Happy Wednesday!

Well this week has been quite crazy so far, but it’s been a good crazy.  We’re really excited about the new site structure and are thankful for all of you that joined.  We’re looking forward to building a stronger and even more supportive community to help everyone in their affair recovery.

We encourage any Higher Healing members to head on over to the forum to start making some comments, discuss previous posts or content, as well as further your interaction with the other members.  There is private messaging available so that you can develop greater contact with other members, exchange emails, phone numbers, etc.

Our discussion this week centers around anger and the effects that it has played in your affair recovery.

Obviously, feeling anger about your spouse’s affair is natural and many people express it immediately after discovering the infidelity.  Some manage to eventually let it go to an extent, while others hold onto it.  Yet others manage to suppress it and bottle it up to where it can become an issue both physically and emotionally.


How did you initially express (or not express) your anger after discovering the affair?

How did this anger affect you physically and emotionally?

How long did this anger remain with you – or does it still remain?

What role has anger played during your efforts to recover and heal from the affair?

You might also want to read this post on anger, as well as explore the additional articles that are listed in the box underneath it.

See also  Survey - Your Struggles with Recovery and Healing

As always, please respond to each other in the comment section.

Thank you so much!

Linda & Doug


    95 replies to "Discussion – How Has Anger Affected Your Affair Recovery?"

    • Anna

      Well, this arrives right on the day I am absolutely seething with anger. I wrote a little in the forum but basically CS and I had a difficult conversation last night in which I felt he was even deeper in fantasy land than ever and through which he seemed to be rewriting our entire life and love history – he claimed not to remember how exciting it was when we got together (we were 18, we’re almost 37 now…I haven’t forgotten!), he was saying we had no love, a decayed marriage. I went to bed devastated and incredibly low. I woke up angry. Really angry.

      I don’t know if it’s the right thing to do but after going for a walk earlier today I emailed him to tell him how angry I was, and how I wasn’t going to let him poison me, or my memories, with his rewriting of history. I just said how it made me feel. I told him what I thought the truth was – that he is ignoring/forgetting anything and everything good in order to justify his actions – and then I just said that I was angry, it was my emotion and that’s why I was sharing it, and that I didn’t want to talk about it later I just wanted to express it.

      Until now I have been afraid to be angry with him at all, afraid that it would push him away, and I have gone out of my way to be understanding and thoughtful and making changes and doing all the hard work. Today I just thought ***k you. I don’t know if I’ve done the right thing or not. But it’s done.

      • Doug

        For what it’s worth Anna, I think you did the right thing. He needs to know how you feel. It’s hard to say for certain, but I bet he will think about what you said – at some point – and hopefully will realize that he is in a fog and has been unfair to you and to your history together.

        • Gwen

          Anna, I think the affair partner rewrites history to make themselves feel better. They are lying to themselves, but need to change history to cheat on you. Been there. So sorry!

      • Linda

        Anna, Doug is correct it is important to express your feelings and anger. Expressing anger is very difficult for me, often times I mask it through being overly emotional or I withdraw. I really regret not expressing to Doug how off base he was in his thinking. When I look back to how compliant I was I get sick to my stomach. I also was afraid to rock the boat and wanted him to see me in the best light. I feel it is very important for the cheater to see your anger, especially if it isn’t very characteristic of your previous behaviors. It may wake him up. If you don’t express it now, it may fester and grow to become resentment, which is much more difficult to deal with. Linda

        • Anna

          Thanks Doug and Linda. Linda – you expressed so much of how I feel. I have been so compliant and afraid to rock the boat, exactly as you say. I’m a bit nervous of when he comes home for dinner tonight, but we have our little girl to calm the waters. Now I’ve let the anger out I feel sad and tired. Trying to find the hope again, to give me that tiny tiny spark that will keep me going…

        • Doug

          Wow!! You finally made a comment under your own login. 😉 Finally catching on with technology, huh?

          • Teresa

            LOL…I thought the same thing Doug…I was thinking” Is that OUR Linda…It is, it is..it’s Linda!! 🙂 so glad to get your input also Linda…
            @Anna, the anger IS good…I firmly believe that your H HAS to see your anger, pain, feelings of betrayal….so that they can know AND understand just what they have done to YOU!! I’m 16 mos out since DDay and I STILL experience anger…not like it was the first several months but it’s still there, right below the surface…I am hoping to get past that now, as my H FINALLY started counseling yesterday!

            • Doug

              Ha! If I remember correctly, she sent me a text after I made that comment and I believe she used the words, “smart-ass.”

        • Sam

          Wow – well, it has been almost 10 months since I discovered the affair, and though I don’t feel as sad/depressed/hopeless as I used to feel at first, my despair has been replaced with anger. I’m not just angry. I’m PISSED OFF. I find myself seething most of the time and it’s really affecting my life as a whole. I’m snappy and curt with my children, and they have been noticing. It’s really unfair to them and I hate myself for it.

          I also feel that this anger/resentment is affecting my relationship with my husband. I feel like every time we do something nice together, I ruin it with a nasty comment or remark about his behavior or about the affair.

          Last night, I had a big of a break down. I cursed my husband. A real curse, I mean. I said something along the lines of: “I curse you and that woman. May neither of you ever find peace or experience joy. As long as I hurt, you will both hurt. I wish you both the worst.”

          He just looked at me with disbelief. I later apologized and cried. It makes me sad to see my love tainted with this deep hatred. I know I need to stop. I know it’s hurting ME more than anyone else, and I just can’t seem to let go. 🙁

    • Williams8015

      It has been 2.5 years since d day. I still experience anger. Every time I try to talk about how I feel about the lies and deception my h gets very defensive and then he gets angry. He asks how long will it take to get over it. I have not done anything that day to hurt you why did you get upset .
      I have gone to counseling alone for 2 years. We went to couple counseling for 6 months. I know what I need but it contradicts what he wants. He wants to never think about what he did. He sees the pain it has caused. He had a PA for 2.5 years with his first love from high school. It is the same thing for all of the BSpouse’s. the person I trusted the most did the most hurtful thing. Then wants it to all be gone. He got rid of the girlfriend and chose me. He enjoyed a 2.5 year fantasy and I deal with the aftermath.
      He wrote a wonderful letter of apology but does not want to read it to me. It is too emotional for him. I need to hear the true remorse for his actions and he sees is as I just want to see him suffer.
      He has blamed me for the affair. We both had pulled away from each other and had issues. We have been married 34 years I am 61. This was the last thing I ever expected. I blamed me for the affair and have come to terms with an affair is a choice he made and he had other options to solve the problems. An affair was the easy way out and selfish on his part. He sees the marriage in a different way, obviously to justify his actions.
      An affair is by far the most complicated , devestating crisis a marriage can face because the pain was caused by choices.

    • Dol

      I’ve actually seen anger from my CS more often than from myself, and pretty much always as a defense mechanism. Faced with what she’d done, she would sometimes be able to accept it, and it would devastate her – but not before several layers of anger at me. These usually manifest themselves as attacks on me for not protecting her in the past, from people in our lives who’ve been hurtful. These things get used as a protective shield. Seems odd now I think of it, but I never really got properly angry.

      7 months in now and, sadly, we saw a big bout of anger last night, but this time from both of us.

      I thought we’d turned a corner, but last Thursday she went to see him, after he’d told her at a work meeting that he’d made her a birthday present. She waited a few hours, broke our rules, and went back and saw him, to get the present. She told me on Monday.

      She’s angry because she feels I am incapable of meeting her need for safety. I’m angry because she’s saying she can’t promise she won’t crack and go and see him again without that need being met. As far as I’m concerned, she needs to gain conscious control of herself and NOT SEE HIM. That’s the starting point – then we can talk about cause and context. If she expects me to negotiate my safety… ah, there’s the anger again!

      That came out last night in a very rare burst of anger from me: I couldn’t deal any more with this sense that I was bargaining for something I should be able to take for granted. It only lasted a few seconds but was powerful.

      I’m guessing the experience of the CS being more angry initially than the BS is common. I’m now finding I have little time left for any of this. I’d just, for the second time, thought we might have turned a corner. I’ve had my trust once again betrayed and feel like I’ve been reset again, spending my days in fear.

      Anger is seeming to arise because we’ve both reached our tolerance levels. We have a fantastic counsellor, so I’m hoping he can offer some framework to get us through. Right now, the anger is not useful, it’s just explosive and wrecking and painful. It’s so heartbreaking: I was so full of hope a few days ago. Now we’re staring over the precipice again.

      • Linda

        Dol, I believe in your situation you need to look at the difference between being angry and blaming. When you are angry you use “I” statements, for example I feel angry because…., if you are blaming someone, or feeling guilty for something you did or did not do you tend to use “you” statements. Often times many other emotions are confused with anger, so it is difficult to see what is really happening.

    • Battleborn

      I have asked myself this question several times throughout my journey. I was going through much turmoil when I found out; my father was dying of cancer so he took priority over my marriage. Sometimes I think that if I had gotten mad, screamed, hollered, and fought I would be further along. However on the other hand I feel, sometimes, that I am doing much better because I did have the distraction. My emotions were drained when discovered my husband’s affair, I could not give anymore. To make things worse, my husband was the executor of his will so he was required to be there with me through it all. To top it all off, my mom was in the ICU all the while this was going on. She came home just in time for the funeral. When things calmed (?) down we found out that my mom had lung cancer so off I go again. She is okay now. But it has taken me a year to find my way into some anger and I have asked my counselor why I cannot get angrier about the affair. But I can’t.

      Perhaps I have found out that my husband truly does care about us, that through everything he was by my side holding my hand and ensuring I went through my suffering with his support. I don’t know but I wish that I could get really angry with him. My counselor asked if I felt cheated because I haven’t gotten angry… that is a resounding YES! I do feel cheated because I never really got to express my anger when it mattered most. I still feel the anger sometimes and when I do say something he looks at me as though I am starting at the beginning, like I just found out, I guess in some respect I just am.

    • rollercoasterrider

      Man, I can say a lot about anger! One thing I don’t want to forget to say is that early on I read that being really angry means there is something worthwhile to fight for in the marriage. If you don’t feel angry, there may not be much there…The night I first found out about H’s EA/PA I was incredibly angry, as well as shocked. The next morning I woke up REALLY early, about 4 a.m. or earlier, and started thinking about some of what he told me, details of their contact (because as is often the case, the cell phone was a big culprit, both for texting and calling). So, I went online and looked at some of the evidence of the amount and time of the calls they had made…and couldn’t really look at the texts without a court order (I believe now God was protecting me from seeing those). That’s when the roller coaster ride began in earnest. Now, much has changed between us and anger doesn’t seem to be a big factor. I have come to grips with the past, but I can’t say that the anger wouldn’t come flashing back if there was a reason. Being angry and not sinning….now there’s a challenge! It is possible, and anger is certainly legitimate when something like cheating is involved.

    • JoeIsTrying

      Great timing, dealing with some anger issues that have turned into deep sadness and depression. I am 6 mos since D-day, my CS moved out in Dec and has continued her relationship with single OM, though they keep it concealed. She took a trip with him over Easter and regretted it, so she said, after that she ‘ended’ the relationship and wanted to focus on doing family events with our young daughter. She never mentioned reconcilliation, just family stuff. I was game and excited about that, thinking the fog was lifting. I had custody this past weekend and my CS tried to come by a few times to say hello, though she had a busy weekend. On Sunday evening, my daughter begged her to stay, but she said she had to get home, prepare for the week and get some sleep. She left and drove straight to his house. (I can actually see her direction up the treed hill in our small town). I was crushed. I angrily sent an email that I can’t understand how she can betray her daughter, etc. Fairly harsh. Once again, she isn’t talking to me and I am sad because my anger caused a gap again in our relationship. I just can’t stand the fact that she is drawn to this total loser. And even after I sit with my feelings for a while, I react with anger. (my anger is never physical or anything, I just get sharp tounged.)

      I was convinced that this would give me the strength to provide her some dissolution utlimatums, but then I get so depressed I just can’t imagine that step. I love her and miss her and miss our life. She doesn’t, I don’t know if it is the fog or if it is real.

    • Chevelle

      Previously (Better)(my nickname “chevelle”, I didnt know the user name was the display name)

      Anger is one of the most recent emotions Ive been struck with. (13 months from dd and 10 months since last contact)

      The trickling of the truth is making me angry. Why cant the CS just come clean? I want the whole truth,nothing but the truth..so help me God! I feel like everytime something new is discovered, or something about the original “truth?” is not what it appeared, I feel violated all over again! I am losing my patience!

      Now to add to my anger about my H EA…he is becoming very jealous of me! I dont understand why he thinks that Im going to find my own emotional affair with someone. I have told him that if I wanted out of the marriage he gave me the easiest way out when he had his EA! I didnt take it….I stayed because I love him and want to make US work. He has always been the jealous type and during his EA he was not (should have recognized that right away as something not being right).

      After DD, I kicked him out abrubtly and brutely. I wasnt angry, just hurt and didnt want him around. Not until recently have I been feeling anger. Im not even sure what to do with the anger. I feel like its going to turn into resentment and as you said Linda, that will be more difficult to deal with.

      So Im stuck with the anger and dont know what to do with it!

    • Rachel

      After 5 months from d-day I’m pretty much closed mouth compared to early on of the e/a that my H had with his ex girlfriend from 30 years ago.
      After months of waiting for him to say that he wants to work on our marriage he finally has said it, now I’m having doubts. I expressed my anger and tried to understand what he did and what he said. I thought that the anger was out/finished. Well, I feel like I want to scream in his face WHY??? WHY DID YOU DO THIS TO US? He claims that it was to catch up with an old friend. I can’t believe he said those words that he was in love with her not me, they are soul mates and that they are going to leave their families and be together. How does someone say such hurtful words to their spouse and in front of their teenage son? It still eats me alive inside and my H doesn’t seem bothered by it.
      I sometimes wonder if I am the one dealing with ambivilance? Am I going to get passed this betrayal? After all he did say that he was unhappy for 20 years of our 24 years of marriage. He looked her up, he texted and e-mailed her. He made it a point that she was more important in his life then me. He shut me out of his life. Why would I want him back in my life?

    • nan

      Its been 14 mos. since d day…How did you initially express (or not express) your anger after discovering the affair? I was crushed and very verbal about how shocked I was that he could do this to me. I had a hard time getting through my days for about 2 solid weeks just cried allot and kept asking him why…. and other questions… when He didn’t answer me, I yelled at him because I felt he was trying to protect HER….
      I wanted answers… I was constantly mad about how he cheated …..
      How did this anger affect you physically and emotionally?
      I have ulcerative colitis which really flared up after finding out about the PA. I was totally exhausted, mentally a wreck, didn’t want togo to work. became depressed. So I found a couples therapist and we started therapy sessions. I also started to exercise and because I’m an artist I decided to delve more into my art.
      How long did this anger remain with you – or does it still remain? I have fleeting moments… they pass quickly, I have forgiven him, but I haven’t forgotten what happened. I find that as time wears on and I truly see and him feeling remorse for this choice he had made… it’s easier for me to stop obsessing about it.
      What role has anger played during your efforts to recover and heal from the affair? I feel it’s part of the healing process… we all need to have a sounding board about the way we feel… every step in the process. Who better to talk to then the person who needs to hear how they hurt you. All the emotions that surface, anger and the raw emotions need to be heard and felt.
      Thank you for this site.

    • chiffchaff

      How did you initially express (or not express) your anger after discovering the affair?
      I was in such disbelief at the time I was initially angry, shouted mainly, for about 2 hours, then became very upset and began to blame myself. I found out while we were in a seaside pub. The shock was so bad I thought I was going to literally open the car door on the motorway as we drove back to the house we were staying in and just allow myself to fall out and be killed. I had to text my sister while my H was trying to keep lying as he drove. If she hadn’t responded immediately to help me I think I would have killed myself on the motorway.

      How did this anger affect you physically and emotionally?
      The internalisation of my anger, turning it on me, meant I didn’t eat normally for 5 months. I was a doormat, petrified of saying or doing anything ‘wrong’ that might make him leave. I was a shadow of my former confident self.

      How long did this anger remain with you – or does it still remain?
      I recently got better at externalising the anger and can now argue, better, with my H. I now know it’s so important to get even tiny resentments out as soon as possible. The anger is still there and I find myself occassionally saying very cruel things to my H, making jokes about what he’s told me of his affair conversations with the OW. He doesn’t like this at all, but I have explained that I can recognise them as delayed anger and that I mainly need to get them out so they go away. which they generally do.
      What role has anger played during your efforts to recover and heal from the affair?
      They have been incredibly important in my own healing and apparently for my H. he seems to prefer it that I get angry with him, not shouty, but show him that I am angry. As others have said, it’s an important part of the process.

    • Paula

      Anger, wow! As almost everyone here, yes, of course, I was bloody angry. I was angry at him, I was angry at her (my so-called friend) but I was, and still am, angry at myself. I know that’s silly, but I’m angry I was so stupid, and believed all the lies when my gut was telling me something else, and I didn’t listen to it, because I was so in love with my darling boy, as in love as I had ever been in our decades together, of course I believed him. The man I loved would never do that, we had talked and talked about the very thing, we had a “pact” that should we ever feel that way, we would talk about it, and do what we had to to avoid affairs, get help, separate, whatever we needed to do to avoid causing such grievious hurt to each other, and our children. It just came, and still does, at times, in waves, uncontrollable waves. I did act out, at least once, where I just slapped and punched, screamed, moaned, deep, gutteral inhuman moans, and flailed around like some kind of madwoman, a couple of months in. He eventually, after “taking” some of it, grabbed me, and held me and whispered to me that I could do that anytime I needed to, that he deserved all that and more. I would have liked for the OW to have seen the effect this had on me, not the crazy, but the deep, to-the-bone agony, and truly unbearable pain.

      I know anger is important, and I agree wholeheartedly with RCR about it being a sign of feeling that there was something worth fighting for, and getting angry over. I know the level of feeling, including anger, that I have felt is because of the VERY deep love I felt for my ex. Of course, I have REALLY struggled with letting it control me, and letting it go, in the appropriate manner, I haven’t completely, I’m still angry at “the universe” for making me feel this, but I know I can’t change it, so do have mostly acceptance of the whole situation, and the waves of anger, whilst frustrating, do pass, and I can cope with the feelings of hopelessness, etc.

    • Anita

      You shouldn’t be angry with yourself. You chose to believe
      the best of people, thats a wonderful quality to have, and
      still is a good quality. Don’t let their wrong actions destroy
      a good quality about you. Not everyone as an affair, and
      there are good people out there who would not do this.
      Its sad when someone we love(ed) makes a choice to
      betray, however don’t let the wonderful qualities you have
      be detroyed because of betrayel. Your a good person
      who believed these 2 people would never do that, and
      most people wouldn’t, so don’t beat yourself up over their

      • Anita

        Your right anger is part of a healing process, it allows us
        to grieve the loss of something that was special to us.
        It does take time and as you heal somethings will
        become more clearer to you.
        I was able to forgive my ex and his affair partner, however
        it didn’t happen overnight. I forgave them because I didn’t
        want it to carry it with me. The pain will subside but its
        going to take time, the more you get over your ex the more
        your pain will lessen. But you need to grieve your loss,
        so this can happen. On the other side of this
        you will feel happy times again, and the anger will be gone.

        • Anita

          I applaude you for being able to leave a relationship when
          you know its no longer healthy remain in that kind of
          relationship. When someone cheats on you in a relationship, it takes strenght to leave and start a new life
          without them.
          However I know there are couples that are able to rebuild
          a new relationship and I applaude them also.
          For myself I have yet to regret my divorce, because it freed
          me from a husband who wouldn’t remain faithful, and
          thats not the kind of marriage I wanted, so I left.
          It important to reconize when to leave a unhealthy relationship, when a relationship has infidelity and your
          unable to get past the infidelity after trying then its best
          start a new life of your own. Infidelity is so destructive
          to a relationship, and I applaude those who can rebuild
          the relationship into a new one and get past the pain of
          it all, and can rebuild the trust.

    • Disappointed

      I still have not made it to anger. I am stuck in disbelief and profound disappointment. The affair was a mistake but the lack of true remorse and introspection is even more disappointing. He is not the man I thought him to be.

      • Paula

        Oh, God, be free to get angry, disappointed, it may help free you from the disappointment 🙂

    • Paula

      Anita, I’m fascinated by you, how long were you married to your ex for before you realised he’d cheated, he sounds like he had a pattern?

      • Anita

        Sadly he cheated prior to our wedding, however it
        was years later before I learned he had done this. Had
        I known this, I would have never married him.
        We married at a very young age, by us marrying so young
        I wouldn’t know he had a pattern until years later.
        His infidelity within the marriage started with an inapproiate conversation with a coworker that I found out about.
        Then a few years later he admitted to kissing another coworker. Then a couple of more years went by and he had a EA/PA with another coworker which lead to our divorce.
        If I had met him at this time in my life he’d be someone I
        wouldn’t date because we are so different. However when
        I was young I was blinded by love and I was immature.
        When my children reached the same age my ex and I were
        when we married, the reality of it all set in, I could see even
        my children wouldn’t of been ready for marriage at that age
        either, picking a lifetime mate as a teenager is not a good
        idea, I know for some couples this works out, however
        for us it didn’t.
        He remarried now to someone who he met later after
        him and his affair partner broke up.

        • Anita

          Before we married he was away at college when he cheated on me prior to our wedding, he had a couple
          month fling with another college student at that time.
          However he broke it off with her because he wanted to
          marry me, however I was unaware of this when we
          married. It was years later when I found this out, by
          this time we had children and our marriage was good
          at that point and time, I was shacken up by that, however
          I lost both my parents a few months later and had to
          grieve their deaths, so this went to the back burner until
          I got over my parents death, ( Mom had a stroke, and my
          father a heart attack).
          Several years went by and we were happy and things were
          good between us. Then I learned he told another woman
          something very inapproiate, I almost left him then, however
          he was very remorseful and I believed him.
          Then a couple more years passed when I learned he
          kissed another woman coworker, I wanted to leave however my children were young teenagers and I chose
          to work it out with him and he was remorseful.
          Then a couple years later he become involved in a EA/PA
          my feeling for him changed, however his family wanted
          us to try and work it out, my family was tired of seeing me
          hurt and wanted me to leave him. So for a year and a half
          I tryed, but I lost respect and I didn’t trust him, also he
          wouldn’t leave his job where his affair partner worked,
          and I had enough and told him to straighten up or get
          out. One day after a major disagreement, he left, and
          I called his cell, he said he was on his way home with
          divorce papers, my words to him were “Bring them on”
          That was it.
          I do not regret our divorce, I am now waiting for my
          annulment to be granted. In the meantime I’m dating

          • Anita

            My oldest daughter who was in college at that time, wanted
            me to leave her dad also, she also was tired of seeing
            me go through his infidleity.
            My children are all adults now, I have 2 grandchildren. One
            lives in the same city and the other in another state, their
            so much fun.

        • Paula

          Thanks for sharing that info, Anita, I met my ex at 20, he was 24, and had been cheated on, repeatedly, by the same woman he cheated on me with, I did ask many times, especially in our early days together if he had worked through his feelings about that, and he reassured me that he never felt about her the way he did about me, and he was kind of relieved she did it because he knew she would one day, it was her nature, her father is still married to her mother, and he has cheated on her for nearly 50 years! I knew it was too young, however, we had an absolutely WONDERFUL 21 years together, he was lovely, caring, honest, hard working, a super father, I absolutely adored him, and we loved each other very, very deeply, I thought we had the love story of a lifetime, my friends thought we were terrific, and I was very happy. I guess that’s why getting to this point has been extremely hard, I know it is for everyone who is unfortunate enough to end up here. I was wrong, no one is safe, I knew that, but didn’t understand fully the pain involved and how long it would last for. I’m very pleased you were able to recover, and that your faith is such a comfort and guiding light for you.

          • rollercoasterrider

            Paula, still think of you often. I hope your days are getting brighter!

            • Paula

              Thanks RCR, I think of you just as often, I’d venture to bet! Not yet, but they will 🙂

          • Anita

            After my divorce it took about a year to grieve through the
            worst of it, and by my second year I was happy again,
            however I made the mistake of not getting my marriage
            annuled. I was enjoying life again and didn’t want to dig
            the past up. However as time went on I kept avoiding
            reopening that healed wound, then I stumbled on to this
            site and it helped to reopen those wounds, so I decided
            it was time to get my annulment started, so now I am waiting for it to be granted. I am happy that I did this,
            because I was able to look at the past and could see the truth without pain clouding my ability to see everything for what it really was. This in return has brought a deep level of healing.
            Paula I wish you the best in your healing, it takes time,
            however someday the pain of all this will be gone.

            • Paula

              Anita, thank you for your comments. I know about the “timeframe” aspect of divorce recovery, my mother and I were close, and she talked to me about the impact of my parents’ divorce on her, I was also at university when my parents separated. She told me she had a year to eighteen months of staying married, once my father’s sexual preference was outted, then she made the decision to leave, and that she could barely remember the first year on her own, it was somewhat of an intensely sad and fuzzy blur to her ( my parents also still loved each other, and did until my mother died, my mother finding another wonderful man who she loved, and married, but always had a tender place in her heart for the father of her four children, and my father still professes his love for her, 30 years after they separated, and eleven years after she died!) and her memory blank was despite the fact that my two younger brothers were both still at home (although eventually, my youngest brother ended up at boarding school for a year, she had one of my middle brother’s friends come and private board with them for his final year at high school when his father and step-mother accepted a transfer to a Pacific Island nation.) I know it takes time to adjust to single life again, and to grieve (again!) for all you feel you have lost, whilst re-building your self esteem and finding your feet again. I was quite prepared for all of that when I made the decision to separate. I, also only have the two younger children left at home, both teenagers, both well-adjusted, so I do understand all you say, and appreciate your insight, thank you. It is doubly hard when my ex still wants us to work, has done so much work on himself, has the hugest of regrets, professes his intense and undying love for me, yaddah, yaddah, yaddah, but I couldn’t get over his re-write of our love story, which I thought was the real deal, so as to allow him the “freedom” to pursue this old girlfriend when he did. I do forgive him, and I think I’m pretty close to forgiving her, maybe as close as I’m ever going to get (not that she wants my forgiveness, as she did nothing wrong, she told me that, I need to forgive them for my own peace of mind, a fact I knew from day one.)

            • Anita

              Your very right, forgiveness is for our own peace of mind.

    • hurt

      My first response to finding out about my husband’s affair WAS anger. Anger because I had suspected, and started snooping about a year before I found out, and had even accused him of cheating, which of course he denied. I literally attacked my husband. It was 1am, and it was one of those nights where, again, something seemed off so I couldnt sleep. I got up and went looking through his pants and his wallet, and of course I found the evidence on his cell phone (had checked many times before but found nothing). I was angry, humiliated, hurt beyond belief…. then my anger dissapaited and I was just in shock.. for a while. Then I started drinking to squash the anger, but eventually it would lead to other physical altercations. I had never attacked anyone or beein in a fight before. My husband didn’t hit me, but he didn’t back down either. I am embarrassed at my behavior, and shocked and embarrassed by his as well. I cannot believe that my rage took me there, and after I would say 4 physical events, I am done with dealing with anger like that (I was always the one that would end up with the bruises anyway). It has been MONTHS since our last big blowout. All of them were while he was in the fog still, so now he isn’t so defensive and cruel when I get upset, which only fueled my rage. Now I am still angry. I am angry at him for what he’s done to me, to our trust, to my self esteem, to my sense of control over my own life. I am still angry for feeling helpless to change the past. Rage no longer rules my life, but the anger makes me more sad now than anything. I am sickened by what he has done – it literally makes me want to throw up and grosses me out. We are working on our marriage, but I seem to get mad now more often when things are going good, which seems so stupid!! You would think I would enjoy feeling good for once, but in the end, it just reminds me of how dumb he could have been to ‘forget’ about the good with me, and I become angry, resentful, and sad. This has been the hardest phase of recovery for me so far because I dont WANT to resent him… I WANT to feel that love again, but the anger… the hurt… the ‘who ARE you REALLY?’ stuff… he is doing the work… not talking and being as emotionally open as I’d like, but transparent, and understanding (for the most part), and being accountable… The anger seems to protect me from loving him fully again… I don’t want to feel like a fool again. I don’t know if I can ever let him in so close again… my marriage is different now… my feelings for him are different now. I still love him, but it isn’t unabashed love… it is, I guess for lack of a better word, conditional… I feel like I always have to have my guard up just in case he runs into IT or IT calls… there’s been no contact for 10 months… Shouldn’t I be better by now?

      • Healing Mark

        Hurt. As you know, some are able to get their CS’s affair “out of their system” and to almost entirely get back to living in the present (which hopefully involves a new and improving relationship with their CS with trust re-built and damage to self-esteem repaired) sooner than others, but I would say that few, myself included, have not felt much as you describe after the passage of the amount of time you have indicated. So, it’s not surprising that you are not “better” by now, and there’s nothing “wrong” with you.

        You appear to be doing one thing that is helpful, if not essential, to getting past all the negatives of the affair and being able to genuinely forgive your H for his mistakes. That is that you appear to have recognized that letting your negative emotions control how you behave and result in damaging actions, like physical fights, or even disrespectful fights (yes, it’s hard not to be disrespectful to a spouse that has betrayed you, and lack of respect is certainly an appropriate response to an affair, but in the classic Catch 22, acting that way only makes it harder to heal and re-establish a loving and happy marriage), is not a good thing. Your feelings are your feelings and their are things that you can do to prevent yourself from feeling that way in the future, but in my experience, I was rarely successful in getting those feelings to change when they were present. What I learned to do was to suppress the desire to act on them when acting on them was going to cause more harm than good.

        I know that it is hard for you this far out from last contact, and if you are having feelings like I was at that time, you have said to yourself more than once something to the effect of “this really sucks”. I found that if I thought about my wife in terms of how she acted when she was maintaining her EA and trying to keep it hidden, I really could not like, much less romantically love, the woman sitting across the room from me. But this wasn’t fair to either of us, as she was no longer acting like that person, she had apologized so many times and was truly sorry for all that she had done, and she was now behaving in a way that deserved better than an angry and bitter spouse. As someone that was now acting like a wonderful partner, I don’t think about what she for a short period of time became, I have stopped thinking about the “how’s” and “why’s” of her EA (and certainly the details), and I am enjoying being married to the wonderful person that I first married, was happily married to for 14 years until the EA reared its ugly head, and am now happy to be married to as our marriage has become much better now, albeit at the cost of too much time being hurt, angry, unhappy, etc.

        Hang in there. It should get better. Embrace hope that it will, and tell yourself that you can’t change the past but you can somewhat control where your marriage goes moving forward.

    • onmyway

      It actually took a couple of days after I learned about my husbands cheating to express real, true anger. I was in a state of shock and could barely function though I was putting on a good show. He did something so unbelievably hurtful a few days later (put his own needs over mine and stayed away from the house refusing to contact me for 2 days after an argument) that I almost went insane. I had to call someone for help. I also found the evidence that he had spent an exorbitant amount of money on her even though he had denied doing so. I can not describe my rage. Unfortunately, things like this continued for about 2 months as secret after secret was exposed. Some were bigger than others but all were things I had asked him about and he had lied. I think a lot of my rage was because of how much anger HE showed when confronted. How dare he be angry at me? I understand now that a lot of that came from his own shame and guilt.

      I did not eat for almost an entire month and constantly felt sick. That was a combination of my anger and hurt and I don’t think you can really separate the two.

      My anger now comes sporadically and it isn’t really because of the affair itself. We have had some recent arguments that stemmed from my being suspicious and accusing him of doing something that he hadn’t. I had good reason to think I was correct ,though I acknowleged and apologized when I was wrong. However, he will sometimes get very defensive and angry and this is the same way he acted the times I KNOW he was lying. This then triggers the same anger I had initially. I understand it must be hard to be accused of something when you didn’t do it. BUT I did not ask to be in this position and if he hadn’t lied so many times and tried to make me feel crazy I probably wouldn’t get so mad! What I am actually angry about at those times is his inability to stop and be in my shoes and then holding it against me for not trusting him. This is something he is actively working on and I know it is hard. I am also trying to not asume the worse and become convinced of my assumptions before he has a chance to explain.

      Being angry can be good sometimes. It can be healthy. But I feel I am only hurting myself if I stay in that place for too long. I am angry about what he did but I cannot live like that everyday. It does take work to live in the now. My husband has done a lot more than I expected already to try and improve himself and our marriage. It is just shy of 6 months since “D Day” and I know I will still have bouts of anger in the future. I just hope they are fewer and farther between.

    • Rachel

      My anger has been raised again by the comment that my H made to me this morning. I use my own money for everything that I buy for myself except my once a week therapy. He said that I need to pay for these sessions with my own money because if I STILL need therapy it’s time to move past this. I responded that I’m only in therapy because of HIS E/A. He said that it’s my problem” do not write another check to your therapist or I’ll close the checking account”.
      We were at a trying point in our relationship. He finally decided even though he is ambivilant he will try that way if it doesn’t work out he can at least say that he at least tried. He did try at the beginning but after day 8 it was all downhill. Wound’nt talk to me, didn’t say good-by when he went to work, wouldn’t answer my text messages. Up went that wall again.
      After his comment this morning that he’s not paying for my therapy sessions, I sent him a text, that I can’t take this verbal abuse anymore, you need to leave. Go tomorrow when our oldest goes back to college and I will take our youngest out of the house. And don’t forget to pack the checkbook!

    • Chris

      Anger is going to be there always. For me (CS) the anger I feel is from seeing the pain and damage that I’ve caused. Along with the shame and guilt, I have been beating myself up so badly that it has taken away from my efforts to try to make things better for us so we can heal. I’ve been working on controlling my emotions and trying to not get so upset when we talk about the EA. It’s not fair to my wife that when she’s trying express her feelings about this and her thoughts, she has to deal with me getting so upset and angry with myself. When she is feeling angry, hurt, and sad I need to listen and offer to do whatever I can to comfort her. Anger is tough thing to deal with but it needs to be dealt with in the right ways. Everyday is a learning experience for to figure out the right ways but I feel like I have been making progress. I just need to accept the anger for now and not let it consume me!

      • Disappointed

        I am the BS and I have not gotten to express much of anything about the EA. My CS blames all on me and our “bad marriage” and seems to believe he had done everything before giving up and having the EA with a married mother of two friend of ours who was also his student. I would give anything for him to accept responsibility and get mad at himself. He deflects all onto me. He crossed two boundaries: teacher/student and marital. And his sister encourages his behavior telling him how brave he was to walk out on me after D-day. We are trying to rebuild and are dating and working on our business, but i fear he will want to maintain separate but together which he and his sister describe as best case scenario for long term relationships. I cannot compromise that far.

      • Linda

        Chris, Thank you for your comment. I was wondering when you become angry does your wife understand or know the object of your anger? I am asking because often Doug would become very frustrated and angry when I would ask questions about the affair. I would think he was angry at me for bringing it up again, I never thought that his anger was at himself. I believe if your wife understands why you are so angry she may look at your conversations differently. She may be a little less emotional and feel more secure about bringing up the subject.

        • Christopher Borden

          Linda- She does understand where all my anger and other emotions come from when we talk about what happened, but I was having such a hard time not getting so emotional, it would become very frustrating for her. How can she feel like she can bring it up knowing that my reaction is going to be so emotional? And on top of that I tend to shut down and not say anything or go to a different room to try to get away from my emotions. All of that is just NOT fair her. It’s not easy trying to control those emotions when I know how bad I’ve crushed her and betrayed her but I am trying my hardest to hold back until I have my own time to deal with them. When she needs to let her feelings out and be known to me is not the right time for that. This may have made her reluctant to bring up the subject but we have discussed my reactions together and in our sessions. I now realize that I can not let those emotions take hold when she is hurting so badly. That is when she needs comfort, not to feel guilty because I’m upset. It’s not easy but it is another one of many things I’m working on to better myself for the one that I love.

    • Dol

      7 months in, I’m seeing renewed anger from my CS. It seems similar to how it was at the start: it appears a form of cognitive dissonance, used to justify how she acted to herself.

      This happens now, sadly, at a point when I thought we were just getting into the clear. The OM, at her workplace, made her a birthday present. She openly broke the rules for the first time in seven months and went to see him to collect it. (Lesson for him: tempting with presents works.) There have been various almost-breaks, but nothing like her getting up and consciously doing something like this.

      Now, however, she has been refusing to give it back and tell him clearly where she stands. She wants to keep it. Some part of her feels she needs the power it has over me. Her stated reasons all come from a place of anger. she tells me: ‘I’m angry that you had all those opportunities in the past to make the symbolic gestures I needed and you let them go sailing past. Now you need another symbolic gesture from me, to assuage your pain, to allow you to heal. The angry part of me feels: Well I never had that. I was never given what i needed to heal. Why should I give it to you?’

      This is the darkest side of her, and I understand some of where it’s coming from. Some friends did some hurtful/neglectful things, and I tried to rationalise rather than be as emotionally supportive as I could. But: using this present as a weapon against me? Or a bargaining tool to get what she needs?

      We both know something of what’s happening: at her core, she feels unprotected. She imagines some mythical protection provided in a possible other life with this fantasy man. My lack of ability to provide what she needs makes her angry enough to actually threaten me like this.

      Honestly, at the moment, I don’t know where to start. I needed swift action from her to demonstrate it was a stupid mistake, and my trust has not been misplaced. Instead, she’s using her anger as a tool to defend herself, to bargain for her emotional safety. I can’t imagine a more self-destructive or contradictory urge, more likely to blow our relationship apart. But I’m still here because I know that part of her is broken, and I DO NOT want that part to destroy this chance of happiness. Past that, we love each other so much it’s stupid. What a waste it would be.

      I dearly hope we can stick this out, and I can learn where that pain is coming from, and learn how to provide what she needs. But it feels like she’s holding a knife against my ribs. How long can I tolerate that?

      • Anita

        This isn’t about the birthday gift, its about the fact she
        crossed boundaries within your relationship to be
        around the other man again.
        Forget about the gift its not worth you getting upset over it,
        she wanted to be around him again, so she did.
        She doesn’t know what she wants that why she behaves
        this way. If she really wanted your relationship to work,
        she would have ignored this other man and not went
        to see him.
        Dol you only have control over yourself and your actions.
        She also has control over herself, and her actions.
        How long can you tolerate this, will be up to you.

      • Greg

        She’s definitely stepped over the line by accepting a present from him which proves that she isn’t over him yet. I will say that you both need to really look at what she feels from the past experience that makes her feel she was not protected. You may find that there are some really deep seated issues in that for her that are causing her to act out with this EA. I know that in my case there was a lot of build up resentment from almost exactly the same type of issue of not protecting her when she felt she needed it and it just sat there and festered within her for years. It was a major factor that lead to my wife’s EA. Neither she nor I believe the EA was an appropriate response but it did awaken us to the underlying issues that lead up to it. You will probably find that with really looking at and working on the older issues that the EA goes away much easier for her as she will start to feel more secure. Sort of sucks, since you didn’t have the EA, that you have to do the work but it is what it is.

    • Dol

      Thanks Anita and Greg. Greg, it’s also good to hear of someone who’s gone through a very similar thing. The hard part at the moment is separating out the anger she feels from everything else. That tends to make her pin the blame directly on me for what happened. That tends to go together with the anger being at its strongest. There’s context – however, saying “yes, I did the wrong thing, but…” – ain’t going to help.

      We’ve been in counselling for a while trying to deal with exactly these past issues. It’s not made it easier for us by her trying to use the EA/the present as a bargaining chip, though. I doubt that will last – I’m presuming it’s a temporary strategy born of her feeling very exposed because of the stuff the counselling is digging up.

      Did it manifest as anger in your wife too? Were you blamed for those past mistakes? How did you perceive them yourself? (Understand if you’re not able to answer all that in such a public space!)

      • Greg

        Did it manifest as anger in your wife too?

        Oh boy did it! She would let it sit and boil inside her and then when we would have an arguement over something she would bring up all the past issues and it would magnify her angry 20 fold over what it should be with the issue at pressent.

        Were you blamed for those past mistakes?

        Yes I was blamed a lot for the past mistakes. To be honest though I was to blame for a good portion of it. I made the mistake in judging how well she would be able to handle the situations and wasn’t there enough for her or supportive enough. It didn’t help that a lot of the major issues were due to my mother so I was in the unenviable position of being between my wife and my mother and didn’t want to hurt either of them so I just stayed neutral, which wasn’t what my wife needed, she needed to bebacked up and supported.

        How did you perceive them yourself?

        I didn’t see them as being as big a deal as she did. Of course I was used to how my mother was and would just ignore things she did or not even notice them where as for my wife they were hurtful and mean. It doesn’t help that my mother and I have some similar mannerisms and looks so that I was a constant reminder to my wife of what had happened and how I hadn’t stood up for her.

        I do have to qualify all of this with the fact that I have had a decades long porn addiction and have discovered that I also have internalized a lot of issues and problems over the years which had made me an angry person most of the time. Enough so that it clouded my judgement pretty severely in how I looked at things compaired to how others look at things. Turns out it’s not an un-common problem for men to be angry. My doing a lot of work on both issues, which are interconnected, and just being understanding of what my wife is. and has been, feeling has done wonders for her in being able to let go of some of her resentment and anger. We actually had a talk about it last night and we both see things moving in a forward direction at this point. I have learn what are triggers for her and she is learning what I need from her to completely over come the EA. This doesn’t mean there is completely smooth sailing but the rough patches are getting less and we are learning alot about each other and ourselves.

        You and I are not that far apart timeline wise or situation wise. We are 9 months out from the EA and it was with a co-worker of my wife that she had it with. He still tried to be ‘friends’ for quite a while afterward but she eventually got to the point that she realized he wasn’t being a friend he was selfishly trying to get what he wanted from her with no real regard to what she wanted. She had told him she wanted to work on her marriage but he would still try to ellicit responses from her. The one that put her over the edge was when he got pouty that she didn’t get him a birthday present, that was when she realized he was very self-centered and only cared about himself.

        I think you need to delve into what your wife really feels about your past issues and how much resentment she is still holding on to from them. You may find that it is a lot more than you realize and that she may be more affected by it than you were. Individual therapy for both you and her is great for this as neither partner feels threated by having the other there listening.

        OK, I typed too much. Stopping here. 🙂

        • Greg

          Just an add on thought Dol. Show your wife my post and ask her if any of it rings true for her. I may be completely off base or dead on, you’ll never know unless you ask. Worst case is I’m wrong and nothing changes, best case is that I’m dead on and she starts to open up moreabout what she is feeling and thinking about the past and you two get to work on it and move forward in a positive light. Nothing to lose and a lot to gain.

        • Healing Mark

          Dol and Greg. Let me second the recommendation for individual counseling sessions, preferably with the same counselor you are seeing jointly. While my wife and I did get some good out of our joint sessions, we both agreed that our individual sessions were much more beneficial. And, we both felt that they were enhanced by the insight that our counselor gained through our joint sessions and respective individual sessions. It’s not as though the counselor broke confidences or anything. It’s just that when she talked to me about, for example, ways that I was trying to improve how I related to my wife and her feelings about certain things, her suggestions carried more weight, and were usually spot on, given that she had benefit of discussions with my wife about how my attempts were making her feel. And vice versa for my wife’s sessions with the counselor.

          Another reason that individual sessions with the same counselor working with a couple jointly is, sad to say, that spouses are more likely to lie, or be less than completely honest, when the opportunity presents itself in the joint session. However, in individual sessions, any such lies or partial deceptions may be revealed with the safety of the other partner not knowing about it, and the issues related to the presence of this lack of honesty can be addressed. Also, if one or both of the spouses can be too defensive at times (imagine that, a CS being defensive!), my wife and I agreed that defensiveness was much more prevalent during our joint sessions than during our individual sessions. Finally, there were simply some things that my wife and I wanted to first discuss individually with our counselor before getting to them at joint sessions, and we found that often after addressing matters individually with our counselor, there was no need to waste time on them during our joint sessions.

          I should add that my wife and I initially had only four joint sessions and individually 3 and 4 sessions respectively. We each had a couple of individual sessions on down the line. At that point we had a fairly good idea of things we needed to improve/work on, and each felt that we had had the best opportunities to put behind us any and all resentments that had built up to that point. What I didn’t know at the time was that my wife and the counselor were working together to help my wife with the process of ending her EA and re-committing to our marriage (per the counselor, my wife was supposed to come clean about the EA at some point, although I’m not sure when as I discovered its beginning, existence and duration as well as ending before my wife had her “chance” to let me know about it). I must say, they did a great job together, and looking back, I have to laugh at the look on my wife’s and counselor’s faces when the issue of potential infidelity came up in a later session and my stance at the time was that any kind of an affair would be a deal-killer for me!

          Best of luck with healing.

          • chiffchaff

            Healing Mark – I always find your comments very incisive and wondered if you had a man’s view on what may be going on with my H at the moment? It would be much appreciated.
            My H has now returned to living at home and we’re generally focusing on doing those things that were lacking before, lots of hiking, making plans etc. He’s also having individual counselling for what he has now told me is his reliance on pornography to get him through bad times. What I find hard is that I tell him when I’m feeling angry/annoyed/upset and what I think is causing it. It’s not always him but it can be (Recently I found an old laptop of his still contained ‘files’ he said he’d deleted and he’d accessed them as recently as a few weeks ago – I smashed it with a lump hammer). He doesn’t do the same at all, everything has to be dragged out, yet, when I’d kicked him out he was open and raised issues for discussion with me.
            Now he’s back home he’s gradually seeming to switch back off and take me for granted. I can really feel my self-esteem falling back down the cliff, especially as there’s still no intimacy as such.
            I just don’t know how to raise anything with him anymore. I want to work on us constructively by using some of the exercises you find in the books we have, that my H also has, but he is always less than reluctant when I suggest it.
            I also suffer from resentment that he’s always ‘tired’ in the evenings – the first thought that pops in my head is always that he wasn’t ‘too tired’ when the OW was around! Makes me seethe.

            • Healing Mark

              Chiffchaff. Again, love your name. True, I can provide a man’s view of things, but am struggling to try to even venture a guess as to what might be going on with your H right now. I can relate to being less than totally honest when it comes to something that you are fairly certain will anger or disappoint your spouse, especially if the reaction to a “relapse” is as violent as you describe. Suggest you understand how your reactions to things that your H does or feels can, rightly or wrongly, affect how he interacts with you.

              I have never understood all the fuss over pornography. I’m sorry if it bothers you that your H enjoyes this. It’s no indictment on you, more than likely. No more than you enjoying Brad Pitt or “fill in the blank” in movies or TV shows. What man hasn’t had a “reliance on pornography to get him through bad times”? 🙂 But seriously, as long as this “enjoyment” is not negatively impacting your intimacy, which I realize is hard when you have gotten to the point that there is little or no intimacy, your H viewing porn should not be a problem (not saying it shouldn’t bother you, that’s your personal right, but am saying that it might help to reassess whether this is as bad as you might be thinking).

              The lack of intimacy, of course, needs to be examined and hopefully addressed. For me, this is a very important component of being in a committed relationship. Without it, why be committed? Plus it’s absence makes the relationship, in my opinion, so much less fulfilling and exciting. Being married can be boring enough. At least spurts of intimate moments can spice it up some!

              Finally, as a guy, I just want a clue or clues as to what my Venusian wife is thinking or feeling and certainly prefer guidance as to how I can act so that I am making her feel safe, happy, content, whatever. Does your H get these from you? It’s so frustrating to be in the dark with your wife, especially when she is hurting or angry. Even more frustrating that not having input on what your wife would like from you, is trying to do “the right thing” only to have it backfire on you. I’m sure at times when I had no such input and feared that whatever I might do would be “the wrong thing” (mostly the case during W’s EA) that I chose to do nothing and was “too tired”. And one final thought. Few men find attractive, or even want to be around, a woman who is angry, even if her anger is not misplaced, and may very well do whatever they can to not engage the angry woman. That was certainly the case with me and I’m so glad that the angry bad wife that I had during her EA is gone and in her place is the loving happy wife that I had before the EA and now enjoy being married to. Honestly, neither myself nor my wife were going to stay married when we found ourselves mostly angry at each other like we were probably right before, but certainly during, her EA.

              As always, good luck with healing efforts.

            • chiffchaff

              Thanks HM.
              My H uses porn like this – something happens that pushes him to a dark place (i.e. his parents have a go at him for his PA for instance, they are very religious, something goes wrong at work perhaps) and his first thing to do will be to search the internet for it or look at files he already has on his phone. He says it makes him feel better instantly but then makes him feel terrible for much longer. It has affected our intimacy as his PA seems to have been the next step on in a porn addiction i.e. acting out, with someone who also seemed to have a keen interest in the stuff too and acted like one of them. I’m sure lots of men would like that in a woman…

              In terms of being angry – I’m not physically angry or even very shouty. I have developed a better way of dealing with things because we didn’t have arguments, ever, before Dday. We’ve both found it’s better to get things out in the open and be angry. He is frequently angry with me now too. We have both said we feel better afterwards too. Clearing the air is something we never did.

              I see a lovely man again in my H from time to time but have difficulty telling him. I don’t want to tell him because I am worried he’ll then just think everything’s fine and over and he can ease off the gas, stop doing work. These days my anger is less about his affair than about what isn’t happening now as a result of what he’s done. He shows little remorse still, apologises even less. Because of what he’s done and the decisions I’ve made to keep trying with him I have pretty much lost my family contact now. Nobody understands why I have him back and I know this hurts him too. I have wondered if he thinks that no matetr what I do or say I will give up on him as the stress of having no family support will just send me over the edge into kicking him out. I don’t know.
              Anyway, I asked him if we could talk tonight and he agreed. Hopefully we can talk some more about how to keep progressing as such.

            • Healing Mark

              Chiffchaff. When you find yourself wondering what your H is thinking and it is important to your relationship or to how you might feel or how you might need to relate to your husband, by all means ASK him what he is thinking. Part of the difficulties my wife and I have had is due to the fact that she will try to interpret how I am feeling or what I am thinking, rather than asking me, and when she interprets wrongly it seems as though nothing ever good comes out of it.

              There are many things I still don’t understand about affairs and affair recovery (I guess this is one reason I still spend some time on this site), and don’t take this in any kind of negative way, but I don’t understand when BS’s state that their CS’s are not doing “things” that are needed following affair discovery, but go on to state that their CS’s have apologized for the affair and communicated that they are sorry that it happened and should never happen again. So the BS treats the CS less lovingly or somehow less than they would otherwise treat the CS for fear that the CS will not think that all is ok given that the affair occurred? You say your H now apologizes less? Why the need for continuing apologies? And it seems to me that a CS is going to have whatever “level” of remorse they can feel and express once they are out of the “fog”, and there is little, if anything, that the BS can do to change this (CS’s, please chime in on this as perhaps you have felt little remorse at one point in time but later felt more remorse for whatever reason and, if you did, did you actually communicate this to your BS right away or even ever?).

              What you are describing sounds a lot like what my wife expressed to me as a deal-breaker for her following EA discovery. She was not going to stay married to me if the “price” of her EA was that it was going to follow her around forever or even just an unacceptably long period of time. And by this she meant that she did not want to continuously have to act sorry for her mistakes, and she did not want to have to apologize for them over and over and over again. I got it. She wanted true forgiveness, and with this, there is no longer any need for her to express remorse for her mistakes, nothing for her to apologize for anymore, and allows her to live her life free of being “haunted” by her EA. My wife knows that what she did was harmful to not only me, but to our children, but she does not have to keep reminding either me or herself of this fact. I can only speak for my W, but she only had a limited capacity (also a sufficient amount, but still limited) for continuing to dwell on her EA and “work” with me on healing. When she was done, she was done, and I just had to accept this fact and ask myself if what she and I had to that point was going to be enough to forgive her and “get past” the EA. There was a period of time that transpired between the time my wife “moved on” from her EA and the time I was similarly able to do so. Doesn’t seem fair, does it? But it was what it was and I dealt with it.

              The one thing that my W and I are comfortable bring up that is affair related notwithstanding forgiveness are periodic assurances that she will never let another friendship evolve into an EA (PA’s are right out) as she is now a stronger and better person.

              Finally, from a guy’s perspective, please tell your H any and all loving and otherwise nice things that you might think or feel about him and/or your marriage. Doing this might actually make him more able to assist you with things you feel you need to as fully heal as you can. I know that it would if I was the CS. Good luck tonight!

            • JoeIsTrying

              Good advice Mark. I listened to the MP3 audios on forgiveness last night and there are some good bits of information in there that support what you are saying.
              If someone is to that stage, I highly recommend that 3 part series in members area.

            • chiffchaff

              Thanks HM & Greg & JT.
              We didn’t talk last night in the end. The reason for it was that we were having such a great time talking about our mountaineering plans and my H seemed so happy and excited about making these plans and so was I. I didn’t feel the need to raise a chat about intimacy as simply as a result of him being very happy he was much more affectionate. I did also take your advice and told him that I loved seeing him so happy again, rather than just thinking it to myself. The response was totally unexpected, he then just apologised to me for taking so long to be happy again.
              so it’s true. If I tell him when I notice or feel good things he feels confident enough to respond in a way that he feels too, and we both benefit.
              On the apologies front – he has never apologised for his affair or the effect it’s had on both our lives. He still idolises the OW. I suppose I have to take from that that I should judge him on his behaviour instead. He has counselling again today, I hope he continues to benefit from it.

            • Healing Mark

              Chiffchaff. So happy for you and your good night. My W felt badly about a lot of what she had done and said during her EA, but not everything, so eventually I, too, accepted her feelings and beliefs, even though I was not in agreement 100% with them. I also found it very beneficial to make sure that my W knew that, notwithstanding everything, the positive changes we had made in our relationship were making me happy to be married to her and that she was back to being the wonderful person she was before the EA.

              Wow! Not even a watered down apology? My wife went back and forth for some time right after D-day with regard to how sorry she was for her “inappropriate friendship” with her AP (she hates the term – surprise? – “emotional affair”). Very defensive and many times, mostly in anger, she would do a 180 and opine that she was not sorry for developing this “friendship”. But I don’t recall her ever backing down on being sorry that what she had said and done with the AP hurt me and harmed our relationship. I learned to stop arguing with her about whether she should be sorry for the EA itself, and whether the “friendship” was or was not an EA (we settled on an “inappropriate relationship” since it involved things that, absent extreme rationalization, neither of us would be comfortable with the other person doing). I think one of the best “apologies” you can get following an EA is seeing that the CS recognizes that investing emotional energy with someone other than the spouse can be harmful and seeing that the CS is now 100% invested in, and committed to, the marriage.

              Finally, try not to let your H’s good thoughts and feelings toward the OW affect you too much. For the longest time, my wife also had professed strong feelings of “like” for her AP (she admitted having gotten over the infatuation some time before she broke off the EA). Trying to get her to change these feelings was not productive for either me or us. This is where the “no contact” aspect of affair recovery should come in. The distance that now exists between my W and the AP has resulted in a significant diminishing of her feelings for the AP. Also, I think that with the passage of time and the bolstering of her happiness with our relationship as I meet needs of hers that she found the AP meeting during the EA, my W recognizes that her feelings for the AP were somewhat artificially strong given that he was treating her overly “nice” in an effort to develop and then maintain the EA and all the “highs” that flowed from it.

              Here’s to continued improvements in your marriage. Take care.

            • Greg

              I know you asked HM but I might have more of an insite this with my history of porn. I want to run this by you and see if any of it sounds familiar.

              Does he generally not open up about his feelings on much of anything, have few close friends, tends to get more angry than a situation merits, doesn’t like going out to parties or doing things with others, or has a low opinion of most other people?

              Asfor just the porn aspect, in and of itself it is not a problem. Where it is a problem is if you do not like it, or it makes you feel degraded, then he needs to understand that it is not acceptable to you and that should be enough that he should not want to do it. It only took me about 10 years to learn this lesson and finally stop looking at it. 🙁 My wife had always told me that it bothered her and that she had less respect for me because of it, so I told her I would stop and went back to it after a month or so thinking that it was just her problem and it wasn’t a ‘real’ issue so it wasn’t a problem. Obviously it was but I was very good a tricking myself in to thinking it wasn’t because it made me feel good.

              Think on the questions I posed above and let me know if any of it sounds similar to your husband. You can post here, on the forum, or PM me if you want.

    • JoeIsTrying

      I really appreciate the description of your relationship and your assessments. I agree the gift is a bargaining chip and clinging to that false safety blanket. Reading your prior post was an exact replica of my situation, and it really hit home when you said your still there because of part of her is broken. It is hard for me to remember that when I am given a sharp knife to the back and react emotionally.
      My CS continues to blame me for everything, even her current situation. She has moved out and claims to have broken up with the OM, though I’m not confident. We have a young child so our encounters are frequent and often exhibit her anger toward me. Protection, emotional reaction, attention, all the bullets are in her gun of blame. In fact, during initial counseling she even blamed me for claiming the wrong side of the bed many years ago during our courtship.
      It is important for all of us to remember that the blame and anger by the CS is consistent with the behavior and that it is probably a better sign than detachment.
      Where your, and I believe Greg’s, situation differs is in your line about loving each other so much. Is she stating that love too? My wife stops short of that, and still claims she is conflicted between comfort of me and the excitement of what she was missing. I openly profess my love for her and that ends up shutting her down. I actually believe she loves me deep down, but she isn’t demonstrating it at all. If your wife does state her love, how/when did that manifest itself again after the EA?

    • Dol

      JoelsTrying: I’ve been lucky in that respect – my CS has always been clear about her feelings for me. Well, nearly: it’s only really been when she’s angry that she’s lost that. But I have never had to deal with her telling me her feelings for the OM were love, and that she didn’t love me any more. She thought that for a time, but more due to concluding, “if I’m doing this, how can I still love him?”

      How long has it been for you? I know others here have had to deal with their other half telling them they don’t love them any more – and that they have come round, over time, as the fog’s lifted. The only thing to do in these times is try to take care of yourself, not attempt to meet some unreal or imaginary expectations you think she has – it can’t be done. That doesn’t mean there aren’t real needs to be met, but it doesn’t sound like you’re close to getting to real needs.

      The present is still being held onto here. I’ve taken some steps myself, admitted some of my f**k-ups. Today we see whether she can take a step back, do the right thing.

      • JoeIsTrying

        Thanks Dol. My wife has stop short of saying she loves me, but does say stuff like ‘care for me’, ‘comfort’ and all. I discovered the EA in late Oct, it was only a few weeks old when I found out, but they continued, and still have contact today. She moved out in Dec and had full access to him, however they just can’t get passed the covert stage because there isn’t anything real there. She gets hurt, scared and confused and goes to him. I feel she is trying to break that. Her latest claim was that she doesn’t feel ‘tingles’ with me. She thought this would shock me, but I felt that was about what she would feel being away and in the arms of someone else. She has not claimed to be in love with him.
        She is currently angry at me, probably as angry as she has been, and is not communicating much with me. I had made custody threats weeks ago that got back to her now and she is livid, rightfully so. I also opened up to her about my feelings, availability to forgive, how to structure reconcilliation, and she couldn’t handle it. She is struggling hard right now and really needs me to back away and leave it all alone for a while.
        Ironically, playoff hockey and baseball season could actually SAVE my marriage if I concentrate more on those and less on her. 🙂

    • Dave

      This has been a constant source of problems for my and my “recovery” if there is such a thing. I tend to wrap myself up in my anger and use it like a suit of armor. It protects me and keeps me safe from being hurt again. I know that isn’t healthy and it is something that I’m working with my therapist on, but so long as the revelations continue to come, I feel the need to be protective of what little ego and heart I have left.

      • Greg

        I know about the anger being used as a shield, it doesn’t really work it just gets you more and more wound up. Might I suggest ‘Beyond Anger’ by Thomas Harbin. I found it very helpful in overcoming my anger issue with my wife and the world in general.

        • Dave

          Yep, this is something I’m working on with my therapist. It is tough because even though I’ve gone through D-Day, I’ve already been warned by my wife that all of the details aren’t out yet. Her former AP is sending more stuff that she doesn’t remember. I think when it hits, I will go through a D-Day 3, so I feel like I’m hunkering down. I’m actually prepared to move out for a short time to put some distance between us so that I can deal with it on my own.

          • blueskyabove


            Can you help me out here? I admit I’m not familiar with your story but I’m having trouble with a couple of your statements. Namely: “I’ve already been warned by my wife that all of the details aren’t out yet.” and “Her former AP is sending more stuff that she doesn’t remember.”

            If your wife doesn’t remember, then why is it assumed to be true? Also, is this a form of coercion? If it is coercion, then how does your wife feel about this? Is this “stuff” something either or both of you HAVE to look at? Can you decide either together or individually NOT to view it? In other words, can you take back your life or are you obligated to cater to the wishes of someone outside your marriage? If so, then why?

            • Dave

              Her affair was a while back, but I just found out. Her coping mechanism was to lie and forget. Some details have been lost – until the letters she sent to her AP and pictures he took of her and them came up.

              For me, the one thing I required from our marriage was honesty – which has been a problem for her on more than one occasion. As part of our agreement to even try to move forward, I require full disclosure.

              I thought I had all of that, but then new information and facts were presented. It was then that my wife told me that there was more to come – namely another letter that she wrote two years after her affair. She can’t remember the details, but he is going to send it.

              We are either going to look at it together or not at all. But either way, after I see everything I feel I need to see, all of the originals are going into a fire pit for a ceremonial burning of her affair. After everything is out, I have some decisions to make – namely if I can go forward with her.

            • Teresa

              Dave….I’m with blueskyabove…WHY do you need to read and see everything? I mean, you KNOW she had a EA turned PA, you know she once felt she loved him, you KNOW she broke things off with him years ago, you KNOW she is sorry for what she did…shouldn’t you just leave it alone now, and move on with healing?
              It seems to me that the issue here isn’t her affair…it’s the fact that she has a problem with honesty, and that’s what you should be dealing with.
              I could have gotten the 1000’s of text messages my H sent the cow…but why bother? It was in the past, he had the EA, nothing I could do to change that…why add even MORE PAIN to a already immensely painful situation?
              Why put those words in my head, to run around chasing each other for months and years to come?
              I mean, this is YOUR life…not trying to tell you what to do, but think long and hard about seeing and reading anything more…why do you want to torture yourself? Maybe if you concentrate on healing your marriage if that’s what you REALLY want to do then you won’t feel the need to subject yourself to something you are already admittedly dreading?
              Here’s a thought..and PLEASE don’t take this the wrong way…but do you think, deep, deep down, you want to shame your wife and your former friend by reading the stupid things they wrote to each other, when they obviously were in “the fog”?
              I ask this because that’s what I wanted to do at one point after DDay…I did look into retrieving the text and picture messages…until a friend talked me out of it..I wanted my H to feel ashamed of the stupid lies he told about me the old cow!
              Anyway, just my thoughts…I’ve read posts on here from several BS who DID see the pics and read the emails, letters, etc…and they regret it!!
              Do you think that in some way you KNOW you want to leave the marriage, but you just don’t have the strength and you can use these letters as the reason to do so, so you will have no guilt? Again, just a thought…you and only you can make that decision…
              My best to you on your recovery…it certainly is hell on earth to go through this!

            • Dave

              Some people need to know the details and some don’t. I am one of those who does. As for how long ago it was, to me it is new and there was continuing contact over the years. The physical contact was over, but they continued to write each other.

              The news, the details, and fact are all new and fresh, and so is the pain. Add to that the fact that I have a photographic memory for events, it feels as if it happened yesterday.

              Even if I could just dismiss all that, she did and does have a problem with honesty, and that is precisely the point. She lied for so long that I no longer know what is real and what isn’t. It is as if my life since then, half of my time with her, has been a lie. For me to move forward, with or without her, I require the truth – all of it.

              When we renewed our vows, she made me recount my one-night stand and she has never let me forget it. She also never believed me when I said it was only one time. But for her, I gave her the truth and gave it whenever she asked – for 18 years. When I asked the same of her, she lied and even turned the question back around on me and tortured me over my indiscretion. All that I ask of her now is that she give me the same honesty I gave her.

              This isn’t about shaming anyone or gathering evidence to leave her. This is about trying to deal with what happened .

              I really resent that accusation and do not appreciate your tone. I also do not appreciate being judged. I thought this was a place where I could discuss how I’m feeling and share my experiences. I see now that I was mistaken.

            • Teresa

              I said “Here’s a thought..and PLEASE don’t take this the wrong way” and also “Again, just a thought…you and only you can make that decision…
              My best to you on your recovery…it certainly is hell on earth to go through this!”
              In NO WAY did I accuse you of anything, and if you feel that I did, I apologize, that was not my intention at all. As a BS I understand the need to know information, but from what you have written it’s very obvious that you are in a lot of pain, and I was only thinking of your well being. Again, I’m sorry.

            • Dave

              I apologize if I took your comments out of context and that I took offense to them.

            • Teresa

              Dave, Like I said…recovering from an EA is hell…no other way to put it, and we are all under a fair amount of stress….apology accepted 🙂

            • Healing Mark

              Dave. Way off the mark with your ending responses/statements to Teresa. I thought what she took the time to post for you was great food for thought, not accusatory in any way, and had enough disclaimers that it would be difficult, if not impossible, to interpret what she was posting as anything negative toward you, your feelings or opinions. Same for even thinking that she might somehow be judging you.

              I wish the best for you, but the holding against you an affair you had 18 YEARS AGO is really f’ed up and it would not take long for my CS to do that to me before she would be as permanently as possible freed from having to be in my presence. Just my experience, but what details I found out on my own, and what details I chose to allow my CS to share with me, none of these made it any easier to get past the affair and to genuinely forgive my wife for her EA. In fact, they made it WAY harder for me. But sharing this with you is in not way judging you given that you want to learn so much about your W’s affair. And I’m not giving you any advice in this regard, either. Just sharing my thinking/experiences. Take them for what they are worth, and try not to take things posted on this site so personal (really, you took from Teresa’s post some kind of “tone” that you found offensive or unacceptable?).

              Now, again, I’m not in any way trying to judge you, but I will “judge” the last 2 sentences of your last post above. There are many words that come to mind as I read these sentences. Childish is one. Douchbag is another. Not a single word, but they shocked me coming from you given your prior posts. You were clearly in a bad place when you typed this post including these sentences. Of course this site is a place that you can discuss how you are feeling and share your experiences. To state otherwise is just wrong. And if you think that when sharing your feelings everyone is going to be sympathetic to you, or post only supportive thoughts/comments, or feel similarly as you do about your experiences, then you are sorely mistaken, and if that is what you need to heal, then good luck finding that either on this site or anywhere else or with anyone else.

              Rather than Teresa apologizing to you, I believe that you, Dave, should apologize to Teresa. You don’t, of course, owe her one. But…

            • Dave

              You are correct in saying that I’m not in a very good place right now. Maybe I did take her comments out of context and I shouldn’t have taken offense, but some of the things she said did come across as vaguely accusatory to me.

              I’m not trying to shame anyone and I’m not trying to leave my marriage. The entire point of discovering the truth is to bring closure to my situation. If in the process, my wife and her lover feel shame, that is their problem. If my wife and I can’t stay together in the end, it won’t be due to anything I learned from her letters.

              I don’t expect anyone to sympathize with me or my situation, especially given that I was the first in our relationship to do wrong. I was just expressing my situation and feelings.

              The point where I became offended is where I believed that she was making assumptions about my motivations. Since the discovery, my wife has occasionally used both of those arguments to attack me, as if asking for the facts to which she agreed to provide is somehow wrong.

              I never asked or expected for an apology. I was just surprised at her comments, which like I said, I felt were somewhat accusatory. I haven’t had a reply like that to any of my previous comments and I was taken aback.

              I apologize for having thin skin.

            • Healing Mark

              Dave. Don’t get me wrong. Teresa’s post was a “strong” one, but one that provided food for thought, even though much of the food is clearly not properly on the menu in your case and under your circumstances. I suspect that she anticipated that many of the matters raised were not going to be applicable to you, but identifying them as not being applicable to you was, I believe, a good thing. Maybe some assumptions were made, maybe not, but figuring out what your real motivations are as you chose actions at this point in time is a good thing. At least I think that it is.

              God bless you! No surprise that your skin is thin right now. Lord knows mine was for quite a bit of time while wrestling with the “demons” of affair discovery. The emotions that I suspect you are going through right now. I’m so sorry for you, and there is hope, so don’t think that there isn’t, although at some point it may be that the best course of action is not the course of action that you wanted in the beginning. I guess this may be a bit of advice, but given all that is going on in your life, recognize that it is affecting in many ways, many of these negatively, how you perceive things and act on things. So be aware of this and try to not let your situation cause you too much to not be yourself. I felt horrible so much, and allowed it to make me act horrible, or worse, and wish I could have had this happen less somehow, and am so grateful that over time and with help from my wife and counselor and friends, albeit without knowledge of exactly what was troubling me, I am no longer “controlled” by the discovery of my wife’s EA and all the sh_t that followed.

    • Teresa

      Thank you HM…I’m glad you understood what I was trying to say…I never intended to hurt Dave and it saddened me that he thought that…

    • Surviving

      I totally get what you are saying I would do the same thing, I am one of those people who want to know everything I guess because I blindly believed the lies I now want all the truth.

      My question is why after so long did your wife decide to tell you the truth?

      Also, why did the OM keep all the letters and stuff? Has he moved on?

      • Dave

        She doesn’t know why she told me. We were out on New Year’s Eve. A pretty girl walked by, and again, she threw up my one-night stand in my face that happened 18 years ago.

        I calmly looked at her and said, “Oh common, you can’t tell me that you and Jim didn’t have anything. I know you did. Just admit it.” She looked off in the distance, looked down and shook her head, and then slowly started to nod yes. When she brought her head up and her eyes caught mine, with a spiteful tone she snapped, “Yeah I f*cked him!”

        My head reeled. I almost fainted. I had suspected something had happened. I had caught her at his house after all, but this was the first time she ever admitted it. The next few hours are a completely blur, but over the course of the evening, more details emerged – but it was still “just one time” and meant nothing.

        The next morning though, everything changed. It was a cold and quite drive home, but I could sense she wanted to say something. I pulled off the highway and I could see panic in her eyes. She then told me more. It wasn’t one time. It was three for four times at least. It did mean something. There were feelings. He loved her and she him.

        After getting home, I got on her Facebook and found that they had been talking over the years like old friends and talking in code about how great it was.

        Even some of my friends have dismissed how I could feel so strongly about something that happened 13 years ago, but this isn’t the first issue to come up in our time together. There were smaller things like this before and after. This is just the worst. Finding out now just twists the knife.

        She denied me honesty, which was the one thing I asked of her before we married due to her cheating while we were dating. If I would have known, I feel that I could have made an informed decision about where I wanted to go with my life. Now I’m in my 40’s, we have another child, and I feel stuck. I feel obligated to stay with her because she never pursued a career or a higher education, and I don’t want my son to suffer a broken home. I know divorce is common and kids are resilient, but it was one thing I promised I’d never do.

        Anyway, I feel that the way we moved forward, has led to years of problems, with lies and bitterness, suspicion and doubt, and years of therapy for me. While she was pregnant with our second son, she was writing him. I’m curious now what she was saying. Did she want it to be his, since they talked so much about having a family? Was she filling a hole in her heart that he left when we moved away?

        The issues at this point aren’t about her so much I guess as much as they are about my own mental health.

        The OM, yes, he is still in love with her. He wants her and told her he’d have her now.

    • chiffchaff

      I don’t know if this is something that other BS’s suffer from at this stage but currently things are going very well. I’m happier by far and my H seems alot happy and will tell me that he is. Things feel like they’re on an upward trajectory but yesterday, out of the blue, I felt so bloody angry and everything flooded back. It was so bad I didn’t want to go home, I wanted to leave him. All I could think about was the pain and suffering what he did has put me through, the effects on my relationships with my friends and family as well as his family (they haven’t contacted me to see how I am since January). I was so angry and then so upset. I managed to get home and put on a brave face but of course, eventually, my face got tired and I had to admit that I’d had some dreadful thoughts. My H was great (this time) and kept apologising (which was also great, and unexpected). He seemed contrite and utterly shocked that I felt so strongly given how happy we’d been recently.
      I think I have a (not unreasonable) fear that as I let down my guard and enjoy us again, he’ll be up to something, or has always been up to something with the OW.
      How do you deal with this?

      • Greg

        You do exactly what you did. You talk to your husband about it, he consoles you, and over time it will become less and less. I just had a similar issue earlier in the week, talked to my wife about it and now it is a non issue.

        • Dave

          What do you do when your spouse doesn’t want to talk about it or blows up when you do? That has been the issue that has helped reignite problems with us over the past few weeks. I’m getting the “get over it” comments now. I’m working on it and some days I do really well, but then for whatever reason, I will have a fear or a question. I will try to talk calmly to her about it, but no matter how I phrase it, she explodes.

          Yes, my issues are less about the present than most since mine is an old (new to me) affair. Most of mine revolve around the doubts I have about me, our life, her love, and the things she says now, since she was so easily able to lie to me for so long. It brings into doubt everything she says and has said for all this time. All I need is her reassurance, but I’m not really getting that now. I guess my way of “getting over it” isn’t her way, and that is now a source of tension.

          It feels as if I’ve hit her limit for patience.

          • Greg

            Your case is tough Dave because for you it is fresh but for her I suspect that she has gotten over it somewhat due to how long ago it was. If I was to hazard a guess I would say that she doesn’t want to talk about it because she will then eventually have to admit to herself that she lied for all those years and threw your one night stand in you face often as a defence for what she did. She doesn’t want to see herself as a bad person, who does, but if she talks about it she will have to admit that she did something wrong and kept it hidden inside her for all those years. I’m not sure how to deal with it until she is ready to admit to herself that she did something that she kept blaming you for. It’s a tough pill for her to swallow but at some time she will have to and then you can both move forward. If she can’t you are both going to be stuck with each other and resenting each other or you’ll end up seperated or divorced.

          • Healing Mark

            Dave. Yes, right or wrong, there appears to be limits to many CS’s ability to be patient and willing to discuss their affairs with their BS’s. You know the saying “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.”? Well, it seems that you may be able to communicate calmly about what you need to know about your W’s affair and why you need to know about it (perhaps to assist with healing), but if your W doesn’t want to go there, she likely won’t no matter how persuasive you might be. It seems as though you are going to need to look for other ways to get past the affair and be able to forgive your W for it.

            There must be more to the problems you and your W are having than the fact that she had an affair 13 years ago. Those are probably the things that your W would rather address than the affair, so perhaps if you make it less, or not at all, about the affair, and more, or all, about issues that might need to be addressed and dealt with now, your W might be more receptive to such discussions.

            If I were you, one thing I would want to get our in the open and addressed, and this would probably something that I would do with a marriage counselor’s assistance, is why after 13 years did my wife fairly out of the blue confess to the affair? If she did it to hurt me, which is probably the case, then why? To chose to bring the amount of hurt that discovery of a PA will no doubt cause is fairly mean spirited act, and the type of act that most loving and caring spouses are not willing to inflict on their significant other. And to confess to it in the way you described. Wow! So hateful (sorry, dude).

            Another thing that I believe that I would need to do if I my W confessed to an affair that occurred 13 years ago is examine how I was feeling about it, and how negatively or not it was impacting me, and then ask myself “What does the say about the state of our current relationship and how I presently feel about my wife?. It seems to me that if I was happy presently with my wife and my marriage, had pretty much enjoyed the past 13 years of being married to my wife, had no current lack of trust issues and overall just basically had no thoughts whatsoever about changes needed to our relationship, much less about the potential for divorce, and my W then confessed to an affair that occurred so far back in time, yeah, I’d be shocked and hurt, but I don’t think that it would take more than a day or two before I would be able to forgive and forget, or at least be at the point where this ancient indescretion, albeit a horrible thing for my W to have done, would have little or no impact on the way I felt about my wife or my marriage. Sure, it would change things. How could it not? But the statements and actions of my W over the 13 years following the affair would be WAY more important to me than the fact that she made a terrible mistake so long ago.

            On the other hand, if things between my W and me were not so good (oh, how non-fondly I recall how things were between my W and me during her EA), let’s say we were fighting a lot, felt fairly disconnected, and were otherwise more unhappily than happily married, and then my W confessed to the short affair that occurred 13 years ago, I’m afraid that I would not be able to get over it so quickly and easily, and for some reason would find it difficult to forgive her and would not be surprised if the thoughts of the affair began to consume and really negatively impact me. Don’t know the foregoing for a fact, just feel this way. Now, if I found myself in this position, what I believe would be important would not be focusing on healing from the affair, but instead figuring out why I was unhappy with my W and our marriage right before affair discovery.

            I think that I have chimed in on this, but I think it’s pretty f’ed up to be bringing up as your W does the fact that you had a one-night stand (probably with a complete stranger that you have never seen since then on top of that!) 18 years ago! Holy crap! Really? What’s up with that? This is probably also something that should be addressed in marriage counseling, as it does your relationship no good whatsover, and your W must surely know this (she would if it were addressed in counseling), so what she is really doing is intentionally acting in a way that is damaging to your marriage and hurtful/disrespectful to you as a person and her husband. Not good. Not good at all. She might as well be physically punching you in the face, as emotional abuse like this is often more damaging than mere physical abuse.

            Now, before anyone blasts me, I am NOT saying that Dave’s wife is an emotional abuser, or anything else! My opinion, and it’s nothing else, is that bringing up a one-night stand that occurred 18 years ago or longer is so unmistakenly damaging and hurtful to the marriage and the spouse that, again, in my opinion, borders on, if not is, emotional abuse. Better yet, forget the label, and simply focus on the fact that it is something that is being brought up with not only no good intentions, but almost certainly with the intent to hurt the other person, in this case Dave.

            • Dave

              I have given a lot of thought as to why this has been so crushing. I think there are several components. She is all I have ever had. I met her when I was 15 and we started dating at 16. We got married at 19, and she has been my life. That in part led to our initial separation and what I did because I was horribly insecure person. Things got better, until I caught her of course. That was soul crushing.

              As for the OM in my case, it was the ex-wife of the guy my wife had her affair with. Omaha was a small town and the four of us were friends. Their marriage dissolved around the time my wife and I separated. The OM and I were “involved” for about five minutes when I realized what a horrible mistake I was making. I immediately broke off contact with the OM. When I back to my wife, we also from off contact with my friend, realizing the whole thing was toxic.

              Four years later he popped up again and everything seemed better. What I didn’t know then was that he had a huge crush on my wife. He secretly made contact with her. He used what I had done and made it sound as if I had done more than I confessed as fodder to fuel her anger and rage. He pursued her and then she pursued his attention. They quickly jump into an affair lasted for several months until I caught them. Recently though, both have confessed that they were involved a couple times as long as four years prior when she and I were having problems.

              After I caught her, we went through a year of hell – more to the point, I put her through a year of hell. The main reason I stayed with her was that I wasn’t going to let that S.O.B. have her or raise my son. After that though, we largely put our lives back together slowly, and we’ve had some good times. We had some rough times too, but on the whole though things weren’t bad. There was just something below the surface though that we were never able to move past.

              Whenever it came up, she unloaded on me about what I did. Our therapist says that she was projecting, trying to cover her own guilt and blame by trying to make me feel bad. It was also a control card for her. As she has told me, she knew that when she felt powerless, she could pull that out and put me in my place because she knew how bad I felt about it. Plus, she never believed me when I said that I had only been with the OM one time and there was nothing more.

              In 2009, it seemed that we were really doing well, so we decided to renew our vows for our 20th wedding anniversary. Before we did, she made me recount the details of my affair, and once again I told her everything and vowed to be a good man. I begged her to move forward with a clean sleep and tell me what happened with “him”, but she stuck to her lie. The ceremony went well – but in a cruel twist, the day we renewed our vows he contacted her on FB. They talked secretly for months after. When I found out in October of 2009, I lost it and almost left her. We went through marriage counseling and once again we rebuilt our marriage.

              Everything was better than it had been in a couple years when she told me. She claims that she had pushed it so far down that she had forgotten what she had done. She had lied for so long, she began to believe her own lie. She swore up and down initially that the day I caught here, she was there just to talk as friends and nothing except a kiss had transpired. That was true – about that day. What she failed to mention was that they had been involved in a PA/EA for several months.

              She claims that initially she planned to tell me immediately after breaking it off with him, but since I caught her on that very day and she saw my face, she couldn’t. At that moment, she decided to take it to her grave. But on New Year’s Eve when I asked her again, her defenses were down for some reason. Perhaps it was the way I asked calmly and rationally or perhaps it was the beer, but whatever the reason was, she says she doesn’t remember saying it harshly or meaning to say it harshly. It just came out that way. Later though, she admitted she still felt justified in doing everything she did because of what I had done. More recently, she’s acknowledged that nothing I did justified her actions or her failure, either in the affair or beating me up for all these years.

              We are in counseling and it does help. So do the medications I’m on for the most part. A lot of my issues currently stem less from her as much as they do from my own capability of dealing with all of this and for me to trust her. It is like finding out that the life you thought you had been living for so long was a complete lie. I worked so hard to be a good man and do the things she wanted and avoid the things to which she objected. I never went anywhere without her. I wasn’t allowed to go to places where there might be single women or to places she found offensive, such as bars, friends’ parties, Hooters, etc. (any place with pretty women)

              I built my entire life and existence around her and us, and now that my image of her and us has been shattered, my self-image likewise has suffered. Who am I? What value do I have? What might have been? Would I have stayed knowing what I know now? Knowing what little I knew has haunted me for years. I spent years in therapy dealing with that and my own crime. What kind of life could I have had?

              I really thought I was doing better, but over the last few weeks a kind of depression has taken over and I’ve been sliding back and I’m not even sure why. The big turning point seems to have happened when most of the anger went away. When that left, all that was left was a big hole and a lot of questions. It feels like I’m slipping into ambivalence, that I don’t care about her, and that scares me. I’m hurt and sometimes I’d rather not be around her, but I don’t know how to live without her. I don’t even know if I can. That is why we are both in couple and individual therapy. We both have issues that need to be tackled, whether we stay together or not.

            • Dave

              She has acknowledge that her actions are abusive. She has stopped for the most part, except when she has a few too many glasses of wine.

    • Surviving

      Does she say why she kept bringing up your one night stand? Does she still bring it up?
      Are you hoping when you get this stuff that you will see that her feelings for this OP changed over time to one of just a friendship?
      Does she still communicate with the OP?
      Are you worried when the kids are grown she will leave you for him?

      • Dave

        The only time she brings up what I did now is to justify what she did. For years though, she pulled out that whip often. It was her weapon of choice. When I failed, we were young, I was stupid and weak, and we were separated. When I went back to her, I immediately confessed and begged her forgiveness and vowed that I’d spend the rest of my life making it up to her.

        My efforts weren’t enough and when the OM came into her life, my failure was the excuse she used for her affair. She says that she harbored horrible resentment and bitterness for what I had done, so her thing started as revenge. But from there, it quickly developed into more.

        All I want from him now is one thing – the letter she wrote when she found out she was pregnant. They both claim that she was writing a closure-type letter, but neither can remember for certain. It hurts that closure didn’t come for two years and that it took another child for that to happen, but it would be nice to see something from her to him other than a love letter. If I could see that she ended it, I think I could feel a little better.

        She has had limited contacted the OP since this has come up, but only to answer some of my questions. The questions part is largely over. Again, all I want now is that letter for the bonfire.

        She swears now she feels nothing for him and that all she wants is me. I should be thankful for that, but I have such a hard time trusting her.

        (I should mention that he is married now and has young children, although he has expressed his unhappiness with his current marriage.)

    • Surviving

      Now that you know are you thinking now so many things in the past make sense? Things that were unexplainable, gut feeling things things making you think am I crazy?

      That is how I feel and that’s why I want to know everything I don’t trust any words only actions.

      • Dave

        Exactly. There were so many signs. It was all right there in my face. The affair, her feelings towards him, why she wanted another child out of the blue, why she attacked me for so long,etc.

        She made me feel crazy using a combination of projection and gas-lighting. And that makes it tough to move on. Had all of that stopped years ago, I doubt the affair would seem as big as it does.

        It is the combination of the affair, the lies, and making me suffer that eat at my brain.

        • Surviving


          In past therapy does she talk about it? Did she go to individual therapy in the past and if so did she talk about it? Was there anyone she talked to about it?

          As horrible as this all is at least the truth is finally out there for you…and it’s not this secret anymore between him and her. What may have started out as a revenge type of situation sounds like it snowballed into an out of control situation and she did put an end to it.
          It also sounds like, even though the words maybe harsh how she told you, she does have a conscience and did in fact tell you the truth.
          So somehow you have to find out why she doesn’t want to help you heal, but then perhaps by her asking this OM for those items she is in her way trying to give you what your asking for, and knowing this could also potentially make things worse between the two of you once you do get the items.

          Take care

          • Dave

            She never talked about it to anyone, including get therapist or girlfriends until after she finally told me.

            It snowballed alright. There is some doubt as to whether there was more than just revenge in the beginning, because he claims she expressed feelings of love and a longing to be with him.

            I don’t know if she doesn’t want me to heal, or if she still can’t face everything. It seems hard for her to accept or admit. The items I want are just part of closure for me. My fears and imagination have been terrible so far, and in some ways, knowing the truth had been cathartic and less severe.

    • Surviving

      Regarding the box of items and the OM
      His interests are him, he sounds manipulative and self serving. I’m not sure he will send you items that will bring the peace you are seeking.
      I’m sure your wife did write to him ending things or they would have still continued their relationship and would be together even now. So will he send this letter? Knowing it will help you? Knowing this man still wants to get together with your wife? Don’t know.

      • Dave

        It is hard to know his motivations. Before all of this, he was my best friend for years…but I’m also not gullible enough (not anymore) to assume that he or she or looking out for my best interests or are legitimately trying to help me. So, I have largely given up on the box o’crap and have put my foot down on the contact. It is done.

        As for ending their relationship, I have nothing but her word that she wanted to be with me, but knowing her and her family history, I think it had more to do with the fact that she didn’t want our son being brought up in a broken home like she was. I guess I was looking for proof that she wanted me and not him.

        However, like I said before, I really think my issues are now less about her affair and him than how I feel about myself. I guess in the end, that is the root to how most betrayed spouses feel. The intense betrayal is about our feelings. If the CS has stopped, has returned, is truly remorseful, and wants the relationship to work, the remaining issue is healing. I need to focus on me more and less on what she did, both the cheating and the lying.

        It is just harder in practice than it is to say.

    • Ann

      Yes, I Was Angry ButThe CH Was Angry That I Was Angry. Be Started Abusing Me Verbally & Physically. What Does That Mean?? Help Please?

    • Ann

      My Keyboard Is Messed Up. I Will.Start Over. Yes, I Was Angry And My CS Was,Angry That I As Angry. So, He Started Being Verbally, Emotionally, and then Physically Abusive. Why Is That? Can Someone Explain This To Me?

    • surviving

      There is no excuse or reason for someone to be physically abusive towards you NONE, please keep yourself safe

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