ending an affairMany of us have struggled with the situation after “D-day” where our spouses have difficulty ending an affair and we didn’t know how to act or how to convince our spouse that saving our marriage was the best choice.  In yesterday’s post I discussed the book “Torn Asunder” and highlighted the four phases of an affair viewed by the infidel’s point of view. 

I believe a lot of this information was insightful and eye opening.   However, the question I had when I read about the destabilization phase is, how do we pull our spouses away from their affair partner when they are so addicted to them?

I believe there are many facts to take into consideration before desperation takes over. First of all, affairs usually run their course and die a natural death.  The affairs that result in marriage have an extremely low success rate.  Secondly, affairs never solve the problems that caused them.  They can’t; by their very nature, affairs are artificial worlds in the midst of reality.

The question is what should you do after you find out about the affair? The information I am about to tell you is based on the book “Torn Asunder” and I am just going to give you some advice Carder highlighted in his book.

Just as he discussed the phases of an affair, Carder also maps out the spouse’s process of recovery.   He describes the phases as:

  • Awareness
  • Anger
  • Anguish and reattachment
  • Recovery

During the awareness phase the spouse questions herself, there is a sense of shame from perceived inadequacy.  The spouse begins to make herself more presentable, doing things that would please the cheater.   This is when the cheater becomes resentful, thinking it was too little, too late. Carder emphasizes that this is not the time to compete with the supposed enemy or try to win the infidel back by being nice, attractive, compliant, cooperative, etc.  He continues to say by pursuing that line of attack, you would have to perform at ever-increasing levels for the rest of your life to reassure yourself that all is well in the marriage.

He says that the key to recovery is that both of you join forces to look at the situation that exists and to work on the marriage together to make this marriage different.

The next phase is anger.  Carder believes that  anger is absolutely necessary for true recovery to occur.  This is the time for the infidel to tell all and the power to continue the marriage has passed on to the spouse. One of the great fears of the spouse is that if she expresses too much anger, the infidel will run back to the arms of the partner.  You need to remember that they have already been in their partners arms, now simply by being angry is not going to drive him to her–there is more involved than that.  If you are going to live together in the future, you need to live together differently.

The anguish phase is when some recovery can begin, but it won’t be a steady process. During this phase the spouse needs to realize that they can live without the infidel.  She needs to realize that she has options and power.  The chief benefit of this power is that it equalizes the relationship unlike before the affair.  

One thing the angry spouse wants during this phase is guarantees that this won’t happen again.    The closest thing to a guarantee that the infidel won’t stray again is for him to feel fully the pain that he has caused the wounded spouse.    If he truly loves his spouse (and he usually does down deep) that will hurt him so much that he won’t want to inflict more on his loved one.

However, at this phase the infidel must make a choice whether to stay in the marriage or go with the affair partner.  They cannot have their cake and eat it too.  You need to bring the infidel to the point of choice which can be done orally or in written form.  The spouse must communicate to the infidel that it’s his move.  The spouse fully releases him to his choices and consequences no more sitting on the fence.  Carder highly recommends seeking help on this by counselor and he also recommends “Love Must Be Tough,” by James Dobson.  Basically you are telling your spouse you will not tolerate this behavior any longer and it is your choice whether you stay in the marriage and “I will be ok with or without you.”

As you can see, getting your spouse to the point where he stops seeing his affair partner and finally ending an affair is a process.  Doug and I can relate quite a bit to the process and phases that Carder spells out in his book. The last phase is recovery and as we all know it is a long and involved process that I feel would be better addressed as a separate post.  One interesting quote was “reattaching often takes about as long for the spouse as it did initially for the infidel to detach from their partner and become involved in the affair.”

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LINESPACE

    52 replies to "Ending an Affair: Getting Them to Stop"

    • Kate

      I’m a little confused… What and when is the “Reattachment” phase? I see that you described Anger, then Anguish, but nothing spelled out whether the next part (stating they can stay or go) is the next phase or still part of Anguish.

      I’m just in the “Limbo” phase, the affair has ended but my husband has not committed to working on our marriage but hasn’t taken any steps to leave and end it either. We’re just going day-to-day like any other married couple, except with this 800lb gorilla in the center of the room. Not sure what to do until he figures out what he wants.

    • Duane

      It seems every aspect of affairs are textbook. Why can’t people understand that? My wife wants to believe her affair was unique and special, otherwise she did everything for no reason whatsoever (Clue line, pick up.)

      I’ve experienced every step here and am also in the limbo phase as she tries to understand herself.

      The 800lb gorilla comment is too funny. My wife doesn’t even want to acknowledge that not only is the gorilla there, but he’s sitting on me. She resists fully committing to the marriage, but wants to spend all her time with me, following me into every room, asking about my mood (as if it’s a shock that I might be angry at times for no reason). It’s infuriating, yet, my burden to bear if I want the marriage to work (time for me to vacillate, I suppose.)

      • Kate

        Duane, it sounds like you and I are in the same place, just opposite genders!

        My husband says that he doesn’t think he wants to be married to me, but still includes me in all plans, acts like a “normal” husband with the cuddling/kissing/etc. If you saw us out and about (or spied on us at home!) you’d assume we were a happily married, in love couple.

        So, if he wants to not be married, why hasn’t he just gone and filed? Clearly there is a lot that we have together that he enjoys, that he doesn’t want to lose, so why can’t he admit that and make an effort to fix things up?

        He’s not seeing the OW any more, no contact whatsoever, but I don’t know if he is still going thru the withdrawal process – it’s been 3 months since D-Day and last contact.

        We just never talk about relationship stuff, because he “doesn’t know” what he wants and is still trying to “figure it out”. Something is missing according to him, but he can’t articulate it or even recognize what it is – he just feels there should be “something more” in order to remain married.

        So confusing…

        • Doug

          Kate, Perhaps by him saying that there is something that is missing in your relationship, is really an indication that there is still some withdrawal issue going on. He is confused as well.

          • Kate

            I find myself biting my tongue so often… I just want to blurt out “What is it that she has that I don’t?” or “What did she provide that I cannot?” but I know that would be counterproductive. We were “friends” with this woman for about a year, last April til this March (D-Day) and they acknowledged their mutual feelings last summer but didn’t get physical (no intercourse) until November. I dunno if three months since D-Day is long enough to get over her or if he still needs more time to get through the withdrawal phase or what…

            Through some talking and counseling, we both acknowledge our parts in the degradation of our marriage that got it to the point where it was vulnerable for the A.

            We even know what it is about our personal communication styles that conflict and caused the problems. He tends to avoid conflict, prefers to just push his feelings back and keep everyone else happy. It was that pushing back of his feelings of unhappiness/unloved (due to my lack of libido caused by medications – which he didn’t realize) that left him vulnerable to the OW’s emotional closeness. I had no idea he was feeling unloved or unhappy, he just presented a great facade that things were fine for the past few years.

            I tend to get over-emotional, I immediately jump to the worst possible case scenario and fall into my insecurities. If he were to bring up an issue with our relationship I would tend to go into “I’m a terrible wife, I suck… I can never be good enough… You’re gonna leave me…” and end up needing him to console & reassure me that he loves me and won’t ever leave, etc. So he ends up not having his feelings heard, and has to take on the role of comforter. He puts making me happy ahead of his own happiness and feels neglected as a result.

            Knowing this, we can both learn to communicate differently and work through the problems. Being clear from the “Fog” I can see that we could easily be back to our happy loving marriage with some hard work on those issues. I don’t know if he doesn’t see that it can be fixed or if he just doesn’t want to fix it and just wants to leave…

    • ruth

      I had the Boob gorilla in the room to. But, I had a little too much to drink on Sat night and finally grew some balls and just let out what ever I was thinking and I didn’t care how his feeling were going to be hurt. I have decided enough was and enough and if he wants her that bad that he cant stop thinking of her than GO. As scared as I was that he would, I saw a huge change in him the rest of the weekend. Now he was trying to fix us more than me. Hopefully this will keep up. Me not talking about it was only killing me. I think that we will all come to that head.

      • Doug

        Ruth, Good for you! That’s a very important development for you. I hope that the change in him will continue.

    • exhausted

      This must have been the weekend for evicting the gorilla.. I too was tired of the games. There have been many fires that needed put out over the last few weeks and I mean some fires. Finally on Wednesday, she called me and told me that she “…..” my husband, and they were in love. I had had ENOUGH. I told her that she had made two important points: Yes he is MY Husband and I am pretty sure we never “…..” we always made love. I then hung up on her. But I also had chemo that day. I told my doc to help and he gave me something to help me cope. The next morning, I calmly told my husband That today was the day of reckoning. He had to choose to either divulge or move on.( he said it was over 2 months ago). I told him I was EXHAUSTED from trying to put out his fires, I only had enough energy now to clean up the debris. I was ready to tell this whole situation to our kids, family, and friends. I could clean up the mess and move on alone. He came home that night and tried his normal avoidance of the gorilla. I took this as a sign that he had made his choice. But later that night, he confessed all the gory details. The bubble had burst. He is very remorseful. We are trying to recover from the whole of last week….and again I AM EXHAUSTED

      • Doug

        Exhausted, So he is remorseful and this time the affair is truly over??

    • exhausted

      He says it has been for eight weeks or so… He just did not want to discuss the gorilla.. Yes he is very remorseful. We started reading Torn Asunder and doing the workbook this weekend too. He is very scared. I really do not like seeing him this scared. I am not into punishing him. I just want some resolution I can live with…. I think I got it.

      • Doug

        That’s good to hear about getting some resolution, Exhausted. Tell me, what is he scared about?

    • exhausted

      That I am done with the relationship.. He is afraid of losing it all.

      • Doug

        Losing it all can be a tremendous motivating factor.

    • Last2know

      Exhausted he probably means it. The OW called as a desparate attempt to cause trouble. She now realizes he doesn’t want her and it’s over. Ignore her calls from now on. That will piss her off but you also need her out of your lives forever. I am sending you both positive energy.

    • exhausted

      Well the saga continues… Doug you asked if he is remorseful and I can confidently say yes… This week when I went for chemo, they wanted to admit me. He had the audacity to ask if he could come visit. This was all I could take. I unloaded all my anger. I told him I hated him and I hope they both burn in hell. I told him, I don’t know how to fix this. He listened for over an hour. Later , that evening, I was discharged after getting 2 pints of blood. I had to go home and face him. Thank goodness for the kindness of the docs. When i got home, he was not here. The kids said he had to run a few errands. I went to bed. My cell rang and it was our Deacon from Church. He had gone to Church to pray and began to weep. That’s when the Deacon noticed him. He just wanted me to know that my H was with him. He told the whole story to the Deacon and they prayed to help us find a way to fix this. Evidently, my H told him that he was terrified, he had lost me. So yes, I believe he is remorseful and somewhat understands my pain. I still did not tell him about her call to me…. I do not want to play her game.

      • Doug

        Exhausted, It sounds as though he has seen the light–so to speak. We hope that everything works out with your health condition, and please keep us updated on that as well as develpments with your husband.

    • surprised

      Exhausted: You are in my prayers & I’m happy your husband has found remorse.
      This July 4 weekend was awful. OW called every day (H still works with her) & I texted her for the first time to NOT call my H after 5pm or on weekends & that she has ruined every holiday for us with her intrusion. I got txts back from her smartmouthing that it was “state business”. So I FB a private msg to her husband to please ask his wife to stop pursuing my H. She called the sheriff & filed a report on me so if I every say anything again I will be criminally charged. My H was so furious with me that he called OW & her husband to apologize for me & told me I was psycho.
      I never once threatened her or would have done anything malicious or gone to her house. I just wanted the personal calls & txts to stop. Apparently I can’t file unwanted communication as the wounded spouse.
      H will still not admit they had an EA & that it was just “a little too close but he’s fixed that”. My heart & self esteem are in shreds.

      • Doug

        Surprised, Sorry to hear about your weekend. It doesn’t sound as though your husband fixed anything if she is still calling and texting all weekend.

      • Karen

        Surprised,
        I’m assuming you have asked your husband to tell her himself to stop contacting him outside of normal business hours and he refuses to do so? Are any of the texts and calls on a phone that has your name on the account?? If so, then you can register a complaint, even if the texts and calls are not to you. You can also block her number.

        Stay strong and calm (as much as possible) in communicating to your husband that these after-hour calls, texts, contacts need to stop as they are hurtful to you and your family and ask for his assistance. Since he is in denial about the EA it appears, he may blow you off. But don’t give up. If you have access to these after-hour texts, feel free to text back that you are documenting all these unwanted contacts and will be pursuing them legally if they continue. Do not contact the OW’s husband – deal directly with her.

        If she continues and your husband will not assist in stopping them, then I’d read/study some of the books about showing tough love to your spouse and then follow through on the consequences. If you feel that strongly, he must make his choice between you and the OW. Even if chooses the OW (which I highly doubt), you will be better off and eventually will even thrive. Take good care of yourself.

        • surprised

          Thanks Karen. Yes, I’ve asked him for the past 6 months to have her stop & he says something to her but she doesn’t take it seriously (maybe stops for a couple days) & continues on & he doesn’t want to hurt her feelings so she just gets away with murder. According to the Sheriff, I “have no ball in this game” and it doesn’t matter if my name is on the acct or I live in the house the phone is in. She has not contacted me except to answer a couple of my texts this past weekend. H is in definite denial & refuses to even call it an affair. Says they “were a little too close but he fixed that”. I did call the Sheriff’s office & they said I could put my own statement in the report. But I don’t know if I’m going to do that. I need to think a couple days cause I don’t want OW getting a copy & then showing my husband & our arguing starting all over. I think contacting her husband maybe put a damper on her behavior, we’ll see, she is on vacation for 2 wks now so hopefully she won’t have any communication with him during that time.
          I’ve reserved quite a few books from the Library on EA’s & recovery & hope to get them soon. There is actually a book called Post Infidelity Stress Disorder which I think I have. In the meantime, lock your doors in Madison Co Ohio because there’s a criminal on the loose! Me!

    • Donna

      My husband has not long rekindlese withthe OW for about the umpteenth time. Why do they do this??? I am so confused about the on again off again routine. How do I handle this and be strong enough to tell how it is affecting me and out 4 children?

    • Donna

      I forgot to mention that he wants to be with his family ultimatly, although is having trouble giving up OW as he really doesn’t want too, but knows he needs too. Trying to patient here, but it is VERY hard!

      • Doug

        Donna, patience is certainly a virtue, but you can only wait for so long. I would think that some sort of ultimatum from you would be in order here very soon. He is having trouble giving up his addiction. Completely disconnecting is the only solution at this point.

      • Jenny

        I know what you mean donna. I know ultimately my husband wants to come back. we separated he moved out but I know in the end he expects me to leave him alone while he rides out this relationship with the other woman, but he expects me not to move on, she i’m always an option, the family is. its so frustrating and I just don’t know what to do either!

    • Donna

      thank you for your reply Doug. I told my husband tonight that I cannot continue to be trying for our marriage while he has a on again off again girlfriend. It is unfair on me and everythime I find out something of them it is gutting me more and more and I am now feeling empty and somewhat like a hollow shell. He said that he doesn’t want to hurt me and he is so sorry and that he needs to learn to love me again. He loves this OW more and he needs to be able to learn to give her up. I said that I can no longer live like this> he asked me what it is I want to do and I said I guess that maybe we should be completly separated. Stop working on us so he can figure out what it is that he wants to do. He still wants his family, but can’t seem to give up OW as it is too hard and it hurts. So my heart is now broken at this decision and I can only hope that he is able to overcome his weakness and find his way back to me. I am so sad, but I know I cannot control him or his actions. Now I guess I just need to learn to stand on my own 2 feet without his constant help and support. I need to relearn how to heal me and make myself feel of some worth, because I am now at an all time low. Actually I am lower than I was when I fisrt found out about the affair, it is a horrible feeling. Anyway, thank you again for replying to me and for being wonderful in your efforts and love towards your wife. Hug her for me and tell her she is a lucky woman to have you and vice versa.. she must be a wonderfully strong woman. I just wish I could have been stronger to be able to handle my husbands weakness and not let it affect me like it has.

      • Doug

        Donna, I think you have done the right thing as far as talking with your husband about this. Though we did not separate, Linda and I went through almost the exact same type conversation, and she felt exactly the same lows that you are now feeling. If your husband truly wants to stay married and doesn’t want to lose his family, then the thought of separation and possibly divorce may snap him back into reality. If you haven’t already, read this post that Linda wrote back in February: http://www.emotionalaffair.org/dont-lose-your-self-concept/

      • Linda

        Donna, I am not that strong of a person because I am crying as I read your comment because it reminds me of what we went through. Doug would tell me that he couldn’t get back those loving feelings for me and it would kill me. I couldn’t understand why he felt that why, I took it personally thinking that I was a bad person, unlovable, unattractive. I began to doubt if I was ever a good wife. I can honestly say that knowing that he couldn’t love me was more devastating than finding out about the affair. I continued to love him even though he lied and betrayed me, why couldn’t he have feeling for me when I was trying so hard to save our marriage. Many times I wanted to give up, but somehow I kept trying, something inside of me told me that we would be ok, I guess I was right.

        It took me a very long time to finally realize that Doug’s affair wasn’t about me, it was more about our relationship, and what was going on with Doug. I also realized (with Doug’s help) that his relationship really wasn’t about love, at least the kind of love that we have, he was more in love with the illusion and the situation. I want to believe that deep down he really still loved me, however he was under influence of the affair and couldn’t see the difference between infatuation and mature love.

        I have read that you really shouldn’t believe anything a person says when they are involved in an affair because they are not thinking clearly. I know this is easier for me to say now but don’t let his words interfere with you willingness to save your marriage. Understand that he feels this way, try not to take it personally and work on being you, be comfortable with who you are and let him see what a wonderful wife and mother you are.

        • Karen

          Donna (and Linda):
          My husband agreed to cut off all contact with a 2-year OW on my first demand (at least I hope), yet I cried at your post also, Donna, as it was so heartfelt. As a woman, I am so proud of you for taking this stand as you so deserve to have someone devoted to you and not having his cake and eating it too. Read everything on this site and all the links that look helpful, focus on yourself, take time for yourself and don’t back down on your stand. I
          really do believe from reading Linda and Doug’s posts that your husband does indeed love you – it’s time for him to make a choice so you can start rebuilding your marriage if that’s what he (and you) truly want. Take good care of yourself, please.

        • d

          Donna, keep telling yourself that this has nothing to do with you. If there are problems in a marriage communication needs to happen. Most people are afraid of that so they deal with their problems another way whether it be alcohol, drugs, gambling, cheating, etc. What you’re feeling is totally normal (some say betrayed often exhibit symptoms akin to post traumatic stress disorder.) Stay healthy, exercise, talk with friends, a counselor, journal, and tell yourself you are a good person. It has nothing to do with you. That’s why it’s called a betrayal.

        • Kate

          Wow, this line hits home, Linda:

          “I can honestly say that knowing that he couldn’t love me was more devastating than finding out about the affair.”

          Agreed wholeheartedly.

        • Lynsey

          Hi Linda, reading your comment here has helped so much. Like you, deep down I know that my H loves me, and even though he has not yet left the AP, I won’t give up on this nearly 30 yr. marriage yet. It’s only been 3 weeks since D-day. There are encouraging signs: my H suggested and even helped arrange for couples counseling, we are getting better at communicating. He has even started to read posts from you and Doug. Right now I am following advice from your posts, and do realize that I have to work on me. Right now I feel it’s too soon to give my H an ultimatum, but I think that may have to occur. Time will tell. Thank you and all the wonderful people here. This has helped keep me sane during the most insane time in my life.

    • Scott M.

      ok, so what do i do when she wont stop seeing him, is putting together her resume, does not want to work on the relationship? Feels like she is getting ready to leave. She has not spoken to me about the resume and doubt she will.
      Any thoughts?

    • christina

      Another question: My bf and I are not even married!!! She was an old girlfriend from twenty some years ago that reconnected with him b/c she is going through a rough time in her marriage. They connected and I found out about the EA about a month ago. They (according to him) have not been in contact since I found out. He is acting like he still loves me, tells me he wants to work on it, tells me he doesn’t want this situation to be the defining moment in our relationship, gave me xmas gifts and a card that talks about having a future together, and initiates contact with me and sex all the time. I am so confused b/c although he does all of those things- he won’t say to me that he won’t have contact with her in his life in the future. H e won’t fully recommit to me by saying they are definitely done so that we can work on us. AARRRRGGGHHHHH!!!!!! He says that he needs time to understand what not having her in his life would mean. This is CRAZY!!! They haven’t even had contact for several years before she initiated. We have been together for three years! He has been very sympathetic and listens to everything I have to say and we have had several very intense emotional conversations about my issues with everything that has gone on. If he didn’t want to work on us then why listen to all I have to say? I don’t understand the back and forth coming from him. If you want to be with her then go ahead and leave me alone already. If you want to work on us and be with me then be with me and let her go. Please Doug or Linda or someone out there help me to understand what he is going through. . . .and what my move should be. .. .

    • surprised

      So here I am – over 12 mo into my d-day. It seems to have died down without texting & emails anymore (I know because I monitor) H still works with OW but she is out on “mental disability” cause work is too stressful. However, she calls.

      So she called last night on his brokerage line (to hide her #). He answered & she asked him to help her write her papers for school again (working on her PhD in Proj Mgmt) & my H has lots of military & police experience. He said he would.

      I finally said calmly but assertively that I did not want him helping her on things that were not work related because it just sets up the emotional connection with her again.

      He would not say he won’t help her & in fact defended her & argued that it was for his work benefit. I said then use the work office phone or work cell phone but don’t spend evenings & weekends working with her. He wouldn’t promise that. So, I said then I can’t do this another year. If you want to keep her in your life, you need to move out with your mom & then you can work with the OW every night on her papers.

      He is now trying to make me seem unreasonable by saying those txts & emails were “a long time ago”. To me, it doesn’t matter the timeline – what matters is it was her & her feelings for him have not changed & this will encourage them again.

      I don’t know how you guys made it thru 2 full yrs of this. One yr of this dancing around the issue is too much for me.

    • Jenny

      I’m at the end of my rope! He has abandoned the children and I, taking our family vehicle from us. He has moved out after cheating and he has started a life with her. She lives 100 miles away but he sees her every weekend. He barely speaks to the children and he keeps going back and forth with me. He even came home and initiated sex with me after a 4 day stay with her. he told me not to tell her. I did, and sure enough, she didn’t care. I feel like I’m drowning. Its only seeming like I make progress with him when I lay down and take whatever he dishes out and he’s constantly going back and forth. he hates me. we’re still “family”. he hugs me when he leaves sometimes and others he can’t wait to get away from me. Thanksgiving he was oggling me and he hugged me when he left… but then I figured out he was going to spend the rest of the weekend with her and the next morning, I’d sent him a text message talking about the children. he went off on me for talking to him, told me I was “pathetic” but he had been the one speaking kindly to me during the holiday and hugging me. I just don’t know what to do. he’s traded in our marriage for this other woman and I can’t make it look like I’m moving on when I can’t even leave my home. in the separation agreement (in our state you’re separated a year before divorce is allowed) I get the car but I don’t want to demand it because it always causes a fight. I want him to come back. I’ve been angry, then I’ve been kind and polite. He says I can’t do both I have to either hate him or be nice to him. But every time he gets a message from her while he’s with us, the family, his demeanor changes.

      case in point, the other day we went to sign the papers and I said “well I’m making spaghetti for the kids tonight and i know you don’t eat well where you’re at. you are welcome to stay for dinner if you’d like” and he said thank you he’d love to have dinner with the kids. so we signed the papers, it was all good. he seemed chipper. we got to walmart and picked up a few things we needed for thanksgiving dinner. Then his phone went off. he started getting antsy. he said let’s go through the drive through and I’ll drop you home I don’t have time. He said we’d have dinner another night. I couldn’t believe it… I asked him why? what was wrong? he said he had to get away from me right then!

      I just don’t know how to act. A month has gone by. the divorce will be possible in 11 months now. 1/12 of my time is gone…. I told myself once the year separation is up I will not take him back but he has until then to come to his senses. I know that I was not the perfect with but the days prior to him starting his internet affair with her (that lead to a real life one) he was talking about taking me to ireland for our anniversary, taking the kids to disney land. He has so much stress going on and I understand we got married so young… I want to forgive him but I can’t forgive someone who won’t come back and try to work it out. To me, most men cheat and then ask for forgiveness. the fact that he won’t come back and he just gave up is the worst thing he could ever do! He left me for the first girl that would have him. she’s a “model”, no car, no phone, no job, lives over 2 hours away. I’m right here, mother of his kids, the one he swore he wanted only… and he would rather have her. I just don’t know what to do. I’m angry, hurt, and I feel like I’m running out of time. He’s gotten jealous at the thought of me moving on with another man, but he tells me he’s done and not coming back and I need to “get a grip”. I don’t want to wait in vain but at the same time, I know if I try to move on, he will never come back. But if I don’t show him that I’m not “pathetic” and that someone could want me… he will always think that. I’m so young to be going through all this. My sons don’t deserve to see their father as a cheater who abandoned the family and I’m hoping he comes back and they never have to know. He is a child of divorce as well so he swore this would never happened… his dad cheated and left too.

      How must I act? Any advice would be wonderful. everyone else just tells me to move on or “pray about it”. I’m not terribly religious at the moment. I’ve been doing all this stuff in the article… I’ve been trying to take better care of myself. I’ve been trying to be nice. but I’ve also unloaded anger. I just can’t stick to anything because I’m terrified its the wrong approach. someone please help!

    • Paula

      Oh Jenny, I hear the terror and panic in your post. You probably need to take time to breathe. I think the best approach, is very like the best one with children. Calm, stand firm, don’t let him play you, don’t listen to his I love, I hate you rubbish. Be consistent. Tell him if he is going to play with your emotions, you are not going to engage with him AT ALL – just like time out for a misbehaving child! Just (pretend to) be strong, for now. Focus on you, your children, your friendships, your work/education, the very small things that might give you an ounce of joy, and they are hard to find, but work at that, the feel of sunshine on your face, the warmth of a freshly drawn bath, a cuddle from your boys. You need to seem unobtainable by someone as confused and “not together” as him, you want a strong, loving, thoughful man, not this one who has turned up in your life! I know you are a sexy, confident, fabulous mother and woman, and he is using your confusion and pain to make you feel bad and confused about who YOU are, and he is doing this to make him feel okay about leaving you, if you look bad, in his and your eyes, he’s done the right thing by heading off with someone else, if you act (and it may just be an act, for now, but it will come 🙂 ) like you’re okay, thriving, in fact, he will start to realise he is in the wrong, he has lost a fabulous woman. This rubbish is about him, and his inability to function as an adult, NOT you. You are perfectly within your rights to have your car! Get it, now. He can organise his own transport, you need it for the kids. Are you able to access any professional help to deal with your perfectly normal anger and all of the truly awful stuff (like low self esteem, etc) that comes with the territory here? If not, find a trusted friend, not one who is going to tell you to “move on” – it doesn’t work that way, this process, is a long one, whichever way you end up, together or divorced, and there is no way to short circuit it. Read, and be kind to yourself, your boys and you need that. Stay strong, Jenny, I know you can do it, this is very early days for you, it does get better, I promise, you will learn so much about how amazing you are, how much you can tolerate (and how much you can’t, lol!) Keep in touch, we’re here to help

      • Jenny

        oh guys I already messed up… he spent all thankgsiving weekend with her and today, he dropped by and he managed to sleep with me. I feel awful. he made me swear not to tell her. they’re official now. I’m having a hard time standing firm because my heart wants what it wants. he swears it was the last time and only because he feels bad that I am not “getting any” and everyone else around me is. He also asked me to put on less revealing clothing when he comes over from now on, as though not being able to help himself is an excuse. thanks for the support. I’m trying to keep him at arm’s length from now on. :-/

    • todllermom

      Jenny… I am two months in and I promise you it gets better. Take paula to heart. YOU deserve better right now… Nothing is attractive about needy… As long as you are engaging him even if it is just arguing he knows u are still there. So he cantake as long as he wants to decide… U can’t rationalize to an irrational person so just work on u.

    • Lynne

      FROM: Jenny November 28, 2011 at 8:53 pm
      oh guys I already messed up… he spent all thankgsiving weekend with her and today, he dropped by and he managed to sleep with me. I feel awful. he made me swear not to tell her. they’re official now. I’m having a hard time standing firm because my heart wants what it wants. he swears it was the last time and only because he feels bad that I am not “getting any” and everyone else around me is. He also asked me to put on less revealing clothing when he comes over from now on, as though not being able to help himself is an excuse. thanks for the support. I’m trying to keep him at arm’s length from now on. :-/

      JENNY-
      For your own sake, and to preserve your own dignity, STOP this now!!! You are being manipulated BIG TIME. Your OH, who is sleeping with another woman and it’s “official” now, is telling you that he feels bad that you are not “getting any and everyone else around you is”…….what a selfish, unwell, demented human being. He made you swear not to tell the OW, but he is now turning you into the OW, is he not? Doesn’t this ring alarm bells in telling you that he cannot be faithful to anyone? Isn’t he telling you everything you need to know to recognize that he’s an ASS?

      You deserve so much more than this and so do your children. Don’t let your children believe that any of this is an acceptable way of role modeling a healthy relationship. I can only begin to imagine the pain and hurt you must be feeling, but please save yourself and children. You can’t change or help your H–stop worrying about whether he’s eating right, stop inviting him to dinner, stop anything and everything that isn’t about YOU!

      He clearly isn’t ready to commit to you and to NC if he is fully steeped in a relationship with this OW. Take the next 11 months to work on identifying what you want and need, get into counseling ASAP, and start working on believing that this is HIS character flaw, not about a deficiency in you.

      You deserve a beautiful life–be strong!

      • Jenny

        thanks lynne 🙂 you’re absolutely right! IT does make me realize he cannot be faithful. Do I tell her? He made me swear not to, but I feel like I’m enabling him.

    • Lynne

      Jenny-

      My best advice (as I said above, in the vein of ONLY focusing on you and your children) is to stay out of his relationship with the OW. Why in the world do you want to help her out by revealing this info–was she helping you out when she started cheating with your H? Let the OW figure out on her own who it is she chose, what his deep flaws are, and that he’s a selfish P***K!!!

      Were I you, the only contact I would have with him is about the children, but keep it to a minimum and don’t look for weak opportunities to communicate with him. If he’s saying things about how you look, what you wear, and wanting sex with you, immediately change the subject back to the children. This message will become loud and clear to him–that you’re not going to engage with him in any way, unless it’s on behalf of your shared responsibility of the kids. Don’t ask about the OW, what his plans are, or anything else related to his affair or departure. This tells him you are NOT playing the game, being pulled into his nonsense, or participating in the drama. When you show that you’re not putting up with this new alter ego of his, that you’re strong and moving forward, and that you’re making your way on your own, YOU WILL GET HIS ATTENTION!!! To show him any weakness or groveling(even when you truly feel it) tells him you can be manipulated–in other words, it sends the message to him that he can have it all, and further inflates his already monstrous ego!

      Plus, the side benefit of the above is that the more you show this to him and to yourself, the stronger and more powerful you’ll actually feel. I am rooting for you big time!

    • Nancy

      I’m terrified and sad…heartbroken and empty. I was diagnosed with breast cancer last month…and just a few days ago, my suspicions were confirmed that my partner is still in contact and saw his affair partner…. he denies it. He became angry with me when I confronted him and denied everything…and stayed angry. He still hasn’t spoken to me about it. I am in shock. I feel better knowing he knows that I know, but I want to talk about it…I want him to not see her or talk to her at all. Knowing they were together and he lied to me again makes me physically ill. I can’t face this cancer alone…we just bought a house together…I love him. I’m so afraid of what my future holds…and so confused.

      • Lynsey

        Nancy, I am so sorry you are going through all this. With EA discovery, and now cancer, please find someone to talk with and support you if your H is unwilling. Sounds like he is in that awful phase of affair fog, which is torturous for the BS. With the anger he is showing, he is just trying to deflect all this back onto you. How unfair, especially with your health problems. Please read all you can on this site and the books that are recommended. You’ll see that there are similarities and patterns to these affairs, find comfort that you are not alone, and will find support here. Read how Linda & Doug got through the EA. Their posts were so helpful to me and many of the ways they dealt with all stages of affair recovery is certainly a great guide. Please keep in touch and let us know how you are doing. Much luck and hugs to you.

    • Nancy

      Lynsey…thanks. I am reading EVERYTHING!! It helps to not feel so alone and sick inside… I guess it’s just one day at a time… a slow, hard process. I believe everything happens for a reason…waiting to see what all these reasons are…

    • HB

      I recently found out my husband had an EA with a long time child hood friend that doesn’t live near us and is also married. It started as just connecting on facebook and catching up. My H and I have been married for nearly 7 years and he says for the past 3-5 he has been unhappy, unbeknownst to me. I thought we were happy, maybe in a rut of routine, but happy and committed. I never once waivered trust in him. Recently I noticed he has been on his phone a lot, covering the screen, turning it upside down, and taking it everywhere with him. It came out that he had been talking with this OW ALOT and he said talking to her made him happy. That he doesn’t want to be with her and cant be with her, but ive made him so unhappy that the attention from her made him happy and that this is his best friend. we have decided to do marriage counseling and to work on our marriage, but I still suspect he is talking to her. he said he would not talk to her while we were working on our marriage, but I think he still is. He has also told me that he loves me and wants to be with me, but that he refuses to stop being friends with her because of the length of their friendship and that she is his best friend. I just don’t know how to bring it up and ask if he still is, because it feels like im beating a dead horse when I bring her up. I just don’t know where to go from here. I feel like a complete failure, I feel insecure, and I just want him to choose me and leave her.

      • blueskyabove

        Hi HB,

        I am so sorry you are going through this. I’m also sorry to tell you that based on what you wrote (which is ALL I can go by) that trying to reason with your husband at this stage of his affair will just be a waste of your time. You will only wind up feeling more frustrated and more insecure.

        In order for your husband to rationalize what he continues to choose to do, he has to make you the one at fault. He can’t accept the blame himself because that would mean he wasn’t a good person. On top of this, his friend is agreeing with him…it’s all your fault. It’s insidious and they have been making that decision about you (and her husband) for a while now. When a husband or wife feels they have the right to continue a behavior regardless of how their spouse feels about it, then they are disrespecting their spouse and disrespecting their marriage. I’m sorry to have to be the one to tell you this, HB, but they’ve become a team and they aren’t looking out for you. I know it hurts to hear all of this but the sooner you can accept the reality of what is happening in your life, the sooner you can start to heal. Just so you know, I’m not concerned about your husband right now, I’m concerned about you. He’s already so far down the rabbit hole that he can’t even listen to reason. As long as he remains in la la land he is just a waste. There isn’t much anyone can do for him. Which is why I want to impress upon you to look after yourself.

        Become your first priority. As Dr. Steven Stosny says in his book “Living and Loving After Betrayal.” “Get Out of the Hole First…there is a tendency to become preoccupied with the minutiae of how we’re mistreated which only distracts from the healing process.” I repeat, become your first priority-not in the selfish, misguided way your husband chose, but in a nurturing way that supports you and your values.

        If you’re married, then you have a legal, binding contract. You are one half of this relationship. You don’t have to accept a demeaning role in this relationship. You don’t have to accept a third person into your marriage. I doubt if you would have agreed to marry him if he had blatantly threatened to bring a third party into the marriage if you ever “made him so unhappy.” You have rights, HB.

        I’m glad to hear your husband agreed to counseling, but that, alone, may not be enough. I recommend you find someone who specializes in Emotional Affairs. Do not settle for someone who isn’t knowledgeable in this area. This is your life, and maybe the counselor can get through to your husband. However, if the counselor isn’t familiar with EAs you may not receive the help you need to get through the trauma you are experiencing. When the spouse who has been the faithful one feels “like a complete failure” you have been traumatized. Do not willingly let your husband and his ‘friend’ dump this onto you. Don’t do to you what they are trying to do to you!

        If you want to stay married to your husband and rebuild your relationship then here are some more things not to do. I am not suggesting they will be easy, but even if you choose not to stay with him, you can know you were true to yourself. One day you will recognize how important that is.

        Don’t lie to yourself. Have enough respect for yourself to question what you say to yourself. It isn’t all true. I told myself for a long time that I was stupid for not recognizing what was happening. I now know that wasn’t true and it was a way for me to feel bad about myself. That didn’t serve me.

        Don’t let otherwise well-meaning people tell you what you SHOULD do regarding your life or your marriage. Just because someone has had a similar experience doesn’t make them qualified to tell you what to do…including me. No one knows what is best for you but you. No one gets to live your life but you. You are the only one who will have to live with the results of your decisions. Don’t lie to yourself.

        Don’t get caught up in the drama. Don’t tell yourself that she is getting the ‘best’ part of your husband. No, she isn’t. You probably wouldn’t have looked twice at him when you were single if you knew he was capable of cheating on his future wife. Right now, he isn’t the man you were attracted to and agreed to marry. No one who values themselves wants that kind of spouse. (This should show you how little they value themselves AND each other.) Don’t settle for that kind of spouse for yourself, HB. You know you deserve more. Don’t lie to yourself.

        Don’t settle for anyone that doesn’t uplift you and doesn’t challenge you to be your best. (It doesn’t take much to realize that neither your husband nor his friend is challenging the other to be their best. All they are doing is using each other for their own benefit.)

        But, enough of what not to do…

        Decide who you are in light of this experience and who you now wish to be. You cannot go back, you can only go forward. Every next level of your life will demand a different version of you.

        Honor yourself in everything regarding this or any experience in your life. When all is said and done you will realize that you came into this world alone and you will leave this world alone. Be your own best friend. (I find it sad your husband places that nearly impossible task onto another who doesn’t even have his best interest at heart.)

        Always take the high road…you will never do yourself a disservice if you always-take-the-high-road. It is so easy to let anger rule your thoughts and actions. The problem with letting anger control your life is that it can become addictive. It feels powerful in the moment, but its effects are temporary. When it’s over, you crash. “Bouts of anger and resentment always drop you down lower than the point at which they picked you up…” Steven Stosny

        It took me a long time to realize what an incredible opportunity my husband’s affair was for me. It was a time for me to finally quit lying to myself and realize how much I had discounted ‘me’ in my marriage, how much I had overlooked in order to keep the peace, and how much I had been hoping he would recognize the value I brought to the relationship. As it turned out, I was the first one who cheated me out of a spectacular marriage. In only looking after him, I wasn’t looking after me. I didn’t express my dissatisfaction. I naively thought our disconnect would take care of itself. In retrospect I wish I had tried harder. Don’t misunderstand me. I am not taking responsibility for his choices, but a successful, loving marriage takes two. The more you are able to say, “This is who I am, this is what I stand for, and this is what I find unacceptable in our relationship,” the more you will honor you…and ultimately…him.

        This is about you, HB. It isn’t about your husband and the other person. They have their own demons that they have to work through. It’s up to YOU how you choose to view this experience. Your answer will determine YOUR future. You can view it as the end of your life or you can view it as a steppingstone to a world you can’t currently even imagine. I hope you choose you. Take care.

        blueskyabove

        (Doug, could you please set up a link to Linda’s post regarding getting caught up in the fantasy? Maybe HB and others will find it helpful. Thanks.)

    • Death of A Dream

      I found out about my husbands EA/PA over six months ago.. He has told me several times that it is over and that he has not spoken/seen her.
      I have found out differently several times… the last time that I know of was about 2 weeks ago, they met up at one of their old meeting places..
      I confronted him about it, but he is still unable to be honest with me. He denied it..
      I can’t understand how he is able to continue with his AP when it causes me so much distress?? After their last visit, It did something to me, after all of his “comforting me” by saying all the right things just to in turn do it again…??
      I can not understand how anyone could get any kind of pleasure out of causing some one they claim to ” love” so much on going pain!!!! It’s just something an evil person would do… I’ve been married to him for 21 years, we have 3 children together… I really hoped we would be able to work threw this and come out ” stronger” on the other side, but every time he goes back to her, he takes a piece of my heart with him… I can’t help but think he is doing this on purpose, just to get me to leave him..

    • Confused

      4 weeks ago was my D-Day. I found out my wife has been having a 2.5 year affair with a man she used to work with. She had stopped working at the company but continued to go see him ever 2-3 weekends. She originally said she wanted to save our family and that she loved me, just not like she should. She also told me she loved him. She started seeing a therapist and we also started seeing a marriage counselor together. She hasn’t talked to him, but she hasn’t told him she is done either. When talking with our marriage counselor she said she was 90% sure she wanted to work on the marriage and end things with him…. but then would turn around and say she didn’t know if she could love me like she wants to and she doesn’t want to never be happy again. It really doesn’t make sense to me. During her affair we still got along well. We were still intimate often and she often initiated. Once, she even got angry because I didn’t initiate enough. She will get angry suddenly and just attack me and tell me that’s why she doesn’t want to be with me anymore… but she told me she wanted to work on it and save our family. How long should I put up with this? These episodes are wrecking me emotionally and my self-esteem is about gone. I’m scared if I give her an ultimatum that its just going to send her straight to him (he told her he wants her to divorce me and marry him). I don’t want to lose our family, my children, my wife, and even worse I don’t want my children being raised by the guy that knowingly went after my married wife and helped her deceive me all that time. I just don’t know what to do at this point. Any advice?

    • Shanon

      I am at a loss and I’m not sure if hope is there for me. My husband of 12 years (and a amazing 12 years he was totally devoted to me) started having a affair. I found out through my 10 year old daughter. She had met with this c#*t a few times. I could tell something was off one day after my H brought her home. I sat down with her and she finally told me that daddy had to be “friends” with this lady so that she (my daughter) had a friend (the c#*t has a daughter the same age) after I found out and freaked out and told him to choose he said “do I have to choose now?” I was shocked. I was talking to a complete stranger. He then chose her. After that he immediately moved in with her. Then a few weeks later moved in a big house they are renting. I have two daughters the oldest is 19 and technically not his but she loves him as daddy. He and his c#*t talked her into renting the basement for 800 a month. I tried to talk her out of it but she is young and saw it as freedom. Then he talked my younger one to move with him to have a big room and have a bf all the time. Well she took this out on me thinking I kicked daddy out for him finding her a friend.plus mommy was crying a lot and that was hard on her.

      So he took my kids. I told them they could choose where they want bc I wanted my daughters to be in the best emotional state possible. Then I was told he wasn’t going to pay for the house anymore and he wanted to sell it. When he left I had 11 dollars. I am trying to get on disability due to fibromyalgia and severe childhood PTSD. Which BTW told me it was my PTSD that beat him down due to my emotional distress and insecurities. We would fight and I was
      Ould Walk away telling him I could not do this bc I was having a panic attacks plus flash backs. After saying that a few times I would snap calling him names. He said that was what beat him down along with my PTSD symptoms. He said he HAD to do this in order to save himself. Before he left he told my family I was so mentally I’ll I needed to be put in a hospital. After calling the cops on me to force me to the hospital (which didn’t work bc I wasn’t in a mental crisses and they checked me out and agreed with me they left). He has convinced my oldest that I am crazy and sick even told that to my youngest. My youngest has been the first one to come around and see mommy isn’t sick. She as of recent had opened up to me telling me she hates the ow and that daddy was wrong. My oldest has become bf with this c#”t.. She’s a model and makes good money. She had the balls to message me after three weeks of my husband leaving telling me he isn’t going anywhere and the kids are happier there. Oh I could go on forever on the messed up shit.

      To make a long story short this is not him. I am not innocent in this fall out. I did go into a mental break down and became someone I am not. I lost me and I wasn’t being a great wife. He had to step up and do everything. It did wear him down he was alos taking care of his disabled father full time. So the father was helping support us and paying bills. Money got tight and asking his parents for the money they told us they would help with was making him feel like a failure annd I wasn’t there for him. My mental illness became increasingly worse after the Grandpa passed away. He had his plate full to the brim.

      I did all the same things crying and begging. In fact I still mess up by crying to him and it’s be 4 1/2 months. He still blames me for everything and won’t show affection although he cries with me when we are alone. He says he loves me but he had to move on and I need to too. He keeps saying he is a failure and broken and he has to do this for himself. He is completely devoted to her now and has made that clear. He keeps telling me he is not over our break up either but that he is happier now.and the kids are better and happier but I know my youngest is struggling. She is so depressed she doesn’t want to leave her house to be with me. I try everything to to get her to see me but sometimes it become as to much and I don’t want to put more stress on her.

      When he left me I was a pile of f#*k on the floor. Since then I have picked myself up and stood talk trying to be happy for everyone especially myself. But like I said I still do cry for him and when I talk to him alone I cry, he does too. Last weekend I had finally had enough of him blaming me for every damn thing. I broke and flipped out screaming at him telling him how messed up all this was, how he left me and cheated on me. He sat with his head down crying. After that he was really nice and cried telling me he wishes he could make it up to me some how. So of course I go back to being way nice even though I am pissed and now he is back happy playing house with mine and her kids. The funny part is they are struggling financially just as we were. But she is happy to have her claws in him and he still looks like h is depressed. But still says he is so happy.

      I am torn apart. I love him I know this isn’t him. I believe one reason he wouldn’t leave now is he is stuck there with both my girls believing I am sick. Since then I have lost our home, we. Are selling it. I lost my girls and my husband. I had to move into my parents apartment. I still try hard to be happy and am getting stronger physically and mentally. My parents have been my saving grace. Again I love him and I know this is not him. I know he loves me and his c#*t is a immature devil worshipper. She is completely opposite of me. Will he come back? Will he leave her? Will he ever love me enough to leave her? I could really use some help here. I am being absolutely stubborn and want to fix our marriage. But he need to obviously leave her but I am scared he never will.

    • Shifting Impressions

      Shanon
      I am so sorry you are going through this. I entreat you to get help for you. This is too much for you do deal with on your own. You need help emotionally and you need legal advice.

      Your nineteen year old is an adult and can make that choice but your ten year-old needs you in her life. You are her mother. Please realize you have rights. It’s completely wrong for your husband to turn your children against you. But you must fight for them…..find out your rights. Your daughters need to know you are fighting for them.

      Please get some help.

      • Shanon

        Thank you for responding. I am in therapy now and my youngest is also in therapy. I have talked to both therapist about how to do what’s best for her right now. They both have said to give her some time to process all of this. Forcing her is going to make things a hell of a lot worse right now. She is coping and I don’t want to push her right in the middle of legal shit… At the moment. My husband is trying to get her here. He will drive her anytime any where. She does come over when she wants to and when she’s here she can vent to me, which is good and it is getting to be more and more. We have all come a long way from 4 months but I know she doesn’t really understand this. I know this isn’t the man I married. he isn’t himself and I have been doing a lot of reading and I believe he is going through a mlc. And recently i can start to see him softening up and making statements that I know he knows he f#”Ked up. I am just wondering do men come out of this? Will he ever leave her after putting all of them in there? You know what I mean?

    • Tee

      My H has cheated on me with 2 women now. The most recent started 2 months after our daughter was born, as he claimed that he wasn’t getting attention and affection from me. She lives abroad and they initially chatted as ‘friends’ online after realising they had a chance meeting many, many years ago when he lived elsewhere and was single at the time. They put two and two together and realised they knew each other. I think they feel it was destiny or something that brought them together again now…I know he sees her as his ‘soulmate’. After the ‘just friends’ stage, they “fell in love” with each other…all online mind you. He just continually lies to my face about not being in touch with her, the only problem is that his behaviour says otherwise. He acts so differently and brings unwanted attention to himself, so obviously I checked his phone today to see if I was in fact correct, and of course, there it was…his continued communications with her! She is also married and her husband has no clue what is going on behind his back. Today my husband begged me not to tell her husband as he apparently is unwell.

      My husband has told me he has never been “in love” with me, but he does love me as a person. But he has told me on many occasions when initially getting caught out with the OW months ago that he is in fact in love with her! That killed me to hear him say that. He has everything that a man could want in terms of home, family, car, business, but says that I do not give him the intimacy and attention (listening to him) that he wants, but she does listen to him. Of course, isn’t she just Little Miss Perfect?!?! I cannot believe he is willing to ruin everything we have worked so hard for to potentially keep up these chats etc with some woman he may never meet in the flesh. He claims she won’t come to our country to be with him, and how could he go to be with her? The thing that gets me is that e won’t own the decision to cut all ties with her…he waits for the women to make the decisions for him from what I can see. He must either be trying to piss me off so I can send him packing, and then he can say, “oh well, she doesn’t want me so I may as well try with the OW” (guilt free), or he is waiting for her to pull the plug, which to me isn’t going to happen coz she wants what he does. She isn’t going to pull the plug…

      Today though he left our home and hasn’t returned. He claims he has deleted his social media platform that he communicated with her through, but prior to doing so, he told her it’s over. How do I believe that? How do I trust that he won’t change his mind in a few months? I don’t trust a word he is telling me now, because of the continuous lies. The irony in this all though is that his first wife cheated on him, and he was adamant that he would never do this to anyone else, as he kept telling everyone for the first 2 years of our marriage, after which he started his first affair! What the hell is he looking for?

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