Clearly, the biggest fear for the majority of readers is that an affair could happen again.

fear that an affair could happen again

By Linda & Doug

(This article was originally posted on Jan 25, 2013 and updated on 2/2/21.)

You might be aware that a few weeks ago we conducted a brief survey of our readers where we asked 16 questions.  One of those questions was:

What is the biggest fear for you right now when it comes to your relationship?

It was a bit of a chore to sift through all of the responses for some of the other survey questions in order to get some sort of common theme.  But for this question it was quite easy.

Clearly, the biggest fear for the majority of readers who responded is that an affair could happen again.

This fear applies to whether the affair could pick up again with the same affair partner or that a new affair might start with someone else.

Here is a sampling of some common responses. They are worded differently but they are all saying the same thing. 

  • That given an opportunity to “connect” with someone else, he won’t have the skills or desire to say no.
  • My biggest fear is that this will happen again one day, I go back and forth everyday on this
  • My spouse becoming vulnerable again, or forgetting about the pain it has caused when time goes by
  • Being hurt again.
  • It will happen again once back in the office.
  • A slip up would end in divorce.
  • That he still loves her and after a year, will start it again and I had wasted all that time and emotion on the relationship instead of moving on
  • If I count on him again, and allow myself to become dependent on him, and secure in our relationship, this will happen again and I won’t be strong enough to get through it again.
  • That he is still clueless about his why, and that it could happen again.
  • That she will call again or that someone else will come along to fill whatever part of him I can’t.
  • My biggest fear is that when another opportunity presents itself my husband will relapse.
  • That he will continue to cheat with her.
  • The impossible happened….so, it can happen again.
  • He might start a relationship with her again.
  • I’m afraid of another EA, either with the same person or someone else.
  • That my wife will leave me.
  • That it will blow up again, although if it does I do know that I am done!! So why do I look over my shoulder? I guess I want the guarantee that can’t exist.
  • That we will do the work, I will forgive him and make a commitment to the future, and then he will betray or disappoint me again.
  • It happening again and him not being honest or not being able to see signs.
  • Discovery that my husband has resumed contact with her.
  • That he will let his guard down, or that things won’t be going well between us the next time she tries to make contact.
  • That my husband will reach out to is EA partner again or go to someone else.
  • That he will change his mind and leave again. That he will lie to me again.
  • That my husband doesn’t know the whys and will do it again.
  • That my H will reestablish contact with the AP through a hidden email or phone number.
See also  Forgiving Infidelity

So what do you think is the root of the fear that an affair could happen again?

We think that for the most part it ultimately boils down to trust – or lack of it – that is.

The fear is present because most of us are so afraid of being hurt again that we do not allow ourselves to be vulnerable enough to completely trust our spouse. 

It is the realization that we really have no control of the actions of our spouse and to trust them again is a leap of faith, even though perhaps they may be working hard to rebuild our trust.

It is so difficult to understand the mind of the cheater so we tend to perceive that an affair happens without much thought or realization of the possible consequences.  The affair happens quickly and before they know it they are in way over their heads.  Aware of this realization, it is difficult not to have the reservations that were mentioned in our survey.

It’s a lack of trust in that what our spouse is telling us is true. 

It’s not knowing for certain that any changes that our spouse has made or that were made in our relationship are real. 

It’s not trusting that those emails to a co-worker were strictly business related. 

It’s not trusting that our relationship is to a strong enough point yet where our spouse still might be tempted. 

It’s not knowing that our spouse has truly looked within to determine and understand why he/she was vulnerable to an affair in the first place.

Boundaries After Betrayal – Everything You Need to Know

You can read a zillion articles on line about affair prevention and relapse and most will tell you pretty much the same thing – that you have to set and enforce marital boundaries, communicate well, be honest, have fun together, etc.  All of those are certainly important and necessary for preventing an affair, but until the cheater really looks within and determines why the hell he/she did what he/she did, none of that other stuff is going to do much good.  It’s like building a house on sand.  The foundation is not stable enough.  It’s too soft.

See also  Spouse Poachers of the World Have Upped Their Game

Once that introspection has been done and the betrayed spouse starts to see real concrete changes in the cheater’s actions and that he/she is putting forth tremendous effort to  rebuild trust and work on the relationship, then trust can start to really take hold and mean something. 

Eventually, the fear that an affair could happen again will subside and ultimately disappear.

In this brief video, Psychotherapist and New York Times bestselling author Esther Perel answers the question: Once a Cheater, Always a Cheater?

As always, we wish you much success on your journey to recovery. Remember that you are never alone.  Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.



    71 replies to "Fear That an Affair Could Happen Again"

    • chiffchaff

      Another interesting post and comes at a time when I’m having some of those trust difficulties due to a trigger occurring this past week.
      The difference now is that my H is willing to talk through my issues with me and explain how he feels now compared to then. This really helps me build trust with him for the future as he’s open, honest and also understanding of the pain he’s caused. He does seem to get that what he did has had a very long lasting effect on my ability to trust him and his constant response is that he wishes he hadn’t done what he did.
      It all just takes time and working through things. Communicating issues and discussing them properly, rather than using them as a stick to beat the CS with or suppressing them for fear of a CS reaction, is the way forward to building trust.
      The other thing I’ve noticed is that our intimacy has improved, (not sex, I’m not referring to that) in that my H will these days discuss his fears about work, his abilities, what people think of him and I’m able to do the same. We no longer put each other on pedestals and we’re increasingly open about our feelings about many things not just us.
      I hate that discovering the PA/EA led to this but we’re here now and things are good. The damage will always be there, it can’t be undone, but it’s slowly becoming overlaid with better memories and events.

    • Sara K

      Excellent post Linda. For me, trust was impossible until he answered for himself WHY. Once he delved a lot of different insecurities came out that had nothing to do with me (in fact it was a lot of issues delving into his parents from before he met me). Knowing that I could learn more about him and see him trying so hard to work on himself made it easier for me to let go of the pain and start to regain trust. Once you change the cheating pattern by delving into it, I truly think he wouldn’t ever want to go back to being that insecure, inexcusable man and really likes who he has become.

      • tsd

        Sara k, this is exactly where I am at…so much time has passed…he is now more accountable..he is trying to tslk, not too deep, but he’s trying…he is NOT making us a priority cuz he sees nothing wrong with US…he is not doing the simple things I asked him to do…the biggie for me is trust…I told him, I will trust again knowing you have resolved your WHY…when my husband can honestly tell himself, I cheated on my wife because …… Then I will will finally be able to completely let go of all this crap. It’s been way too long to have this pile under the rug….I want a clean floor, a clean slate, a clean this point, the ball is in his court and he can’t make the final shot!!!!!! I have done so much, so I know I’ll be a ok…thanks Sara k for saying what I always think

      • exercisegrace

        My husband also had some deep unresolved issues from childhood. It left him with an inability to set proper boundaries. It had never been a problem before, but then someone with whom he had worked for a couple of years, decided to (in her words) “pursue him aggressively”. He was not equipped to deal with this in a healthy way. He let too many boundaries get crossed. He, to a certain extent, ENJOYED the attention and adoration. It made me look bad in comparison, because in our mature marriage of 25 plus years, he wasn’t (nor should he have been, lol) getting 24/7 ego boosting. Throw a little clinical depression into the mix on both of their parts, and that adds up to disaster.
        Now, he is doing the work on himself individually to figure out some things about how he handles situations and we are working as a couple to figure out boundaries, and how to have a better relationship. Where everyone’s needs are getting met in a healthy way.

        • Dave

          That sounds like my wife. She had a terrible childhood and wasn’t prepared or equipped to handle somebody pursuing her. It didn’t help that “he” was my best friend and knew all of the issues in our marriage at that time. I’d confide in him and he’d use it against me. Add on some standard marital issues and me working two jobs and going to school, and she broke easily. Once she did, he was her drug. He kept giving her a fix and she did the same for him. They fed off each other.

          She is finally working on those issues, but I do worry about them. She says she’s wiser now and would never want to cause that type of pain again – but when those old issues come up, it makes me very nervous.

          • Milo

            Even when they say they have quit cheating there will always be that doubt no matter how much they prove to you they are not.

          • B

            Oh My word,
            This is reading my life story to myself.
            My wife had an affair with my best friend. He knew exactly where things were between me and her and he exploited it.
            However I do not say she is blameless, no-one held a gun to her head, she ‘willingly’ made that choice to go to his house and let him come to mine and meet him in the different places etc.
            “She is finally working on those issues, but I do worry about them. She says she’s wiser now and would never want to cause that type of pain again – but when those old issues come up, it makes me very nervous.” – this is EXACTLY where I am.
            I sleep on average 4 hours a night and most of the time if I sleep a bit more, it is restless wondering what I could have, should have done different etc. Will she do it again?

    • Dave

      I still worry…but after everything, I doubt she’d do it again. I know these feelings are more about me and my insecurities than they are about her.

      If she were to cheat again, checking up on her wouldn’t stop her. It didn’t the last time. I was suspicious and checked up on here every chance I could…and she still found opportunities to be with him.

      It was even worse after I caught her at his house. I knew I couldn’t monitor her 24/7 and I couldn’t stop her (and I doubted she could stop herself) so I applied for another job in another state – a 20+ hour drive away.

      Even after that, where there was no chance they could see each other, it took a couple years before the periodic panic attacks and negative thoughts passed. I was so paranoid even then, I would swing by her work and see if she was there.

      Now I just check Google maps…but I try to avoid doing that, because indulging in those impulses and thoughts only feeds the fear.

    • Recovering

      Trust… believing, I mean REALLY BELIEVING that he has changed and it is REAL… hmm… it’s been just over a hear and a half… I TRUSTED him with my life for 16 years… 2 of which were a lie… he is doing everything he is supposed to do, and even more sometimes, but the betrayal just cuts so deep! One day I hope to not ‘sneak’ a look at his phone (he lets me, but if I don’t look for a while I feel guilty for looking)… Like Dave, I know that he can cheat if he wanted… he spent most of his work day with the slut and they would go to lunch together, and talk on the way to and from work… he even left work early to have sex in the hotel… I NEVER suspected THAT. I did have suspicions, but couldn’t prove anything until D-Day, and I looked for over a year! So he lied so well that I don’t know if what he is saying now is REALLY true… I never will, and that SUCKS! Sometimes I have days, like today, where I think it would just be easier to walk away then to deal with the insecurities every dang day. Seems like I overanalyze everything he does… I hate the paranoia. I really hope it goes away… I can’t live like this forever. Realisticaly I can’t.

      • Dave

        I feel the same. We were married 5 years at the time of her first affair, which I didn’t find out about until after I found out about her second affair, which happened when we had been married 9 years. Fast forward another 14 years with all those years filled with lies – until she finally confessed. So, for the vast majority of our 23 marriage, she’s been lying. And what was my highest priority, next to fidelity – honesty.

        I have forgiven the affairs, but that fear…I think it will always be a part of me, especially if I stay with her. But I think it would follow me should I move on and have another relationship.

        I’d like to think those feelings will go away with time, but I honestly don’t think they ever will. Therapy is helping me to control those feelings and more importantly, to keep them from being so intrusive that they paralyze me. But there are times that it is a struggle. Maybe they won’t ever go away completely, but hopefully they’ll fade so much that they are insignificant compared to day-to-day life.

        • Exercise grace

          You hit on something that rings true for me as well Dave. Even if I left the marriage and moved on, trust issues would follow me. I could see ruining a second relationship due to my inability to trust. I have to heal from and deal with what I have been put through. And I would rather do that and stay, because I DO love him.

        • Milo

          “I have forgiven the affairs, but that fear…I think it will always be a part of me”.

          It is always there for me, even tho I don’t see any evidence of cheating and she is more mindful of keeping me updated where she is and what she is doing thru out the day.

    • Lynsey

      Dave, my H also carried on with affairs through most of our marriage (off & on with the same AP.) It is awful to know that most of our marriage was a lie and a sham, and because of this history, I’ll always fear that it could happen again. But I do love him, and we are working a a true marriage now, and he knows that I can never fully trust again. But, I cannot change the past and want to learn from it to help make the best future possible. I don’t have 100% trust, but I do have hope!

    • Tryinghard

      I agree with exercising grace. I am so wounded I would only drag my wounds into another relationship OR I would stay by myself. So I stay because I love my H and well after 30+ years of marriage it would be like liquidating a corporation. HAHa we would literally have to liquidate a corporation. This would hurt many family members who depend on incomes. So I eat a lot of shit sandwiches and deal with triggers that my H created.

      I wonder if he ever has triggers. I’ve asked and he says no. Hey Doug maybe that would be a good topic for you. What does the cheater do when he is faced with a trigger that reminds him/her of that stupid decision the made. Like her birthday, a certain song, jokes anything. I can’t believe they don’t have them. Do they miss their affair partners? After how long do they stop missing them? We hear more from the BS and not nearly enough from the cheaters. I think they are still trying to make it all go away by not talking about it

      • Doug

        TH, that might indeed be a good topic for conversation. Thanks!

        • forcryin'outloud

          Th and Doug – that’s a great discussion topic!!! I too ask my H and he says he never thinks about OW. He said it was such a big mistake that if it pops up in his mind he quickly puts it out. Really?

          • Tryinghard

            Amnesia is right. Can it really be that they all have amnesia? Could this just be a function of the fantasy. Sort of like a dream. It seems so real while in the dream but once you awaken the memory of it fades? Is that why they don’t remember? Oh God why didn’t I major in psychology instead of business?

            • Hopeful Hubby

              I am a cheating spouse. I don’t know if it helps betrayed spouses to hear this, but I also have triggers. I won’t speak for other cheating spouses.
              Some of my triggers are the same triggers my wife feels. And I know she has several more that I don’t even know about or understand. When I do feel one of the triggers, it causes me to feel very anxious. It’s selfish, because I don’t immediately (or ever) think about what my wife needs. My focus becomes on either pretending like the trigger didn’t happen or quickly distracting from or downplaying the situation. I used to defend my actions or try to justify them. Now that I better understand what I did, the guilt feels too strong and I want it to go away. Neither is good for her.
              If your cheating spouse truly changed and never turned back, what was the trigger for that? I imagine that it has to be more than just a fear of losing the marriage.

            • tsd

              Hopeful husband, thanks for responding…you sound like my husband…when you can’t deal, you do nothing…we wives just want you to be able to share…if you have a trouble, it’s in our nature to help…sharing with us tells us you believe in us, love us enough to tell us what is bothersome. We may not solve it but we want to help…sometimes being a man is being a better one by being vulnerable…as for triggers, I used to say what was bothering me but my husband did nothing to help…so for now, he gets reaction (anger, confusion, silence)….so I ask a CS, which do you want? If we have a trigger, do you want to hear about it, help us thru the emotional roller coaster, or do you want us to suffer solo and you get the ride of your life????? As for your guilt, I’m sure your wife forgave you, as I did with my husband, but you need to forgive yourself…guilt can be tricky…leads you down a repeat path or a miserable pain…so if we let go of the EA, then you need to let opti of the guilt by improving actions and words….again thx….

            • tryinghard

              Hopeful Husband,
              I give you guys a lot of credit for coming forward as we can be a tough group 🙂 My H does the same. I can almost see the look like “…oh crap we are by that place, that song, that advertisement, that whatever, I know she’s going to have a trigger. I know her. I see that dark look on her face. Quick talk about something else like, I know going to the jewelry store,” 🙂 I’m right aren’t I. Anxiety, and trust me I KNOW ANXIETY, is only fear of the unknown. Ride that wave. Guilt is as I said below your “hair coat”. If you feel enough guilt you somewhat absolve yourself of your sins. You are right avoidance is NOT helping. Try talking about the triggers calmly with your W. Quit keeping the secrets. What do you possibly have to lose?? You’ve already risked far greater, right?
              I don’t know if he has changed. He has shown me a lot of love and attention. He calls and checks in. Also I had a GPS on his car that he didn’t know about so I knew where he was at all times. He didn’t lie about that. Sorry but I just don’t trust him like I used to. I had to do it. I think he saw once the affair was in daylight who she really was and what she was really after, money, a job, and hopefully to be his wife someday I’m sure. I did a background check on her and he saw her arrests and bankruptcies. He was mortified. I guess he figured out what a manipulative loser she is. I also think he thought I didn’t love him anymore. He found out differently because I have shown him so much love and attention I think I overwhelm him sometimes:) She just wasn’t worth it in the end I think. Now all that doesn’t mean that I don’t think he doesn’t fantasize about her or the relationship and how she made him feel. I can’t help but think he misses that. Maybe not her per se but the feeling.
              Thanks again, you are brave!

            • SamIam

              Hopeful Husband
              I understand you wanting to downplay any triggers that you feel. I also understand when you say is it not helpful to your wife….because it is not. In fact it probably makes her feel invisible. For her to know that you brought this trauma to her life then wish to never acknowledge her pain (great and small pains) is only prolonging the healing process. You need to turn selfish into selfless…and take the risk and talk to her about a trigger you feel. As I have told my husband “It may hurt you to talk about it but hurts me not to talk about it”
              There is a post on PTSD …I had my husband read it because is discribes so much of what the BS goes through on a daily, weekly, monthly, yearly basis. And another post refers it the feeling of the BS as the same as a rape victim or abused spouse. Now that you are out of the fog, if you saw that some one had done this to your wife, would you not run to her, gather her up, comfort her, do what you could to protect her…and juts plain be angry because some one had hurt your wife so terribly? Well, the dichotomy is the person (other than ourselves) who can help us heal IS the person who did this to us! It is terrible for you (the CS) as us (the BS)…but it must be done.
              As I have told my husband….”Write yourself a note” do it, do what it takes to help your wife heal. Even if than means compiling a list (an awful list) of your wife’s triggers and remembering them. Then talk to her!

            • tryinghard

              Can you post a link to that article? I would like to read it.

            • Doug

              Not to hijack things here, but I thought it might be easier for me to find and post it (I assume she is talking about the 3-part series of articles we ran a few months ago) Here is the first in the series: There are links to the other two at the bottom of the post. Carry on.

            • SamIam

              Thank You, Doug! Those are the correct posts. 🙂

            • ataloss

              TH, my H also tells me he does not have triggers or even think about the OW unless I bring it up. Possibly his way of getting me to stop talking about it???

              Really I think that the whole thing was a complete fantasy world to him. I think he was able to compartmentalize it so well that it was not real to him at all. However, for me, the BS, it is VERY REAL!!! I had real physical pain when I discovered all this. I am not sure he can ever understand that, let alone why I still have triggers.

      • Sidney

        As the CS, I can tell you that yes, there are triggers all the time. However, as time goes by, the triggers are no longer associated with an emotion….so even though you still think of the affair partner, there’s not the emotional attachment connected with the thought. At least, that’s how it is for me. Hope this helps.

        • tryinghard

          Thank you for your candor. Of course I believe there are triggers for him and how can there not be? It sounds reasonable to me that if you the CS bring up a trigger it will open a can of worms that you would just as soon stay closed. What you do then is keep another secret and fantasize again. I understand the guilt and the anxiety is not know how you’re W will respond if you admit to a trigger. I believe Guilt is something the Cheaters hide behind. It’s your “hair jacket”. If you feel guilt then you are absolved of you sins?? Guilt does nothing for the BS. Feelings of guilt creates avoidance of the subject that needs to be brought out into the light. I know it’s hard and SCARY.

          It sounds like you have learned from your past behavior by not associating and emotion to the triggers. That’s good 🙂 Take a leap of faith with your W and bring up the triggers that you have and see what happens 🙂

    • ataloss

      This post comes at a perfect time for me. We are just past one year, but with the spring season, we will be back on the ball fields and so will the OW. There is no way to avoid being in close proximity with her. While my H has gone to great lengths to rebuild trust this past year, and things are much better, it is never completely out of mind. I can’t help but worry about if she will try to talk to him (or me-I have nothing to say to her that could be said around children!!!) or rekindle what she thinks they had. Needless to say, lots of triggers. I looked at the list of comments in this post, and could have written any of them, or all of them, myself. I think my biggest concern is that he doesn’t know why this happened. How can he prevent it again?

      All I can do is live in the present. I refuse to let the “what ifs” defeat me! I agree with ChiffChaff, the damage can’t be undone, but as we write a new ending to our story, we can focus on the new happy memories and the damage becomes easier to manage.

      • tryinghard

        I would love to have to face the OW with my H. I hope you H puts his arms around you and shows you lots of affection in front of her. The best thing you can do, and trust me this would be hard for me, is to completely ignore her. This means HIM too, especially. Don’t even make eye contact. If you catch her looking at you, stare her down. Make her feel uncomfortable but DON’T BE THE FIRST TO PEEK:) Have your war plan mapped out. Talk about it. Don’t let anything happen that you haven’t planned for. I hope your H isn’t going to be by himself at those ballgames?!

        • ataloss

          TH, thanks for your encouragement. I am mapping out the war plan now, but I think the best strategy is to pretend the OW is invisible! And no, H will NOT be there alone!

    • D

      This is truly a moment where the only thing we have to fear is fear itself. Pema Chodron talks a lot about this, as do many Buddhist philosophers, that fear only exists in the past or future, never in the present.

      Will my wife cheat on me again? She might, but the only thing I can do is react when, or if, it happens. To fret about what happened accomplishes nothing.

      Ok, so I do fret, but the philosophy remains poignant and worth remembering. In many ways I feel we divorced following the affair. In order to move forward we both had to let go of a lot of blame and hurt and BS. We have a different relationship now.

      • ataloss

        D, I completely agree with this philosophy! It is one of those easier said then done things. Still, a good goal and one I am working for.

      • Milo

        D, very insightful information that is helpful (and I am a big fan of Pema Chodron and Buddhist teachings! 😀

      • Milo

        Thanks for the post! I, too, learn much from Pem Chodron and the Buddhist philosophy that fear exists in the past or the future. Sometimes it is easier said then done but I am evolving, staying in the moment and not letting my imagination go rampant. It also helps when my wife has worked hard to show that we have passed thru the darkness and into a closer intimacy that we didn’t have before her affair.

    • KelBelly

      Nicely said D! I too look at my marriage before DDay as dead and have mourned its loss but now My H and I are preparing to renew our vows and looking forward to new beginnings and leaving all the pain and hurt in the past. I am also truly glad that the man my H had become is gone as well and before me is the man I met 16 years ago before Iraq took its toll on him and the OW.

      • Healingperson

        Thanks to all for coming forward with your experiences. This has helped me reflect where I am at in my own struggles in this matter. Honestly, I had no idea I would ever be here! 23 years of what seemed to be a good marriage, 3 children– 8,14, and 19. Statistically, my marriage has beaten-ed the odds to raise one child with down syndrome (approximately 25% of marriages survives this stigma and challenge). My H suffered three great losses in his life within a period of 1 1/2 years. I gave him space, to grieve, to be frustrated, to be angry, and to hopefully work through it. The space I gave him, eventually, caused us to grew apart. You see, life does not stop, or wait. Early in a relationship, we spend so much time and effort towards one-another, intimacy, talks, etc. After time, we rely on commitment and love to fill in the gaps during our distances and forget to continue to nurture what once was so beautiful. 2 months ago, my H came home and asked if I was happy in our marriage. This conversation took a nasty turn. Soon enough, after a lot of talk, he said he felt trapped, wanted out. I tried to get deeper, but was not successful. My world, as I knew it, fell apart. How would I tell our boys, our cognitive disabled boy, that their idle, dad, was leaving! I honored his wish, I told him I just wanted him to be happy and through this process prioritize the needs of our children before ours. We decided to just tell our (not-disabled) 19 year old. His wisdom is one that opened both of our eyes. We told him, dad was leaving for a while to sort things out, his response was “It makes sense!”. We said why is that? and he said “You guys have nothing to fix or to focus on now since William is 14 and more independent and I graduated from High School!”. And he continued–“I hope you can now live a little and not allow a mid-life crisis to get in the way”. Wow!!! Well, my H left for one night, the next day he contacted me and asked to talk. We talked, and he said he was not ready to give up our marriage. He said we grew distant, he felt I did not need him anymore, and any time he would talk with me over a touchy subject, I’d get angry. 3 months went by, his behavior was odd. Lots of texting, unaccounted time, day dreaming, etc…To make a longer story shot, through suspicions, I shot in the dark and confronted him about an affair. Initially, he would deny, I realized, I was asking the wrong question. I changed the word “affair” to “met a friend”. Bingo, he DID! But to him it was not an”affair” since there was no sex involved, just a kiss, once. she is a co-worker, another teacher, someone who just began teaching at the same school. It came out, that initially it was him mentoring her, helping her move, fixing her fence. Than, she was funny, full of stories to tell. She is divorced, and supposedly has a boyfriend. It became a pretty tight “friendship”. 70 or so texts a day to each other. I was angry and told him to leave, that our marriage was over. He did not want to. He said he F-up, and would do anything to make it right. This was the beginning of December, our lives have been a roller coaster since. He even agreed to do counseling, which he still is, and to him it is a huge deal. I have had pretty much all of the above feelings described in this blog. Guilt, anger, fear, lack of trust. At times I feel we have conquered this dilemma, and at times I feel defeated! Initially I sensed resentment that I asked him to end their “friendship”, now I feel he has overcome it. My concern is that she seems to like him and is very aggressive in pursuing him. Playing some manipulation games, parking her truck next to his everyday. Last week, I noticed her truck had moved, I confronted him and asked if he talked to her about it since it bothered me. He said, she came to see him, in his classroom, wanting to re-enact their friendship, and that she misses him, the chats, etc…He said he told her not to come see him unless it is professionally, and that he had made a mistake, and that his marriage was more important. Of course, I had to peel of these words out of him. I no nothing in terms of details about them, what exactly happened. I feel that we are growing together again, deeper. I too am in counseling. I struggle however, a lot still. I hate and obsess over her, what she represents, no integrity, no values. He works with her everyday, and I hate it. I am constantly thinking if he thinks of her, wonder the what ifs. If he is with me because of the convenience, the fear? Do they exchange looks? Could it star up again? Will life ever be the same…Will I ever fully trust him…I hate myself anymore, and at times I just want to be freed of this…

        • tryinghard

          Healing Person
          I struggle with this notion of just an EA. He is attracted to her. You know that. They are NOT just friends, BTW there is a great book called Not Just Friends that you and if you can get him to read is REALLY helpful. My best friend in the whole world doesn’t text me twice a day. Don’t rationalize it. If there hasn’t been sex there will be. Sometimes I think it’s better if there is that way they don’t fantasize about it anymore. After all that’s all affairs do is feed their fantasy. My H too had an affair during an extremely stressful time in our lives and it was a way to get away from it and be someone else. In the affair he had control and not crap to deal with. He was a big shot!

          I’m thinking you don’t have all the truth yet since it’s only been since December and he seems reticent about admitting the truth to you. Don’t worry they all do that. It’s awful when the story comes out in dribs and drabs. Make it safe for him to talk to you. It’s hard not to blow up BUT you have to wait till you hear the whole story otherwise he will quit telling you. It’s hard but emotional control is of utmost importance right now in order for you to get the whole story now. Credit to him for telling her not to contact him unless for professional reasons. This is NOT an appropriate relationship. He’s been acting like her husband, fixing her fence etc. NO CONTACT has to be the rule. Bad enough he has to work with her but that is the case for many Cheating Spouses. Maybe you should go talk to her. No telling what she has been told about you or your relationship or what she believes, but you need to make yourself real in her eyes. We are all just speaking from our own experiences and you will have a lot to gain by all of us who have and still are dealing with this. Keep us posted. Good Luck sister 🙂

          • Healingperson


            Thanks for your thoughts. He and I have had numerous conversations about this. Because my H and I were good friends once upon a time, I kind of know how he thinks, and that is why, I was quickly able to catch this “friendship”. He seems a shamed of it. He has never blamed her, but himself. The things that I have valued about him, are the reasons I have decided to stay and fight for the marriage. What I know about him, is, because of the shame of the lies and deceit, every time I bring it up, I feel that we take a couple of steps backwards in our attempts to move forward. My counselor said I had a decision to make. I move forward and stop dwelling and trust that the man I knew is back, or I keep pushing him into guilt and shame and press on wanting to know all there is to know about them so that he keeps reliving their moments! I have no doubts that he cares and loves me, what I hurt about is that she fills another need in his life.

            • ataloss

              Healing person, please be patient with yourself and the relationship. If the EA was just revealed in December, this is all still pretty fresh. The fact that you are still having to dig information out of him means he is still not being completely open. Keep working and eventually he will. One thing that I had to realize, pretty early in our journey was that we both had to feel safe to open up. It is pretty hard to make someone feel safe enough to open up when you are still hurt, angry, etc. You will have days when you think you are past this. But then the next day may knock you back on your butt. Be patient. Sadly, it is just part of the process!

            • Healingperson

              Thank you so much for your positive take and support. We all make mistakes, in 23 years, I figure one of us was bound to do it. I have no doubt that he loves me and his family, and thus will not allow a set back and some sad and lonely woman, who, could not keep her marriage and family together break mine! I must too take responsibility that while this was going on, I had my set of issues to own up to:-) The healing will continue…

      • tryinghard

        I had no idea he was a veteran. First tell him thank you for serving. I was an army brat. Also so many of those guys have come back with major issues. You know the VA helps with emotional and mental issues. I hope he’s utilized those benefits. His EA could be an aftermath of his experiences overseas. I am so happy to hear you two are renewing your vows. My H and I did that this past October in Paris at the church my parents were married during WWII. He actually cried. This is helps to make me believe he is sincere about his love for me and wanting to work things out. I know I am probably my own worst enemy in this whole mess letting MY imagination of what was real take over. I wish you many good thoughts and well wishes for your renewal. You will be more moved this time around than you were the first time!! Trust Me on this 🙂

      • tryinghard

        I thought I had posted my comment to you in the right place. Check down below if not.

    • justbecause

      Healingperson, wow, can’t imagine my H working with the OW. This will be hard but you can do it IF he is willing to change, and to help you. You will have times of anger, hate, anxiety – that is to be expected. He must acknowledge this and help you thru it. I know what you mean about t “taking steps back” when certain things are brought up. Yes I do think your counselor is right about moving forward. BUT, this will take time. My counselor compared it to a period of grieving and then deciding to bury the ugliness. It sill exists, but it is deeply buried. I feel it is wrong and harmful to just sweep everything under the rug as soon as the CS says the EA is over, they are sorry. It take more then that to eventually bury the hurt. And it is still there – just buried.

    • blondiegal

      Looking for some advice here.
      My husband had an EA and I caught him. I went through a year of counseling, couples counseling, re commitment to the marriage (new rings, a ‘honeymoon trip’), and anxiety meds. I had finally came to a point where I was forgiving of the situation with the OW. He did all that he could to save us and we both worked really hard at us. things were good for a while. It seemed to be changing lately. He seemed resentful of his ‘rules’ and ‘guidelines’. I followed my gut and found out for the last 3 months he’s been ‘sexting’ with another coworker. I’m at a loss. He got caught and is begging for forgiveness and another chance. I just don’t know. It was so hard the first time. My world is just falling apart and I’m so mad. I can’t believe after only a year he’d do it again. He’s offered to do counseling on his own this time. He’s crying, making promises. I just don’t know. Has anyone been through this a second time? We are almost 30, and are going to have our 5 year anniversary this spring,just can’t imagine doing this for the rest of my life. I want to believe him, but how can I a second time?

      • tryinghard

        WOW. I so feel for you. He obviously did not learn anything from the past. He didn’t work through his problems and didn’t really ever get the help and understanding he needed. It also sounds like he could be addicted to the internet and all it has to offer. Some people don’t consider it “cheating” if they don’t have physical contact. Sort of like rationalizing one doesn’t have a drug problem if they only smoke marijuana. The problem with sexting is it will lead to physical contact eventually and it’s still cheating even if it doesn’t.
        If you don’t have children and you have already given him a second chance, I think I would throw in the towel on this guy. All I can say is yes people can change but only if they want to and also not much! I know that is probably not what you want to hear but if you were my daughter this is exactly what I would tell you. Don’t let his tears fool you. You’ve already seen them. If he really values you he will get psychological help to fix his problems. This is very addicting behavior and he needs professional help to kick it. Good Luck little sister 🙂

        • blondiegal

          Thanks for that. I just don’t know. I am thinking of asking him to move out and into his parents house so I can have space. Every time he begs and cries it kills me. Crazy right? I feel so lost for an answer. The first time, I knew in my heart that I would forgive. I want this to work because i do love him, but I don’t want to be the idiot and I don’t want to waste 10 years of my life. I do agree he needs help. and he’s said that was the problem the first time.
          I know answers aren’t out there. I just wish I wasn’t feeling blinded by my love and commitment :/

          • tryinghard

            Yes the answers are out there. We just have to pay attention. You are the one who is in charge. Not him and certainly NOT his tears!!! Don’t worry about wasting 10 years worry about wasting one more day. You have your whole life ahead of you. You sound smart and “in love” and we do stupid things when we are in love. Please read past posts from this blog. They are really helpful. I think sending him to his parents is a great idea because trust me they will NOT be happy he’s back!!!!! They will make his life a misery. That should scare the little SOB straight! Mean time, read, read, read. There’s a book on internet addiction that I’ve seen. Didn’t read the book because my old SOB isn’t very tuned in to the internet.

    • KelBelly

      blondiegal, My first H was a chronic cheater and he did the same thing your hubby did. Would cry and beg me to forgive him and I did the first 4 times. The fifth time I said enough and left him. I would make him move out because you are right to wonder if he will ever change. Mine didn’t no matter how much he swore he loved me.

      • blondiegal

        I’m sorry you had to endure that KelBelly.
        I’m secretly hoping for a success story. I guess I need to stop fooling myself here huh?

    • Healingperson

      I am at a crossroads and in torment regarding my H and I’s attempts to move forward in our marriage. He has told me he loves me. He is seeking counseling, offering me more affection, we are spending lots of time together, and all of what seems to be the rights things to do after an EA with a co-worker. My problem is getting through the notion that he said he had feelings for her and they work in the same facility. He can’t say what those feelings are exactly. He calls her the “symptom” of an emotional state and he is quite frustrated with not knowing what led him down that path to begin with after 23 years of marriage. I have good days, when I can just look to the future and hang on to what I have. Other times like today, I just want to scream imagining that I share my husbands affection with the OW. He told me she visited him and confronted him that she missed their “friendship and talks”. He also said that he made it clear that they were wrong and that other than professional encounters, there will be no “friendship”! It is a torment in my head, and I don’t have time to fall apart! Am I just not giving him enough time? How do I know for sure I mean more to him…?

      • tryinghard

        Because he’s with you and not her. I just hope he is not trying to be the nice guy when he is talking to her. I could not do it if the OW still worked with my H. Some days are worse than ever. Sometimes when I feel this way I remind myself that I have a choice. I can stay and deal or leave.

        • Healingperson

          Thank you for the encouragement. You hit the nail on the head. It’s about them two working in the same place. I have a colleague who is aware of the situation and informs me if anything that seems to be out of the ordinary. He has been avoiding meetings whenever necessary where she is present. She works on the other side of the building on the opposite side of the block, and yet parks her truck next to his everyday! The more I research this topic, I find out that most woman fear the same as I do. Is he with me out of loyalty for family and shame for leaving, or is it because I truly mean something worth a while and more than her!

          • tryinghard

            Maybe he could find someplace else to park? You’re lucky having a friend at his work with your best interest in mind. I had the same questions for my H. We don’t have children at home anymore but a divorce would have ruined him I have faced the fact that it is a combination of all the above. I also feel stronger in my belief that he is with me because he loves me and everything that I bring with me. Maybe we do have to work harder to “win” their affections back. I am not trying to blame the BS but we do need to work on the parts of our relationship that made them vulnerable to an affair. Well at least I did. It may sound coarse but a girl friend told me to “get my freak on” and well that’s where the conversation ended so I took it from there!! I will say I have learned A LOT from You Tube 🙂 You can tell if he likes you and do you really think he would be there if he didn’t no matter what your family and financial circumstances? I’m not only saying this to you but also thinking out loud for myself as well? What are your thoughts?.

            • Healingperson

              When I did confront him with the idea that he stayed for the security of the family and such, he was not at all impressed. He said he had a choice and he made it. I think you are correct to say that our H’s would not be able to hide their feelings if they were strong enough for the OW. I agree that we “wives” nee to work on our part. while we did not cheat in the human sense, we got to comfortable and forgot that the nurture has to be an ongoing effort in our marriage!

            • tryinghard

              Thanks Healingperson. You are exactly right on all those points. I think we all just need reminders sometimes of our roles in all this. We may not have cheated but we sure became complacent. It’s easy to do. LOL matter of fact I got called a “stone cold fox” the other day. It’s been a long time since I’ve heard compliments like that. I made sure my H heard about it. I also reminded him that I only had eyes for him 🙂 Little boys and their egos!!!

    • Disappointed

      I hope you will forgive the bitter irony in my post. My H had been asking me why I still bring her up over a year later. He says he doesnt even know her. That if he thinks of her, he just hopes she is ok. But then I found they have been meeting 2-3 times per week and that it has become a PA for 7 months or longer. I guess I never let it go because somehow my intuition realized on some level. He doesnt know that I know. He looks me right in the eye and lies effortlessly. And we have not been living as roommates. Gaining strength to pull the plug.

      • tryinghard

        Oh no Disappointed. I am heart sick for you. I know through your posts you were so hopeful and it sounded like your H was working hard too.

        When did you find out? How are you keeping your cool? Well I guess the shock of this isn’t quite as earth shattering as DDay since you’ve had suspicions. I know about that gut feeling and I have the same. How did you find out? AND what are you going to do? I hope if you leave you are planning a good exit strategy. Now is the time to think really rationally. Be careful. PLEASE keep us posted. You will be in my prayers today. BTW no forgiving necessary you have a right to be bitter. Courage!

      • ataloss

        Disappointed, so so sorry! I think this is truly what we all fear, and I hate that you are having to live this out.

        You do have the strength to deal with this however you need to. I am sure, like most of us, when your journey began you never imagined you are as strong as you have been already. You have more strength in there.

        I hope you already have a good support system in place of family, friends, etc. Know that you have a whole community to rely on! Also, remember this is about HIS weaknesses, selfishness, and inadequacies. This is his responsibility!

    • Rachel

      Sorry for your pain. Lies hurt. Betrayal hurts. Try to stay strong. You may not feel that you have any strength but trust me it’s there.

    • Rachel

      Disappointed dont you leave the home. This is his doings not yours. My h repeatedly told me to leave and as hard as it was I didn’t . Now he has to pay all of the bills through alimony until I am 67 years old. I am 51. Hope he’s happy with his choice.

      • tryinghard

        What Rachel said. Don’t leave the house!! Also are you saying he is being intimate with you AND the OW? Please, please be careful.

    • puzzlement

      I have been reading these comments for 1 yr 1/2 since my first dday and am just now commenting. I am th BS and was worried my H, the CS, would see this. Silly. He had an EA for years, I think 8 or so, which turned physical only in the last few years supposedly. And she is from a religious family and supposedly they didn’t have intercourse, but I believe they did evertything else. So, yeah…I don’t know all the facts, but it is supposedly over now. I am still so lost. We married young, were very much in love and had a great relationship before this. I wasalways proud of it. 27 yeaslrs of marriage have been through a lot, but I am still so lost. We have a 10 yr old andso many other problems, financial, sick parents…I just don’t know what to do but I am so unhappy and in limbo..don’t have energy to even type this or figure anything out. He supposedly loved both of us, but chose me, after I discovered relationship through text messages, more than once. I just don’t know ..any advice for healing after long term affair? This is what is so hard for me to get past, length of time and of course all the lying. He wasn’t like this before, a liar, at least I didn’t think so….

      • tryinghard

        Life has so many damn stresses and to add infidelity to the mix is like icing on a shit cake!!! I can only say get as much information as you can. Sometimes we make decisions to stay and sometimes the best decision is to leave but you cannot do it without information. Life is too short to be unhappy. For me if my H was continuing the affair, I would leave. Eight years is a long time. My H carried his on for almost 4 years and gave her a lot of money. This kind of betrayal is very hard to deal with without all the other stresses you mentioned. Maybe you two can bond over supporting each other through the other problems you have.
        These blogs have been very helpful for me because I don’t feel so alone in this whole process. I’m 18 months from getting the whole truth and we are STILL a work in progress. I have a lot of info and I am choosing to stay but I also know I can choose to leave at any time. Maybe I will. I take it one day at a time. Good Luck to you.

        • puzzlement

          Trying hard…thank you for your reply. I especially like the icing on the shit cake reference. That made me LOL, which I needed! These blogs have helped me too. sometimes I think I’m ok and can move on, but other times not. I have tried to get the whole story,although it is not easy to talk about. I try to get an apology and some feeling of remorse from him, which I am not getting, and I’m not sure if it’s because he doesn’t feel it or he can’t deal/feels guilty….or is he seeing her again? He dressed up to go to the hospital to visit his mom the other day and I was like…hmmmmm…..i would’ve just put on sweat pants and a tee shirt, so maybe it’s back on. I would never know unless I start digging again and catch him when he sloppily has not covered his tracks. I could always call the girl and threaten to tell her parents…that worked before …she gets scared and tells me stuff cause she feels bad too, supposedly. well I think they just feel bad now because they were caught by me, not because of what they were doing or they would’ve stopped before, right? anyway, I ramble……but it’s taking me this long to start coming out of the numb fog, 1 1/2 yrs and finally feel something. I am finally disgusted when picturing the things I ‘m pretty sure they did and makes me not want to make amends at all….especially due to the length of time, but up until now, I felt not much other than disbelief and disappointment, but was numb to the details. we went to a park awhile back, while I was still numb, that I found out through emails they went to over the holidays at night to enjoy the lights and stroll holding hands (and probably an apres walk romp in the car, im’ guessing)…I thought I would be upset and teary, but really felt nothing. I pictured it in my mind, what they did probably in his car in the parking lot and/or the holding hands and walking part (in public, no less!) and i felt nothing. I mean I am quietly mad, but not jealous, not upset really….maybe I just don’t care. Although when I see pictures of my son as a baby (he’s 10) I cry thinking this whole time since he’s been born has been a lie. That’s it, the only time I feel (besides just recently picturing the acts)…..I am rambling once again, but I will take your advice and try to find out more. I just never know if it’s the truth or not, and now with his mom not doing well, I feel like I can’t bring it up right now…..oy….maybe I’ll call the girlfiend again. lol…..I just can’t believe this all happened to me and my marriage. Thanks again….I will go find out more and update.

    • Disappointed

      I think he progressed to a PA in October if not earlier. Now that I know nothing is happening, but for 3 months… He will be the one to leave. It hurts so much. I would not wish this on my worst enemy. Thanks for your support.

      • Healingperson

        To all,
        I have been doing a lot of research since Dday, and probably read every site pertaining to “Surviving an EA”. I have concluded to be the theme that we can only fix ourselves, not others. That unless we feel worthy, we will continue to fight an uphill battle at any relationship. Even though we did not cause the problem, building ourselves up can be a solution. We take the hurt and turn it into strength. I have caught my husbands attention lately, and in many ways. 75 pounds loss in 1 year, a half a marathon, going out with girlfriends for a drink, and still having time for affection at home. The truth is, we have suffered a loss, and don’t think we’ll ever regain it back. Two paths, one we start anew with our H’s and get to know one-another differently, or we move forward and start anew somewhere else with someone who thinks we are WORTH IT! Best regards~

        • tryinghard

          Congrats on the 70 lbs. Right on with all your comments.

    • Beautiful Trauma

      Almost a year to my D Day, and the pain is still somedays as vivid as that day. Even with us both going to therapy as a couple and individually. Being a man who was cheated on I feel so much more alone in this scenario. Not to take away anything from the other spouses on here but I guess it’s just harder dealing with all this knowing it’s men most of the time that stray. Here I thought I was being a great supportive husband, my wife and I work in a male dominated field and of course she ends up cheating with a coworker. Not only do I fear the possibility of her running into the AP, but me running into him again. I’m afraid of what I might do. I did some crazy things in the beginning … just feel like he got off easy and I…I wasn’t a man and take care of business. I guess that’s the machismo in me, but it’s a fear I have since he lives less than 5 mins away and I could easily run into him at work. I hate that I have to scan parking lots everywhere I go. Triggers are everywhere, …. I just have to take my pride pill and wash it down with a cup of suck it up. 22 years invested , all for what my wife says she doesn’t know why..,wait she was depressed that’s what it was . Doesn’t make it right no matter what it was . She apologizes and says it’ll never happen again but it’s really hard to trust her after catching her 3 weeks after d day in the park parking lot with the douche bag.
      Gotta love find my iPhone. Unfortunately
      My young daughter witnessed it all.

    • Milo

      It’s unfortunate that there aren’t more testimonials of wives cheating on their husbands on this page : (

      • AimT

        I wish more husbands would write. I commend the men that did. In my situation I was cheated on by husband with my next door neighbor who is married. So she cheated on her spouse too. A very doting husband. It’s very hard for me to not have a trigger every single day. I think about it every time I look out my kitchen window or drive to town or do anything outside. She was everywhere in my house because I thought we were all friends so we hung out a lot last winter. It’s been 9 months since I found out about the love poems, the secret texts, and naked pics of her. I am so scared they’ll secretly start talking again and things pick back up. He is trying so hard to gain back my trust and he understands the pain he caused. I just can’t stop thinking about it. I wish I could just pluck it out of my head and erase all the memories of that time. I also wish I knew his “why” and details. He says he doesn’t know and doesn’t remember. I’m thinking that’s another lie?

    • Jennet

      If I have learnt anything over the past 3.5 years since DD it’s the fact that you have no control over another person only yourself. That’s the reality and if they want to have another affair they will and until we realise that I think we are in denial.
      All you can do is be the best person you can be and live your life in the best way you can.
      That’s the way I look at life now maybe harsh but that’s the way I feel. I don’t spend my days wondering ‘what if’ it’s a waste of energy.
      Look after yourself and your family and enjoy life .
      Infidelity changes so much of your life it takes time to get over it and get perspective again.
      Good luck to you all Jennet

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