once a cheater always a cheaterI think it’s safe to say that everybody has heard the phrase, “Once a cheater always a cheater.”  I don’t believe however, that we have ever discussed this subject in the past on this blog.

After an affair comes to light, the cheating spouse often will make promises and vows to never cheat again. Unfortunately, such promises often are quite empty. The desire to cheat is complicated and it is not solved by the cheater feeling sorry or by making promises to change

Diana Kirschner, Ph.D,  says that “Many people who are in committed relationships that have decent chemistry and benefits for both partners can actually work through the crisis of affairs. Not only that, their relationship can become more intimate and they can put an end to cheating once and for all. This means that, “Once a cheater, always a cheater” is just not true. There are people who learn and grow from the painful emotional hurricane and the loss of closeness in the relationship that are the aftermaths of cheating.”

So…what’s your opinion?

Do you feel that once a person cheats they are destined to do so again?  Why or Why not?

What do you feel has to happen in your relationship to ensure that it doesn’t?

As usual, please respond to one another in the comment section.


Linda & Doug


    29 replies to "Discussion: Once a Cheater Always a Cheater?"

    • Notoverit

      I know I have heard this time and time again, even my H has said it of other people (how the mighty have fallen)- “Once a cheater, always a cheater.” I know there are people who have personality disorders which make them more susceptible to cheating which causes them to continue with their cheating. My husband became a different person during the EA, a definite variation from his normal behaviors. I honestly think my H won’t do this again. The EA was the result of a “Perfect Storm”: middle age, health issues and a subtle, sneaky witch who saw a victim and moved in. I had, prior to the EA, become distant and remote. He was angry about a lot of things and I just didn’t want to deal with it. Now I do and I will. I don’t want to say that I am hyper-vigilant but I do pay more attention. It’s hard to cheat when someone is actually watching.

      I think the whole issue, aside from people with psychological disorders, is that the CS made a choice to do this. If he/she really looks at their behavior (stupid phones calls at midnight like a teenager; texting all the time and the slipping around), they soon realize how much this affair is like high school There is no real relationship. Maybe they will remember this the next time they have an opportunity to cheat. Education about their actions is the key – look at the affair for what it really was: nothing. Is nothing worth all this mess? So I think that cheating can happen again if the CS doesn’t truly face what he/she did and admit that this was simply a fantasy with no real life thrown in.

      • Rx lady

        Amen, Notoverit!!!! I couldn’t have said it better. That could have been ME writing what you wrote in your September 7th post. I think it can mend, but will take work for us, and things ARE slowly moving forward. I thank God for this eye opening. The fact that my H is willing to go to counseling, take his medication, and work on the problems is all a good sign to me. However, if it should happen again, I now have the insight and the strength to be done with this type of behavior and build a new life without a cheater!

    • Irish Kate

      I also feel that my husband won’t cheat again, at least not for the forseeable future, who know’s where anyone will be 5 or 10 years from now….

      It’s hard to pin a cheating label onto people because of one mistake, and I do believe that everyone (and I mean everyone) is capable of having an affair, sadly my husband was ripe picking when the OW came along, perhaps if I had been more aware of what was happening in our marriage at the time it may never have developed, who knows…

      If the correct work is done and that two people can learn from what happened then the chances of an affair happening are greatly reduced.

    • KnottedHeart

      Irish Kate, it seems that you are justifying your husband’s actions in going outside of your marriage to have an affair. The betrayal is anything but a “mistake”, it’s a SERIES of ongoing lying, cowardess CONSCIOUS actions made several times every day. Please don’t excuse the misery & hurt (to say the least) that was thrown at you without notice & turned your life upside down. YOU didn’t make him have the affair…always remember that.

      • Irish Kate

        Knotted Heart

        I didn’t have a huge amout of time yesterday to really reply to this thread but thank you for your comment and I’m going to try to explain in a little more detail the meaning behind my words…

        We are a complex species, capable of beautiful dreams and terrible nightmares, with the ability to come to the aid of a stranger and yet hurt deeply the ones we love the most… An alien race studying us would have quite a job on their hands to understand how our human minds work.

        What I do know is that we are all capable of terrible things, we learn when we are young the difference between what is right and what is wrong but normally people live somewhere between the two…

        I don’t justify my husbands actions, those are his actions, he owns them and therefore is the only one that can say why or why he did/didn’t do X, Y or Z… I however was also in our marriage and whereas I do not defend his actions I can look at our situation outside the box and see where things went wrong… after an affair when we are deep in the anger stage its so easy to forget that our partners were ever anything but lying, cheating f**kers, I forgot for a long time after that the good man that I married was still there, all I could see when I looked at him was a skumbag, when I could look at him of course… but over time and with some clever coaching techniques I was able to take a look outside the box and see our marriage from another angle.

        When we first married we would rush home in the evening to see each other, loved each other’s company and enjoyed spending time with each other. My husband loved to cook and often I would come home to a cooked dinner complete with a chilled bottle of bubbly in the fridge, he would always remember the important days, dashed across the city one night looking for a 24 hour chemist because I couldn’t sleep with stomach cramps – in return I would bake his favorite cake’s, slip a love note in briefcase, fly to another country just to spend a few hours with him when he was on business, yank his pants off to….. ahem…. well you know….

        Then our lives became busier, he was promoted, I started my own company and we slowly stopped spending time to eat together, to share time together, to write love notes, to cook together …. and it’s the sharing time together that started our trouble… we stopped noticing each other… and that’s when our marriage started to suffer…

        My husband was having an EA for 10 months before I found the text messages on his phone, and with that discovery came my fury but, almost 2 years after D-Day I can sort out some of that fury and part of it was anger at myself… what I was angry about was that my husband was having an affair for 10 months, all the signs were there but we were so disconnected that I didn’t even notice, I was so busy with my life that (and to be 100% honest) I didn’t care enough…

        This of course doesn’t excuse his actions but in my line of work I do know that everyone has a point that they reach before they become vunerable, this doesn’t mean that everyone who cheats is a ‘bad person’, sometimes good people fall too. Its for this reason that its hard to pin such a label on anyone, yes there are those that continue to cheat, those that don’t wish to look at their actions and live in denial, those that have personality disorders, that have addictive personalities but again that isn’t everyone.

        After my husbands affair, and after the fury, pain, grief subsided we had to take a long hard look at what happened – we could let the affair define us or destroy us… we opted to stay together and to work hard to define a new us and we work towards that everyday… but the CS has to be willing to really look at what they did wrong and to make changes, to work hard to understand the emotional triggers that led them to the decision to cheat, and how to change that for the future…

        After almost 2 years from D-Day I can tell you that there is hope, you can and will get stronger, the pain does subside, you will learn things about yourself that you didn’t know before, there is laughter, light, love and hope at the end of that tunnel… no matter what direction your life takes

    • Candace

      Unfornately I believe with the right opportunities my H would have another EA. Can I say when? No, but I know my H. No matter how bad & guilty he may feel right now that would all become a fog once again & everything would be my fault once again. I do blame his EA on his mid-life crisis, so many other things have changed about him too. Some good & some not so good. He fully realizes that if it ever happens again there will be no chance for our relationship to mend.

      However, because I did feel/sense something was wrong in our marriage during his EA and stupidly ignored those senses because I thought that it could never happen to us, lol, I will know what I am looking for in the future. Yes, our marriage had problems that we both ignored, but he looked outside our marriage “freely” to fill the void, while I certainly could have chose that path, I never did. He was not made to have the affair, but chose to. I feel no pity on his “lonelyness”, as he often called it, but only pain and anger, after all I was facing the same situations, minus the mid-life crisis.

    • stronger

      Yes I do believe once a cheat always a cheat. My husband is perfect proof. He had an affair year 3 of our marriage. He opened up totaly to me. Told me everything. We worked on our marriage. Things were going so good for 7 years I used to pinch myself thinking I had the perfect marriage. We were Best friends, lovers and most of all transparnet. Than in year 8 he and another affair with someone who he worked with. We went thru a trerrible time. He swore up and down that they were just friends. This went on for a few years but I had decided when my childern gratuated from high school I was gone. Well then my father died and my mother needed care and I became her care giver. I didnt have time to deal with him anymore so I stayed. He retired and decided to take a job 90 miles from here. He got himself a stuido apt I would see him on the weekends and two days out of the week. I was ok being alone but now he wanted me to be with him. Once he retired his affair stopped so for about 5 yrs he was working on how to make me happy. Finally my mother passed away and he begged me to quit my job move to where he was and rebuild our life as life partners. So I did. Left behind my family and my security to be with him. We built a home and I was again so happy. Well after 3 years He has an other affair and this one he thinks is the one God brought to him, she was his soul mate. Well I pack up left and came home to be with my family. Tried to start over again after 35 yrs of marriage, heart broken and total a mess. Well guess what he is back with me again. There has been no contact that I can see since January of this year. I have realized one thing I will never trust him again and I only look out for myself. And why am I still with him??? I still love him and that is my problem. Are we working on fixing this. I am I still dont think he even knows why he keep doing this to me. You see I do believe he loved me thru it all. Thats what I dont understand. He now will not talk about it at all. He just want to forget the passed and move on. I cant I just cant and I cant stop thinking about it either. Some days I just want to tell him to leave because when there is not trust what is left??? But the thought of him gone still kills me. I dont know what hold for me only that I still check everyday if he is haveing contact with her. One thing I have decided 3 strikes and you are out!!

      • Notoverit

        Stronger, in all of this, has he ever said what he got out of the affairs? I mean, did he ever say he was in love with the OW or was it just a boost to ego? I wonder about these repeat cheaters. We’d all like to hear so we can look at our own situations.

        By the way, you are a much better person than me. He’d be so LONG GONE his head would still be swimming!

        • stronger

          I believe he like that new feeling of being in love and that someone adores him.. thinks he is so handsome and perfect. You see I know him to well and he hates thinking he is not perfect. Thank you but like my name I am getting stronger and stronger everyday.

      • debbie

        “He now will not talk about it at all. He just want to forget the passed and move on. ”

        This is why it keeps happening…just sayin’.

    • Lynne


      God bless you for all that you’ve been through! Have you gotten counseling for yourself yet? It sounds from your comments that he would not be willing to do this together, given your remarks that he doesn’t want to talk about it. More than anything, you need to take care of you. While you don’t want to lose him, you are probably much stronger than you think. Regardless, no one should have to live this way. I wish you the very best in your decision making.

      • stronger

        He is not willing to go to counseling. I have gone to counseling but I help myself mostly by focusing on my children and grandchildren. Thank you for your kind words. We are all in this together. I guess I just don’t want anyone on here to think it cant happen again because it can. It gets eaiser for them and they get better at lying. NOT all men are the same and some really may have learned their lesson. The ones that have come totally clean about it and will do anything in their power to prove to you that they are sincere.

        • debbie

          I can understand his unwillingness to attend counseling. I am sure most CS’s might feel it would become a forum for them to be blasted. Maybe he would attend a seminar style where you then take home “homework. Both Terry Real’s weekend intensives and Retrouville have been highly recommended. Sweeping an affair under the rug will never work.

    • Paula

      I don’t think I really believe once a cheater, always a cheater, BUT, you do have to ask the question! It does seem to happen a lot, the repeat offenders. I really don’t think my OH would do it again, but he did it once (over, and over) the line has been crossed, so what now. He also said, in the past, that there are men (women) who cheat, and those of us who don’t, but that no one is safe (the last bit was my addition to the comment, which he agreed with.) His best mate, bestie since 10 years of age, when I started digging, and I asked him outright whether he thought OH’s friendship with OW was an affair, said the same thing, NO WAY, he believed that he and my OH were the only two ABSOLUTE non-cheaters he knew, guess what, he’s all alone now, lol!

      When you’ve been with the darling boy, the only person you have ever felt even remotely like this about, for several decades, you think you know them, that you are as big a part of their world as they are of yours, and you are completely bamboozled when you realise it is one-sided, even if this is just temporary (temporary insanity, not such a comforting defense.) My problem is that I can’t seem to forgive him, and get any peace back in my life, and I don’t know why, I FEEL like I understand it, I’m no longer angry with him, I wasn’t angry just with him, I was also angry with my “friend” for her nastiness, but only fairly briefly (I got over that part!) and I keep thinking I’ve forgiven him, but I can’t have, because I still feel like shit, and can’t seem to leave any of it in the past, so sad. He held me so very close last night in bed, and said he is so very sad that he has ruined me, that he has appreciated my efforts so much, and just wishes he could make it all go away, the biggest regret of his life, by a country mile. I answered that, obviously he did a REALLY HORRIFIC thing, but that I feel like I have ruined myself for not being better by now, that I have so little control over my feelings, still, I can’t seem to heal, despite my huge efforts, so disappointed in MY response to the event, I SO want to forgive him and move on, especially after all this time. The hole in my chest is huge, and the intense tightness I feel permeating me is debilitating, a very lonely and isolating feeling, the real me has been chewed up and swallowed by the pain.

    • Suzie Suffers

      Absolutely believe once a cheater always a cheater. I really don’t think people can change their basic personality makeup. I think environment has alot to do with it….how they were raised, who their friends are and whether they accept this kind of behavior…..lets them excuse their behavior. My husband cheated on me with EA’s, one night stands, PA’s……I really never found out about them on my own…..it was always through someone else….even my kids knew and I didn’t!!! He thought the last one was God’s will in his life….he was finally sober after 30 years…..and had more affairs in his 5 years of sobriety than he had drinking and drugging!! A million excuses for his behavior, but I think they are all more upset about being caught and their security being taken from them…..than about what they did. I think my husband is more hurt because he see’s how much pain he has created for me…..but I don’t think his emotional pain is really all that bad….He just see’s it as a mistake….that he will never do again…..but he had a number of times……and now he finally is saying he now will NEVER do it again. I’m just waiting for the next shoe to drop. Like the others, I stay because I love him…..well, that sounds crazy because how can you love someone that continually hurts you? It’s more my fear of loss that drives me daily than love. I guess I just hope that I can love again…….and that love has to be for me first before anyone else….and I have yet to accomplish that!!

    • Brian

      My take is that it seems that it gets easier to cheat after the first time… maybe I’m wrong but that’s what I’ve seen…

    • Lynne

      I think whether a cheater, always a cheater is a true statement has a great deal to do with how much work one does on themselves. Those that refuse to take a good hard look at themselves, and the “why” behind their actions, are more likely to repeat the cheating behaviors. Isn’t this true of just about anything in life–if you can’t name it and own it, you learn nothing about it or yourself! When I see all the posts here about CS’s who refuse to talk about their affairs or to go to counseling, it makes me crazy. Burying ones head in the sand is not a reasonable way to deal with life, nor to deal with your marriage. I really believe that those who choose not to repair themselves are headed for more disaster!

      If you aren’t aware of the questionaires available thru Randy Hurlbert, you should look them up online. There is one that assesses “emotional maturity” and one on “romantic attraction”. You and your partner can both take them or you can do yours and then assess your partner yourself. What I learned in taking them was that I have higher romantic love toward my partner (than he does for me), as well as a higher level of emotional maturity (duh, he’s the guy who was involved in a secret friendship for FIVE years and still can’t own up to what this was about!). This gave me some tremendous insight into our relationship, and also a greater understanding of our “unbalanced relationship”.

    • StealthGenie

      I totally agree with this statement that once a cheater is indeed always a cheater. If one cheating incident is occurred, by the time trust is gone. And not to forget if a cheater has to not cheat then he had never done it in the first place.

    • Bambi

      I think there’s a possibility of them always be a cheater esp. if they were a serial cheater. They like the thrill of the chase…amazing thought…why is it they state, “I always loved you and always will and I’d never hurt you. A shattered heart is a hurt heart. I will never understand the “I have always loved you yet have continued affairs with no thoughts of discovery or consquences until the affair is discovered.

    • mellowjello

      There are good people who do bad things and learn from their mistakes and the chaos they created and will never do it again. On the other hand there are bad people who do bad things for their own evil reasons and don’t care about the chaos or pain they leave in their wake. I don’t think every cheater can be lumped into one category of “once a cheater, always a cheater”. The human species is so complex, Every person is so very different. Each couple and every marriage has different dynamics, and therefore those couples who have gone through the devastation of an affair, have to make decisions based on the facts of their own experience. It’s been almost 2 years from our D-Day, and our 48 year marriage is surviving. I think what really determines the success or failure of a reconciliation is the honesty and love of the two people involved. Good luck to you all.

    • thrownoutoftheblue

      I’ve never written on a blog before but am always reading them to see if there are people out there that have gone through the same things as me. My husband met someone on a business trip and I found an email that he was confiding in her for emotional advice about our marriage. He lied how he met her, he insisted he spoke to her for “only 10 minutes” at a conference, and they spoke about how she had used the techniques (it was a business conference!) learned at the conference to improve her marriage. I found an 800.00 invoice from a nightclub that he supposably went to a club in on the that trip with co-workers and that it he left bc he didn’t like the atmosphere. knowing the social person my husband is I ainsisted he was lying. He got mad at me for not trusting him (he’s always lied about little things). We went to counseling and the therapist reprimanded me on how I don’t understand his social obligations to work. From Jan until late April our marriage went downhill. He became nasty, distant, as did I, and eventually ended up taking a time out to work on our marriage from the outside in. He moved out and I was home with the 5 kids. He was supposed to come over daily after work to see the kids, help with bedtime routines and have a bit of contact with me. I went with the notion that we were working on our marriage while after this time I found out 5 days after moving out he contacted this women and asked her if she’d want to have a relationship. hE asked her to go away with him and said that he loved confiding in her. Later he confessed he looked to her behind my back for support on the phone and email, as she lives far away, and she and him bitched about their marriages. She was evidently at that club that night and they drank and danced til 3:00am. He swears he didn’t sleep with her. During this “time out” while I was sitting at home wanting to improve our relationship, he was becoming more distant and actually went onto dating websites, strip clubs and didn’t see the kids or ME regularly. A that point I got the message and began pulling away from him and conteplated divorce. I knew none of this information until we began speaking about it in August when he came to me wanting to work on the marriage. I told him I needed full disclosure of his actions as I had found recepits from strip clubs, etc. He told me about his EA with this business girl and thought that he should pursue her (5 days after he moved out!). I found it hard to believe he hadn’t been in touch with her from Jan through April and he then admitted he had been confiding in her. After she basically said her marriage was worked out and not to contact her again. During this time I found evidence of the strip clubs and that he actually paid one of the strippers (prostitution) to spend a night with him on another business trip. They continued a long distance “relationship” and “broke it off” bc of the distance. I seriously had no idea he was capable of any of this and there was no evidence that he did any of this in our marriage except my hunch that he was in touch with the woman from business, which he adamantly lied about. He moved back in, described himself as a “lost soul”, grasping to anyone that would pay attention to him. I described my hurt I felt that he didn’t take the time to work on the marriage and left me strung me along as he lpayed out his 40 yr old midlife crisis. I think he took to an extreme! No he is back and he is empathetic, begs for forgiveness and swears he will never do this again. I am having real trust issues and honestly don’t know if I want to stay in the marriage bc I can’t trust him. He continues to travel for business, keeps more in touch but I am sickened while he’s away. I don’t know whether someone is capable of changing drastically after this in order to maintain a solid marriage. I did say during the period we were apart, and when he was distancinghimself that I was thinking of divorcing him and he took that as a definitive that we were moving on. When he came for his irregular visits he was nasty to me. Ialso foud out that he was on 3 different dating webites 2 weeks after he moved out, one being a casual meeting up for sex. Do I forgive? Can I trust his words? It is consuming me. I know he is making changes, therapy, medication, spending more time with me and the family. I also know that I wasn’t emotionally available for him from about 6 mths prior to when he moved out due to being guarded against his other lies. I do take responsibility for pulling away and not being emotionally available. He went outside the marriage to get that that support but I had to snoop to find out. He was not straight forward. he never told me about the strip clubs or prostitute until I found evidence. he adamantly deined it until I confronted him with the evidence. He ws ashamed and embarassed. Is it once a cheater always a cheater? Is there hope? What do you think?

    • Paula


      Most of us here have been somewhere near where you are now. My advice is, if you are very conflicted, and who wouldn’t be, your Hs behaviour has been atrocious, give yourself 12 months to work on your marriage, and most importantly, yourself. This doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with you, just that you need to be a top priority. I imagine with 5 kids, that hasn’t been easy, I get that, but this is an opportunity for huge personal growth, even though it’s completely hideous and gut-wrenchingly painful. If your H is this monster that he has become (we all hope it was a temporary state, that he had a “moment of madness” – however long that “moment” may last, we talk about affair fog) If after a year, you can see that he won’t change, there is no hope, then by all means, start divorce proceedings. Also, this gives you some time to plan for the worst, how you will fare financially, etc. I talked to a lawyer, got some affairs in order (ie changing ownership details on some assets, etc, I was lucky, my OH understood how financially vulnerable I was, and agreed to try to make things a little fairer than they were, which was a huge leap of faith for him, I could have had that done, and then walked out the door with a large proportion of the assets, but he trusted me not to, and realised that it was necessary for my mental health and to try to begin to trust him and feel some security again.) Your question about once a cheater always a cheater is valid, it is not true for everyone, I believe, but some people (and they often seem to be men, sorry!) are, they never do the work on themselves to avoid a repeat, even though I believe some of them really believe they’ll never do it again, they do eventually anyway. My question for my OH was, when he said he’d never do it again, now he’s done it and seen the resulting disaster, why the F… didn’t you already know that, what is it in your life that has shielded you from KNOWING what this does to people, ie, how could you NOT know that this causes chaos and unbearable pain? I’d seen it over and over, and I don’t believe I could do it, yes split up, but don’t involve a third party to destroy the other person’s self esteem, and health, even if you didn’t love me then, you did once, how could you ever hurt someone you once loved, someone who did everything for you and your children, always put herself last, even if that didn’t make you respect her, at least realise that she has feelings and will fracture open if she ever finds out about this?

      I wish you luck and happiness, somewhere down the line, if not today. Read the post yesterday about the four stages of recovery. I was originally told it took most people around two years to heal from this kind of betrayal, then 2-4, and now some have said 5! Everyone is different, this leaves a permanent scar, it is a matter of whether you are eventually able to accept the change, and live a positive life with him, or need to be on your own, although you won’t be alone with your lovely large family! I had never blogged before finding this site either, and now I do almost daily, it cleans the rubbish out of my head, and keeps me grounded. Best to you and yours.

    • mellowjello

      Paula, you have written exactly what I experienced. After over 40 years of marriage, helping him get his college degrees, building a business together and raising a family with includes a “special needs” child, how could all of those years mean nothing to him? How did he erase all of the love from his memory bank and only remember the arguments and conflicts? “HOW” could he do this to me, and with someone who was almost 20 years my junior, plus the fact that I loved her as a friend…almost as a daughter and thought she loved me the same way? “HOW” could she do this to me? Of course, I know now that she is a sociopath and had never ever told me the truth about anything. I knew she had emotional problems, ie., bulimia, binging & purging, cleptomania (shoplifting) OCD, chronic lying, money problems (getting sued many times for non-payment of debts), and also promiscuity (many affairs, during which her husband would call me crying and begging for my help by talking to her and trying to make her quit and come back to him), but I thought I could be sort of a mother figure to her and help her get through her bad times. When she would get in trouble, I would hide it from my husband because I didn’t want him to think badly of her.
      I finally realized that neither of them did this “TO” me. They were both so selfish and full of lust that they never even thought of what it would do to their respective families. Their only thoughts were about what they wanted for themselves.
      Of course her husband blames mine completely and now I can see the truth of how she manipulated my husband and also me over the many years of what I thought was friendship. She has known us for about 20 years and watched our business grow and watched my husband lavish me with gifts, houses, cars, jewelry, etc. I guess it was just too much for her. She wanted my life. I question that she ever loved my husband, but she needed him to provide her with what she wanted in this life, that being my life. She finally made her move on him when he was very, very vulnerable and he fell hook, line and sinker. After hundreds of hours of talking, I realize now that he was deep into a life crisis, but was such a non-communicator that he didn’t even realize it. He blamed me for all his problems and wanted out of our marriage but didn’t have the guts to tell me. Mind you, he wasn’t at all innocent in this whole thing. They both were very willing participants. I know her family will never accept that fact, in fact I doubt that they even know the true facts. However, I really don’t have anything to do with any of them and never will have again as long as I live, so therefore I couldn’t give a rat’s a– what they know or don’t know. The fault lies somewhere in the middle and doesn’t exclude the spouses of the two paramours, including me. There is no one free of some responsibility in this whole fiasco.
      Even though I have acknowledged that they didn’t do this “TO ME”, sometimes I feel like I have been hit in the gut by 2X4. I want him to acknowledge that that man, that awful man, that did these excruciatingly painful things to me, is still part of him. Until he can acknowledge that it wasn’t the good man that I married…the honorable man, with integrity, pride, honesty and love for his family …but the bad man who is full of anger, evil, dishonor, disrespect, lust and cares for no one but himself, who did these things, then I don’t believe that he will actually be rid of that bad part of himself. Sometimes when I watch him, I see the thoughts just leave his brain, and they never return to his consciousness unless I ask if we can talk about it. He just never thinks about anything that makes him feel guilty. I think many, many men are like that. My husband wants to do right by me. He loves me and wants me to get the help I need, but so far I can’t make him see that it’s also he that needs help. He refuses to go to a counselor, unless the counselor can assure him that he can be helped in 3-4 visits. He expects to tell the counselor what has happened, then for the counselor to come up with a solution, and that will be that! I try to tell him it will take a long time and that he will have to do lots of hard work to make himself better, just like I am doing but that is something he is not ready to commit to. Well, 2, 4, 8, 20 years…or perhaps a lifetime…it doesn’t matter how long it takes to heal from this type of injury. What matters is that both of us are willing to stay in it for the duration and that is exactly what we have decided to do. Sorry for going on so long!

    • Anita

      That’s been my experience with my ex husband, even after our divorce, and after the break up of his affair partner, he had another girl friend who was very nice, he cheated on her. He ‘s now remarried, I hope that this will settle him down, for the sake of my children.
      I do not regret divorcing him. I have evolved from that time.
      I used the excuse, Iwas saving the marriage because it was that right thing to do, and for our children. Now here comes the shocking part it was my children that wanted us to divorce.
      My daughter said to me Mom why are you letting dad treat you
      that way, when we were trying to save the marriage from his last affair.
      Sad but true, I wasn’t ready, I feared divorce, the unknown
      whats going to happen? That what stopped me from not divorcing him earlier. But that old saying is true, The greatest thing to fear is fear itself. I am thankful for my daughter giving me that talk, of ” why are you letting dad treat you that way”
      Because shortly after that we had a huge argument, he came home with divorce papers. I was finally ready to let it all go and I signed them.
      I did go through the grieving process afterward and time heals all wounds with forgiveness. My life is so much happier.
      I believe when infidelity hits a marriage, the betrayed spouse also goes into a fog. The first defense is to save the marriage, and prove you are a better woman then the affair partner.
      Then the second stage came when I began to realize I wasn’t happy with my marriage and who I was married to. As myself esteem began to rebuild, the more my exhusband and I would fight. When I would stand up for myself he lost his power over me. I am so glad I had the strenght to walk away from it all.
      My children, family and friends were so supportive of me, and would say when someone treats you like that the best thing is to get away from them. My brother, who is very happily married gave me the biggest understanding. He said its not in him to cheat, he has no desire.
      What was sad my ex mother inlaw was very upset that we divorced. She always wanted us to get back together. Now that my ex is remarried, she still loves and cares about me, because I am the mother to her grandchildren, are relationship still continues to this day.
      What makes this site intereting to me is that, I was once that betrayed spouse, and I see so much pain in these sites. I wonder why the betrayed spouse allows themselves to continue in that relationship.
      When the betrayed spouse checks cell phones, computers, and whatever else, to see if there spouse is remaining faithful, that is not living, because then your life becomes based around the person who was unfaithul to you. That kind of life was not for me.
      I am sure for many this post will make you angery. But when your spouse makes the choice to be unfaithful, for whatever reason. Why do you want to remain with them, if they are the love of your life, then why did they cheat? And if you were the love of their life why did they cheat????
      I would never cheat on someone I loved!!!!!!

    • Calis

      I am the CS, i had a texting episode some years back and i guess i never saw it as cheating more like inapropiate behavior on my part very inapropiate cause i am married but ut was just texting nothing sexual like that but then i was invited to go out to the movies which changed things anyhow my wife found out and she was furious as you can imagine. Anyhow i really never took any hard steps to finds the problem other than saying i will not do it again i should have sought some help. Years passed and i got into a texting and talking and this went on for 8months i got so wrapped up into it ilost myself but no excuse for that. It was drastic and some nasty sexual stuff over texting. Not good for myself but i put myself there withmy lies. I am trying to work things out with my W but it has been difficult becuase of the past. I hope that i cam work it out and i thank my wife for this oportunity . I thank Doug and Linda for this sight and tbe other people who comment.

    • deb

      It is so hard to determine. I divorced after 27 years. My ex married his ap and they have a baby together.He blindsided me big time and pretended to be on the mend for the best 6 months of my life! Then I caught him in a lie. I kicked him out and became a crazed woman. He has not been in touch with our 2 sons who were old enough to get it. He waited as long as he could until our youngest was 18. It seems to be a bigger plan than I could even imagine! Nothing was that bad between us. He was taken care of in so many ways. But, sex with a different woman was more important. He was never deprived!

      As time is healing, I met someone whom is so exciting and new. Now I can just imagine how he felt. Do I think he will cheat again? no. But, the 13 year younger wife just may get bored as he ages. She is whom I think will cheat. Too bad….

    • Lssv

      Will he cheat again? I don’t know and that is tearing at me. He was in a 21 yr. EA and I found out exactly a year ago. How could I have been so stupid as not to know? He used phone cards and called her from work for the first 17 yrs. Then he got a cell phone and started calling her from work on his cell phone. He would call her, after he kissed me goodbye in the morning and tell her when he would be available during the day. She would then call him back at work. However, she screwed up on May 8, 2014 and called him while he and I were at lunch. The caller ID just said “Manitowoc”. He thought it was about the Family Reunion he was planning and answered the phone, “Hello Manitowoc”. Then he started acting very strange and said he was having lunch with his family…….ER…….his wife. Then said Goodbye. I knew something was wrong and questioned him about it. He said “she” was a friend of his cousin’s and he couldn’t remember her name. They had been high school sweethearts and she sent him a package of memorabilia on his 50th birthday. She sent it to work marked “Personal”. I know because he initially told me he had talked to her. I had NO idea it continued for 21 years. She obviously had ulterior motives or she would have sent it to his home. They tried 3 times to get together, but never could arrange it so as not to arouse suspicion. It’s a long story. I began going through cell phone records after the lunch call and found out how often they had been talking. He continued to lie to me for the next week. I did a reverse phone trace on the number but had to wait 72 hrs. When I hadn’t heard back on the trace, I called the number with a pretext of being a telemarketer. I asked her her name and she told me. I was floored, beyond floored. It felt like someone had taken a baseball bat to a window. I was shattered. He was on a business trip and I confronted him about what I knew the next day when he got home. He admitted it and over the next several months everything came out. Including that she has Parkinson’s disease (she is now 71 and he is 72). She is still living with her husband and using him to support her in her disease, as she was my husband.

      How long does the healing process take? I know they say, as long as the affair went on or about 2 yrs., whichever comes first. But I am still grieving. I sacrificed so much for him over the years, including leaving a very promising career to transfer out of state for him, for HIS career. What I am finding out is that it DOESN’T matter how much you sacrifice for someone else, if they decide to cheat, they will justify and rationalize away their morals and how what they are doing will affect YOU.

      He was the most moral person I knew……..HAAAA!!! He Dad was so great, I expected the same of him. I can say he has done everything I’ve asked of him, including writing a letter to the OW and telling her he did not want any further contact with her and how wrong their relationship had been (I drafted the letter and insisted on mailing it. He was reluctant, especially about me mailing it, but I insisted……demanded). He has told his sister and her husband, he told our sons and daughters-in-law. He has been humiliated in front of them with what he has done. I don’t know what else I expect. One of the BIG realizations I came to was, since I had married at 18, I had not “cooked” my identity yet and my identity was totally wrapped up in HIM and my three sons. I have spent the last year, beyond, angry. I have been shattered. Now I’m trying to pick up the pieces and start on a new foundation. One that places ME and my needs first. I am thru making sacrifices. (I have lived in unfinished houses, carrying water from the bathroom to the kitchen to do dishes for 5 years, so he could have his dream of being a part time farmer, so he could relive his childhood.) That is what he was doing with the OW……reliving his childhood.

      So, where do I go from here? I don’t know. I have to either let go of the anger, or move on!!! When does the hurting stop? When does the sense of betrayal end? When does the healing actually start? What more do I want of him? I want him to hurt like I have, but I’ve been told that that will never happen. The cheater never feels the pain of the betrayed spouse. Never.

    • billybob

      this is total BS! Once a cheater always a cheater! SO VERY TRUE! doesn’t matter if man or women! I know first hand that I have never seen in my 30yrs at helping married couples that I have not seen one couple stop being unfaithful! In all cases if you forgive and stay the offending partner will feel they just got a pass and all may be fine but they will cheat again.

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