Even if a cheater says or does something they perceive as good, it can actually be an affair trigger for the betrayed spouse.

affair trigger

By Doug

A Pleasant Evening Walk: Setting the Scene

The other day Linda suffered an affair trigger from something I said which I actually thought would make her happy. Let me share the brief story with you.

Linda and I went out for a walk as we do most evenings.  When we walk we usually go about two and-a-half to three-miles or so, and without exception we typically have some pretty good conversations.  That is, unless we’re really struggling to climb a big hill or something like that where it’s difficult to walk and talk at the same time.

On this particular evening we were having very good conversations about a variety of things.  Basically, it was a nice walk as we were having a good time and enjoying each other.

Unintended Triggers: The Complexity of Recovery

One thing to note is that Linda and I have been getting along extremely well of late.  We’ve been having a great time together.  We’ve been doing a lot of things lately and we’ve been going various places and having fun.  Basically getting along just great.

As we were walking, I made the comment  that I have really noticed that we’ve been laughing a lot together lately.  I thought at the time it was a nice thing for me to say and thought it would make her feel good. She smiled and hugged me and I didn’t really think much more about.

When we got home everything was okay and we sat down and watched some TV for a couple of hours.  Then later when we were getting into bed she made the comment, “Now don’t get mad with me or get frustrated, but your comment that you made about laughing a lot together made me sad.”  I asked her why since I figured what I had said was something that would’ve made her happy.

See also  Questions to Ask a Therapist

Understanding and Navigating Affair Triggers

She said, “It did make me happy, but at the same time, it makes me sad.”  As it turns out, the reason why is because she thinks that the happiness that I feel, and all of the laughter that we are experiencing of late, is reminding me of my emotional affair with Tanya and the times that we had spent together laughing and things like that.  It was an affair trigger for her.

Well, she was right in one sense that it did kind of frustrated me because here I thought I was saying something good and that it would make her feel happy, but basically it did the opposite. And in no way do our wonderful experiences that we share together remind me of Tanya – even remotely.  What Linda and I share now is real, it’s healthy and it’s strong – nothing like the delusional, teenage-like emotional affair with Tanya.

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Regaining Control:
Dealing With Obsessive Thoughts, Triggers and Memories of the Affair

Arm yourself with a variety of techniques, practical strategies and  knowledge to help you to manage those intrusive thoughts, triggers and memories of your partner’s affair.

It’s What You Do After an Affair Trigger that Matters

Look at this as kind of a cautionary tale that even when we may perceive some things as good things, they can actually be an affair trigger for the betrayed spouse.  Even (perceived) good things can bring back bad memories of past pain and can cause them to think thoughts that aren’t necessarily the case in the present.

See also  The Financial Consequences of Infidelity

Now I’m not implying that one shouldn’t speak their mind – whether good or bad – but should your (or your cheating spouse’s) words or actions cause an affair trigger, it’s what you do as a couple afterwards that matters.

The fortunate thing for us is that Linda communicated her thoughts to me and we were able to address them and move on.  I in turn communicated my frustration, apologized for making her feel sad and reassured her that what she was feeling was understandable but not accurate. This is something that would not have happened in the past.  She would have stayed in bed with her feelings bottled up, worrying all night about it – and I would have been none the wiser.

We’d like to hear from any of you who might have experienced similar situations. Perhaps as a cheater, you said something to the betrayed spouse thinking it was sweet or kind but the result was an affair trigger for your spouse.  Conversely, you might be a betrayed spouse where the same type of scenario impacted you in a negative way.

    55 replies to "Even a Good Thing Can Be an Affair Trigger"

    • Teresa

      This happens to me quite often…and my H doesn’t handle it well AT ALL…so that’s why he’s starting counseling this week. We can’t continue the way we are, I’m ready to move on, but he’s holding me back…his EA has revealed some deep emotional problems stemming from my H’s childhood that he needs help in dealing with.
      I understand HOW he got involved in the EA…now he has to do the work to make sure it never happens again.

      • Battleborn

        Teresa, isn’t nice to be able to say YOU are ready to move on but HE is holding you back? I am not at that stage yet, but I am getting closer everyday and it makes me feel much better as a person to be able to see that I have made progress.
        BTW I like Teresa much better than Ifeelsodumb… it shows progress! sherry

    • Teresa

      BTW, this is Ifeelsodumb…now Teresa 🙂

    • Teresa

      Yea, Sherry, that name was getting rather old…I’m a lot smarter now than I was a year ago when I FELT so dumb!! LOL!! Ready to move on and have a better marriage than before….just have to help my H get the past dealt with…He’s willing to go to counseling, FINALLY, so YAY!

    • onmyway

      This is my first post here after having been a reader for several months. My husbands affair was “discovered” almost 5 months ago. It had been over for about 3 months at that time. The site has been a savior for me (and my husband reads, too!) and so many posts reflect the exact situations we are going through. Triggers are a big thing for most of us who were the BS and while I can’t think of one off hand like Doug is talking about in this post, I know it has happened!
      I just signed up today and hope to contribute more in the future. Just wanted to say hello and thank you for having tis site!

      • Doug

        onmyway, Thanks for posting and welcome! I like your user name and hope that you are indeed on your way (to full recovery)!

      • Still Confused

        Hi all. This is my first time posting. I, too, have been reading for several months and have been inspired by the abundance of information. My husband was involved in what he refers to as “an inappropriate friendship.” I call it like it is: an emotional affair. I have a lot of triggers all the time. It’s his responses to the triggers that continues to rip the scabs off my wounds that are healing. It is those responses that put me right back into a shell that’s hard to get out of. Triggers are always present!!

    • onmyway

      Thank you for the welcome, Doug! Ironically, right at this moment my husband is setting up his account profile. He was teasing that he went for the ‘prime membership’ (as did I) and we are laughing at ideas for user names. I told him he owes me $9.95. I would have never thought just a couple of months ago that something like this would be a thing we could laugh about but it is and that makes me happy 🙂

    • Paula

      Nicely put, Doug, and something that seems so unfair, when you are having a nice moment. On a personal note, one of mine was, perversely, lovemaking. We’d be having a beautiful time, and then, WHAM! VERY explicit pictures of the two of them, I guess this is worse for BSs who have experienced PAs as well as EAs. Freezes you solid, instantly.

      • Teresa

        Hi Paula,
        Yes. I can say that I have experienced the exact same situation when being intimate with my H. He too was involved in both a PA and EA (different OW). It’s been over a year since the last D day and I still get those flashbacks and triggers.
        Not as often now. Some day I believe they will fade away.
        I am still working on my communication though. I tend to close myself off which is not good, but how do you tell your H in the middle of something like that “Oh by the way, I’m getting a nasty picture in my mind right now. How about we stop and talk about it?”
        I haven’t figured that out yet.
        I’m still a work in progress.

        • Teresa

          Hey this is Teresa AKA Ifeelsodumb.,..That’s not me up there! LOL!! I think we better have a Teresa 1 and a Teresa 2, or it’s gonna get a bit confusing around here!! 😀 Or maybe I’ll be Teresa aka IFSD!

      • Mrs.

        Sometimes I feel like my H can’t win no matter what he does, but then he did it not me. Just a loving kiss from him brings her into the room right with us. Because he didn’t get sex from her, but that was his intention and he worked it hard for months, I know how he kissed her and he told me how she responded. Yeah, I didn’t need to know that. But because I do, when he kisses me now I only see her and it’s been 15 months since I found out. And she’s right with us when we are making love, too. It totally sucks that I can’t even enjoy intimacy. But I know it’s normal and time will help put distance between her and me.

        • never the same again

          That is my problem. I have been pushing MH away for 17 months. I still attack him and I want to stop. I wish this nightmare would end.

    • DJ

      I don’t think I’ll see a day when my husband would willingly read anything on this site. I’m glad for people who can do that. But that is another question for another day…

      Triggers – I have often said they would be the death of me. At the beginning, just saying he loved me was a trigger for me because I had read hundreds of their emails and every one was filled with I love yous and all the rest.

      The most current trigger concerns our anniversary. This year will be our 30th – yes, we married when I was 10! Just kidding… So anyway, he wants to have a big celebration followed by a cruise. He says he wants to celebrate and tell the world how happy he is to be married to me.

      Sweet? I would have thought so before. But now it is a trigger. If we subtract the years of his affair, we are only at 24 years. Not time to celebrate yet… the shadow of his affair grips at my insides when I think of celebrating our marriage. I don’t know what we are going to do about that.

      • Greg

        DJ, if you don’t want to celebrate it tell him so. My wife and I just went through hat for our 11th this weekend. I had gotten her a card but because of the underlying issues we are dealing with she didn’t feel like getting me one. She didn’t tell me in advance so when we went out for dinner and she had nothing while I had a card for her I felt hurt and got moody which in turn annoyed her. Ended up making the night uncomfortable and when we tried talking the next day resulted in a big argument. Either way your husband will be disappointed but it’ll be worse if he doesn’t know early on.

        • Teresa

          I agree with Greg! My H’s EA was right in the middle of our 25th…and we really didn’t do anything special., just out to dinner….which I was use to anyway, since my H had never been one for gifts and surprises to celebrate our anniversary, Christmas, birthdays,etc…This year, our 26th he really wanted to do it up BIG…I said No. The pain of his EA was still there, plus he wasn’t doing the work that he needed to do…so I felt that it would be “fake” to celebrate just because of a date!
          I do plan on renewing our vows when we get to the point where trust and respect has been reestablished…we aren’t there yet, but soon…hopefully! I’m then planning on celebrating our anniversary on the NEW date, since this will be a “new” marriage!

        • DJ

          Thank you. You’re right. I hate to disappoint him because I know he sincerely wants to do this for me, but I just can’t.

          I have thought about creating a new date with a renewal ceremony, as Teresa suggests, but we are not there yet. Hopefully it will come one day soon.

          • Teresa

            DJ, I’m not there yet either…but I’m hoping that with my H starting counseling tomorrow I will be able to FINALLY start living a “normal” life again…the new normal, but a life that doesn’t revolve around the EA, but around all the things I use to enjoy before EA recovery consumed my life!

            • DJ

              Teresa, best wishes for the counseling and for moving forward to your new normal. It’s encouraging to hear about him doing work to heal and to help you heal!

    • Notoverit

      Okay, not the place to be posting this but I got the email to join as a member; wanted to join the higher healing level. BUT there is nothing to click to go to in order to register. Sorry Doug but what do I do? I can’t get anything except the Free member link to work.

      • Doug

        Notoverit, I just sent you an email responding to your issue. Thanks!

    • Patsy50

      My husband told me about his EA right after our 39th anniversary, like a week after. He always sent flowers but this time for our 40th, I asked him not to as this was a trigger for me and he understood. Another trigger was while we had recommitted to each other for our 40th anniversary and went to the Bahamas, my trigger was looking at all the girls on the beach. The OW sent inappropriate pictures to him in swimsuit during his EA so I had to feel it, accept it and let it go in order to enjoy this vacation and new journey we chose to take.

    • Virginia

      My mother in law encouraged and facilitated my H’s EA. Thankfully now we live several hours from her but every time my husband receives a VM or txt from her it triggers that inner “freak out” feeling inside me. For me she’s as much the OW as the actually OW. My H knows this and we discuss it frequently but he struggles with trying to respect and love her in a way that is healthy for us.

      • Doug

        Boy, that has to be difficult to have a MIL that is capable of that. I’m sure it makes for some tense situations at holidays and such.

        • Virginia

          Oh, the stories I could tell about my MIL’s behavior are mind blowing. I would take it personal, but she does and tries the same things with my H’s bro. and SIL. I’m only sorry that my marriage was in a valley and she took advantage of that for her own gain.

      • suziesuffers

        Oh my gosh, I couldn’t believe my mother in law did the same!! My husband told her about the woman, He told his mother that he was divorcing me and had met this woman and wanted to build a relationship with the OW. My mother in law said that she totally understood that I was critical of him (he was an alcoholic and pot smoker!!!) and that he deserved to be happy and that she would give him her blessing if he and the OW ended up together and invited them down to her house to visit….within weeks of her finding out. She had lunch with them and told him how much she liked her. When that relationship fell apart, he came back to me……and started on a failed sobriety that lasted a year. He finally got in AA and was sober a year and we were really struggling (there had been a number of EA/PA’s during his alcoholism) so she gave him the number of his high school girlfriend (which was her best friends daughter and was divorced) because her mother was sick and suggested he call her (my husband hadn’t spoken to this woman in 40 years and were only on group dates together!!)….well, guess what, our marriage was struggling and they talked and next thing, he was asking for a divorce AGAIN and off to Hawaii with his “new friend”…well, when they met in person and spent two weeks together, it fell apart and back to me AGAIN….DO I KNOW HOW TO SPELL DOORMAT!!!…. i WISH THAT’S WHERE IT ENDED….BUT NO, I hung in there…..until a year later when he had an affair with an AA newcomer!!(he found she was still drinking) and their PA started the day I lost my job…..AND yes, the story doesn’t change, I was there again to take him back….some of you may understand that I actually thought I wanted him back……2 years later, he never wanted to read anything except tell me he loved me and I was his world and how sorry he was….lots of words but no action. I pushed for honesty and transparency. He balked but complied. There were a number of big bumps in the road and I was struggling daily with all the years of these affairs which had never been addressed….rolled into one while my mom was going through chemo and my son was struggling with a drug addiction!! Well, My self esteem wasn’t even visible and I cried ALOT, struggling to figure out what was wrong with me…that he always wanted someone else. I begged him to go to counseling or to read How to help your spouse heal through an affair….which said in a short concise manner everything I needed because i did bring this up everyday. I couldn’t escape the pain and he wouldn’t meet me half way. All he said was that I was trying to punish him and I should forgive and forget and move on. His behavior was sketchy and I was constantly suspicious when things didn’t seem to add up or I caught him in a simple or ridiculous lie. Well, he decided when my mom was having her cancer surgery that he would move out because he couldn’t take my discussions with him. Most discussions lasted because when I would ask him a direct question about something he would spend an hour explaining how I was punishing him and that I shouldn’t be asking questions and I should forgive and bygones be bygones, until I badgered enough for him to just answer the stupid question!! It was making me obsessive and crazy because he was always spinning something and he thought if he kept telling me I was his soul mate and love of his life, that should be enough. Well, he told me that even by text when I was at the hospital with my mom and he was moving out. I didn’t find out until the next day, and then he said he he was going to a therapist to work through the relationship not for our benefit but for his. After his meeting, and his AA divorced buddies he filed for divorce and hasn’t made an effort to contact me for 7 months. I did confront him one day, and he told me that my interrogation and investigation of what he was doing was why he felt he needed to leave the relationship. Most likely he was always afraid going to marriage counseling might reveal his skeleton of affairs, prostitution and pornography that I imagine might be in there and he didn’t want to deal with it. Escape via bottle or drugs has been his choice in the past, and I guess women too. Now it’s just women and I heard he was on the prowl within weeks of filing for divorce. Of course, his strict legalistic religious mother has only been married 12 times!!! So he has been the pillar of support for his actions!!! Sad but true….I should write a book!!! No one would believe that this truth wasn’t fiction!!

    • ChangedForever

      So true…it is the small things that ‘trigger’ … Just had a couple last night which was as basic as my H & I watching TV: that was the lie he always told me when he went to the OW’s ‘place:’ …going to a friend’s to watch TV…a ‘friend…’ what an oxymoron. The other is the same as Paula’s. I honestly dont know if i will ever, EVER recover from that one, if not any of my triggers ( as there are so very many.)
      Teresa & DJ, i dont know what it is about the special anniversaries but when i discovered my H’s PA/EA over our 25th anniversary weekend, it wasnt until i had searched everything trying to fend off and protect us all from what was happening, that i discovered he had been cheating on me (inappropriate Ea behavior,) right before & during our 20th anniversary too. I tried to recognize our 26th but it couldnt be done…too much hurt. That date is ruined thru & thru. Renewing our vows? Tried to plan that, just didnt know the OW was still in the picture …now ‘renewing vows’ discussion is a trigger. What a fool i was almost made if we had gone thru with that. DDay#2 was the month we were to have renewed….. Greg is right, DJ…let your H know. Thats what i will do next ‘anniversary go around…’ way too much hurt to ‘pretend’ thru. I guess a new date is the only possibility…if we can ever get to that point….still, a long, long way to go…

    • beeleave

      I seem to experience many triggers every day, but today 7 months since dday I have had had to cope with a massive one. I was for the first time in months feeling a little more confident, I have been hiding away . i went into our town and the first street I walked on i saw the OW coming towards me, I turned around swiftly and went straight home forgetting all the jobs that I intended to do. I got home and could not speak to my husband, I went out this evening with a friend the only one who knows about my situation and realised that by telling her about it, it was not that big a deal. I was not as shocked as much as i thought I would be, I was not full of hatred, I actually felt numb.
      It was like a sequence from a dream. My husband is doing everything he can to make me feel good again but it just bounces off. I think this whole affair business is making me harder.

      • Paula

        beeleave, I’m glad you were able to shrink this “big” thing down by sharing with your friend. I hope you can see it as another hurdle you have been strong enough to overcome. I always say, these OP can’t hurt you anymore, they’ve done their worst, and you’re still here, still standing, yay, you! Don’t panic about the numb, it is completely normal, the mind’s way of trying to protect you from further pain, if you can’t feel anything, you can’t be hurt anymore, if you do the work, it changes again. Yes, this does harden you, but conversely, eventually, it makes you more open to all kinds of people, all kinds of belief systems, gives you even more empathy for the struggles that people face in thier lives. It’s just a process and you just have to go through all the stages, you’re going to be okay, you have a wonderful husband, who did a really painful and selfish thing, but who is obviously very remorseful, he wil have learnt so much about himself, too. I am still the very best of friends with my ex, he’s also a great guy, and we have three great kids who we both enjoy and love. I’m okay, I’m still healing, will be forever, but that’s okay. I’m a good person, who tried to keep us together, and so is he, and so did he, separation is very, very sad, but, you know, my family is fine, and you will be, too. We’re all here for you when you need to vent, to get the poison out of your system, but also do try to make a conscious effort to notice and enjoy the small victories, the lovely moments in life, too. Sorry for the preachy tone, just want you to know how much I care, and empathise with your predicament 🙂

        • beeleave

          Paula, thank you for your kind words and support. We have been going to couple therapy for months now. On monday I start on my own, my therapist was concerned that I had healed too quickly and had not vented my anger. I think that this is because I am still reeling from it all. I still cannot believe that this has happened to me. I am having to learn to live with the fact that my husband cheated with two different women, one was for 8 months, the other he slept with twice. I have double the amount of triggers, two names, places, dates etc. This is hell, but at least he is SO So sorry, at least when I am in a heap sobbing he will run the house sort the children and reassure me all night long or all day long that it was a big mistake. I know he is a good guy but he has done a pile of terrible things, I can’t see how I will hold my head high ever again, I am so ashamed, its almost like its my fault. How come now that he is out of his crisis ,( he was 53 at the time) he tells me I am the most wonderful woman ever? he says he has never loved anyone this deeply, he offers me total loyalty and commitment for ever more. He has even said I give you my life. Whats that meant to mean? I just wanted a faithful husband, I have never been greedy, my life is not ruled by money, we had a simple life and now its so complicated. Thank you for caring thank you for the empathy it means a lot to me.

          • Paula

            beeleave, all the same things I have felt along this journey. Why now? Why decide now that you love me more than anyone, that I’m so wonderful, that you love me so deeply, and you’ll never hurt me like this again, what part of the commitment we made to each other wasn’t full commitment before this happened? I’ve been so loyal, loving and giving throughout our whole time together, so was he, but some tart turns up and offers him some “fun” at a time we had a lot on our plates, and nothing we’d built meant anything anymore. I was pretty damn wonderful, without the pain, before all this, and he knows it!!! One of my low days again today, my simple, happy life is changed, too, but I still know I’m okay, different but still here, still breathing, still looking for the good in life 🙂 I feel huge shame, too, despite being told over and over in therapy that I have nothing to be ashamed of, and trying hard not to feel this way, it’s hard to change the habits of a lifetime, something bad happened, what did I do wrong? Nothing, just trusted two people who I shouldn’t have because my nature was trusting, and I always saw the glass half full. Sometimes bad stuff happens, and it’s NOT YOUR FAULT!

          • Anita

            First of all, you have nothing to be ashamed of and you can
            hold your head up high.
            Your husband’s choice to have an affair, was his choice,
            you are not responsible or accountable to his wrong
            actions, his affair belongs to him. You do not need to
            carry the burden of his choices, you are only accountable
            for yourself. Your worth and value come from God, not
            by how others treat you.
            I get my own worth and value from God, because in this
            fallen world, if I had to depend on others for my worth and
            value, I would be mighty disappointed. Instead I let God
            fill that in me. This way I can forgive others when I am
            hurt and can leave the past behind and go forward.
            Beeleave, to carry the burden of someone elses sin, is
            wrong, God doesn’t expect you to carry the shame of your
            husband’s past affairs, so you shouldn’t either.

            • Anita

              As a former betrayed spouse I can only speak for myself.
              When my exhusband has his affair(s). It changed my world,
              at first it was something that I had to work through, but the
              end result was something I never expected, I had to go through the tough moments to get to a life I have now.
              In my journey I had to find my own identity, before it was wrapped up around my exhusband and our marriage, so
              when he got involved with an affair, it shattered the little
              bubble of the world I lived in, which was frightening at
              first, but it gave me the chance to grow and learn, which
              in return opened my eyes.
              Instead of getting my worth and value from God, being
              naive I put my exhusband in that role, which led to my
              bubble getting burst, which in return as allowed me to
              get my head back on straight.
              Once I realized just how human we all are, and we all can
              fall, it changed me to understand just how important it is
              to forgive, and let the past go.

            • Anita

              I now have a life filled with Love, Peace, and Joy, because
              I make the choice to have that. Because life is life, I still
              run into offenses, but I choose to forgive the offenses, and
              let it go, so it doesn’t take over my happiness. The key is
              to forgive others, no matter what they have done, or didn’t
              do. In return it allows me to enjoy my life, where I can have
              Love and peace. But I have to make the choice everyday to
              put right thoughts in place, and to let past go so it doesn’t
              ruin my day. I have to choose to control my thoughts, and
              focus on the life God wants me to have. Getting rid of
              stinking thinking, has changed my life for the better, but
              its a choice, stew in the past, or let it go, so you can
              go foward to a better life. We can choose to have a better
              life, its how we choose to think about it. I choose love
              peace and joy, and the life God has set before me.

    • Jim

      Well since D-day #3 was only a couple weeks ago, who needs a trigger? I can just be doing anything and I am overcome with thoughts. But the big triggers are:

      1) seeing someone on TV talk about an affair.
      2)We also learned a friend of ours is getting a divorce. His affair resulted in a kid that is older than his youngest child. This also reminds me that it could be worse.
      3) Seeing my wife text.

    • melissa

      Definitely a TV programme where there’s an affair or a man having a mid-life crisis seems to be a trigger.
      My H’s fascination with his iPhone and now his iPad! And yes, when he’s texting or reading emails on either machines, I get really anxious.
      Any time when my H’s travelling.
      Times when he seems distracted or not so ‘switched on’ – it might be overwork but I always think ‘is the OW back on the scene?’

    • Chevelle

      (Formerly “Better)

      10 months since no contact..

      My triggers: Trees (He carved his love for her in a tree..barf)
      Try avoiding trees’s, not an easy thing to do. I found the pic online looking thru his phone photos. I told him I wanted him to get rid of it somehow and here we are 13months later…still nothing!!

      Jewlery Stores or commercials-H bought her jewlery (the most money hes ever spent on a piece of jewlery and it was given to a gold digging, social whore) I have been there for him thru good and bad times, gave birth to our 2 childeren and had to put up with alot of stuff for 20 yrs. Havent gotten jewlery from him in 8yrs now!

      H on his cell phone-think about the countless number of hours he spent on it with the OW…sometimes even right in front of me and I never knew.

      There is a new show on TV that is based in the town the OW lives in. Cant watch it….even tho it looks funny.

      And lastly….Seeing H on the computer. Same reasons as the cell phone.

    • chiffchaff

      Triggers for me are –
      any young short women with long brown hair.
      Oranges. this happened very recently – it comes from an email I saw that he wrote to his best friend saying that eating oranges (& seeing pretty girls in the street) reminded him of her. I asked him where this came from and he said they would have the most delicious oranges for breakfast when he stayed at her apartment this time last year when he said he was in SF at a meeting. My H had asked me to peel an orange for him while he was driving. I couldn’t cope with it. I don’t eat oranges anymore.
      My H is still, unfortunately, in the habit of ignoring it when I’m upset from triggers. I do explain what I’m feeling now, which I didn’t before. It helps me, even if it doesn’t help him.

    • JLH19

      Chevelle: I’m curious; what does your husband say about the jewelry trigger, or does he even know? My husband sent a limo to the OWs house last year on our daughter’s 14th birthday. He’s never done anything like this for me. Never sent flowers, never bought jewelry. I just had my birthday last week and thought this year, because he is so remorseful, would be different. I got home from work and he said “happy birthday” but that was it. No card, no dinner. He had already eaten fast food with our daughters before I arrived at home. So I had ramen noodles for my birthday. He is constantly frustrated that I seem sad, can’t understand why I am not “over it” after a year. Are they all really this stupid? I don’t want to tell him how much the lame birthdays, anniversaries, valentine’s days etc. have hurt my feelings because now if he does anything, it will be because he had to, just to appease me. Why did she get a limo? Why did your husband’s OW get jewelry? I’m just curious to get another perspective.

      • Anita

        Chevelle and JLH19,
        I know this has been painful for the both of you, and I don’t want to add more, however my perspective is that they
        wanted to impress the other women, so they did these
        things. They wanted to paint a false picture of themselves,
        when in reality they aren’t the person they painted themselves to be. As their wives you see the real person
        they are, and they know that, so they don’t do these extra’s.

      • Chevelle

        My H knows how hurt I am for all the attention and gifts he gave to the OW. For a long time we couldnt walk by a jewlery store without me feeling like I would be sick. He could tell…it was all over my face (the pain)
        He told me he gave (the jewlery) to the wrong woman and wished he had never done it.
        Funny thing is, all the holidays/and my birthday, hes never tried to make up for it. All the years that have gone by he never was very thoughtful or romantic…he’s not given me a gift that he went out and thoughtfully picked out special for me, in 8 years! I told him straight out, “I want you to go above and beyond what you did for her” 13months later….NOTHING!!
        You make a very good point! I hadnt thought of it that way before “They wanted to paint a false picture of themselves” The CS was woohing the AP…makes sense.
        But now that the CS has us, the relationship, the commitment, the close connection, with the BS”s, why cant they have the same passion and love that they were showing during the EA with the AP.
        I feel like im still not good enough for random acts of “I love you and this (Gift or whatever) made me think of you”

        Im so sick of feeling like its all for nothing.

    • suziesuffers

      I agree so much. It seemed like if I complained about what he did for the other woman, he would try to do the same for me. NO….that is just doing something for me now because I complained about what he did for the other woman!! DUH!! I know the other woman didn’t ask for a piece of jewelry, didn’t ask to buy the book she mentioned she would like, didn’t ask for the flowers that she liked. I wanted him to SPONTANEOUSLY see me and listen to me about what I liked and then do it out of a gesture of love, not because I asked. I wanted him to do it for me because he wanted me to feel affection for him just like he was trying to PLEASE the other woman. Asking for him to do something nice for me made me feel like I was begging him to treat me as well as the other woman!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! AH……

    • david

      Unfortunatly I’m not as far as the majority of y’all. She is still living with the o.p. I kicked her out last memorial day but found out at Christmas. She has struggled the entire time with money. Her original plan was for her to live with her mom. Of course I knew her real plan. Eventually her mom moved out when she overdrew her account by onethousand dollars . I have been trying to reunite since their split when d
      she caught him cheating on her. He rodent work. Anyway she allowed him back. Its been that way sin e. After kicking him out and driving him to Alabama to live Christmas Eve I thought all was well. Until she wouldn’t spend new Yeats Eve with me. Yep went and picked him up. I guess starting day after vallenfines day she was desperate for money and I started giving her money to live on. Approximately. 4 k at this point. She says it’s over but he has no where to go. I told her he ne needed to be gone for us to try to reconnect. Well after tax season she said that’s her date to really start. Due to her job stress which I agreeded to. It came and I gave her to the following weekend to get him gone or no money. Unless I said there was a damn good reason. Well after being unable to reach her all day to give her money for an insurance payment I sent text saying I was going to drive over. She called. On way to hospital. Well at 1;00 am shthe e called he had heart attack. Asked me to come over. We talked for 3 hours. Best time in forever. Anyway he
      ended up with tripple bypass. They fought at hospital the night if i could do it without wanting sex. Spent night and had nice evening.
      He ofcourse had nowhere to go but she is allowing him to recoup at her place for 2 weeks. Then hes gone. So we shall see . But for me triggers are everywhere. But im still hopefull and read all i can . Im confidant shes over it and realizes what a disaster she caused . Im hanging on knowing we can overcome this. It will be toygh but wont give up on 30 years. Our son 22 will be matried june 2 and i plan on being there as a couple. Shattered but recovering oneand on her way back stopped by for more money but was definitely shaken wouldn’t allow me to hug her.
      I was cospend.
      The asked her to call when home. She did and asked me to come spend

    • Attraversiamo

      How long do the affair triggers last? We’re 16 months in and sometimes I still feel myself getting swallowed up by anger, sadness, humiliation, etc.

      We live in the same town as his former affair partner. In fact, she and I are part of the same Girl Scout troop. It’s hard. I sometimes feel like we should move and start over, but with our children grounded here it’s a difficult decision.

      • Teresa

        I’m also 16 mos out and I still have triggers…I think we can expect them for some time still….sucks for us, doesn’t it? I do believe that the severity of the triggers depends on how much help the CS is giving…I know my H, who has a serious lack of empathy for anyone, including me (thank goodness he started therapy last week) still doesn’t get it when I have a trigger….I really feel that if he was there for me more, the triggers wouldn’t be as big a problem as they are…I hoping that with more time and my H working with his therapist, we can finally work TOGETHER on healing from his EA..
        I think in your case, knowing the OW is there, in the same town, and GS troop, it’s going to be a problem…Can your child move to another troop, so that you limit that contact? I’d hate doing that to my child, but children are resilient and recover faster than adults…also, having a healthy, happy mother and father is better for her in the long run… just my opinion…in these situations, you have to do what is best for you and your family!
        Is your H remorseful? Has he explained why he had the EA and do YOU accept the explanation? That in it’s self will help you with triggers and healing…

    • precious

      This is my first time posting. I have been reading everything is the last 2 years, its been helpful. Thank you. Here is the short story of my long story. Been together for 23 years. We have kids, teenagers and adults. He is on the road 4 to 6 nights a week. April 2010, I discovered an EA that had been going on for the last two years. A month later I found out it was an PA as well. Will stop he says. August 2010, still in contact with her (they work together but in different states), says she has been contacting him, but he does answer. Says he will stop. March 2011, I found videos (explicit) of her on a usb key hidden in his bag. Decide to leave, can’t take this anymore, I deserve better. Get things in order, have intention of meeting them at a sales meeting in may and telling them they are free to be together. Change of plans, May 2011 something comes up (gut feelings, very powerful thing) and I decide today is the day. I confront him and tell him I know it is still going on. Lies to me, says she is pushing. I tell him I am leaving and when he is able to tell himself the truth maybe then we will have a chance, in the mean time I am gone. I leave, he has to explain to children why mom is gone. He mans up and does. Two weeks later, he tells me the truth and what I think is all the truth, even mention videos and everything else I knew that he did not know I knew. He loves me and I love him, we decide to give our relationship another try. They still communicate because of work, they have too. Sometimes I think it is more, but not sure. This week I get confirmation that we are still communication on a personnal level. He says she is moving on, quitting her job, which is a good thing. Ok, but you are still talking I say, which is wrong, yah, but she needed my advise and we are still friends….I told him no, you can’t we have no chance of recovery if you keep that going. Their cant be any contact with her. Yay, but she texted me, yes but you choose to answer…..(he makes me so mad!). Now, I am back to where I was a year ago, I can’t trust him, I am hurt, pissed off, can’t function and don’t know what to do. I dont want us to be over….but do we really have a shot at this even if he stops? I have cut a few text that he shared with a waitress at the pub here in town and to me it was a bit too flirty, he is a real charmer, everyone says so, male or female. Because he is gone all week, what are our chances of recovery?


      • Doug

        precious, Thanks for sharing your story and I’m sorry that you’re going through all of this. As you can imagine, your question is a tough one to answer. There are certainly no guarantees but yes, you can recover. Look at recovery in two parts – personal healing and saving/rebuilding the marriage. Personal healing is about what you need to do and rebuilding the marriage is about what your spouse needs to do. You must accept the fact that it happened. You must understand the reasons for the affair and you must believe that you can recover (among other things). He must stop all contact. He must obey boundaries that you establish. He must do everything that you need him to do, etc. Can you do what you need to do, and will your husband be the type to do the things he needs to do? If the answer is yes, then you have a very good chance of recovery.

        The first thing he needs to do is stop accepting her texts and/or calls and end the affair for good.

    • Dave

      I’m D-Day + 4 months, but I’m still extremely fragile. A lot of this stems from a bad case of TMI. When the news of my wife’s affair broke, I wanted all the details, but I didn’t know how devastating that would be – especially when I got her “love letters” to him. My wife’s EA/PA was with my best friend who had recently gone through a divorce, so he had been hanging out with me and my wife. We’d go places and often he’d tag along – I assumed for my company.

      So, in her letters, particularly her post-breakup letter, she wrote of all the great memories he gave her – “enough for two lifetimes”. She went on to detail all the great things they did together. The thing is that most of those (except for their sex acts of course) were things my wife and I did together, often without him. He just happened to be there on a few occasions. Now I hate doing any of those things. Every damn one of them is now a trigger. The music I used to like, the drinks I would drink, the places I would go, and even intimate things I did with my wife. I can’t even hug her without seeing them together, because she expressed “how much I like being in your arms” to him.

      The whole thing makes me sick to my core and with each day that passes, I doubt more and more that I will ever get over it, especially if I can no longer find joy in things we did together.

      • Peggy

        You’re not alone. I’ve been going through similar anxiety as you for 15 months now. My husband used to give me cards to just say he loved me and then told me he gave them to her, too. Only his cards to her said how much he wished he’d met her before he met me. He used to write me little notes and leave them for me to read when he went to work and then told me all about the love notes he gave her. I can’t walk past a card section of any store without feeling like vomiting. Everything I held dear to my heart about what I thought was our specialness is gone for me. He tried to leave me a note a few months back and all I could do was tear it up and cry for the rest of the day. He couldn’t be more remorseful for what he’s done to me, but it doesn’t change the fact that he did and told me about it. She left him, moved out of the state and a month later he was still so much in love or lust or in the fog or whatever they want to call it, with her that he told me he fell in love with her and she left him like I was a guy friend he was spilling his guts to.

        I can’t go back and you can’t go back to what was. That part of your relationship is over. I’ve done nothing for the last 15 months but research so I can understand why this happened. He can’t even find one thing I did that would cause him to do what he did. Nothing. I did nothing to cause this and either did you. What I do know I did was give him unconditional love and total freedom because I knew that was what I wanted in my marriage. But that didn’t include cheating and I would never have cheated on him. And I also know now that he should never have told me. He should have dealt with the guilt, gotten the help he needed to understand why he did this, changed like he has now and not put me through this pain. I would never have known because it never would have occurred to me that he could have done something like this to me. But he was weak and couldn’t keep it inside. He needed his best friend and that was me. And that was all I was to him in his mind at that time. He’d already left his wife. The professionals will argue this with me. They think it’s essential to come clean. I don’t. Not always and not for all people. Not after what I’ve gone through.

        The pain has been too much to bear for me and he knows it now, but now makes it too late to change it. If you can really get her to tell you who she is, what was happening at the time of her affair, what she felt she needed or she felt was missing, then you can possibly make sense enough to stay with her. I actually think it’s got to be easier if you can find something you did wrong. Then both of you can say you need to change. I’ve spend 15 months earning a self made PhD in psychology just to understand how he could go there, not mention a word that there was anything wrong with our marriage for him and lied consistantly for 4 years while he was lusting after her and one year acting it out and then say that he was sorry, he made a huge mistake and he knows now how much he loves me.

        It helps to know all of the truth. Knowledge is power. I am so curious and it’s a cruel attribute to swallow in this situation, but I had to know absolutely everything that happened between them and when he finally did that for me I saw how she never cared for him and if he had not been in such a sexual fog over her he might not have humiliated himself so badly. But he did and I’m glad for that because I can accept that he’s just stupid, uninlightened and needs a lot of soul searching to realize who he is. If my husband wasn’t doing this I’d have been gone months ago.

        She is the one who betrayed you. She doesn’t deserve your love or compassion. She is the one who has to prove to you that she’s worthy of your love and that she will do anything under the sun to help you regain her trust again.

        Don’t listen to anyone tell you that you need to do this or that. She is the one that has to do all of it. All of it. You did nothing to deserve this torture. They’ll argue with me on that, too.

        For months I was such a mess I couldn’t have been able to take care of myself or leave him if I wanted to, but I’m better now. I’m stronger. And I’ve done the work on me for me only. What I’ve learned that is helping him is just a bonus. I’m not the same all loving, all giving person I was before this. And that was a knee jerk for me. It’s been a discipline to put me first. I have conditions now. Big ones. And he still has a lot of mending before I can say for certain that he’s worthy of me. But it’s finally paying off for both of us. And I’m able to say ‘both of us’ only in the last 3 weeks. And only because of his effort.

        We all have our stories. Our baggage. No one’s perfect, but just how imperfect do they have to be to finally learn their lessons? And why does it have to be on our watch? Those are the questions I can’t answer, but if they do learn the lesson it may be worth staying. I can say that my husabnd has learned what he needed to learn and I’m happy for him, but I can’t go so far as to say that it was worth it for me.

        Just know that you aren’t alone. I care about you and I feel your pain and if I can get to the place I am at and actually laugh, which I did for the first time in 15 months just last week, any one can. I’ve had a pretty traumatic life and I can honestly say this has overpowered me and crushed me more then anything I’ve gone through in my entire life and I’m 60, okay? 60 years old and having to deal with this high school crap.

        Right now you need to allow yourself all your feelings and do whatever you can to believe you can stand up again. With or without her.

    • CSab

      I used to be his babe, when ever he would call me or talk to me, or even text me, it was babe. Now I’m not fussed on it, because he calls her that and I feel like it was taken from me.
      I don’t know what else he can call me that is sweet, that doesn’t sound corny, or just not him, but knowing that he was calling the bot of us the same thing, doesn’t sit well with me anymore.

      When I mentioned tha to him, he stopped calling me anything.
      It made me feel then that I was robbed of yet another thing that belonged to me from his lips to my ears.

      I know seems little but it is a trigger for me. I try and ignore the babe now, as he is back at saying that, and I also told him that she doesn’t get to take anything else away from me.

      Some other sweet words he may say, often has me wonder did he say the same things to her.

    • tweet

      On d-day, the OW’s husband called me, and told me about the amazing love poems that my husband had written to her.
      I will never again be able to accept anything that my husband writes to me. Another thing that has been stolen from me, and will never be returned.

    • somanytears

      Triggers? Everyday. I used to announce to my CH that I was going to take my makeup off, before we went to bed. This gave him just enough time to text her, one last time, each evening, and tell her he loved her and goodnight. I hate taking my makeup off now and never tell him when I do. He asked me last night if that’s what I was fixing to do…TRIGGER! Now, I have a BRAND NEW trigger. D-day was 3 years ago. Since then, one of the things he and I like to do is go fishing together. His family has a lovely place, on the river, near us. It has been in the family for generations. My CH grew up spending lots of time there. We go a lot. We’ve even pulled our travel trailer down there and camped overnight. The OW died one year ago, tomorrow. I found out, last week, that it was her wishes to have her ashes spread at my CH’s favorite fishing hole (yeah, that place) on the anniversary of her death. Some of his family has agreed to it, as she had been friends of the family for over 40 years. Nice. I won’t be going there ever again. His family says I’m being petty and, if she’s dead, what difference does it make? My CH tells them he’s “not allowed” to go there anymore because they are “burying his girlfriend” there (I never forbade him). The affair continues to devastate me and new, and old, triggers are everywhere. BTW, her HUSBAND is buried a mile from there. She’d rather be with my husband than her’s.

      • Untold

        That is just flat out ignorant of all of them SMT. Adultery is the gift that just keeps on giving. Very sorry for you having to deal with that. You’re not being petty.

        People who aren’t committed and loyal, or haven’t been betrayed by their spouse have no sense of just how devastating it is. It’s not that you can’t handle ever be reminded of it, just not in a bad way where it’s rubbed in your face. And honey they are putting it all up in yours. An adulterer doesn’t deserve that recognition from the cheaters family.

        Just try to know that somewhere, somehow, maybe after this life, you will be rewarded for your suffering and faithfulness.

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