Hello everyone!

With the seemingly ever-increasing instances of emotional affairs and physical affairs occurring in our neighborhood, as well as all over the world, it would seem that there are a tremendous amount of cheating spouses walking around with much guilt and regret.

Though the sting of my guilt and regret have eased over time, there are still lingering feelings of each that fill my head, especially when Linda is having a bad day.

Our discussion for this week centers on regret…

Does your spouse (or you, if you are the cheater) regret his/her affair?

Is he/she remorseful?

If so, how does he/she show it in their words and/or actions?

Do you feel these words and/or actions are sincere?

Please feel free to explain your situation and also offer help to others!

Have a great day!

Doug & Linda




See also  The Emotional Affair Still Causes Pain

    76 replies to "Discussion: Do Cheating Spouses Regret Their Actions?"

    • Doug

      Are you serious?? It’s 3:00 and nobody has anything to say? This is a first.

    • Michael

      Don’t know if my first post went through. It’s 2:00 here.
      I don’t know if my wife is living with regret. Maybe when I bring it up.
      I apologized in an email to her for being an ass yesterday. I haven’t heard from her at all today. Her emotional wall is way too strong.
      She won’t talk about her feelings. She says sorry, a lot. But only when I discover more or when I talk about how I feel on that day.

      • Doug

        I know that the emotional wall that your wife puts up has been a real issue for you. I also know there are many reasons for that wall. Keep working at breaking the barriers, but also show her empathy and patience.

    • Jenn

      Does your spouse (or you, if you are the cheater) regret his/her affair? He has said he does.
      Is he/she remorseful? This one is hard for me, because he will apologize, but not out of the blue. It happens after I have an emotional day, or cry after hearing or seeing a trigger. It would be nice if he would just walk up to me and tell me that he couldn’t believe he almost lost everything we had worked so hard to build, and me, that it was the WORST mistake of his life.

      If so, how does he/she show it in their words and/or actions? It’s not as often as I would expect it should be–it seems like once realizing the gravity of what he caused, both in my life through heartache and pain, in our kids’ lives, and in his life, he would be a mess at times. I don’t get that.

      Do you feel these words and/or actions are sincere? This one is also hard. I have to realize that he is very different from me, because I know that I would try to ‘make it up’ if I ever betrayed him in such a way, and put him through what he put me through. He’ll react, but only after I’ve had a meltdown. It never seems to be completely on his own, and that makes my mind wander…..

      • Doug

        Jenn, Is it possible that your husband just has a hard time expressing his feelings aloud, or keeps his emotions bottled up inside? I know that Linda felt the same way as you–that I didn’t express my remorse in a way she thought appropriate or maybe as often as she would like. But that’s just how I am. I think that sometimes we men can be thick headed and just can’t see the forest through the trees at times. At least I can be that way for sure. Have you told him that you want to hear these things from him? Keep in mind too, that he is probably trying to avoid that which is uncomfortable–like talking about the affair.

        • Jenn

          I guess I have a hard time reconciling every romantic thing he willfully did for the OW, but doesn’t give me the same effort, especially now (romantic gestures, creative gifts, words of affirmation and love) I’m his wife, and it seems like we have different ideas about exactly what that means now, and not only is it confusing and heartbreaking for me, but it makes me wonder if he’ll ever be able to make ME feel like the special partner in his life. He’s also a writer, and is a master of words–he has written me poetry and wonderful cards and letters in the past to express his love. It seems to me that he would be even more willing to ramp things up now. Today marks the 1 yr anniversary of my 1st D-Day, and it’s hard, but not horrendous thankfully. I’ve only cried once, and I was afraid of being a basket case.

          • melissa

            Hi Jenn
            I feel exactly the same as you. There are so many things I wish for my husband to do or say but he doesn’t and when I bring up my needs, he calls it ‘having a row’. I made my list but am afraid of bringing it up as he ends up being resentful, angry and hurtful. I think the anger has to do with how he feels about his behaviour but he does not seem to get past it. I’ve tried to write to him, I’ve tried to talk but he tells me he doesn’t want my notes or my words – that’s the only way I can communicate, though. So I’m in a bubble of not daring to say what I really want to say and thinking about getting out of the relationship because I can’t get through to my H. And yet, I know that, if we could both really talk freely and openly, we’d get to the other side.

          • Noles

            Jenn is that you?

            • Jenn

              Is this who, Noles? My name is Jenn.

            • Noles

              Sorry confused with another lady who is also going through a hard time.

    • stupidandtrusting

      Doug – it certainly seems he is living with regret – he has been working really hard to show how much he cares. He has asked me to look at the man he is now, rather than the man he was. Sometimes, I feel like he is pandering to me, something I definitely don’t want, and I think that is driven by guilt and regret. From what I can tell, he is being completely transparent. He is where he says he will be – he has changed what triggers could be changed (for example his car and his phone) and he helps me avoid the triggers that we can’t change (the stores where he bought her cards, etc.). We have been to counseling together and he is currently seeing the counselor alone. I am at times very confident and other times, the pain is overwhelming. I asked him to work with a counselor so that he could understand how he got to that point, we already explored what was going on with us. The problem I see is that while he has come away with a clear understanding that many of his behaviors, including the EA, but also various flirtations were wrong/inappropriate or outside the boundaries I thought we had, he isn’t able to identify or understand that he was searching for something – I think it was validation and attention. I want us to learn from this history and therefore I think he needs to know what he was looking for. The EA was just a culmination of what I would term selfish, thoughtless behaviors that don’t belong in a marriage. Maybe I ask too much, what do you think? Is his obvious regret enough? Is saying I know it was inappropriate because it hurt you enough?

      • Doug

        Stupidandtrusting, Great post! I think that you may be on to something thinking that he received validation from his flirting. But perhaps searching isn’t the right word to use. Perhaps he wasn’t searching for anything necessarily, but it just so happens that the benefits of his flirting stroked his ego and made him feel good enough that he let his guard–and his boundaries–down.

      • melissa

        It looks to me like you’ve come a long way and are really nearly there. Your H seems to have gained a lot of insight into his behaviour but maybe he’ll never get to the real reason of WHY he did this. Maybe it’s enough for some people to know that, maybe it isn’t, you are the only one who can decide.

    • stupidandtrusting

      Interesting that you say that – today his counselor termed his flirtations a useless moment of pleasure that my H didn’t carefully consider and said that his EA was just a gross exaggeration of the same in an effort to soothe his depression, ego, and self-esteem. But I still want to know if people think it is important to know why/what he was receiving or wanting?

      • Doug

        Sure I think it’s important. Not only to satisfy your curiosities, but also knowing can help the two of you so that an EA doesn’t happen again. You can recognize the signs and/or he can recognize when he is depressed, needs an ego stroke, or has low self-esteem.

    • Jennifer

      I had an online affair. My husband had an affair with a coworker.

      Even to this day, I don’t feel like what I did was all that wrong. And I don’t think it has any bearing on whether or not he wants to stay because his affair started before mine did. I feel like he was already ‘checked out’ of the marriage by then. I regret my affair, but for personal ethics reasons. It was not typical behavior for me and it definitely was an ego-stroking thing. I continued to communicate with this man solely because of how he made me feel. And I still wanted the same validation from my husband.
      I don’t think my husband regrets his affair. I wonder sometimes if he feels like that affair ‘opened his eyes’ to what he could have (fun, no stress) if he wasn’t married. I probably speculate too much. In any case, he hasn’t shown remorse or even definitively told me he wants to stay married (although he has never moved out, simply sleeps on the couch). No, I don’t think he’s remorseful at all. I think he feels guilty about leaving the kids. I think he could care less about leaving me.

      • marjorie zamora

        Jennifer. My husband was recently caught talking dirty online to a woman from canada. Then two days later i found out he was also cheating out right. THe online chat is still cheating, in your mind but i was better able to deal with that than i was the outright affair. In both cases he opened up to each woman about how he was unhappy here and that once his sick mom passed away he was out of here. But later he decided that he wanted to be with me. He showed remorse and told his brother what a huge mistake he made by being with her. Two wrongs dont make a right and as much as I love to hear from other men i run into how beautiful I am, the only one i want to hear it from is my husband. I wont start an online affair to get back at him. I think if your husband is unhappy you both need to go your separate ways. staying for the kids is unhealthy for everyone involved. I mean if he shows no remorse then the likely hood that he will do it again is high. Mine showed remorse. Although I dont know if it as much remorse as it was that he got caught. He actually didnt get caught. He’d been texting her and had me convinced they were just friends. Then came clean one night that he had been intamite with her twice.

    • stupidandtrusting

      Jennifer – please don’t think I am judging you – I am trying to learn. Why do you feel your EA was not all that wrong? Is it because your husband already did the same? You say that you continued to communicate solely because of how he made you feel – how did he make you feel? I read the word validated again and again while trying to understand EA’s, but I would like to know what it means to you. Did the good feeling you got last for hours? days? minutes? Did guilt play a role for you? Was it worth it or help you somehow?
      On another note, you are a much stronger person than I – my self-esteem would be even lower than it is now if my husband had not fully committed to our marriage at this point. I don’t have young children though, so perhaps that is why you can handle the limbo you seem to be in.
      I am asking these questions in a real effort to understand an EA from another perspective and I hope you don’t mind.

      • Jennifer

        stupidandtrusting: I don’t mind at all. I guess I don’t feel in the wrong (though I KNOW I was) because mine wasn’t a physical affair. I wasn’t looking for love or anything long-term. I WANTED to heal my marriage, but I craved a man’s attention. It had been so long since I felt like a sexy woman. And at that time, my husband was staying out late doing God knows what while I was stuck at home with the kids and no company. I felt like this OM was just giving me what I craved (attention), with no strings. I had no desire to even meet him in person, nor did he ever ask me to. Our relationship was basically an online dirty chat session, but I found myself daydreaming about being with him. I drove past his house one day on a whim. That’s when I sort of freaked myself out and said, ‘Whoa. What am I doing?’ I knew I didn’t want a divorce. I knew I had no interest in this other man at all. That’s when I stopped. It started to feel icky when he would try to talk to me. I just wanted my husband back. I wanted the words from the OM to be coming from my husband. But right there, in the moment, I guess my thinking was, “I’m so tired and lonely, I’ll take it where I can get it.”

    • Bonms

      My H still has trouble taking full responsibility for his EA or the impact it had on our marriage. It has been 3 yrs since the affair ended but only 6 mnths since all contact stopped.
      Does he show regret or remorse though, yes very much. He has become a much better loving Husband and works hard on our marriage every day, he has at times apologized for hurting me although still insists I was overreacting and that he didnt really do anything wrong.
      I get alot of mixed messages but what I focus on is the positive ones and I suspect that part of his inability to admit what he did was wrong or an affair is the feeling of shame he feels over the whole thing. Also as my H has only ended contact 6 mnths ago it seems that he is only just coming out of his “fog”, up until recently he still had a strong sense of loyalty to the OW and I believe still had some feelings for her, although he was no longer acting on them.

    • stupidandtrusting

      Jennifer – Thank you for your honesty and for being open to answering prying questions. I can now understand that you were feeling abandoned and in need and that your husband was causing you a good deal of pain already. You said something that struck me – as soon as your chatting started to become real (i.e. your drive by), you backed off. It is what happened with my husband – when his OW wanted to meet up and spoke quite graphically, he freaked out. That is when it ended for him. She lives in another state, so he had only seen her in person one time in the two years. After seeing her, he no longer felt lustful or desirous of her at all, just couldn’t stop wanting the attention that soothed his midlife crisis. He would be the first to say that all of that was offered at home but that his upset over aging made him feel desperate and when she called, he was in a bad place emotionally. I am only 5 months out now and I still feel relentless pain, I cry often, I have terrible trigger reactions but oddly, I feel he and I are more connected than we have been in years. Today I owe him an apology for reacting to something (music basically) so strongly – I am angry that I am going through this and sadly, I have not yet apologized but I will very shortly. I know he regrets his behavior and now I have to regret mine – oh what a vicious web we weave….

    • Charles Montague

      I don’t think cheating spouses regret there actions at all. What I hear is I feel sorry for you. That’s it. Remorseful? My wife says her actions were right at the time it happened. It was OK to say I love you and kiss this other person. I have not heard one word from her stating that she thought she made a mistake however, she would like to work it out for the sake of our 11 yr old little girl. My wife works with this person daily and I have asked her to leave her job…one that only 4 months in the making so we can possibly mend our relationship. She wont do it. My thought process is its either him or me…period. What is a person to do and doesn’t sound like she is too remorseful huh…


    • ruth

      honestly the only remose they have is they got caught or we wouldn’t be here. They didn’t stop on their own we found out. When my husband reads about someone who has cheated that is what he says so I believe that is exactly why he is not remorsful.

    • Em

      Ruth, mine didn’t get found out. He admitted his sexual affairs when telling me that he didn’t want to be married to me anymore. That was 4 years ago! We have both chosen to stay in the marriage and have had many ups and downs. He still loves one that he HAD an EM with but realises that she would not fit into his life as I do. He seems to have absolutely no remorse, guilt etc and I suspect very little understanding of how it feels to be betrayed in this sort of way. I think that the lack of remorse makes the whole thing more difficult for me to deal with. It’s not that I want him to spend the rest of his life suffering for his past actions but…. 2SAs and at least 2EAs over the last 14 years! He equates these actions to my not being attentive enough when he is ill.

      • marjorie zamora

        at first my husband tried to say his affair was because i’m never home. I work 3 jobs. but rather than cheat on me he should have appreciated me and had the house cleaned for me. He said he felt neglected. And while i will admit that we have grown apart this last year, I still never went into the arms of another man seeking the attention i wanted and needed. But he went into the arms of another. And because of that, I dont trust. He created this problem but im the one trying to fix it. My sister keeps saying I should leave him. I really dont think any of us knows how we will handle this kind of situation til we are in it. This is my second husband and the second one who has cheated. So as you can imagine, it makes me wonder what’s wrong with me that two men have cheated. My self esteem is lower than low and I dont know how to get it back.

    • Charles M

      Ruth and EM,

      I can emphathize with you…My wife states she has no regrets from kissing and saying I love you to this person and says that I was the reason she chose to go this direction. To a certain degree we all have to work on marriages…yes I agree so I do accept some blame for her going this direction, however to date she still says it wasn’t a mistake and is not remorseful to date. Getting caught, yes that could be viewed as being remorseful EM. What really gets me about all this stuff is so you have been married for 12 yrs and now all these excuses about why the cheater chose to do this. Why not mention these things and address them during the marriage. She said she tried to mention but I would not listen. Anyway, I was going to move out but chose to stay in the best interest of both my daughter and our current financial situation… I cannot afford to pay rent and a mortgage and dont want to just jump ship and leave my 11 yr old stranded. Ruth, I hear you loud and clear…I dont know how you made it 4 yrs so far but you obviously have thick skin. Any advice of what or where to go from here is appreciated. My wife says she wont divorce me and marry this guy and wants to try to work it out. Dont know if I can believe her…Charles

    • ruth

      I have to be honest with myself. Dont get me wrong I love my husband but I am begining to think that I will always carry a heavy heart. No matter how I try I will not get over this. Yes it better than yesterday and the day before but will it ever really go away? I realize that it wont because there will alway be a trigger. Weather its a song, a hotel we drive by, the clothes he wears, the cologne he puts on. She was on a pedal, still I still am not. Too many triggers. So why dont I leave?? Well like I said I do love him and after 36yrs its just easier to stay, too too much invested and I think thats why he stayed too. I cant forgive him or her. Some days I think I should of just gave up and some days I thank God I didn’t. My D day is not when I found out but the last time he tried to contact her and that would be this past Aug. He hasn’t had contact with her since March but he has stop looking for her online since aug. So all this time if he had regrets dont you think he would be honest with me and tell me that he wants to talk to her?? All this time he tell me he love me. Word are one thing anyone can say the words but actions speak so much louder. I am have been think lately and I realize he has not change one bit. He just goes along like this is in the past and I should just get over it now. I will never trust him again not like I did before and thats sad. I think I am living the fantasy thinking we will work this out. I wake up and the first thing I think about is her and him and what they did and how I was betrayed. I am going to call a spade a spade the I am staying only cuz its easier to stay

    • melissa

      Ruth, you’re not alone. I feel just the same. My husband says he loves me but whenever I feel low he’s unable to reassure me and flies into terrible rages, like this is all MY fault for not ‘letting it go’. For him it should all be clear cut, he ‘doesn’t want to have contact with the woman’ (strangely her name cannot be uttered in our house) so all should be sweetness and light.

      I also think it’s easier to stay for various reasons and I want to beat myself up for it but a friend of mine said to me ‘that’s OK, that’s an OK decision to make, as long as you know what you want. You can always give yourself time and change that decision if you feel it’s not the right one anymore’.

      Betrayal is the toughest thing to bear, it shakes you to your bones, shatters all your beliefs, destroys your values, questions what you thought you shared with your husband.

      What I have found out is that my husband is not at all what I thought he was. I make decisions based on whether what I am doing is likely to hurt the people who matter to me or not, whether it is ‘right’ or ‘wrong’. My husband does not care about right or wrong, it seems. He wanted to have his cake and eat it, he wanted the admiration and the fun and the pretty girl on his arm (I think). The bitter truth is that she certainly did not want him in the way he wanted her, she wanted his career advice and she needed to be adored. He must be absolutely crushed by this but there is nothing I can do.

      So hold on and take care.

    • marjorie zamora

      Recently my 41 year old husband had an affair with a 27 year old woman. At first he blamed me saying all i do is work. After we talked it out he place sole blame where blame is due (on himself) The other woman and he both say its over between them. The problem is that she lives at the same apartment complex he’s the maintenence man at. That’s how they met to begin with. I confronted them both and she said she wants nothing to do with him. They did have unprotected sex twice and at one point he told me he cared about her. He now says he no longer has those feelings for her but how do i know hes not lying? He wont open up to me or answer any questions. He gets mad if i bring it up saying he wants us to move on and forget. But i cant move on without knowing for sure he no longer has feelings for her. Im the one doing the changing and showing how much i love him and im not the one who cheated. he tells his family how wrong he was for what he did and that he loves me but he wont tell me that. Why? I feel like im forcing him to be here. He wont tell me he loves me unless i tell him first. I really dont know what to do.

      • Doug

        Marjorie, How long ago did this affair end? It is not uncommon at all for the cheating spouse to not want to talk about the affair–especially if a man, and especially right away. The affair was painful to him as well, and he is probably feeling guilt, shame and anger all at once. Talking about it is not a pleasant experience, hence he avoids it. You may want to read this post: https://www.emotionalaffair.org/healing-infidelity-talking-about-the-affair/

        At some point you need to have a heart to heart talk to determine the underlying reasons for the affair, and make the appropriate changes (both of you) so that you can have the best shot at saving your marriage. You can also try doing a “180” : https://www.emotionalaffair.org/do-a-%E2%80%9C180%E2%80%9D-to-save-your-marriage/ or backing off, to see if that helps. Geed luck.

        • marjorie zamora

          Hello Doug, THe affair ended two weeks ago after he confessed. The problem is that i have this overwhelming guilt that hes here because he’s guilted into being here. What i mean is, when i found out about the affair I cried and cried in front of him. I really dont know why because he has more to lose by divorcing me than I have since he came into the marrige with nothing. I do believe the girl that’s its over but dont truly know if it is in his mind. Although, she does seem naive because she fell for his line from day one. She moved into the apartment complex in mid Sept. and they became friends first. Then they slept together late Sept. or Early Oct. He said she made him feel alive again. I am at work all day worrying and wondering if they are speaking. I dont want him having any contact with her at all and if there is work that needs to be done in her apt, is it selfish of me to ask her to leave her apt while the work gets done?

          • Doug

            Marjorie, It’s always tough to give advice when you don’t know the whole story, and both sides, but I would think that since it is so soon after the affair has ended, it’s probably just tough for him to talk about it. Give him a little time. In the meantime, it’s normal for you to feel as though he is staying because you guilted him in to it. Linda felt the same way at first, and mentions it occasionally still. You should know eventually though that it is not the case (or possibly is the case) by his actions and words towards you, as well as his desire to improve your marriage.

            Certainly no contact is best, but outside of him quitting his job, or her moving out, that may be difficult in this instance. You should be the one setting the ground rules though, and if he truly wants to save the marriage, he will abide by those rules. For instance, he must tell you if he sees or talks to her, if he has to work on her apartment, etc. It would be best if he were in the position where he could refuse to work on her place. some experts would tell you that he must quit his job immediately.

            • Marjoire Zamora

              Doug, Thank you for your continued input. I did question my husband the other day about what was going to happen if he had to do work on her apt. I said I didnt want him having any contact with her. Well I guess she needed a water heater put in and he said she told him that she would leave to go to her moms for a few hours until he got the work done. And said the conversation ended there. We live in town of 7,000 people. Everyone knows everyone. And on my lunch break I found myself drivng by his work. Her car was there so i knew she was home. I drove by again and that time I saw her leave. I waited a while then drove by her moms and her car was indeed at her moms. so that sent a little relief thru me. One of the things that keeps playing out in my head is that when i confronted her she said he had told her that he and I were already in the process of a divorce and it was mutual. She said he told her he couldnt wait for it to be over between us and that he couldnt wait to sign the divorce papers. The problem is when he told he all of that I didnt know about the two of them so I didnt have divorce papers for him to sing. It just makes me wonder if deep inside he did want it over between us and felt since he got caught cheating and lied to her that he may as well stay with me since she rejected him. I dont want him with me because she rejected him. I hope you dont mind my comments doug.I need help to be stronger than I am. I shoulda thrown him out on his butt. I feel like im the one trying when im not the one who cheated. Yes, i know that he may not express himself the way he should be after what he did. But he makes me feel bad for even asking quesitons about it. Citing that Im never going to get over this and how he needs to be trusted. He honestly cannot think he has already gained my trust. He hasnt. This is the second husband who has cheated on me and so because of that I have a low self esteem wondering whats wrong with me that i got cheated on twice? Thats why i need to know that hes with me because he wants to be not cause he feels he has to be.

    • jessica

      I know I am going to catch some heat and eye rolls, because I am the OW. I came to this site through many links looking for honest men that may share their opinion and their experiences going back to their wives after an EA. I find this a very informative site and appreciate all of the opinions and advice working through an EA…on both sides.

      Am I remorseful? I’m not sure how I feel about any of it at this point. The OM and I were outed a couple of months ago (mid Sept.) by a video left on my husband’s car at a CC. When my husband viewed the video he immediately called the OM and voiced his anger. My husband swears up and down he did not give anyone the okay to follow me and I believe him. The video man, on his own, stalked me for weeks filming me and the OM at various times and places, and gathering contact info. I did file a police report and showed evidence…we think it’s someone from the CC.

      Prior to this the OM and I had carried on the affair for a little over 2 years and had no desire to end it, though we knew we should. We were/are in love. A couple of times we tried to break it off but could not. He is soon to become an empty nester and I have two young children. We are 7 years apart in age. We have so much in common and are very much alike, and often made the comment that we were each other as the opposite sex.

      It started the typical way, he complaining about the lack of emotional/physical connection with his wife. According to him, they did not have sex and she was hyper-critical all of the time and always negative. He said he had been unhappy and stayed for the kids. Me, I live with a hyper-critical, negative and selfish husband, but he is loyal and has much integrity. We talked, then flirted, which lead to kissing and touching.

      The OM often fantasized about us leaving our spouses and starting a life together, though I knew he would never leave his W. I was not sure of my intentions either though I dreamed the same. When the sh** hit the fan that evening, I told the OM that this was it…either we go or stay, and *SURPRISE* he said he was going to stay with the W as there was much history (30 yrs) with her. He said it was not what his heart wanted, but because of his commitment/vow to her. I told him I was breaking it off as I want him to give his full attention to her, as I will try to do the same with my husband (together 20 yrs). We mentioned that if we were meant to be it will be…just not now and in this way. We need to be separate and not bring hurt onto our spouses or into a possible union.

      I am very sad this all came about the way it did and hurt so many people. I am also sad I am not seeing the OM as I miss our time together. I know time will heal us all and open our eyes to the truth…whatever that will be. I am trying my best to reconnect with my husband, but it’s very difficult and my heart is not in it. He has taken some responsibility for the problems in our marriage and is making a great effort to move forward, though there are some bad days as his trust in me is low.

      I would like to hear from the men as to how they are reuniting with their wives and how they feel about it. The wives I’ve seen comment on other sites seem to claim the relationship is better than ever after some work and time, but I am not sure I believe that.

      • Doug

        jessica, I normally try not to “flame” the OW because I really do appreciate your comments and I feel your input is valuable. However just by reading your comments I felt I needed to say a few things. My comments may be totally irrelevant, seeing that I am the betrayed wife, but I believe your are having difficulty connecting with your husband because you are still living the fantasy of the affair. One of the comments struck me because those are the same exact words my brother used to describe his OW. “We are so much alike it is like we are each other’s opposite sex.” My brother truly believed that until he left his wife and moved in with her for a few months. The reality of the situation made him look at her a lot differently. Obviously they are not together anymore.

        Also the way you ended the affair will always leave the door open to wonder if you are really meant to be together. Those words will always keep the fantasy alive. Here is the reality, you have been together for two years and given the opportunity he has decided to stay with his wife. He may have provided a ton of reasons but the bottom line is he chose to be with her. I know this is hard to accept, but it sounds like you have a husband that wants to give your marriage a try. Please make an attempt to remove the fantasy of the affair and give your marriage a fighting chance. Linda

        • melissa

          Linda is so right, Jessica. Just think about the damage you have both done to your marriages. If yours is not good, it is not acceptable to go and seek validation with someone else who is also married. The rule, to me, is don’t ever believe the man who says his marriage is dead/he and his wife are not making love/they are not connecting, it is rarely true – and even if it is, the rule should be ‘never with a married man’. Tough but at least you will not tear apart a family, destroy a relationship, traumatise children and alienate friends. The easiest – and most pathetic – thing a man can say (and sadly they never realise how pathetic they are when they say it) is ‘my wife doesn’t understand me’. Oh, come on… his wife probably understands him too well!

      • Inthemiddleofit

        I can’t answer the big question yet as to how this will all turn out, but I did want to comment on a few things you said. The “fog” has been lifting quickly this past week or so. A big part of it has been me talking about on this site. She has (not intentionally) helped as well by some of her actions, which is a good thing.

        My PA hasn’t been going on that long, almost 4 months. We had talked about being together and how great that would be. Thankfully, I think she was more scared of leaving her situation than I was, which probably prevented us from jumping down that path.

        Here’s what I’m learning though as I think more about this this week. Was I in love with her or being with her? During it, that would pop into my head occasionally, but I usually dismissed it with a I’m in love with her. I think about her all the time. With a clearer head, I think I realize I was (and probably still am to a certain extent) in love with being with her. I’ve noticed when I think back to times we were together, I think more about the feelings those times created and not her. Now that I’ve haven’t seen or talked to her as much lately, I realize I miss all the attention. The texts, calls, etc. I miss the way she would look at me. Stuff like that. Not necessarily her.

        You’ve been in your PA for much longer so I would imagine your feelings are stronger – but if you think about it, do you miss him, or do you miss all the interactions and feelings?

      • D

        I am a betrayed husband 10 mos since dday. The ridiculous part of affairs is how utterly textbook they are. Nearly everything you’re feeling my wife (18 month affair) said the same things, using at times the exact same phrasing. It’s a sad addiction.

        Reconciliation is difficult. I will never understand her decision, which was basically made because she wanted to do it. It had nothing to do with me (though justifications were made), it had nothing to do with outside forces (though justifications were made.) In essence, some guy told her she was worth his attention and so she fell for him. All rather pathetic if you ask me.

        What confuses me about emotional affairs is that if it feels so right, and the two are such soul-mates, and if everything is so perfect when they are together, why bother working on the marriage? Why not end it? Sometimes that does happen, for better or worse, but when it doesn’t it boggles the mind.

        My wife wants to stay in the marriage. She says she hasn’t “honored” me or shown me the respect I deserve. Today she looks at this affair and her AP as a mistake she’d just as soon forget. There are no obvious lingering feelings (although it took months for her after last contact to lose them completely. She confessed in January, made last contact in April, and it has only been in the last month that she has shown genuine affection toward me – which, ironically makes me all the more suspicious as to why.)

        But here’s the thing you might keep in mind. I don’t respect her anymore. I don’t trust her. There are times I don’t even like her. How can she say she loves me and do this to me? Nothing is more selfish, hurtful, and damaging. As far as I’m concerned, the last twenty years are meaningless. Whatever we will have starts new everyday. I can’t depend on her to make me happy. I don’t trust those feelings of warmth or affection. I used to wonder all the time where she was after she left, what she was really doing, who she was really with, but after time I just don’t care anymore.

        She is actually really trying now to reconnect. She is reaching out to me. She is honoring me, respecting me. She may even truly love me again (though I suspect, and she says, she never stopped loving me – she just got confused.) But I don’t really care. There’s a hole in my heart. Initially I thought it was sex I needed. If she desired me then we would be ok. But that wasn’t it. Then I thought it was affection. That wasn’t it either. I thought it was respect. That wasn’t it. It comes down to this: I don’t feel safe with her. If your spouse murdered someone, would you ever really feel safe around them knowing they were capable of that? Probably not. I don’t feel safe. I doubt I ever will. Divorce is on my mind every day, even as spend wonderful moments together, because it only takes a far-away glance to wipe it all away. What is she thinking about? I will never know. I can’t ask her, because her answer could easily be a lie.

        This is the result of your affair, Jessica.

        • jessica

          Hello D. Thank you for your thoughts. Your post has really hit me hard…and hurt me. Perhaps we can learn from each other. My H and I too have been together for 20 years.

          You are right about everything being textbook as I said this to the OM about what we were doing…but not believing it was us. No, we were different. We were soul-mates. I feel like a fool sometimes. But in reality, right or wrong all relationships start with attraction and conversation. It should have stopped there though, and it did not. I do get attention from other men (I do not seek it or am cheap…I’m healthy and take good care of myself) but do not act on it. This man was different and I was drawn to him. I don’t know what else to say about my actions and why I chose to stray…they were selfish actions.

          I can relate to what your wife is going through. She may not know what she is feeling. I do know that I have not been satisfied in my marriage for a while and have voiced this to my H. I do not know your situation at home, but I HAVE honored my H and take very good care of him in every way…even through my EA. I know I became distant at times and he noticed, but never questioned it or tried to improve the situation. For him, and us, it was easier to ignore. My needs were ignored. Things would be fixed for a while but then would go back to the way they were. But this is all for another site. I guess what I am alluding to here is maybe she was not being fulfilled at home was tired of asking and it falling on deaf ears.

          One thing that I find interesting on this site is how the betrayed fess up to how they could have been better partners after the affair has been discovered. It took a monumental blow for change. Why?? My OM mentioned this too. His W has been much more attentive because of what we did, as is my H. No more eyes wide shut.

          My H, though, feels as you do. He could have written your post. He does not trust me, we have talked about divorce as I know too he thinks about it daily, and I know what I have done will be with him for a long time and may not be reparable. I am ready for what will come my way. I am preparing for it. Maybe I will be happier without him?? But for now, he has taken some responsibility for this mess and I want to put myself back into the relationship. Only then will I know if we can survive.

          • Doug

            Jessica, I have been debating whether to respond to your comment about the betrayed spouse being more attentive after the affair was discovered. I have written a couple of responses then erase them because I am having trouble conveying the reason for this. It is true we are more attentive and try to do everything we can to save our marriage. You have to understand that our whole world has just been turned upside down. How else would you expect a person to react. We felt desperate, hurt, loss of control, jealous…. the list could go on and on. The only way to feel in control is to take action. You may wonder why we didn’t do this before, well in my situation I really didn’t know that our situation was so bad. Doug never really told me in so many words that he was unhappy, he mainly voiced his discontent through sarcasm, withdrawing or anger.

            I want you to think about a time when your affair partner was going away with his wife. How did you react, what did you do to try to control the situation. Did you make sure that the day before he left you were extra attentive, provided special memories? While he was away did you text or call him to let him know you were thinking about him? If you did these things you were doing exactly what a betrayed spouse was doing, but because of the situation our actions are a lot more desperate and intense. I really don’t regret doing everything I could to save our marriage, I know some of the things I did were not the best for my self esteem, but I did what I thought was best at the time. Linda

            • jessica

              Hello Linda,

              Thank you for your comments regarding my last post.

              Over the last day I have perused your site a bit more and noticed there is not much of the OP (OM, OW) commenting here. I sincerely hope I do not hurt anyone’s feelings, or intend to, with my words, for I’m also trying to find my way.

              Now to answer your questions. I think my OM’s situation was different than yours and Doug’s. The OM had voiced his displeasure many times to his W, according to him. At one point he had given her an ultimatum, which she ignored because she knew he would never follow through. There were nights he would spend away from home at a friend’s house because there was no getting through to her and he was frustrated. Sounds to me she did not want to honor his requests, but then again, this is all his side of the story.

              I’m going to assume you did pressure Doug to be more candid with you. Or if there was something the matter, why the sarcasm?

              You asked me if I tried to control the situation of my OM spending time with his W. I can honestly say this…I never connected with him on the weekends (this was our family time), I never gave him anything extra before he was to be away from me, with her, for any length of time. I never contacted him when I knew he was with her. I was not jealous of her, and I never tried to intentionally come between them in any way. He and I always told each other that if we wanted to stop seeing each other we would let this go…and we were both okay with that. We were not ready to let go when we were caught at 26 months into the relationship.

              I do not fear love. You cannot make someone love you or want to be with you. That said, I would never manipulate a situation to win someone over because the outcome might not be sincere. And I say this regarding my situation.

            • Doug

              Jessica, I imagine you situation was much different from many affairs that are discussed here. I am not sure about the specifics of Doug and Tanya’s affair but I have seen from the phone logs there was a lot of contact while we were on vacations, or weekends etc. I am not sure who initiated the phone calls at this point it really doesn’t matter. I do know that Doug said there was a lot of jealousy when Doug would spend time with me or our family. I am sorry that I may have assumed your situation was the same. I will be honest it is very difficult to read about your situation because I feel Tanya could have written the same things about my husband, and that is very painful to hear. It is hard living with the reality that Doug was living a second life while he was committed to our family and me. Linda

      • marjorie zamora

        I have read alot of the cases above. I am trying to look at it from all angles. The statement from the OW above leaves me wondering. The OW in my husbands case says she wont be with him because he lied to her when he told her that it was already over between us and we were divorcing. but she was naive enough to fall for his bull the first time, why not a second or third? As much as I want to sympahize with the OW I can’t. In my case my husband felt bad for hurting us both but in my opinion shouldnt have cared about her feelings since i was his wife. He owes her nothing. I am trying to reinvent my marriage. I know it cannot go back to what it was before his affair. But im the one doing the trying while he isnt doing much. Hes the one who cheated. Shouldn’t he be the one to grobble? Somehow I feel the affair was in a sense my fault and that if I reinvent us, he wont stray again. and I know this is unrealistic. But if it doesnt work out then i just want him to know I tried.

    • melissa

      D, no-one has worded those feelings better, right down to the ‘hole in the heart’. I am going through the same heartache, some days I don’t care anymore. Every time my husband reaches out to me (a smile, a kiss, washing up after I’ve cooked, a cup of tea…) I am suspicious and wonder what he’s hiding, whether the OW is still on the scene and he’s just trying to fool me. I don’t feel safe either anymore either. But reading Linda and Doug’s blog shows that it IS possible to start over and I’m hoping that if I give it time and reach out half way, something wonderful might start again. I hope it does for you too.

    • jessica

      Hello all and thank you for replying and commenting on my EA. I truly appreciate it.

      Overall I am feeling this. The fact that it was not a short affair tells me there were some genuine feelings between us. I believe since our break-up I have been going through the withdrawal that Doug had spoken of in an earlier article and that is why it is still been painful for me, as well as this being the reason I am having a hard time connecting with my husband. He knows this too and understands because of the length of the affair, there are deep rooted feelings that will take time to let go.

      Linda – Thank you for your insight and directness. I need it. I am curious to know how long your brother’s affair went on before he decided to leave his W. I ask because I am not one to jump into anything without much analysis on my part. I know this sounds strange, since I should have analyzed my actions to begin with and the consequences of such actions.

      Anyway, I know what you say about the OM choice to be true. And I knew this in the back of my mind all along…I just chose not to hear it because of the enjoyment it gave me to spend time with him. I am accepting, through time, that I was not his choice…and trying to gather some self respect in the process.

      To be candid, the OM and I do email each other once a week to touch base. We do not converse. It’s just one update and is usually just “matter of fact” in tone. Though last week he mentioned through a song, he dreamed of marrying me and had mentioned he may have to move into an apt. if his situation did not change. I don’t believe him and wish he would not say such things to me because of what we’ve been through. It made me angry.

      I know what you are going to say…I need to cut this “tie that binds,” for when I do, I can move on emotionally and take care of myself and my husband.

      Melissa – I do feel bad about the damage we both caused…really sick about it. We often said that it was not our spouses that brought us together but how easy it was to be with each other. It felt so natural. Yes, we did not have the day to day, kids, bills, etc. so of course it was easy. You are right. I think that if he truly was unhappy, he would have left.

      Inthemiddleofit – I’m so glad you replied and was hoping to hear from you as I had read your story on another post. I relate to everything you are feeling…the calls, texts, time together, how he looked at me…these things I do miss. You mention the fog, and mine has been lifting too. I think my situation is due to expressing my thoughts here and reading about others. The OM and I have much respect toward eachother…so to say…and are not hurtful or bitter. In fact if we were, that would probably make the fog lift quicker and our breakup easier.

      I know what you are talking about the love/fantasy thing. I question/questioned it too. Was it him, or the time with him and how I felt being with him. To be honest, I think it is all of it. If our EA was short-term I would not think it was love…but that is just me. I do not fall in love quickly and am cautious as to whom I give my heart to. The OM expressed his love for me within the first couple of weeks, it scared me and a flag went up, but who’s to say what is right and wrong when it comes to love. I should have ended it then but did not because I enjoyed his company. After a couple of months I started to have stronger feelings and we got really into each other…and it grew stronger for the both of us over the next 2 years.

      He would sometimes say to me that he was looking for love and was glad he found me. It made me feel I could have been anyone in his path at the right place and time, though he denies it. This comment alone is helping to lift the fog. I, on the other hand, was not looking for love, but found him.

      Thank you all for reading my post and letting me share my thoughts. This has been very therapeutic for me as I know I must move on emotionally…for me, my self-respect, and the success of my marriage.

    • Inthemiddleofit

      Jessica, I have found talking about it and posting on this site to be therapeutic as well. I mentored this in another post – I do think the inability to talk about the affair while it’s happening with friends and loved ones makes it much more difficult to see things clearly. You don’t really have to explain or say anything to anyone, which means the only voice you hear is that one going “man this feels good. She’s really wants me and thinks I’m great.”

      Perhaps though you still need to be in the right frame of mind as Doug’s brother couldn’t hear anything at that point.

    • jessica

      Good evening Linda,

      You are right. I do think my experience is different from the other EA’s I have been reading here. But as individuals we all are different and some affairs are not going to follow a cookie cutter pattern. You talk about addiction and fog in some of your articles. I think after a certain amount of time, it’s safe to say it is not an addiction and the relationship has survived the fog.

      In one reply to me, you compared some of the feelings I had with my OM to your brother’s feelings in his EA experience. I had found his article yesterday and read it. It was me to a T…up until I read he left his wife after ONLY 9 MONTHS. That’s crazy and I would never do such a thing. I’m very patient and like to see how things play out first…let the fog lift, for example.

      I think the fact Doug is your co-pilot on the blog is so very positive. A lot of the women here who have been betrayed probably do not have the supportive husband you do. IMO, and I do not know you two, after reading his posts and how he feels about things, the fact he has gone public to help others, I would venture to say he would never go back to Tanya. So much kindness and love he has for you. Now if he started a new EA with someone else, well, that would be an addiction and another type of problem. I think a more serious one.

      Mentally and emotionally, I am letting my OM go. It will be a long process I’m sure. I love him and want him to be happy with his W, if that is where he chooses to be. Which he did. I have no intention of reuniting with him. In fact, I have more remorse for the hurt I caused her than my husband.

      With all due respect, for you, and the others here, I will cease my posts if they are too painful to read.

    • stupidandtrusting

      I am frankly confused by your post – if you are still in contact in any way, you are making the wrong choice, for yourself, for your marriage, your husband, and your OM’s wife.
      I read that you have more regret about what you have done to his wife than to your husband and that makes me feel that you are not, in fact, committed to your husband and marriage. Your husband will never feel healed because you are not doing the healing – I base this on your own comments and actions. You continue to comment on your love for OM, but I don’t see those words with regard to your husband – I just don’t see words of love for your husband here, maybe I missed it. It is not hurtful for me to read your posts, but it is, in fact, very telling, You are still in the fantasy and you are preventing OM from repairing his marriage and your H from having the love, care and marriage he deserves. Jessica, you have not and are not honoring your husband. When I read that your affair was “different” and yet ended with the two of you not being together, well, it’s not different, is is just as cliche as all the others.

      • Karen Klein

        Jessica: I so agree with StupidandTrusting’s post. Your posts do not hurt me – I feel pity for you as you are living a limbo life right now. You are not working on your marriage, and your H knows it. Your OM chose his wife over you, and despite all your disclaimers to the contrary, you haven’t given up the affair. You’re keeping it alive in your mind and your once-a-month emails. You say there is no fog or addiction in your EA due to its length – I beg to differ. My H’s EA went on for 2 years, and it took about 3 months to come out of the fog for him after D-day and about 5 months for the OW to come out of the fog. They both admit now it was an addiction they couldn’t stop because they did not want to deal with the issues in their lives (yes, I’m in communication with the OW, who has asked and received my forgiveness). People like yourself who cheat on their spouses have a character flaw (I think it’s an overdeveloped narcissistic trait personally) that the rest of us with other character flaws do not have that allows the cheaters such as yourself to commit betrayal of their spouses and then justify it due to some shortcoming of their spouse. Your posts are curious to me as you go back and forth – one minute saying you realize how you were wrong; the next minute proclaiming your EA was different. Yes, there are many different types of affairs, but the bottom line is selfishness by the cheaters. The much harder thing is to do the right thing toward your spouse after your affair is exposed: either put in 100 percent effort or let your spouse go to find someone who will truly love them 100%. That’s only fair. The cheater’s mentality is they tried to fix their marriages before having an affair. In your mind maybe you tried, but I guarantee all betrayed spouses thought they were trying to fix their marriages also or didn’t truly understand what the marriage problems were yet they DIDN’T have an affair. You must have a truly wonderful H, since he is willing to try to reinvent your marriage, but you’re robbing him of the chance to do that by still staying in the fantasy of the “love” for your OM and using it as a weapon against your H. You protest too much virtue, yet your actions show otherwise.
        I also hope I have not offended you by my post, and thank you for at least considering our betrayed spouse input.

    • jessica

      Thank you, S.A.T. and Karen, for your comments to my posts.

      I agree whole-heartedly with most of your comments and am not offended by any of your words, for I find them helpful.

      Since coming to this site and posting here, I personally have not been in contact with my OM, and though he has chosen to be with his wife he is still emailing me. I have taken to the advice of Linda, and all here, that I must move on. My affair ended 3 months ago, so according to Karen and her personal experience, it is quite possible I am still in the fog. I think only time will answer this for me, but in any event I must move on from the limbo she mentions. I have only perused the current article posted about the length of affairs, but could it be possible we struck a balance?

      Regarding my marriage and the love I have for my H. Yes, I did a selfish thing. But, no one on either side of the family would be surprised by it or if I left my H. They would be sad but not surprised. My issues with my H have been going on for a while and I have put up with quite a lot in the last 9 years. I have been extremely supportive, patient and verbal in my needs, but I had not been heard or taken seriously and my patience has run out. He will not seek counseling as I have suggested this many times, so it will be up to me to go for myself. I believe he is willing to save this marriage because of the kids and the fact he knows he wasn’t there for me and wants to turn a new leaf. Again…only after this revelation of an EA. I know he loves me, but he has been very selfish in his own right. I am deciding too, during this time of repair, if I want to stay with him. Something I ponder too…if I truly loved my H with all of my heart, how could I have ever done this to him?

      I am not sure about the contradiction you see in my posts. To me they are what I am feeling at the moment coupled with confusion of those feelings while I take this journey…just as you all are. You probably go through different emotions daily, as I do too. Like I said before, I did not look for an affair, as I have had other opportunities to have them and did not. This person was special to me. I confidently believe if there is love, it will find a way and survive. Again, only time will tell. Am I going to dwell on it and wait for it? No, I will not.

    • stupidandtrusting

      Jessica – I am pleased that you are willing to hear from others but there are still concerns based on your post – let’s look at a few of your comments or statements:
      1.Your OM is still in contact with you and you are allowing it, you stopped contact within the last two weeks – that does not match the three month period you state for ending your affair.You are leaving the door open. I think it is really important for you to understand what ending the affair really means. It means NO CONTACT – this has not been achieved for three months.
      2. “He has chosen to be with his wife and he is still emailing me.” Neither of you has really ended. He is not offering his wife a marriage. You are not offering your marriage success. But most important, you are choosing not to hear his choice. He did not choose you, so why choose him? Why continue to hope?
      3. I think you want to believe your affair was special and different, length has less to do with it than you may think. It is ease and convenience that allow it to go on. Once caught, he was not interested in continuing – that is how you know – he made a choice and though he continues to email, he didn’t choose you.
      4. You still have not expressed love for your husband. You have given lots of justification for having an EA. Jessica, any affair of any kind is a cowardly and selfish act. If you feel you have been mistreated and unheard, the thing to do is leave, not have an affair and feel you have a right to do so. I simply do not hear love for your husband and if that is the case, buck up and go. That is fair for both of you. Why haven’t YOU been in counseling? You don’t even know that you love your husband, isn’t that worth some counseling? And yes, you could have caused him great hurt even if you do love him. Trust me, I know. My husband loves me dearly and hurt me greatly. He was selfish and cowardly. He is making up for it in countless ways – are you? Let’s be direct, do you love your husband? Do you want your marriage to succeed? What are you willing to do to make that happen?
      5. There are many contradictions in your posts – but I think you must be out of the fog to see them. Yes, I experience a range of feelings, but I am the betrayed and did not choose the journey or path, as you did. You cannot compare your situation as a betrayer to ours as the betrayed – we did not have the choice to not be betrayed. We did not choose to be lied to or deceived. It is quite different, Jessica. If you are committed to your marriage and repairing your love, the contradictions you seem to have need to be worked out.
      6. Yes, we go through different emotions daily but we are not in an affair fog or lingering fantasy. Your words “this person was special” are indicative of a lingering fantasy. Most don’t look for an affair, it comes at a time of weakness and therefore a weak and selfish decision is made. If he is so special, if together you were so special, why did he make the choice that he did? If he was so special, why did you not leave your marriage?
      7. Here is the most contradictory statement “I confidently believe if there is love, it will find a way and survive. Again, only time will tell.” You are indeed waiting. I feel sad that you are holding on to this hope. You are starving your marriage while waiting, continuing to betray your husband while hoping, and most importantly, you are failing to give yourself the best gifts of all.

      • melissa

        Great post,Stupidandtrusting. It sums up the whole thing. We make decisions in our lives and these decisions impact on others. From the other posts, it also appears that some decisions by the betrayers are made on nothing more than a whim or, as you say, to ‘soothe his depression, ego and self esteem’ – same here. But these flip decisions do have an impact and a lot of us on this site are affected daily by the consequences.

      • jessica

        Hello S.A.T. and thank you for your time to reply to me.

        1.DDay was mid September. We did not see each other afterwards, but still emailed once a week. Since a couple weeks ago I have not allowed it and told him so. We are in NC mode.

        2.You are right. I am not hoping. See #1

        3. Again you are right and I understand this.

        4. I was selfish, no question about it. I do need counceling and though I do love my husband we have some issues to iron out. I will seek counseling for what you mentioned, as I am not sure what kind of love I do have for my husband. I am also getting my ducks in order should I choose to leave.

        5. I believe I am out of the fog at this point. I do not claim to compare my situation to yours as I know you were probably blind sided by this and had no choice. Yes, I did have a choice and I feel shame, regret, and remorse for what I have done to my family and his. I wish I had a second chance on the “choice.”

        6. He was special in a way in which I have not done this before, and chose to let him in. It took me 5.5 years to marry my H, I was not going to leave H and take off with the OM on a whim. I think if it lasted longer, who knows???

        7. My statement here is global. It could refer to the OM, it could refre to my H. Again, I am not waiting. I do love your last line. It touched my heart and made me feel better on not one of my good days.

        Thank you, S.A.T.

    • D

      Jessica ~ I hate this excuse that because my partner didn’t fulfill all my needs I am vulnerable to an affair. It bothers me that even the “experts” will let the cheaters off that easy. There are three choices to every problem: Accept the situation, change the situation, or remove yourself from the situation. Having an affair is avoiding making a choice at all, which is what “having your cake and eating it too” means.

      My wife had an affair, told me about it, and placed the choice squarely in my lap. Now I have the same three choices, which are really only two because our situation is changing no matter what happens. So either I accept the pain and humiliation she’s saddled me with in order to work on a future with her, or we divorce and I start over with someone else or go it alone. Both of these choices suck, by the way, thank you very much.

      I’m not perfect by any stretch, but I’m a damn good husband. I’m attentive, respectful, nurturing, communicative, romantic, cultured, intelligent, accommodating, loving, sexual. I cook, clean, share the duties raising the kids, come home after work, would rather spend time with my wife than carouse with buddies at a strip club. I give my wife her space and freedom, encourage her to go out, let her know she is loved. I’m physically fit, have a great job, make good money, am supportive of her hopes and dreams, AND, believe it or not, I’m insecure enough to be humble about it all.

      My wife’s unfulfilled “needs” had absolutely nothing to do with me.

      But that’s the truth of every affair. It’s a selfish endeavor. If one is truly unhappy then make a choice, not vacillate behind one’s back out of fear. A broken relationship takes about five years to really get over. The pain and insecurity following infidelity will probably be there for the rest of my life. I’d be a total idiot to allow myself to be vulnerable to that kind of pain again.

      My wife made the same comment you made, that because the affair lasted as long as it did it must have been love. But now in the light of day seven months since NC, there is no love, she’s not pining for him, she’s not missing him. She’s embarrassed and ashamed. Frankly, it’s the aftermath of the affair that has caused the most damage between us because there had to be a reason she had the affair and it had to be because of me. It’s taken her so long to understand that this affair was merely lust, validation, and infatuation (i.e. FOG). This blaming the spouse or having fallen in love is all smoke and mirrors. Affairs have nothing to do with anyone else but the person having the affair. Once you get to that point then you’ll begin to find your inner strength, your happiness, and you can finally really deal with your unfulfilled needs.

      NC is beyond important. It is the foundation upon which you will rebuild yourself. Once you do that, then you can work on your marriage. It’s going to take time. Best to start now.

      • Doug

        D, great comment really needed it today. Linda

      • Inthemiddleofit

        Great response D – I suppose it is easy for the one cheating to place blame on the shoulders of their spouse. I know I felt that way – that if our sex life was better, I wouldn’t have fallen so easily. While I do think there is an element of truth to that, it’s not that simple. I agree with how you put the situation. Quite frankly, if kids weren’t involved, I probably would have left a long time ago. But since they are, I’ve tried to stay in the marriage. But then it’s impossible to better that situation while you’re involved.

        I do want to say this – and this is NOT an excuse or a justification and I am NOT defending my actions or anyone else who cheated and keeps talking to the OP. I know I’ve seen people mention this, but I can speak from personal experience here, all the feelings around an affair are like a drug. All the calls, texts, etc, are like hits from a bong. It really has little to do with the OP. It is extremely difficult to just stop cold turkey. Look at how many people can’t stop smoking or quit drugs. It’s that same chemical in your brain…

        I am not saying this to justify any actions or for someone to feel sorry for the cheating spouse. I just wanted to point out that I’ve found it to be very much like an addiction. Breaking free of it is very hard…

        I’ve been trying to text my wife more and connect with her during the day – things that made me feel good with the OW. I’m trying to take what I learned about myself during the affair and apply it to my marriage.

        Linda – Just curious here. Have you read anything about the differences in the marriage post-affair based on which spouse cheated? I was just curious if there’s a difference if the husband cheats vs. the wife…

        • marjorie zamora

          Inthemiddleofit. Hi. It’s good to hear that you text your wife more. My husband who cheated wont text me unless i text him first. He says im doing it to keep tabs on him. He’s right. What does he really expect since I have no trust and he really isnt showing how sorry he is. What hurts me is that when I text him he says im killing his battery and he hates texting. But during his affair he texted her all day while he was at work and all night when i was at my job. Though I wont take any blame for his affair, I am trying to do things differently in my marriage. Because of that my husband told a friend of ours that what im doings seems fake because prior to me finding out about the affair I wasnt doing anything and after I am. Its not that im trying to be fake, it’s that im trying to do things differently to prevent another affair. At first he tried to blame me for the reason he cheated. saying he felt abandoned. Later, after we talked he took sole blame. But not that I am trying to show him more affection so he wont feel abandoned he says im pressuring him. Im damned if I do and damned if I dont. Im doing all the trying and its making me sad. My grandmother just passed away so I am focused on that right now. But after I mourn her, I have to talk to him about how I feel. He still texts women friends and flirts with them. I dont think that’s right and he is going to have to cut off all ties to other women or have me become friends with them also so there is no flirting.

        • Doug

          inthemiddleofit, I am not sure what you are looking for but this is what I have learned from research and the comments on this post. Men who’s wives have cheated tend to have more anger and resentment compared to the betrayed wives. The men feel more alone, feel they have no one to talk to, afraid to express their fear about the situation, therefore their insecurity turns to anger. However, when they are able to come to terms with this fear it appears that men will do anything than can to save their marriage. The men who have visited this site seem to really get what was missing in their marriage and have really put forth an effort to have a better marriage.

          Betrayed woman appear to take the fault for the affair, tend to be very emotional rather than angry and try to fix everything as quickly as possible. Even though we want it to be resolved today, we will continue bringing it up for the rest of our lives. That’s just the way we are. So as a betrayed husband expect a long haul and prepare to be patient and loving. Linda

        • Doug

          inthemiddleofit, I also wanted to thank you for your comment about the affair being like a drug. It is so difficult for the betrayed spouses to understand the addiction. I understand at the beginning how exciting it could be but after time do you need more to keep that feeling alive, or does it continue because of the secrecy or feeling of the forbidden. What exactly are you addicted too? And how does one go about getting their spouse to become addicted to them? lol I feel if I had the answers to all of these questions I could save a lot of marriages. linda

      • Lostinlove

        This letter could be me, in the blink of an eye, it could be my letter. The power is in my hands, it’s my life, I have not committed any indiscretion, but am left with all the pain of betrayal. I have carried my husband thru all his emotional problems and he has left me naked. Today I will begin anew, for me and my family, even if that means as a single mother.
        thank you.

      • jessica

        Thanks D for your “wisdom” 😉

        I am not sure why I ventured into my EA as I am still trying to self-examine. And whether you like to hear it or not, I do think it was partly due to my relationship with my husband at the time. I was not going to accept my situation any longer, I did try to change it-to no avail, and yes, I should have had the guts to leave.

        You mention “Affairs have nothing to do with anyone else but the person having the affair.” I don’t agree with this. I think if I felt different about my husband, I would never have cheated. I don’t get how people claim to be in love with their wives/husbands, but yet have an affair. They are missing something in the relationship and find it in someone else, albeit temporarily. I find happiness in myself through many activities, work, sports, and my boys. I did not need kudos from another man to make me happy, but it was nice to be appreciated and I felt special to someone. My H should have been doing that.

        I have to say my husband sounds similar to you in some respects, but not others. He does not always treat me well and my friends and family notice this too. Still this is no reason for me to stray. I have told him I should have left instead of putting him through the pain caused by my actions.

        As time goes on and I see this for what it was, I wish I could take back what I have done.

        I’m currently in NC mode and it does help. Thanks.

    • melissa

      Having seen it in my own marriage and also through a close friend whose husband had a long (text, emails, meetings over several years) emotional affair some time ago and ‘relapsed’ a couple of years later, men seem to be taken in by what I call the ‘damsel in distress syndrome’. My husband’s OW seemed to always be calling for help (about her career, her husband who ‘did not give her enough attention’, then her divorce, her flat, her car) and my friend’s husband was taken in by someone who was always in need (her husband was treating her badly, she had issues at work, with her kids, the list was endless). This ‘need to be needed’ appears to run deep in some insecure men and if you are an independent, self-reliant woman, you are at a disadvantage in this game. I saw the OW (I did not know about the EA at the time) flutter her eyelashes at my H and literally throw herself at him, wearing a low cut top at a work event and I could not believe it – but at the time, I thought he was faithful and aware of the boundaries in our marriage (he wasn’t and must have loved the attention). My H has said to me that she could be a ‘pain in the a**e’ but that was not enough for him to give up the addiction, sadly, the fantasy that she was someone ‘fun, great to be with’ was too strong. I just hope he is coming out of the fog now but he won’t talk about it.

      • Heather

        I can totally relate to this Melissa. My H fell into exactly the same trap, though I do not in anyway excuse his actions, he fell right into this ‘damsel in distress’ scenario. Even admitting as you have done, saying that the OW could be a pain. The OW was a close friend of mine but and her husband works away a lot. She was always ringing me up asking if she could ‘borrow’ my husband to do various odd jobs for her or help out with her teenage son by talking to him about issues he was having. I of course was happy for him to oblige but the excuses for her needing to come round got so frequent he was dropping all his responsabilites in our own home and family to help her. I began to feel that my needs were becoming a thing of the past and sure enough, several months later discovered they were having an affair. It took a lot of pain and heartache to get over, but we did and our marriage was stronger for it. He was able to see exactly how he got suckered in to this scenario, so you can bet your life I won’t be so ready to send out my husband to help out damsels in distress that harbour ulterior motives.

    • newlywed

      I’m wondering-did anyone stop sleeping with their cheating spouse EA. I put him in another room. I want his touch, but I think I should steer clear until I am no longer on the rolercoaster, because omorrow I will probably “cut” him with my words. If you make them wait-will they take the offense more seriously- if they are truly remorseful-as my hubby is

    • michael

      I’ve seen this in my wife, she was holding onto the fantasy, maybe even still.
      Look at this man for what he is.
      He loves you so much that he can’t leave his wife.
      He loves you so much that he can’t commit to the wife that he loved so much that he couldn’t leave.
      Is this the man that you want to spend the rest of your life with?
      If he is so unhappy at home, take some time off. Get a separation. Get a divorce. Spend some time alone to figure out what is important to him.
      He’s a mess. And he doesn’t have the Balls to make a decision which way to go.
      He can’t commit to you.
      He can’t commit to the woman he married.
      Because you are both still playing this deceptive game.
      If your unhappy do something about it. If all your words of displeasure have fallen on deaf ears, Tell them your done and move out. Find out how well you can do on your own.

      Don’t sh@t on your husband by saying you have ended things, you haven’t. If you haven’t told him to STOP you haven’t ended anything. You are just AVOIDING life.

      • jessica

        Hello Michael,
        Your post has resonated with me. I think you have said it best and most concisely. I thank everyone for their comments and observations and I agree with all you have said.
        I do love my husband.
        I do want to work things out.
        I do need counseling.
        I have let go of my EA.
        I am not waiting for the OM, he made his choice.
        I have had no contact for a couple of weeks now.
        I am moving forward.
        I do feel like s***. I have to say that I have never felt so low as I do right now. I know that the BS’s on this forum could care less, but what I have done to my family and the OM’s family I feel complete shame for.

        • Karen

          Jessica: I think the fog may slowly be lifting . . best of luck to you in your healing and reinventing your marriage. The old
          marriage is dead. Make this one so much better!!

        • stupidandtrusting

          Jessica –
          I don’t think any of us BS’s want you to feel like shit – we want you to be aware and I think we all care about each other, including what we can learn from each, no matter which side. I have learned from you as well as from inthemiddleofit and other betrayers as much as I have from my fellow betrayed spouses.

          Yesterday my husband and I met with our counselor together – my H had been going alone for the past two months as I am in chemo right now. Well, I am so glad I was able to go – I saw my husband growing and becoming who I thought he always was right before my eyes. His shame is so palpable, it broke my heart. I do understand so much more now about his need for validation (real or not) during his depression/midlife crisis. I don’t like it, but I am starting to get it. I think it was the first time I could have sympathy for anyone other than myself. I can forgive my husband, I work on that every day and I know now how afraid he is of losing me/us/our family.
          Be tender with your husband, continue NC, but also, be tender with yourself. I am shocked that I am saying that….

          • jessica

            Thank you S.A.T. for your kind words. They gave me inspiration to be better to my husband and to give all I can. I do not want to lose my family, for I love them all very much.

            I am sorry to hear you are going through chemo and hope you are doing well despite what you are going through…physically and emotionally.

            I will take your advice with no NC. (I have had no desire to talk to him/OM…not sure what phase that is), and will take my healing process with my H one day at a time with kindness, love, and tenderness.

    • Jenn

      Jessica–I will keep my response short. I read a line recently that is very true, especially when it comes to marriage. “The grass is always greener where you WATER it.” I can’t help but wonder, had you truly been putting forth effort into your marriage instead of finding what you did with another, also married, man, where your marriage might be right now.
      It takes awhile for the fog to lift. My husband’s affair ended in july, and he is just now realizing some of the things he truly put me through, from an empathetic standpoint.
      If your husband loves you, your marriage deserves the chance to survive. Check back in, put forth some effort, and stop being selfish. What you are doing is wrong, and you and your husband deserve a chance at happiness. Appreciate what you have, and start to water it.

    • Heather

      I found out that my H had a physical affair two years ago this month, we got through it and our life changed dramatically for the better. Our marriage was stronger and communication was better than ever, honest and respectful. A week before Christmas I found out he was having an emotional affair with a woman he has known as a client through work for several years. The EA only started in October, and even though he has admitted that he had ‘stepped over the boundaries of friendship’ with this woman, he still doesn’t believe that what he did was ‘that wrong’ and through sheer frustration of his inability to accept this, our problems are worse than when he had his full blown affair two years ago. we go from one row to another, I am an emotional wreck and don’t know what to do. How do you convey how much lies, secrecy and betrayal kills a marriage when they can’t see what they did was so wrong?

    • melissa

      Heather, you’re absolutely right and it’s the same for me: my husband says his emotional affair was meaningless. He realises the pain he has caused but does not seem to link that pain to his actions (lies, betrayal and secrecy over seven years). It’s a really difficult position to be in and I empathise with you. I think it might take time before he gets round to understanding (our therapist, whom we saw for a short while, said it might take two years or more – or he might NEVER come to terms with his betrayal, which is not encouraging). It’s quite possible that if you withdraw from the rows (not easy, I know) and take a few steps back, it might help. In any case, make sure you take care of your self.

    • kristine

      I know my husband regrets his actions. He told me once “it hurts my heart to think how I have behaved in the past” he said he could now cry when he thinks back to when we told the kids he was moving out by his choice but for me it’s not so much wanting my husband to regret what he did (at least not noww but I did in the beginning want to know that he did) now it’s that I want to know that he understands what EXACTLY brought and brings me pain. That it’s not just the AFFAIR, the sleeping with the OP that’s painful it’s a bunch of other stuff too.

      I’m afraid today after almost a year into our reconciliation I had a breakdown and demanded to know exactly what he was sorry for. I wanted SPECIFIC apologies for abandoning me after I found out about the affair, for asking me to be patient while he worked through his thoughts and his promises of not having an affair and how he did anyway. I wanted him to specifically apologize for putting that person as a priority over me, for the embarrassment and I wanted him to admit I didn’t deserve any of it. I felt bad after for lashing out because I really haven’t done that lately and have tried to just COMMUNICATE in a respectful manner but I lost it when he started apologizing and said “I’m sorry for your preconceived idea of my treatment.” that’s when I lashed out because the treatment wasn’t PRECONCEIVED it WAS. What he did was cruel and I understand when they’re in the affair fog they justify what they do and say but it’s HARD TO GET OVER and it’s PAINFUL TO REMEMBER that the one person who vowed never to hurt you, does hurt you in the worst way.

      Anway, back to my point, yes, I do know my husband regrets it and I feel bad that he does because he IS a good man who fell into a bad place and we are now dealing with the consequences of those bad decisions *but* I know my marriage is a covenant and I know God will and already is giving us back everything x2 that was meant to harm us.

    • Erica

      I am the cheater! My husband does not know. The affair happened over 8 years ago and lasted 2 months. I’ve lived with regret and guilt ever since. I also live with all the emotional baggage that I have carried around since that time. I know that I’ve done things, made accusations of my own because I was feeling insecure, feeling guilty. If I could cheat on a man that I loved so much than surely he could cheat on me as well, right? Deep down in my heart I know that my husband has never cheated on me. My soul and spirit are in a daily struggle as I carry this around. There are days that I want to tell him but I’m fearful of what he will think of me and how it will impact our kids. Its the biggest regret of my life. I feel ashamed, dirty , slutty, all of the above. I’ve not cheated on my husband again but will admit that the thought does enter my mind as our marriage has become mundane. But living with the guilt and shame of what happened 8 years ago, I know that I could not add to the misery that I already feel.

      • Healing Mark

        DO NOT TELL YOUR HUSBAND!!! Disclosing the existence at one time of an affair to somehow diminish or erase your guilt and shame is, in my opinion, an incredibly selfish act and a huge mistake. Can’t you see in the posts on this site the pain and agony being experienced (among other things) by persons who now know that their partner has cheated on them? You made a huge mistake, but please forgive yourself, especially after so long of a period of time. Finally, if you think that you regret now having had an affair, you will REALLY regret having had the affair once you tell your husband about it and cause what might be irreparable damage to your marriage and your family.

    • confuse 2

      I’m the CS and I regret it completely.

      When I confessed to my H 4 months ago about EA which lasted 4 months, I wasn’t completely remorseful then. I was also so confuse that I thought confessing was the way out. I was the one initiating that we split up.

      I regretted doing the wrong thing but in my head at that time I was still missing the OM so much since I cut contact off. I was more focused on my heartbroken feelings and wondering how do I really get over this guy? (12 years of off and on contact and I was still so emotionally attached. this was first and lost love or so I’ve always mistakenly believed). Then I didn’t regret that I contacted the guy in the first place. It was like I wouldn’t have wanted to miss out on the chance to talk to him and see him even for a minute—I was that obsessed.

      But after counselling and lots of reading, talking with H and just trying to get back to reality I now realised how badly I’ve messed up and how I’m remorseful that I didn’t consider my H’s feelings at all. It was like I just stopped loving him or thought maybe I didn’t love him at all.

      I hate the fact that the OM made me feel like I wasn’t good enough when we were still single and that broke my heart and yet I just did the same to my H made him feel like he wasnt good enough. My H said to me “don’t forget that I’ve never let you down and yet you’re childishly choosing the one who broke your heart”.

      I still have my up and down days. there are days where I’m happy and upbeat and attentive.

      and other days where I’m depressed and withdrawn because I’m so ashamed, guilty and have all these doubts.

      for my H he said the only thing he asked for is that I don’t withdraw. he just wants me to talk when I feel down.

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