Good Wednesday everyone.

Well I’ve certainly had it easy the last two weeks when it comes to discussion topics!

Once again our discussion this week was recommended by one of our loyal readers.  This time it was suggested by ‘ChangedForever.’

She wanted to pose the following question…

What rights does a cheater have…after the affair is exposed?

She was thinking along the lines of how it relates to what no longer can happen in the relationship, nor can occur relative to pre-affair life now that a couple is in post affair recovery.

In Dave Carder’s book, “Torn Asunder” he discusses the Four Rules in Rebuilding Trust:

  1. No surprises….ever, never (surprises now equate to trauma).
  2.  Inform prior to the fact…NO last minute changes…ever!
  3.  Keep your word! Be where you need to be, keep deadlines, do what you say you will do, no matter how simple!
  4. No keeping secrets…ever! No guardedness, no hiding.

These rules replace the rights of the cheater. These rules not only rebuild trust…they maintain it. The cheater may think “There is no slack,” or “I have to be perfect.” But as Carder says … “That’s just the way it is.”

Rights were a given and trust was shattered so now, rules apply to right the wrongs that were done when ‘rights’ were abused…..

Please discuss!

Thanks again for your discussion suggestion ‘ChangedForever!’

And thanks to everyone as well for all the wonderful contributions.

Linda & Doug

See also  The 2023 Emotional Affair Journey Reader Survey

    46 replies to "Discussion – The Cheater’s Rights After the Affair"

    • CBB

      Perfect timing! After I confronted my husband with the EA about a year ago he told me he understood that I was hurt by the fact he was talking to the OW(helping her get over her sisters divorce!) without telling me about it, and that he understood how I came to overinterpret it all. Although I knew then I didnt “overact” I insisted he would tell me everthing in the future. Nothing of that kind of course and when I mentioned I didn’t like the fact he was still texting her he told me he was disappointed in my lack of thrust controling him al the time and there wasn’t anything going on. Last week I discovered some very compremising e-mails so this time boundaries will be put very clear : never ever to be passed again. For all those cheaters needing time to kick off from the OP know that it does help very much to be told everthing(even if it hurts); NO MORE LIES is the only way out!!

    • chiffchaff

      No more lies, especially the ones that stop the CS from moving forward with the marriage when they might even want to.
      While ever they hold onto another old stinky secret the smellier it becomes and the more offensive it is to the BS once it is discovered – which it always is. Take the opportunity to remove all of the secrets at one go, get them out so they can be dealt with and not have them ‘go off’ later when you least expect it or want it.

    • Healing Mark

      This will not be an attempt by me to create an all-inclusive listing of what I believe to be a CS’s rights after the discovery of an affair. This is a GREAT question and I anticipate that the comments/answers will be quite helpful to those who are closer to the date of discovery than others who visit this site. For those of us further along in the healing process, I think that the comments/answers may provide interesting insight into how BS’s and CS’s have altered their boundaries following an affair discovery, hopefully with some success as they work to repair the damage caused by the affair.

      As to what can no longer happen in the damaged relationship, I would list anything that continues to harm it (yeah, I know, real simple, but nevertheless important). For most BS’s, this means no further contact with the AP if that’s possible. And, since AP’s often call, text or email after a “no contact” promise has been made by a CS, it seems to me important for the BS and the CS to recognize this and deal with it how they want to deal with it, and then the CS must adhere to whatever the “rules” become. Maybe it’s no replies and disclosure of all attempted contacts by the AP. The CS must at least accept the fact that for most BS’s to heal following an affair discovery and the inevitable loss of trust that occurs, the BS must have the ability to prove to themselves that no contact is occurring and that attempted contacts by the AP are being dealt with properly. So, as hard as this might be for a BS (it would not be hard for me, but then again, I’ve never tried to hide an inappropriate relationship from my wife), no locked phones or email accounts, including work unless this is absolutely not possible, and phone records must be available to prevent the CS from removing evidence of contact prior to their BS looking at texts, phone logs and email history.

      Some, and perahps none, of the following “rights” should be surprising, but good, in my opinion, to keep in mind.

      – The CS has the right to be treated with respect, recognizing that there is a varying degree of trust that will be missing and this lack of trust should not be viewed as disrespect unless it continues even after the CS has arguably acted in ways that would cause a reasonable person to once again trust the CS (this was a difficult area for my wife and I, not surprisingly, as she wanted to be fully trusted almost immediately after apologizing for her previously ended EA, and although I wanted to be back to trusting her as much as I could as quickly as possible, the timing of the restoration of trust took much longer than either my wife or I wanted, yet it was something that try as we might, just could not be accelerated that much).

      – Similar to above, the CS has the right to not be verbally or physically abused. There are ways to be angry at someone without being disrespectful and without being physically or emotionally abusive. Did I sometimes violate this “right” of my wife? Of course I did (not ever physical abuse by me, but I did take a few slaps for the “team” which was something my wife NEVER did prior to the most difficult days we had post-D-day, and something she has not even thought about doing now that she has been forgiven for her EA) and I always apologized profusely and my wife was, thank goodness, sensitive to the fact that for a limited amount of time she might be treated poorly by me as I worked to get past her EA.

      – The CS has the right to be kept informed of just how committed their BS is to repairing the affair damage. If the BS gets to the point that they no longer want to do what one or both of the parties believe is necessary to remain happily married, this should be communicated to the CS. In my opinion, at least.

      – Few, if any, CS’s are mind readers, so the CS has the right to be told by the BS if there are things that the BS needs the CS to do, or not do, in order to assist the BS in getting past the affair. Along these lines, I think both the CS and BS have a right, following the discovery of an affair, to mutually establish acceptable relationship boundaries and to expect the other party to do everthing humanly possible to not cross the same.

      – I think a CS deserves the right to know what “triggers” there are for the BS so the CS can, if possible, attempt to cause these to not occur. Similarly, if a “trigger” pops up and the BS goes into a funk as a result, I think the CS deserves to be made aware of this so they better understand why their BS is not in such a great mood at that time.

      – Not to be intentionally controversial here, but I think the CS deserves the right to control the timing of disclosure of facts of the affair to the BS, but not the facts themselves (perhaps). If the questions are being asked at a particularly volatile or inappropriate time, I believe that the CS has the right to inform the BS that the questions will be answered, but that now is not the right time for them to be answered. Perhaps the CS is particularly emotional at the time, and is fearful that the answers, although truthful, will not be made in a respectful or tactful or otherwise appropriate manner. Or perhaps the BS is particularly emotional at the time, and the CS is fearful that the answers given at that time will do more harm than good. In any event, as long as the CS is committed to repairing the damage caused by their affair, the CS has, in my opinion, a vested interest in the answers to questions about the affair not doing any more damage than they might otherwise do, so controlling the timing of the giving of the answers seems an appropriate right for the CS.

      – I do believe that there are some answers to questions about an affair that are better left unanswered. Unfortunately, us BS’s find ourselves after an affair discovery (not just right afterward, but months and months afterward) in emotional states that we simply have rarely, if ever, experienced before. So it’s not surprising that we might find ourselves asking questions about the affair that, if we really thought about it, we might choose not to ask, or to ask in a different way such that our CS could answer the new question truthfully but in a way that would not hurt us as much. As an example, in a heated moment, the CS might ask “Did you ever love your AP enough to chose him/her over me and our family?” and the CS might have a few times thought they did so the truthful, and hurtful, answer would be “Yes”. But let’s say that the CS has the right to say to the BS that they will answer that question if the BS REALLY wants them to, but only after the passage of at least a reasonable amount of time (24 hours?) to give the BS a chance to decide if they really want the particular answer, and the CS a chance to formulate an answer that, while 100% truthful, is delivered in a way that is respectful and hopefully the least hurtful as possible. Back to the example, perhaps the better question might be “After all that has transpired by virtue of your affair, are your feelings for this person still strong enough that you are no longer willing to commit to be the type of husband/wife that I deserve to be married to?”.

      – Finally, I believe that the CS has the right to either be genuinely forgiven for their affair or to have the marriage ended. Unless, of course, the CS somehow perversely wants to remain married to a person who is for whatever reason unwilling or unable to forgive them for a terrible mistake made but which is now a part of their past that cannot be made to magically go away. The twist, of course, is identifying the reaching of the point where forgiveness is something that cannot be given. Before I really forgave my wife, there were times that I doubted whether I would ever be able to. Then, there were several times that I felt like, and told my wife that I had, forgiven her. But I really had not. Fortunately, we gave each other time to fully heal and geneuine forgiveness arrived. Otherwise, we would have ended the marriage.

      I’m looking forward to what others feel are “rights” that CS’s have following the discovery of their affairs.

      • Doug

        Wonderful comment as usual HM!

    • Tired

      I think that CSes, at least mine, completely underestimate the vast damage they do by harboring lies for months on months. They stall and reset the healing process, the re-tramatize and shatter the BS, they make it impossible to trust and destroy hope, optimism, energy to work and heal, etc.

      My CS has continued to lie and lie and each time I discover one, which I always seem to, it crushes me. I feel disoriented and destroyed by them, even if they do not fundamentally change the picture of the EA.

      God, to just have the whole picture to the best of the ability with all of the most betraying and ugliest facts and emotional feelings and contexts in one fell swoop (or, in my case, even two or three or four sweeps). Instead, I feel like I am being killed by a slow death of a thousand cuts.


      Unless there’s nothing left to give, hope for, or care about.

      Oh yeah, rights (hard to talk about rights and not obligations)
      1. for the BS to work their asses off to heal if the BS wants the relationship and has been told the whole picture
      2. to be acknowledged for ongoing and earnest effort to change and heal

    • Healing Mark

      Wish I was not in a position to be able to offer anything up about affairs from a personal perspective, but …

      YES! It’s a reoccurring theme on this site, but unfortunately BS’s should recoginize that there is a very good chance that details of an affair, for whatever reason, tend to trickle out over time no matter how much we want them to all be laid out on the table at one time, with no lies. I suppose that since CS’s have been living a lie and telling so many lies while their affairs are ongoing, they for some reason are not able to very easily stop lying once the affair has been discovered. My wife’s execuse was almost always “I know I lied and am sorry, but I didn’t want to hurt you any more.”.

      I’ve posted this before, but if there was one piece of advice that I would give, and my wife would give, CS’s out there, it would be to always tell the truth (be respectful and tactful as much as you can) and to not leave unsaid that which might later be discovered by your BS. If you don’t lie, either by commission or omission, then you don’t have to worry about something being later discovered by your BS that is no doubt more hurtful than it would have been if addressed in the beginning (for my wife, I asked her to detail those times that she and her AP met up just the two of them to either eat lunch or talk, and she identified about 6 or 7 times they met for lunch which they kept to themselves, and I later discovered a couple of times that they met, once in her car and another when they took a walk together in a park to really talk about how far their relationship had progressed). Of course, it hurt that they were meeting secretly and that they felt so strongly for each other that it was more important to spend some alone time than to attend to other more pressing family matters. But it hurt SO MUCH worse that my wife lied in this instance even after I knew about her EA (I get it that there were lies to keep the EA secret, but those lies were for me easier to forgive than the lies told after the EA was discovered).

      Given what I know now, if I discovered for the first time that my wife had had, or was having, an EA (PA would be a deal breaker, I believe, for me, so I refer just to an EA), I would tell her to be 100% truthful, no matter how much hurt it might cause, and not worry about the hurt but instead worry about being later found to have been a liar. I would also advise her that should she unfortunately chose to lie about anything, either by commission or omission, she should be very, very diligent in her necessary attempts to ensure that her lies be as impossible as possible to be discovered. Finally, I would point out that no matter how diligent she might be, it would always be possible for her lies to later be discovered, especially since her AP could always decide to come clean and provide a different, and objectively truthful, version of events than those described by my wife.

      Sadly, for the first discovered EA, lying after D-day seems universal. Hopefully, the BS’s never have to deal with a second discovered EA, either because a second EA never occurs, or because after a second EA, the only healing process that occurs is the one that follows the ending of a marriage.

      • Simple Fool

        Apologies to all here for a personal tale; may it be of some help to others. Healing Mark, your response to Tired hits home so hard. The cheater’s rationalizations and continued lying post-discovery may be the most profound challenge in recovery. I failed so hard in this I’m objectively astonished that my wife will even consider a future with me today. By my wife and in couple’s counseling, I was asked for a full list of physical contact, secret meetings, what I felt in my heart, and to list the nature and extent as accurately recalled as possible of conversations in which the affair was discussed with the affair partner, including what I said about my wife on a timeline of the affair.

        I was asked this in the most generous way imaginable, with my wife even telling me beforehand that she was going to work hard at forgiving, but wanted the full picture. She sent letters to me saying “here’s what I think happened” which opened up the path for my self-realizations. Every time I failed. I had to be dragged, kicking and lying, to initial admission that it even WAS an emotional affair, that I had feelings for the affair partner however deluded, knew it was wrong and felt guilty while I was doing it. But after I had ended all contact and began a healing process, it was still ALL ABOUT ME. I gave the full listing of physical contact, because, perhaps because this how men think, I saw this as essential information that contained the truth of the event. But I could not give the emotional truth; I couldn’t admit what the picture said about me.

        After torturous months in which I continued to defend myself by explaining that I was fogged in the affair by my own rationalizations, I finally admitted the simple truth that I had known I was in an affair at the time, was confused and worried about where it was heading, and yet did nothing to stop it. THIS, I thought, was hard to admit. THIS I thought, was healing. THIS, I thought, was the truth. I saw my contrition as real, knew that I could change myself, and focused on diagnosing my risk-seeking issues, family history, and long term self-destructive tendency. (That’s ongoing, and it’s positive change in me which I hope my wife will reap the rewards of for the rest of my life.)

        But I was still a narcissist here. I didn’t do what she needed. I didn’t provide the whole list of meetings and hid the worst of what I knew about the affair. Not saying that, even in the end, was a continuation of my seeking to control my wife’s vision of the affair by leaving out details that I was afraid showed me as a desperate, senseless person, completely incapable of feeling and stopping the hurt I knew I was causing my wife as I instigated and manipulating the affair for the excitement in a more conscious manner than I would have admitted. The details I hid were similar to what you report. Phone calls after irruptions of feelings. Active, explicit disclosure that the affair partner thought I was unhappy in my marriage. An additional meeting that fell in the timeline in way that inconvenient to the picture I had created. After all that I had disclosed, why didn’t I say these things? I thought the picture showed that my continued lying up until then was pathological, unforgivable. What I didn’t see, despite how many times she told me straight away: the unforgivable person is the one who keeps lying.

        That’s just the experience of one cheater and a BP who gave him every chance to come clean. But I’m sure there’s great variation in how quickly the cheater can admit the full truth to themselves, and to the partners that demand it. Cheaters, please learn from my failure. You have only one right: the right to ask to be forgiven based on the disclosure of the fullest truth.

        • Healing Mark

          Simple Fool. Great post, but don’t beat yourself up too much. If I didn’t know any better, what you have communicated could have been written by my lovely wife. Well, except that we did not get into a listing of all of the details of her EA that I needed her to provide me all at once as a part of the healing process. But I can see how that might have been necessary for your wife to begin the process of healing, if not just to decide whether to start trying to heal as opposed to ending your marriage.

          I don’t want to debate or otherwise go into the dynamics of why CS’s are inclined to continue to hide things relative to their affairs, things they are not doubt ashamed of and things they wish had never happened and would just “go away”. Hiding them is a way to make them “go away” and to avoid the terrible feelings that occur when admitting to them. No. Instead, my message is for BS’s to understand that these things happen as couples face the horror of a discovered affair, and to not take them as something that should be fatal to the recovery process, but instead are things that certainly impede the process and simply must be accepted (unless you just want to give up and not even try to heal) as crap you have to deal with that you would never have had to deal with if your relationship had never been affected by the occurrence of an affair.

          • Lynsey

            Thanks Healing Mark, Your comments as well as Simple Fool’s have really helped me today. I was at a very low point just wondering if it’s even worth my continued efforts. It’s a month past D Day and my CS”s denial and the daily lies (either outright lies or by omission) are still coming. I felt ready to give up, but you are right, I have to understand that lies are part of the crap we have to deal with. I want my marriage to work, so I just need to be strong and persevere. Gosh, it’s so hard some days. But you helped. Thanks

          • Hurt&Insensed

            Healing Mark, I am always impressed and hopeful when I read your posts as you have clearly done a lot of work and always try to give a balanced view from both sides. I admire that and I think it is a lot to live up to for some of us who are currently in a different place. I know you have made clear that you would have left if your wife’s affair had been physical but I am curious about whether your views would change at all if that’s what you were facing? I am interested because I am trying to remain open to the possibility of feeling less devastated and hurt that at some point, I can accept the terrible things my husband did in his physical, emotional and romantic relationship and find more understanding, compassion and eventually forgiveness – this things currently seem so far off (1 year since D Day). Thanks for your comments on this site.

            • Healing Mark

              Hurt&Insensed. I do wish I had not been extended an invitation to the BS club, but it is what it is.

              I don’t want my views on whether I could forgive a PA ever discourage anyone who is attempting to forgive the same. Everyone is different, of course, and just as there are factors and circumstances that prevent some couples from overcoming EA’s, much less PA’s, there are factors and circumstances that allow some couples to overcome EA’s and PA’s. If I was faced with the certainty that my wife had added sex to her EA, I do feel that I would have had a harder time forgiving her (since there is always a chance that my wife has chosen to hide this aspect of her affair, I believe that I have in a sense forgiven her for potentially having had sex with her AP, but I do acknowledge that this type of forgiveness is much different that forgiveness given certainty that my spouse cheated to such a degree). Nevertheless, I would look for factors and circumstances that could give me the strength and ability to forgive.

              If you think about it, spouses engaging in solely an EA do lots of things, and think about a lot of things, that are particularly hurtful to the BS. Feeling like you have fallen in love with another person, and spending inordinate amounts of time with the AP (whether in person or via phone calls, chats, texts or emails), are in many ways worse for some folks that a one-night stand with a person the CS has no emotional attachment to. And for the CS’s who ramp up EA’s to PA’s at some point, so the sex becomes something more than just a roll in the hay, I have posted before that if this was the case with my wife, part of my healing process would have no doubt included a rationalization along the lines of “My wife had sex with many men before we married, and that fact did not prevent me from chosing to marry her, so if I once again believe that she will respect our agreed upon boundaries and not have sex with anyone but me, and I otherwise would rather remain married to her, why shouldn’t I be able to forgive her PA?”.

              The problem, of course, is that the choice to have sex with another person while married is so clearly “cheating” that the BS is faced with the fact that the CS rather knowingly chose to so badly disrespect the BS. But for EA’s like my wife’s, there was a sort of slippery slope to fall down on and for a time it was easy to see how rather simple rationalizations could keep the CS going on with the EA. Plus, with a conscious decision by the CS to not cross the sex line, there is at least a small measure of respect for the BS that has been maintained. I guess in the end the forgiveness of a PA likely has a lot do with what the sex really meant and whether the fact that it occurred can or cannot be overcome by what the cheater appears to be going forward after the affair has been discovered (i.e., is this a person worth being married to or would the BS be happier ending the relationship and moving on without the CS?).

              Finally, and I am only speaking for myself here, but if I had “sex” with another woman, that fact would mean far less to my wife than if I was truly “making love” to the other woman. The emotional attachment and desire to please more than just myself, plus the disrespect to our marriage vows, would be the most hurtful elements. It seems to me that many CS’s think that they are “in love” only to see later that they were wrong. Also, it seems to my wife and me that forgiveness of a PA is a bit easier if the affair has been broken off before it’s discovery, and if the damaging aspects of the affair are no longer present since the CS has come back to the marriage and is presumably doing and saying things to assist with the healing process. So, again, my analysis seems to always come back to whether my wife is the person I want to remain married to, and as long as she is, forgiveness eventually comes.

              Good luck with your healing.

            • Greg

              Very insightful post as always HM. One thing I would like to add is some research about how men and women deal with EAs and PAs. A lot of research has found that men are more forgiving of an EA than they can be about PAs, while women seam to be the opposite in general. In my opinion I think this has to do with how men and women attach emotionally with each other. Men become more emotionally attached after having sex while women need to become emotionally attached to have sex. Sort of a catch twenty two situation when you are building a relationship but also causes big issues in how we react to affairs. I know that in my case if my wife had a PA affair it would be over, not just because I couldn’t deal with it but also because if she had gone that far I would know that he was completely done with us to get to that point. For women who’s husbands have had an emotional affair they know that he has gotten to the point that he has given up on an emotional connection with the wife and transferred those emotions to someone else. Does this mean that in each case there is no hope for recovery, of course not. It does mean that there is probably a lot more work to do to fix the marriage after the affair but it can still be possible if the CS wants to put the work in to it with the BS.

            • Dave

              My experience has oddly been different. My wife knew the guy (he was my best friend), but she started really with the physical affair first (she was mad at me) and then it became an emotional affair.

              I think I could have forgiven the sex, but the strong emotional component hurts so much more deeply. Don’t get me wrong. Knowing she had sex with him three times (that she has admitted) is bad enough, but it has paled in comparison to the pain of her (and me) thinking that she loved him and that the last time was making love.

              I always thought a PA would be a deal breaker, but my situation is … complex in that the affair was almost 13 years ago (even though they had been in contact online since we moved away).

              I had caught her at his apartment, but of course she denied everything. Without proof or a confession, all I had were my suspicions – until New Year’s eve when she confessed everything. I don’t know why I asked (again) or why she confessed, but the pain and memories feel so strong – stronger than the day I caught her.

              It took around 2 years to recover the last time when I assumed she had and short emotional fling and perhaps had been with him once, but knowing that her EA/PA was much more serious has been so painful. The problem for me is, I’m conflicted because the last 10-11 years have been good and until she told me – great.

            • Nathan

              Interested in visiting with you. How long has it been, and what could have been done differently in your opinion ?

        • Hurt&Insensed

          Simple Fool, thank you hugely for your honest self reflection. I cannot tell you how important and validating your reflections are to our current process and I am pretty sure when I show the post to my CS, he will agree you have articulated our struggle of the past year so accurately. One of my biggest struggles has been in remaining committed to my need for the whole truth, no matter what. It has been hard having to constantly justify why this is so important to me and I have often doubted my self, wondering if in my search for the truth, I was damaging or at least delaying our chances of recovery? I think it is a very female thing, (although not exclusively) to need to make sense and meaning of painful situations and have a coherent story. I also think for me, that having been so totally shocked and devastated by discovering my CS physical, emotional and romantic affair with someone at our kids sports club and thus feeling so caught out and stupid, it was crucial for me to feel that my CS was committed to finally giving me the respect and honesty he owed me back then. Being excluded from a significant and life changing experience that my CS engaged in with another woman, is painful and at times, intolerable. Whilst my CS will probably relate to everything you have said, our current struggle is to do with his recall of events. I know that after several failed attempts by him to provide the minimum information he could get away with, he now actually realizes that we are doomed if he leaves me to continue filling huge gaps in a story that often makes no sense. He is now definitely being more open and sharing memories as they come up as well as answering my questions. However, there are some very significant incidents within the affair that I just find it impossible to believe he cannot recall. For example, I had to confront the other woman at the end of my CS’s 12 month affair with her as he was still lying and would just not come clean, even when I told him on the phone, I was about to go into her house!? One thing she took delight in telling me was that she thought my marriage was over and in fact my CS had told her he had only slept with me once during their affair, and regretted it. He flatly denied this every time I asked him. In our recent crisis and under threat of divorce, he finally admitted to it. Not only did this break my heart but he has knocked my trust completely…such a huge and cruel betrayal. He tells me he cannot remember if he hugged her to comfort her as she was upset he had slept with his wife at all (go figure?) Whether he told her he would never do it again etc etc. I am adamant that he must remember this and many other incidents like it but he says he doesn’t? I am really interested in trying to get another perspective on this, particularly from CS’s as it is really holding us up. I feel he is still holding back from giving me what I need.
          Sorry for the long post but finally….To all CS’s, if we as BS’s are brave enough to seek the truth of your affair, how ever painful it may be, then you at least owe us the courtesy of showing the same courage by being truthful!

      • chiffchaff

        I second that post Healing Mark and the one below about CSs behaviour. It’s the relentless lying after the discovery that becomes unforgiveable, not the affair itself. better to fess up and get on with what comes next.

    • Dave

      My wife lied to me for years about her affair. I had actually caught her at the OM’s apartment. I thought it was behind us (even though I didn’t get the full story until recently), but then they started talking on FB. I gave her an ultimatum that she could NEVER talk to him ever again.

      I thought it was all behind us until this year when she told me the full story about the affair. She was deeply in love with him and was going to leave me – and it wasn’t just an emotional affair.

      I did something despicable and contacted him on FB and found out that they had been in contact over that time. She would write him letters professing her love for him.

      Now I have access to all of her accounts and she has to account for all of her time. Any lie, no matter how small, is grounds for immediate termination of our marriage.

    • Dave

      …now the problem is, she wants to “come clean”, but because of the passage of time, she doesn’t remember all of the details. The OM claims to remember more and that it was more serious than she is trying to claim now. I don’t know who to believe. He is the OM, but she is my wife – my lying wife who lost my trust.

    • changedforever

      Healing Mark, based on your list of cheaters’ rights, I believe you are farther along on your path of recovery than are we (my H & I.) This subject topic really seems to apply to the state of recovery of a couple not as far along as you and your W may be. As my H continued to make his ‘mistakes’…very much like that which was described by Simple Fool…we regressed at a profound rate, sometimes back to square one. My H broke every one of Carder’s 4 Rules of Rebuilding Trust as listed in Doug’s post of today, many times over. And I knew he was lying as others have also added. The betrayed know…and it hurts during & after all comes to light. My H’s lies & coverups led us to another DDay…#2. Technically there was a DDay#3 too. It is my sincere hope that this post will be shared with or truly considered by a CS out there to hopefully prevent at least ONE betrayed spouse from having to go thru the added pain & suffering that I went thru…even one…but I truly hope it’s WAY more than just one. Have to have hope!… & I’ve proven to myself that I have lots. ‘Hope’ this helps!

    • rachel

      Maybe I’m weird but I don’t want to know anymore about their lunches or what they talked about. I makes me want to vomit when I think of them in restaurants, gazing in each others eyes, Blah!!!
      My problem is that I have so much anger and rage. I am normally a pretty calm person. He wants to work at us and I just can’t give an answer. It seems like so much work. Wondering, guessing who he’s with and what he’s doing. I don’t know If i’m cut out for that much work. I did in the beginning, not now.
      Right after d-day, I would have on my nice clothes, makeup on, hair just perfect for when he came home from work. Now it’s sweats, sweatshirt, big floppy slippers and hair in a pony tail. WHO CARES!!!!! Did I fall out of love?

      • E

        Not weird at all. I have never wanted to know those details that would do more harm to my recovery than good. Besides, it was all fantasy, bs anyway. My H actually used the term “sick” when describing himself during that time period recently.
        Rachel, I do believe that as BS’s we can fall out of love after so much hurt. If you can, really try to stop worrying about where he is and what he is doing. If he is sincere in his desire to work on your relationship, you will see it more clearly in his actions than when you are in that paranoid stage. When I did this myself, it helped me trememdously in my healing and I began to take care of myself better. Let him do the work and the worrying, etc. It could help move you forward. Best wishes to you.

      • Carol

        Hi, Rachel — it is not surprising that you have so much anger. Not surprising at all. My marriage counselor’s advice was that you try to get behind or beyond the anger, because anger usually comes from two things: hurt/pain or fear. In my case, I too have a lot of anger at my husband — for all the reasons everyone on here can relate to: for the lying, over and over again; for the disrespect for all of the love and work and effort I have given to him over the years; for treating me and our children as if we were nothing to him, disposable; for bragging about his affair to MY work colleagues (!) while lying to me about it; for kissing her and telling her that while they might never have a long ‘novel’ together they would always have a brief but beautiful ‘poem’ together (barf retch vomit). It is easier for me — even though I am not an angry person with any other people in my life — to express anger with him than to express the hurt and pain. Expressing hurt and pain makes me feel vulnerable to him again; expressing anger is a way of pushing him away, or maybe even feels stronger than expressing hurt, if that makes sense. I would say that your H is probably going to have to deal with a lot of hurt and fear from you — hurt that he would do this in the first place; fear that he will do it again, or fear that he doesn’t love you or won’t really recommit (those last two are my big fears). I would say be patient with yourself, and watch to see what your H does. His actions will be more important than his words. Is he patient with your anger? Does he try to understand it? Does he just see anger, or does he try to see or understand what is beneath it? Does he understand how much pain he has caused? Does he act as if he regrets it? Is he expecting to do as much or more ‘work’ on the relationship than you are? You will probably always feel anger when you think about what he did — I know I will. And I do worry that I won’t be able to get over the hurt and anger, that I won’t be able to forgive. (In my case, my H has long standing honesty issues – -not just about the affair, but about EVERYTHING; he would lie about whether or not he’d done the taxes, or the laundry, or whether his parents were or were not coming to visit, or how long his business trips were, or whether said trips were strictly necessary, or whether he’d filled out permission slips at our kids’ school — EVERYTHING — and so sometimes I feel like an utter idiot for not seeing that of course he’d lie about an affair too!) I guess we just have to wait and see whether our husbands can man up, grow up, and shape up — or not!

    • chiffchaff

      Dave – that’s a very scary prospect indeed. At this moment in time, after kicking my CS out 2 days ago, he has told me he has had ‘cold light of day’ experiences and wishes he could take back all he has said that has hurt me but knows he can’t. He says things about how he can’t believe what he’s lost in me etc. but then, when I asked him if he’s contacted the OW he says no, but he probably will. I asked him how those two things match up, his loss of me and him still feeling like he will contact her.
      The dilemma for me now is whether I should let him continue to have the decision over whether or not he contacts the OW or whether I should get on and do it for him sooner rather than later. Instead of it being one of those horrible things he might do without my knowledge – I might as well do it and invite her to contact him instead as he’s free now. He has told me that he ‘knows’ she will say yes to reconciliation.
      Is it so despicable to contact the OW/OM directly?

    • chiffchaff

      Dave – why is it that CSs always seem to want it all? The OW/OM and not to lose their marriage? Why is that?
      Are they ill people? I’m starting to wonder

    • mona lisa

      A cheater does have certain rights. These are listed below.
      1. They have the right to NEVER contact their AP again
      2. They have the right to TELL THE TRUTH, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth
      3. They have the right to do extensive soul searching in order to determine why they committed adultery in the first place
      4. If they can’t comply with the above, they have the right to get the hell out of their spouse’s life and allow them to salvage what little bit of sanity they have left

      • Ifeelsodumb

        LOL, Mona Lisa!!!!! I Love it!

    • Disappointed

      My H wont talk details but told me he informed the OW early in his texting that he was planning to leave me. He had threatened the year before when under professional stress but I thought that was just unhappiness with his life and his usual tendency to run away. Silly me I thought things were better. We were not liiving as roommates. He saw in the browser history that I had looked at equipment to monitor him while I was out of town (I think it may have been on way to PA). When I confronted him he did leave but I did not ask him to leave I also did not beg him to stay. HE said she was innocent and threatened me with the loss of our business and that I would never see him again if I did anything to hurt her family (ie tell her husband). I need certain details regarding what he shared about us and how he was feeling prior. He said she awakened him and that he fell in love with her and that she shares his ideas of what a relationship should be. Of course he cant tell me what that is. We are in separated limbo.

    • Surviving

      @Simple Fool,
      Thank you for writting in. I got alot out of you reason for not telling all of the truth.

    • CBB

      Does the CS have a right not to be spyed upon even when they are lying wether or not to have met or contacted the OP? What kind of contact does the CS have when the OP is a close co-worker?

    • Broken

      As the BS do we ever REALLY know that all has been said…that all has been disclosed…I don’t think so. It will always be in the back of my mind because I know how my husband thinks and I saw how easy it was for him to lie to me for 18 months. All I have to say is from experience CS please don’t lie again especially if the OW contacts you. We had come soooo far in our recovery after 12 months….I actually felt human again. We had agreed that any contact from the OW would be immediately disclosed…I believed that. Then she called while we were in the car together and to hear her voice was devastating but what set me back the most was the disclosure the next day that she had in fact called a few months earlier and he had decided even after promising to tell me that telling me would hurt me too much. That lie was almost as bad as hearing about the EA 12 months earlier…it is just now 7 months later that I am begining to feel ok again. SOOO there cant be any lies by ommision…CS must tell the truth all of the time….it is crucial.
      I will always think in the back of my mind that given the same circimstances it would happen again….perhaps not but do we ever really know?

    • Dave

      chiffchaff – that is exactly how my wife’s explains her feelings. She wanted her family, me and our son, but she loved his attention. She loved the way he adored her, looked at her so passionately, told her all these nice things about her, and how much he wanted her and how she deserved to be treated better. She ate it up. She claims to have been torn between us.

      She says that she was “in love” with him, but loved me on a deeper level. Now she claims it was all just infatuation and not so much with him, but how he made her feel. The problem for me is that there have been so many lies, this feels like another lie.

      The stupidest idea she had recently was that she said to help herself remember, she could contact him and that they have a conversation with me there. They could “discuss the facts and details” so that she could tell me everything. I want full disclosure, but the idea of her talking to him makes me want to slit my own wrists. I already feel so humiliated and broken. I cannot imagine how I would feel to have them sitting there and chatting it up.

    • chiffchaff

      Dave – no! that’s sounds like a great idea for your wife and the OM but absolutely not for you and your marriage. It also counds extraordinarily cruel – “let’s actually sit here and recreate for you the extent of our affair with the inncoent person listening in” what a thrill for them. I think I would vomit if I had to actually hear them both speak together about their affair, or I’d pass out, or develop tourettes.

    • Eva

      It’s been 3 months after D-day and my H is still in contact with OW. I dont know how long more I could tolerate being stuck and unable to move on. He tried to break it off with OW twice during their 4 year affair and a month after D-day but all 3 times, OW managed to manipulate him back to the affair after she threatened to commit suicide. How do I get him to end this nightmare? I can’t recover if they are still continuing the affair.

      • Lynsey

        Eva, I’m in the same place as you, except my CS hasn’t even tried to break it off yet – he’s still in the “fog” and doesn’t see it as an affair. It is so damn frustrating and difficult to recover when they are continuing the affair, and continue to lie and deceive. He really thinks that I should believe him that they are “really just friends” Yea right! Ending the nightmare…until he comes clean and is willing to work on repairing the marriage, we either have to wait it out, all the while letting the CS know how hurt we are, and give an ultimatum when you are strong and the time is right. The waiting is pure hell. The best advice I got here, and elsewhere is to work on yourself, and be good to yourself.

      • Anita

        You also have choices here. Your being manipulated by
        your husband and other woman, into letting them continue
        their affair.
        Eva go forward with your own life, at least you won’t have
        to put up with being mistreated, or THEIR manipulaton.
        As long as you put up with this it will continue, there is
        no reason for your husband or this other woman to stop,
        they got you right where they want you. However you
        do not have to remain in this situation either. So you
        can stay and expect more of the same, or you can take
        yourself out of this nightmare by going forward with your
        own life.

        • Anita

          With this other woman, is she going to threaten suicide again if your husband doesn’t divorce you and marry her???
          Eva, If your husband is not smart enough to see, the wonderful wife you are then he doesn’t deserve you, and
          you deserve to be a in marriage with someone won’t
          put another woman ahead of you.

    • Broken

      Eva your husband is abusing you emotionally and you’re allowing him to do it. When we are beaten down by a CS we allow behavior that is unacceptable. There comes a time to take a stand for yourself and draw the line in the sand.He isnt going to change what he is doing because you are allowing him to continue his behavior without consequence. He is having an affair and it’s either time to stop or lose you. I am one who doesn’t believe in the affair fog as people call it. We ALL know what we are doing…we are adults who have made decsions to break our wedding vows, destroy our families, devastate our spouses, hurt our children and act like selfish pigs for our own pleasure and you are allowing the behavior. There has to be no contact with the OW, total and complete disclosure to you now not when ever he feels like it. There will be no healing, no loss of pain for you until that happens but you are in control now,,,,,not him. Exercise your control. It’s goodbye to her or to you. The OW is a manipulative bitch and anyone who can only keep a relationship by threatening suicide is sick. Do what you need to do and stop waiting for it to just happen cuz it wont.You deserve better for yourself and you know it.

    • Rachel

      Broken, well said ! Love the apart about the affair fog. My husband told me that he didn’t know that he was having an EA. REALLY????? Texting her and emailing her. Said he was just catching up with an old friend. Yeah, old friend that was his ex girlfriend from 30 years ago. Love like no other,soulmate. PLEASE!!! I didn’t buy it for a minute!

    • Broken

      Rachel…most people believe in an affair fog. I simply dont. In todays society there is an excuse for everything. It’s ridiculous…no one wants to take responsibility for their behavior and to me there is no gray area when it comes to an affair. We all make choices in life good or bad …it was our choice. All I can picture in my head is some CS with their head in a cloud running around saying…I just dont know what I am doing…hmmm. My husband sent text messages, emailed, called, met and did whatever else he did for 18 months…he knew exactly what he was doing and made a CHOICE to do it and hide it from me. I made the choice to stay with him only after he met my terms. I hate liers and excuses. I also feel if your gonna cheat then just leave before you do it….. another excuse “your not meeting my needs” Barfffff

      • stillbroken

        completely agree with you. when cheating, cheaters love themself more than they love their spouse or even their affair partner, thats why they can do something as egoistic as that

        • chiffchaff

          Stillbroken – I agree with that point, CSs do love themselves more than anyone else during that time and the affair is all about what they want regardless of all others

    • Eva

      I have been working on myself…trying to stay strong for my daughter. I feel partly responsible for my marriage breakdown therefore I’m willing to put in the effort to save it. I’m using the backing off method, hoping that the CS would finally come to his senses. It hurts like hell to act ignorant but my communication with CS is improving. He does not seem resentful of me and is willing to spend more time with the family. Prior to D-Day, he hardly talks to me and seems to also avoid me. I did make a stand by giving him an ultimatum, which is going to be 1 year from D-Day. If only I cld get rid of the manipulative OW, who thinks she deserves to have my H because I’ve neglected him, even said that I should leave and that I’m only caring for him now because I now know she exists! Aaaaaarghhh….relying on prayers now to keep me calm and steady.

    • chiffchaff

      I suppose by ‘fog’ I understand it as a period of readjustment from being entirely selfish and in denial about the effects to having to accept that what they have done does have consequences, that can’t be ignored any longer. For some the readjustment seems to be longer than others and this depends on the CS’s character as to whether they want to readjust to reality or not. Something like that anyway.

    • Nathan

      Against my will, I’ve joined the club. This is the worst pain to be in and I’m sorry for everyone of you reading all these blogs

    • Nathan

      I’m interested in feedback. I’d like to share my story. My wife and I been together for almost 16 years. Four kids together. There were moments when we fought over stupid things and her actions have always been the same, shell get a snarling tone in her voice, yell and scream at the top of her lungs and make it a public spectical, then she has to have the last word before stomping off and running away.

      Perhaps I’ve played right into it, by following her, begging her to just sit down and talk. That’s one thing we never were able to do is just sit down and communicate effectively…

      Three months ago I did some work for someone I considered a good friend, and afterwards his little girl (5-6 years old) asked if he would invite us for supper so she could play with my youngest girl,6 at the time. I thought that was a good idea. So we get out there, and get some food on the grill. It was a nice evening and the kids all gathered around a hole by a busted water line and began catching baby frogs. After some time we began drinking. It wasn’t long before my friend began making sexual jokes about not wanting a girlfriend, he just wanted an hour with them and then send them home. This did seem out of character for him, but what’s more is my wife began laughing at all his jokes and focused her attention on him for the rest of the night. After she apparently had a few to many drinks, she had mad the comment to me, in front of him, that her biggest mistake was having a bunch of kids with me. The fool I was thought I just should step over there and play with the kids instead of let this turn into a sour evening… So I did, went with the kids for a fee moments and afterwards I decided it was getting late, and was time for the night to be over. Before we left she gave him a big warm hug and thanked him for supper.

      The next morning she broke the news that my friend had mad a pass at her and tried to kiss her, but that she told him she didn’t want to be with anyone else but me. She acted offended and supposedly got on Facebook and told him off and blocked him…

      Slowly the truth comes out.

      I questioned both of them, she stuck to her story and he said he wouldn’t do that to me as he loved me like his own brother and apologies if he said or did anything while he was drunk. Perhaps I’m a fool, and believed the lies. So about ten weeks go by, and I figured it had passed… I’ve always had forgiveness issues, so I was trying to forgive people for being human. She assured me she wasn’t interested in him and only wanted me.

      Anyway, his father, whom is one of my very best friends, passed away after a long battle with congested heart failure. I had been taking his father to all of his Dr appointments, and was quite close to the man. After the funeral his son Chris was tasked with cleaning out his old man’s house. He asked if I’d help him, so I did. Chris had been drinking heavily all that day and I was truly concerned for him drinking to much. After all, his brother had drank himself to death, literally just a few years ago. So I cooked some food, and grabbed two bags of hamburgers and went to his house with the wife and kids with me. There were alot of people there, his two kids, his girlfriend’s three kids, a few friends and some family. Someone got the idea to stand up a huge pipe and fill it with wood for a bonfire. All the kids out there gathered wood and we made a rather large fire… (Still didn’t know the extent of the whole issue that happened the first night, was assuming she told me the truth and he was to intoxicated to remember)

      Anyway, a part of me knew to keep an eye of things.

      After the night had it’s fun, I gathered up the kids and wife and we were backing out of the driveway when all the sudden my wife throws the door open and ran to him. After a few moments I could not see her and everyone was lying to me. First they say she went in the house, so I go looking. Then they say she ran off into a field, then she’s began walking home. After a while I see Chris running from a small barn back to where everyone is at by the fire, and knew she was where he ran from. So I go in there and find her crouched in the dark corner. I ask her what’s the problem she she begins telling me I’m gonna kill her because she’s just slept with Chris. Part of me died in that moment. I ran to Chris and asked him how could he do this after all I’ve done through the years for him and his father… I immediately returned to my wife and told her to get in the car.

      We get home, 3 weeks ago now, and slowly the whole truth is coming out.

      The first night this started she says he told her she was beautiful and she replied that the two of them would make a good couple. That they would be good for each other. Supposedly he said he wanted to touch her but knew he couldn’t to which “she nodded her head in agreement”
      What she done was provoke and lead this along.

      I’m completely distraught, my heart and mind has been hijacked. Two of my best friends in all the world just slid a knife in my back…

      They both got what they wanted and it wasn’t a question if my relationship with either of them was worth it to them. Chris still says nothing happened but I’m not a damn fool. She’s told me enough of the story that I know she slept with another man… I’m about as broken as I can be

      She says it’s to hard to discuss the whole ordeal with me. It’s just to painful for her. All I wanted from the first day was honesty so I could process this, but was made a fool of, made to believe it wasn’t as big of a deal as it really is and it wasn’t until after she slept with him that she came clean (supposedly clean) about what happened the first night. I can forgive her for being human but don’t know that I can ever forgive her for the lies and broken trust.

      I hear of all these people who have a stronger relationship after cheating than before but how is that possible when she won’t be completely honest with me? If I thought there was a bottle tall enough in Texas, I’d be swimming in it right now. I’ve always tried to forgive and trust what people say, a failure of my own.

      She’s exhibited all the classic signs of a cheater. First lying, minimizing, then blaming me for ‘the fire burning out’ but in my defense let me say this. There have been times in the last 10 years when she seemed distant, like something was bothering her. I always asked what was wrong, what could I do to make it better. She always told me nothing was wrong, everything was ok. Looking back now, I can’t help but to wonder what it was… Perhaps guilt for having already cheating on me, even years ago. I don’t know what else to think

      Before Kyle died, he had said that when alcohol is involved we always fight… I didn’t have it in me to tell him my wife had been smooching on his son. He would have been so ashamed…

      Rewinding a bit, I had taken up a part time job working in a bar. I can remember three women who had made a pass at me the first night and several others who made a pass at me within the first week. It never got past hello, I was happy enough with being married to my wife…

      When she told me she had been with Chris, I felt like our souls had been decided back into two separate people. I just don’t feel like this could ever work, especially since I keep feeling like she isn’t being honest.

      She has cried a few tears, but it’s mostly a whiny cry without much real tears. If I were to change shoes I’d be so ashamed of myself and think I’d actually be inconsolable after taking a chance of wrecking our marriage and family. I just don’t sense a true feeling of remorse.

      I don’t think counselors can help this to be honest. I think this affair is a symptom of the problem and she might be right, the fire just burned out. In my defense, I’m innocent. When I thought there was something wrong I asked, and was hoping for an answer.

      What are the chances she would finially wake up?
      In your opinions, is this worth trying for?
      Should I just leave for 6 months or a year and not talk to her at all during this time and just see if she waits or goes to another man?
      Should I just give up, and settle with the fact that I tried to find the problem and save what we had before it came to this?

      I appreciate your input

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