We thought you also might want to know about some of the mistakes that Linda felt she made during our affair recovery process.

our affair recovery process


This post is actually a compilation of a couple of articles Linda wrote back in the earlier days of this blog. 

We hope that sharing the mistakes she felt she made during our affair recovery process is helpful to all of you who are now making your own recovery journey. 

We really don’t want you to make the same mistakes we made during our affair recovery process.  So here we go…

Mistake 1: My first mistake actually occurred prior to the affair. I was too naïve in thinking that this sort of thing would never happen to us. I’ve read a ton of books over the years on a variety of subjects, but somewhere along the line I neglected to read about how to have a good, happy marriage. And it’s not a subject they teach you in school.

Mistake 2: Overreacting when I initially saw Doug’s cell phone usage. Looking back I should have attempted to remain calm, assess the situation, and gather more evidence while working on a logical plan on how to proceed. Instead, I looked at his phone constantly. I was dragging Doug out of bed in the middle of the night and firing questions at him. I was acting on pure emotion and I really didn’t hear or understand most of what he was saying.

Mistake 3: Turning myself around on a dime. That is, acting like the perfect wife and doing everything I thought Doug wanted me to do. This confirmed to Doug that everything was my fault.

See also  The Nuts and Bolts of Affair Recovery - The elements that need to be present in order to heal from an affair.

Mistake 4: Believing everything he said was coming straight from his heart. I read somewhere that when a spouse is involved in a marital affair you should believe nothing you see or hear. When we would have those late night discussions I believed that he had individually explored his feelings and came to conclusions on his own.

“The hardest part of my dealing with infidelity was not the affair itself, but what happened after I found out. There were many things I would have done differently…”

Mistake 5: Being uneducated about what I was really up against and that an affair is not all about love. I know now that an affair is based on infatuation which produces the same effects as a powerful drug. Combine this with the comparisons that occur and the constant affirmation from the affair partner, and it’s hard not to become addicted.

Mistake 6: Being personally drawn into the illusions of the affair. I shudder when I think about everything I told Doug. I would tell him that she must be the perfect women for him and that he deserves to be with her. I told him over and over that he should leave me and be with her and that I would take care of our family. I told him she was his soul mate and I was not a very good wife. All I was doing was helping to entrench these thoughts in his mind, whether they were real or not.

Mistake 7: Acting like a woman who was one step away from the funny farm. I acted clingy, neurotic, jealous, insecure, and distrusting. Compared to the other woman, I must have appeared like a nut bag, making me the last person Doug wanted to be around.

See also  An Issue of Trust

Mistake 8: Trying to control him and tell him how he should be feeling. Throwing at him my moral convictions, showing him books, bookmarking websites, and telling him he was wrong. Doug hates to be controlled and this gave him and  her an opportunity to discuss their feeling and their relationship. It opened up opportunities to discuss that their love was real and put the focus on them rather than me and Doug.

Mistake 9: Not being myself. I tried so hard to be like her, or at least the woman that I thought he wanted me to be. If only I had known that the woman he longed for was the person he fell in love with 30 years ago. He missed the person I used to be before three children, a full time job, a mortgage and laundry.

31 Survivors Share Their Lessons Learned, Mistakes Made and Affair Advice

And here are a few more…

Mistake 10: Believing that when the affair is over that everything will be OK again. Recovery is a long process and the pain associated with the affair will stay with you for a very long time.

Mistake 11: Only focusing on what I did wrong in the marriage and only discussing what Doug’s needs were. Focusing on how he was unhappy. What was wrong with me, my issues, my problems and insecurities? I was afraid to appear too demanding. I rarely discussed what I needed in our marriage, what Doug could have done differently and how I felt about our marriage.

Mistake 12: Not completely being honest about my feelings concerning the betrayal, loss of trust and the hurt. Not letting him know that his behavior was unacceptable and that I had a choice whether I wanted to continue in our marriage or not.

See also  Haunting Images: What Happens When You Know Too Many Details of Your Partner's Affair

Mistake 13: Not getting angry. I should have let it out and released my emotions instead of carrying the blame for his affair.

Mistake 14: Not allowing him to experience what he would be missing or what he would lose if he lost me. I was always there, available.

Mistake 15: Not taking time to really think everything through and to gather my thoughts and feelings. I reacted initially strictly on emotion and instincts. I was in panic mode. I should have waited for the initial tidal wave of emotions to pass so that I could think and act a bit more logically. I know, easier said than done.

Mistake 16: Not talking to a professional, therapist, counselor or mentor early on after the affair. I believe this caused my recovery to take much longer. By the time I did talk to a therapist, I knew as much about affairs and the recovery process as he did!

Please share any lessons learned and/or mistakes you felt you’ve made throughout your affair recovery process.


    12 replies to "Don’t Make These 16 Mistakes During Your Affair Recovery"

    • Shifting Impressions

      I made many of the same mistakes….but how would one know NOT to make them? I didn’t start educating myself on infidelity until it happened in my marriage. I was also naive and trusting, thinking this was just not possible.

      I also made the mistake of confronting immediately while in shock…..I should have taken the time to think things through and wade through the evidence that I had in my hands. But I had NO IDEA that he would continue to lie and minimize. The minute I turned my back, after confronting him, he destroyed all the evidence. That is something I would have done differently had I been aware of some the classic behaviors of someone who cheats. I would have had a much better picture of the extent of EA had I taken the time to weed though the evidence. But how would I have know to do that? And on top of that I was in shock and not thinking clearly!!

      Another mistake I made was not demanding certain things from him….such as going for counseling etc. I fell apart and was unable to formulate a plan….

    • Exercisegrace

      The biggest thing I learned is that you cannot “affair-proof” your marriage. As crazy as it sounds NOW, I actually believed that because we had been married for over 20 years, had good communication, considered ourselves best friends, talked often about what good teammates we were in our marriage (and he said all these things to the OW when they met, and apparently her reaction was “challenge accepted”) that we were somehow immune to an affair. I believed that because we were very much on the same page in terms of parenting, future goal, etc. that somehow cheating would be the one item we could put firmly in the “things that happen to OTHER couples” column. Because let’s face it, when you’ve been married for over two decades you’ve seen other couples go through it, and you’ve discussed it. You’ve set boundaries and expectations. But boundaries only work if you respect them. And the key word here is YOU. That’s who you can “affair-proof”. We control only our actions, and we hold to our morals and values or we don’t. Cheating is an individual issue of our character, not a global marital issue.

    • Shifting Impressions

      I couldn’t agree more….I think your statement “Cheating is an individual issue of our character, not a global marital issue” sums it up really well. But it is probably the reason I trusted so deeply. I thought my husband had to much integrity to betray and deceive me. It was heartbreaking to discover I was wrong.

    • Anon

      I found the evidence b/c he was too stupid to delete it. He was away and I had his iPad so I saw it all – never suspected there would be evidence such as emails and a birthday card.

      I allowed him to refuse to attend counseling – so I went instead. Alone. Best thing for me.

      I did the pick me dance for 6 months. And then it was DDay2 and the game changed. I kicked him to the curb and stopped allowing him any control.

    • leaningonhope

      My h and I have been separated for a year now. Anniversary of him moving out was yesterday.
      During this last year, I’ve been quite available to him. In many ways. I’m wondering if that’s been enabling him to stay “comfortable”, avoiding dealing with issues.
      I don’t know how or where to draw the hard line. I’m afraid of the consequences if I have to follow through if he crosses a boundary. I don’t want the financial consequences if he also chooses to draw a hard line, and stops paying the debt payment that’s in both our names.
      But I definitely think it’s been a mistake that I’ve been so available.

      I heard the saying recently that you are ready to accept change when you realize that the pain of change will be less than the pain of staying the same. I’ve stayed in this state of “limbo” for a year. I can’t imagine doing this for another year. I want to change things but don’t know where to begin. I feel like I’m eating an elephant.

    • Anon

      Leaning. Sorry you are struggling. Have you read up on the 180?

      If you are separated then much of this is in place, I assume. Still doing his laundry? Stop. Still proving meals? Stop. Still doing errands for him? Stop.

      Stop communicating unless it’s about kids or finances. No chit chat. No listening to his problems. No emotional support.

      Stop being his wife.

    • Seenthelight

      #1. I knew him cheating was a possibility, he’s a guy, that’s what most of them do. My naivety was in believing he could/would be 100% honest as he said he would before we got married and often after we got married.
      #2. I didn’t over react, I’d had a feeling about it already, but no proof.
      #3. I didn’t try to be a perfect wife, I knew it was on him. He was aware of the inappropriateness of cheating as we had discussed it over the years when people we knew were dealing with it. He always acted like he was above it, those who cheated were low life’s etc. Hippocrate to the end.
      #4. Believed nothing he said as the truth. The smartest thing I did, he’d been lying so long I don’t think he knew what truth is.
      #5. If he loved her or not didn’t matter.
      #6. I never saw his cheating in a good light, I saw them as two gutter rats who did belong together. I would be better off without him in my life.
      #7. Didn’t act like I was headed to the funny farm, I did feel some insecurity, but mostly distrust.
      #8. I knew controlling him wasn’t possible, nor what I wanted.
      #9. I wasn’t 100% myself, but intentionally looked at the whole situation analytically, according to what facts I had.
      #10. Didn’t believe once affair was over everything was fine, as most cheaters do, he felt all was fine, nothing to talk about, nothing more to do, but move on.
      11. We had an agreement that we would discuss things that bothered him, me, us we would discuss whatever it was. He never had anything to say, He says I did nothing wrong, it’s all on him, I agree.
      12. I learned being 100% honest with him was detrimental to me, since more than 3 decades of honesty resulted in him cheating and lying for at least 2 decades, giving lies in the form of lip service regarding what he did/didn’t do, or believed in to manipulate me.
      13. Did get angry and expressed myself very clearly.
      14. Made it very clear what he had lost and would lose. Let him know what
      I’d gain – an honest life I could feel good about.
      15. I did think things over quite quickly. Accepted that the relationship wasn’t what it had seemed for more than 2 decades. All that was important to him was how it seemed to others in his circle of friends and family. The facts and reality weren’t important. That would have taken work on his part.
      16. I did go to a professional and got him to go for a while, until he decided he didn’t need to. That was when I decided for real I am better off without him.
      If I had it to do again I wouldn’t have wasted the year and a half doing the council ing. He really had no desire to work on anything, he just didn’t to pacify me and move on like so many cheaters.

    • NoTearsLeft

      I’m 3 years in limbo. Going from thinking we will be ok & he is working on it & trying, to hating him and wanting out RIGHT NOW because it’s suddenly so obvious he could care less about my feelings or needs and how could I let myself keep falling for his bullshit. I often think of calling the OW and telling her to come get him out of my life. I am 99% sure they have not spoken in 2 1/2 years. Now my daughter is pregnant & she needs me to have stability so I have even more excuses to let this drag out. Worse I still don’t know if I ever loved him – I feel like I have wasted 32 years and all I got was pain & gray hair. Hit rock bottom about once a month – then it gets a little better – rinse, repeat. I feel hurt. I feel rage. I feel shame. I feel disgusted. I can’t sleep.

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