This post is about emotional affair recovery from the perspective of the cheater.  

emotional affair recovery

Graphic by iqoncept

By Doug

We get a ton of emails and there have probably been even more comments about how the cheater is having a tough time ending their emotional affair (or physical affair) and then ultimately letting go of their affair partner.

We’ve blogged in the past of how the affair can be treated as an addiction.  When an addict gives up their drug of choice there will be withdrawal issues.  When the addiction is an affair, there can be obsessive thoughts of the affair partner as well as a general feeling of loss and/or “pining” for the affair partner, among other things.

I came across this article written by Therese J. Borchard who is the author of “Beyond Blue: Surviving Depression & Anxiety and Making the Most of Bad Genes” and “The Pocket Therapist: An Emotional Survival Kit.”

I don’t imagine that it is any coincidence that there are 12-steps since it seems most programs for treating addiction also involve a 12-step approach.  Anyways, I think this is a very good article that a cheater should consider.

Though I don’t agree with everything the author writes, if it can help just one cheating spouse start the process of emerging from out of the affair fog, it has served it’s purpose.


Emotional Affair Recovery – 12-Steps for the Cheater

emotional affair recovery
Emotional affair recovery can be tough for the cheater too, as they are having a difficult time getting over the affair partner.

1. Distinguish romance from love.

In his book “We: Understanding the Psychology of Romantic Love,” Robert A. Johnson distinguishes human love from romantic love. When we yearn for a forbidden, passionate romance like in “The English Patient” or The Bridges of Madison County, we are often blinded to the beautiful, committed love that is with us in everyday life, the “stirring-the-oatmeal” love. Johnson writes:

“Stirring oatmeal is a humble act–not exciting or thrilling. But it symbolizes a relatedness that brings love down to earth. It represents a willingness to share ordinary human life, to find meaning in the simple, unromantic tasks: earning a living, living within a budget, putting out the garbage, feeding the baby in the middle of the night.”

2. Schedule some obsessing.

As I wrote in my “15 Ways to Stop Obsessing,” sometimes the best treatment for fantasies is to pencil them into your schedule. When you find yourself fantasizing about an intimate moment with the woman who has custody of your heart, don’t yell at yourself, “Snap out of it!” Simply say, “Thought, I appreciate your coming, but I’ve scheduled you for 7 this evening, at which time you can totally distract me if you want.”

See also  Cheaters Play By Their Own Rules During an Affair

3. Be accountable.

This technique is especially effective for Catholics whose first lessons on human morality involved scary confessions. Do I have to tell everything? What if he sends me to hell? Moreover, accountability has always worked for me because, as a stage-four people pleaser, I crave a good report card. So I better make sure I have a few people in my life passing out such reviews: my therapist, my doctor, my mentor Mike, my mom (she can still read my voice like a map, dang it), my twin sister, and my best friend. By giving them the skinny on what’s really going on inside my margin for error decreases ten-fold.

4. Invest in your marriage.

The best way to prevent an affair is to invest in your marriage. And the best way to recover one is to invest in your marriage. It’s a simple physics equation: the energy and time you supply to one relationship has to come from another one. That is, you can’t build and nurture a true partnership if you’re spreading intimacy over too many places.

After a violation of trust–and according to marriage expert Peggy Vaughan an affair is more about breaking trust than having sex–the best reconciler in a marriage are small acts of kindness. Because for most spouses, “I’m sorry” doesn’t cut it. Contrition needs to be supported with evidence: backrubs, special dinners, cleaning toilets, a listening ear.

5. Replace it with something.

Whenever I grieve the loss of an important relationship in my life–whether it be a friendship that falls apart or a loved one who passes unexpectedly–I’ve found it helpful to immerse myself in a new project, or new challenge.

6. Stay with the loneliness.

I’m not a big fan of loneliness. Because that aching hole in your heart feels too much like the scary black chasm of depression. But they are different beasts. One can be treated, the other must be felt. Writes Henri Nouwen in “The Inner Voice of Love:”

“When you experience the deep pain of loneliness, it is understandable that your thoughts go out to the person who was able to take that loneliness away, if only for a moment. When you feel a huge absence that makes everything look useless, your heart wants only one thing–to be with the person who once was able to dispel these frightful emotions. But it is the absence itself, the emptiness within you, that you have to be willing to experience, not the one who could temporarily take it away.”

7. Outsmart the body.

A little biology lesson here. When you are infatuated with someone, your brain chemistry whispers lies into your ears that can have you doing really stupid stuff. The spike in dopamine and norepinephrine produced with heightened sexual tension might tell you that all your troubles would end if you only kissed the handsome guy you just friended on Facebook, or ran off with the barista that makes you a perfect cappuccino. Helen Fisher, an anthropologist at Rutgers University, author of “Why We Love: The Nature and Chemistry of Romantic Love,” explains why emotional affairs feel so good:

See also  Methods to Help You Cope and Heal from Posttraumatic Stress Syndrome Caused by the Betrayal of Infidelity

“Love is a drug. The ventral tegmental area is a clump of cells that make dopamine, a natural stimulant, and sends it out to many brain regions [when one is in love]. …It’s the same region affected when you feel the rush of cocaine.”

Thus, identifying the physiological components of infatuation can be a strong ally in fighting the war against infidelity.

8. Treat the addiction.

Categorizing an emotional affair as an addiction is helpful in two ways: First, it depersonalizes the experience, making it easier to let go of, and it also provides some tangible steps a person can take to kick her habit. Addictions induce a trance-like state that allows the addict to detach from the pain, guilt, and shame she feels. She buys into false and empty promises—a flawed sense of intimacy and fulfillment—until reality hits. Hard. And the addict is forever vulnerable to buying into this distorted vision, which is why recovery from emotional affair never ends, and involves one smart decision after another that fosters true intimacy.

9. Surround yourself with friends.

For a person who has just broken off an emotional affair, friends aren’t optional. They are a life-support system. Safe friends are especially important if the relationship you are mourning formed at work, among mutual friends. You’ll need to befriend colleagues who are not connected to him in any way, or hang out with your non-work friends, safe folks, until you feel strong enough to socialize with friends who might talk about or involve him.

10. Think with your new brain.

In his bestselling classic “Getting the Love You Want,” Harville Hendrix distinguishes between our old or “reptilian” brain that is weighted down with unconscious baggage from our pasts and reacts automatically in fear, and our new brain: the “analytical, probing, questioning part of your mind that you think of as being ‘you.’” Harville theroizes that when we get sucked into intense and damaging emotional relationships our old brain is holding the helm. It wants to recreate the pain of our past in order to heal the wounds.

See also  A Few Things I’ve Learned From Cheaters

So what we have to do is to squeeze some of the rational and cognitive skills of our newer brain into the old brain before the unguided driver gets us into too much trouble. This means to apply a little logic or to fill in the details of our love story. For example, imagine sharing a bathroom with the Facebook Romeo of yours. Yuck?

11. Write about it.

If you get the feeling your friends are quite over hearing about your emotional affair, try putting your emotions to the page. In a 2003 British Psychological Society study, results indicated that writing about emotions might even speed the healing of physical wounds. If journaling about pain can heal your knee scab, think about what writing might do for your broken heart.

12. Let yourself grieve.

A relationship without sex can be every bit as intense as one involving lingerie. A special connection between two kindred souls needs to be grieved just as a marriage or committed partnership.

In the case of an emotional affair, guilt can impede the grieving process. Since a person feels as though she is wrong to have had these feelings to begin with, she often won’t allow a time of tears and loneliness that are necessary for healing. But just because the relationship happened outside of a committed relationship doesn’t mean the heart isn’t broken and needs to heal. So be as gentle with yourself as you would a friend who just ended a primary relationship. (Read original article here.)


It’s obvious that many of those who have been involved in an emotional affair are having a difficult time getting over the affair partner and feel as though they may never stop grieving for the loss of emotional companionship.  But many feel that the cheater has no right to grieve because he/she was the wrong-doer, the evil one who hurt others, and therefore the emotional affair recovery process is much more difficult for them.

It seems that most of what the author recommends is very similar to that which is recommended for a betrayed spouse in their own emotional affair recovery process.  Hopefully this article can offer you more points to think about within your own situation.


    101 replies to "Emotional Affair Recovery – 12-Steps for the Cheater"

    • jewel

      The last point #12 – grieve is important i’m sure. But as a BS, the line “A special connection between two kindred souls needs to be grieved just as a marriage or committed partnership.” actually made me throw up a little bit.
      Fuck them.
      Guess I still have anger issues huh? I’ve had a DDay #2, about a month ago and it’s different than the first one. I don’t have the same panic as then, but it’s making me sick, I’m obsessing all over again when I had it under control. It’s not fair. This whole shitty mess just isn’t fair.
      I’m so tired of waking up thinking about it. I just want my life back.
      You know one of the first things I said to my H when i found out the first time? “i understand why this happened. I understand how she fell in love with you, you are easy to love” I’m just having such a hard time holding on. I so want to have this marriage…but then I ask myself why? Why really? We talk about communication….I am seeing a shrink to learn how to listen to him…how to really LISTEN.
      I got him a lovely thoughtful gift for valentines he rushed out to buy me a rose ’cause he thought he’d better’.. He talked about a holiday with his friend…and when his friend didn’t want to go..then he asked me. why bother?

      • Sam

        I’m totally with you on this one. Screw them! What special connection between two kindred souls? An affair is all about lies, dishonesty, and broken vows. What’s so special about that?

        Yup, maybe I still have anger issues myself. Whatever.

      • Paula

        Jewel, I just want to say that I couldn’t agree with you more, I feel the same way…..we are suppose to accept, the connection between two kindred souls….”WHY”? the HELL should WE?!! I don’t think so!

    • blueskyabove

      jewel and Sam,

      Anger is far better than apathy, guilt, or shame. It actually shows you are progressing…getting back on your feet. Bravo!

    • changedforever

      Here, here….as a BS who also suffered from 2 DDays…I could care less what the cheater has to go thru as that is NOTHING…NOTHING! …like what I have and will have to live thru for the rest of my life.

      • Sew

        I could not agree more. I have had so many DDays that I lost track. She tried to portray herself as the victim, really who is when your mate cheats? The betrayed spouse needs every bit of attention and empathy during the recovery from the cheater.

    • ifeelsodumb

      Wow Jewel…I’m so sorry!! I can’t even imagine a Dday 2…I pray everyday to God that I never have to experience that!! And yes, I’m in total agreement with you, point #12 is totally screwed up!
      Would someone please explain “A special connection between two kindred souls needs to be grieved just as a marriage or committed partnership.” to my 12 yr old who every time he see’s me crying wants to know if his dad has been talking to “that woman” again????? Please?? Anyone?

      • Dee

        How about DDay #2 and two more you kept your mouth shut about? I will likely stay because it’s been 37 years but now I’m making plans for my own life. I should have left after the first time but I had been divorced before and didn’t want to be again. I would guess that he did not have actual sex with any of these women but was way more involved in their lives than with me and our children.

    • Notoverit

      I’m with Jewel on this one – two kindred souls? Since my OW has BPD, a bit of sociopath thrown in, along with a healthy dose of narcissism I don’t think my H has a kindred soul with her. She’s a total nutcase; hellbent to take my H at any cost. Maybe my case is not normal but really, from what I have read (all apologies to the CSs on this site), I don’t believe in it. The whole EA thing is about ego and feeling good. If you want to boost your ego (and not your self-esteem) why not have it stroked by a little extra-curricular activities, say an EA? Come on. And if you aren’t happy in your marriage, then leave, get a divorce and THEN have your EA/PA or whatever. And I don’t feel like a lecture from the CSs about loving the other person – if you love them SO MUCH then leave and let your H/W live their own life without the baggage of dealing with your foibles. I have spent the last 15 months “grieving” the loss of my marriage because some hussy decided she wanted my husband and went after it. Sure, he played along but she stalked him and got him to join in (he does share the blame). So as Jewel said F*@# them and the horse they rode in on. Anger issues? Damn straight.

      • Dee

        Absolutely! I asked my husband that if he ‘came back’ to me, it would have to be for me, otherwise we were doomed. After we had reunited, I asked him when he had realised that he wasn’t in love with her after all and he said several weeks after it had happened….well, he made the overture to come back to me within days of him leaving, well within this period…When he realised the implication of what he’d said, he asked me to ‘understand’ that you could have ‘strong feelings for 2 people at the same time’……with NO distinction between his feelings for the woman who had shared his life for nearly 20 years, was the mother of his children and had supported him through 2 nervous breakdowns and a girl he hardly knew and had (according to him) only had a relationship with for 2 months…What planet are these people on for chrissake?…I’m with you both too!, If their feelings for their AP are so bloody strong, why don’t they end their marriage, do us BS a favour and let us get on with rebuilding our lives…..let their AP’s live with the consequences of their weak, self-obsessed decisions instead of us BS and our children….

        On a more positive note, my counsellor recently encouraged me to ‘stop trying to fix him’ and it was as if a light came on in my head….she was so spot on….and with that statement, I have begun to feel a kind of release, a ‘letting go’…hope this feeling lasts..

        • Paula

          Dee, You took the words right out of my mouth!

    • rachel

      I’m with you both on this one Jewel and Sam!!

      • Carol

        Me too! Seems to me connections are only ‘special’ when they are NOT dependent on lying, sneaking around, betraying one’s wife and children, etc. My H told a colleague of mine he had a ‘connection’ to another woman. Yep, they were connected alright – both were selfish, lying narcissists! Spare me such ‘special” connections.

        • Sam

          Amen, Carol!!!

          When my H told me that his connection to the OW was “spiritual” I just wanted to throw up. What kind of spirituality encourages lying and hurting others? Ugh.

          • ifeelsodumb

            Oh brother!!!! Sounds just like the guy my sister had a EA turned PA with!! He used “God” to win her over to his warped thinking!! “God” brought them together…”God” means for him to have her as his “spiritual wife” while his “legal wife” and four kids were in the “family” home! Her scumbag lover has NO IDEA who God REALLY is…because the God I KNOW would NEVER call her to be his adulterous “spiritual wife”!!!!
            And yes, my sister, who I’ve ALWAYS thought of as a pretty smart lady…fell for his crap!!
            I just couldn’t believe it! It took 1 1/2 yrs for her to FINALLY wake up and see him for what he truly is!! A cheating LIAR!!!
            Yet, she STILL cries over him and what they COULD have had!! Sheesh!!! I love my sister but I don’t feel sorry for her!! Because as a BS I FEEL for this losers “legal wife” and his kids…who MY sister had a hand in hurting!! You play….you pay!!!

            • Anita

              I agree with you.
              The God I know also, forbids adultery of any kind.

    • Still struggling

      I myself am tired of the addiction excuse. If they had never had taken the first drink there would be nothing to be addicted to. The part about surrounding yourself with friends made me want to vomit. His EA started out as a friendship. You know the “just friends” excuse. Blah blah blah. Bullshit. What’s going to keep another ” just friend” from becoming the new addiction?
      I know it says safe friends but in the beginning I don’t think my OH knew the difference. Not sure he does now.
      I’m tired. Don’t know how to turn it off!!!! I also want to be able to wake up and not think about it. Want to be able to trust again. How do you move to truly forgiving and trusting? I am over the initial part of it all. And I usually am a very forgiving person. Why can’t I forgive with him?

      • CA

        Still struggling:
        I also can not turn it off. It is driving my insane sometimes. I’m also struggling with the truly forgiving and trusting part. So afraid to do that. If I ever hurt like this again, I don’t know if I could not break. It’s been almost 7 months from D day and I feel better every week. My H swears nothing like this will ever happen again. I know he believes that now…while things are still so raw. I worry about time down the road when he is not being so careful. Your so right about not taking the first drink. It is the part of the EA that bothers me the most. The OW was not even someone he knew. She just walked up to him in a lobby of their work building and handed him her card…she wanted him to call so they could talk or have coffee. He did. So very hurt by that. If you find that secret to forgiving…let me know.

        • Still struggling

          CA it has been 17 months for me and I feel as though I have taken many steps back. I feel as though 6 months ago I was further along. The triggers are horrible right now. Probably because I found more of the lies. Albeit lies of omissions. He sees it as protecting me… I see it aspire secrecy which fueled their affair. I don’t think to this day he sees it as an affair because it was not a PA ( at least as far as I know). I have suffered deaths of grandparents, death of a nephew, a miscarriage, and molestation at the hands of family and none of that pain comes close to comparing to what he has done. I have even forgiven the molester. Not that I would ever trust him but I have forgiven. Is that sick or what?

          I think it is that I trusted my OH evenore than I trusted myself. I too am like Paula where most everyone I know does not know the anguish I am feeling.

          Before his EA I tried to be vocal about the things that bothered me but he would sulk and run away from the problems that existed for us. He even used this as an excuse for the EA stating that he thought I was leaving him. He is such a coward. Instead of fighting for us he was preparing himself to move on. He still is afraid to work on this issues and that is part of what bothers me. Besides the fact that he calls me momma or baby. I am neither one to him– not his mother nor his child.

          Sorry for the long vent….

      • Paula

        Stiil struggling, me too! WHY CAN’T I GET BETTER??? I desperately want to forgive fully and have a happy and loving life, and I just can’t get there, it’s driving me insane. Because this was a friend, I have disconnected from all of my friends, I haven’t seen anyone except my family and workmates, quite literally, for at least a month. I don’t bloody trust anyone, and I can’t let my guard down. No one knows that I’m this insane! I’m doing a great job in hiding all my pain from everyone except you guys here! Sorry guys, it’s been a bad week, I need to DO something to stop this insanity.

        • Still struggling

          Paula I am so sorry we all had to meet this way. His Ow was not a friend of mine but was an aquaintance. She knew me and we worked at the same institution. She told him lies about me having an affair… Put her own spin in things then played the sympathetic friend. To this day I think she still believes she did no wrong. I eventually left the organization we both worked for. Because I couldn’t stand being there knowing she was around.

          I fully understand the insanity—Also the not being able to trust nor let your guard down. The beat thing for me was to be able to talk with a good friend who was also a friend of the marriage. She was my rock and helped me to not leave. She was divorced after her first husband cheated on her. Our situations were a bit different as her first was not a good guy where mine up to this point had been a good guy. She is a good judge of character and helped me remember why I needed to work on things with him.
          This board has helped me tremendously even though I am in low point now.

          Often it helps me to go back to d-day which was actually d-week and remember the anxiety attacks and uncertainty. Even as uncertain as things feel right now they are not as bad as that week. I have come a long way but — in a moment of aha!!! just now, I realize I will never be back to the moment I was before discovery.
          To blindly trust him again would be and was stupid. I will us all the strength to continue our journeys with strength, hope, and faith.

          I used to pray for strength and realized that God would challenge me with situations to prove I had strength. I now pray for clarity. Although I have not done that for quite a while.

          I wish us all to find the clarity we need to help us heal, grow, live, and trust again.

        • CA

          Paula, I also did not tell anyone for at least 3 months. I then confided in two friends that I knew for sure I could trust. One I only see occasionally so we rarely talk about it. The other friend is a work friend that I see every day. It has helped tremendously to have her to vent to. When things build up bad enough that I am feeling truly insane…I will talk to my husband and he is very supportive, but it is nice to have someone to talk to every day if I want. When you feel you can, talk to someone….even if they don’t dispense advice, it will make you feel better. Take care

          • Sam

            I told my sister. She has been my confidant and biggest support in this whole mess. (Though my H has no idea that my sister knows anything. She feels it would make things weird between them.)

            It took me forever to confide in a friend, and I only recently told my mom – 8 months after Dday!

            I’ve felt really embarrased about this whole situation, even though I’m not the one who should be embarrased, if you know what I mean.

            I have such a hard time talking to people and I avoided phone calls and friends for months. I feel like I had some kind of social anxiety for a while. It’s getting better, but I know exactly how you guys feel.

          • Paula

            Thanks CA, I did talk to a friend, probably for nearly a year, but after a while, you can’t do that anymore, as you look like a crazy person – people just want you to forget about it and move on (yeah, so do I, if it were just that simple, lol!) She is married, a much shorter marriage in length than ours, she idolized our relationship, thought we had it all, and was pretty gutted when she found out. She also grew up with the OW (like me) but unlike me, she never trusted her, so had much better instincts, or maybe she is just married to a man who is very open about how hard he has to work to stay faithful (sounds like a real shit, doesn’t he? He’s not, he just knows he’s one of those men who needs to be very aware of the female company he keeps, and how much he drinks, etc. They work hard at staying close and connected, hard work with five kids 7-13 years!) If anyone has any inkling of how I feel now, they would just say, “oh, for goodness sake, leave him, will you!” My partner’s best mate said that a while ago, not to me, but I heard it through the small town grapevine, so, see, I’m wary, because he was coming across all supportive (his first wife cheated on him and left for the OM, he IMMEDIATELY got together with his brother’s ex – no time to himself at all, I mean IMMEDIATELY, see, no grieving time, just straight onto the next one, I’m talking a day or so, as she came around to “comfort” him, and never left!) I don’t let on to anyone that I still struggle, as “the public” don’t have any tolerance for how long this is taking me. I know I look like a loser and that they would think I was somewhat insane to still feel this way. Our counsellor says it is because we did have a really intimate and connected relationship to start with, not to compete, but many of the people we know don’t, necessarily, often they are “working relationships” – marriages of convenience, to a degree. That’s why I comment here so (too!) regularly! Thanks guys 🙂

    • Michael

      This post is a good post.

      I’ve had many days of discovery too over the last two years. And I have been angry. I have been upset. And I have been overwhelmed.
      Its all part of the journey. And if I would have stuck to what I said, that “if I find out more”, my journey would have been over long ago.
      But its not. I’m still here. And I wouldn’t rather be anywhere else.
      I have stopped blogging, and reading blogs, but with a lot of words said this last week I needed to visit here. And I’m glad I did.
      Yesterday was my 39th birthday. I had a wonderful day. I’m glad my wife was a part of it. I couldn’t imagine doing this alone.

      As far as the F them and anger goes, I know I’ve been there too. I think as long as you don’t let those emotions dictate your decisions, as long as you think before acting, you will make a decision as to what’s best for you.
      You can’t control their choices. You can only control your choices.

      Lots of love to my wife. Lots of love to those still struggling. We are all here for the same peace of mind. To get help and give when we can. I hope my comments help others. As many of your have helped me.

    • DJ

      I’m afraid I also have a problem with accepting his affair as a special relationship of kindred souls. That, and I also think the person he needs to spend time with is me.

      And the addiction thing – I think it’s not much more than a play with semantics. It does de-personalize it so that it is easier to talk about. My marriage counselor did also indeed say that love is a need and in that regard it is much like an addiction. But it is still love. In the back of my mind I always feel we are just playing with words. I haven’t decided if I really believe this, but I’m leaning in this direction.

      Just my feelings right now…

    • stillbroken

      i’m sorry if this is out of topic, but i feel i need to write this..

      my husband had a 7 months affair which he had sex with her 5 times.. it happened in a time that he had so much stress which i didnt know he had.. at the time i was the one who had so much stress, he didnt want to add my problems so he kept his problems by himself.. at that time because of my stress i didnt have sex with him for more than a year and he never complain.. but then a woman came to him at work clearly expressing her interest to him.. so they had an affair.. which i believe the woman (she has a husband) fell in love with my husband and thought my husband loved her too.. my husband told me he never loved her, he only took advantage of the sex (5 times sex, 2 times initiated by my husband, 3 times intiated by her). i never knew about the affair until he confessed to me.. he and the woman confessed to her husband first, then the woman told my husband not to tell me about the affair and she told my husband not to end their relationship even though they already confessed to her husband and swear in front of him not to continue the affair, but my husband decided to confessed all to me anyway.. when i asked him why, he said because he wanted the affair to end and he couldnt keep anymore secret from me and the guilt’s already too heavy for him to bear.. the woman texted me saying she’s so sorry and asked me to forgive her, that it was over and her husband is a nice man and deserve her more than my husband so she wont continue the affair.. but that’s a lie.. even after that text to me, she continue contacting my husband, she texted him, missedcall him.. but my husband never answer and never reply.. one time my husband send her one text saying ‘i’ve never loved you’.. she’s so angry and replied ‘get over yourself i’m not even thinking about you!!!’.. after that there’s still some texts and a missedcall from her, again my husband never respond.. i think she hates him now..

      i cant help but thinking.. is it because of me that he had affair? because i didnt give him sex? but he never complained, he didnt even say its my fault when he confessed.. i asked him once, if our sex life is okay will the affair happened? he said no.. i feel like a failure, but i feel like its not fair to me, i never get the warning i supposed to get, he never told me that the absent of sex bothers him, i know i was naive but he never complained.. suddenly there’s the confession and my world turned upside down..

      • Lynne


        First, bless your H for having the guts to tell you the truth about his affair. It had to be painfully hard to hear, but how rare this is that a CS will openly admit this failing.

        As to the issue of a lack of sex in your marriage, while it certainly must have been a huge frustration for your H, he still had the responsibility to tell you (pre-affair) he was struggling with this. He always had an option to sit down and tell you what he needed.

        You are not a failure. I repeat, you are NOT a failure. And while I understand that it must be horrible for you to think of him having sex with another woman, be grateful in the knowledge that he did not love her. You can come back from this–over time, and with a lot of love and patience with one another. There is some honor in your H, or he wouldn’t have told you the truth.

        Be kinder to yourself–you will get through this.

      • Carol

        Stillbroken, you are not supposed to be a mindreader. The affair is not your fault. If your H was bothered by lack of sex, he should have told you straight up. You can’t fix a problem if you don’t know it’s there! And he should never have gone outside the marriage. It is good that he is not blaming you. Now: don’t blame yourself!

    • Anita

      Although I have healed and moved on from my own past,
      I feel I can still be helpful.
      First of all you are not a failure, not even close.
      His affair was a choice of his own doing. There is no
      excuse for having an affair, period. If he wasn’t satified
      with the condition your marriage was in, he should have
      talked with you and been supportive to you during your
      stressful time. We all have stressful times in our lives,
      however that doesn’t mean you run to another person
      and have an affair. His choice in that behavior was wrong.
      Even if another woman chases after your husband, there
      are 3 simple words to stop her in her tracks, which are
      ( I am married). There will always be women and men
      who chase after a married person, but it is the married
      indivual who has to step up to the plate and state that
      they’re married and have no interest in messing around in
      their marriage.
      However this did not happen, and now your living with
      the pain of his choice. I only know of one thing that will
      help you through this and that is forgiving him.
      Wheather he can be trusted again only time will tell.
      As far as the other woman forget about her, it was
      your husband who stepped out on you. She could be
      anybody, its about him breaking your marriage vows.
      I wish you the best!

      • Anita

        Also it may help your husband to get into some counseling
        to help him with different ways of coping with stress, so
        he will use other methods of coping with stress in the
        Also for yourself do not take his actions as something
        personal about you, separate his affair from you.
        Even though you were in a stressful time yourself, it was
        wrong of him to have an affair.
        Keep yourself strong and do not let this get to you.
        Prayer also helps.

        • Paula

          Wondefully put Anita, wouldn’t it be so wonderful if the “I am married/in a committed relationship,” comment worked! Still broken, your story sounds very similar to mine, except we were still having plenty of great (and sometimes just comfortable, let’s be honest, we had lived together for over 21 years by then!) sex. But, I’m with Carol and Lynne here, of course he should have communicated with you about his stress, and if the lack of sex was creatig issues – there are plenty of things you can do to rectify that problem, if you have the information! My problem, at present is that whilst we had always previously had a wonderful, fulfilling sex life together, and it took an upswing in the aftermath of the affair disclosure, and the years since, I have HUGE problems with it now. We were the couple who made love more than once a day for the first two years we lived together, and daily has been the norm for us most of the next couple of decades, never less than about 4 times per week, even after difficult childbirth, we were very gently returning to lovemaking within a week, after all three of our children, stitches and all, sorry, too graphic, but true. The OW is with me all the time (in my head) as are some other issues from my past, and it has stifled our lovemaking to a degree I’ve never known. Sex, in many forms and degrees of intensity, has always been a very important part of our love, and I feel a huge disconnect without it, or vice versa. OH is very sweet and patient, and I just feel terrible, and frigid, and really screwed up about it all. More lovely issues for our counsellor to deal with, lol!

          • Anita

            I am sorry your hurting, you have been through alot.
            Making peace with the past can be difficult and painful.
            However you are worth it.
            When others hurt us, we have the choice to carry that hurt
            with us, or forgive the person/persons who hurt you.
            Forgivness never makes them right, however it frees you from that pain. When we don’t forgive we carry that poison
            within ourselves which in return its like acid it with slowly
            eats away at us since we are the container that carrys it.
            Sometimes, other people could care less wheather they
            are forgiven or not. So the forgivenss is for ourselves.
            I had to learn this for myself also, and once I made that
            choice the forgiveness happened little by little, over time
            I could see the results of my forgiveness.
            It brought a deep peace down inside of me, but also it
            has given me growth in other area’s of my life.
            However, for myself my faith has also played a major
            part of my happiness, joy, peace and love.
            I wish you the very best, take care.

          • KeptinDark

            Yep, we had a great sex life for over 12 years, then the EA/PA and during counseling it came back and lasted a few years. Now I can get triggered by almost anything and have no interest in sex with her for months at a time. The triggers bring out those feelings of disgust and I have no desire to touch her.
            She knows I still have unanswered questions and issues but she refuses to help saying she has forgotten it but I know she hasn’t because I still get a new detail or two every conversation. If she would just come clean I think I could put it behind me.

    • E

      I do not buy into the “kindred souls” idea – that’s crazy. I also had several ddays, but I believe that the “high” of the affair is the draw – it’s really not the OW. I realize part of that thinking could be me and other BS’s self-soothing ourselves, but I believe it to be true, at least in my case. However, grief and the need to grieve something lost is real. I am grieving the idea that I lived in a fairy tale with my H. We were married very young, have been together 26 years. No one thought we would make it, and people looked at us like we had it all together. I bought into that too, unfortunately. So, I don’t think that grieving over something has to be a person – I think our CS’s grieve the whole package – the mystery, the risk, the excitement, the “high”. As hard as it is to take – they need to grieve, it’s healthy.

      I have to comment also on the idea of printing and giving these kinds of posts to our CS’s .. I disagree with this idea. Maybe it’s a personality thing with my H but I think that if someone wants to change – they are not going to do it if it’s someone else’s idea. I “plant seeds” for my H and I believe he receives them. But that’s as far as I go. I think I read it somewhere – maybe Mort Fertel – that the best way to influence change on your spouse is to change/take care of yourself. I agree with that.

      • Doug

        E., Point well taken. Certainly you need to do what you think will work best in your own situation.

    • Anita

      As far as step 12, Let your self grieve, I guess this is one
      of the consquences of having an affair, however the
      difference between the betrayed spouse grieving and
      the cheating spouse grieving is the cheating spouse
      brought this on to themselves by their own choice.
      The betrayed spouse had no choice, and feel the pain
      of betrayel.
      When the cheating spouse makes the choice to cross the
      boundaries within a marriage, they do it for their own
      pleasure, but in the end, that pleasure came with an
      expensive price tag.
      So much heartache and pain for unholy pleasure.

    • Anita

      For my own knowledge and learning, My question is for the
      cheating spouse, after your affair ended, how do you now
      feel about the other person? If you or they weren’t married
      would you still want a relationship with them?
      I am interested in this because, I’ve seen marriages crumble and the cheating spouse runs back to their affair partners and marry them.
      However during what was to subpose to the recovery
      process for both the betrayed and cheating spouse, the
      betrayed spouse was led on to believe that their spouse
      was over this other person, and was making amends to
      them. However, the cheating spouses was playing both ends of the stick.
      I know of a newly married couple where they were affair

    • Anita

      As a former betrayed spouse,
      I believe there are also different types of affairs along with it being physical and/or emotional. Such as one night stands and its over. Also there’s long and short term affairs, and exit affairs and vengence affairs and ect…..
      I believe each with affair there will be different levels of
      However with an emotional affair I do believe the cheating
      spouse does have to grieve when its over. I can see that from the posts here in this site. I beleive their feelings
      are real.

      • Anita

        However, for the betrayed spouse, this is so unfair.
        However whats done is done and no one can change the
        past. Forgive and forget whats behind and press on into the future.
        Again I wish my best to everyone!

      • DJ

        Anita – I do understand that in an emotional affair the cheating spouse will need to grieve the loss. I just do not agree that the affair should be acknowledged as a special relationship of kindred souls. That is just perpetuating the fantasy and the affair fog.
        I hope I can one day get to where you are. I have come to a sort of acceptance of it all and am able to live life with my husband, but I have not completely forgiven him. I look to people like you as an example of the possibilities. Thank you.

        • Anita

          The fact that any kind of an affair happened is wrong.
          Myself I do not acknowledge an affair as “kindred souls”.
          I believe an affair is morally wrong and wrong thoughts
          and actions took place in an affair.
          I know society especially Hollywood, tries to make an
          affair look glamorous, however I view it as sin.
          So when you see that term, its only a play on words, so
          blow it off. I wish the best to you.

          • Anita

            I think it is wonderful you and your husband have chosen to
            stay together and work on your marriage.
            Myself my exhusband and I divorced, his last affair was the
            end of our marriage. However I forgave him.
            When we forgive, it allows us to move forward with our own
            lives, it leaves the past behind. The past is what it is, and
            all the tears and anger won’t change it. We can’t rewrite
            history, or change it so, its best to let it go.
            Whats important is the present time we live in now, its
            important to leave that past behind and press ahead to
            the future.

            • DJ

              Thank you again, Anita. I am working on it, and by some definitions I am already there. I do not wish to get back at him or to see him hurt for what he has done. I just hurt sometimes, and sometimes still get angry. I long ago stopped venting my anger on him. I release it in exercise and in writing to my coach and on my blog. The hurt is more difficult, but most of the time he doesn’t see that, either. I will get there, I suppose, as long as he doesn’t screw up or screw anybody else again.

    • changedforever

      I researched the definition of ‘kindred soul…’ defined as “someone with the same feelings or attitudes as oneself, kindred spirit.” In other words, someone with whom you can share a kniving, deceitful, lying sack of s*** lifestyle; someone with whom you can sneak around in the shadows with… (my affair-related version.) So who longs to be a kindred spirit? Certainly not me.

      • jewel

        thanks Changed, you made me laugh out loud!!!

      • Anita

        I didn’t even bother to look up the definition, of “kindred soul”.
        I don’t acknowledge an affair between 2 people when one or both are married, as being kindred souls. I wouldn’t
        even give the term kindred souls a second thought.
        However ” kindred souls of deceit” might be a more fitting
        term that can be used to describe feelings between
        affair partners.

    • rachel

      I texted my H today and said that I would like to give our marriage a try yet I do know that it will be a long haul. His response was. He doesn’t know what he is doing and stop forwarding him information from the emotional affair site. Well, I guess the truth hurts! I think I’m back to calling the lawyer. Why am I willing to move on and repair WHAT HE HAS DONE, and him not do a thing!

      • ifeelsodumb

        Rachel….Listen, I really don’t think this is about you…and it’s NOT about the OW either…this IS about your H and his being unhappy with himself and there is nothing you or anyone else can do to make him happy.
        The OW was a tool for him to TRY to find some happiness in his life…and YOU are the excuse he’s using for why he’s NOT happy….
        So honestly, step back, leave him alone and live YOUR life!
        You’re letting him make YOU unhappy….you cannot make him change, he has to decide if he wants a life with you…and then YOU get to decide if what you’ve had with him is worth months and months of pain and rebuilding. I hope you can do this…((HUGS))

    • Lynne


      I am so sorry to hear this. Would it make sense at all (depending on how dense the fog is) to let this simmer a little longer. In other words, do you think if you gave this a few more weeks or so, he might figure out what he’s truly giving up?

      And my advice on sending him EAJ site stuff is that he may feel like you are shoving this down his throat (you’d probably like to shove SOMETHING down his throat right now, LOL!) Really, you can’t make someone go where they don’t want to go–and he may see this as you trying to control him and change him. Yes, he needs to become a better man, but he has to look inside himself and decide that’s what HE wants. Perhaps just saying to him that if ever he does want some ideas on material, you’d be open to making some suggestions, but you want him to know that it’s about his timing, not yours. Just a thought!

      I know you are tired of hearing this, but you can’t change him, you can only control YOU! I do know how hard it is to step back, yet it can be powerful.

    • rachel

      He’s going to file next week.
      I can’t take this any longer. In june he said he wants to fall in love with someone else, we’ve come to the end of our road and he’s not in love with me. If I stay it’s only for the kids. He must leave. I need to begin to heal and move on.

    • Anita

      When I was going through my own situation a few years
      ago, my faith and prayer brought me comfort for my
      brokenheart. Psalms 34 verse 18.The Lord is near to the
      brokenhearted, And saves those who are crushed in
      Rachel whatever the outcome is for you and your husband,
      you will need time to heal. I wish you my best always!

    • SucksHard

      These 12 steps are the biggest piece of shit I have read. Most of these are not geared towards learning anything about oneself but about telling yourself it is ok to have a fantasy and sooth yourself as you withdrawal from that, rather than getting under why you feel the need for fantasy love or how you could find increased intensity in your actual love/life or how your behavior and justifications of ‘love’ feelings are ok and that you need only acknowledge that and obsess on your own time. Obsessing on your own time is not facing your problem.

      Bunch of bull shit.

      • ifeelsodumb

        Totally agree with you!!!!

    • Simple Fool

      Doug, a biased response from a supporter of the website. Much of your recent writing on introspection helped me, a Cheater, to continue, incrementally, (far too slowly) to full ownership and accountability of my emotional affair. So thank you for that, and I really hope you continue blogging about the personal self-critical analysis… But based on reading your own thoughts and observations on the painful personal introspection that you’ve done I’m surprised you found this a good article.

      Doug, as a Cheater, I’d respectfully call this out as kind of a dangerous thing to endorse without saying that it’s a very discrete way of looking at recovery. Maybe this content is relevant for Cheaters who can’t even begin to see what’s wrong with them, those that need to be coddled into thinking their situation is analogous to quitting fantasies of a “Facebook Romeos,” that can be dispelled by scheduling “obsessing” time and then imagining their “yuck”-y bathroom. This tone applies, I’m guessing, to almost nobody that has turned to Emotional Affair Journey as a place of healing.

      As so many above are saying – It’s not just neuro-biology that makes some people fail. It’s also patterns learned from childhood, degree of self-awareness, and strength of moral compass.

      Everyday love with your partner is also “exciting” and “thrilling” — IF you are invested in your partner and believe that you are a shared identity, sharing a romantic dream of growth and happiness together. A cheater, like me, must learn to avoid simplification of what they did and with real self-analysis begin to foster a healthier reality. The rush/ ego-validation/ infatuation/feeling of falling in “love” is an illusion. Cheaters should seek to release not the person they had an emotional affair with, or the chemical they felt and wish they had more of for whatever reason, but those things plus the history, worldview, or self-delusion that created the dependency on desperate, un-fulfillable illusion as a source of renewing the self.

      Maybe some Cheaters can use this article to begin to break from the fog, but good lord, if they stop their process of introspection with Step 12, then what the hell will they have learned? Rather than a kindred soul, an affair partner is, in truth, LESS than a friend. If that affair partner cared about you they would not aid/abet/encourage/fuel/manipulate at the start but would enforce the commitment boundary and call out the discovery of chemistry or romantic feelings as a violation of the moral compass the cheater established by choosing a commitment to sharing life with their partner, exclusively.

      • Doug

        Simple Fool, Thanks for pointing that out. You make several very valid points. You’re right, I should have noted that what the author says will not be useful in every situation. No advice is. I certainly do not agree with every point she makes but based on many emails and comments that we get, it is obvious that many of the cheaters cannot or will not let go of their emotional affair. This is just one person’s viewpoint on how to help that along. I think it’s important at times to plant other seeds of opinion besides our own. If nothing else, it gives folks something to think about and can stir some healthy debate. Thanks again!

      • Sam

        Awesome post, Simple Fool. 🙂

      • Karen

        Simple Fool: Brilliant post!! The 12 steps in this article don’t even scratch the surface of the work the CS’s need to do. Maybe, Doug, you could post a disclaimer in your intro to the article?? I understand if it even helps one CS start the process of migrating out of the affair fog, it is a worthwhile read, BUT it also has the potential to shroud the CS in a deeper fog thinking their “feelings” for their OP are, indeed, analagous to healthy feelings in a marriage and deserves all the rights and privileges that marriage “love” does. Hogwash, IMO.

    • rachel

      I feel so dumb- thank you for your kind words. I stole you line of his being unhappy with himself and there is nothing I or anyone else can do to make him happy. Well, you should of seen the light go off in that FOGGY HEAD OF HIS!!! PRICELESS! THANK YOU!!!
      Lynne- You are so right about the EAJ info. I think he feels like I am shoving it down his throat. I’m just doing it because some or most of the information is so close to home. I just want movement and he’s not moving. Thank you.
      Anita- I printed out your blog to me and posted it on my bathroom mirror. Thank you.
      Simple Fool- You are no fool! Loved your post. I was going to print this out for my CS ( thank goodness I didn’t)
      but, when I got to Step 12 I said “What the …”. Great Points!

      • ifeelsodumb

        I am truly sorry for what you are going through…you’ve done NOTHING to deserve this!! Your H’s actions are very selfish, he’s only thinking of himself at the moment!
        BUT…take comfort in the thought that in the future he WILL be coming back to you….either with a wish to get back with you or to tell you he is sorry! Just you wait! You see it over and over again here on the blog…they leave and then regret acting so foolishly!
        It will then be up to you whether you want to reconcile or not!
        If it were me, IF you do want him back…there would be some steps he’d need to go through first!
        And in the rare case where he never comes back or admits wrong…then, girl, you thank the good Lord that you are done with such a selfish, selfish man, and embrace what life has to offer you!! You family, friends, and a future free to do whatever YOU want to do!!

        • rachel

          Ifeel so dumb- Last night I booked a summer vacation with my two boys and friends!! Something I would never have dared to do before. Summers were always pretty boring. My H is pretty cheap. I’m so HAPPY!! It’s almost liberating! My boys are so excited. It felt good to make a decision on my own and even to pay for the whole thing with my own money!!!

          • Lynne


            You go girl! It’s amazing how much stronger you’ve grown already. Have a blast on your vacation!!!

          • ifeelsodumb

            Go Rachel Go!! It’s amazing to see the difference in you from just a few weeks ago!! The butterfly has emerged from her cocoon! I hope your H wakes up soon and realizes what he losing….but you are sooo strong, and CAN do this on your own..if need be!! Proud of ya, girl! I AM woman..hear me roar!! LOL!!

    • KindredSoulMyA**

      Simple Fool, Yes, this is right on. I was wondering why this 12 step thing pissed me off and freaked me out so much. You nailed it on the head.

      My first response was despair and horror. As a BS, I felt instantly depressed to think of my husband lamenting the great feelings of love and intensity and aliveness with a kindred spirit compared to me stirring his f-ing oatmeal. Is that what our marriage is? Stirring oatmeal? Am I only a boring oatmeal stirring bit*ch? That scared me to the core because if that is love, I don’t want it either. I get that one appreciates the everyday and it isn’t as intense as the feelings of intoxication when having a fantasy-based romance that is naughty and illicit. I agree. But love is not about settling for boring stirring either in order to do the right thing…one accepts boredom and lifelessness.

      Absolutely: this lamenting of a lost love is not what one focuses on because one is not really losing a real person to begin with but a self-delusional projection of an illusion that is self-destructive, selfish, and empty. The reasons one feels draw and entitled to that feeling is the target of introspection. The reason one feels they can not find fulfillment in regular life is the target.

      Sitting around soothing one’s cheating wounds is gross and so disrespectful. One SHOULD only feel shame for those indulged feelings rather than justified and forgiving of their right to have and harbor them. Chemistry is normal but the intensity grew by choice.

      SF, you rock and I’d like to hear more from you here. Your perspective as a CS is very helpful.

    • Disappointed

      Simple Fool I wish my H thought like you. He won’t look at what he did and clings to the soulmate justification combined with a list of resentments. As for an apology from the OW, I would like one but would never accept one. There is nothing she could possibly say to make me feel better. She is a mother of two who simply felt unappreciated and wanted attention and was probably mad at her husband too. Everyone has their life but me. No words will fix it. Only my CS can do that, but that would mean looking closely at things and seeing his “flirtation” for what it really was… Escapism…

    • Disappointed

      I am a BS and I felt like I owed the OW’s H an apology just to show you how much EAs mess with your head. I wanted to say I am sorry I did not know, sorry my H looked elsewhere, sorry I could not keep him. I hate the craziness of the situation. They did something wrong not me… And I am left in agony and irrational self doubt.

    • rachel

      Disappointed, It is a crazy situation but it is not your fault. You need to stay strong and get rid of the self doubt. That was their choice. They obviously have issues but it has nothing to do with you. You must take of yourself. Trust me you need to take care of you. It does get easier.

      • ifeelsodumb

        Great advice Rachel!!! See how well you’re doing already?? You’re gonna be just fine!! 😀

        • rachel

          ifeelsodumb- Thanks to you guys! : )

    • InTrouble

      There is so much hate and anger on this blog lately. It makes it feel like a very unsafe place for cheaters to express themselves or to share their stories.

      As difficult as it may be, I hope the betrayed take a moment to recognize human frailty for what it is, and to try their hardest to understand that there are two sides to every story.

      At the same time, I also sincerely hope that they protect their own interests at all costs, even if that means leaving the cheater.

      • Doug

        InTrouble, Thanks for mentioning that. I was thinking that very same thing yesterday, though the disparaging remarks were made from only a few folks. Don’t let the nastiness of a couple of people deter you from sharing. I think that the overwhelming majority of those who comment appreciate the sharing from both sides of the coin. Obviously there is a lot of emotions for everyone involved who comes here, and one of the underlying purposes of the site is to learn from each other’s experiences and offer support – whether cheater or betrayed. There’s nothing wrong with a good debate, but we need to keep it civil.

    • ifeelsodumb

      I think what you and InTrouble are seeing is not so much “nastiness” as you put it….but anger, anger at the situation a lot of us find ourselves in, and this is a place where it can be vented, and also, this particular blog posting has really touched a nerve with us BS…nothing personal against the CS that post here…but it really IS very hurtful as a BS!

      • Doug

        IFSD, Trust me, I understand that completely – and the anger is all well deserved. Like I said though, there is absolutely nothing wrong with debate and expressing one’s opinion – let’s just keep it clean and civil. 99.99% of you all do!

    • Michael

      As someone who has been dealing with this for over two years as a betrayed spouse, I know this is a reality.
      My case is different from a lot of the people who come to the site. My wife reconected with a high school sweetheart. So maybe I’m more understanding about a post like this. Maybe just long process has made me a little calice to the pain. I’m sure if you look back at my past post you can find the same anger a lot of the BS here have expressed. My first post was back in Feb 2010. And at the time my wife was also continuing her affair behind my back.
      So please believe me when I say, I know it hurts. We are all here to learn, Betrayed and Cheating spouses alike.
      Please don’t think everything posted here applies to everyone. Some things help others more than they help me or someone else.

    • Paula

      I think the “heavy” comments are being made by BS very new to this awful time, anger and confusion reign supreme!

      I’m going to annoy many here, but I didn’t feel offended by this list. I do believe that in some cases, in the early part of a CS letting go of the AP, these 12 steps ar a good guide. They do feel raw, and loss. I know it shouldn’t be that way, but most times, these are real people, with real (albeit “wrong”) feelings. I don’t think it is unrealistic to know that they must grieve their loss. I don’t just mean the loss of the AP, although that has to hurt (I know, why should we feel sorry for them 🙂 ) but also, the loss of their own idea about themselves. My CS knows he has messed up a beautiful thing. and he grieves that, even though he caused it. I think he’s allowed. And although it was/is excrutiating, he had real feelings for his AP, she actually was being “nice” to him, and “helping him through a tough time by supporting him” – it is AWFUL for me!!! But it is true. Even though he should have turned to me. She was “acting” like a true friend, he knows now that she was just doing that to try to attract him, that that was her on her best, kindest behaviour. I know this will not go down well with many, but just expressing my view of it.

      • Healing Mark

        I’m with Paula as well with respect to the 12 steps. It took some time, but I tried my best to put myself in my wife’s shoes and to try to understand how she could act so contrary to her previously established character and in ways that became so damaging to our relationship and family. It seems to me that had I been the one who developed and maintained a secretive EA and was then “caught”, following many of these steps would likely assist in my CS recovery process (yes, I realize it galls most, including me, that there is such a process, but I saw this process first-hand with my wife following our D-day).

        I know for a fact that my wife grieved many things following D-day. Yes, she greived the loss of a relationship with me that did not involve my knowing about her betrayal. She had no need to grieve the loss of the excitement and other “falling in love” feelings as those had by her admissions diminished greatly as a result of a number of factors, not the least of which was stopping inappropriate amounts of contact and types of emotional sharing. What she did grieve the most about, I begrudgingly admit, was the loss of any kind of friendship with her AP and his family since the AP was, prior to the EA, the husband and father of a wife and children who were close to our family. She and her/our “friend” are a lot alike and they really did become very good friends (luckily, not lovers and I think they both realized that even if they had met as two single persons at a younger age, while they most certainly would have begun dating exclusively, they may or may not have ultimately gotten married and more likely would have broken up in order to remain just good friends). I was not a huge fan of my wife’s need to get over this loss, but until she did, our efforts at repairing our marriage were forced into a holding pattern.

        It’s easy to bash CS’s and be angry/indignant at the damage the actions and deceptions of these persons has caused. But, setting aside serial cheaters and any CS’s that just cannot feel any guilt or remorse for the harm that they have wrought, most CS’s have a lot of s _ _ t to deal with following a discovery of their affair by their significant other. The guilt must be terrrible (my wife described it as an emotional pain that was the worst she had ever experienced short of that felt following the death of her parents). The loss of your spouse’s trust has to suck pretty bad too, as also must the feelings of failure that likely arise as you contemplate the possiblity that you have f’ed up your marriage (my wife said she might rather die than face friends and family with their knowledge that she had destroyed her marriage by acting so foolishly during her EA). So again, as much as I disliked it, my ability to recover following D-day was impacted by the time and effort it took my wife to deal with the demons that began to visit her regularly as a result of D-day and the mistakes that she made with respect to her EA. There was no escaping it, and it was better to embrace this fact rather than bitch about it or ignore it.

    • Name (required)

      EP, you don’t get what Simple Fool is saying at all. He is not saying anything about DNA or perfect love. He is saying that there are deeper reasons that people are vulnerable to the illusions/excitements/projections of love in an affair. He is saying, those reasons are the important ones and if someone is simply using tools to cope with their lingering draw to the AP without doing the bigger work of figuring out why they did what they did and why, they are not going far enough.

      This is the big point: “The rush/ ego-validation/ infatuation/feeling of falling in “love” is an illusion. Cheaters should seek to release not the person they had an emotional affair with, or the chemical they felt and wish they had more of for whatever reason, but those things plus the history, worldview, or self-delusion that created the dependency on desperate, un-fulfillable illusion as a source of renewing the self.”

      And Sf and most dissenters here are most concerned with step 12 and this part of it:
      “A special connection between two kindred souls needs to be grieved just as a marriage or committed partnership.
      In the case of an emotional affair, guilt can impede the grieving process. … But just because the relationship happened outside of a committed relationship doesn’t mean the heart isn’t broken and needs to heal. So be as gentle with yourself as you would a friend who just ended a primary relationship.”

      Cut that part out and most of the rest is ok.

      • Lynne

        “He is saying that there are deeper reasons that people are vulnerable to the illusions/excitements/projections of love in an affair. He is saying, those reasons are the important ones and if someone is simply using tools to cope with their lingering draw to the AP without doing the bigger work of figuring out why they did what they did and why, they are not going far enough”

        Here, here–this is pretty much what our counselor said about my H. Yes, cheaters love the high, the excitement, the ego boost and attention, but the MOST IMPORTANT question to be answered is (counselors words), “WHAT HOLE IS THIS FILLING?”. He went on to describe that this has nothing to do with me, the wife, but is a wound that developed years ago, most probably in childhood. That until we got to the real reason (the wound), this behavior, this need, would continue to rear it’s head.

        That’s why when I see CS’s blaming their BS for this having happened, I absolutely cringe. It’s not they aren’t meeting your needs, it’s that you want them to fill a vulnerabilty, longing or scar in you, which ultimately they can’t do—it’s not them, it’s YOU! Now this isn’t to say that your BS doesn’t suffer from some of the same challenges, but what a recipe to put two people together who have not been healed. So when you’re getting the hit/high from your AP, it’s putting a momentary band-aid on your pain. in essence, why this is like a drug!!! Do you really love the AP, or do you love how they make you feel? If you think they’ll make you feel like this for the rest of your life, you are so very wrong. At some point, the “hole” that you both bring into this new relationship will rear its ugly head again–hence why people who do not do the work end up back in the same place again–looking for their NEW FIX!

      • Paula

        Name (required) well put, I agree, the language used (especially in step 12) is flowery, and very inappropriate, it is aimed at CSs, and the “kindred souls” line is just reinforcing the idea of this “great love!” However, as I said earlier, I think it is a starting point for CSs just beginning to see the light, come out of the fog, whatever you like to call it. Step 12 probably needs to be re-written in less “romantic” terms, and it does seem like a(nother) kick in the teeth for the BS.

    • Lynne

      As an addition to the above, read Harville Hendrix “Getting The Love You Want”. It speaks to how to go from an unconcious marriage to a concious marriage. We went to an Imago Therapist who took us through this process (12 steps to it, hmmm!) and its powerful stuff.

      You will learn why you chose your partner–we all think its because of their good qualities, right–but we choose partners that have traits that are most like our parents, with an attempt to work through and heal the wounds of our past. It’s comfortable, it’s what we know,. So no surprise that two different people with two different woundsbegin to struggle (post honeymoon phase) with their reality. If you really knew the source of the pain in your spouses childhood, and what needs did not get met, you would less surprised by things that are happening now in you marriage and why. My H and I cried after this exercise–talk about having absolute empathy and understanding for their pain and how they play it out–WOW!

      Below, I’ve included the index from the book……

      Part 1. The Unconscious Marriage: The disillusionment path (5 chapters)
      1. The mystery of attraction
      2. Childhood wounds
      3. Your imago
      4. Romantic love
      5. The power struggle

      Part II. The Conscious Marriage: How a marriage can be fixed up
      1. Becoming conscious
      2. Ten characteristics of a conscious marriage

      Part III. The Exercises: 12 steps towards a ‘conscious marriage’.
      1. Closing exits
      2. Increasing your knowledge of yourself and your partner
      3. Defining your curriculum

      • Doug

        It’s in our Library btw… Last page (#12) 😉

    • InTrouble

      Lynne – I think your counselor has a good point of view for some affairs, but I don’t think that covers all affairs. There are, I’m sure, instances where people simply fall in love with someone else. I’m also sure there are instances where a spouse really is emotionally or sexually freezing out their partner, and instead of reacting responsibly they have an affair. Etc.

      I’m just saying that I think there are many different factors leading to most affairs. I know for a fact mine doesn’t fit neatly into a theory that there is some “wound” in my life.

      • Lynne

        In Trouble-

        I completely agree with you–there is no one size fits all in these situations. While I am not expert in this, I have done a lot of research and work in the area of wounds. Some believe that childhood wounds mean alcoholic parents, ragers, narcissism and various forms of abuse, yet there are subtleties here, too. Parents with low self-esteem, mothers that were not readily available dues to the demands of multiple children, fathers who were absent or traveled a great deal etc.–these all shape and form us and our place in the world–and of course, our experiences in childhood can be quite different than our mates. Not to mention that our idea of marriage can be quite diferent based on our care-giver role models.

        When I hear that a spouse is freezing the other one out, witholding sex, highly distracted by work or children, this is not intentional, but is probably a coping mechanism. And yes, I agree with you that sometimes someone simply falls in love with someone else–however, what does that person offer them that is driving them in this direction–is it love, or is it an unmet need??? IMO, there is nothing wrong with an unmet need (we all have them in one way or another), but have we explored it’s origin?

        Here’s an interesting article…..its a lot, but very insightful. It’s titled “Do you love to be loved, or need to be loved”

    • Lynne

      Whoops, the title of the article above is actually “Do you love to be needed, or need to be loved”

      • Anita

        Sorry I do not agree with this author.
        He clearly doesn’t understand Chirstianity, that’s quiet
        However to each there own.

        • Anita

          I met to say “She clearly doesn’t understand Christianity,
          that quiet obvoius.”
          The whole reason behind being a Christian is
          John 3 verse 16
          For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten
          Son, that whoever believes in Him should not persih, but
          have eternal life.
          Its about eternal life. I want that for myself.

    • Anita

      This author makes some statments about Christianity
      without using the full verse in the scripture. To read this
      verse you need to read the whole context of Matthew,
      then this partial verse will have meaning. Reading the whole Bible and Bible studies help.
      This author gets zero votes from me.

    • Lynne


      I hear what you’re saying, but in spite of this aspect, there are probably some kernels of truth about human behavior and what might drive us toward (and away from) certain people in our lives.

      I always enjoy your wisdom

    • Anita

      I try to be nice to everyone, however I also get the
      challenge of loving the unlovely, When I run into
      someone who isn’t so nice, most of the time is
      because their hurting., or their ill. There’s a saying
      hurting people hurt other people.
      I would agree I am more comfortable around people
      who are similar to me, however I learned a along
      time ago we can’t judge a book by its cover.
      I have met some great people along the way, by
      looking past the cover and seeing the real person.
      There will always be people in this society who have
      some mental or emotional issues, But as a Christian
      woman I will always be kind to them.
      You also have much wisdom in your posts, I love
      reading them, have a wonderful day.

    • Helena

      Here’s a blog post I found today on from the OW’s perspective titled “Married Men And Why I Couldn’t Resist Them”:

      It’s kind of gross but somewhat relevant here.

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