It’s been almost four months since we last asked you all to share your affair recovery success stories, so it’s time to ask again.  It’s always good to hear how others have made progress and helps give hope to people as they battle through their own affair recovery.

Sometimes we are exposed to so much pain and devastation after an affair that life becomes one hopeless, depressing day after another.   We need some fuel – some motivation to keep us going.

Realizing the successes in your affair recovery – no matter how small – can give you hope for a better future and compel you to fight on.

What might seem like small, insignificant baby steps can possibly grow and snowball into even bigger, longer lasting successes.  It also helps those readers who are newly into their own journey realize that affair recovery is a process and is accomplished one step at a time.

So, with that said…

Tell us some of your successes while recovering from the affair and how you were able to accomplish them.

For example…

Have you been taking care of yourself and getting stronger? How are you doing it?

Do you see positive changes in your spouse and his/her actions? Describe them.

Are you communicating better? How?

Do you seem to be reconnecting with your spouse?

Have the triggers and obsessive thoughts diminished? Why?

You get the idea… NO SUCCESS IS TOO SMALL!

As always, please respond to each other in the comments.


See also  Why It’s Important to Know if Your Spouse is Cheating

    146 replies to "Discussion – It’s Time Once Again to Hear Some Affair Recovery Successes!"

    • stillbroken

      My husband had physical affair for 7 months, and confessed to me. He said he never love the OW, its just for sex. We did have trouble with our sexlife prior the affair and still is.. He’s sorry and since then he’s doing everything to make me feel better. I can say that everything seems good and normal now except one thing. Its me.. I still have anger inside and still hate the OW.. I dont like hating someone because its useless and unhealthy but i cant help myself..
      I also have desire to have some fun affair like what my husband did. I told him, ‘So you had fun with other woman, its my time to have fun with other man.. If you can beg forgiveness from me for what you did, its only fair if you let me play with another man..’ In desperation he kinda approve my request, he said ‘You may do whatever you need to do to make yourself feels better as i dont have any rights right now.. as long as you come back to me and we then can start our life together again.’
      And since D-day i start prioritize myself above him, before D-day i always prioritize him before me. So many changes in me.. My husband said he still and always love me, he even said he love me even more now, so everything seems to be better and i guess its all can be called success.. the only downside i think is myself because i still cant forgive him and still cant accept the whole situation.

      • Doug

        stillbroken, Thanks for sharing. I don’t think that it’s unusual for a BS to have anger and hate for the OP, but like you said, it can be unhealthy as it can constantly eat at you. It’s good that you’re making yourself a priority and I imagine that has something to do with your husband’s current feelings towards you. Hopefully at some point you will be able to forgive him, as that can be a good thing for YOU as well. Hang in there!

      • Dave


        I feel both impulses. Part of me would love to destroy the OM. I’ve fantasized about contacting his wife, his work, and his friends and family and telling them what he did with my wife.

        As for my wife, revenge has crossed my mind. Part of me wants her to experience my feelings of inadequacy, humiliation, doubt, and crushed self-esteem. I sometimes wonder how she would feel if I had an affair and presented her with pictures and letters like those she took and wrote to her AP. I wonder if I should lie and deceive her and make her feel like she’s going insane when she confronts me. I have thought all of those and more.

        The problem is that as much as I hurt, I know that doing those things won’t decrease my pain. I will still feel as bad as I do now, plus I will be saddled with my own guilt and shame. It won’t even any score and will probably instantly lead to the dissolution of our marriage. As much as I’m hurting now, I don’t want our marriage end.

        If in the course of time, we cannot fix our marriage and it ends, then so be it. But doing something that would cause the destruction of our marriage or hurting the OM and his family would only make me the bad guy. I do intend to let it go down like that – if nothing else than for the fact that then I could at least walk away with some part of my dignity intact.

        • Dave

          I meant, ” I do not intend to let it go down like that – if nothing else than for the fact that then I could at least walk away with some part of my dignity intact.”

          • stillbroken

            i hate my husband for hurting me and putting me in this terrible situation.. i hate all cheaters for enjoying their time with their affair partner while hurting their spouse.. sometimes i want to torture him the same way he torture me, maybe even more.. if there’s an opportunity i’ll definitely do it, but there isnt one right now or i’m not brave enough to create that opportunity.. and that makes me feel more like a loser and more angry..

            • Dave

              I totally understand. I was relaying the story of my wife’s affair to a friend, a divorced woman a few years younger than me. She offered to help me “get even”. After the initial shock of hearing that, I had to process what I was thinking and feeling. Don’t get me wrong when I say that I was tempted, but then I felt this terrible guilt about even considering it.

              Feeling that guilt also made me angry and hurt all over again. I started thinking about how good he made her feel and about how wonderful, perfect, and beautiful she said it all was (in her letter to him). I then replayed the entire letter, which is burned into my mind now.

              But then I had a moment of clarity where I realized that I still didn’t want to do it. It wasn’t that I wasn’t brave enough or a loser for saying no thanks, but that I was actually better than that. Sure, I have my issues, but doing it would only bring me down and make me feel like sh*t – not her.

            • D

              Stillbroken, I know exactly how you feel. But it’s your anger that is keeping you angry. You’re husband is no longer having an affair; the OW is not part of your lives; you are both working as best you can to create a new relationship. There is nothing that is harming you right now, is there? Many of us are angry for so long that to no longer feel angry feels strange. It’s a habit formed that must be let go of.

              I “leveled the playing field” with my wife. I went out and found someone and it wasn’t worth it. it just added more grief to my life.

              A friend gave me some great advice that sort of changed my attitude. He said that if I wanted to work on my marriage, then I should work on it. It seems a simple comment, but working on the marriage doesn’t include revenge or entitlement. It means working on it.

              2+ years post DDay. We’ve both managed to let go and move on. The affair is so long ago it’s starting to feel like maybe it didn’t happen. It certainly didn’t mean what we both thought it meant at the time. It meant very little in fact.

            • stillbroken

              Doug, Dave, D.. what if i dont want to prioritize our marriage anymore? i want to prioritize only myself.. i have wound that need to be healed.. i cant stop myself from thinking that my husband cheat on me and another woman took advantage of my husband while she has her own loving husband who still love her even though she cheat.. i have urge to prove to myself that if i want to i can get another man too.. my pride terribly wounded and needs to be healed.. and keep saying to myself that ‘i’m better than her in everyway’ is not enough, although i know its true..

            • Dave

              Please don’t think that I’m judging you, the choices you make, or how you feel. I have felt exactly the same and sometimes still do. Put in right situation with the right timing (or wrong depending on your point of view), I could easily have an affair too. Actually, I take that back. I don’t think I could find a woman as easily as she “found” him.

              When my wife had her affair, I was younger and in good shape, had a good job, and provided for my family. I thought I was good – at least enough for her. “He” was pasty, lanky, effeminate, with a sunken in chest, a bulging belly, a receding hairline, and lady fingers. He was controlling, obsessively organized, and temperamental. Basically, I was “beaten” by this guy?! When I caught her, I could not understand why she chose him over me! (I still can’t.)

              Now I’m 42, outgoing, I’m still in really good shape, provide well for my family, I’m not ugly, and I’m a pretty nice guy (all of which I’ve been told by other people), but in the 26 years we’ve been together (23 married this year if we make it), I’ve been hit on for a grand total of four times by other women. I guess I’m just nobody’s type?

              In any case, the fact that she hooked up with “my best friend” so easily has left me emotionally devastated and humiliated. Sometimes I feel as if she stripped me of my manhood. Early on I had terrible visions of the two of them enjoying each other while laughing at me.

              Initially I was like you and bent on restoring my pride and self-confidence in the arms of another woman, but at some point I gave up on that idea. Now I focus on myself, but that is largely done by hanging out with friends and doing things that I enjoy, focusing on my mental well-being with a counselor, and working out to making myself look that much better.

              My wife (and other women) have taken notice in the change and that makes me feel a little better. I’m actually scared to screw that up by doing more.

            • Doug

              Stillbroken, Do you want out of your marriage or just want to punish your husband for what he did? There certainly is nothing wrong with prioritizing yourself. In fact, I would encourage it. However, you have to ask yourself if having your own affair (which I think you are implying) is the right way to go about doing it. Will your pride and self-esteem be better off as a result? Only you can answer that. Perhaps if you do not want to prioritize your marriage (or want out), you should just end it and try to find that which you are seeking.

            • Dave

              I need to search how to STOP punishing my wife. I still do it, but in other ways than cheating. Just last night we were out having dinner and drinks after a really good appointment with our therapist. Things were going well until an attractive waitress walked by.

              I really didn’t notice, but my wife assumed I did. Attractive women have made her jealous for years and she would accuse me of looking at them, thinking about them, wanting them, etc. Our therapist said a lot of this was projection of her own guilt for what she did. She is getting better about not doing this, but last night for whatever reason, she made a slightly sarcastic comment to me.

              In the past, I would have apologized to her as if I did something wrong, but this time I snapped back, “Well at least I didn’t f*ck her.” (a little loo loudly and way too harshly) I really don’t know where that came from exactly. I think she hit a trigger that I didn’t even know I had. Anyway, she teared up and the rest of the evening passed in grave-like silence.

              I really need to work on NOT punishing her, so if you have any posts on this or could start a new one, I’d appreciate it. (I will look again too.) Thanks.

            • Doug

              Dave, I will tell you that these situations are a normal part of the recovery. Often when things are going well, you are feeling comfortable and secure is normally when you will lash out with something like this. I believe your wife may have felt the same way causing her to lay it on you. I know that every time Doug and I would have a great weekend and I began to feel vulnerable I would do something to sabotage the progress. We were getting to close and it scared me. I wasn’t ready to let myself trust him, to be vulnerable again. I was so afraid of being hurt again. The best advice I have it to be aware of what you may being doing. When I became aware of these feelings I was able to talk myself out of them. I would tell myself it is OK to get close to Doug, I need to start trusting him and begin living and enjoying our life. Linda

            • Ifeelsodumb

              Linda! THANK YOU!! This is what’s been happening to me and I just could NOT understand it!!
              Two or three weeks would go by, we’d be doing great, having special times, not really talking about the EA and then WHAM…all this fear and insecurity would come roaring back in and I’d sabotage us!
              It’s so nice to know that this happened to you also, that I’m not the only one, and also how you dealt with it! What a relief to know I’m “normal” LOL 😀

            • stillbroken

              i’m not doing this for punishing him, i’m doing it for myself although i will love to see his reaction if i got another man.. i did ask for divorce but he rejected it and beg me for a second chance.. although the fact that he doesnt want a divorce and still begging me for forgiveness and second chance definitely help my healing process, i just dont want to prioritize him or the marriage anymore.. i’m a perfectly good wife all this long, prioritizing him and loving him above all other things in this world (which he knows and agree) and this is the reward i get, so enough is enough for me, i want to live my life now without any burden including him or this marriage (we dont have children)..

            • rachel

              good for you still broken! It’s all about you now!!!

    • Dave

      On March 31st, it will be exactly 3 months since D-day #2. I say D-day #2 because when she had the affair, I caught her leaving my former best-friend, her AP’s apartment. That was D-day #1. It was terribly traumatic seeing her leaving his apartment with him beside her and that image is seared into my mind. I suspected something had happened, but without proof and with her insistent denials, our marriage languished in a state of limbo, pain, and suspicion. It took years to rebuild our marriage and our lives, which we did without the aid of counseling. (Moving forward without a counselor was a huge mistake, but more on that in a second.)

      Fast forward to this past New Year’s Eve when she confessed the EA/PA. The affair was years ago now, but it was devastating to hear that news. It was as if the affair had just happened. It still feels that way most days. I routinely struggle with obsessive thoughts, especially after letters and photos were produced. However, three months out, I must admit they are starting to fade a little. People have asked, what has been harder to deal with – the EA or PA. Hands down I had to say the EA has been the hardest part to deal with and understand. Her affair started as a PA, but by the end, she really believed she was in love with the OM and her affair became a textbook EA. Thinking that she let another person into her heart and soul has felt like the biggest betrayal of our marriage and the hardest part to accept from this entire nightmare. As for the OM, he believed he was in love with her and he still does. That little tidbit eats at me too.

      On a positive note though, my wife and I have been seeing a counselor once a week. Our counselor has been working with us to tackle the various issues that have come up and he tries to keep us focused on healing and not dwelling on what happened then, since there is nothing that we can do to change it. He has been helping us to understand what she felt in her affair and how it unfolded. What has come out in our sessions was that she was not love, but it was infatuation or limerance. Her affair only lasted a few months, but even as intense as her emotions and feelings were, there were not real. Real love does not grow and bloom that quickly – especially from the lies, deceit, and selfishness that were at the core of the affair. Knowing that helps a little. Most importantly, my wife is finally dealing with some of her own personal unresolved issues that led to the affair in the first place.

      It is my hope, and that of my wife as well, that this time we will get through this better than we did the first time. Because we didn’t seek help, the problems, questions, and issues that plagued us as individuals and our marriage never went away. They were buried under years of bitterness, suspicion, and pain. Perhaps this time, we can have real healing and real reconciliation. We aren’t out of the woods yet, and I still have my bad days. She does as well. But I believe that with guidance and time, we do have a chance of healing our marriage and perhaps actually making it better than it was before the affair.

      • Doug

        Dave, Thanks for sharing that. I’m happy for you that you are seeing some progress. You know, the idea of limerance in emotional affairs hasn’t come up that much before and it interests me. I plan on doing a post about it at some point after I do a little research on the subject. From what I’ve learned to this point, it can be quite powerful – even to the point of obsession. Thanks again and best wishes.

        • Dave

          I would like to know if it was love, limerence, or infatuation. The problem is that it was years ago, so she can only say what it felt like to her as best as she can remember from inside the affair bubble. Her descriptions of her feelings seem to include aspects of all three. She was definitely infatuated as describe by the emotional high, the passion, the feelings of walking on air, etc. Because he was a friend for years before the affair, there almost seems to be a love aspect because she did describe a level of caring for him. But she also had obsessive thoughts for him, which were very apparent in a letter she left on his door shortly after the affair was ended. That seems to imply that she was also feeling some level of limerence. The letter talked about a possibility of a future together, her ever-lasting love, and gratitude for bringing passion into her life and for touching her heart and soul. It was over-the-top romantic talk that I do not think I have ever heard from her in our 26 years together.

          The problem for me is that she cannot say how long these feelings lingered. She says that most of them faded quickly, but I can only assume that something lasted for a while because I know she thought about him two years after the affair when she was pregnant with our second child (our little surprise, but definitely loved). It seems that she wrote him from our new home-state to tell him the news. More recently before all of this came out, they connected on Facebook. She was very chatty with him, as if they were old friends. I issued an ultimatum when I found out they had been talking. The sad thing is that looking back at the messages I can see that they were talking in code. The fact that they had an affair “back then” was plainly evident without much reading between the lines. I just cannot believe I didn’t see it, just as I cannot believe that I didn’t see that she was having an affair.

          Sorry this has taken a rambling path, so I’ll bring it back around. I’d really like to know what it was she is feeling – infatuation, limerence, or love. …or some combination of all three perhaps? Maybe it doesn’t matter at this point. What I do know is that whatever label we slap on those feelings, they are difficult to process. I’ve gone to the ends of the internet to research as much as I can to understand everything that happened. I cannot wait to see what information that you have on limerence and how it can play into the dynamic of an affair.

          • Jackie

            Dave said,
            “I would like to know if it was love, limerence, or infatuation.”

            Does it really matter what your call it? I would have said they were all the same thing. That is, an “in love” feeling that gave my spouse an enormous high. That he was so hooked on the drug that it was much more like an addiction. H was acting irrational, euphoric, depressed, etc… It is very hard to control and get off this high feeling.

            I don’t get hung up on the name that is given for what happened. It really has to do more with what the CS perceives and hold on to, as to whether you both can move forward. The CS needs to step back from being in the fog, high…and take a look at themselves and see if this is the kind of person they want to be. Does it fit their value.

            Isn’t is strange that in this euphoric high, the CS just can’t see the forest through the trees. In fact they just want to live in their fantasy forever, even though they realize what they are doing is somehow not in line with who they truly are.

            • Dave

              The only reason it is important to me is that I want to know how long these feelings persisted. Because my wife lied about the true nature and full extent of her affair, her feelings went unresolved. She admits that it took years to completely fade, which indicates love or at least limerence.

              My greatest fear is that for years we lived together in a lie, while she pretended to be a normal loving wife but still pined for him. I’m curious if she was still in love with him when she became pregnant with our second child, just barely two years later.

              I remember being shocked when she started talking about having a second child because of the part of her affair that I knew. I probably would have said no way if I had known he full truth – at least not until we sought counseling.

              My fear with regards to her pregnancy, was she trying to replace her love for “him” with someone who she could love and someone who would love her unconditionally – our child.

              They talked/fantasized about a future and family together. Did she want our child to be his. I have so many doubts now. She swears she was over the OM and wanted to grow our family with me, but given how much she lied to me, it is hard to accept her word.

              All of this is complicated by the fact that she wrote him to tell him about being pregnant. I’m curious what she wrote. Was it a letter telling him she was happy or a letter of regret that it wasn’t his. Unless “he” produces it, I will never know for sure. That uncertainty, among all the other nagging thoughts, eats me alive at times.

            • Greg

              Dave, wanting the second child was probably her way of trying to feel more connected to you. I’ll probably get some crap from this , but it’s enough of a cliche and I’ve seen it enough times that women who are unhappy in a marriage will have a second child to ‘fix’ their relationship and think that it will make everything better. It never does but I think it goes back to how happy they were when they had the first child and they desperately want that back. I know it sounds a little condiscending and if someone wants to give me crap for it, I’m OK with that. The good news for you is that it means she wanted to reconnect with you and used this as a way to do it, so I wouldn’t worry about if she was thinking about him, she was wanting to be with you by wanting the second child.

            • Jackie

              So the basic question you are asking is, what time period was you wife having these “feelings” for the OM.

              You are still trying to piece the time table of the affair, what was going on in your life at the time. Which is completely normal, trying to make sense her reality vs yours at the time. This is a necessary healing step for you, and trying to get an reluctant spouse to reveal what was happening when may help you heal. Then again it may not.

              Remember in this love state, people aren’t thinking rationally. They don’t make sense. Their rational brain is busy trying to justify why their emotions are running amok. The person in the affair is in their own world, high on the addictive effects of the love drug.

              This is not about you and how she felt about you. It is really about her and how she felt about herself. She may blame you, but it is really her rational side, trying to find justification for doing what she knows is wrong. It is the shame and blame game…used to deflect attention from herself.

              Try not to torture yourself with the details of the affair. Easier said that done, as we all know. If you love your wife and want to keep your family together, do what you can to keep the anger under control. I have found that fear and anger is what seems to destroy the marriage after the affair. I think the way to go is with acceptance of what had happened and trying to move forward in an understanding, loving way. It has taken me 3 years to learn this. I’m hoping to save you from some painful destructive habits that affairs cause us BS to go through.

              I agree with Dave, I think your wife wanting a second child has to do more with wanting to be with you. It may also be her way to help fill whatever emptiness she feels inside. A baby will keep her so busy, she doesn’t have to think about what is bothering her. Which of course, solves nothing. It is just another distraction from the real problems.

              Like all people who choose an affair, they really need to look within to find out why they chose to have an affair, rather than work things out with the spouse. An affair only makes matters worst, but CS don’t see that because affairs make them feel so good. I really like the drug addict analogy. The love drug (disguised as the AP) becomes more important than anything in their life once they choose to use it. It is difficult to come off of the drug. Withdrawal and depression follow and lots of blame, shame, and denial throughout. We don’t really need to know all the details of what they did while on the drug, we need for the CS to get off the drug and start living in reality with us again.

            • Dave

              You are exactly right Jackie. I feel as if a huge chunk of my life from that time she was with him was ripped away and from that time on, I have been living a lie. She has lied so much that sometimes I cannot accept anything that happened since.

              One complicating issue is that my wife has a horrible memory, but mine is darn near photographic for events. I cannot forget details no matter much I try, so much of what I felt or happened keeps replaying in my brain like a movie.

              One thing that really haunts both of us now is that three years ago we renewed our vows for our 20th anniversary. Before the ceremony we promised to clean the slate, so she made me recount my one marital transgression from very early in our marriage. But when it was her turn to come clean she denied everything again, and once again, she threw my one-night-stand back in my face while lying all the time about having had an on-going love-affair. So, because I loved her, once again I took her wrath and begged her forgiveness just as I have done for years.

              Don’t get me wrong. She is worth it. We are worth it …I just don’t always know if we have the strength to make it – such as on days like today.

            • Healing Mark

              Dave. I know you know this, but it’s terribly bad form to forgive someone for a trangression such as a one night stand (presumably she did forgive you, and shame on her if she did not but led you for all these years to believe that she had), and to later throw this out in an argument or as anything relevant in your relationship going forward. And you also certainly know that “two wrongs do not make a right”. Your reaction (a correct one in my opinion other than the fact that I would not have begged, or much less asked, for forgiveness a second time, expecially after all the years that have passed) is exactly why my wife and I agreed that we could not stay married if I did not ultimately get to a point were I could, and would, forgive her for her EA. It’s just unacceptable to both of us for either of us to live with the fact that at some point down the line I might bring up her EA for whatever reason, or that she might at some point down the line bring up some transgression of mine that supposedly she had forgiven me for.

              Now. For something that might stir up some controversy. Bummer for you if you were caught having your one night stand. But if you were not caught but instead chose to confess it to your wife, let your tale be a cautionary one for anyone who has had, or might have, and EA or PA that your are virtually 100% confident will never be discovered and will only become known to your partner by virtue of a confession. Some things are better not known by other persons, including spouses. Confessions of affairs appear to me to more often than not lead to more problems and heartache than may be worth it. And the notion of having a “revenge affair” is repulsive (sure, my wife offered my this free pass many times when she was feeling particularly guilty for her EA) and anyone who truly considers doing this should, in my opinion, have their head and heart examined. This should not be confused with partners confronted with the occurrence with an EA or PA deciding to flex their previously decidedly strict monogamous boundaries to permit some emotional and/or sexual interactions with persons outside of the marital relationship. The foregoing is by definition not “cheating” and I wonder how many persons who visit this site have ever actually considered such flexing? And if they did, was the pushing more from the CS or the BS? And Rachel, you and your husband don’t count!

            • Greg

              Well since Rachael doesn’t count I’ll chime in.:-)

              My wife gave me the option in the months after the EA was discovered and I seriously considered it, even went so far as to create an Ashley Madison account. That lasted all of about ten minutes and then it was deleted, I have never been one who was able to date two people at the same time let alone sleep with someone other than my wife, just isn’t in my character make up. I might be insensitive and over bearing but I can’t do that. What it did do to me was make me think about why she would make such an offer. I kept thinking that she had sex with the AP and that he wanted me to have sex with someone else to make us even. Partly due to the fact that we have friends who the husband had a PA so the wife did too to get even. It took me some time to believe her story that the hadn’t had sex after this, because even though I could see in their emails that the hadn’t my mind wouldn’t accept it after the offer.

            • Dave

              We were separated at the time and I had a completely regrettable drunken encounter. When we decided to make it work, she asked if anything had happened while we were separated and I confessed. Of course there was hell to pay as I expected. I welcomed it because I felt so badly for what I had done.

              At some point, she claimed to have forgiven me, but she never did. Whenever she needed a blunt instrument so to speak, she would bash me over the head with it. It was also the reason/excuse she used to have her “revenge affair” that became so much more.

              From that experience, I can say with some authority that revenge affairs are a terrible idea – unless the goal is to end the marriage. Even if the idea is to end the marriage, I would argue that it would better to leave than have an affair.

              The sad irony is that after my one-night stand, one of my wife’s favorite comments to me was “Don’t ever cheat on me again. If you feel like you want to cheat, just leave me first.” …and then she cheated on me with a full-blown affair.

              So, besides dealing with all the standard feelings of betrayal, I have to deal with the fact that my drunken stupidity while we were separated actually did lead to my wife’s EA/PA. I have to deal with the shame and humiliation of both events while trying to recognize that those events were over a long time ago no matter how new some of them are to me. Sometimes it all feels so overwhelming and confusing.

              I wish there was a way I could reset my brain, because I would love to erase the last three months until just before the moment she told me. Sometimes I think I would prefer her torturing me for what I did than for ever knowing about what she had done.

            • rachel

              Ha, what?? Rachel as in me???

            • Healing Mark

              Rachel. Yes, it is you. Because your husband already indicated, I believe, that he would accept only either a divorce or an open relationship, and you indicated, I believe, that you had no interest in an open relationship. This issue came up between my wife and I when another couple we barely knew (met them a few times at some charity events and they apparently liked and remembered us quite a bit more than we did as to them) confided in us that they were “swingers” and asked if we were also or had ever thought about this alternative “lifestyle”. This happened about 10 months after D-day and after I had really become able to, and had, forgiven my wife for her EA.

              Interestingly, the fact that my wife had began, maintained, and ended an EA where the thoughts of it becoming physical were entertained and I truly believe were discarded (screwy logic, in part – feared that it would greatly increase the chances of their affair becoming exposed and at the time they did not want the good feelings from the EA to end – but consistent with my wife and the AP as I know them) made the discussion about an open marriage more interesting. Neither of us were particularly interested in having sex with another partner, as our relationship in this area has always been very satisfying, and neither of us entered our marriage “inexperienced”. What my wife enjoys is developing relationships with people that are more emotionally connected that just a casual friendship. Until her EA, none of her relationships with men had caused any problems with our marriage. We politely declined the request to “play” with our “friends” and mutually agreed that a monogamous relationship with outside friendships within appropriate (for us) agreed upon boundaries works best for us.

              My question was posed to see if as a part of the healing process after affair discovery any BS’s and CS’s chose to open up their marriage and presumably avoid all the lies and deceipt that inherently follows hidden affairs. My expectation is that not many have taken this path. But I would not be surprised if more than just a few CS’s threw out to their BS either a request for an open marriage or an offer to have “revenge affair”. My wife insisted many times that she would be “fine” with me developing an EA with another woman, and even offered to allow me to have a limited sexual relationship with one of her friends who found me attractive and whose husband is apparently not all that interested in having sex with her (he apparently gets his elsewhere, and their marriage appears to be a classic one of convienence). That is, until she finally felt genuinely forgiven, at which time she acknowledged that she would not be comfortable with becoming more than “just good friends” with anyone else, and the sex offer was quickly swept off the table (I didn’t and wasn’t going to accept it anyway).

        • Healing Mark

          Doug. Please do that. Seems to me a fascinating concept and one that perhaps explains in part why many “good” people who never thought that they could have an affair while married dramatically change and become obsessed with getting way to close to another person that they have initially simply found to be attractive for whatever reason.

          Sixteen months out from D-day, and perhaps 20 or so months since my wife ended her EA. All of the bad times are now such a distant memory, and the few triggers that I’m afraid will never go away (driving by the AP’s old house – so glad they moved several miles away!) now rarely elicit much of a response from me. Before the EA, my wife and I were simply taking each other for granted and I had stopped treating my wife like my best friend. She was the mother of my children, the CEO of our household, and I had very little interest in anything she was doing or thinking about outside of our family. It’s not surprising that as soon as another man began to show an interest in what my wife was doing, what she liked, what she thought about things outside of our family, as well as providing a sounding board for my wife to complain about the things she was unhappy with in her life including our relationship, my wife would jump at the opportunity to connect with this person.

          So the EA became a wake up call for both of us. Fortunately, we woke up to the fact that the EA was wrong and that we needed to “fix” various things in order to get back to being very happily married. I learned that simply making a lot of money, staying in good shape, and maintianing an active social life and sex life were each and collectively not enough to keep my wife from failing to have all of her important needs met (she really needs my honest support and friendship to be the happiest) and from developing and temporarily maintaining an EA. Wish it had not taken an EA and the many fights and disresptful actions of my wife and me to drive us to marriage counseling after both recognizing that our marriage was no longer one that we felt like we wanted. But thankful that the EA ended and we figured out what it was we needed in our relationship from each other in order to be happily married.

          I wish I could put in a bottle that which allowed me and my wife to get to where we are today. I can say that the passage of time helps. Actually, not just the passage of time, but the passage of time where the interactions between my wife and me are for the most part happy, healthy and fulfilling. Being able to communicate better is a big plus, and better communication has been easier to get to now that various resentments are no longer and we generally feel as though each of us truly care about the other. It’s like we formed a team with the “win” objective being happy living and loving together. As a team, we achieved our objective and are dammned glad that we did. Since we became a team and stopped feeling like the enemy of the other, it’s been so much easier to overcome the inevitable conflicts and misunderstandings that from time to time come up in a marital relationship. Of course, part of being a team means not investing time developing close relationships with persons of the opposite sex, and now that my wife/teammate is not longer being “just good friends” with her AP, it’s quite easy for me to no longer feel as though she is my enemy rather than best friend.

      • WriterWife

        Dave, it appears that you and I are in very very similar places. My D-Day was three months ago, my husband’s EA was with our best friend, and there’s been a question of whether it was limerence or love. Quick question — what happened to your friendship with the AP? I feel I’ve suffered a double blow: the betrayal of my husband AND my best friend. I’ve been struggling with how to handle this — I haven’t spoken to her once since finding out and I’m wondering if that’s the best course of action. I’ve scheduled an individual therapist session this week to discuss it.

        Doug, I’d also be very interested to read a post on limerence and EAs. I feel like there has to be some crossover there but maybe I just see it everywhere because it was my own experience. I spent a lot of time researching limerence after Dday — I think I’ve definitely experienced it before and so there was a lot of familiar there. My husband and I also talked one night about a lot of his past crushes/partners and there appears to be a trend of limerence there as well. Our therapist, however, hasn’t brought it up.

        In my case I actually think my husband experienced both limerence (in that he thought he loved the OW romantically and wanted to be with her physically) and love (in her as a good and trusted friend). I think that’s what’s been hard for him to get over — not just the abrupt end of his relationship with AP but also of a close friend.

        • Dave

          When trying to explain this to other friends and family, I felt like my wife stabbed me in the heart and he stabbed me in the back. I actually drew a picture of me on my knees with the two of them doing just that.

          Of course my wife shares an equal part of the blame, but in their story he was the pursuer. My wife and I were having problems and he was recently divorced. He was over frequently visiting with us and would go out with us on occasion, but over a short time I saw something in his eyes for her. He wanted her. I confronted him and told him to never come back. But he did return. He came to our house and begged to see her. He wanted me to play a song for her. The nerve! I should have ended him there, but I never expected what came next. He made it his mission to have her and have her he did.

          He used the issues in our marriage as a wedge and convinced her that I was the bad guy, that he was the good guy, and she deserved better – she deserved him. After stroking her anger at me and feeding her compliments and acting like the perfect man, she went to him. This went on for a while, but at some point she decided to break it off. I suspected something was going on because over the course of a couple months her behavior had changed so much. I started following her and monitoring her activities. One particular weekend she took far too long for a quick trip to the store. I had a gut feeling that she wasn’t at the store but that she was with him. I raced over to his apartment. I remember being in a state of panic and fear during that drive.

          When I drove up and saw her car in his driveway, I instantly knew the score. I had just stepped out of my car with a crowbar in hand. I intended to smash out the windows of her car – but just then they walked outside. When I saw them, I stood there frozen, feeling more anger and pain than I have ever felt in my life. I dropped the crowbar and rushed towards them, stopping just out of arms reach. He went into fight mode and put up his hands. My wife went into flight mode and looked for a place to run. She nearly ran back into his apartment when I screamed for her to stop or never come home.

          That is when I mentally folded. As much as I wanted to hurt him, and I easily could have, I began to sob uncontrollably. Shear anguish and pain washed over me. I went back to my car defeated and drove home as fast as my car could go. I’m honestly surprised I didn’t flip it and die or get busted by the police. My wife left immediately after. When she got home she pleaded with me and tried to convince me that nothing happened except for a single kiss. Of course, what I found out recently is that they had an ongoing PA/EA and I just happened to catch her on the day she decided to break it off with him.

          The next day, I did call to confront him on the phone, but he also denied that anything had happened. Angry words were exchanged and he said something that has haunted me for years. In referring to her he said, “You cannot help who lights a fire inside of you.” I despise him for that and for everything that he has done to me and my family.

          Nevertheless, I have been in contact with him recently. He is now married with kids and has been somewhat helpful in detailing the events of the affair, which helps to fill in the gaps of my wife’s memories. In many ways, it has been a perverse and terribly painful situation for obvious reasons. One of the less obvious things that I didn’t think about before contacting him was that his version of events and feelings would be different than hers. Sometimes I don’t know who is telling the truth and who is lying, or if it is a case of both of them telling the truth from their respective points of view. There have also been things I’ve learned that I sometimes wish I hadn’t. On the plus side, I’m no longer haunted by the specter of imagined events, some of which were initially worse than the truth.

          Of course, both of them have terrible memories and/or they could be holding out on me, so I suppose I could still be in the dark about certain details of their affair. In any case, I’m almost at a place now where is doesn’t matter if I have every single detail about the affair or not. I am just about ready to break off all contact with him for good. The only reason that I have let it go on this long is that he has promised to send the original letters, photos, negatives, and other “mementos” of their affair so that I can destroy them. Once that is done, it is my hope that neither my wife nor I will ever hear from him again, mention his name, or give him a second thought.

          By the way, My therapist said it was a terrible idea to contact him and that the continuing contact is very detrimental to my progress. He said that with this pathway for contact open, I have given too much control over to my wife’s AP which makes me more vulnerable to manipulation and pain. I have accepted that as an acceptable risk if I can only get those mementos of their affair. I don’t want him to have anything of her!

      • Let us go and make our visit.

        Dave – I totally feel your pain. My wife had a very intense EA for six months with a known sociopath serial adulterer in our area, four months without my knowledge.

        Post D-day, I had an intensive obsessive phase where I needed to know everything, investigate the AP, read emails, etc. A horrible but unavoidable phase of recovery I think, as your world is turned upside down and the information you have doesn’t provide any explanation. You’ll learn a lot, the details will kill you, and then at some point you need to destroy the information. Ultimately not helpful to recovery.

        We are recovering now (albeit unevenly) and what’s helped me immensely are realizing two facts. First, while we both contributed to the situation, my wife has the bigger problem and therefore I will not allow myself to feel inadequate over this. I’m an imperfect but very desirable guy; she’s very confused and she jeopardized her entire family life to enjoy the rush of limerence. Second, my wife is going nowhere. She may be confused still, but our family life is really great (in her opinion too) — two happy young kids, family fun, we support each other, good health, decent money, regular sex, shared house responsibilities — and for her to blow it all for this brilliant, rich yet completely self-centered sociopath is just not happening. I too am sure that sleeping with a hot sociopathic woman would be an awesome ego rush for me; but I don’t want that for my life.

        You aren’t the one with the big problem. Your wife doesn’t sound like she’s going anywhere.

        Go make money, go work-out, go be the best husband and father you can be and with time — be patient — things will indeed improve.

    • S

      It has been 3 weeks sense Dday and I have recovery to share. If I have recovery and I am happy about it, how can I feel so bad about it? After finding out and talking for a short while, I told him that he need it to think hard and figure out what he wanted to do. That was Thursday. Even do I didn’t give him a time to give me an answer, but Saturday I was going crazy. So I ask him, and with out hesitation he told me that he wanted to work in our marriage and to make us happy again.

      After that we have gone out in numerous of dates with and without the kids. When he is not at work, he is always with the family. He calls or test all the time. I don’t think he feels like he had said “I Love You” enough to me, so he says it all the time. This is very nice to hear. Don’t get me wrong, bad feelings come over me from time to time, still have nightmares and horrible thoughts. But I remember that he is human, not perfect and that everyone makes mistakes.

      If I can just stop feeling bad for feeling good, then I think I would have an even faster recovery.

      • Let us go and make our visit.

        Recovery will take time.

        I’m eight months post d-day and I’m not done with this. I think it’ll take two years to really get out of the woods so long as the OP and my spouse stay apart.

        Clearly the fairy tale is over, but that may not be all bad. There’s a wonder and beauty in the complexity of adult human relationships and I have hope that we’ll have something closer and more real at the other end.

    • Lynsey

      D-day was about 6 weeks ago, followed by more & more lies & secrecy intermingled with glimmers of hope in the form of caring, kindness and good times with my H. So painful and confusing to be in that state of limbo, but this site has been a lifeline for me. Two days ago, after catching my H in yet another lie, I got him to show me the text that he just sent to the OW. Many of his words were inappropriate, but her responses were on the lines of “stop it – you should be saying those things to your wife.” At that point, my H & I finally talked and agreed to him having no contact with her, and with my permission, he would tell her first and we’d follow up with an email from both of us. Well, the next day came & I received a text from my H that he was deciding to either not come home because he couldn’t leave the OW (despite her not wanting him as a lover at all) or still possibly come home to me. Between these texts to me, he was in contact with the OW, and he shared only parts of these with me. Soon after, she called me (gasp!) and we discussed my H’s issues! She stressed that she has a boyfriend/almost fiance, and never wanted anything more than a friendship with my H. (They worked together years ago) She thought I knew about her all along and was appalled that my H would never let me see their texts or know when they met for lunch, etc. My H always said that I would never tolerate him having a friend outside the marriage, hence the secrecy. But, all along I told my H that having platonic opposite sex friends is fine within certain parameters, but it’s being secretive and lying that makes it wrong. Anyway, the OW and I had a long talk. We are going to meet and she plans on showing me any texts and correspondence that I wish to see. She now agrees to no contact with my H because of his “fantasies” about her. She now knows that he read much more into the words, generic photos, music suggestions, etc. that she sent my H. She & I actually had a good talk, and I sort of trust her more than my H right now, which is a bizarre place to be. I feel lucky that she is the person she is or the EA mess would be much worse. I know that this turn of events is not a ruse to distract me due to my H’s reactions to all this. My H and I are continuing to work on things, going to couples counseling, and hopefully we’ll get to the bottom of what got us in this mess in the first place. (better communicating, etc.). My H has even starting to read posts on this website. I have renewed hope, but realize it’s still a long road ahead.

    • Healing slowly

      It has been 8 days since discovering my husbands third EA with the same woman. I am still goin through the usual roller coaster of emotions but this time we are truly communicating. Your blog has truly kept me somewhat sane and I have been able to focus on ways to work on our relationship rather than dwelling on phone records and emails. We are closer today then we have been in years. I do not know what the future holds but I want to say with full confidence that I stayed true to myself and did everything I could to save our marriage. No doubt we have a long way to go but I am so grateful to you, Doug and Linda for sharing your story and for everyone else’s comments as well. Hearing both sides have helped me see how H is feeling as well. Thanks again!

    • Rachel

      Doug, anyone, help I’m at my ends. I have no idea what to do. My h want to separate and I don’t. I feel living under the same roof and working on us is the answer. He’s afraid because if it doesn’t work this will hurt me more. I’m afraid too but I’m willing to try at least. Earlier he wanted me to move forward from his EA and I have. Granted things are still playing on in my head but I was willing to move on for us. His therapist says he has ambivalence. He worships her. Does everything she suggests. It was her idea for the separation. I’m just wondering if I am wasting time.
      I too want to be one of those people in today’s blog of an affair recovery story.

      • Healing slowly

        Rachel I’m so sorry you are hurting, I can feel your pain in your post. Unfortunatly we can only control ourselves and our actions. He seems like he is still in the “fog.”. One day he may realize what he is doing is not real.and he is living in a fantasy world but until then you have got to take care of YOU! Is he willing to go to counseling? If not then maybe you could go by yourself to help with what you’re going through. Best of luck Rachel, I imagine you are a good person with a good heart and if he does not appreciate you then it is HIS lose! Stay true to the person you are and you can never go wrong!

      • Doug

        Rachel, I believe that you need time to remove yourself from the situation, right now you are too effected by his moods, request, etc. You need time to sit back and think about what you want. You need to really think about how you deserve to be treated, the boundaries that need to be put into place and how much of this nonsense you are willing to tolerate. Looking back on our situation, realizing that I allowed myself to be treated in such a disrespectful way was just as painful as the affair itself. You have to remember that you are worthy of so much more than he is displaying and into you put a stop to it he will continue to be ambivalent. It appears when you begin to act secure and independent, he loses his power and control and strikes back at you. He needs to feel this insecurity and think about what he is about to lose. As long as you continue to make everything easy for him he will never feel the pain necessary to face what he is doing. Good luck. –Linda

        • rachel

          Thank you Linda. Well tonight he refuses to work on us and said that he is moving out on Saturday. He wants to see if he likes it on his own. Of couse he will. Freedom and no responsibilities. I am not agreeing to the separation. Don’t agree that he can go out and do whatever with other women and expect me to take him back. So he is going to his lawyer to file. He has no emotional connection to me and said that he did with the ow. He has such negativity about even trying with me. I just don’t understand any of this.

          • Doug

            Rachel, I am confident that being on his own will not be as wonderful as you imagine. I caution you to set up good boundaries during this time, do not be available every time he wants the comforts of home. I know that it is difficult to believe but there will be many things he will miss, and he will probably act out in a negative way because of the realization. Be patient and do what is best for you. –Linda

          • Lynne


            Linda is 100% right on with her advice. I understand why you think he will enjoy the freedom and lack of responsibility, but it’s important to turn this over and look at the underside that Linda describes–with all that he loses by making this choice, it will become crystal clear to him that he has lost some very valuable things. His ambivalence is killing you, but you have this opportunity to put a stop to it. This separation forces him to get off the fence NOW. It’s a black and white choice, instead of all involved staying in limbo land. It is also better for your children, as it takes them out of the limbo with you–something concrete is happening to move this forward, and you are showing them that you will not be treated this way. As I recall, your child at home is a male, yes? Do show him that how your H is treating you is not an acceptable way to treat women–that relationships must be equally respectful, loving and healthy.

            And Linda is also spot on about the need for boundaries right now. To have your H move out, and to then give him the same pleasures as if he was still with you, will backfire on you. In other words, why would he reconsider a full commitment to you and the family if he can leave and still have it all? This means no sleeping over, coming for family meals several times a week, and generally acting like he’s still a regular part of the household. To remove these things is to truly show him what he’s losing, which is a tremendous amount!

            Get tough and show him that you will no longer accept one foot in the door and one foot out–no more ambivalence buddy, so go get your shit together!

          • Ifeelsodumb

            Pack his bag for him Rachel!! Show him you have your OWN flippin’ ambivalence!!!! Just do it, girl!! Once he’s gone, you’ll smile when you think of the expression on his face…that YOU packed his bag for him!! 😀

            • Lynne


              I agree with IFSD all the way! In fact, as you hand him his bag as he walks out the door, I’d say “I’m really glad we’re doing this; it will give both of us some breathing room to decide whether we want to save this marriage or not–I certainly understand your ambivalence right now, as I am feeling exactly the same way”.

              Don’t try to convince him not to go, or allow him to delay his decision to leave tomorrow, as this will only continue the cycle of limbo. Something has to change here–what’s currently happening is not working for anyone involved. To desire a different outcome means you have to do something different. This may seem drastic to you(and I know it’s painful), but it is time for drastic measures if you want the hope of saving it.

              Hold your head high tomorrow–you are going to be just fine. There’s a lot of love and support for you right here!

            • chiffchaff

              Rachel – yes, pack his bag for him and show him to the door. Wave him goodbye, wish him well and then go and do something exciting with your boys. They deserve all of your energies not him.

        • Ifeelsodumb

          Hear, Hear Linda!! Agree 100%!!

    • roller coaster rider

      Success stories: well, I am glad to be alive today. I am amazed at the level of communication we have achieved after being on the roller coaster for a year. I’m shocked that we are all so vulnerable to having our hearts broken, and encouraged by the way we can lift each other up even during the horrible, painful nightmare of affair recovery. I’m talking about you guys, Doug and Linda, and the ways you have supported us in our anger, grief, loneliness and despair and cheered us on during the times where good stuff is happening. It’s good to think of the successes, and in every story there are definitely some positive things to share.

    • WriterWife

      3 Months past Dday and one of my successes has been regaining a sense of self. I lost a lot of myself over the past few years — to a point I’m not even sure I’ve realized fully yet. I’ve just started recognizing how emotionally beaten down I was last year, even before I knew what was going on between my H and the OW. I felt responsible for my H’s unhappiness and for his mood swings. On top of that, he was more critical and negative of me (and way less patient and caring) which apparently is typical in these situations as a CS tries to assuage guilt. I didn’t realize how much that beat me down and made me feel like a failure.

      Right after Dday I felt like I would have done *anything* to have my husband decide to stay married to me. I struggled with erecting the even smallest boundaries — I was protecting him and his emotions over my own. I was sitting around waiting.

      Since then I’ve realized that I can only control myself and so that’s what I’ve focused on. I’ve lost 40lbs and started with a personal trainer. I’ve built up my own confidence and sense of self that ISN’T based on how my husband sees/treats me. I’ve set boundaries of what is/isn’t acceptable. I wanted to prove to myself that if this marriage ends, I can walk away strong both emotionally and physically.

      Gaining my own sense of self has definitely helped in our marriage (we’ve grown stronger and closer as a couple) and has given me strength emotionally. And actually, it’s from this website that I learned how important it is to do this so a huge thank you!!

      • chiffchaff

        WriterWife – that’s an interesting point about your H being more critical and negative etc. of you during this EA. My H was also like that during his PA/EA and he used this to rationalise why the OW was a good thing for him, because I was so bad. A common practise for CS as you say.

        I too have gained a better sense of myself since focusing away from my H and his feelings, which has only happened recently, sadly (for me).

    • Success Stories

      I decided to chime in. It has almost been a year since I discovered my H’s EA.

      He was in some state of love, infatuation, or limerance. Who knows but I can relate to the obsession of wanting to know exactly what she meant to him. I still don’t know but progress can be marked by me not really giving a shit as much about what she meant because a. i know she meant a lot at the time and there’s nothing to be done about that b. i know that she was a total fraud as was he c. i know she hates him and he hates her and they are mutually mortified by their stupid behavior d. i totally know that he loves me very very much and is onboard for moving together into a better future.

      Progress for me is letting go the image of her face and body. And not giving as much of a shit about her or making myself feel bad about who I am or what I look like compared to her. I fail but its getting loads better.

      Progress means seeing her as a little broken girl trapped in an aging desperate woman who needs attention from anywhere she can get it. I have discovered any number of ways she’s a total fraud. SHe looks beautiful and confident and performative, but whatever…she sucks ass.

      Progress means, obviously, letting go of the OW as important and to some extent forgiving her or letting go of toxic anger. Not there yet but getting better.

      Also, we faced the usual endless series of lying and downplaying and denying. Lie upon bloody lie revealed painfully erodes trust and hope. I think, pray that I know the basic shape and outline and can let go of the need to know any more. Is there more about the power of the thing or details of who said what to whom? Of course I’ll never know and I suspect it was worse, but progress means accepting that I generally know and don’t need anymore.

      Progress has come by interrogating our relationship and redefining it together as a team. Feeling like a team. Establishing new rituals. Being together and on the same page.

      Counseling helps as do books on relationships.

      And then … time. Time goes on, and eventually the triggers are less powerful and when powerful, have less duration and impact. Times allows you to see the changes your spouse promises and allows you to get your strength back and pull the wool from your eyes and learn what it is you want from a relationship, which is probably a question many BSes have forgotten to ask in a long time.

      For us, we are generally happy and peaceful. He offers maximum support and I take it. Time. Time. Time.

      Took hell and hell and hell and hell and more hell and almost a year of daily conversations, hours of obsession, meditation, talking, counseling, investigating, arguing, being lied to, calling out lies, working, working, working, working, working every single day….

      And that has left us with the raw foundation of starting again. Still raw and tentative but definitely in a new place, finally.

      • Hurt&Insensed

        Success stories, your post really resonates with me although I am not sure that at 13 months past D Day, I have such a positive philosophy or rational way of making sense of things as you do. I have been there fleetingly many times but it doesn’t stay for long and at present my anger and total disbelief at what he was prepared to do to me is really getting the better of me again. My husband had a 12 month P and EA with one of the mother’s from our kids sports club. He had told me in October 2010 that he was unhappy in our marriage and even though I was too; ironically, I set about doing everything I could to fix things – he did nothing! This was because since March 2010, he had pursued this other woman and after a brief EA with her, began a very torrid PA in July 2010, the month after our 15th Wedding anniversary! I discovered what he covered off as an ‘inappropriate friendship’ when I found an email to ‘a woman’ (didn’t know who at that stage) on New Years Eve 2010. After hundreds more lies, more discoveries, more lies, him continuing on the affair, I finally called the OW and went to her home. She hosted me most elegantly and told me how terribly she felt for getting involved with my husband but he’d assured her his marriage was over. She then proceeded to tell me all the places they had been to as a ‘couple’, how they couldn’t keep their hands off each other and gave me back a bag of gifts he had given her during their relationship (including vibrators and lubricant) – real classy huh? Similar to you, I do know that this woman is a total fraud and so does my husband now; but to be honest, he resisted acknowledging how much of a fake, devious, manipulative, unscrupulous and desperate old woman she is for a long time because it directly reflected on him! “Shit, I betrayed my whole family and damaged the integrity of myself and my marriage for that” kinda thing;-) I am still obsessing about what their relationship was even though I know he can now see her in all her fake, disgusting glory. I think he might hate her now and I know I can’t change how he felt about her then but nor can I accept it! She acts like some high flying business woman, sophisticated, above everyone, with high moral values. The truth is, she had my husband in her home with her kids present (teenage girls) and made sure they never said anything as her kids train with ours! Their first physical encounter was on a beach, orchestrated by her giving my husband oral sex just down the road from our house! She also masturbated herself on skype to my husband…really sophisticated? Yet I still feel she can hold over me that my husband wanted her in that way and I hate it!! My self confidence and self worth have taken a huge beating and staying to work my marriage out, having to accept how much he has betrayed and humiliated me; makes me feel weak and gutless and does nothing for my confidence either. I feel so angry that he has put me in this position because none of my choices now are easy or compatible with who I thought I was, we were! There is definitely some successes that I have to acknowledge: 1) my eating habits are better, my weight dropped to 55kgs and I am 165cms. 2) Sleeping is better too, no more sleeping pills and when my husband sleeps soundly next to me now (which he managed to do the whole way through this!) whilst I can’t sleep; I read or find ways to relax rather than having to get up and walk the streets late in to the night. The fact it would scare me too much to do that now is a sign of my recovered sanity (lol). 3) The triggers are less and when they come, I can recover more quickly rather than my day being consumed. 4) I am trying to read more positive stuff about affair survival rather than immersing myself in just the horror of affair stories – that definitely helps my mood. Throughout their affair, the OW constantly told my husband that marriages don’t survive affairs (manipulative b word) I actually wrote to her to tell her that it is actually cheap, nasty affairs that don’t survive strong, loving, committed and passionate marriages!
        My husband is totally remorseful for everything that happened and is trying to fix our marriage. He cannot believe what he has done and more frustrating, he can’t remember a lot of it so many of my questions have to go unanswered. My problem is letting go of the terrible actions he was capable of during his affair: Involving her children and so potentially ours, sex on sykpe in our home, going to concerts where he could and may have been seen by people who know us…the list goes on. How the F do you let these things go? I am so incensed and angry and in total disbelief for his unforgivable actions and his willingness to humiliate and betray me to a stranger! In this respect, I worry that progress will only come from a sharp knock on my head that causes memory loss;-)
        Thank you for your comments, they have helped me to consider my own progress more thoughtfully. All the best to you and your husband.

    • Disappointed

      My H and I are talking more than we have in years. He has expressed appreciation for things I have done for many years that he never acknowledged. He has admitted he was negligent in bearing his share of financial burdens and that I had to be every bit as lonely as he was. Without his daily criticism I have lost 47 lbs in a healthy way and am exercising. I am working to get our house in order. I am learning to focus more on myself. I want him to return (separated for 4+ months) but not as the man he was before. He says he doesnt want to say goodbye to me. And I dont want to say goodbye to him.

    • Better

      Before I found out about my husbands EA our relationship was void of everything. Our communication consisted of arguing about everything constantly. we both felt defensive all the time and could hardly stand to be around eachother. I had never even heard the term EA.

      Its been a year of learning how to talk to eachother. Sometimes when we (both) slip into that bad pattern we laugh about it and say “sorry that was the old me comming out”

      We talk about it less and less but we do have personal jokes about what was said in the begining and it makes me feel closer to my H when we can both laugh about it.

      Im still having a hard time broching the subject and when my emotions get the better of me I blow up on him. before he would have blown up back. But he has changed in the way he deals with my emotions. I can tell he really cares now and is very patient and understanding. (progress :))

      Ive learned how to be a real friend and listen to him.
      As far as the Ow…I hate her and always will…but it doesnt consume me anymore. I know that I will never stop hating who she is and what she did with a married man…It shows what a shitty person she is.

      The passage of time is what has helped the healing!

    • Benny

      I don’t often feel like there has been much progress but by thinking about it I realize there has been some.

      We committed to stay together and try to save our marriage. She is telling me what she does and has been open to me seeing her phone, email, etc. I think she has ended the affair (s) and I’m still not certain if there were one or two but we are working on that and talking about what happened and why.

      More and more things are slowly coming out but I think she is being more honest both with me and with herself. It is hard for me to hear some of the things that come up but so far I’ve been able to control my anger, hurt, and disappointments.

      I think we are both communicating more about personal feelings and expectations than ever before.

      I have a bit more hope than at first . I accept responsibility for any difficulties in our marriage that I have caused but I’m learning and feeling better about the fact that I am not responsible for her wrong actions, either inside or outside our marriage.

    • Greg

      Well today was more forward progress so I think it qualifies as a success. We had our se one counseling session and I had feared that she hadn’t done the ‘homeowkr’ assigned to us of thinking of good qualities or times with each other in the past. Thankfully I was wrong and she had. She only had 4 items written down compared to my 15 or so but she had things written down that she liked about me and cried when she was reading them, shows that she cares that she feels so bad toward me. Next assignment is to put together a photo album of past events together and write our feeling about them. It’s funny after reading so much about affairs and rebuilding marriages I can actually see the steps that the therapist is putting us through, first think of good memories to counter the bad ones, second remember those memories together and try to rekindle the feelings you had at that time also force us to truely interact with each other on an emotional level. It’s weird to know the steps but not be able to do them on our own, it takes an outside person to get us to actually do them. Other things on the positive front, after last weeks session and my minor panic attack over being told things I had choosen to forget that happened she told me that he still tries to email her from time to time and she mostly ignores him but when he brings up things that he knows are emotional triggers for her she will respond curtly. I asked her to flat out tell him to stop emailing her for my mental well being and she agreed to it, just have to wait for him to get back in the country from visiting his mother. In the beginning she was unwilling to cut total contact with him and wanted to be nice and not have any confrontation. I guess it also helps that some of her new coworkers that know nothing of what happened before they started there think that he is creepy and a pervert. Nothing like a neutral objective view to put things in perspective.:-)

    • Eva

      I’m at the same stage as writerwife. Choosing to focus on me now. We have stopped talking about the affair for now as I don’t think I can handle to hear anymore. I don’t think that it had ended but my relationship with H is improving.

      I feel less angry but mostly sad about the affair. Trying to build strength emotionally for now and go through the recovery process. I sure hope that I could be a success story too! At times, it hurts so much that I just want to give up. But I do realise that giving up is not going to ease the pain, not when we can’t have a clean break because we have a child together.

      Thanks Linda & Doug for providing this support network. At least now I don’t feel as alone and helpless as I did on D Day.

    • DJ

      Just recently had a huge breakthrough in getting my husband out of the affair fog. He realized that he did not truly believe in some of the things he and his OW professed to during their affair. 17 months after D-day, he was shocked to discover, through some conversations I carefully planned, that he couldn’t defend those things. He yelled and screamed and resisted, but after a couple of days and another conversation where I insisted we act like adults, he shocked himself when he realized he could no longer justify his standpoint.

      He is slowly realizing that he was so deep in affair fog that he could not distinguish reality from fantasy where they and I were concerned. I believe it was the only way he could live with himself through that time.

      It will still take time, but he is healing. He has been asking a lot of questions, realizing that he and his OW had fabricated an entire storyline about who I was. Over six years, I became the enemy. He sees now that he was not seeing clearly and he needs to get to know me again. It’s finally a step in the right direction.

      • Doug

        DJ, I would be interested in knowing the contents of these planned conversations. It is very difficult as the BS to try to “convince” the cheater that many of the actions during the affair were fantasy. It is something that is very difficult for them to let go of. I feel that these conversations are important and need to be addressed, but how without getting angry or resistance? Linda

        • DJ

          It was a slow accumulation of facts that led me to realize that he had changed his political views, religious views and lifestyle views considerably over the course of his affair, and that it was because of the affair that he changed his opinions. So I found ways to discuss his views on these things rather on his actions during his affair. It took away some of the feeling of being personally attacked and shamed.

          I wasn’t sure how to proceed at first, but the opportunity presented itself with a news segment on NPR. That first attempt was not well planned. He ranted and raved, screamed and shouted, and refused to talk anymore with me at first. He stormed out and did not talk to me all day.

          I thought through the second attempt and was prepared to let him thoroughly defend his view. He wouldn’t have been able to do this early on after D-day, but at this point he was ready to talk civilly about a non-affair-related topic. He couldn’t defend his position. I knew that if he talked about it without being defensive he would see how far from his personal convictions his new beliefs had become. It worked.

          It was only a small step on a topic that was not directly related to his affair. But he could see that he not been thinking clearly on that subject. I didn’t immediately push for him to see a bunch of other stuff about his affair as well, but the impact was significant. He is still in the fog about a lot of things, but he is now open to looking at himself and his beliefs,especially where I am concerned. I am going to nudge him gently to seeing more things. He is a proud man (part of the problem) and will not accept an accusatory confrontation for long. Small baby steps, one at a time…

          I am going to post a more detailed account of this soon.

          The things I read about how you handled conversations with Doug gave me the insight I needed to deal with my husband. Thank you, Linda.

          • Let us go and make our visit.

            DJ – I had a similar experience. My wife had an EA and in a matter of four months lost her religious faith, shifted her politics way to the right, and became obsessed with evolutionary theory. Pre d-day I recall her ranting about teachers unions in very simplistic ways or declaring herself a libertarian. Puzzled but didn’t imagine what was really going on. Now eight months post d-day there are a lot of residual beliefs that have nothing to do with the woman I knew before, but most of these beliefs are harmless and irrelevant to our recovery. I see no point in challenging them as it only pulls us apart not closer.

            • DJ

              This is a long and difficult road. At 8 months out from D-day, my husband and I would not have been able to have these discussions. We still cannot discuss his affair fog when pertaining directly to his affair. But we can discuss other areas where the affair fog affected him.

              The point is that it sets up a topic where he can see that he has had some opinions and ideas that were far removed from his true personality and beliefs. They came from his OW and their constant communication. This is slowly bringing him to see that his feelings and opinions about his affair were not necessarily real, either, and he is opening up to see that I am not the antagonist here and that she was not his soul mate and he did not make a huge mistake in marrying me. It’s working.

            • Let us go and make our visit.

              DJ- I guess maybe a year from now we’ll be able to take some of these topics on. How have you rebuilt your emotional connection? Ours is uneven — some days very strong — some days totally non-existent. So hard… I just need to remind myself that while I’m not blameless here, she’s the one more confused and more responsible for the crisis we’re enduring.

    • csb

      It’s almost 6 months since Dday (H had EA for 1 1/2 years with old GF). We are committed to trying to save our marriage.
      My question is this….is there anyone who has a success story or made true progress when the CS still cannot come up with a reason why they did it?

      How can I be sure it won’t happen again, if there was no real reason? Should I just resign myself to the fact that I will never know why? My CS seems to genuinely want us to be together….sometimes I feel like I am the one hindering our recovery.

      • Healing Mark

        Csb. My wife and I are doing great notwithstanding her EA, although its been roughly 16 months since D-day and approximately 20 months since the EA was ended. My wife felt that she couldn’t really pinpoint a reason or reasons as to why she grew so close to her AP. Oh, we could both come up with potential reasons, but there wasn’t anything that she recognized and then chose to develop an EA because of it (for example, I was paying much more attention to my job and business development activities and my children than I was to my wife and her wants and needs, but my wife insists that while she felt neglected, this did not cause her to conciously chose to become more than “just a good friend” to the AP). My wife believes that almost everything happens for a reason, and we chose to look at her EA as a wake up call for our marriage, and it was as when she ended her then undiscovered EA (I had fairly strong suspicions, but no objective evidence of the EA), she asked me if I thought we should begin seeing a marriage counselor. I agreed that we should as we were not very happy together at that time. The sad part of my story as that my wife and I were much happier together at the time I discovered the existence and ending of her EA. However, I think my nagging suspicions that she had become more than “just a good friend” to the AP, and the impact these had on my ability to trust my wife, were still negaitviely impacting our ability to be happy together, so while the discovery of her EA was painful, among other things, it did in a perverse way clear the way for us to re-establish a very happy and loving relationship.

        I know it’s hard, but I wouldn’t worry about figuring out, or not figuring out, why your H developed and maintained an EA. More important than why is that your H understands that this is unacceptable behavior and can convince you that he is truly sorry and will do everything he can to not allow this to happen again. Also more important in my opinion is that you get to a point where the EA no longer has much of an impact on you and your marriage and where you are able to genuiinely forgive your H. Several times I thought that I had really forgiven my W for her EA and all things related to it (e.g., lies, deceipt, picking fights with me for no good reason), but I really hadn’t. With genuine forgivenes hopefully also comes the level of trust that a spouse deserves. And, for my wife, she could not remain married to me if I could not genuinely forgive her for what she had done. I got this, and am so glad that I finally got to this point. We never actually picked a deadline date for “moving on” but were quite relieved when our relationship started to be virtually devoid of EA “talk” around the 6 or 7 month mark after D-day. It was also at about this point in time that I stopped the obessive checking up on my wife’s activities (i.e., getting on her phone to check text messages, going to her Facebook page, going on-line to check phone and text logs, going onto her Gmail to review emails).

        Finally, don’t beat yourself up about being the one hindering recovery. I, too, hindered my and my wife’s recovery. Imagine that most, if not all, BS’s do this is. It goes with the territory, unfortunately. Just try to minimize this as much as you can, and it’s a good sign that you appear to be recognizing that this is happening, since it gives you a chance to address the issues that are causing this. And again, don’t let your H’s inability to identify reason(s) for the EA to be a hinderance. He, as with my wife, may actually have some ideas as to why he fell for another person, but he simply does not want to discuss these with you for fear that you will be hurt even more, or because he feels, in my opinion correctly, that the reasons themselves are not as important as so many other things relative to your mutual recovery.

        God bless you and good luck.

        • Let us go and make our visit.

          Did your wife allow you to check her email? Was this explicitly part of the trust building program? My wife had an EA (d-day was 8 months ago) and thinks that my checking her email is an unacceptable violation of her privacy. I haven’t since many months ago, but sometimes I want to review her email again, especially when I sense something off and fear that the communication with the OM has resumed.

          • Healing Mark

            LUGAMOV. Yes, my wife did allow me to check her email, Facebook, phone texts. VERY RELUCTANTLY, and with a fair amount of resentment. She viewed it not so much about me violating her privacy, but about expectations of privacy that others emailing and texting her might have and she did not want to have to disclose that I was privy to viewing them and then have to explain why. We agreed that she could delete texts and emails if she wanted to (I figured that she was going to be able to do this anyway with respect to emails without me knowing it if she wanted to, and I really did not care to look at all of her texts, just any from the AP or his wife) for anyone other than the AP and his wife (my wife had a perverse, in my opinion, friendship with the AP’s wife that she cultivated starting at the beginning of the EA, but I think that the AP’s wife either suspected that her husband and my wife were getting too close, or learned of the EA, as she has cut off all contact with my wife as has her husband). I heard the same violation of privacy arguments (ny allowing her to look at anything of mine didn’t make her any more willing to give up some privacy, and the “if you have nothing to hide then you should have no problem sharing emails and texts wtth me” was fairly ineffective in making my wife more willing to concede on her desire for privacy point).

            What I’ll refer to “snooping” in tribute to my wife’s label for my initial and thank God tempory obsession with checking up on her communications and activities to make sure nothing with still going on with the AP was certainly part of a “trust building program”. But more importantly, it was something that with promised careful consideration I truly believed was necessary for me to get to a point where I could genuinely forgive my wife for her EA and create a surviving maritial relationship that each of us was eager and happy to continue in. Our counselor sided with my wife on the invasion of privacy point, but advised my wife that since I was not just knee-jerking on my thinking that I needed this to heal and continue to be willing to work on our marriage (i.e., not being able to “snoop” was going to be a “deal-breaker”), she should indulge me and permit snooping. I shocked them when I said that I thought my ability to do this should remain for as long as my wife and I remained married. Our counselor did not think that this was going to be healthy at some point, and persuaded us to table any discussions on when this might change as not only would that be difficult to predict at that point even if I felt that it should change somewhere down the line, but also b/c she felt that my need for this would lessen and perhaps go away at some point after the passage of a sufficient amount of time, a rebuilding of a sufficient amount of trust, and my getting to the point where I could and would genuinely forgive my wife for her EA. And our counselor was quite right in this regard!

            Finally, a few remaining comments. My wife is now much less bothered by the fact that I have access to her email account and phone and text logs and text messages now that she believes (correctly) that I have genuinely forgiven her and am very infrequently “snooping” (she knows, for example, that I have not been on her Facebook page or Gmail account since shortly after Christmas and before that I had not been on either for about 3 months). She also has concluded (correctly so) that I am no longer obsessed with her phone and am not getting on it when she leaves it unattended. We are back to where we were before the EA, where I had access (other than phone and text logs and text messages and my wife understands how creating this new accountability is very important for each of us given what transpired between her and the AP) to her phone and Facebook and Gmail accounts but never even thought about checking these out. Notwithstanding our discussions in this regard with our counselor, we both feel that potential access will remain for as long as we both shall live (that’s how long we now expect to be married!) and, while technically an invasion of privacy, it’s something that does more good than harm. And in a classic “getting a taste of your own medicine”, I have had to hand over my cell phone to her a few times so that she could equally “snoop” on me and each time waves of panic came over me, so I see how she felt and likely feels even today. I don’t have anything to hide other than emails from this site and certain other ones that the “wonderful” Internet sends my way no matter how many times it seems that I unsubscribe to them (her stance is since I’ve genuinely forgiven her, I don’t need to be messing around with EAJ stuff, and when she sees stuff like that she is reminded of all of the mistakes she made during her EA and thereafter when trying to hide its existence), so on those few times that she decided to let me know how she felt when I looked up stuff on her phone, I was not only afraid she might see something that would be a “trigger” for her, but also one or more things that she might misinterpret and create unnecessary discussions. That said, my wife has said several times that the fact that I can “snoop” but am not “snooping” has really allowed her to convince herself that she has finally regained a level of trust that is as much if not more than that which existed prior to her EA, and for this she is very grateful, as am I!

            • Greg

              Being able to ‘check up on her E-mail, facebook, and phone logs are an absolute must in trying to rebuild your relationship. My gut feeling of her not wanting you too is that something she doesn’t want you to see is there. I have always had access to my wife’s E-mail and facebook accounts as she has had to mine, neither of us has ever had a lock code on our phones. Obviously this didn’t stop her EA as she delted her text messages and used her work e-mail. Depending on your cell carrier you can still look up the phone logs online so you see who she has been texting or calling. If she refuses to give access to her E-mail then install a key logger program on the computer and you get her password easily enough. This is how I gained access to my wife’s work computer with her remote access login and was able to see all the emails they sent each other. Obviously it would be best if she gave you access in the matter as it really helps built trust between the two of you, but if she won’t then there are ways around it.

            • Let us go and make our visit.

              Thanks to Greg and Healing Mark for the input. Nice to have two fellow H who have suffered the same betrayal as me.

              Trust is a fragile thing that once destroyed takes time to be rebuilt. I don’t really want to read her email; I’m actually too busy with work and would rather not spend my time “snooping” around. However, the bottom line is that I need assurance that I’m not being lied to. As you can all appreciate, if you’re going to invest the emotional energy to rebuild a marriage then you need to know that the other party is being honest with you. Their feelings might not be in synch with you, their heart might be torn, they may mourn the loss of the EA–to me that’s ok. What’s not ok is lying and wasting the precious time of another person’s life.

              I don’t know how to get that assurance; even raising the question has some risk to our recovery I think. I think in a couple weeks maybe I can do it with our marriage counselor.

              The best strategy, I think, is to move forward and live the marriage you want to have. My belief is that if I be my best self in all dimensions and listen and learn with my wife, then no matter how erratic her equivocations that, with time, the fog will lift, the emotional connection will return, and we will find a new life together.

            • Dave

              You are stronger than I am. Knowing that my wife was in contact with the OM long after her affair, I made access to her accounts a priority and she agreed. I also let her see mine. Our counselor agreed as well that this was an acceptable course of action until trust has been rebuilt.

    • daisensei

      Interesting to read all the comments and answers. My H. had a brief affair with his secretary (22 years his junior) when we were abroad 16 years ago. At the time I was devastated, I left him and returned home. The OW left her job and I went back abroad to my H. My H. said at the time he wanted to stay with me as a new life with the OW would never work out! He said he never wanted me to mention the OW again and apologised to me. At the time he refused to go to counselling..We returned home 11 years ago and we did everything together as we had always done. In November 2011 I discovered photos of her (plus her husband and two children) by chance on my H.’s p.c. On tackling him about this , he revealed to me that e-mail contact between himself and the OW had never stopped.There were dreadful scenes at home. I asked him to leave which he refused to do. I informed my sister-in-law and our son about my H’s behaviour. Again refusal to go to partner counselling on his part. I wnt for six sessions on my own. My H. says he has cut off all communication with the OW but I am having serious issues about trusting my husband.

    • csb

      Healing Mark – thank you for your insight. I have to say, I am so envious of the place you’re in (I’m sure in the beginning, you never could imagine saying that to you!).

      I think part of my difficulty in accepting this happened is the fact that we had a wonderful marriage prior to this..married 30 years, did everything together (I even roofed my home with him). We were the couple everyone envied. Maybe that’s why it is so important for me to know why.

      I know the key here is forgiveness, and as you said, there have been many times I thought I had forgiven him, but when I look deep inside myself, I know I haven’t. I do believe he is remorseful and I don’t think hell do it again. I know sometimes good people do bad things, I just need to find a way to feel that all the good he is trying to do now outweighs the EA.

      You mentioned that around 6 or 7 months post dday your relationship was devoid of EA talk. I’ve tried not talking about it, because it’s just the same things we’ve said before and I didn’t want to derail our healing. Of course, that didn’t work and it all came bubbling out today. May I ask, at that time, why didn’t you talk about it anymore…was it because you honestly felt it wasn’t an issue for you anymore?

      • Healing Mark

        Csb. Didn’t talk about it primarily b/c it was no longer necessary to do so. Not to get too “legal” here, but my wife and I agreed that an element of genuine forgivness would be no longer needing to talk about the EA and actions/inaction related to it. For whatever reason, I never needed to know details of the EA (I did, nevertheless, learn of some of them) or any reason or reasons for my wife’s behaviour (sure, we talked some about why she might have changed so much due to the feelings she developed for her AP, and why such feelings in fact developed, but not that much). We just viewed what had happened as some things that had happened and since you can’t change them there was no reason to dwell on them. Instead, we focused on the present and on getting to a point where I could genuinely forgive my wife and once again trust her as much as my wife and I wanted/needed.

        Does the subject of the EA and related aspects sometimes come up even today? Sure, but rarely, and never in a “negative” way. Odd to have little inside jokes with your spouse about a past EA, but this aspect of my relationship with my wife is something that has just developed and helps us, its seems, keep the EA from having any further impact on our lives. Now it has become a sort of “I can’t believe all those things happened” and “thank God the fact that those things happened makes it highly unlikely that they will ever happen again”. We recognize that there are few guarantees in life, and that attractions to other people will probably still occur, but as long as we respect our now more well defined agreed upon relationship boundaries, such attractions shouldn’t negatively impact our marriage.

        Just a thought. For me, I never looked at it like my wife had to, or expected my wife to have to, do “things” post D-day to “outweigh” her EA and other inappropriate behaviour. Yes, even very good people make mistakes. I looked at my wife each day after the EA discovery (and still do) and asked myself whether she was a person that I should remain married to and also whether the state of our relationship was healthy for our children. It was about how I felt about my wife (I loved her very much and very badly hoped, until it happened, that I would be able to genuinely forgive her for her mistakes), the subjective element, and how our relationship was now evolving given the EA and its impact on our children, the somewhat objective element. Whether or not my wife had had an EA, the state of our relationship at the point in time that she was ending her EA was really crappy and unhealthy for our children, so if we didn’t change certain things we likely would have ended our marriage and we would have been very sad to have done so. It’s apparent from reading some of the posts on this site that there are many BS’s and CS’s that are unwilling or unable to do post D-day(s) those things that are apparently needed for the spouses to be happily married to each other. Finding the things that my wife and I need in order to be happy together wasn’t that difficult to do, we just forgot about them for awhile and neglected our marriage to the point that it became one that we needed to repair. Fortunately, we both wanted to have, and had, both of our feet in “the door” and had not said and done so much (or not said or done so much) that we lost our ability to be happy together as husband and wife. I feel so sorry for those out there who are married to someone who does not have both feet in “the door” or are at a point where there is simply too much water under the bridge to successfully repair the to date damage to their marriage. It seems to me that the foregoing is not applicable to you, so be thankful and try to work on getting to the point that you trust your H like you did before EA discovery and you truly do forgive your H for his mistakes. Sadly, the passage of time seems to be a necessary ingrediant to getting to that point, and until you get to that point, it really is hard to be happily married to your CS (and in my case, it was really hard for my wife to be happily married to me until I truly forgave her and I trusted her as much as I did pre-EA and pre-EA discovery).

      • Ifeelsodumb

        HM said that at the 6-7 month mark, there was very little talk about the EA…I want you to understand that that is VERY unusual!! Healing from an affair, whether EA or PA is usually 2-4 yrs from EVERYTHING I have read!
        I have found in reading this blog and other info, that BS who are male can genuinely move on A LOT faster than their female counterparts, so don’t feel bad that you can’t move that fast!
        Forgiveness takes time, and since this is such a HUGE betrayal to a marriage, I feel that we DESERVE to take our time to truly come to terms with what happened and we also deserve to know WHY our CS gave themselves “permission” to act in a way that is so damaging to us and our marriage!! I DO NOT buy the explanation that there is no reason for the EA to happen, it just happened…Uh, nope, not buying that!
        It took 13 months of talking, crying(on my part) TALKING for my H to finally realize that the emotional abuse he suffered as a child impacted him a lot more than he thought! He has a history of burying his hurt, started in his childhood, and continued throughout our marriage!
        He now acknowledges that he buried a lot of his anger and hurt over the years…and he has low self esteem, which I never realized, since he is a success in his line of work, has a college degree, very well respected amongst his colleagues, and our friends. The OW was a former GF and she made him feel good about himself, pumped up his low self esteem, etc…
        All that being said, everyone IS different, we all forgive when it is right for US!!
        I haven’t forgiven my H 100% yet…and it’s been 15 months…and I don’t know when I will, BUT in my heart I WANT to forgive him, and he knows that, so that makes a big difference!
        We don’t talk about the EA everyday anymore, our talks now are more along the lines of him coming to terms with all the hurt from his past. and dealing with that…..we BOTH have healing to do and it’s a slow and sometimes painful process…but we WILL get there!!
        You have to decide what it is that YOU need to help YOU heal, and go with that!!

      • CA

        CSB….You and I have a similar story. Married 30 years with a legitimately great marriage. We have always been very connected, happy, love to be with each other. I think it makes it even harder to understand. Our MC says he was careless and good people can make stupid mistakes. I get that with my head but my heart is really still hurting even after 8 months. Things are better than they were in the beginning but I still have the need to talk about the EA. I can truly forgive my husband. He is so genuinely sorry and has suffered to watch me hurt so much. I’m hoping that as Healing Mark says that it is just about the passage of time. Sadly, I think I will need more time than these 8 months. Sometimes it is all too much to think about.

    • Simple Fool

      Success stories from the Cheater’s point of view: After I committed bloody hell in my marriage by my refusal to admit I had an emotional affair to begin with, and that this EA relates to long-standing problems of self-regulation, my wife and I are communicating about roots/causes/denials. My wife’s strength has been my guide. True change in my understanding of the rewards of the daily practice of giving love and receiving love in marriage/committed partnership would not have been possible if the emotional affair had not been discovered AND examined in detail by us ..

      Ultimately, success is going to mean the Cheater changed, for good, and the betrayed somehow found a way to re-conceive of someone they thought they knew as well as they could know anyone. That sounds like a terrifying challenge to those of us in the post-discovery dregs.. I’ve accepted the years of self-hating that won’t go away, but the success story here is that I also see that self-hate won’t fix the important part. That the correction is not to simply “not betray” your spouse because you see the pain it caused. That’s a part of what needs to be connected, but the success stories (I’ll wager) of cheaters come from what Doug and others have identified as a deeper change in how you understand yourself and how you commit to actively examine your choices in the everyday reality of life.

      I hope other cheaters are not tempted to see their failure ONLY in a faux-“romantic” way — only as a tragic flaw that has to be stopped (like addiction) — but rather as a behavior that can recognized in all of its parts (subconscious, rational-ized, and somatic), immediately halted whenever some random flirting or emotional vulnerability is expressed in the future, and turned around to the ready self-inventory you have built of how to continually connect and re-connect those ego-needs with your partner. Whatever ups and downs the cheater has in the future should be buffered by seeing ego-craving as a healthy vulnerability within the love you already have. If cheaters truly see and take responsibility for this we may all one day might be survival success stories. My success story may have be enabled by cognitive/emotional breakthrough of my own self-deception and active destructive force, but I would hold off calling it success until 2045 (or thereabouts).

      • Disappointed

        Simple Fool – My H calls his EA a flirtation yet immediately after D-day claimed he was in love after just a month of texts. He continues to blame me for all of our problems and sees his affair as understandable. What snapped you out of it? Is there anything I can do to help him get there? There is no hope if he does not take personal responsibility for his choices. Any thoughts?

        • Simple Fool

          Disappointed – I’m sorry to hear about the continued blaming to others .. and can only say what i’ve learned abt myself. I think Doug wrote a while back something I find generally true: “no one will change until they finally see how that change is helping themselves” (paraphrased from memory). Maybe no cheating spouse is going to take responsibility for the EA until they realize that they have to be accountable for the capacity to fail, before rebuliding a new relationship based on corrective the negative pathways to that failure. Imagine that narcissism gets the cheater into a place of having EAs, and that it will be waiting for them when they are forced out of an EA by objective discovery. The strength to break through one’s selfish protection of their self-image might be rare even among people in less dire circumstances within the marriage dynamic, where taking responsibility for your most destructive capacities creates a witness for that truth not just today but forever. I’m not a shining example of a cheater who had that strength to disclose the full extent of this about himself immediately– I continued my narcissism in that I felt like all that mattered is that I knew what the truth was, even when my wife was asking for the full truth of what happened as she was imagining it and needed to make real to herself.. In those early months when I asked my wife to simply get past the EA, and would not admit that I needed to change basic patterns in my relationship to myself, it was just as damaging as anything else in the EA. I see all of my problems with myself as having consequences of psychological abuse, now. What was the change? Just seeing how she had no way out of the pain she was feeling if I continued to stonewall.. Seeing that every day I equivocated, diminished, or lied added to the waste of her her beautiful life. People seem to grow at their own pace, sadly. I would count myself as slow in this regard, but as you might guess I’m really looking at myself differently now.

          We’ve begun looking at the affair in the context of my failure in the marriage/relationship (9 years together) to uphold the most basic things I would ask from her. Maybe this book has been mentioned here — We’ve been reading Harville Hendrix’ “Getting the Love You Want” – kind of a cheesy title but it’s a compelling Jungian approach to dynamic marriage contracts. This and our individual counseling have opened up discussions about family of origin patterns we (two reasonably thoughtful) never examined before, which we’ve committed to helping each other out of the damaging repetition of childhood crap … Just one example of many things that have changed in our lives for the better.. hopefully many many more to come.

      • Doug

        SF, Thanks for chiming in. Wonderful point that you bring up about “the correction is not to simply “not betray” your spouse because you see the pain it caused” and that success requires “…deeper change in how you understand yourself and how you commit to actively examine your choices in the everyday reality of life.” Regardless of what you think, you have achieved a certain level of success well before 2045! 😉

      • Ifeelsodumb

        SF…you get it!! Wow!! You actually GET IT!! Your post is amazing!! 😀 Gonna have my H read it!! He’s doing great with coming to terms of WHY he had the EA.. I know when he reads your post it will encourage him…thanks!!

    • Anne

      I’m glad you’re doing this! I am feeling like a new person in the past 4 months, and things continue to improve. My H and I are both seeing individual therapists which has been nothing short of transformative. We’ve both working hard and the marriage reflects the efforts. It’s been almost a year since D-Day (although other shoes dropped and there have been setbacks along the way). But in the six months since H began therapy, we’ve made tremendous progress.

      I think we have a more compassionate climate and we are more patient with each other. I am learning to step back a bit (a tendency to control is one of the areas I’m working on) and he’s becoming more engaged and communicative. We are spending more time alone as a couple. He told me recently that he feels like its version 2.0 of the marriage, and I agree. It feels like we are maturing individually and as a couple.

      There are still days that one of us feels down, and that can be hard. When I experience a trigger, it can feel like I’m back at square one. I can still become furious thinking about the details. But on the whole, I don’t spend as much time thinking about the details or about the OW. The triggers are fewer and farther between, but are still there. The anger has dissipated, and that’s been a huge help.

      To boil it down, I think the following has been most helpful:
      1) Ending the affair and all contact;
      2) Personal counseling (marriage therapy was less helpful for us);
      3) Spending more time alone together;
      4) Working on ourselves (my issues of control and short-temperedness, his of being passive and disengaged);
      5) Talking about our therapy and what we’re learning, which has create more intimacy;
      6) Talking less about the affair–I know what I need/want to know and revisiting it is like picking the scab. It doesn’t help.

      I can honestly see (on the good days, which are more and more), that going through this could make your marriage stronger if you both use the opportunity to learn and grow.

    • poppet

      Another cheaters perspective;
      It’s just been six months since D-day and we have recently had some lovely days together. It seems like there are more good days than bad just now, but neither of us is unrealistically thinking that we are totally out of the woods yet. We still have the odd thump in the chest when the realisation of what happened comes back, -more so on my wife’s part.
      We talk and talk and talk about it, we let the emotions knock us down sometimes and at other times we laugh about it. She has been amazing, brave, understanding and patient. She has gone through hell because of my selfish actions and I am filled with admiration and love for her. We believe that talking honestly has helped us, lots of physical reassurance (cuddles, lovemaking, stroking etc) and a shared sense of humour.
      I have done more soul searching in the last six months than I have ever done. This has been very uncomfortable, but has resulted in layers of s**t -in the form of self deceit and a false idea of self (along with a lot of other stuff) being stripped away. I feel raw, but purified. I see my situation with my wife and family so much more clearly and have a much clearer appreciation of them. This realisation, when it hits, is usually followed by a strong feeling of disbelief; ‘Did I really do those things? What the hell was I thinking?
      All of this change in perspective takes time, and we think that we are fortunate to be able to spend all day, every day together as we work from home. This has meant that we do a lot of talking, so perhaps we are going through the stages a bit quicker?
      Anyway, we are committed to making it work and we think that being constantly attentive to each others needs, and saying nice things to one another, helps us to rediscover why we fell in love originally (personally, I think my love is stronger than ever). It also fills the days with a larger proportion of good experiences than bad, which can only help.

      • Doug

        Poppet, Glad to hear things are improving for you and happy that you are looking within and discovering who you really are. Keep it up!

      • Let us go and make our visit.

        Poppet – I am impressed with your ability to describe the fog lifting.

        What was the best thing your wife did for your recovery? What was the most destructive thing your wife did for your recovery? I am the BS and my wife had an intense EA and is still somewhat in the fog. We are eight months post d-day and there is no contact with AP.

        I feel sometimes like I’m tap dancing to keep things humming in the marriage and would love to know what your wife did that helped to revive your emotional connection.

    • Joe

      I love this thread, thank you Doug. I do believe men and women approach this differently, so I really value Dave and Mark’s stories, as well as learning more from Greg and Benny.
      Your stories keep me sane and hopeful, though my support group doesn’t understand my hope for reconcilliation.
      I discovered my wife’s EA in October, since then she has moved out and continued a relationship with the OM, though it is a weird and inconsistent deal. We live in a small town with a child, so she has been very diligent in hiding her new relationship. They also spend very little time together and never when she has our daughter. My sense is they have a dependent relationship and realize there is no future. She did recently lie to me about something regarding him, so I know she is in some kind of denial still. I also feel her guilt, though she masks it by projecting blame on to me. She still hints that my behaviors and my career were at fault. I actually see these as good signs that she is progressing through the stages of an affair and not a real relationship.
      Today she agreed to attend an overnight trip/party with me next week, as friends, which I see as a great opportunity to heal the hurt we caused since D-day, we still need to be co-parents to our daughter, and it demonstrates that he may not have such a hold on her anymore. Regardless of our issues, we have always performed beautifully in public and have a good time together. I thought it was a good step, but my friends and support group are flabbergasted that I would consider giving her this attention. Their view is that I should cut bait, run and not give her the time of day. I understand that emotion. I just want to establish some trust, not fully but some, and show her that there is an opening for healing, patching and even reconcilliation. She would still have to do the hard lifting when/if that time came, but I want her to know that it will be safe for her to make such a move.
      Guys, am off base here? Am I giving in too much and need to hold firmer ground?

      • Doug

        Joe, I agree 100% with what CSB says. Don’t let other people make decisions for you. Additionally, the OM may indeed not have as strong of hold on her, and I guarantee he is pissed that she is attending this party with you. As you mention, take it as a step..a positive one, and hopefully more positive steps will follow.

      • Greg

        Do what you feel you need to. Anyone who has not been through it can say cut bait and run but unless they have actually been in your situation and have felt what you are feeling then they are just stating their opinion. just remember that opinions are like a**holes in that everyone has one. I know that for me I had always thought if anything like this ever happened I would just walk away and destroy her life. When it happened I couldn’t do it and felt weak because I didn’t do what I had always said I would. I can see now that trying to work through it is at least a better path and lets you stand talling at the end and say, ‘at least I tried’, no matter what the outcome.

      • Dave

        My wife is/was a master at projection, gas lighting, and denial, even long after the affair was over. Only recently has she started to accept the truth about everything that she did. Even long after her feelings for him faded, her memories of the affair were affected by the affair fog. If we/she had dealt with them back them honestly, openly, and yes – perhaps harshly, I think we would have been in a much better place long ago.

        Although years have passed since the affair, it still has been a tough choice to stay. Having an 11-year old son plays into that decision, but it also helps that she has also been willing to work on things, go to counseling, and deal with the issues that led to the affair. It has also been very helpful that we now live 20 hours away from “him” in another state instead of 15 minutes away in the same small town.

        The day I caught her at the OM’s apartment, which is the day she claims she was breaking it off, I gave her an ultimatum. She had to choose a life with our family or a life with him. If she chose him, she would have instantly lost any rights to pretend that we were still a family. I would not have allowed that for me or our oldest son who was only 7 at the time.

        Of course, since I didn’t know the full extent of their affair or even if they really had one at all, she was able to linger in her fog for months and perhaps longer unbeknownst to me since she really believed that she convinced me that nothing had happened. I had my suspicions. I just lacked proof.

        I know that in my case, a real physical separation helped. I took a business trip away just before the end of my wife’s affair. She claims that while I was gone, it made her see what she would miss. We had almost no communication during the beginning part of my trip and she didn’t seem to care that I was gone, but by the end I could sense a change. She kept calling and was almost desperate to talk with me. Looking back, she says that she can see that is when she finalized her decision to stay with me and break it off with the OM. (A week later is when I caught her saying her goodbyes. The following Monday I found a job. We moved three months later – but during that time I watched her every move and his as well.)

        I’m not saying that you should leave your wife, but at some point, making her choose a life with you and your child as a family or a life with him might just be the impetus she needs to get off the fence and come home for good. That is just my unsolicited opinion/advice.

        I know that I have deal with opinions and advice, some good and some terrible from friends and family. Some say I should I shouldn’t leave her while others think I’m a fool for staying. I try to ignore all of them and just deal with it the best I can with the guidance of our counselor, sometimes one day at a time.

        Obviously the bottom line is that this is your life and your situation. You have to make the choices you believe to be right despite what other people may think or say. I just hope the best for you and your family whatever you chose to do.

        Hang in there and good luck.

        • roller coaster rider

          Thank you Dave, for this post. I, too, believe that until the CS is face to face with what life would be like without a husband or wife and can really look at the ramifications of choosing another person, the loss of an intact family, reputation, etc. he or she can stay confused by feelings and being jerked around by their own wackiness. The day I moved out, D-Day 2, I refused to talk to my H, blocked him on my phone and e-mail, and didn’t talk to him for several months. For all I knew, he was going to have a new life with the OW, and frankly, I just didn’t care anymore because I had taken him back after D-Day 1 on the condition that the affair was over. I was not going to share him. It really put him in a desperate place where he was scrambling for some kind of attention from our adult kids, his own siblings, and he finally knew the relationship with the OW needed to end for HIS sake, not for mine.

          And I also agree that others’ opinions will range from one end of the spectrum to the other, but we have to decide what is best for ourselves. It is a gut-wrenching process. My H went through decades of compromise and emotional stonewalling; he is now finally making some real changes and is becoming vulnerable to me. I am also able to allow true emotional honesty with him. We are divorced and living separately, but there seems to be every hope that we will remarry, because we are now laying the good, solid foundation for a healthy marriage (one we never had before). Many people (I’m sure) think I’m crazy for even considering this. That’s okay, maybe even understandable. Our kids are also hopeful, of course, although they don’t want to go through any more pain.

          I stepped away from this website for some months because I thought my life was now going to be as a single person, and quite frankly, it was just too painful to keep thinking about the affair and all the things I had wanted and wasn’t going to have (namely a marriage with the man I’ve loved since I was 15). I’ve been back for the past several months, partly I think because I still need and want the support and input of others who understand, and partly because I want to share that it’s still possible to have hope after divorce. One thing that I would never change, though, is the setting of boundaries for the BS. I can see no reason to allow cheating and while we can’t choose for our spouse, at least we can choose not to enable them to stay deceived in the fog, to have their cake and eat it too.

    • csb

      Joe – I discovered my H’s EA in October, as well. What I’ve learned is that everyone will have a different opinion of what is “right”, but you are the only one who really knows what’s right for you. I don’t think you’re wrong for planning your get away with your wife. This is part of the healing process. You have made a decision to stay together and work through this, so that is one of the steps you need to take.

      I also look for ways to be together and rebuild, the day I decide I don’t want to make those attempts is the day I know I give up and don’t want to continue my marriage.

      Do what’s in your heart, it may be broken but somewhere in that pain you are still in love with your wife, so…..enjoy your time together!!

    • Tim

      It has been about 3 months since Dday. At first I never believed that my marriage could survive my wife’s EA. This is the second marriage for both of us and we both divorced after years of unhappiness in our first marriages and discussed many times prior to Dday that neither of us would ever stay after an affair. It would be the end; no if, ands or buts. Although I suspected for several weeks before Dday (the EA only lasted about two months) the emotional pain of finally facing the truth was the worst feeling I can ever remember. Pain, anger, hatred, jealousy, rage, shame, humiliation, and yes, love in spite of not wanting it to be there at that moment it still was. It’s a package of emotion that is impossible to explain unless you have been there. My wife had ended the EA shortly before Dday and during the first 24 hours after Dday apologized many times and begged me to stay and promised to get counselling and change (she is a sexual abuse survivor from a grandfather when she was very young). After the initial rage and hurt passed I accepted that I did not want the marriage to end, and I understood my wife’s emotional scars from her past. We are in counseling and it is tremendously helpful. I have learned that my wife had a hidden personality from a very young age that caused her to need to escape from reality, which is exactly what an EA gives the cheating spouse – a relationship without strings or responsibility or the pressures of reality. An escape. She is making good progress on her abuse issues and I have accepted and admitted that my faults and weaknesses contributed to the atmosphere that allowed this to happen. I still obsess over the mental images. My wife has denied from the beginning that any sexual contact occurred, although she did kiss him and tell him she loved him in response to his saying the words. She has convinced me that she did not mean it when she said it but her people-pleasing tendencies, especially toward men, put her in a position of simply wanting to say what he wanted to hear. The mental images and triggers that I have were almost unbearable in the beginning but are now starting to fade. I can talk about it rationally now and try to analyze what happened. The bottom line is that we still have a lot of work to do but we are committed to it; I do believe that my wife loves me and that she ended it because she did not want our marriage to fall apart. It almost did anyway but I see hope on the horizon. We are moving to a new city and starting our life together over. We renewed our wedding vows about 6 weeks after Dday and we now consider that our beginning, not the old annivesary and vows that got broken. Hang in there if you are still in the early days. You may not think so, but it does get better.

    • BBB

      It’s been 4 months since D-Day of the EA, the confession of the 6 year ago PA with the same woman, and the news of the daughter he possibly fathered. The wounds are healing and the good days are finally starting to out number the bad days (thank you God!). I am thankfully able to focus on my job again and am finding pleasure in the quality of the work that I am producing (because for the first 3 months “it” was all I could think of).

      In the beginning my husband wasn’t sure if he wanted to end the EA with “Jezebel” and was in such a fog that he believed that he may love her. She was perfect. I however, was devastated. In the end, he made the right decision, which was to end the EA and begin to focus on us.

      He didn’t end the EA cold turkey because he thought he could handle his feelings well enough to continue to communicate with her in hopes to pursued her into telling her H about the PA 6 years ago so that they could get a paternity test for the little girl. Well as the deadline he gave her started approaching, she began to show her true colors. She started showing him how manipulative and vengeful she really was… For that, I am thankful. It has certainly helped him (in my opinion) to get out of the fog much quicker.

      In the last month, I have been in a much better place and I really think that it has made all of the difference in the world. I realized the more I obsessed over them and the affair, the worse I felt. When I started to force my mind in a different direction, my mood started to change. My husband even started to notice and things have improved with his attraction to me. I can even laugh again! 🙂 I thank God every day for standing in there with me as I have traveled this journey.

      My husband and I have been together for 16 years. I love him very much. Even though the EA and PA have stolen something very special from us, I finally have hope that our relationship will survive and it will be stronger and better in the end.

      Today we leave out for a beach vacation, just the two of us (my mom has the 3 kiddos). This will be our first solo get-away – EVER! I’m so excited!!! When we get back, he will be going to court to force the paternity test on the baby… One day at a time, one day at a time…

    • Greg

      Nicely timed post for me. I’m in the process of trying to trust again. I’ve stopped looking at her web browsing history and cell phone logs, mostly. I’m trusting her to tell him to stop trying to email her completely once he gets back to work from vacation. That being said yesterday I was sorely tested on my trust level. My wife called to ask if my parents could take the kids for a weekend in May so she could go to Las Vegas for a friends 40th birthday party. I don’t actually have an issue with her going to Vegas, it’s more of the friends she is going with. The birthday girl had a PA as revenge for her husband having one early on in their marriage and the other friend is unhappy in her marriage and constantly dreams of an old boyfriend. When asked what show she wanted to see when out there she suggested any of the Cirque shows or Jersey Boys, it wasn’t until later that she thought maybe the birthday girl meant Chipindales or the like. We’ll just have to see what it ends up being. Weird thing is I know mentally that she wont’ do anything but emotionally I keep thinking up stupid ideas that her friends will egg her on to something dumb. Very frustrating!

    • Tim


      Agree with the others who have commented. Nobody can understand what you feel but you. If you had asked me before I found out about my wife’s EA I would have laughed in your face if you suggested I stay with her. No way, no how. But when it happens to you things change. You cannot know what is right for you until it happens, and no one else can know what you believe is right for you in your heart. Follow it and good luck.


      Doug, regarding your questions (D-day was 14 months ago. H had EM with someone he works with – still works with):

      Have you been taking care of yourself and getting stronger? How are you doing it? Yes, physically, I/we joined a gym and feeling better about myself. Mentally, I/we are getting counseling, and making progress. Still struggle with triggers daily.

      Do you see positive changes in your spouse and his/her actions? Describe them. Yes, he is really trying. Arranged for us to renew our vows. We spend more time together, mostly arranged by him. He also arranged a trip for us to go to Italy.

      Are you communicating better? How? For the most part, we are. I still struggle with letting my guard down (fear of getting hurt, mostly on days when I have my set backs). I would like to communicate more about the dynamics of the affair, to get a better understanding, but affraid to broach the subject because it would heighten emotions.

      Do you seem to be reconnecting with your spouse? Yes, in more ways than one. Interesting enough, when the 3rd person is out, one can really focus on the marriage. My H when involved with the OW, was very much disconnected, and did not engage in our marriage, and he sees that now.

      Have the triggers and obsessive thoughts diminished? Why? No, I am still plagued with them, some days more than others. I have to do a lot of self talking. Linda, how did you do it?

      Good luck to all of you out there! It is tough! Hang in there! I know that one day, it will get better.

    • JES

      Nearly 10 months ago I discovered my husband had been having online affairs with a number of other women for a period of 4 years, with one woman in particular. This started with an online virtual community (SL) and progressed to hundreds of emails with hidden email accounts. Needless to say I was shocked, horrified, and felt as if the world as I knew it no longer existed. What I had taken to be a concrete reality, was completely blown apart.

      I had heard that couples who survive an affair go on to have even more fulfilling relationships. Prior to my discovery, this sounded like something that was hopeful but complete BS. How on earth could that be possibly after being betrayed so badly? Having now transversed these waters personally, I am a firm believer.

      My husband was dealing with a sex/love addiction. Something that had its roots in traumatic childhood events, it’s effects deeply hidden, but always lurking in the dark. Something that had absolutely nothing to do with me. Even though his actions were devastating to me, when he was consumed in his fantasy world, he sincerely never believed for a moment his actions could be so hurtful to me and damaging to our relationship. His denial ran so deeply, he had completely deceived himself. He had also been unconsciously torturing himself, as sex/love addiction is not about sex or true love – it’s about isolation. An maladaptive subconsciously conceived coping mechanism – much like being addicted to alcohol or drugs with the same neurobiological underpinnings.

      Upon my discovery of what had been going on, he felt as if he was given a new lens to be able to see the truth of his action. For someone who usually held such high moral standards, he was consumed with guild and shame to see the reality of what had occurred. What he had convinced himself as being pure fantasy, was in fact something very real , with real people – creating devastation down to our very core.

      Recovery? Yes, there has been amazing recovery, but far from an easy journey. I liken it to an earthquake – initially there’s a huge explosion, with after shocks that you never know when or where they’re going to come from, gradually diminishing in frequency and intensity. Triggers were everywhere and in the most unlikely places. There is no doubt in my mind that I have been dealing with PTSD.

      It’s been 10 months and we are just now finally feeling our feet firmly on the ground, with a relationship that is so much more intimate and loving than ever before. He has become everything I could ever want in a husband. To his credit, since discovery, he has owned his actions 100% and never blamed me. Our conversations have been filled with compassion and genuine empathy, with the goal of being able to express any concerns, upset or hurt, and being able to come out the other side feeling that much closer. It really has been an amazing process.

      For me personally what has helped, in addition to reading endless articles, books, finding websites, etc to gain an understanding as to why this happened, has been a number of things:

      1. Working with an EMDR therapist – a therapeutic process enabling your rational brain to speak to your emotional brain and cause any upset and anxiety to subside. Also exceptionally helpful in discovering any past issues/trauma that have contributed to my reaction to the affairs.

      2. Journal writing.

      3. Sandtray work – a process that allows you to externalize what you are feeling/experiencing from a more objective view point.

      4. Mort Fertel’s “Marriage Fitness Bootcamp” – which we are only in the second section.

      5. Joining a group for partners of sex addicts.

      6. Allowing myself LOTS of time and space for healing – doing pampering things, not pressuring myself with having to do anything other than what’s absolutely necessary.

      7. Removing “Net Nanny” from his computer and giving him back his iPad (which he had been using for emails – even on our vacations!) When the affairs were disclosed, he felt as if a huge weight had been lifted from his shoulders. For me it had been like a bomb had exploded my world, leaving me thinking “what the f**k am I supposed to do with this?!!?” By doing those two things, it felt as if I had returned the weight back to him, where it rightfully belonged. It was not my burden to carry. His recovery could only truly be done by him, as my recovery could only truly be done by me. It was incredibly freeing.

      I never thought I’d be uttering these words, but having gone through this process, I feel blessed with the deep joy, intimacy, peace and unconditional love we now feel.

      • Lynne


        Looking at the comments from JES made me wonder if you have ever done a post on the journey/results of CSs that have dug deep (and in most cases, into their pasts) to learn the “why” of their choice to turn to an EA/PA. It seems that the majority of us BSs want to understand what it was that sent them down this path–and that while it is sometimes unmet needs within the relationship, it can also be deep wounds from the past that are deeply buried and unresolved. and that have reared their ugly heads in destructive ways.

        You, poppet and simple fool are such wonderful examples of people who have looked for answers that go beyond blaming their spouses, and have been willing to do the hard work of being truly introspective.

        It just seems that there might be some good info out there to guide CSs in this direction….and more CS stories where they’ve done this and can give us BSs some hope, as well as what kind of positive support we might offer them in this difficult process.

        I got a little bit weepy as I read the above from SF and poppet–I so wish that my H was willing to open himself up to this kind of vulnerability and authenticity–I can easily see the things from his past that have caused him to behave the way he does, I just wish he could, too!

      • stillbroken

        JES, i like your words..

        ‘Something that had absolutely nothing to do with me’
        Its true, my husband affair resulted from his own weaknesses as i do nothing wrong as a wife, and he knows that.. he never once blamed me.. We do have problems in our sexlife but the problem is mutual to both of us, if i can stay faithful to him despite that problem, why cant he.. its his own weaknesses..

        ‘By doing those two things, it felt as if I had returned the weight back to him, where it rightfully belonged. It was not my burden to carry. His recovery could only truly be done by him, as my recovery could only truly be done by me. It was incredibly freeing.’
        Same with you, my husband is in his lowest level ever in his life right now since his affair, consumed with guilt and shame, he feels worthless as human being and as a husband.. and i refused to carry that burden.. i leave him to recover by himself because i have myself to take care of right now since he’s the one who made all these huge damages..

        Thanks for your words

    • JES


      Sometimes there is a fine line between an out right EA/PS and an addiction. The main defining feature would be an inability to stop one’s actions in spite of the consequences, creating an ultimate feeling of isolation instead of perceived pleasure. People who suffer from sex/love addictions virtually always factors from their childhood that have literally caused their brain to have a disconnect between impulse/pleasure seeking and understanding the reifications of one’s actions. And yes, it IS possible for a new connection to be forged. Learning true empathy for one’s BS is a vital component.

      I believe the disconnect occurs as an instinctive survival coping mechanism in order to make sense out of things that don’t make sense as a child. Typical events in childhood are: an extremely restrictive environment (often correlated to strict religious beliefs), denial and rigid restriction of emotional expression, parent abandonment (either physical or psychological), sexual/physical abuse, Sometimes the EA/PA is an unconscious form of re-enacting a previous event either to get a resolution that is satisfactory to our psyche (which usually it doesn’t get there), a mis-perceived sense of power over a previous traumatic situation, etc, all referred to as “acting out.”

      As with all addictions, the first step to recovery is an acknowledgement of one’s action and taking full accountability. The next step is being willing to do something about it i.e.: therapy, a support group such as a 12 step program, etc.

    • Joe

      Well, another set back. I think my friends are correct. Just as I was believing they were winding down, I drove past them in his car driving from his neighborhood, during the work day. She saw me, so I sent a text saying I hope she didn’t feel weird, but she won’t respond. I guess we should postpone any time away for now.

      • Greg

        Joe ,
        It may just be time to set some boundaries with her. Since she has already moved out I would let her know that you are cutting all contact between her and yourself and your daughter. Right now it seems that she is not having any consiquences for her actions. If you are unwilling to cut contact you might try letting friends and family know what she is doing, basically outing her to those whose opinion she values. It is a pretty drastic measure and may result in a divorce, you’ll have to decide for yourself what would work best in your situation.

    • Jackie

      3 years since D-Day. This has been and continues to be a very long journey. Through the pain the EA has caused me, I have learned to look at my greatest fears, pains, and sorrows, and still be okay with who I am, and who I want to be. I have grown and changed as I never wanted or imagined I’d grow.

      When my wedding vows said for “better or for worst”, I never imagined this would be the worst, the most challenging so far. And still I continue to learn, grow, understand, and love both my H and myself.

      There was a time I believed that my H was committed, loving and caring…and somewhere, somehow, it has been lost or gone missing over the years. I wonder if my H will ever come around again and be a truly committed, loving, and caring partner. Sometimes I wonder if he is just pretending and it is possibly over.

      All this, for something even he admits was a fantasy. It still doesn’t make much sense, and yet it really doesn’t matter either. What matters is where we go from here. Where do we want to be? How do we get there? And the biggest question, how do I get him to be willing to talk about any of this? About us?

      Some days things feel so good. But sometimes he seems so lost and disconnected, I wonder if he will ever come out of his dark days. Other days feel as if we are right back where we were a couple of years ago. And still he refuses to get help, and insists on doing it his own way. Sigh! 🙁

      So much is dependent on where H head is at and whether he takes the time and energy to look deeply into himself, instead of running and escaping from those parts of himself that he has feared and denied for years.

      In the mean time, l love my children and enjoy their company. I invite my H to be part of my life once again. I grow, explore, and become the best me I can be. So I can be proud of me, with or without him. So I can say proudly I gave my best to my H and this marriage, whether it works or not.

      I thank all of those who have contributed to this community. All the support so many have given here so that we may all grow and learn together. This is quite a wonderful community that has helped me immensely.

    • Jackie

      Oops! I guess I shouldn’t have posted my note above in this blog, since this was supposed to be for recovery successes, and I can’t say we are successful yet. All I can say is things are better than they were that first year. I believe the EA is over, but H is still going through what I believe is his midlife crisis, obsession, depression, or whatever all this moodiness is all about. Maybe it is about reflection about himself. That would be good.

    • rachel

      I post on any blog subject. Sometimes I just need answers and everyone here is kind enough to give much needed help to me.
      My husband is also going through a midlife crisis as well. Started with a surgery, distance, EA, now a total question as to which direction he is going in. He’s nostalgic, loved his youth. Hooked up with his ex girlfriend from 30 years ago. His soulmate. Unfortunately when you turn 50 there is no turning back. I feel just accept it. We all get old! And why can’t his therapist tell him this?
      Anyways if you have any books, blogs, or just information about midlife crisis in men, I would truly appreciate it.

      • Jackie

        My H sounds a lot like yours…I’ll add that mine is extremely stubborn to my and his detriment. I was in someway lucky that my H EA didn’t go anywhere because the OW didn’t want to have an affair. But this has also caused my H to obsesses and fantasize about what could have been, which makes his getting over the EA nearly impossible, since it never really ends. It keeps going on and on in his head.

        You posted above that your H wants to move out and you don’t want him to. I felt the same way. In my case, H didn’t move out, though he threatened to many times. It was very hard on me and somewhat hurtful for the kids to watch their dad act like an irritable, irrational, selfish, teenager. I think now the kids just don’t trust Dad as they used to. They are somewhat wary and afraid of his unpredictability and so don’t really confide in him as they may have done before. But in my case, I believe having H stay was the right thing for me and the kids at the time. If H had moved out, there would have been a whole different set of issues to deal with such as trust, dependability, abandonment, etc… There is no right or wrong answer…just what is right for you.

        If he stays though, be sure to have clear boundaries on what you will and will not accept. You and your child must be treated respectfully. This was the one area I wished I had handled better. But in retrospect, the times I wished I had handled better, were ones that I was in so much shock at what my H said or did, I simply didn’t know how to react. It was like a deer in a headlight syndrome…I just froze. Like many here, my H was acting so out of character, I just didn’t know what to expect next. Before the EA, H was such a honorable, honest, loving, and caring person.

        I’ve read numerous books on midlife crisis, these were the better ones:

        Surviving Male Menopause Jed Diamond
        Very good book filled with common sense and reads easily and understandably. good for both men and women.

        Mr. Mean By Jed Diamond
        Nice book for women. Lots of understanding and what women need to do during this time in a man’s life.

        How to Survive your husband’s midlife crisis by Gay Courter and Pat Gaudette
        Good but somewhat depressing learning what some husbands have done to their wives and family. Sections on how to survive are good.

        Understanding Men’s Passages by Gail Sheehy . This is an excellent book on Mid life crisis and what men can do to prevent it as well as understand it. Funny though, my H bought this book before his EA, but didn’t read it until well after the EA occurred.

        I really found this one helpful also:

        The Divorce Remedy by Michele Weiner Davis Author of a best seller “Divorce Busting”. I liked this book very much because it addressed the issue of what a betrayed spouse can do, even if spouse doesn’t seem ready to work on repairing the marriage. Great sections on depression and midlife crisis in back which I found described exactly what I feel is happening to my H and me.

        I hope these help you as much as they helped me to understand what has been happening and what to do about it.

        I find looking at this event as a journey, an opportunity to learn through hard times. Because it is through the hard times that we grow and learn the most about who we are and who we want to be. And on this journey with you are all those who contribute to this blog, reaching out and connecting to friends on the same journey with them. 🙂

        • rachel

          Jackie, My husband claims his EA didn’t go anywhere either just 4 nice lunches (barf). My son (19) told him yesterday dad, who is really happy?? You think that you’ll be happy if you move out, but will you really? Do you think that you’ll really find love? ( he’s studing physocology in college) Ya, we think too that my husbands fantacy is still going on his head too about how wonderful the OW is. My kids feel that same way as yours do. My son just said tonight he’s 50 acting like he’s 20. My husband said tonight that he should have left 20 years ago. Before it was 10 than 15 now 20. My son said don’t listen to his numbers, it isn’t him talking. He has become a different person after his EA just what you said.
          Thank you so much for the book recommendations.
          Jackie, You seem so strong. Josh if only I could have a portion of your strenght. I cry so often. Not for me, but what has happened to our family. My kids are so confused/ hurt. They too are suffering which is the hardest to accept. Thank you, again! Take care.

          • Jackie

            Since your sons seem to know what is going on with their father, you might as well use this as a teaching/learning opportunity for your older kids. That is what author Shirley P. Glass (Not Just Friends) did with her children. I personally would like to have done that with my kids, but I know my H would have taken it as a major betrayal to reveal any weakness he had. So I keep my mouth shut.

            I don’t have problems talking about my weaknesses and failures with my kids. It just shows that everyone is human and we all have faults. I hope it teaches the kids to learn to forgive themselves when they fail, and help them learn from their mistakes.

            Love and Limerence by Dorothy Tennov. Is an excellent book which talks about obsessive love feelings of Limerence. It also talks about how one in limerence can help stop the additive behavior. Unfortunately, it does not tell the BS how she can stop her CS who is in limerence

            The book basically says that mother nature’s way to get us to procreate, creates the drug like high that one gets when they “falls in love” or “limerance”. It usually last about two years, enough time for a baby to be born and survive without the father. It is that addictive type of love obsession that many people get when they fall in love. It can last longer if that love is unrequited, unfortunately for me.

            I have learned so much about love in all this craziness, that it has become very helpful when my teen aged daughter needed love/relationship advice.

            Don’t feel bad about feeling weak and crying a lot. I did lots of that the first year, and it has become less and less over the years. Now l’m just tired and frustrated that my H refuses to do what it takes to get his act together. He still sometimes ask if he should leave, because he thinks I would be happier without him. All I want is for H to work on the marriage with me, and STOP running away from difficult emotional situations.

            I try to be patience since my H has gone through so much during the last three years in addition to the EA, and I realize that H history shows a pattern of escape through addictions, when dealing with emotional issues.

            Unlike my H, and because I have been through so much since childhood, I realize that keeping a strong sense of reality, facing and feeling the hurt and pain is the fastest way to recovery. My H calls me resilient. It is probably is true, because I had to survive a very difficult childhood. I have a lot of coping mechanisms developed throughout the years. Some are better than others.

            Crying is a good way to release your frustrations and feelings. As long as it doesn’t get out of control or overwhelm you, crying is a very healthy thing to do at time like this.

            Exercise, has been a life saver for me. It helps me when I feel overwhelmed and overly emotional. Not to mention that it also keeps me feeling good and fit, which makes me feel good about myself both mentally and physically.

            By the way, you son is right. Don’t listen to your H crazy talk these days. He is a bit irrational and doesn’t really know what he is thinking or talking about. H mind is in the fog and very muddled right now. Try not to think so much about what your H is doing or saying. Take care of you.

            The hardest part for me was sorting out what made sense with what didn’t make sense. Don’t question your judgement. These days, you are the rational adult in the family.

            • rachel

              Jackie,I had to laugh at I am the rational adult in the family. Not feeling rational at all. I’m so confused as to what he is doing or I should say not doing.
              Last Thursday he said that he was moving out on Saturday. Well, he’s still here. He doesn’t want to work on us because his therapist said that he’s ambivilant. So he doesn’t know what he is doing because if he does work on us and doesn’t have any feelings for me this will hurt me again and he doesn’t want to keep hurting me. I told him that he couldn’t quite possibly hurt me anymore. He’s been miserable for 20 years and doesn’t think he wants to go back to that life. He also doesn’t want to work on us because I have anger about what he has done. When he told me that he was in love with the ow and they are going to be together I packed his things and smashed his windshield. He doesn’t get the hurt that he has caused me and this family. In june it will be one year. He said to me that he wants to fall in love with someone else. Right then and there I knew he had someone else and he lied to me and said that he didn’t until Nov. when the nightmare began.

            • Jackie

              Do you ever feel as if you’ve entered the twilight zone? Yes, my H was also ambivalent for quite some time also. Even though he stayed home, he was not emotionally present the first 6 months. Then after that, he would go back and forth between connecting, ambivalence, and apathy. This could switch from minute to minute, hour to hour, or day to day. Completely unpredictable. I was certain he was mentally ill. Today, I still wonder if he is. The mood swings are just less variable today.

              The 20 years of unhappiness your H mentions, seems to vary with the wind (5 years, 10 years. Whatever works for a good sounding argument.) This is what he is feeling right now…not necessarily the truth. It is his truth today, as he believes it. Tomorrow he will probably have a different version. He is in the confusion of the fog.

              Often CS will rewrite history and say they haven’t been happy for a long time. But as a BS, during all that time, H has never mentioned being unhappy. Granted I did feel H was slowly distancing himself from me and the kids. I thought it was his work, and I knew midlife issues had been bothering him, like aches and pains, not being as strong or fast, aging issues in general, feelings of obsolescence, peaking in his career. Since he didn’t talk too much about them with me, I thought he was handling it fine.

              I get the feeling that your H is kind of depressed also. He wants that high feeling of being in love. It makes him feel like he did in his youth…strong, virile, desired.

              I think it was the Sheehy book that said, “Men often have affairs because they are afraid of dying.” I have no doubt all this crisis is based on H deeper fears. Fear of getting old, dying, becoming obsolete, not needed or desired. It is his reluctance to grow and accept changes, remake himself, finding new meaning to life, creating purpose in his life. He never thought much about his intentions in life, goals, purpose…H went through life without much thought, just following what came along. I suspect many CS aren’t clear about what it is that is important to them in life, aren’t deep thinkers about what they want in marriage, don’t communicate their important needs to their spouse, nor are they clearly aware of these needs. If they were, they would have made an effort to let the spouse know they were unhappy in the marriage in the first place.

              In the fog, CS become so narcissistic, that they seem to have difficulty having any empathy for anyone except their self. My H proclaimed he was the victim in all this, and I still don’t know why he said this. CS become protective about their AP, but only if it serves the CS needs. I guess it is that way in any relationship early on. Humans are selfish creatures by nature, and it takes conscious thought to overcome our selfishness and strive for the good of the relationship and those involved in the relationship.

              Ignore most of what your H says in the fog, especially if it is blaming you. Don’t accept the blame that isn’t yours. Weigh the accusations fairly, and throw them out if they simply don’t make sense. I found it useless arguing with H in his fog state. He was too irrational and it always made the situation worst. Try hard not to argue, blame or shame one another. Take the understanding approach.

            • rachel

              Jackie, I feel like I’m in a really bad dream that I can’t wake up from. You know the affair was bad enough. I agreed to stop obsessing about it and try to move on in our marriage. Then he turns around and says that he can’t work on our marriage because if it doens’t work and he can’t get the feelings back this will hurt me even more and he hates to see me hurt???
              I 100% feel that my H is mentally ill! My kids think so to because we don’t understand why can’t he just try. Just try and see what happens. He’s always so negative when it comes to us.
              He had surgery in 2010 and all of our friends said that it changed him.
              You are the 6th person that has said that my H is depressed. Last week he said that he would go on meds. Hasn’t called his dr. yet and won’t. So strange he really seemed to want to do it. Then as the days go by it’s a done idea.
              This is his text today, I suggested the trial separation to have us some physical space. I really don’t think u could handle another disappointment if we tried and it didn’t work out. I never ever put myself first, so u can’t say that I’m a selfish person. Life is too short to go thru it unhappy, I just need to figure out what I need to do.
              Ok so what do you make of that? I see it as he won’t try and wants out. He’s just buying time. I like things fixed and moving on. How could you deal with this ambivalent for 6 months?? I sometimes feel like I’m having a breakdown. I can’t believe that I’m living this life.

            • Jackie

              I may be wrong but, this is how I interpret it:

              “I really don’t think u could handle another disappointment if we tried and it didn’t work out.” Means H doesn’t really want to hurting you, but also is so unhappy he doesn’t know what to do. My H kept saying, ” I just can’t manufacture feeling for you. I can’t just will my love for you to come back.” His feeling for the OW are like an obsession and cocaine high. There is no way you can compete with that drug, so don’t try. Until he gets off this drug, he will likely have little feelings or care for you or the kids. Sorry to say this. (That is why support for you is so important right now, because H is only looking after himself. He may mechanically take care of things like work, and bringing home the paycheck, but don’t expect any help, physically or emotionally.) H is very confused now. His old values conflict with this new self. He doesn’t know which is right, yet something feels wrong.

              “I never ever put myself first, so u can’t say that I’m a selfish person.” Means I have been doing the right things for years and now I am unhappy. It is all your fault. (cause it can’t be H fault. He can’t face that the problem might be himself). I deserve to be happy, so I am finally going to find my happiness. Since being in love make me feel so good, I want to be in love again.

              “Life is too short to go thru it unhappy, I just need to figure out what I need to do.” Means I have been very unhappy lately, and the affair made me feel alive again. It feels so good to be alive, therefore the affair must be the solution to all my problems. So what if I hurt all the people who I once cared about, they aren’t making me feel good or alive, like the affair does.

              A separation is not necessarily a bad idea. H is so confused, being away may help him to think more clearly without any influence from you.

              I think just looking at me, or seeing me sad or silent, made H feel guilty. Which made him feel bad about himself…making him angry at me…making him hate me for making him feel bad. Get it? It is a viscous cycle of self hate, blame, anger, persecution, etc…

            • Carol

              Hi, Rachel — sorry to hear he’s still acting erratically. Re: his text — tell him you can handle anything he can throw at you, thanks very much! Seriously: the text seems a little condescending to me. And yes, very ambivalent. Tell him that you can take care of yourself and your own ‘disappointment’ (that seems a very weak word for talking about the dissolution of one’s own marriage — an odd word for him to use). Tell him that of course he can figure out what he needs to do. And that YOU will be doing the same! He should NOT assume he can just waltz back into your life if he decides marriage with you is what he wants. Let him know that you too will be deciding whether YOU want to be with HIM, given the way he’s acted. Stay strong, Rachel. You WILL be okay either way.

            • Carol

              Hi, Rachel — one more note: your H seems like classic mid-life crisis material. In that case, the best thing you can do is to detach. What I mean is that the more eager you seem to work on the marriage, the more you seem to need him or want him, the more he will pull away. Taking care of yourself and showing him that you will be okay even if living independently from him is the best thing to do, for YOU. There’s a link I will try to post here about how to respond to your spouse’s mid-life crisis that might be helpful to you: It contained some advice I found really helpful. Good luck to you!

            • Jackie

              Thanks carol. I found that link very good and helpful also. There is a lot of good articles on Midlife crisis that were very good. It seems my H has every symptom and problem on the article,”What is a Midlife Crisis?” No wonder I’m in it for the long haul.

              Things are better after 3 years, but still go back and forth dependent on H moods. In a midlife crisis, an affair seems to be just one of the symptoms of the deeper “what is life?” question.

              I love this site, and all the sharing that goes on. It is soooo healing and helpful! 🙂

            • rachel

              Jackie and Carol,
              Thank you so much for the advise and the site. I do take time for myself and our friends and it just doesn’t seem to bother him. Although the group got together on Sat. evening and he wasn’t invited. He did ask the next day how it was and I answered GREAT! I feel like such a misfit in this group my three other friends have great husbands. Feeling sorry for myself today. Sorry. Our son isn’t going to home until later tonight so wouldn’t you think that my H could come home and we could talk or meet for drinks?? Well, of couse not he’s going to visit his parents. But I’m NOT going to say a word about it!!! Yes, that’s what I learned on that site. Detach, right Carol! I also called a local art studio to take a pottery class. I just hope they have openings.
              Next week it will be 5 months from d-day. I really thought that we would be well into healing and working by now. I’m just discouraged. It seems that this is his problem with the E/A and now he’s made it into mine. Thany you again!

            • rachel

              I forgot to ask. Do they come out of this mid-life crisis, like coming out of the fog? I feel I have little control and he is in the drivers seat because I’m willing to work on our marriage even though he had the E/A.

    • Working

      I’m not sure if this is the right place to post this. This site has been an enormous help to me since learning of my wife’s EA with a coworker two weeks ago (after 9 yrs of marriage). A few days after my learning, she asked that we separate, and I told her I would stay in the house with our 2 yr old and she should be the one to move out. Like most other BS’s here I am willing to work through anything to restore our marriage. She is full on in pursuit of her AP, completely in the fog. It’s worth noting that we both are Christians.

      I could really use some perspective. My W is struggling with extreme sadness and frustration because she misses our 2 yr old so much. We agreed that our child would sleep over with her a couple nights a week where she is currently staying, but our 2 yr old is not comfortable staying away from his home those nights. So they aren’t having real quality time together. My W is about to start staying with a different married couple who I respect and I believe will be a good influence for her, the woman is her friend, a Christian, and has experience counseling women. This woman that she will be staying with thinks that it would be good for the situation if I let my W have our house to herself with our 2 yr old two days a week so that they could have quality time together in a comfortable environment and allow for my W to have some peace regarding needing to connect with our child.

      I’m thinking this could be a productive new phase in this nightmare where my W is living with someone that provides good counsel (she’s been previously been talking to people who feed her the “you deserve to be happy” type of stuff) and pairing that with giving my W more mental clarity as a result of softening her sadness/frustration about quality time with our child. On the flip side, this seems to go against things I’ve learned here about not making the CS feel more comfortable as they are actively choosing to pursue the EA. Any thoughts would be appreciated. I feel that this may be different than letting my W have her cake and eat it too because her mothering instinct is very strong, and I suspect that she’s in a stagnant mental state where she’s making no progress in either direction due to missing our 2 yr old so much. Sorry about the essay…

      • Greg

        I am of the opinion that she should not get the comfort of getting the house those two days a week. She is the one who chose to have the EA, chose to seperate, and is choosing to persue the AP, why should she not feel the full effect of her choices. I do realise that I can be a cold hearted bastard at times and pretty vengeful but this is my opinion on it. Hopefully it will help her realise what she is trying to throw away quicker. Alternatively you could agree to it with strings attached, either that she get herself into counseling and/or go full no contact with the AP.

        • Notoverit

          I have to agree with the “why make her” more comfortable? I know you are thinking of your son but your W needs to see the effect of her affair and its continuation. There are ramifications to all choices we make, including hurting others like you and your child. I would not let her have the house for those two days so that she can be comfortable. I know you want your son to feel secure but you must stand firm on this – you provide the necessary feelings of security for him. Your wife chose to pursue her AP and this is a result.

          Until your wife faces her actions and realizes that she is in a “fog” you need to take care of you and your child. I don’t think that would include making her have a good time with the very thing she left – her son. And for all of those who say it isn’t fair to the son, I can see your point. BUT it might wake her out of the fog sooner and make her willing to work on the relationship. Just take care of you and your son in the best way you feel. Do it because it is best for both of you and certainly NOT FOR HER.

      • Jackie

        I totally agree with Greg. I like the strings attached idea also.
        She needs to understand what a separation means, and feel the destructive powers of what an affair is causing. She has the choice to stay and work things out. Let your two year old have to ask Mommy, “Why can’t you come home and live with Daddy and me?”

        Her baby will speak the honest truth that will go straight to her heart, forcing her to ask herself, “Why am I doing this? Why am I hurting my family that I care about?”

        Until she decides to stop this madness, little you say or do will stop her. She needs to feel and see the damage she is doing.

        • Greg

          Thank you for your agreement but I will disagree on one point. Absolutely do not involve your child in your and your wife’s problems. It is not a child’s responsibility to fix their parents and the should never have to be burdened with that. All they need is to know that both parents love them. If they ask on their own about it then you give them as much of an honest answer as they can understand and handle but never use them as the middle man. Sorry Jackie it’s a sensitive subject for me as we’ve watched the oldest daughter of one of our friends get stuck in the middle of a bad divorce and seen how she has been affected by this, I wouldn’t wish that on any child

          • Jackie

            Thank you Greg for clarifying. I guess I worded it badly. I didn’t mean to have your child get involved to help you fix this. I agree, it is not the children’s job to fix the adult problems between the two parents. And definitely at 2 years old son’s, he should only be told enough that he doesn’t worry about either of you. All the child needs, is to know that both of you love him and will be there for him.

            You should neither protect your wife from your child’s natural questions, nor should you ask your child to say or not say anything in particular to your wife, that he would not say ordinarily on his own. You child needs to be allowed to be himself.

            When I said, “Let your two year old have to ask Mommy, “Why can’t you come home and live with Daddy and me?”” I meant, that children naturally ask the obvious. And if he does, that it might help awaken your wife. But don’t ever ask him to ask questions for you. That could be damaging and manipulative as well as improper.

            Children should never be asked to take sides. And unless they have seen or head about the affair directly, I would never even mention this as the problem that is happening. It is bad enough for the children to see their parents acting so strangely confusing…moving out, raising voices, snide remarks, and generally poor behaviors, setting bad examples.

            I do believe in telling the children the truth if they ask directly though, but only to the degree necessary. Luckily, I was never asked if Daddy was having an affair. And if I was asked, because it was a EA, I probably would have said, “Something is going on, but I’m not quite sure what it is.” Which would have been the truth, because he has kept me mostly in the dark about what has happened.

            Even when my teenage daughter asked me, “What is going on with Daddy?” I replied that he was going through what I thought was a mid life crisis…that he was questioning his life and was a little confused right now.

            Of course the next question was, “When will he get over it?”
            All I could answer was, “I’m not sure. It could take a while.” I also assured her that I would try to answer her as truthful as I possible could.

            No matter what you do or don’t do though…all of this does affect the children. Children can sense something isn’t right.

    • cal

      I feel successful because I now have the language to communicate with him when I feel bad, and how to ask for his help when there is something I need from him. I feel so much mire secure than I used to when I first found out and we separated. I really feel he loves me and is committed to me, even if I don’t understand his quick turnaround after I discovered the EA. (If all he really wanted was me, he only had to say so rather than looking elsewhere. Sigh.)

      I am getting better at forgiving the past and trusting the future, and at dealing with the fact that I can’t really control his actions, only mine. I am very glad for this site and the perspectives offered here.

    • Joe

      I think any place to post is a good post. Sorry to hear another H is in this terrible boat. I am so thankful we have this site.
      We attempted a nesting situation for our child. So we wouldn’t have to disrupt her life during our initial experiment with separation, I arranged an apartment that one of us went to while the other stayed at the house. In theory it worked, except my wife decided to stay at her EA house on her nights at the apartment. Should have seen that one coming, but thought they had ended their affair. I did research the nesting topic though and still believe in it. I would even continue it knowing she was staying her nights at his house. I just like it as a temporary(2-3mos) tool during the process of separation.

      The W and EA are going to do their thing either way. I would put child’s comfort way ahead of the opportunity you think you may be providing or disrupting on their part. My W has had the freedom to do her own thing for 3 mos now and she still deceives and conceals her relationship with him. They like the sneaking, making it easy for them will only kill their joy. From my perspective, they will not see the effects of their affair, no matter how much pain and discomfort you try to direct to them. They will only feel those effects when their affair ends and that will happen sooner than later if it gets too easy. (at least that is what I am counting on.)

    • Joe

      The ‘Fog’.
      Again in this recent thread we talk about the fog. I am very interested in this state of mind. My wife is clearly in some kind of fog as she continues her lying and odd behavior. She also has moments of clarity and is very articulate in her justifications. I see the guilt and denial in her face, voice and words, but I can’t determine the severity, nor longevity of the fog. Is this a temporary thing or has she conditioned her mind to accept this situation forever?

      I would love to hear if there were previous threads of people who have been in the fog, or any better descriptions of just how delusional the fog is.

      • Jackie

        There have been a couple of previous threads of CS who have been in the fog. Unfortunately, I can’t recall what the topic was. Hopefully, someone here can remember.

        I remember a couple of CS talk about the fog as being “euphoric”.

        I believe it was within the last few months.

    • csb

      It’s almost six months since D-Day (H had 1 1/2 yr EA with old GF).To those of you who do have success stories, I’d like to know something about how you felt at around 6 months….

      Did you have a deep feeling of apathy? I’m beginning to worry that even though my CS and I have committed to saving our marriage, I just feel like I’m going through the motions, and that’s not enough to reclaim our marriage.

      We are simply “partners”…doing household tasks, going out to dinner, talking about our days. There is no real sense of intimacy or a connection.

      I must say, I’m so much better than I was in the beginning, I’ve realized I can and will survive this, but I’m scared that I’m fooling myself into believing my life will be fulfilled if we stay together. I guess it comes down to “is this all there is and all there will ever be?”

      • Healing Mark

        Csb. Felt very much like you are feeling right now at about 6 months after my D-day. Not all the time, but certainly some of the time. The way you feel right now in your marriage may be all that it may ever be. But then again, it might not and doesn’t have to. Hang in there and see how it plays out. But by all means communicate your needs, desires, likes, dislikes to your partner, and ask that the same be communicated to you. You each presumably want to be happily married, so find those things that it takes for you to each feel this way and embrace them.

      • Greg

        Like Mark said, you seem to be where I was at six months, it was only three months ago for me maybe even a little further ahead. I’m still going through the motions of our daily lives but it is getting gradually better. Therapy is helping a lot, we just had our third session last night and I had a bit of an epiphany early this morning. I’ve come to the conclusion that I am over her EA and I’m ok with how ever this works out. Obviously I want us to have a happy marriage and long life together but I’ve decided that whatever happens I am good with it. I’m done with worrying where everthing is going and I am going to do my best to fix our problems. If it works out, great, if it doesn’t, its also great, it just means it wasn’t meant to be. Really feel a lot better this morning than I have in a long time. 🙂

    • csb

      Thanks Mark & Greg! It’s funny, if you had told me I’d even be at this point 6 months ago, I would have thought it would be a blessing – anything better than where I was. I should be thankful that we are even still together, and I’m not lying on the floor sobbing.

      I have always been a people pleaser, putting my opinion, wants, etc. to the side for others. I have alway been the “fixer” of problems. I think I’m so worried about this feeling of apathy because I worry I’m sabatoging our healing by not being able to “fix” myself and have a more “involved” attitude. I truly want to feel more.

    • Working

      Thanks very much to all for sharing your thoughts. I’m still not sure what I’ll do, but I will continue to think about it.

      Two recent experiences with my W have really confused me. Late last week on my W’s day with our 2 yr old, she came over in the early morning to get him, but was crying and feeling such deep depression that she asked if I could go into work late to watch our son a few hours longer so she could lay down and collect herself. Of course I agreed for my son’s sake.

      Then just yesterday, my W picked up our son from daycare, and I had previously agreed that she could have dinner with him and I’d come home later than our routine since she wouldn’t get to see him later in the week for some various reasons. She actually called me an hour before I was supposed to come get him and asked if I could come right away because she was feeling overwhelmed with depression and didn’t want our 2 yr old to see her break down. I am sure that she wasn’t lying or being manipulative.

      A key thing that I didn’t mention in my previous post above is that I believe my situation may be unique in that my CS has suffered from depression through much of her life. There have been periods where she took Zoloft but also longer periods where she was okay without it. I haven’t been able to find much discussion on how a CS’s clinical depression might affect their ability to find their way out of the affair fog. I want my W to feel the full effects of her harmful decisions in hope that it would be a wake-up call for her, but I’m starting to become more concerned that her clinical depression (being intensified by missing our 2 yr old – not actually missing me or our life together) might actually become a barrier to her re-finding her pre-EA self.

      I’m having trouble differentiating between the relatively short-term depression that sets in when a CS is going through withdrawal or realizing that they are losing something of value from their pre-EA life versus my W’s long-term struggle with depression that might be becoming somewhat debilitating for her. My W won’t see a counselor, but has an appt to see a psychiatrist in a few weeks. Any of your thoughts or links to any discussions on depression would be really appreciated.

      • Greg

        Working, my wife has been on Prozac for the last four years, albeit on the lowest dosage, and while the ending of her EA did result in her having to up her dosage she has been able to deal with it. Of course we didn’t have the issue of her wanting to pursue the EA after discovery or her moving out, our kids are her life she gets mildly depressed when they spend a night away at my parents house even. While this is definitely affecting her depression levels I still firmly believe that it is better she feels the full effect of her decisions. I would recommend that you get her to see her doctor for a review of her Med levels though and keep an eye on her moods for her own safety. I don’t envy you the tightrope walk you’re going to have to do through this but hope it works out in the end.

      • Jackie

        My H also has had mild depression over the last 6 years and was taking medication for it. I couldn’t really tell the difference the medication made, but it seemed to help H.

        After the AP rejected H, he fell into a major depression. He was in such anguish, I feared he would hurt himself, so much so I actually asked him if he felt suicidal. Which he said he did not. Gratefully.

        H did try several medications since then, some helped a little, one day he seemed totally like his old loving, caring self. In general, each medication seemed to help a little, but often gave side effects that were annoying. Now he is off the medications and I still don’t see any major difference. He is still confused, but time has calmed him down making him less volatile.

        So yes, depression adds to the problem. It sounds to me your wife needs to see someone sooner to help her with the depression. Often if you call doctors as to the immediate need, they will squeeze you in for an appointment sooner. I would do this for your wife, if she won’t do it for herself. Her health and that of your child alone with her is at stake.

        Affairs really mess up your mind, and if you are depressed, it makes it even harder to see any light at the end of a tunnel.

        I felt for my H, the EA gave him a way to self medicate his depression. It gave him a great feeling without outside drugs. I suppose that is why he felt it was so right for him…it just made him feel so good, when he was feeling so bad. How could that be wrong?

        Depression can easily cloud one’s judgement.

        Another difficulty I found was, it is hard to get a depressed adult to get treatment, when they don’t think they have a problem, are in denial of their problem, or are unwilling to seek help.

        In your case, it is clear your wife is depressed, she recognizes it, and is willing to get help. That is very good. It is best that she get help sooner than a few weeks though. She needs an appointment next week! With all drugs for depression, it can take a while to feel the full effects of the drug.

        I can tell you love your wife. She doesn’t know how lucky she is. Concern for her clinical depression should not be ignored. You know your wife best. Listen to suggestions, but always do what you think is right for you, since no one knows your situation as you do.

    • Healing Mark

      Greg. Glad to hear you are moving forward in a good way. I had a similar epiphany at some point after D-day (and our difference may just be one of semantics). If, after really giving it a great effort to get to a relationship that my wife and I were both happy being in failed, I accepted the fact that it would be time to end our marriage and move on to another stage in our lives. I was not going to be happy about this, or so I thought, and it would not be “great” (i.e., the semantics I alluded to above). But, like you, I stopped worrying about it and stopped concerted efforts to make everything “right”. I just stepped back and thought about what I needed to be happily married, and what my wife had expressed to me as things that she needed and did not need (me cussing when I was upset was a big one!) in order to be happily married, and then strove to live/act in ways that would result in each of us getting to that point. But if I hear you correctly, it’s much healthier, and apparently makes you feel better, live in the present and not worry (or not worry so much) about things that you cannot control or completely control (one being how your wife feels about you and your marriage). Sometimes, a CS was at a point, or gets to a point, that they just want to move on to another stage in their lives. A stage that no longer includes being married to their BS. Yeah, probably better if they would have ended the marriage first so the pain inflicted on the BS does not include the pain of having been cheated on while married. But nevertheless, if the CS wants to move on, the marriage is most likely going to, and probably should, be ended. What is always of more interest to me on this site, and the reason I still swim by now and then, is the struggle for CS’s and BS’s that want to remain married and want to be happily married and unfortunately are struggling even more than they might otherwise have to given the introduction of an affair into the mix.

      • Greg

        Thanks Mark, and yes the difference is semantics. I guess ‘great’ probably wasn’t the best choice of words 😉 I meant that I am truely fine with the outcome either way and not just giving it lip service to keep everything calm. I truely believe my wife and I will work through this, it’s just going to take her longer than it has me as she has had more problems with me and a much longer resentment to work through. We were doing our therapy assignment of looking through old pictures to find happy moments and I was able to objectively look at soem of the past pictures as see the look of resentment or indifference in many of them when we had issues that I hadn’t even noticed before. Made me feel like an ass of course but at least I was able to recognize it now and know what to look for in the future. Worst one was two sets of pictures at the beach. One from July of 2010 and one from July of 2011. In the 2010 pictures we were happy and smiling in the 2011 picture I was smiling even though we were having a poor home life at the time, she on the other hand had a completely dead look to her eyes that I didn’t see at the time. D-day was a few days later and she had already been dealing with it at work for a month. Nothing like seeing it in bold color to wake me up to paying more attention to her needs and feeling going forward. Ah well, can’t change the past but i can sure as hell prevent it from happening in the future.

    • Joe

      It is great to read your having a better time and good morning. I remember something a friend said when I was in the worst of my condition, “slowly the good days will out number the bad days.” Sounds like you are there, especially as you are managing your expectations appropriately.

      I had the worst day of my entire battle on Monday when my CS announced that she is going to NY for 5 days with her EA and will be missing family Easter with our daughter. I reacted harshly and increased our dissolution process. She came to me last night, the eve of their departure, crying that she doesn’t want to go, but feels she has to because he has paid all this money. She is still completely whacked with this fog, but I saw a glimpse last night and it was a real cry. She used words like doesn’t understand, confused, regret. Litterally 12 hours later I’m having my best day in 6 mos. It also helps to know he is shelling out thousands on her right now and she is probably moping in their room not giving him what he is paying for.

      I am cautious this glimpse of regret doesn’t give me false hope and that I have to stay true to my conditions of reconcilliation. I will see her Monday night when she returns to pick up our kid and I think I will know immediately where she(they) stand.

    • Jackie

      ” Do they come out of this mid-life crisis, like coming out of the fog?”

      Just like the “fog” is somewhat undefined, so is a midlife crisis. I think a midlife crisis is it’s own kind of fog, based on fear of getting old, personal accomplishment, or of death in some form. Someone who is going through a midlife crisis and having an affair, is like a fog within a fog. Like when you have a dream within a dream. It is just another layer (and many more issues) to work through.

      I imagine that many CS here are also going through some form of midlife crisis also. I think it means that those in crisis have even more issues to work on, in addition to the issue of cheating.

      Even though my H isn’t completely committed to this marriage, at least now he is more rational in his actions and comments. So I guess he may be coming out of the confused state from the affair and the midlife crisis. Time as always will decide it.

    • Carol

      I do hope they come out of the mid-life crisis, but I don’t know that from experience yet! I find myself wondering what exactly a mid-life crisis is, and why I seem to have skipped having one while my H absolutely wallowed in his. It seems to me fundamentally selfish, or, maybe more precisely, self-absorbed. I realize that may be ungenerous — but there are so many people in the world who struggle daily just to survive; they don’t have the luxury of moping about in woe-is-me, I’ve-lost-my-youth, what -if-I-throw-my-faithful-wife-over-and-dally-with-an-OW self-absorption. They’re too busy trying to get enough to eat or to provide for their kids; they’re delighted to be getting older — because hey, look at the alternative! (I have seen incredible poverty in Africa and parts of eastern Europe and Pakistan; there are no mid-life crises in shanty towns — there are just too many tangible, physical emergencies to attend to.)

      Maybe my rather unsympathetic attitude also comes from my own background. I grew up in a very unstable environment, lots of family trauma and never enough money, so all I ever wanted was ‘normalcy’ — a stable and secure family life. To me that stability is not boring, or unfulfilling, or somehow not ‘youthful’ or free enough — it is what I have absolutely craved my whole life, my biggest life ambition. And I know from sad experience how precious it is, and I would never do anything to jeopardize it, because while it seems stable it is really, really fragile, as my childhood taught me. My H on the other hand grew up in a Beaver-Cleaver household. He found aspects of his family life stifling — I can certainly see why — and undermining (he’s the younger, and distinctly less favored, son). So then as an adult, he has feared being stifled by our family life, while I have thoroughly loved having a marriage and children who are actually growing up in a house inhabited by two parents, neither of whom has major issues — at least until now, heh — and with enough in the way of resources to provide them with some economic security.

      Sigh. So, Jackie and Rachel, here’s hoping our Hs grow up — and here’s to us, for we are goddesses of resilience and persistence and faithfulness! Hope that pottery class works out, R — sounds terrific.

      • rachel

        Carol, the pottery class is full. : ( But, that’s ok I’m going to start walking nights at the local highschool.
        I liked your comment about no mid life crisis in the other countries. I had mentioned this before to a friend. And the best conclusion that I came up with is MY HUSBAND IS A SPOILED BRAT!
        Don’t we women have a worse time during menopause?? You don’t see me looking up my old boyfriends! Or grey hairs and wrinkles! They give them to us!!
        My husband grew up in a beaver cleaver home as well. Plenty of money, no sicknesses, and they had their son on a pedistal as he is God! Well, I never treated him like a God as he was believed to be. I do think that that was a big problem in our marriage. Also, the fact that he alwayed craved attention from other women. That really hurt me because it was a continual flirt fest when ever we went out. Would aggrivate me so because he wouldn’t pay attention to me. Then he wanted something when we got home. ARE YOU KIDDING ME???
        Another problem was I didn’t please him. My clothes were too big, my hair too curley. Why’d you do this? Why’d you do that? I think it was because he missed the ex girl friend and I wasn’t her.So now after his affair, he doesn’t want to work on us, because he is ambivilant. Hasn’t been happy for 20 years out of the 24. Maybe he thought that he would have to take me away on our 25 or by me something nice. Never went anywhere with him or he never bought me anything for Christmas or anniversary’s and during his affair I got nothing for my birthday. Don’t get me wrong I’m not a present person. But, a little something would have been nice. HE’S CHEAP!!!
        Doesn’t he sound charming? And I want to stay with him why???
        Not sure why I told you all of that, guess I just had it bottled up for a long time.

    • Jackie


      I thought this quote from an article from the website you mentioned explained it nicely.

      “People who put little thought into what they want out of life and more thought into taking care of others are more likely to experience a crisis at midlife. If your spouse works hard, spends most of his free time with his family and doesn’t pursue life experience outside his family he is a sitting duck.”

      I found the key here for my H is “doesn’t pursue life experience outside his family.” I believe this is where one loses one’s self in a stable relationship, and thinks they have given it all for the relationship, because that is what they were supposed to do. By not pursuing outside experiences such as hobbies, interest, friends etc…(those things that make you uniquely YOU) you reach a crisis where you no longer know who you are any longer. You lose your sense of who you are (your individuality.) This is just my theory.

      Carol, your second paragraph could have been written by me…word for word. I actually found it kind of scary…Super appreciative grateful wife vs take it for granted, doesn’t appreciate how good his life is, husband. They say opposites attract in relationships. I surely see that a lot on this website.

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