid that a part of me viewed this as a competition. I’m someone who hates to fail and I feared I was fighting not to save my marriage but to NOT fail at this marriage. But even then I didn’t think of it as the OW winning or losing, but of me either succeeding or failing.

      Only once that I recall have I thought about things in terms of won/lost. Two weeks ago the OW emailed us wanting to talk and my husband said he wanted to talk with her (the three of us were very very close friends) to “resolve issues.” I felt like he and I already had this argument before several times — several months ago I’d told him to move out until he was done with her, he’d had a “closure” meeting with her (and moved back in), he’d later promised that he/we wouldn’t talk to her unless I felt secure in our marriage and even then I could unequivocally say no. And here we were, having the same argument all over again. It felt to me that he just couldn’t let her go.

      I told him that if he didn’t feel he was done, if he felt the need to talk to her, then he could move out until he was done. He’d ended that conversation very very angry and I thought that was going to be the end of our marriage. I was out of town at the time and had a moment of wanting to email the OW and tell her “you won, I hope you’re happy.” (I didn’t).

      I didn’t mean “you won” as “you get the prize” or “you won a competition” but as “you’ve succeeded.” And that’s how I felt at the time — that she’d succeeded. I just couldn’t fight anymore — not for him or our marriage.

      Thankfully, we did work it out and moved past that difficulty. At the end of the day, I won. Not because my husband and I are still together, but because I found myself again through this process.

      • rollercoasterrider

        WriterWife, I also struggle with a compulsion to succeed (aka fear of failure). Funny how we don’t view things from the perspective of moral failure…which wasn’t ours, but theirs. I think it’s also interesting how things can resolve after we give up, and chalk it up as a failure.

    • Benny

      I have no feeling of winning either . While the EA’s were active I never knew about what was happening hence no chance of anything like a competition or anything I could have done. It still just feels like a lot of loss overall to me still.

    • Worn Out Pursuer

      It has been 5 months since the EA/PA my husband had has ended. During the affair I was holding on to him anyway I could – confronting him, crying, leaving him alone, ignoring him, reaching out to him, etc. Now he and I share the same house but as room mates instead of husband and wife while he works through his guilt and remorse and doesn’t let me in during his recover. I have come to realize that I have no control over his decisions. Nothing I did could make him want to be with me. I am who he can count on and fall back on. I feel what I have won is a continued responsibility to help him recover while he makes zero attempts to help me heal. It is all about him – his big mistake – his remorse- his needing time to heal. I did not come out a winner in this situation. I lived through his year long EA / PA and now am having to survive through his depression, guilt, remorse, anger. I just want to put this whole mess behind us and move forward in a positive direction. I’m so tired of this mess.

      • chiffchaff

        WoP – do you and your H go out and have any fun at all during this time? do you still do stuff together?
        My H was similarly wrapped up in his own sad self for a good 7-8 months and couldn’t help me in my pain much or at all. The only things that stopped me leaving was that we were still trying to do some new things, trying to have fun even though it was bloody hard.
        Focus on your own happiness if you believe he’s worth staying for, do things that make you feel better so that you’re better able to cope with things you can’t control, like your H’s thoughts.

    • SHAPE

      Win: Not at all. Even though my H chose to stay with me, I lost much in the deal! In fact, there was probably not ever any discussion between them about either of them leaving their spouses. Their EA was mostly emails and phone calls and occasionally they did see each other. But it turned out her husband’s job was transferring them to a move across the country (hallelujah!). So their ability to get together was thwarted just at the same time I discovered an email. I had been suspicious and asked questions but always got a lie of some sort.
      Anyway, I do not feel like I won anything. I love my H and intend to stay married – but I’ve lost my trust which is extremely slow to come back. I wonder quite constantly if he still thinks of her (17 months out now) And even though we are able to have fun together, I feel there is something missing that his relationship with her took – maybe his passion, his sponteneity, and something that is just hard to define. I always wonder if he is just staying with me because that is easier and he knows it would never have worked out for them to be together permanently. So I feel kind of second best. NO winners here. I didn’t think of it as a competition, because I trusted him completely. I know better now – his having done this once I think makes it easier that it might happen again, even though he says it won’t. I know he is terribly ashamed of what he did. No one won anything, in my opinion.

    • GMK22

      It has been 10 weeks since I found out my husband of 20 years was having an affair. He tells me it was not sexual or intimate. He is 65 and she is 44. I know he was enjoying every minute of whatever kind of relationship it was. He would not even admit an emotional affair until we went to counseling. I found evidence that it was some kind of (sex) event tho men don’t think certain kinds of things are real sex.
      He continues to deny and to lie about the affair that went on for over a year. I was and still am totally devastated. He is a well known, respected person in our community and people would not believe this of him. He was blatantly flaunting his affair by being open and being seen around town with her and even in our own yard riding horses.

      He wants me to forget it because he has said I am sorry. How do you make them understand the pain and anger left burning the person betrayed. I get thru most days but some days I just want to run away. I am so lost, so hurt. He broke my heart, my spirit and all my dreams for the future have disappeared.

      I am so mad at myself because I was too stupid to believe he would ever do this to our marriage since he had an ex-wife cheat on him with his best friend. I don’t know where to go from here.

    • rollercoasterrider

      GMK22, I relate a lot to your story in the sense that my (ex)H is also very well-known and respected in our community and because we are not young, have been married 35 years. I understand the devastation, and not knowing where to go. As trite as it may sound, taking it one day at a time is really the only way to make it through the quagmire. Don’t be afraid to let him see your pain. Do what is best for your own well-being. I absolutely relate to the “I am so mad at myself…” but try not to be anything but a friend to yourself right now. Having been cheated on could give him some insight as to your pain, but maybe not…In any case, I wish you a journey that is fruitful. It will probably be a long one. There are many who feel your pain.

      • Paula

        GMK22, me too, 24 years (21 when I discovered) well-known and respected guy, his previous partner before me had multiple affairs (he ended up cheating on me with this very same woman, who he felt was shallow and unattractive, and still does!) and I am still annoyed with myself for not realising that the amount of time he was spending texting, talking to, spending time with, and the full sexual affair, for 15 months, not hiding any of it, with me present, in many cases (best form of defense is not to hide anything) when some of our friends were questioning them, and I did not, because we’d always trusted each other with friends of the opposite sex. DUMB!

        RCR is right, you must just look after your own mental and emotional health now, it’s the only way you will cope, and then heal, my best wishes, you are not alone, sadly. We’re all here for you when you need support, or just to vent, there are many useful resources on this site, avail yourself of them whenever you need. 🙂

    • Better

      When my H told me “You Won” I wanted so badly to yell and scream and slap him up side his head!

      I know he meant it in a good way, like I had started to “win” his heart back. But I didn’t feel like a winner should feel. My self-esteem, pride, trust in people in general…all that was taken from me and more…and I didnt have a say in it. This person, my H, whom I trusted and loved and have always been there for just took “Everything” away from me that made me “ME”.

      Its been 11 months since Last Contact and I still feel like the Loser in all this. Im slowly gaining my sense of self back, but am starting to have resentment towards my H.

      However, we are closer now and are recovering…i just want to get off this ride!

    • Brokenwings

      During my recovery, I kept a journal and here is a prose I wrote regarding the “game” and who won:

      You said it was a Game
      But you never asked
      “Do you want to play?”

      The two of you played your Game
      The game involved deceit,
      lies and betrayal
      Neither of you cared
      Whether you broke my heart and soul
      To win the game was all that mattered

      You both won the game you played
      For you broke the rules
      You fell in love with her
      That was not part of the game

      You said it was a Game
      But you never asked
      “Do you want to play?”

      I was never asked to play your game
      But, I lost nonetheless –
      I lost all that I thought I once had
      I lost myself in the game
      –You and She played

      You said it was a Game
      But you never asked
      “Do you want to play?”

      The stakes were too high
      But you played nonetheless
      You both won the game you played
      and destroyed my world

    • Dave

      I got an almost identical message from my wife’s EA/PA AP, but this was only recently. I had no idea I was in the fight of my life for my wife’s love. He knew what was going on, but I was in the dark. So when I caught her at his apartment and more recently when she confessed, it didn’t feel like any sort of victory.

      I still felt totally defeated because her “other” had her heart, mind, and body. Even if she came back, she had been his and I had never known. The only thing I felt was like the biggest fool on the planet. That feeling hasn’t faded despite her insistence that she was foolish with her actions. Perhaps she did act foolishly, but that doesn’t diminish how I felt and feel, especially since she was able to deceive me without batting an eyelash for so long.

    • faisal samad

      How can anyone win when all parties are hurting?

    • KelBelly

      I would have to say yes and no. my husband left me emotionally a long time before his EA and had given up his EA before i found out. I feel I won because he is back to being the man I dated 15 years ago. loving, kind, an open book but I also feel like I lost because of what his EA took from me.

    • Disappointed

      I did not win. He walked out on me. 8 months later – with no contact – he calls her his soulmate and tells me not to make less of her by talking about his midlife crisis. He is not home, but not saying goodbye. He asked about an open marriage and I said no. When she told him she could never see him again and he should hate her if he needs to, he called me and told me I had won. I have won nothing. I hope by the end of the year to be strong enough to let him go, but for now I will not make it easy on him and be the one to say goodbye. I have made too many things easy for him and have paid a huge price. He does not get to keep me as a friend or friend with benefits until someone else comes along. And always this phantom of the OW who used him for attention and then disappeared… Oh but she is on a pedestal. Told me he trusts me with his life but not his heart… After 20 years… I do not understand anything…

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