affair recovery and healing wish list during the holiday season

Each year about this time we post a discussion about what you want most for the holidays.  And we’re not talking about that new car or diamond bracelet!  Rather, let’s delve into your affair recovery and healing wish list during the holiday season.

The holidays are here  and we’re sure that many of you trying to get some last minute shopping done and are hoping for some holiday cheer. Yet at the same time you may be struggling…The affair triggers, rebuilding trust, ending the affair, etc., etc., etc.

This time of year can certainly provide you with a challenging roller coaster ride of emotions that run from one extreme to the other.  You may experience many emotions that you don’t normally experience.  Depression can be a real concern.

Most everyone has a holiday gift wish list that may include clothing, toys, gadgets, electronics, etc., but…

  • What is your wish list as it relates to affair recovery and healing?
  • What is the best gift that your spouse can ‘give’ you?  – Perhaps…To end the affair.  True remorse.  To talk about things more.   A safe environment for trust to build. Transparency.
  • What gift for healing can you ‘give’ yourself?  – Forgiveness. Self-esteem.  Inner strength.  Physical strength.  Control over the painful thoughts. Therapy…?
  • In a nutshell, what are the top things that you can think of that will help you in your own journey towards healing from an affair – especially during the holidays?

For those of you who might be further along in your recovery journey, we’d appreciate it if you could share any advice or wisdom to help others during the holiday season.

See also  Discussion - Do Cheating Spouses Have Affair Triggers?

Please respond to each other in the comments section.


Linda & Doug

    87 replies to "Discussion – Your Recovery and Healing Wish List for the Holidays"

    • Nearly Normal

      Here’s what I wish.

      When my wife does something that gets under my skin, I wish I would do one of two things: just let it go because she didn’t mean anything by it, or talk to her about it and resolve it.

      More often, I don’t say anything, but also sit there and have bitter feelings. Not productive, not smart, not helpful, and it’s my own darn fault.

      I am not talking about major affair-related behaviors. Just little things, but they bug the crap out of me. I should get a thicker skin or man up and say something.

      Have a merry Christmas, everybody!

      • Outwardly Composed but Internally Confused

        I agree that you need to step up and at least voice your frustrations, as long as you believe they are correctable, and not just you being anal. If it’s the latter, then I would just suck it up, shut up, and learn to live with it. Not everything in a Marriage is sunshine and roses, and I assume that there are things that your Wife finds utterly annoying as well, but would rather bite her lip than tell you since she probably understands that there are things that she does that annoy you as well. That’s the funny thing about Marriages and long-term relationships, you learn to accept their flaws as much as their good qualities, and see them more as a defining aspect of their nature. There are things that drive me absolutely nuts about my wife, but I wouldn’t change them at all as it’s what makes her unique. I assume there are a lot of things that my Wife finds annoying, but she wouldn’t change them as well as I cannot be me without those quirks.

        • Hopeful

          I always thought that was what marriage was about. I knew it would never be perfect and compromise and acceptance would have to be critical. After being betrayed it is hard at least for me to not take some of it personally. I know intellectually it is his fault. However it still sits with me. Or even one step further why did I not see this and run when he asked me to marry him. It is hard to follow these ideals when someone lies to your face every day for 10 years. It makes me hesitate and think about everything in great detail. At this point I have worked through and looked past my husband worst flaws. However I will not allow them to be part of my life. Simple things like not putting a glass in the dishwasher I could care less about. But overall how you treat other around you and how you live your life is a reflection on how much they value you and that relationship. I have extremely high expectations now and he gets that.

      • Angela

        NN, I’m sure you’re aware of the need to use “I” statements and express how something makes you feel. Why not do that, saying “When you _________, I feel like ________.”

        If it’s hurting you or bothering you, she’s probably not aware it’s happening.

        If you just hate the way she brushes her teeth or something like that, maybe you need to dig deeper for the underlying feeling that’s really being activated by the action (or lack of action) that’s bothering you.

      • Sarah P.

        Hi Nearly Normal.

        I wanted to chime in. I like your insight into the issue here– it shows you have incredible emotional maturity. That is, you know that your reaction to your wife’s non-affair related behaviors is not productive on your part.

        I have a couple of thoughts.

        My first thought is that since your wife had an affair– no matter how distant the affair– you have lost some element of respect for her and things that normally might not bother you are bothering you.

        My second thought is that everyone on earth has irritating behaviors. Even couples who have not been through an affair can look at their spouse and see a spouse’s habits that get under their skin.

        If I were you, I would figure out what it is– the first or the second. If it is the first, then it’s time to work through it with some sort of counseling. If it is the second, it’s best to practice ‘radical acceptance.’ Practicing radical acceptance (when it comes to the small things in life) is very freeing.

        For example, here are some examples of behaviors that require radical acceptance:
        -Forget about the toothpaste tube
        -Who cares if the toilet paper is installed over or under
        -who cares if your spouse wants to take photos at what another spouse might think is the wrong moment.
        -Pick up the laundry that has never gone in the bin even if it is not yours.
        -Let go of thinking about the quirks that your spouse has as long as they are not physically or emotionally harming anyone.

        Finally, since I don’t have any examples of what your wife does, I cannot say for sure. If you want to provide some examples, I am happy to give you thoughts on how to handle them.

        • Nearly Normal

          Hi Sarah.

          Thanks, but I’m not really up for giving examples. Partly, I am having trouble discerning exactly where the issues lie. Likely, that means it’s me and i should get over myself. Also, I’m in a transition period which is unsettling and I’m suffering some holiday depression, so my perceptions and communication are even more out of whack than usual. I’m going to need to soldier on for a while till my head clears a bit.

          Holiday Blessings to you and to all.

    • Outwardly Composed but Internally Confused

      More than anything, I just want the Holidays to be over. Strange, because the Holidays is by far my absolute favorite time of Year, but this time around, it’s really filled with bitterness, confusion, and sometimes internal anger at her and her affair partner.

      My wife and I unofficially put a hold on our healing due to many factors that have come up around this time one after another, and it appears that we’re both just waiting for them to pass before we can start focusing on discussing her emotional affair with her ex. The factors include:

      1) Thanksgiving and her Birthday were on the same day, so like an idiot (and because I wanted her to have a good day) I decided to not focus on discussing the matter, in fear that she might use the whole “It’s my Birthday, just let me have this one day” excuse to get out of talking about the problem.

      2) Moving to a new place: due to factors outside our control, we both decided that we needed to move for multiple reasons (some of those aforementioned factors are to blame) but mainly because we felt it was good to have a clean start on our “new” Marriage, and get away from the negative energy of our old home.

      3) My In-Laws are coming to town from Dec 23rd to Dec 30th, and we’ve been zeroed in on their arrival for almost 3 weeks, while simultaneously unpacking all our stuff.

      Due to us moving, and all the upfront costs that go into it, my Wife and I put a hold on going to Marriage counseling after one two (2) sessions (@ $225 a session, if I may add!!). We stopped going about a month ago, but kind of decided that once we are able to start back up, that we should try doing a DIY Marriage counseling between the both of us. Since we are unofficially waiting for the Holidays to be over, I presume that we are going to start up again during the New Year.

      So, without further ado, here is my wish list:

      1) For her to finally show true remorse for what she did.
      2) For her to prove to me that she cut off the affair partner from her life
      3) To start our DIY Marriage counseling
      4) To learn to control my internal reactions to triggers
      5) To stop secretly resenting her for lying to me for over 3 years
      6) To start trusting her again
      7) Complete transparency
      8) Clarity on our Future
      9) To have more inner-strength and self-worth
      10) To stop obsessing over the affair, and begin to live my life free of this pain
      11) To break down the “communication wall” between my Wife and I

      • Shifting Impressions

        Outwardly Composed…
        I totally understand how the “discussions” get pushed to the side due to special days, visitors, moves, renovations…..and on and on it goes. There always seems to be a reason to put things “on hold”, so to speak.

        That has happened around here, more than I care to admit. My husband was very good at finding reasons to put those very important discussions on hold. Yup….he really didn’t want to talk.

        Looking back (it’s been four years since d-day) maybe putting things on hold now and again wasn’t all bad. As time passed we were more able to handle the difficult talks. Our emotions weren’t quite as raw as they were near the beginning.

        I hope you get everything on that wish list….it’s a good one. I can honestly say that most of the things on your wish list are starting to come to pass for us, but it has been a very long and painful process. I cried almost everyday for three years….something changed in the fourth year.

        I wish you all the best with your wish list.

      • Sarah P.

        Hello Outwardly Composed,

        These are all great goals and I am glad that you have direction on where you want to go.

        Okay, I am going to be an unashamed sales person here… Linda and Doug and I all offer marriage mentoring. We have the experience/expertise without the price and keeping the price low allows us to help more people. No one should have to pay $225/hr to get their marriage back on track. Most people don’t even have a budget for something that I believe is so essential to recovery. Please keep us in mind if you would like to get back on track.

        Many blessings,

    • Puzzled

      Christmas wish lists are such a great childhood memory and the great thing is they don’t have to stop. Some things we expect to find wrapped under the tree while others are just a dream gift; a wish for that ultimate big thing. Funny how that resonates post-affair as it did as a child. Ok, sorry for the sappy nostalgia. So here’s my list:

      1) I wish that I could be naive in love again. I’d love to be able to just feel love without the memories of what happened.
      2) I wish that I could see my wife the way that I used to; with no resentment, twinge of anger, heart breaking memories.
      3) I wish that I could truly move past the memories. They don’t hold me hostage any more but they’re always there; just scratching the surface.
      4) I wish that I could blindly trust again. Before her affair, I never doubted her. I never doubted her love, trustworthiness, or honesty.
      5) I wish she would finally be truly open and honest. All of you who’ve been on here a while should know exactly what my “dream wish” is: I wish she’d tell me who she had the affair with.

      Hope all of you have a blessed holiday season. Mostly, I hope we can all grow as individuals and rebuild our marriages to greater levels of love, trust, and intimacy. Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

      • Rose

        My exact same wishes.

      • Terry

        1-4 Ditto.

    • Shifting Impressions

      I think my wish is to have the passion back in my relationship with my husband. I am so grateful for how far we have come…..but I am missing the passion. I want more than peace. I want more than okay.

      I want to completely forgive…..I haven’t quite gotten there yet. It’s like I am standing on the edge of forgiveness….afraid to take the final leap. Perhaps when I finally do take that final leap, some ot the passion will return.

      I wish the best to all of you…..I never would have made it this far without you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

      • Sarah P.

        Hi Shifting,

        Have you told your H that you want the passion back?

        • Shifting Impressions

          Interesting question, Sarah
          I think it’s my passion for life as well as the passion in my relationship. I think it’s something I have to find inside myself and figure out for myself rather than talk to my husband about it. But I could be wrong. I usually pick a word for the New Year rather than writing resolutions. I think my new word for the year might just be PASSION.

          We are embarking on a few adventures together…making new memories etc.

          • Sarah P.

            Hi Shifting,

            I love your idea of choosing one word for the New Year. It’s frames things positively and gives you something wonderful to work toward. Passion is a wonderful thing.

    • TryingToGetOver

      I hope you all get your wishes! Mine is that my husband gets serious about attending therapy and tending to his issues. I know his affair was a direct result of his own fears, insecurities, and most of all, his enormous selfishness. I believe there is a better person lost in all of that mess and I hope he emerges in the new year.

      • GrowthMindset

        TryingtoGetOver it sounds like your husband and my husband could be emotional twins. There’s a song ‘Say you won’t let go’ that he sent me via text when it was just starting to play on the radio and I feel like it was a message from his true self, not the monster/machine/fog that is showing up in this Midlife Crisis. That text btw was WAY before D day… perhaps he knew in his heart I would find out and knew it would be the ultimate test of my stated Unconditional Love.

        My wish list:
        1. Surrender to the Universe…
        The closer I get to not being attached to the outcome, the easier it will be for true recovery and possible reconciliation to occur…
        2. Get clear that I will be okay either way
        3. Get totally committed to working on ME
        4. He comes out of the tunnel
        5. The affair comes to an end
        5. My daughter can forgive her father
        6. Our family can make a few holiday memories over the break.
        7. My anxiety and panic attacks go away

    • Ann

      I’m the cheating spouse and my husband out of anger just shouted out to my college daughter Home for the holidays about my affair. We had talked and both were in agreement that this issue has nothing to do with the kids and we would protect him. For months I have been on pins and needless trying to rrcover our marriage. I feel I put in all the work but that is ok as I was the one who broke our vows. It has been 4 months past Adair and everyday I feel like I’m on watch with what I do. What I say. How I act. I thought for awhile he was really trying to fight for our relationship but come to find out I tho k it was all faking. He told me last night that he can’t gwt over it wants to divorce after the year end. It’s ywo days from Christmas what do I do. How do I Fake Christmas joy around the family Plus worry about he will blow up and spout it out in front of everyone. I should be the one to tell my family and my kids when the time is right. My kids are older adults. They will be angry at me. Maybe never forgive me but that is the consequences I need to accept. But to blurt them out in a nasty way to your daughter is very inconsiderate. Why would a dad do that. Please respond on how I should handle the holidays. Should I leave now or just avoid contact with him and do our separate things. Please help

      • Shifting Impressions

        After reading your post I think that perhaps you don’t understand the depth of your husband’s pain. I don’t think most CS realize the storm they unleash in their partners when they cheat. The betrayal is more than we can bare and we are often traumatized…..especially in the early months after d-day.

        Yes, blurting that out to your daughter was not his finest hour…..but seriously, he is in crisis! Also, why is it that you think you should be the one to tell your children?

        Also your husband saying he can’t get over it….doesn’t mean the man was faking. The process of “getting over an affair can take years’ and then I’m not sure if one truly gets over it.

        Back to your question of handling the holidays….I imagine it is just as tough for him. In my opinion the answer is show true remorse. Ask him what he needs. Listen to his pain and don’t expect that this will be a quick process.

      • Angela

        4 months is not very long. Your H is likely still in the very early stages of major pain. This can last for a while. At 4 months in, depending on how helpful and remorseful and empathetic you’ve been, he’s still very, very emotionally reactive. I’ll tell you what I needed most in those early stages was for my CS to heap tons of remorse, empathy, attention, love, affection, to such a degree that it exceeds the amount of effort put toward the affair. Yep, pursue him like you did the OP or other interest you had.

        HE NEEDS IT, in an excruciating way. Divorce threats are usually only meant to see how hard you will fight for him now because you made him feel like he’s disposable to you. It’s time to show him the opposite of being disposable.

        He may very well reject some of it, but don’t let that deter you. He needs to be able to push you away some. If you keep coming back at him with more love, you will have passed the test. He needs most of all to see how much you want him, so he can judge if you wanted him or something else’s more. Show him its him you want more. It may take a little time for him to trust it, but be transparent so he knows there’s no ulterior motive.

        His emotions will settle down after he decides he can trust your affection somewhat. The main thing is: yes every move you make is being watched, but not for bad things. You are being scrutinized with painful hope of seeing signs of love and affection and desire, not signs of cheating or dishonesty. Do not let the feeling that you are no longer wanted after cheating deter you. That will cause more grief. He needs most to constantly be reassured about a thousand times a day right now.

        • Terry

          Well said.

      • Hopeful

        4 months is really early. I would say it was easily 9 months before i was not crying and struggling all day every day. It was horrific the feeling. I did not have weight to lose but lost 15-20 pounds. I could barely eat and only did in front of my kids. I cut back to only major responsibilities.

        It is hard to explain but when something like this happens in a relationship it makes you question all aspects of your life. I would sit and think about everything that had ever happened between us. It called everything into question. Once they trust is broken I am not sure it can ever be fully restablished.

        I am not saying it was great telling your daughter or what his reasons were. Did you have a set plan in place for telling your kids? We had established a very set plan regarding all of this and it was 100% my decision when and if this would happen. Ana really everything was up to me. As my therapist said my husband had all the options and freedom and threw that away when he has his affair. So now it is up to me.

        My husband took 100% responsibility and said he would do whatever I needed to start to consider to trust him. We are approaching 3 years past dday and it has been a ton of work and hard conversations. It is starting to pay off. It had it been easy at all. There have been many high and lows like a major roller coaster. My husband knows whatever i have done or asked of him has been genuine. That is who I am though. I have done nothing for revenge or to make him feel bad. He is lucky and he knows it. Based on what he did I could have done much more to him.

        As far as you I think you need to decide if you want to be in the marriage. If you do then I would suggest you ask him what he needs from you and in your marriage. I think those are two different things. Get to therapy too. It is so critical to work through the pain of what has happened for both of you. Then what should your marriage look like going forward. And can you start to rebuild the trust.

        My biggest advice is to be honest and transparent in everything you do. Also listen more and do not be defensive. that was a major step forward when my husband stopped being defensive. And honestly everhthing he said sounded like excuses. Good luck

        • Shifting Impressions

          Hopeful is giving you such good advice. In my case everything was up to me as well. My husband told me I could tell whoever I needed to. Like Hopeful, I did not use that as a way of hurting him back or causing more damage.

          My children were all adults when I discovered the affair. The two more sensitive of the four saw in my eyes and heard in my voice that something was very wrong,
          Long story short….all four of them know. And they have been supportive and loving to both me and my husband who cheated. Their compassion has been amazing.

          There is hope. As Hopeful suggested be honest and transparent. Don’t run away from your husband’s pain. He is grieving and it’s a process that can’t be rushed.

          I hope the best for you.

      • Exercisegrace

        Ann, I am amazed that you would ask your husband to withhold the truth of your affair from your kids. They are always more perceptive than we give them credit for and they always know “something” is wrong within the family. It is healing for the truth to be out and emotions dealt with. While your husband didn’t choose the best manner to do so, he is hurting beyond anything you can imagine. If I read correctly, he is only four months into healing. You seem quite focused on yourself and not very focused on helping him heal. Perhaps you need to focus on whether you want to remain in the marriage, and seek counseling for the next steps.
        You think he is “faking”? You expect him to “fight” for you? You should be grateful he is even still in the picture. The entitlement in your post is staggering.

    • Joan

      Funny I actually gave my husband my wish list in writing. I of course got no response at all.

      I want no gifts that are purchased. I want
      1. A passionate kiss
      2. To be touched
      3. To spend more quality time together with no phones no distractions
      4. For him to end the affair and choose to really work on us.

      I doubt I’ll get any of these. Surgery us,scheduled for January 3rd and terrified that I will die under anesthesia and die miserable. Also there is a chance that after recovery I will not be able to have intercourse without pain and we haven’t had intimacy in so many years I’m afraid I’ll never have it again

      • GrowthMindset

        I will be sending all the healing thoughts your way for a surgery that has the best possible outcome. Do you have other people who can share some positive energy with you leading up to the surgery? Holding onto your fear is a protective instinct but one that has no basis in reality.

        I want you to have at least one of those things from your list. You deserve all of them.

        • Joan

          Thanks so much for your good wishes. The day is almost over and I got none of them

    • Rose

      My husbands last EA was with his first cousin…3000 miles away. Strictly sexting and looong calls while I was away. Though that is 2 years done, she still calls and emails his mom. Husband takes care of his elderly mom and we monitor her mail and calls. I have asked him to block her from being able to call or email his mother ( she’s demented and won’t care) but he has not. I could easily do it but I just want this ONE thing that he won’t do. That’s my current and only wish. He can return the other gifts.

      • Sarah P.

        Hi Rose,

        My husband and I met his female first cousin only once at his brother’s wedding. His first cousin is married with kids. Even though she had never met my husband in person, she ended up getting drunk and hitting on my husband in front of me, her own husband, and her children!!

        I told my H there is going to be no contact with his cousin on even a casual basis. No Christmas or Hanukkah cards, no nothing. She made her intentions clear.

        You should have seen the look of dismay and embarrassment on her husband and her children’s faces. Her husband falls into the ‘good catch’ realm. Her husband is a medical doctor, great husband and great father. He is an all-around stand up guy. Yet, she had to hit on my husband who is her cousin. (Her husband does not deserve that and I think he is too nice for her.)

        By the way, my husband did NOT respond to the flirtation, but it was still as embarrassing as heck.

        I have only one male first cousin, but when I think of him, I think of him like a brother. The idea of having anything with him is just GROSS!!!!!!! Who in the heck would want to have an affair with their brother? Because that’s how it would feel for me.

        But the way, did your husband have an EA before his cousin?

        • Angela

          WTH? Who are these people carrying on with their COUSINS?!?! OMG.

          • Sarah P

            I know… one might imagine folks from the back hills of Appalachia see this as okay behavior. But, my husband’s first cousin has a PhD in the sciences, lives in a large city, and she was raised better than that. But, PhD in the sciences or not, I guess she did not get the memo about how incest is responsible for some very nasty conditions/genetic disorders that come only with in-breeding.

            I just don’t understand why someone would do this. I vaguely recall my own father telling me about being hit on by his first (female) cousin. Like a good man, he said, “no thank you.” What is with these women? In both examples, it was the female cousin who was the predator.

            • Angela

              Hate to give TMI, but I was born and raised in the foothills of Appalachia and cousin-dating is just not done, lol. I can’t for the life of me figure where this idea comes from unless it was something done 100s of years ago. Maybe the people actually up in the hills where there is no one else to date? OMG!

            • Sarah P.

              Hi Angela,
              Yeah did not mean to offend Appalachia. It’s a beautiful place and many are descendants of the Scots Irish. I think I was trying to convey that cousin marrying perhaps happens in places where there are few people with an isolated population. I should have just said that because truth be told, I adore the Appalachian mountain chain. Hope you had a merry Christmas!

        • Rose

          He sure did. Once a year earlier with a student (lasted for 2 years). He lied to me and said it was over while he continued to see her for another year and a half. Another one 20 years ago with a barmaid who listened to him cry in his beer while he gave her money for her single mom with baby lie ( her boyfriend got her to do this to customers so he would profit). There have been others that he tried to start and went nowhere and who knows how many others.

          • Rose

            Btw he did the same thing with his cousin…confided in her, betrayed me, while she sent him nude pics and sex positions she “would do for him.” Oh yes…I still have the emails.

    • Patsy50


      I don’t know how long ago you had your affair but it seems like your husband needs some help in working on his marriage, if that’s what he wants to do. As a BS of an emotional affair, and 6 years out from DDay, you need both parties to work together and it’s a chance that one party just can’t move forward and then it ends in divorce. As for your daughter knowing what you have done, that’s up to both of you to decide if and when you should tell her. In my case my daughters were adults. They had their own opinions about what their father did but also they supported me in whatever decision I made whether it be stay in the marriage or divorce. My news of my husbands EA came around the holidays also and I told my husband we will act as normal around our families, I guess it was taking a break so to speak from the affair issues and that meant if we had to put on an act we did as it was none of anybody’s business what had transpired between us. Communication is the most important thing here. If it was talked about before your daughter came home from college there should have been a plan in effect on how this conversation would be handled. Only you know how your situation is, maybe divorce is in the cards as your husband will never come to terms with your affair if he stays and that’s not good as your relationship will always be in turmoil. I wish you the best going forward.

    • Shattered

      My wish for Christmas is for good health and for my husband to recomit to our marriage. On 14 December I underwent surgery for the removal of a sarcoma (cancer) in my thigh. This also involved a skin flap graft from my right thigh to my left thigh. It was major surgery. I am still in quite a lot of pain and having mobility problems. This year has been so hard. In April I found out my husband had been having a long term affair with an employee. He says he checked out of our marriage years ago. I feel he is only with me to see me through my treatment and recovery and then will leave. I am trying my best to work on myself while going through my cancer battle. I don’t want to lose my husband and am not going to give up. Some days are overwhelming though. Merry Christmas everyone. Hug your loved ones and never ever take your good health for granted x

      • Nearly Normal


        Hope your pain goes away. hang in there. Merry Christmas.

      • Shifting Impressions

        I am sorry you are going through this. All the best to you….I hope things turn around.

      • Hopeful

        Shattered, thinking of you as you heal. You have given such good advice to not take your health for granted. Hang in there!!

    • Hopeful

      For me since dday I have not held off on talking with my husband. I do wait for the appropriate time but I will not put it off. I feel that is potentially how he ended up having affairs. I would never have an affair but as time goes by and there are any sort of negative feelings my experience is they get worse.

      All i wish for related to things that cannot be changed and are from the past. I know it is pointless. As for now I hope we are both honest and willing to work our hardest. That is all i can ask for. I am more thankful than ever that this all cake out and was not kept secret. Since I think the secrets are more destructive than the actual affairs.

    • JTK

      I just need to vent and ask for e-hugs. Christmas was one year from dday. There has been no progress, just as far apart as ever. I read the posts about telling kids; I shared dday info with my adult daughter in Aug asking for her thoughts about validity. Found out she had seen some things too. I told my w later that I told her hoping it would awaken her to what she was doing to us. It backfired and pushed her over the edge – said she was done.

      We did go to counseling this fall, but the last session the counselor said there’s nothing else she could do. My w said she has no feelings or emotions for me whatsoever and was suggesting splitting. I said in the last session that everyday is a choice, and everyday I choose my w. I am not giving up on our marriage.

      This whole fall my w has been cold to me, polite but distant – no more touching, no more holding hands when we pray in church, minimal conversation. She certainly acts done.

      I have shared with some here what I found on dday, but now I think I made a huge mistake that it was nothing more than inappropriate flirting. Everything I have done this year has just pushed my w further away.

      As I have searched for ways to get back your w, I keep coming across to be strong, a bold man, the man she was originally attracted to. The problem is that I had a prodigal past prior to our marriage and becoming a Christian. I don’t want to elaborate but that past keeps me from being seen as a strong man. It is frustrating because I have been a faithful husband and at least in my mind cherishing my beautiful, smart, fun w and tried to show my love for her. Now as I look back I see how much I tried but could not make her happy. I think my past has played a role in her unhappiness all along. I failed and am not capable of making her happy.

      The loss is enormous. My w was my best friend, is my only true love. I so miss our closeness, her touches, our enjoying life together. I see that it seems my love for was greater than hers for me. Despite my numerous failures as a husband though nothing marriage-breaking, I know how much love I have had and still do have. But, I cannot be the man she desires. I have a scarlett letter so to speak. This would keep me from being a man for anyone else should we divorce not that I want anyone else. My friends say I am a good person, a good husband but they don’t know my ugliness. Again frustrating as this was decades ago, I am thankful for my w’s grace on this, but it seems that has run out. I think she was looking for a way out.

      I feel like my life is over; at 50 it seems young and a lot of years to be alone. I think my w will leave me soon though she already has emotionally. I have lost a part of me. I am empty, so alone. To see her no longer love me is excruciating. The thought of her loving someone else is devastating. I still go to my own counselor, but I am hopeless – a scarred man, unloveable, a Christian hanging on each day by prayer and His word, friends that are there for me.

      • Shifting Impressions

        I am so sorry you are going through this. Your past is your past….you are no longer that person. There is forgiveness….but you have to forgive yourself as well. If I am reading correctly, your wife knew of your past before she married you.

        We are each responsible for our own happiness…..there could be many other factors contributing to her unhappiness. Her own happiness is her responsibility.

        You deserve to be happy, you deserve to be loved…we all do. We can’t MAKE someone love us. Perhaps you need to be willing to let her go. I don’t want my husband to stay with me unless he wants to and if he loves me.

        Take care of you for your own sake and the sake of your children. God gave you the gift of forgiveness when you became a Christian….don’t throw it back at him.

        Thinking of you

      • TheFirstWife


        I agree with shifting impressions. You are allowed to make mistakes and if you are no longer that person, then you can change and forgive yourself.

        By not forgiving yourself – you will remain stuck at a point in time that is no longer applicable to you.

        My H is no longer a cheater – I have forgiven him and we have moved forward. As a Christian – that is what Jesus taught us. Some of his disciples were not good people – tax collectors and some bad people. But they changed. For the better.

        And they were no longer condemned for their past. They were redeemed.

        You can erase some of the past mistakes from your M – but it takes two committed people. If your W no longer wants to work on the M unfortunately you can’t change her choice.

        It is just sad it has come to this point. Because I always held out hope that issues can be resolved (in many cases) and the marriage repaired. But sometimes people give up and don’t have the ability to do that.

        I’m sorry for you. But life is NOT over at 50. Far from it. You could have another 30 or 40+ years left to live.

        My grandmother was widowed 3x – with three really great husbands. Even in her 70s she met her third H and was happily married until he passed away. Please don’t give up – your life is not doomed or over at 50.

        Your marriage may not last – but you will get past it. Look at so many of us here at EAJ who survived infidelity. One if the worst things to happen to me – painful and brutal. But I’m still standing and happy.

        Have faith. Pray. Believe in you.

        Start the new year with a different outlook – acceptance. Of you and your past. The current state of your M. All of it.

        • JTK

          TFW & SI
          First let me say thank you for your comnents and encouragement. I need your help.

          As far as forgiving my past – up until this last year I had done well forgetting my past, I think forgiving myself. Occasionally something would trigger remembering it. There were a couple of times in past years that my w said, “You owe me” referring to my past. I think back to those and is a part of why I think it contributed to her unhappiness.

          When I was hit a year ago with the freight train of OMG, my w does not love me anymore, then all of it resurfaced in my mind. While I had moved on from my past, my w’s love provided validation and acceptance for me. Now that is stripped away. I have to admit that this year I have had thoughts of lacking acceptance by God, but I know better.

          There were times when I wonder if it had affected our intimacy and sex life. I did not let it affect me. I am a man of passion and loving.

          I have been trying to come to grips with letting her go, not that I have a choice. I know that means emotionally as well. But I love my w as much now as ever. As I told our counselor, it is like a parent says they would love their child no matter what, I love her no matter what. I see this being the case til I die. I have prayed for God to help me as I let her go knowing the love I will have for her and really wish she had for me instead of someone else.

          As far as finding someone else, if I would get to a point of finding love and pending marriage, there are certain things you need to share with your spouse – the good, bad, and ugly about you, and mine is embarrasing and shameful. It was hard enough being vulnerable with my w. She is the only one that knows. I don’t know that I can be that vulnerable again, and seeing what it seems to have done to my w, I don’t want that for anyone else. The other option is to say I can’t share some things with you, but then it affects intimacy having secrets. A marriage should not have secrets.

          So what would you think? I am a Christian, loving man, not over the top, have a kind and gentle spirit, I am quiet to myself at times but like to laugh and have fun, think I am easy to get along with, not handsome (which my w pointed out this year), have communication issues at times, have sone faults as all do, but here is the kicker potential wives, I have this past that could really impact our intimacy and sex life if I tell you. So, would you be interested? I keep hearing about women needing a strong man, bold. I will not be that for my w if she knows my past, and it is not fair to her to hide something. I am in a no-win situation. Add to it that I will always have my deep love for my current w, how can I look at the next 30-40 years with hope?

          There is a quote saying “You find that God is all you need when He is all you have.” I told my friends, how does that translate into everyday needs/desires for affection and companionship? I am searching desparately for some kind of answer, some kind of path forward – any suggestions, thoughts?

          • Nearly Normal

            Hi JTK.

            This is not a counseling answer, but a Christian answer. Others can give you good advice in other areas.

            God will help and support you, and He is all you need. But that does not necessarily mean that your everyday needs/desires for affection and companionship are met the way you want them to be. Sometimes He tells us, “I am not giving you what you ask, but My grace is sufficient for you.” That means He will get you through, but it may hurt like hell. He will have good gifts to shower on you, but they may not be the gifts you want. You may live with pain for a long time.

            Having said that, I pray it does not happen for you. I hope your wife gets her act together and rededicates herself to the marriage. But maybe it won’t happen. It is in God’s hands, and He is wiser than we are. Either way, He will be with you. He sympathizes with your pain, since He became a man to suffer all we have, and worse. Remember He loves you, no matter what happens.

            As a fellow man dealing with similar pain, I will keep praying for you.

            • Rose

              I am an atheist and mean no disrespect, but “thoughts and prayers” don’t work for me. I do hope they work for you. Maybe if your prayers are working for you. “God” is telling you to leave. I know you love her but maybe “God’s plan” is for something better for you. You are NOT unlovable. The issue with our spouses that betray us is that THEY are the ones with problems and character flaws. I have to keep remembering that about my H. I have done so much research over the years that, while I understand more about why he did what he did because of his mental problems, what I don’t understand is why I stayed. But that is MY problem and something I need to work on. I can’t fix him; I can only control my reactions. You can’t make her love you and there is nothing wrong with still loving her. You can only control your reaction to the hurt and pain. It may be a very hard pill to swallow that “God’s plan” MAY be that you are destined to be with someone else who will cherish you the way you want and NOT your wife. I’m sorry you are going through this and again mean no disrespect to your faith–I just don’t have those same beliefs.

            • JTK

              Thank you for your comments. I am truly thankful for my w seeing her as a gift I did not deserve. Though if she breaks her vows that would be pain to add to list I sent NN.

              If God were to give me someone else that would cherish me, a 2nd gift in my life, that would be remarkable. God is in the remarkable business.

              Thank you for your encouragement, Rose.

            • JTK

              That’s a tough pill to take but I hear ya. Not seeing another answer it makes sense. Notwithstanding a miracle, I will be living with pain for a long time and I deserve it. Pain times….
              1 lost my best friend
              2 love unreturned that was for 28 years
              3 failure – unable to help bring happiness to love of my life
              4 missing her touches
              5 knowing she is happy without me
              6 knowing she is loving someone else
              7 consequences of my sin

              I guess I will find out what it means to only need His grace.
              I appreciate your prayers. I am just trying to survive hour by hour. When she leaves all of these pains will escalate – I cannot imagine how I will make it.

            • Nearly Normal

              I would say, think less about what you deserve. Yeah, you have a past, but you did not deserve your wife pulling away from you. She made promises, and if she breaks them, that is not on you. No one forced her to say “For better or worse.”

              If she leaves, (Keep trying to get her back to the end!) seek out friends and counseling and so forth. There’s a lot of good advice on other entries of this blog for when you’re going through dark days. It will help, and you’ll get through it.

            • JTK

              Thanks NN
              I am not giving up on her; she is so fet up with me right now, all I can really do is give her space and time.
              I will lean on whoever I can; I’ll check out the blogs.
              I will pray for you as well.

            • Shifting Impressions

              I agree with NN….think less about what you deserve. But I disagree with the keep trying to get her back thing.

              I am speaking to you as a woman and as a Christian….get some spine. She is treating you like doormat and you are allowing it. I’m sorry I really hated saying that. The thing is you need to get some self-respect. When we allow someone to treat us like a door mat they lose all respect for us.

              Stop being a martyr….get some help dealing with your past. Take care of you. Ask yourself why you think it’s okay to stay with someone that treats you so poorly. I know this sounds harsh….I really don’t mean it to be. But seriously….you deserve better.

            • JTK

              I tried a few times earlier this year to stick my chest out so to speak, be firm, tell it like it is. It never ended the way I wanted. I feel like I’ve said all I can, the counselor there’s nothing more, her parents are giving innuendos about separating. I believe shortly after the kids go back to college she will either leave or bring up how to go separate ways. So, I think it’s over anyway.

              I tend to see God’s message through daily verses and a few weeks ago it said, “The Lord will fight for you and you have only to be silent”. God’s the only one able to get through that brick wall.

              I have been seeing a counselor who says to just give myself grace. I really think I am a good person, good husband, and could have my self respect if it weren’t for this stupid scarlett letter. I just want to hit the freakin delete button. I am not that person from 30 years ago!!! and I am so frustrated.

              No worries on being harsh and a doormat. Call it like it is. I guess life is just not this way but what I see in the Bible is to hold onto a marriage and givevthe grace we’ve been given.

              Thank you for your help!

            • Rose

              See, again the “Jesus take the wheel” attitude that “God” gave us brains. We need to use them to help ourselves. Either do nothing and believe the “Lord” will do it for you (and get the result of nothing improving) or use your heart that He also gave you and FIGHT with all your might for what you want. Tell your wife exactly what you told us. Get angry and stand up for yourself. I get mad at my H because he’s a (pardon my French) pussy when it comes to asserting himself. He won’t. All I wanted for Christmas was for this woman (who is a family member) to be permanently deleted. He hasn’t done it. He has never stood up for me or defended me or our marriage. If he had truly wanted it he would have fought. And that’s what I think you should do. You will know you did all you could for your marriage and if she chooses to go, she will. The “Lord” will not decide it for her. You are not your past. All that matters is NOW. Reading the Bible may give you peace but that won’t help your marriage unless she is reading it with you and you are both seeing your pastor or counselor. FIGHT or give up, your choice…not anyone else’s.

            • Shifting Impressions

              I am glad that I did not offend you….that was definitely not my intention. I am sorry that some of your earlier attempts to stand firm did not work out.

              I agree with the counselor about giving yourself grace. Sometimes, strange as It might sound…stepping back is fighting for your marriage. It’s like the old saying about opening the door to the bird cage…If the bird returns it really belongs with you.

              Sometimes we keep doing the same thing over and over and expect different results. It almost seems as if your wife expects you to fight for her and behave as if you don’t deserve her love. You do deserve her love.

              Sometimes when we stop pursuing and take a step back things change. Our spouses expect us to pursue and try to fix etc. Early on after d-day I told my husband I only wanted him to stay with me if that what was he really wanted. I told him as painful as it would be, I would survive without him. I will never forget his response. He said but he didn’t think he would survive.

              Same with getting him to open up about things the more I pursued or should I say pressured the more closed he was. When I stopped and took a step back and focused on taking care of myself….he became more open.

              Telling your best friend and the person you love more than anyone else in the world that they are free to go is hard. Telling them that if you aren’t enough for them that they are free to go is painful. But in all honesty I only want him to stay if he wants to be with me.

              I wish you all the best.

            • JTK

              This past summer we had a conversation because I was frustrated that I was still not seeing her love me and told her I was passionate about her. I followed up with a letter in which I talked about my passion.

              I have been passionate about things throughout my life – in younger days at college to present – when I was playing golf, learning a language, involved in church.

              I told her that the only way I know to be with her is passionate- passionate about spending time with her, passionate about sharing deepest feelings and thoughts, passionate about sharing experiences of life, passionate about helping and supporting each other, passionate about being affectionate and desiring each other. I told her this is the only way that makes sense to be in marriage. I told her this is what I see in the Bible as well where it says not to be lukewarm.

              She had no response to that letter. Three weeks later I catch her after the fact meeting her coworker in a park and when I asked she lied about where she was. I think she’s been gone a long time. For years we had a sexless marriage and she seemed agitated a lot during this time. I stayed patient through those years which was a mistake – again no spine to speak up – what the ? Then about 2+ years ago things got better and she seemed happier. She had said all of that had nothing to do with me but how she felt about herself. I wonder now if that change including her thinking she would eventually move on from me.

              Maybe you can see more about why I am frustrated. I want this life of passion with my best friend and love and she does not want that with me. I can’t be with anyone else so I am stuck, trapped desiring life, fun, love and have run out of hope that it will ever be – and yes with my w the love of my life.

    • Terry

      Even though my H and I have rebuilt our marriage, I still feel sadness looking back at the time of his EA. I communicated with him to please stop his behaviors that were drawing him towards her and pushing me away. It came to a head due to one very emotionally damaging event. I gave him the rings back and told him “it’s me or her”. I did it calmly. I was done with his not listening. I was over the disrespect he showed me in our social circle and in public. He claimed he couldn’t see anything wrong with his behaviors.
      My sadness comes from the fact that it took drawing the line to get him to stop. Why couldn’t he stop when I asked and talked about how I was being affected and what I was missing in our relationship? Why does it feel like he is only closer to me due to time spent with me? Why, when she and I were both right next to him in social situations, did he gravitate towards her and not see it? It was like I didn’t exist except for bedroom activities. I didn’t begin to see this until after we were married and he kept building their emotional bond.
      I love him. I know love is also a verb, what you do and put into a relationship. He does actions now that express love. But I am still sad that when she was available to him, that he chose her company until I drew the line that I wouldn’t be there for him – that I would leave his life.

      • TryingToGetOver

        Terry, don’t keep comparing yourself to her, it’s not going to help you move forward. You were right to issue an ultimatum, I think; that’s what I had to do as well. It sucked. He laid a lot of guilt on me about my “all or nothing” attitude and what he was “giving up” (which he claimed was friendship, ha!). I do wish that knowing he was making me suicidal would have been enough for my husband to stop, but no, he needed me to demand a total end to the affair and that was crappy that he needed that. But here’s the thing: My husband did, in the end, choose me; and it sounds like your husband did, in the end, choose you. Let’s hold onto that and move forward. These sirens out there may always turn their head, but if our husbands are committed to us and learned from their mistakes, then we can have better, more honest days ahead. In the meantime, never hesitate to voice your insecurities in a nonblaming way. Tell him what will help you. “Keep your arm around me and I’ll feel so much better at this party!” I also sat my husband down and made him list all the things he likes about me that she does not have, which was somewhat silly and ridiculous but left us both smiling. I am betting he wants you to be happy; we all want the people we love to be happy, in the end.

        • Terry

          TTGO, thank you for your support. Giving him the opportunity to do as he wanted, act as he wanted to with OW by giving him the rings back was my way of telling him “if she is THE ONE for you, go, be happy with her, but I can’t stand here and watch you have emotional sex with her, in front of me, in public, with even your co-worker thinking she was your wife (and that I was a complete stranger) – it is too painful”.
          Yes, he chose me and I give him credit for doing that 29 years ago without needing to ask anyone’s advise or to use the internet. He did it on his own right after I issued my utlimatum. I guess I just never imagined myself being in the position of needing to tell my already committed H to chose me again instead another woman, so that he would treat me like he valued our relationship and cherished me as a person
          Our MC wasn’t competent. He encouraged us to just reconnect. He didn’t believe in EA’s or their damage. He didn’t give our “first” marriage a proper funeral and get into H’s baggage. His baggage continued to plague us up to last year – withholding in various forms – sex, help, socializing as a couple with and without others around, any non-sexual touch, you get the point . It is a trigger for me because I equate withholding with his EA – withheld attention/affection/appreciation/time/emotional bonding from me, but freely/willingly/generously gave it to her. Non EA generosity examples were dropping everything to help a male neighbor/looking for ways to help other husbands, but when I would explicitly request help with even the littlest task (pass me that plate to put in the dishwasher), I was on my own – nope, you can do it yourself. It reinforced that he’d still withhold his love language from me (helpful with chores).
          We have two daughters, 16 & 21. One wish is to not scare them away from marriage. Marriages can be wonderful and fulfilling, but 3’s a crowd. Choose your friends and best friend/husband very carefully.
          Over time, I realized H was very socially/relationship-wise naive/inexperienced + stubborn about getting feedback in that area if it meant he might need to change anything about himself in order to co-exist with another person. Of all the things he could be naive about, it had to be about relationships – the core reason for us being “us” and taking vows. Smart people can have very little common sense when it applies to people situations. I wish we had financial problems, or that he couldn’t cook, etc. Why did it need to be an EA situation, one that I was pointing out to him and trying my best to resolve before it blew up?
          I can compare it to a situation many people are dealing with today – driving on ice. People can be completely oblivious to the dangers because they are oblivious/stubborn/naive on the subject, or are aware that ice can be a problem, but oblivious to the situation right now – that the dangers are occurring at this minute because of the temp & what they see and how the car is reacting, or dismissive of anyone else reminding them to drive carefully today because of the ice, or they don’t give a sh*t about themselves or anyone else (either the ones worried when they leave the house to drive, the other drivers out there that they might injure, or the owners of any property they might damage if they loose control) and will drive as they damn well please.
          For us, the EA was already in an early form at the time we got married. Afterwards, the EA immediately started to grow and get in the way of our bonding as a married couple – we didn’t live together until after we married and we had some work to do because his parents were HORRIBLE examples. H was conditioned to not listen to “the wife because she’s an idiot”. H knew I wasn’t an idiot in anyway, but started treating me like his dad treated his wife. We had that talk while dating, but he went on automatic after the honeymoon. Even repeating “all these years we’ve been married, you’ve been treating me this way”. We hadn’t even been married 2 months. Blaming was their way of life, so everything I tried to communicate as a wife came across as if I was blaming – he assumed it was blame and tuned me out, like he was taught to do.
          It was like us getting married was a cue to OW to ramp up trying to bond with him. I have read so many things about ex-gf/ex-bf, ex spouses coming back into their lives and reigniting the emotional bond again that I wonder how sincerely you can trust someone that didn’t end an EA because they felt it was wrong (willingly), but because they were given the “all or nothing” (ultimatum) and made a choice (I thought the choice was made at engagement/marriage ceremony time!!) of who to continue to have in their life.
          My wish is for my H to continue to do things that are positive for our relationship, that he will curtail his tendency to withhold (time, energy, affection, attention, appreciation, etc) and will instead find a way to express himself to me in healthier ways when his needs aren’t being met in someway. I wish is to never have another woman without proper relationship boundaries try to get into his (and our) life. For me, there is only one second chance.
          Recently, we went through another long withholding spell, but after finding this site, showing him articles, having him read books I got this fall, writing my thoughts/feelings on notes, texting him more, long talks, I’ve finally seen real evidence that he’s finally got it. He finally understands just how deep it hurt and that he repeatedly reminded me of the hurt by his own actions (but not EA’s again). He’s really trying this time. Better late than never. We also got new rings to symbolize that we both feel this reconciliation feels different this time. There is hope.

          • TryingToGetOver

            Hope is a wonderful thing! Wishing you all the best, you’ve been working hard at this and I hope now he does as well.

    • Terry

      There is another item on my wish list, but I know it will never come to pass. It concerns H’s behavior while he was in “the fog”,that made me issue the ultimatum “her or me”. OW was flirty and we knew her from college. H and OW “friendship” got in the way of our bonding attempts after we were married – it was like it was a challenge to her to get him to be her best friend, not me. She was newly married too. OW bonding to my H was a slow process, but she seemed to need to be close friends with H and he invited her into his personal life (and now into our life – marriage topics were part of the conversations he relayed at times). H didn’t know the dangers of continuing to make time to listen and emotionally bond with another woman that wasn’t his wife. H didn’t understand or recognize how it was affecting our bond. I’m trying to go with naivety on his part – I was the only girl he ever dated and we never had an issue like this while dating. I thought he knew the basic rules. I thought he would listen to me when I opened up REPEATEDLY to him that I was emotionally vulnerable and upset by what I saw and heard between the two of them. It was only after we got married that their relationship became closer and became a problem for us. We had other female friends and they all seemed to understand the basic rules “he’s taken, don’t come between us, either physically enticing or emotionally enticing”.
      All I get from H is “I don’t know” & “I don’t remember”. I want too understand if it was intentional or it was weakness. Was H being socially dense or was he in the fog and just didn’t care about how his actions looked to everyone, including me, and he didn’t care how I felt. My wish is to find out if H was already planning to go to lunch with OW when he called me for THE lunch date (below), if so, who called who beforehand(H or OW), if so, why did he lie to me that it would be just the two of us and then act annoyed as to why I was mad that he showed up with OW. If it was just going to be the two of us when he called me, how did that change into a 3-some? Did he call her? Did she call him? Did they bump into each other on the way out? Did he ask her at that point, on reflex? Did she ask if he was heading to lunch and get him to agree to her butting in on OUR PLANS? Why did he think it was a good idea to invite me, his wife, to lunch with him and then actually have no interest in interacting with me(and when he did, be nasty to me) AND to top it off, bring along the one female I told him I didn’t like him being close friends with along on to lunch, have her sit in the front of his car and then all of his time, attention, affection was solely directed at her during the lunch? Why didn’t he think about how his behavior was being perceived by his male co-worker?
      Why did he show up later when I was at my college library studying that evening for a midterm exam (THE EXAM WAS THAT NIGHT!) trying to tell me that “You’ve got it all wrong, it wasn’t the way it looked. You looked so so stupid being upset. There was nothing to be upset about. We’re just friends”. Friends don’t crash husband & wife dates. Husbands that care about their wive’s feelings make sure they don’t do anything that they could take the wrong way. Caring husbands (that aren’t in THE FOG) notice their wives when they are with them, especially if the H invites the wife on the date. If the wife looks pissed and they don’t have a clue why, they at least care enough to ask what’s wrong. H was in THE FOG and was rationalizing/justifying making the lunch all about his need to focus on OW. I was treated like an unwelcome stranger that was tagging along on their date. I was treated as the one with the problem. I gave him the solution – the rings back and I was done and out of the marriage. Besides this lunch, we had contact with OW socially – in the same social group – where I saw his need to act unattached come out when he was around OW.
      The details – H called me at work to ask me if I wanted to go to lunch with him. I was working long hours and taking Master’s degree courses at night. We had recently bought a house that we were trying to fix up. I was thrilled at the thought of being able to see him for 30 minutes, just us two. But, I was aware H and OW were meeting for lunch constantly – he would mention it and some bits of information about their conversations. No, he wasn’t keeping it secret at this point. H still claims no sexual chemistry – yeah, right, she was called as beautiful as a model by other female co-workers. So, knowing that they frequently met, I point-blank asked him if this lunch would be just the two of us. H hesitated a moment and then said yes. I was so looking forward to time alone with him – a short lunch date with my H. Carving out time for me instead of her.
      H had a 2 door car at the time. The car pulled up to my building. Who was in the front passenger seat??0- the OW was. I think I was in shock. She didn’t get out to go into the back. H didn’t appear to ask her to move. H got out and moved his seat and indicated that I my seat was now the backseat of his car. She was now his co-pilot. I tried not to let that bother me too much, but looking back it was symbolic of the changing relationship dynamics. There was no physical reason for her to need to be in the front seat (not on crutches, 8 months pregnant, etc.).
      We go into a Taco Bell. The lunch line was moving, but long. The wait to get to the counter was about 5 minutes, but back then the menu was smaller and they got the food out quickly.
      While on line, H and OW were standing in front of me, side by side, chatting away, making eye contact, and there was a lot of body language from both of them that they were very comfortable with each other. … H is an engineer. H told me a joke recently – how can you tell an introverted engineer from an extroverted engineer? The introvert looks at their own shoes, the extrovert looks at the other person’s shoes. The eye contact – even now, he only holds steady eye contact with very few people. … They didn’t include me. They didn’t look at me. They weren’t talking work. It was something mundane about her brother’s interests in cars. My attempts to enter the conversation were rebuffed, like I was an unwelcome intrusion.
      While on line, I heard a man say, hey -H’s name- so this must be your wife!. He was referring to the OW. H replied, no, that’s my wife, pointed behind him and went back to his engaging conversation with OW. H didn’t stop his behavior. H didn’t change his body language to include me. H didn’t introduce me to his male co-worker.
      I still wonder how many of my co-workers were in there at the time and saw what was going on. I wonder if his co-worker started gossip about H and his OW.
      We sat down to eat. I did get to sit next to H, while she was across from him. H didn’t look at me. He stayed focused on OW and their conversation. I tried again to get a word in edge-wise – there was almost no gap in their conversation. OW seemed to just smile at my attempt, H turned and gave me a glare and a “shut up”.
      How did accepting a lunch date invite from my H turn into telling H I was done? My wish is to understand the event and intent of that painful turning point that broke my heart.

    • Rose

      Im so sorry. My H went on lunch dates for 2 years, even after he lied to me that it wasn’t happening. He still refuses to call them dates but has no other word for it. Your H has disrespected you to an extreme. I would have refused to get in the car and then had the locks changed before he got home.

    • TheFirstWife

      Your H is in an A and in denial.

      I lived with that situation for 4 years in that the OW desperately wanted my H. I even told Jim that the first time I met her.

      It is called A fog. The good need you have the benefit of seeing it for yourself.

      The bad news is you cannot get a person to change unless they want to. So your H may not want to make any changes.

      I will tell you that you are young. I don’t know your culture or marital dynamics BUT I have known my H 35 years. At no time did he or would he ever tell me to shut up in public or in front of anyone else.

      You should. It accept or tolerate the disrespect.

      I suggest you google Affair fog. It will help you understand where your H is at this time.

      I only got the A to stop when I didn’t speak to him for 3 days and almost left him.

      Anything I tried before that – he lied and stinewallled and gaslit me the entire time.

      And then 15 years later cheated again b/c the first EA was swept under the rug.

      • Rose

        About a month ago I noted to my H that I knew he had been messaging a “friend” on FB. He got angry and told me to shut up. That’s the first and last time he’ll ever say that to me.

      • Terry

        This EA was years ago. It is on my wish list because I never got answers to intent and the event – how did OW know about our lunch date and what was H thinking when he asked me to lunch and then completely forgot about engaging with me. I guess he found a better lunch date in his mind, while he was in the fog.
        I read another article about dating and the mindset of people who decide to stop dating and decide they WANT to settle into a long-term relationship. The age can vary widely and it can vary by individual experiences and family values.
        One interesting point that was made in the article I think pertains to both H and OW. Both didn’t have a history of dating many people before dating and marrying. It seems that some people need to at least get the experience of dating(not necessarily long-term), getting rejected, rejecting, determining behaviors they want in a spouse and behaviors that are deal-breakers. These types get feedback from others in the single scene environments that they are desirable – flirting is opening potential relationships. Once the flirting doesn’t seem to get the same level of response, these people start to loose interest in playing the field because their choices are now getting limited, and it isn’t their choice. If they want a long-term relationship, they need to start getting serious about the search. They have to decide to stop looking everywhere and decide on THE ONE.
        My point is that neither H or OW did the dating scene before marriage. Both went into long-term dating of the one person who became their spouse (me for H). But I believe a component of their “friendship” was a longing for looking into options – they may have felt like they committed to early and this was their way of acting out that need/feeling.
        When my H and I dated, we didn’t have any issues with any female friends coming in between us. We didn’t ever feel the need to break-up/make-up. His behaviors towards me as “the wife” are partly due to his family upbringing – superficial respect for his mother and sisters with his dad emulating how to treat them – not physical abuse, but more emotional neglect + a tinge of abusive attitude. H did a 180 on his attitude towards me – as a girlfriend he treated me well but as a wife he threw in behaviors learned while growing up.
        Even though we moved on, H repeats his sarcastic, withholding & negative ways enough over the years that it keeps picking at the EA scab in me, triggering me. I guess that is why I still would like answers regarding that major event in our past. It is a pipe dream, but it is deep down what I would like to understand about our past so that we can work out our present.

        • Shifting Impressions

          Perhaps it would help to focus on the question “What is true Today?” If you deal with the sarcasm, negativity and withholding that is happening in the present…that is something that can actually be dealt with.

          One book I love is “IT TAKES ONE TO TANGO” by Winifred M Reilly. She talks about the power that we have in our own responses to our spouse’s behavior. She gets you to ask the question “What is really going on here?” when we run into the type of behaviors or patterns you mention.

          This book was extremely helpful to me.
          I wish you the best

          • Terry

            Thank you for the book suggestion. We’ve been trying to live in the present for a long time. It took a long-term withholding phase (18 month w/o sex) that he said was because he was pissed off at me over the years, plus other life stresses at the time, to press the issue that we are just replaying the same core issues with each other. We’re stuck in a loop without introspection to the root causes. He doesn’t introspect. I probably introspect too much. Reading the diary I kept at the time is eye-opening – I was saying what was going on and how I was feeling at the time – over 27 years ago – and I see the same words, actions & feelings in these posts from others. It helps validate that it isn’t my memory and since EA’s weren’t considered a thing by counselors back in the 80’s, the underlying issues/baggage remained.
            I wish everyone the best in dealing with these types of issues. I wish the reason for this site didn’t need to exist in anyone’s life.

            • TheFirstWife

              Terry. Since EA was not a term in the 90s either itvalliwed my H (after a 4 year EA) to gaslight and stonewall. No proof. Before texts and all that.

              AND b/c it was rug swept he cheated again!! Total mid life crisis A. Almost led to a D.

              And I agree the lies and excuses and justifications continue always blame the BS. SMH

            • Terry

              I think H may be an Asperger type due to his obliviousness to social behaviors. He doesn’t pickup on what is acceptable. not just in relating to women & dating. He’s stubborn about getting input/feedback. He very rarely says he’s sorry or thank you. He feels his own feelings, but struggles to acknowledge other peoples feelings, either spoken directly to him and/or thru body language.
              Consider this – our oldest daughter is NVLD. Boys that have symptoms are just considered social awkward. Girls that have symptoms are clueless about the games other girls play socially. NVLD are desperate to socialize, but need a lot more explaining and experience to handle themselves in social settings. She went to a psychologist and had occupational therapy because the brain issues affect the body coordination as well.
              So, it isn’t malice from H. I truly believe at this point that it is an undiagnosed autism spectrum condition that he has been living with and coping with. It has components of OCD too, which add to the fun.
              Our younger daughter has OCD anxieties but is SO MUCH more aware socially than either H or older daughter. She expressed empathy and said “i’m sorry mommy” around 2yrs old without prompting, just watching and listening. My older daughter (21) still struggles at times with empathy, but has come a long way.
              Life and people are more complicated than any one issue can cover. Everyone has a unique brain wiring and life experiences. Some people learn and observe early & quickly, some welcome feedback, some resist social cues to their detriment. I still love him and that is why the pain goes so deep.
              Regarding how that lunch date got setup, H told me he thought I knew she would be coming and that it had all been arranged ahead of time. I responded – then why did I react that way to seeing her at our lunch and to your behaviors at lunch. He may have asked if we could do lunch sometime during the week. Maybe OW called to talk to H and started asking a question about me and then asked if “we” could do lunch soon. Maybe he thought “we” meant H+me. H only called shortly before picking me up to ask if I wanted to go to lunch. I think maybe he was in the middle and didn’t understand and didn’t clarify situation. When I asked if it would be just us (maybe I didn’t say just you & me), that was the source of the hesitation – he was confused – of course it’s just going to be just me, OW and you, as opposed to a larger group.
              He admits the behaviors towards me were extremely rude and disrespectful. My diary entries about H & OW mentioned that I could see that he was drawn to her. One of his issues is nothing is private – if someone asks a question, he’ll answer it. My diary mentions getting pissed at H for disclosing many personal, private bits of information to her, just because she asked him for the info. The spouse poacher found a willing victim. I got him away, but not before there was deep damage done.

            • Terry

              I also told him that if he brought along a male co-worker to our lunch and was totally focused on this other third wheel, that I would have still been pissed at the intrusion into our lunch and my almost complete exclusion from any time or attention from him. I wouldn’t have thought that the person was a threat – it would have been more of the situation pointing out an issue in our relationship -why the rudeness, why the disrespect, why the laser focus on one person without being able to socialize as “we” instead of just me (him). The OW was the only female that has tried this crap on us. It was a repeated assault on our relationship and privacy.

            • Terry

              Another thing. H doesn’t associate his rude and disrespectful behaviors with his “friendship” with OW. He seems to be blaming himself. He doesn’t see her complicity in manipulating his emotions towards her and me. I wish he would show anger towards her for her part in it. It would show me (vs just tell me in words) that he would still choose me even if OW somehow moved to our state/area/town and tried to reconnect. I asked him the other day – what would you do if she showed up here? He said he wouldn’t be rude and would probably say hello. I asked him – what would you do if she asked you to grab a bite to eat to catch up on life? He told me he would decline. I would like to see him feel anger towards her instead of me, like he still somehow blames me for making him get rid of his friend and has been resenting me all this time for the ultimatum. I saw her at work a few times in the six years after the NC ultimatum – I had to stuff my feelings – she was in an internal customer group and I was in a service group. If I saw her now in public, I think I would go off on her in a verbally intense, profane way. I think my H is finally getting the idea of just how close I was to putting things in motion to get our marriage annulled (based on not entering marriage with whole heart and intent) and to remove him from my life.

          • Terry

            I found a youtube video of Winifred Reilly giving a talk about the subject of her book and I’m watching it now.

            • Shifting Impressions

              That sounds interesting. Hopefully it’s helpful. Another really good book is NOT JUST FRIENDS by Shirley Glass.

              How do you like that for an appropriate title!!!

            • Terry

              Got that book in October. Yes, it is a good book and I LOVE the title. I’d like to find short videos that show actors portraying steps in the initial parts of the slippery slope and then actors for spouses showing the damage occurring day by day of EA’s. Some people need a visual aide to “get it” vs reading about it. It would be nice to have videos that then ask spouses to say what they think was going on between the actors, with feedback afterwards from professionals about any dangers in the behaviors shown.

        • Terry

          Just looked at diary entry from just after the EA. I wrote over 20 years ago that my H protested with the term “but we’re just friends”. HAHA The script CS’s use doesn’t change.

          • Terry

            I think my H may only be looking back at his actions on that one day and not the whole picture of friendly encounters with the OW. One good thing is that he would tell me what they talked about and what he told her. When the info he told her was personal/private between the two of us and I told him so and asked why he divulged the info, he would say “she asked me, she’s a friend, was I supposed to be rude to her?” H was so interested in trying to be a friend to another person, he didn’t want to offend her. I felt like I was having to go into parent mode trying to explain what she was asking was none of her business.
            After we were married a few years and had dropped this toxic friend group, I started to realize that H didn’t really have male friends. I asked my MIL about it. She said he was a loner. That made sense after a few years of marriage, but it didn’t come across to me while dating because of a few circumstances. We were in a co-ed frat, so I saw him socializing at times, but his older brother (by a year & attending the same college) was in the frat too – maybe he was given a “pass” despite being a bit of a loner. He always roomed at home with his younger brother (one year younger who went to a different college, married after college and moved to another state shortly afterwards). I realized that, while his brother and he shared a lot of friends, it was his brother who was the social one and my H was a tag along. FIL & MIL didn’t do their parenting job of getting him to make his own friends, have the ups and downs of friendship and learn those lessons growing up.
            Looking back, I remember MIL telling me around the time of the wedding to “take care of him, he’s been very sheltered and might seem confident but can be extremely naive at times”. Ok. Usually the husband gets the “take care of my baby girl speech”, not the other way around. My dad died from cancer when I was 11 & my mom wasn’t the type to say anything like that – she had her own issues. No one gave him the same type of speech about me or was around to have my back or challenge him or his actions. I was on my own.
            One of the weird things OW did – for some reason H told me we needed to go to her house (her H was at the house). It was summer time & a heatwave was going on and she has no air conditioning in their starter home. We show up and step inside while she’s telling him a story. Their newspaper delivery boy (back then it was younger teens) showed up a little while ago and she answered the door. OW was bold enough to tell my H that she showed up to the door in just a dripping wet t-shirt without a bra on and just underwear. She said “Wasn’t that embarrassing to the boy”? Well, from the way she painted the picture to my H, I’m pretty sure he got a hard-on. I think she may have mentioned changing into a dry t-shirt, so he got the image that she still didn’t have a bra on because of how hot it was in the house. BTW on the same visit, her H called out her name in an irritated voice. Apparently on a very tight budget, she went on a shopping spree and he had just opened the credit card bill. He was pissed that she was spending money they didn’t have and didn’t let him know until he saw the bill. I know my H is extremely financially conscientious and if circumstances were different and they were together as a couple, this type of behavior would be a deal breaker for him. Show some control over your spending, if you have a weak moment, confess. Don’t let it be a secret until the bill comes.

            • Terry

              Was this an attempt by OW to see my H without my knowledge? Did she setup the lunch date and not realize my H would call to find out if I could come? The OW did seem to act as though the lunch was all about connecting with my H. She made NO attempt to include me in what she was saying or redirect my H’s attention to me. She wanted it to be all about her and she found it amusing that he brought me along to watch. I really think she was trying to manipulate him. She knew all of their conversation time & content shared between them was affecting him. I just think it was at the point that, if I hadn’t been there and subsequently issued the ultimatum, that she would have told him to leave me out of future lunches and the secrets would have started. H told me that when he called her to tell her he couldn’t see her anymore, she asked why and he told her it was because I was insecure. Blaming me. Sharing a VERY personal opinion. Just say that you want to focus on your wife and marriage and that she should do the same. He didn’t see that his actions/behavior/attitude towards me setup the insecurity in the relationship and the OW was also directly responsible for helping his brain chemistry get to that point. He pushed against my attempts to emotionally bond with me while at the same time accepted her attempts. He mentioned that he was happy during that first year of marriage.

            • Outwardly Composed but Internally Confused

              Terry, I have been keeping up on your posts for the past couple weeks, but have yet to respond until now. From my understanding, it appears that either you have not gone through the proper steps of healing through this (either by outwardly saying that you were “healed” to your spouse when you were not, or you skipped a step), or you are having trouble letting go of something that happened a long time ago. For one, I am not one to be saying anything at the moment, as I am still going through the aches of a recent emotional affair that my wife committed, but I do believe that healing starts from within, and not from without. Take it from me, you will not find strength in you by getting answers from your husband, you just won’t. Once you find your own strength, and are finally happy and confident in yourself, then whatever comes after (good or bad) will be easier to accept, knowing that you have done all the right things. If another bad situation happens during any point of your life moving forward, then you can rest assured that you are comfortable with yourself, and that you were not the cause of the bad situation.

              My advice in all of this (if you are still hung up on that lunch date) is to finally just ask him all these questions that you have been posting here (because we certainly do not have the answers to this, only your husband will). Whatever answer he gives you, just take it and don’t over-analyze it (which you have been doing), then move on (no matter HOW loud your inner voice is yelling at you that it is BS). Life is too damn short to hang on to the past, and not live your present. The future is not written yet, and worrying about what can be in the future based off your past is just a bunch of wasted opportunities to enjoy the now and be present in the moment, building beautiful new memories with your husband and yourself.

              By no means am I an expert in relationships, but I do believe that I am easy to realize how short life is, and how simple it is to just waste it away overthinking things (I have been guilty of this a lot when I was younger). So, stop overthinking things, and if you do find yourself in these moments where you can’t shut your inner voice out, just breathe, count to 30, and tell yourself, “this will pass, this will pass, this will pass.” Your main focus everyday is to do the things that made TERRY happy back in the day, and take care of TERRY, because TERRY will be the only person that will be with you the moment that you are not on this Planet anymore. Not your husband, not your boss, not your pets, just TERRY. So make Terry the happiest Terry you know, and live for that moment with every breath you take.

            • TryingToGetOver

              Agree! A straying spouse struggles to explain actions a week after they occur, a month after, a year after, and ever after. The simple truth is they don’t know why they did what they did…there is no “explanation” just a reckoning and attempt to move on. So I agree that the H is never going to be able to say words to you that make you go “aha!” I also suspect, Terry, that perhaps you want what I want, which is for your H to say something like, “Well, you’re right. She WAS a raging bitch.” And unfortunately they are not going to do that so…we can say it in our own head, agree with each other that the OWs out there are the devils incarnate, and accept that our Hs were snowed. And move on making ourselves happy!

            • Rose

              Now that is a great answer! I’m still trying to figure out how to get past those last few questions and/or accept that I never will.

            • TheFirstWife

              Rose. It is hard to accept you will NEVER get answers to certain questions.

              And if you did they would be unsatisfactory to say the least.

              In many cases it is hard to understand the choice being made to cheat or stray. But if the CS then has to admit the OW/OM was a psycho idiot? That is too much (in some cases) for the fragile ego to face. So they don’t.

              My H let me believe the OW was the aggressor. I did believe it until she sent me the emails. 300+ emails. And I saw he started the whole thing. And was content to let me believe a lie.

              I then questioned him about a specific email. He lied again. In this email he was trying to convince her that his friends would accept her (even though she was the OW). But he lied about it and made it out to be something she (the OW) was asking for.

              I knew he was lying and I laughed in his face. I told him his friends MAY accept her but there is no way his friends’ wives would. And I named 3 friends who I was pretty sure would not be on board and he agreed I was right.

              While it annoys me he couldn’t even be honest about things that were in black & white I chalk it up to cheater mentality.

              Lie. Lie. Lie. Avoid. Avoid. Bury head in sand. Disavow any knowledge. Make it go away.

              That is the mindset. Unfortunately.

              And you can torture yourself with it OR decide to move past it. Because you know you will never get the acknowledgment you deserve.

              Or the truth you deserve either. I just don’t think the CS has it in them in most cases.

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