relationship prior to the affair

Many are under the false assumption that a marriage or relationship has to really suck for it to be subjected to infidelity.  We know that doesn’t have to be the case.

We’ve heard of many stories of couples who felt that their relationship was just fine – until it was blindsided by their spouse’s affair.  Sure the marriage had its share of ups and downs, but no more or less than any other seemingly healthy relationship.

On the other hand, we have also heard of relationships that were fraught with knock-down-drag-out fights and non-stop arguing that also resulted in infidelity, but not necessarily so.

So here are the topic questions for the week…

How was your relationship prior to the affair?  (I thinking that we should address the months and weeks leading up to when the affair started.)

Did the affair bring any negative pre-affair marital issues to light?

Have you been able work through any of these issues? 

Do you feel your marriage is headed in the right direction?  Why or why not?

Thank you so much for joining in the discussion.  As always feel free to share as much detail as you wish.

Linda & Doug



See also  Discussion: Infidelity, Trust and Monogamy

    35 replies to "Discussion – How Was Your Relationship Prior to the Affair?"

    • chiffchaff

      Our marriage in the months before my H started his affair was, on the surface, ok and everything was functionally normal. However, I felt very lonely and depressed. I recall mentioning to my H that we hardly ever kissed and sometimes could go days without even a peck on the cheek. Our intimate life was mainly centred around when we were on holiday, which wasn’t very often. We never argued but also never really spoke about our feelings. In the months before his affair began and in the months just after I had considered suicide several times and had frequently not gone home after work, just driven around. Going home to an empty house was too much sometimes. Both of our families lived hundreds of miles away and we had few local friends. My H spent more and more time at work and was frequently home late using excuses such as an overrunning business meeting or people going to the pub.
      I recall thinking several times at that time that if I complained about my H to my family I didn’t think they would understand. I felt like I was in an abusive relationship but not of the conventional kind – my H wasn’t violent or argumentative but I was neglected and abandoned by him. One incident was indiciative of what it was like at the time – we were walking our dog in the park and a group of youths started taunting me about the way I looked and were starting to become quite aggressive as I tried to ignore them. As it continued my H walked further and further away from me until it was like he wasn’t with me. I got angry at him for not doing anything or saying anything, either to me or the group. It was indiciative of that he was not even capable of caring for me at that stage in a way that you would for even a stranger who you came across being abused in the street.
      Before the affair started he was trying to persuade me to go to the conference with him and turn it into a holiday. At that time we had a big mortgage and the hosue needed alot of work so I couldn’t see how we could afford to both go and have a holiday that would cost thousands when those thousands would be better spent on the house. a big mistake I know but I am a very practical person brought up in a house where there was never money around. He didn’t tell me that he was worried about going to this conference as it was one where he wouldn’t know anyone at all so was feeling lonely. He took my reasoning not to go as ‘evidence’ that I didn’t love him and he set off determined to sleep with someone if the opportunity arose.
      Basically I think that we were both lonely at that time and not thinking of each other – but had no idea how to talk properly to each other about how to solve it or even to try and become closer to each other to at least regain that security of each other that a couple should have.
      The discovery of the affair brought HUGE amounts of negative thoughts out from both of us and tonnes of resentments. It’s been important for our recovery to get those things out in the open.
      Our marriage is now headed in the right direction after 18 months of hard work (well, about 10 months of hard work from my H). We talk more, we both fight our corners and (mostly) I feel happy with where we’re going even if we don’t know where that is in detail. There’s alot more mutual respect.

    • Recovering

      Our lives were so busy before the cheating that I barely remember what life was like. He was in school part-time, working full-time. I was a SAHM but was going to school part-time, and being a full-fledged soccer mom and PTA Board member. We were busy. When the cheating started I was a month away from graduating from school. I saw the light at the end of the tunnel… he didnt. We didn’t talk about feelings… he still doesn’t really… changes the subject quickly but is more supportive of mine now. He doesn’t talk, yet the whore ‘listened’. Idunno.

      The issues brought to light after the affair were probably the ones that allowed the affair in the first place. I was too eager to please him… too easy to say yes to anything he wanted regardless of how I really felt. I still do this sometimes now, and I get so mad at myself!! I felt guilty being a SAHM even though that was what he wanted. He worked so hard, then went to school… I thought he NEEDED time out with the ‘boys’. What an idiot I was!!! Kids were first always… now they still are sometimes, but not as much. I didn’t feel important before, and I still don’t, so I guess that has been magnified to an extreme since the cheating… I just never felt like I was enough… and now I don’t know if there is anything he can do to show me that he REALLY thinks that I am, even though now I am a career mom. The house is a mess though it wasn’t before because I was home… so it seems one facet of our lives falls apart regardless…. I can’t do everything and BE everything to everyone… it sucks!

    • Patsy50

      In the months and weeks before husbands EA, I felt we had just become roommates!

      All the hugs, kisses, touches had faded. Not much talking, no intimacy, we both felt very empty.

      We never really did have good communication skills and so I just assumed this is the way a long marriage ends up.

      We would disagree at times, but never really argued.

      Yes, the affair did bring negative pre affair martial issues to light!

      The EA was a huge eye opener for both of us and once we could see that, we were able to start working on the gray areas and start healing from the affair. It’s like having a list of things to fix, You go down the list one at a time until you have crossed off everything on that list. You can’t fix everything at once.

      My new marriage has become stronger, more loving then before. My husband and I both knew what had to change in order to create this new bond and the key for us here was, we both wanted it and we made it happen.

    • forcryin'outloud

      Before d-day our relationship looked similar to the picture on this posting. I was beat down and exhausted and my H was angry about anything and everything that had to deal with us, especially me. When I look back I’m still baffled why either of us stayed in the relationship.

      The EA brought change to the relationship but not until post D-day which was 2 years later. I believe all the lies were the true catalyst to change. It’s as if each lie lead to another issue in our relationship or another issue my H had with himself. The latter point may be the hardest I’ve had to deal with. I knew I could work on myself but I couldn’t force him to change or see why he made poor choices.

      Our marriage now is better. We effectively communicate which was a HUGE issue for us our entire relationship. Also, my H understands the deep rooted issues that brought about the train wreck. We are better together than we have ever been and I believe we are on a good path. I hate to say this…But I still struggle with trusting him and I’m still angry with myself for my choices that enabled this whole fiasco, that being the breakdown of our relationship not the affair. I have hope that I can continue to see more of the upside and the good between us.

    • gizfield

      I read somewhere that “Bad marriages dont cause affairs; affairs cause bad marriages.” I think this is spot on. If you spouse truly thought it was that bad they would leave, not cheat. Almost all the situations I have read about in here, the cheating always causes more problems than what they blame the cheating on. It is simply opportunity meeting motive. Everyone has opportunity, except one day the cheater realizes they can get a little ego boost with no commitment on the side. Their problems are solved, lol. It is amazing that people spend years dating and finding a spouse, then after they are married and get “unhappy” for whatever reason, then God uses that opportunity to plunk their “soulmate” into the next cubicle, or house or whatever. Riiiight. The main requirement is that they can and will keep the secret. If they were both free, they probably wouldn’t look twice.

    • gizfield

      I didn’t answer the question, lol. Our relationship prior to the “affair” was exactly what you would expect for 2 people with full time jobs, and a preschool daughter to take care of without any help from family. In other words, it represented adulthood and responsibilities, not continuous fun. Affairs really are like just dating someone, you see them when you want, show your best side, see only their best side, and bail when the going gets tough. I trusted my husband which have him complete freedom to explore a dating relationship with someone who lacked values while I was too busy to even breathe. I’m sure if I had been the same person he dated three years prior to marriage, i.e, with no responsiblity and unlimited time to spend on myself and him, there would have been no affair.

      • Doug

        Hey gizfield, Long time no hear. How have you been?

      • exercisegrace

        Annnnnnnd we have a winnnnnner!!!! This is exactly what happened to us. Stress creates vulnerability which meets opportunity and equals disaster. I am sure she seemed fun and interesting to him. She poured out attention and admiration 24/7. Easy peasy when you are single, childless, no responsibilities and have no other focus in your life. He got to experience the “rush” of dating, and someone putting him on a pedestal with none of the “real world” responsibilities because I was home taking care of all that.

      • exercisegrace

        Very well said. It is so very unfair that the marital relationship has to compete with a “dating” relationship. It is simply impossible. The cheating spouse gets to set sail on the SS Infidelity while we are at home dealing with the drudgery of the household chores etc. On the flip side? My husband missed out on a LOT. I was at all of the kids’ sporting events, strengthening our relationship while he was destroying his with them. Now he has the difficult task of trying to rebuild all that, but he can’t get those years back. Our oldest will leave for college this summer, and he has to live knowing he pretty much missed out on most of her high school years.

    • gizfield

      Hi, Doug, I’m doing very well, thanks for asking! Things have been very busy, as usual. I’ve missed commenting and reading everything. I’ll update on my progess later, it will take a while, lol.

    • exercisegrace

      Our relationship was good. He had even told his AP that early on in their friendship. That he was blessed to be married to his best friend and that we had four great kids. But when life stresses piled up, he took the out. She “pursued him aggressively” (her words). We were not fighting, we were having sex, we were just overwhelmed by what was going on in our lives. Our therapist says my coping skills are MUCH stronger than his. He chose an easy escape. He never intended to leave, or for it to go as far as it did. That is cold comfort now.

      I can’t say there were really any pre-affair marital issues. The only thing I can point to is the same as everyone else. We were very busy, leading hectic lives, managing the needs of four active kids and their school and sports schedules. We didn’t make couple time a priority as often as we should have. But that is NO excuse for an affair. Honestly I feel like erasing that. There is no justification for cheating. Even he cannot point to anything specific that led him to make the choices he made, other than being seriously depressed.

    • Strengthrequired

      Ours too, a busy life, 6 kids, a business, mortgage, bills, midlife crisis, stress for him, post natal depression for me. We didn’t fight, he was always home late ( no different to now which has me worried) she comes back into his life, she tells him all about her problems next thing I’m the bad person.

      Funny would make time for his ea, but wouldn’t make time for us, yet now look what happens, he has to repair our business our finances, so still stressed, still stays way and comes home late, our children and myself still lose out on seeing him.

      • exercisegrace

        We have our own business too. I was always understanding of the long hours he had to work. Never pressured him, took on more responsibility for the family stuff. He even says now that I supported him to my own detriment. He hid the affair easily in the beginning because I assumed he was working his usual long hours.

        I very much resent the time he took to build his EA/PA. Time that the kids and I would have loved to have with him. Time that would have been so much better invested in “us”. I am much less understanding now of the “busy” excuse. I don’t mind reminding him that he “made” time to pursue a whole other relationship. I stand up for myself now, and demand that time be made for us. And in fairness, he really is trying. But it is so very hard at times.

    • Strengthrequired

      Exercisegrace, I tell him I don’t blame him, I blame her, she wanted to “get to know me and the kids”. Her words. She knew he had a family, hewers hard a good provider, and set upon taking it for herself.
      So I don’t blame him, i am angry at him at times, because he let her in. He made that step to stray, and he even after coming home after our separation for 4wks he could lie to me about being with her, the hundred calls a day, all while making love to me, telling me he wants me and our family. Knowing what he put not just me but our kids through, and even have daily conversations with her up until January this yr with her, and I’m supposed to forget and move on. Apparently not talking now for the past month since I found out about the calls were continuing, so trying to believe it this time. It’s just taking everything in me to truly trust what he tells me is true. Plus with his staying away from home at night, it makes me nervous.
      I often say to him, why do I have to love you this much? It would have been easier if I didn’t.

      • exercisegrace

        Pretty much the same situation here. She knew he was married, had four kids, owned his own successful business, etc. By her own admission she set out to get him and pursued her goal aggressively. She also pretended to want to be friends with me, as she talked him into starting a secondary business with her. That didn’t last long, as I think she didn’t like the love she saw between us. Whatever she “thought” our marriage was, whatever he might have “told” her, when she ws around us she saw me laughing, happy, affectionate and loving towards him.

        I DO blame her a great deal. However, she is not the one that took vows to love and honor me. To be faithful to me. I think she is scum for being able to come into my house and cause the pain she caused to my children. But she is not their father. It was not her God given duty to protect them. At the same time, I recognize that he had many issues that came into play, including childhood abuse and a depression he was hiding the depths of from me. In my more rational moments, I can feel a great deal of empathy for him. I know he is suffering because of his choices. He hates what he has done to me and our children.

        Instead of blaming the cheating spouse, the cheating spouse needs to step up and OWN the blame. If they don’t, and we hold them blameless, we are setting ourselves up for them to make another selfish choice on down the road.

        Stay strong! Keep fighting for your marriage. I know how hard it is. I love the support here on this board. This is where people really “get it”.

    • Strengthrequired

      That was supposed to say who works hard, not hewers. Lol

    • Strengthrequired

      Exercise grace, it is good to find a place that you can just let it all out, without bottling it up all inside. This is a good outlet for many of us.
      It amazes me everyday on how many of these ea, if not 99% start pretty much the same, and the om/ow not giving too hoots about who gets hurt. I would think that the children in these situations would be thought of by these people but they simply aren’t. It’s just selfishness at play.

    • Strengthrequired

      Eg, I was resding your comment about our marital relationship has to compete against the dating relationship. It’s true, it is very unfair, it is impossible to compete.
      Our partners are enjoying thie sweet life of a growing new relationship on the side which is promising love and happiness, then on the other hand a marriage with children, mortgages, bills, work, a relationship at home that seems to be on idle, because it’s the same thing day in day out, no excitement to be had, because of all the responsibilities that come with raising a family. Can’t just sneak out and have a laugh, you can’t just forget about what’s waiting for you the next day, the same thing work, screaming children, bills, stress.
      So what looks more appealing from the outside looking in, the glowing new relationship that has no reminders of what’s waiting at home. Wife and kids.
      Just laugh at each other and enjoying each other and forgetting about what is important for those moments of bliss.
      Unfortunately the real world has to come into play sooner or later, and when it does it hits home hard.
      Yet who is suffering the betrayed.

      Sometimes, I would love just to have that one person to be able to talk to, to be able to listen to how I feel for a change and to have me feel good about myself, and have that person think I am perfect for however long. However, I know that I could never do that to my h, I could never imagine myself letting myself get closer to another man in any way. I’m just too attached to my h, no matter how stupid I think he has been. That’s what gets me angry at myself, because sometimes I think what a fool I have been for trusting this man with my heart especially all these past 12 months since returning home, and all the lies that came with it. Yet I look like the foolish one, I can only imagine the laughing behind my back by the ow, as she tells people how she sneaks around behind my back with my h. I just think disgraceful.

    • QuiteFrankly


      Before it even started, our marriage was one where I had to be submissive as His wife to degrading levels. I was ridiculed for years for being female. I even began to look down on my female friends and family members to the point that I no longer had any female friends. Women were weak and evil, so of course I preferred male friends.

      He also would demand (in front of our kids, no less) that I verbally state that I agree with him on whatever political or philosophical idea he was discussing. If I did not agree, I would not be allowed the benefits of fellowship in our family. I couldn’t do that. So I shut my trap most of the time and kept my ideas to myself. My friends (mostly males by then) would never demand that I agree with them. They would be happy for me to disagree.

      Sometimes I went months without contacting my parents, siblings and grandmother. My husband disliked them so much, so of course I had to agree they were pretty awful people. But I still wanted my kids to have those relationships, and I still wanted to please my parents… this conflict drove us crazy. While my many in-laws are often over at our home, my side of the family never has been welcome here. It still breaks my heart.

      For months and years I felt like my husband related to me on 3 areas: 1. Domestic Support 2. Sex 3. Parenting
      I did those 3 things very well sometimes and not so well other times. But that is all I felt was important to him: my performance in those areas. I’m not sure if that has changed. Apparently I was also supposed to confide in him emotionally, even though doing so was met with ridicule and shame.

      I still don’t understand why I am the “UNFAITHFUL” spouse and he is the “VICTIM”. He vowed to be a kind husband. I didn’t vow emotional monogamy. My friendships were inappropriate, but they did not break a vow as his cruelty did.

      I was living under years of hidden fear that my husband would divorce me if he knew certain things about me, and when I told him those things he started talking about divorce. I felt I had to keep secrets to keep my marriage together. One of those secrets was ME. One of them was my little world of online friends.

      I made mistakes and I am willing to accept the consequences of my actions. But I do not think my children should have to pay for it through a big nasty divorce. I also wish my husband would shoulder some of them blame.
      But I know better.

      • Recovering

        I am so sad to hear your response. As the cheater, what you did was wrong. That has nothing to do with what your husband did or didn’t do as a husband. That is totally seperate. If things were so bad, you should’ve left, not cheated!! Two wrongs don’t make a right! Not that I don’t feel bad for you for your bad marriage and the way he treated you, but you had other options. In this particular sense, he is the victim. Cheating is right there with abuse. Sounds to me like you haven’t fully grasped that and that you haven’t fully accepted responsibility for what YOU did, and that you are still trying to blame your bad marriage for ‘making you cheat’. You CHOSE the affair. You knew it was wrong and did it anyway. In no way am I excusing how your husband treated you! What he did was wrong too, but this is a site about cheating, and that cheating is ALWAYS wrong. He didn’t make you do it. You chose to all by yourself. No, your children shouldn’t have to pay, but you play and you will eventually pay. YOU had other options. You always did… Good luck with the divorce… that is a rough road too… and you are right… the kids will pay more than anyone.

      • Exercise grace

        Reading your comment, it sounds like an extremely abusive situation. I rarely if ever say this, but I can’t imagine things being anything BUT better without this abuse in your life. Having said that, it in no way justifies your cheating. I pray you find the strength to make this a healthy situation for you and your kids, or the ability to leave this almost cult- like environment.

    • Sharon

      Time apart. Boredome. Loneliness. Military marriage=opportunity.

    • ELS1976

      I just found out a few days ago. It wasn’t a long lasting EA (maybe a month) but I feel completely shattered. He claims he felt that I didn’t love him anymore, which honestly I don’t know where that came from. I was so blindsided since we tell each other we love each other multiple times a day and hug and kiss multiple times a day. Our sex life isn’t as active as it use to be, but we make time at least once a week. So this excuse just rings hollow for me. He said he told me because the OW wanted to take their relationship to a physical level and that he realized he couldn’t do that to me. But I just don’t understand the reasoning, it makes no sense to me whatsoever. He also said that I didn’t seem interested because I was always doing some hobby at night, but what he seems to forget is almost every night I ask him what he wants to do and he is always doing something else, either practicing music or taking some online classes, so I just feel that he is trying to put this all on me. I’m just upset, confused, hurt and angry.

      • chiffchaff

        Hi ELS – this sounds like typical justification behaviour by your H – blaming it all on you and things you were doing. It’s all BS. He’s re-writing things to make himself feel better about what he’s been doing and it has nothing to do with anything you’ve done.
        There’s plenty of information on here to help you navigate your way through this difficult time – look after yourself.

      • Doug

        ELS, Chiff is right. It’s just a CS justifying his actions.

        • suziesuffers

          When the icon for “DOUG” comes up…and I don’t think I’ve seen one for “LINDA”… this comment coming from Doug or Linda. I think it would help to know. Even though Doug and Linda are one the same page….I would like to know whether this is coming from the cheater or betrayed spouse’s perspective…..

          • Doug

            Suzie, Linda has her own icon. That came from me.

    • Gizfield

      Yes, they all use the same rationale. One good thing about finding this site early on is that no matter what crap he throws your way, almost all of us wil have heard it before. One thought also, if his cheating is the fault of your relationship, why aren’t you cheating too ? Because it’s NOT!

      • suziesuffers

        Is this true…? Isn’t it because of problems in the relationship and we just don’t feel the same loss our spouse did in the relationship….somehow we are getting our needs met in someway….but they aren’t…..So they go looking?? Something is missing in the relationship that they want to find? I’m still confused about the multiple affairs my ex had….Our marriage was compounded with his addiction for 30 years until the last 5 years when he had more affairs/or inappropriate interactions with women than I’d ever found out about before……but maybe when his addiction stopped and he had to live with ME….he couldn’t mask his unhappiness anymore with alcohol and finally was turning to women to exit our marriage? I think he had a dad that was an alcoholic….and he didn’t meet me until he was 26….and was smoking pot and drinking then….but of course he started lying early and when I told him that wasn’t my lifestyle…he told me he quit…..AND hid it really well….but I never cheated on him…….and my life was far from perfect with him……Don’t trust my own thoughts anymore….my reality of 30 years+ was shattered with the last affairs although I wa always suspicious about little suspicions that sometimes were proved to be lies….other times not….IT’S crazy making!!!!!!

    • Gizfield

      Oh, dont be surprised if you find out this has been going on longer or on a more involved level than hes admitted to. If a woman is ready to get physical with a married man after a month, she is either a real whore or he’s lying to you. or possibly both.

    • ELS1976

      So I did some snooping and it looks like he’s telling the truth at least in this case. And yes, she pretty much is a whore. Let me tell you how she reeled my husband in. They play music together at a bar for a weekly session. She started coming about a month ago. She started off being friendly telling him all about her love life woes. Then (red flag) she told him she’s only attracted to married men. Then goes on to tell him about her massage therapist she’s trying to hook up with even though he is in a relationship. Now the next part is funny because when my husband first told me I actually correctly guess everything she said to him that started the whole mess. From asking about me and telling him he must really love me, to believing that they are soulmates the whole shebang. Here’s the thing. I had a very toxic friend for 14 years who would only go after attached men. I know the script, I know how they do it. I literally repeated back their conversation together almost verbatim without him telling me. So when he first told me, he said it was because she made him feel attractive and he was weak. Then when I pretty much exposed that she had no real feelings for him, that it was a game for her because she got her rocks off getting with married men, then he said it was because he didn’t feel loved at home, which as you know is total bs. I honestly think he feels like a fool, because I knew everything about her without ever meeting her. I honestly believe that he is sorry that he got involved with her and how much he hurt me, but he hasn’t been able yet to take responsibility for it, not full responsibility anyways. So that’s where we are right now. We are actually using the session on this site to try to work through this, so I hope our marriage can be saved.

      Oh and as far as the OW is concerned, so of course I made my husband cut off all contact with her including social media. So after he de-friended her on facebook, she sent him a message like nothing had happened telling him that her fling with the massage therapist is over because he called it off and that she was at a bar if he wanted to come by. My husband let me read it of course and then, positive for him at least, he said “Wow, she really has no regard for you at all.” Which I said of course not, that’s how she gets her thrill. She likes married men to chase her, she’s just like J(toxic ex-friend). So at least he’s clear now what her game was.

    • Gizfield

      It sounds like hes bring truthful but I’d still keep an eye on him. Bar whores are bad, and band whores are AWFUL. I’ve been with my husband 13 years, and he had played in a band almost the entire time so I’ve seen these skanks in action. It’s unbelievable the way they act, to put it mildly. Good luck in your situation.

      • ELS1976

        Yeah, I should have known better, but I trusted my husband more than that and I was naive to think because he plays with traditional folk musicians that this type of thing did not happen. When I was younger I dated many men who were in rock bands and I always had to keep aware of that type of thing. We are still discussing what he should do about the music situation. He loved playing with that group before she showed up and I don’t want to him to give up his music. I’m not sanguine about attending every Thursday to make sure this doesn’t happen again, but it might be what I have to do. So another red flag I didn’t think about until after the fact, there is another female musician who plays there who I’ve met a few times. The OW complained to my husband that this woman is sooo mean to her and doesn’t know why. I think I know why now. I would not be surprised if it turns out the OW went after her husband too.

      • suziesuffers

        Probably why my husband always wanted to have some kind of band thing going…the women that are the “singers” in these bands are whores and skanks….they think they are sex rock and roll……and that it’s still free love for them….they are such losers…..that they look for the first guy that’s willing to listen to them….and because these guys that want to play out their “teenage” years playing in a band…want to grab some of that youth feeling…the high of “lust” and infatuation…and when they have the groupies…or bar skanks….swooning over them…thinking they are so good….talented………and that maybe their life at home isn’t perfect….but they could make it better……..the idiots we have/had as husbands bite the bait…but WHY are our husbands so “ripe” for the picking….what is wrong with the relationship that they get so easily connected….the pursuit I’m sure is part of it….Everyone likes the feelings of being so “special” that someone is pursuing them….

        • ELS1976

          I can’t speak for your husband, but mine said that it felt good to be pursued and he liked the attention. He claims its because before we met he had never had a lot of luck with women and that it was an ego boost that the OW was pursuing him and it was something that he was not use too. I do believe that this part is actually true, unlike the “I didn’t feel loved at home” bs he told me. Especially when he told me two days before the D-Day that being married to me was so easy and how much he loved me. That situation there is probably going to be the biggest stickler for us to work on, because I need to feel confident that he won’t start anything again with any woman who pays him any attention.

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