honesty after the affair

Sadly, after the affair D-day bomb drops, the pain just begins for the betrayed spouse.  The unfaithful spouse however, may feel a sense of relief and that “it’s finally over.”

The unfaithful person feels relieved that the big secret about their affair has been exposed, and the stress of living a double life is released, that they naturally are ready for everything to just end.

Now, the betrayed spouse is (typically, it seems) the one reading books, blogs and message boards, seeking advice and support.

The typical unfaithful person, on the other hand, may show some remorse and may agree to counseling and generally do what is asked of them, but they mostly just want this whole mess to be over with. They want to move forward.  They don’t want to dwell on the past at all. Rug sweeping anyone?

But as we’ve discussed many times in the past, this is the period of time when the betrayed spouse has to get the answers he or she needs.  Honest answers.  Usually not because they want to use the information to punish the unfaithful person for the rest of their lives, but simply to understand what the hell happened and why it happened.  

Now here is where the typical unfaithful person makes one or more of these critical errors:

  • They let the details out in dribs and drabs (trickle truth)
  • They continue to outright lie and deny and don’t divulge the truth
  • They refuse to talk about it much – if at all – for various reasons
See also  Open Discussion: Infidelity Effects on Children

Granted, this doesn’t happen in every case, as there are some very remorseful unfaithful persons who flip that switch to  instantly become the healer and answer every question truthfully and completely.  However, in my experience that seems to be a rather rare occurrence.

Where are we going with this?

So, this isn’t so much a “how to” article as it is a nudge for discussion. (and we have to give credit to an email we received from Tim Tedder for this topic)

Let’s discuss the following…

To the Betrayed Partners:

  • How did you know you were getting the truth, or not?
  • What gave you confidence that you could believe what was being said?
  • What did you need to see/hear that you didn’t get?

To the Unfaithful Partners:

  • How quickly did you get to complete honesty after the affair?
  • What made it difficult to confess completely?
  • What, if anything, motivated you toward a truthful confession?

Let’s get some responses from both sides and talk about this in the comment section below! 

This sort of thing can be a great teaching/learning experience for those who may be having a hard time getting to complete honesty after the affair.




Photo by mrhayata


    70 replies to "Getting to Complete Honesty After the Affair"

    • TheFirstWife

      I am the BS spouse. How did I know I wasn’t getting the whole truth? Too many “IDK” answers. I don’t know this and I don’t know that.

      For the most part I got the truth on anything I asked. He did not correct my assumption before I found out he initiated the first non-work after work “meeting”. I assumed she was the aggressor. Nope he made it happen!!

      That was like a whole new DDay for me.

      And we argued whether or not he loved her. I saw in emails he wrote it but kept denying he did love her. Well that battle lasted for 6 months. He finally admitted he may have wrote it in emails and he may have believed at the time he did but he knew or now knows he did not love her. It was infatuation and A fog talking.

      the rest of the healing process centered more around him continuing to justify and blame me for his cheating. Finally I shut that down earlier this year (yes 4 years out from DDay1). I told him there was never an excuse or reason to cheat.

      And then the on going battle of HIS lack of communication and blaming me for it. Holding on to grudges or slights from years past. We finally have made improvements in that area but it was a long road and I would not let it go.

      Because to me if you were going to be accusing me of something when it was really him that was doing it, I’m going to make sure that I am never put in that line of fire ever again. And I will make sure that I do not have any reason to allow his lack of communication to continue.

      I’m sure he is sorry that he even mentioned that. He probably wishes I would just let it go, but to me if you were Going to use that as an excuse to divorce me, then I’m going to make sure that behavior is not occurring, in anyway shape or form.

      I do think there are things he has never told me from his first affair and never will. But at least I have confirmation from someone else where he admitted that he knew it was wrong.

    • Shifting Impressions

      How does one know they are not getting the truth?? I think it’s somewhat of a gut feeling. Although my husband stopped all contact (immediately after d-day) and admitted what was going his remorse did not feel real. He was defensive and difficult. In all fairness, I was completely shattered and not easy to be with.

      It was over a year later before his remorse started to feel more authentic to me. He was more willing to listen to my pain. Next week it will be four years since d-day and he rarely becomes defensive regarding the EA. He shows true remorse and understanding for the pain he caused me. I needed his remorse and willingness to listen without getting defensive in order to believe in him again.

      It would help me if he were more forthcoming. Everything I know is because I discovered or uncovered it, almost always inadvertently, I might add. I am still missing pieces of the story. A year after d-day there was a second d-day. An EA around fifteen years prior…..for the first few years he said it was “ a couple of emails” but last year admitted it lasted eight months. So, I am quite sure I am missing information.

      All that being said….we are still moving forward. On a regular basis, I ask myself what is true today? I listen to my gut. We work hard to treat each other with care…

    • TheFirstWife

      I always said I wished he would have come to me and explained himself instead of making me be the interrogator.

      That would have made a HUGE difference

      Too late now 4 years later.

    • TryingHard

      As my therapist described it, he was jumping off the train as I was jumping on it.

      I will never know all the truth about that part of his life and our marriage. I’ve made peace with that fact. The only real truth I know is my own and that can’t be taken away from me no matter what he’s done.

    • Hopeful

      For me I just knew I was not getting the whole story. Things did not add up. After dday it made me more aware and I trusted my gut. I think it is human nature or at least for my husband it was his nature to minimize what he had done.I think part of it was to protect himself and part of it he told me was since he was not sure we were going to make it/if he could change so he wanted to minimize what he he had done to “protect me”. Even with my husband’s professional background he really struggled with facing what he had done and facing me. He told me honestly he knew before he did anything it was a horrible option and he realized on dday that he took our relationship and us individually to the brink.

      I agree with others I wish my husband had just been honest. Not with every graphic detail but to be honest and up front. I had and sometimes still fee resentment that I had to ask all the questions and dig for answers. Sometimes I found things like his fake email and FB page without even trying to find them. In the end it is hard because the betrayal is a selfish act and then how he handled it feels exactly the same when he was supposedly being honest and transparent.

    • Grieving

      3 weeks ago I found out my h of 21 years was having an EA with a girl of 21. He came clean and began by Justifying his actions – she was a friend he was helping out… the lies and deceit I discovered on emails (I wasn’t snooping – it was on his computer which I often used) were outrageous and bizarre. He’d spent a lot of money on presents for her and was now acting as guarantor on a flat and paying her rent and bills and given her a credit card.

      Right from d day he was adamant he wanted me, wanted us to work it out, get counselling and stay together. After a week or so I think he realised to some extent what he had done and risked.

      They weren’t physical “just kissed” although they spent a few nights together in the same bed. I believe him (most of the time) as I think that this was how he reasoned to himself that it wasn’t an affair. However, subconsciously he must’ve known because he didn’t tell anyone other than the friend he was with when he met her (the friend has many affairs).

      We are in counselling and I have to hold onto the fact that our marriage wasn’t perfect – we had drifted along really, and this is our chance to really make a new start. Not always that easy to think, but today I feel a bit more positive and am hoping to get more than 3 hours sleep which is all I’ve been getting for the last 3 weeks and I’m exhausted.

      My big question is I have told him I would like to read their texts. He is not keen as he says they will make me more upset. The MC also advised me to carefully think about this and I know that if I do I cannot un read them. I hate the thought of all their secrets and wonder what they talked about, what he said about me, etc. Will I always want to know or does this fade? Part of me wants to tell him to delete them all so it’s just gone. Any advice please?

      • TryingHard

        Grieving—short answer is YES you will always want to know. If you have the fortitude you should read the texts and get ALL the truth.

        Personally I think you are headed for a DDay2 where more truth comes out.

        I am so sorry you’re going through this

      • Rose

        My husband was great about deleting texts immediately, even if he was driving, even with me sitting next to him. The way he got around that was starting to use his work phone and email. Later on I reminded him he could have been fired but he claims to have been “protecting” me. I did, however, get to read emails prior to that. I read them in 2012, and then after he promised he was done, and we went to MC…2 years later I read another email between them which proved the EA was ongoing.

        I have to yet to get an apology. Oh he did apologize for not being able to help her though.

        I know you are holding on to hope but I do not believe he slept in the same bed with someone else and that there was not a PA. My husband claimed they just “kissed” (in front of her abusive boyfriend so it would look like she had another BF) but then I read something he wrote to a cousin about how he had 4 “serious relationships” in his life and how 2 of them hated oral sex. Now wait a minute. How, if this was an EA, did he KNOW she did or did not like oral sex? Why was that even a subject of discussion with ANYone but his wife?? This question has come up to me recently, ,and he refuses to talk. I will not accept his silence. I will not let up on it. But that’s just me. Good luck. We are all in so much pain.

        • TryingHard

          Rose— I agree with you. I believe it’s a PA too. He slept with her and they didn’t have sex? Hhhmm. Liar. Hopefully Bancy will get all the truth not just what he wants her to get. And no cheaters don’t with hold the truth to spare us. They with hold truth to protect themselves trying to minimize the relationship. But we each find our own truth on our own time.

      • Shifting Impressions

        I am so sorry you are going through this. I discovered my husband’s EA by stumbling upon his emails…..he had lent me his ipad since mine was broken. I read some them and went into shock. I called him at work and told him what I had found. He came home immediately. The thing is I had all those emails at my disposal but did not have the state of mind to copy them or go through them more thoroughly. When he came home the minute my back was turned he wiped out that email account.

        I was so angry at him for doing that and mad at myself for being so stupid. That ate at me for a long time. But as time went on I realized I know enough….he cheated. He betrayed me. He lied.

        So the need to know has diminished……but then d-day was almost four years ago. But saying that, should I have the opportunity, to read those emails, today…I probably would.

        A lot of the need has probably diminished because he did end all contact and has worked pretty hard to win my trust back.

        And I think spending the night in the same bed with another woman in the same bed constitutes a physical affair….whether they had sex or not. Just sayin’

      • Misguided

        @Grieving — sorry you are dealing with this.

        I read all the texts available between my husband and the OW– all 8896 that occurred in one year’s time. I still feel like some are missing (from the beginning mostly) even though he swears he never deleted any. My husband is infamous for never remembering ANYTHING. I call it selective memory bc he will remember stuff that’s for his benefit only. I do not regret reading them because it gave me a lot more insight to what was actually going on and how far it went. It also gave me insight to the type of person she is because this was a co-worker of his so I had no clue what was so enticing about her to not invest in the marriage that was already messed up from an EA and other issues that occurred 3 1/2 years prior.

        But I don’t deny having a very mixed bag of feelings when reading them. Upset that he was telling me he was busy with work yet sending that many messages during work hours only to her. Anger for what I was reading — the things I didn’t know about him or if those things he said to her were even the truth. Saddened by the fact that what I was reading (ego boosting messages) is what he desired because he never seemed to be the type of person to need such a boost in the 9 years we’ve been together. Eventually I was able to feel amusement at the conversations about literally nothing keeping his attention for so long because he presents himself as this highly intelligent individual — amused that he couldn’t see what she was really doing. He no longer displays this intelligent representation — that quit once I caught him in his first EA and the not knowing any details of anything ever started. Disappointed that I was disillusioned – this “quality” was not a real one and it was his representative for the first 5 years of our relationship – it’s what I was attracted to in him because I have low tolerance for what I perceive as ignorance. Confusion on how I’m going to continue my life with this marriage. If I have to go back into the messages to clarify something before I ask him questions, those saddened and sick feelings come back more than anything.

        I am the type that needs all the info or my mind can’t rest. The feeling I have of missing info won’t subside. He’s still very much playing the “I don’t remember” game and it irritates me to no end. I’m 99% sure there’s more that I don’t know — I’m just not sure what it is.

        So you probably will be upset no matter what is in the messages, but transparency is what your CS should be offering regardless of your reaction. I already told mine that this will never die if I can’t get enough to ease my mind so I don’t feel like there are gaping holes to what went on.

      • TheFirstWife

        Grieving. It is possible the relationship was one sided meaning he had feelings for the OW but she just played him for $ and gifts. For what he could give her.

        She write in the texts enough to keep him coming back.

        I doubt any BS has gotten the full story unless they stoop to unscrupulous means. Hiring a detective or snooping or hacking social media accounts.

        My H had 2 EAs. He would never admit it was an EA to me. But did admit the first EA to the second OW.

        I think I have enough details to know it all. Thanks to the OW (second A) sending me the emails. That is how I learned what really went on. Before that he tried to lie his way out of it.

        Typical cheater move.

        Please do not get hung up on details like how many times he said ILY or some stuff like that. The things you need to know are that he is a liar and cheater.

        Focus on what is he doing now. You cannot change the past. But you can take control of your future.

        Not saying let him off the hook. But for your own sanity you need to accept the fact you will/May not have 100% of the answers.

        I know I don’t. And never will. But I no longer need it.

    • TheFirstWife

      I think it is a physical affair as well.

    • Rose

      Truly it’s a betrayal the moment they decide to have a secret relationship, whether just sexting, EA or PA. They can call it whatever they like or deny it was an affair, but it was a betrayal of our marriage vows regardless. And I DO want to know all the gory details. Its up to me what to do with it…accept, forgive, blow up. I feel like without those, he is still in control of my feelings and reactions. I want ALL the truth.

      • Shifting Impressions

        Rose….don’t we all. I wanted it then and four years later, I still want it. But, what the are chances….I’m not holding my breath.

        But, Rose….he is NOT in control of your feelings and reactions!!! Those are all yours and therin lies YOUR POWER!!! One of the best books ever regarding that thought is IT TAKES ONE TO TANGO by Winifred Reilly.

        • Rose

          Looks good, I’ll get it. Now I know truly a revenge affair would be stupid but honestly lately I’ve been so angry. I want to be treated like the girlfriend who got lunch and coffee dates. I want my own white knight. I want to be respected, admired and appreciated in private AND in public (yes, on Facebook). I want to be held and listened to like she got, like nobody else in the world matters ( you know, like you are supposed to treat YOUR WIFE). I have had many opportunities even right when he was smack dab in the middle of his affairs…but I have a quality he doesn’t…integrity. Still…

          • Shifting Impressions

            Tempting for sure…..but hang on to that integrity, its who you are. It’s okay to be angry….sometimes my anger actually kept me going….it was easier than the pain.

            Remember affairs are built on lies and fantasies….try not to compare your marriage to the fantasy of an affair.

            Don’t be afraid to tell him what you need. Hang in there

    • Rose

      Not totally related but two nights ago I just lost it. The 30-year-old oven door fell off and I broke down in tears. H asked me what the hell was wrong and what I was thinking but could not say was well, you spent 5 years telling your troubles to other women but could not spend a little money and time installing a new oven. Weird how some things set us off for no reason.

      • Shifting Impressions

        Rose…..I totally get that!!! Maybe he needs to hear what you were thinking….but maybe not right in the heat of the moment.

    • TryingHard

      LOL Rose!!! Now I try to rip the oven door off 🙂

      I know what you mean and here is the funny thing since DDay. I never have to ask him to do anything around the house. I think it’s his way of making up for…

    • Fragments of Hope

      Four years later and up to last Saturday he was still lying to me. He did tell me himself about the emotional affair on D-day 1 he shared the texts and gave me access to his computer and phone but my D-day two was him keeping in contact as friends for a month after she pinged him on Viber, so he hid it all. He lied to my face while he was ‘deciding’ between us, he lied to my face at D-day 2 where the OW had messaged me to say they’d been in contact and he said, no they hadn’t. He hid porn this year, he lied to my face this year when I said, now you have to start being transparent is there anything you haven’t told me? He fudged when I found intense texts two weeks ago from a woman in his acting class. Last Saturday he made a transparency document so I found out he’d been having coffees and lunches recently with a vulnerable woman, he told me he’d kissed an ex-girlfriend. He says he so wants our relationship but he’s been afraid of conflict (his family of origin never fought, afraid of my reaction (I react too emotionally for him to take), he’s wanted to fix things himself, to save his own ego, to avoid feeling bad (fudging and defensiveness), he’s wanted to continue his self-medication, he thinks he knows best, So many reasons to defend, to hide, to lie to me and to himself. We are now in counselling and he most probably will do individual work. I knew all these four years (esp since D-day 2) that he’d never ever come to me himself with an uncomfortable truth, no matter how I pleaded with him. He was able to hide things even though I could access his devices. It’s not pretty. Now he knows for sure that I can’t live like this anymore, that I’ve tried to understand what brought him to be this way but no amount of understanding can help me live with the uncertainty. I value honesty so much I could not fathom how anyone could lie to your face but there’s plenty reasons for them to do so, more important to them than honesty. Only they can decide if they are willing to come clean, to live authentically. But we can decide (and tell them) what we will do if we find they are making us live in uncertainty and fear.

      • Rose

        Five years later and I’m still getting trickle truth too. Its funny the trivia he can remember from 40 years ago but “I don’t know” is still her last name…even though she was a student. Every single EA was found out by me without him coming forward at all. I’m still monitoring because he’s given me no reason to trust him. But the last time in no uncertain terms I told him “Do it again and I walk.” I just heard about Louis CK this morning. What is it about men that makes them think they can get away with lying?? Even in his statement he admitted to what he did but gave no apology.

    • TryingHard

      Fragments—. Sounds like he’s playing both sides against the middle. Reminds me if the guy who was having an affair,swore it was over, she biyght into it because she wanted to, they make mad passionate love only for her to find five minutes after the love making he’d gone and texted his girlfriend professing his love for her. Other blog sites call this wreckconciliation!!

      He talks about transparency pretty good but his actions say way else. You can spend a lifetime playing cyber detective and marriage police but in the end is he worth it. Aren’t YOU worth more?

      Reconciling is taking a leap of faith. Reconciling is based purely on faith because we know WE KNOW they are capable of throwing us over to go after something new, something “better”, sinethung we aren’t. Si four years waiting and working and turmoil and this is the best he’s got? Not much to work with in the character department. I️ took it for 3 months. I️ can’t imagine giving someone more than that. Now it’s a cat and mouse game for him. What can he get away with, lie about, gaslight you until you find out. He believes he’s smarter than you and it’s a power game now for him. It’s sick.

      Hoping you figure it out soon for your own sanity

      • Fragments of Hope

        Hi Trying Hard, yes wreckconsiliation! We went to first counselling (this time) during week and he is a complete mess. Massive work and other stresses now and a habit of feeding low self esteem by being a listening ear and reaching women that way. (Including me, when we first met. Gah.) Since a teenager. You are right, right now I can’t see how I can sign up to anymore of this. Because we have four kids I’m going to see what the counsellor advises, whether she feels it’s possible for him to be different. Even then I will have to make my own choice. But I’m continuing to focus on me and a more seperate life psychologically for now and getting more financial security put in place for me. Thanks for what you said, i don’t want to be played anymore. And you’re right he’s not giving me much to hope for.

        • TheFirstWife


          I understand how you feel. My H did the same exact thing. Came and told me about EA on Dday1 in his own. Told me everything except how deep the emotional connection was.

          And that started the roller coaster for the next 6 months. Yeesh it was bad.

          I went from a good marriage to fighting to save it in 24 hours. Two weeks after DDay1 he wants a divorce.

          He “ended” it or so he claimed. Six weeks later it “resumed” but now the A is underground and I have no idea. Two months later he starts saying he wants a D.

          When I found out about round 2 of A it was ugly. For our children I kept up appearances but I told him I was divorcing him. He no longer needed to make any choices or decisions on what HE wanted to do.

          And this was his second EA. So I’ve been down this road before. The 1st EA he did not have the intense feelings for her. But she had them for him.

          Soooo at the time I told him about my decision to D oh and by the way you now have to leave – he was begging for another chance. Willing to do anything to save our M.

          And he has worked hard to make amends every day.

          The threat of me leaving him was the bucket of cold water ???? he needed.

          He now knows I am no longer a doormat for him.

          And putting a post nup in place helped me tremendously.

          • Fragments of Hope

            Hi TheFirstWife, thanks for your story. Good to hear how drawing a line and moving for divorce made him see sense. He is on sofa at night and we’re in counselling w him to go for counselling too. We are still in house together (I don’t want to disrupt 4 kids) but it’s so awkward. He is trying to be nice but nice alone is not going to cut it. I’m not sure if there is anything he can do to make it right now. I will go to the counselling but I now have more than one foot out of the door.

            • TheFirstWife


              I think my expectation was IF he told me and admitted it and he knew it was wrong I didn’t expect he would continue the A.

              That is part of what blind sided me.

              And it is possible for your H to change and make things better and show he is worthy of your love and trust.

              And it is possible for you to forgive him and take the leap of faith to try to reconcile. My therapist saw me commit to being all in – ???? % no matter what happened. Even if it failed. Even if he cheated again. Even if he decided to walk away because recovery was too hard. But he has hung in there for 4 years and yes we had rough times. Many times I was ready to give up but we both hung in.

              Some of the confidence and strength comes from knowing I am financially prepared for the future with or without him.

              I also see he has made many changes.

              He has also created new boundaries in our relationship. He just received a birthday card from a female signed “love and her name”. Not the guy’s name we know her through. He mentioned it was odd.

              So my H does finally get it. finally. After a huge wake up call that almost cost him everything!!!!

              I’m telling you he had barely 1/4 of his foot still left in this house – that’s how far out the door he was. And we survived.

              Lotsa prayers too.

            • Fragments of Hope

              Oh thank you TFW. Your first paragraph! Yes! Exactly! My h was cold, wanted out, then wasn’t so sure, still texting and running to OW. Then saw what he would lose and came back. Then saw how hard it was and fell for some more emotional tlc with the Ow 9 mths later. Same pattern now. Now says he is as afraid as hell, doesn’t know why he keeps jeopardising for cosy chats. Counselling is our only key right now. We will see.

    • TryingHard

      Rose it’s not a male thing lying. I think women are the worst and most insidious liars. I know lots of women who will lie straight to your face without blinking an eye. But def CHEATERS are the worst bunch when it comes to lying, male and female

    • Hopeful1

      I am just seeing this post! Well, I was not getting any where with trying to trust after 3 years . My mind I believe has been playing tricks on me! I finally got the nerve to confront him , but in a letter ‘ it was 3 pages long and it had everything I wanted explained . Things that were bothering me . I am so relieved to hear how wrong I was about things we talked about. Your mind can play with you , from now on I will confront first before I let myself think to much. You can’t read each other‘s mind about things Even though I filled it better to write without him trying to interrupt if we were talking it made it quite easier to let him read. I’m glad I did what I did and I feel load has been lifted off my shoulders. I’m hoping for some peace now so we can move on .

    • Hopeful1

      After he had read the letter and we were talking some the things we have going over the look on his face as if in total shock that things like that had went on I do believe he was in a fog and truly may not even remember some of the things he had done. I just told him I needed some honest answers I can deal with the truth not a lie ! He actually said he did not care if she even died he didn’t want her to get hit by a Mack truck or anything LOL ! But he said he is truly over this and he wants us to move on as well he loves me and he married me ! He said it was his fantasy from the past from his ex-girlfriend and he definitely knew that she was not the one. It just had to run its course ! But he sure knows it was hell to pay after that with me ! Just want to move on and be happy ???? i’m so glad to be a part of this blog and I have been on here since 2012 and have seen all the heartbreak affairs his card people and I appreciate all the help then the other betrayed in the cheaters as well !

    • TryingHard

      Fragments—you’ve got 4 kids and I️ understand they are your first priority. You must plan for them even if you are in a disposable position with your h. I️ get that and u agree you can’t be rash. I️ agree with what TFW did. She’s squirreled away money until she safe enough to give her cheater the ultimatum. Very smart.

      And i believe yes people CAN change. They can repent and do the right thing. But for some it’s not until their clay feet are held to the fire!! Here’s the deal. You’re better and smarter than him. He’s feeding his basest emotions and needs by needing constant admiration and validation from those damsels in distress. He’s got to figure that out to change. Maybe he will maybe he won’t. But you must plan for yourself and your children with or without him. You cannot remain in the status quo

      • Fragments of Hope

        Absolutely Trying Hard. I think he knows his feet are to the fire. I have gone beyond sad and hoping for the best. I have gone beyond being a detective and feeling triggered when he’s out and about. The burden of proof is now on him while I make sure the family is okay and that I stay strong.

    • Shifting Impressions

      Four years ago today…..my world fell apart. I discovered my husband’s EA, It was a few weeks before our fortieth wedding anniversary.

      It’s been four long hard years, but I actually think I’m okay. I cried almost everyday for the first three years. By year four I must have run out of tears. I made a point of remembering what day it was….I actually had to make point of doing that. This is the first year, that I didn’t dread it quite so much and realized how far we have come since that day four years ago.

      I don’t have all of the truth….I know that for certain and yet somehow it doesn’t seem to matter so much anymore. Time does have a way of easing some of the pain. Today the d-day anniversary is a reminder of how very wrong things can go and to not take things for granted. A reminder to live in the present, asking myself, what is true today.

      We are still together and slowly moving forward. There are more good days than bad….but I’m not all the way there yet. I just needed to share with all of you that understand. Thanks for being there these last four years.

      • Doug

        SI, I know that today might be a tough one for you. My thoughts will be with you!

        • Shifting Impressions

          Thanks, Doug, it’s easier than I even thought it could be just a year ago. It pays to hang in there….I couldn’t have done it without everyone here.

          I don’t even have the need to remind him what day it is today, Lol!!! Now that’s progress in my books.

          Thanks again

    • TryingHard

      Hi SI—happy November day. Not DDay. It’s just a date. Not saying this to minimize your experience. saying this because this is what i tell myself every March 19 DDay1 and Aug 1 DDay 2!!

      DDay anniversary dates can be real buggers. But I’m so happy to hear you’re doing so much better. I’m not giving anything power over my. Well being anymore. His bad behavior is so much on him now. My memories are mine and his bad behavior is no longer taking them away from me.

      Hugs and a toast to you and your h for all the positive progress ????

      • Shifting Impressions

        Thanks TH
        It was a really good day….go figure. I didn’t dread it the same way I did even last year. You are right…it is just date. But it’s also good to appreciate, that we actually made it through the last four years. thanks for the hugs and the toast.

    • Rose

      I need some good advice. I don’t trust my H after 3 EAs and probably never will. One of my boundaries was NO friendships with women, period. But there is a Facebook one now. This is a single woman he used to work with. They are messaging about nothing in particular but I find it odd that he shares music videos and pics of artwork with her…just cute little things…and ANGRY AS HELL that he thinks this is okay. THIS IS NOT OKAY. Now my question…how do I confront him without him knowing I am hacking in and reading his messages every day?? This has to stop and now. But he’s a screamer and boy do I not need it today. Help.

      • Shifting Impressions

        Trying Hard’s advice is right on the money in my books. As for the screaming….not sure why one would put up with that either.

        you are right….this has to stop, and that includes the screaming. You deserve honesty and respect.

    • TryingHard

      HI Rose—ok well as you can probably tell by my comments I’m pretty no nonsense. And this Rose is nonsense. But here goes.

      Print off the messages. Sit him down and show him the print offs. Tell him to knock it off or get out. This is NOT ok. It’s a slippery slope. You know and he knows it. He’s going to yell. Put on your big girl pants and get ready. Why does he yell? Because he’s acting like a petulant 3rd grader who just got caught misbehaving and he doesn’t like the consequences. So what?!?

      Why don’t you want him to know you’re checking? Does he honestly think you trust him??? That’s hilarious and why on earth would he think anyone would trust him? If you’ve let him think you trust him you need to set him straight. You do not trust him and further you’d be a fool to ever trust him. If you want him to be honest with you, you must be honest with him. This isn’t a game it’s life after infidelity. It’s called mutual respect. It’s called trying to trust and needing to verify.

      That’s my two cents

    • TheFirstWife

      Hi Rose

      So sorry you are facing this again.

      He is in the slippery slope. We all know it.

      You should talk to him. Trying Hard is correct in saying the yelling is him acting like a child.

      When he starts yelling you need to stop the behavior. Here are a few tips.

      You: I see you have been messaging X recently and I was very clear about this behavior.

      Him: Yelling about lack of privacy

      You: LEAVE THE ROOM! Tell him as you exit when he calms down you will talk to him but not until then.

      Him: his choices are to yell to no one OR sit down and act like an adult and discuss.

      He either listens or he doesn’t. If he doesn’t then you have to face the fact he will never admit he is starting a new EA and then you have to face that issue.

    • Rose

      Yep, well here I am up again at 3 a.m. for hours. My mind just cannot process why he would do this to me again. I clearly set boundaries. Does he think that because she’s “just a friend” and 500 miles away and he just talks to her on FB that its okay? Seriously what is wrong with these jerks we married? When did it become ok to send all your female friends ecards on FB for their birthdays but not your wife? And do they get off on the thrill of the secret? Okay so I’ve set this boundary twice. What’s the consequence for him now? Divorce is not an option and it’s too complicated to get into tonight. Do it again and move your ass into the guest room? Obviously he’s just laughing behind my back because he has had NO consequences. Oh and I have stood up to him before with the screaming. Anitidepressants did him some good but not before he caused irreparable damage to me and the kids. Our daughter won’t let him babysit for fear the 2-year-old will get screamed at. The last time he screamed at me was last Christmas because I wouldn’t have sex with him a second time while the family was upstairs waiting for dinner. That night he shined a flashlight in my face after I was asleep and called me mentally ill. I stood up and to his face said “Go ahead, I’m not afraid of you,” grabbed the car keys, drove off and slept in the car.

    • TheFirstWife

      Rose. I am so so sorry and sad to read this.


      This is abuse. Plain & simple.

      I understand not being able to D b/c of complications. But from today – starting now – you need to start documenting his abuse. Videos or texts or emails or using VAR or a hidden camera – whatever you need to do.

      It needs to be documented so you can get him out.

      In the interim stop pretending to be the good wife. Read up on the 180 and implement it.

      No meals waiting for him. No laundry being done for him. No kindness – just detach AND start leading your own life. If you have to live with him he sleeps somewhere else.

      STOP BEING HIS WIFE. You don’t need to discuss it just do it!!!!

      He has no respect for you or the M. Therefore you should act accordingly.

      It’s called in house separation. Google it.

      You can live as friends or not – your choice – but if I were you I would not be his wife in the traditional sense as he doesn’t show respect or honesty or anything that resembles a M.

      He only cares about himself. And from a cheater standpoint he probably thinks if there is no sex he is not cheating.

      My suggestion is to remove yourself from his abuse and manipulation and lies as much as possible.

      During my H’s A I started seeing my friends and not including him. That got his attention. I was executing my exit strategy slowly.

      Start getting any amount of $ in your own name. Secret account. Whatever you can.

      Please keep posting b/c you will get tons of support (and hugs and love) here.

      He makes me so mad I want to confront him!!!!!! Lol

    • Rose

      Thank you all. Of course its doubly hard around the holidays. Add to that being broke (he’s been off work since January, on SS now) and we have many sleepless nights. Oh but he had no trouble having an EA when he was working part time and I was working two jobs and going to school. He had so much time on his hands. I’m stashing a little away every month. This morning he was pissed when the puppy got a kiss good morning but he didn’t. Well of course… She always loves me regardless.

    • TryingHard

      Rose—exactly what TFW said. I understand the difficulties if divorce. So move to another bedroom and get a good lick for the door. Detach and seperate enotionally. Makes no difference if he believes it’s infidelity, which by the way it is, he’s abusing you and threatening you and totally disrespecting you. Get you finances in order. Open an account away from him. Leave him on his own to chat away with whomever. Yes 180. Be with your family and friends. Maybe after a while you can actually figure out a legal divorce.

      As we’ve said a million times you can’t control what others do. You only control yourself. So don’t play a role in his little drama. You can seperate and still share a home. Not easy but it can be done

    • Rose

      So here’s an update on what has happened so far. On Thanksgiving, he did a Facebook post about how thankful he was to family and friends, just benign. His “friend” liked the post. Then he thanked her for being such a bright light in his darkness. She didn’t respond and there are no messages between them for two weeks. I was livid but in response to that, I posted a pic of puppies and kittens to “brighten your day.” Lol. Then yesterday in the car, we were talking about how our kids only respond to FB messages and not texts or phone calls. He claimed not to use it. I ripped into him and called him a liar and said I was aware that he installed Messenger to talk with SuzyQ and that I was right behind him when he did it. As expected he screamed at me to shut up and knock it off and that LOTS of people message him. Just after he said he didn’t use it. Because I don’t respond to screaming anymore, I laughed and didn’t say another word all day though he was SO lovey dovey. Oh yeah last night he actually posted a pic of me and our grandson. I told him it had been 6 years since he posted a picture of me. He sheepishly said “Well I don’t post many pictures.” Unless you count all the pretty things he privately shares with his “friend.”
      My plan at this point is to play the game and let him him play his. When the lawsuit I have pending settles, I will have the funds to give him his final ultimatum. In the meantime, yoga and deep breathing.

    • Rose

      Does anyone have resources for understanding why these people are serial cheaters? More specifically, why would they continue to start up secret friendships (this one number 4 that I know of) when they KNOW how wrong it is? After they have crossed the line and suspected my boundaries so many times? I think now that there is something wrong with ME since I must allow it. But what is the character flaw with these cheaters?

      • Angela

        Their character flaw is a deep insecurity and low self-esteem.

        It works like this: they think very little of themselves but that’s their deepest secret. They never tell this because it feels too vulnerable to actually admit that. They often have or give others an inflated impression of themselves. They feel that if someone loves them it will give them the self-esteem they crave. Once the person loves them, and their self-esteem is no better, they just figure the other person must not be all that after all, if they loved him, they can’t be as great as he thought. Next person that pays him some attention comes along and he starts getting the ego boost in the beginning, but then the self-esteem is not improved and the cycle has begun again. They go round in circles trying to find the one who loves them for who they truly are, but remain too insecure to reveal who they truly are. They are literally looking for someone who only gives gives gives because their neediness only allows them to take take take.

      • Alana

        IT’S called narcissism. It’s a self-centered, only about them attitude that is Ingrained in their personality. They really only care about their own needs, rarely the needs of their partner. Whether the abuse is overt or covert it is still abuse. My spouse is the “nicest” guy you would ever want to meet, charming, gracious, to the rest of the world. Sure I see bits of this when he is in a love bomb stage, to keep me in this marriage. But my gut tells me that I am not the one he desires, what I see is all an act. Words and actions don’t match. Five years of sweeping it all under the rug, just look to be positive and our future. Well I’m done with the lies and continued cheating. After another trigger just before Valentine’s day (not a fan anymore) when shared why I was in a foul mood, he exaggeratedly tells me that there is no one else loves only me, blah, blah, blah. So i decided that “his way” of handling the aftermath of his affair has not helped me heal, sure we get along, do things together, sex, trips but it is not what I need to truly begin to heal. Now it’s time to try it my way. I told him that if he really means everything he says to me then he will read this book (Out of the doghouse” by Robert Weiss) so we can really work on improving our marriage and help me get rid of triggers that really mess me up. I am done with not addressing our issues, done with his lip service, most likely done with him as I really don’t think he will follow through because he is still in his affair, and may have been for so long that he can’t stop this. I guess I should thank him in a way, because if he had walked away in the beginning I would of been devastated. Time has allowed me to become stronger emotionally, go back to work and get my head back on straight after 25 years of emotional covert abuse. The ball is in his court now so either read that book and starting being honest with me, or i will divorce him. As much as that is not what i would like, I am in a better place to do this and I WILL LEAVE THIS TIME. My gut is telling me it’s time for action one way or the other, unfortunately i think i know which direction I’m headed. I got a fortune cookie a few weeks back, that really changed my perspective, it read:

        By listening one will learn truths.
        By hearing one will only learn half truths.

        It kinda made me open my ears and my eyes so I can listen to the messages he has been telling me all along.

        They say narcissist never really change unless they choose to, when we stayed together after b-day I should of known better that nothing was going to change but I wanted to believe him but now I know better. I am married to the man behind the mask, not the one the rest of the world sees. Sad, so very sad, but it’s time for me to be ready for all the new things this next chapter of my life will bring to me. I am uncertain if I will ever trust another man again but that’s ok because the farthest thing from my mind is another relationship.

        • TryingHard

          Alana–My bet is on YOU!!! You have got this!! Please let us know how it all goes.

        • Rose

          Alana, did I read that right that he is still having an affair and you are still having sex with him? I have gone “gray rock” for the last 3 weeks and sex has been off the table completely (and the bed and wherever) until I get the truth and remorse and apologies. I wrote him a nastygram after he told me he “deleted all his Facebook messages and posts so you can monitor me” (because for some reason he doesn’t see deleting posts as having something to HIDE). He hasn’t responded or said a word about it, so gray rock it is. And I can tell it’s getting to him. I’ve been sleeping in the same bed but hugging my “side” and he keeps coming over, rubbing my back, putting his arm around me…and I freeze up. He hasn’t had a kiss goodbye or a hug or an “I love you” in 3 weeks, and I can tell it’s stressing him out. But talk about narcissist. He has NEVER asked me how my day was, how school is going, how I’m feeling…never. It’s always about him. Yesterday he came home after moving a 500-lb couch at his mother’s house. He asked our son to do this with him yesterday but son had a final and could not go. So he did it instead because “she didn’t like it where it was.” (That’s another whole story, his bitch mother.) Then he came home and moaned in pain for hours (he’s had 4 back surgeries) and I didn’t say a word. Just before bed when he was taking yet more pain pills, I asked (I already knew) if he moved the couch. He said he did. I said “Well that was stupid, wasn’t it?” But I just don’t care. I don’t care how much pain he’s in anymore. He has caused me enough for a lifetime.

        • TheFirstWife

          Alana. So sorry for you.

          But glad you see the “real him????” and his narcissism.

          Get your plan together in case you do leave him.

          And don’t be afraid to use it. In the end if nothing changes you know you did everything you could. ????%.

          Best of luck – glad you are standing your ground. My H is not narcissistic BUT now that I am demanding and expecting things from him – it has caused problems for him b/c I refuse to back down.

          Finally after 30 years of M I will get certain things I need and want – like he must communicate. And he does. But when he falls short I let him know.

          I think you are entitled to ask for things and if he cannot provide – your call on next steps.

    • Rose

      Sorry one more question…what do you all think about me “friending” her? I think she would…she’s into Buddha and the Dalai Lama and all that new age crap. He’d have a fit.

      • Angela

        I would send her a friend request. I wouldn’t have a problem at all sending her a friend request. Like others who commented before me I have a problem with what very much sounds like mental / verbal abuse, and possible physical abuse, considering that he actually put a flashlight in your eyes and called you mentally ill. If my husband had ever acted like that for even one second all bets would be off and I would be collecting weapons to use on him but then I am a bit more of a physical woman than most I believe. Your spouse seems to have some serious issues and they sound, based on this post, like it is much deeper than some serial cheating. I would most definitely be thinking about getting a separate life ASAP. Best to you. Stay around and keep us updated.

        • Angela

          PS-Do NOT wait until you have lawsuit money. If he’s even a little bit like he sounds, he’s going to be standing there with his hand out when/if it comes and possibly planning to disappear with it himself. If you’re still married to him, he will be legally entitled to it. Don’t plan for money to change anything. 99.9% of the time I see situations get worse when large amounts of money enter the picture and if he hasn’t been loyal up to this point, he won’t be when you have money, either. Just my experience with human beings in general.

    • TheFirstWife

      They are serial cheaters b/c they believe no sex = no cheating.

      How wrong they are!!!

      Emotional cheating is cheating. Plain & simple.

      When you stop acting like his wife and start the 180 AND he knows you have one foot ((or both feet)) out the door he may change his tune. But it could be too little too late.

      Why does he do it? Because it gives him a thrill and an ego boost and it is like an addiction. Yes an addiction that he cannot stop because he has convinced himself that it is not wrong.

      Not wrong to lie
      Not wrong to disrespect his wife
      Not wrong to put others first
      Not wrong to expend emotional energy to other women
      Not wrong to flirt with other women

      He is acting like a spoiled child trying to get his own way instead of viewing you as his wife – he views you as his mother.

      It is maddening and ridiculous !!!!

      What are you going to do? I would make him sign a post nup NOW and if you get your settlement he is not entitled to any of it in case of D due to his cheating and Affairs. Make it a condition if he wants to remain living with you right now.

    • Angela

      The first time I ever sensed any empathy or genuine honesty from him is as dramatic a memory to me as D-day itself because it was such a stunning change.

      During an argument one day, I stopped and told my H that I could not do this anymore. I told him we are the only couple in history suffering from an affair that didn’t happen. The marriage had become a cruel joke for me and I needed to move on. I was ready to divorce and quit wasting both our lives.

      He’s always denied cheating, but he’d caused the same damage with his activities with his online “friend” so he might as well have cheated and actually got something for his trouble if he was going to take it to such a level. Then we continued to fight through the day.

      When we calmed down somewhat I began telling him (again) if he couldn’t see this situation through my eyes, (and if he truly had done nothing wrong he shouldn’t have such a fear of seeing it from my perspective) BUT if he couldn’t, then this is …not.going.to.work.

      Cheater or Not, the damage is done, and it’s a different marriage for me now. I suffer from insecurities and fears that were never there before, and I stay in pain longing for what I lost. The love of my lifetime.

      Then I said to him (as accurately as memory allows):

      “You’re going to have to hear me out as if YOU had nothing to do with this. Pretend I’m talking about something SOMEONE ELSE did to me. Get outside of yourself. Forget YOUR version of this story for 5 minutes and listen to mine. It can’t hurt to just hear it. Restrain yourself from responding and listen to what HAPPENED TO ME. This is something that happened to ME, not you. Pretend you didn’t do it. The man I married didn’t do this to me. Some other asshole did it, and if you aren’t going to stand up to that asshole for me, then you really aren’t the man I married.”

      The conversation meandered around for a minute or so, but entirely inadvertently, I began describing a situation that happened during the “affair”.

      When I was done he responded, “That was insensitive.”

      My jaw nearly dropped. Something I said had finally reached him and I knew that he was finally seeing the “asshole” for himself. I sensed that the door had just cracked open to the ‘Empathy Closet.’ To me, the WS must be keeping their empathy in a closet because it’s nowhere to be seen.

      I would like to say that that moment opened up a flood of empathy, regret, remorse, sorrow, shock, and horror at his bad behavior but it didn’t. Like in the beginning when you get “trickle truth”, I now get “trickle empathy”. Not nearly enough, not nearly often enough (without having to humiliate myself and ask for it).

      In my mind, this is something that should be there automatically. If the love is there, where is the concern and care that is a part of loving someone? It’s just another form of the same torture as getting trickle truth. It’s also one I don’t have the patience for.

      There was a literal FLOOD of time, attention, pre-occupation, concern, interest, and obsession for his gaming “friend”. You’d think there would be at least an equal, if not greater amount for a wife, but it just isn’t there. No one had to tell him to go find the OW every morning, but he has to be harangued, harassed, and reminded about his wife.

      I want to tell him to save it up until he has enough for a satisfying meal instead of just a few crumbs of empathy here and there. He didn’t go an hour without seeking out the OW, or at least placing himself right where he’d see her the minute she logged online, but weeks go by without him acknowledging the pain and loss that I feel every minute of the day. His interest and motivation to heal the wound he created pales in comparison to the interest and motivation used to create it. I know he didn’t deliberately hurt me, but now that he knows he did, and knows how he did, I need to see the same zeal and obsession to heal it. Nothing less is going to restore my security and trust in this marriage. I know that game (or the OW) was on his mind night and day, every waking moment, so how is this NOT on his mind with an even greater sense of urgency? Just, how is it NOT, if I truly am and always was the most important thing in his life? As a wife, do I not qualify for an even bigger amount of attention, concern, care, comfort, love, empathy, interest and obsession as a gaming “friend”? He spent literally every waking moment doing this to me. Why is every waking moment not now dedicated to repairing it?

      He wasn’t working when this happened so he spent literally every waking moment with his gaming “friend”. Or with his game, if you ask him. Regardless, it did the damage. Now we’re both working again, so he doesn’t have every waking moment for me, so you’d think he’d make the most of the ones he does have, if he had a clue just how much needs to be done. How much exactly? Well, for me, it’s just going to have to be more than he had for something (or someone) else. Nothing less will do. I deserve the ultimate. Why would I accept less than I’ve seen him give to something else? Why should I? I like the comment Doug highlighted in one of the posts on here. The BS commenting said he wanted to be loved on his terms, that is, the terms under which the marriage had been entered in the first place. I get that, and nothing less will do.

      The WS must offer up willingly, without reserve, and without guarantees, at a minimum: the same amount of intensity, time, attention, and focus on the BS as he did on the AP, or whatever they pursued. It has to be saturated with empathy, sympathy, apologies, remorse and reassurance. The BS should not be expected to, or feel obligated to respond in kind until they are ready. The CS should have to “earn” another chance. Once that amount is taken in, and only then, can the love begin to “build up” again for the BS. Otherwise, you’re dealing with a bottomless pit. Anything less than that is like trying to fill the ocean by throwing handfuls of sand in it. You’re wasting your time, and your BS’s life.

      To wrap this up, might I point out that my situation is one where an actual affair probably didn’t even happen, but the neglect was so extensive and the interest of his so obsessive, I was made to feel as if I stood in the way of an even greater love and even questioned if I was doing the honorable, respectful thing by staying and demanding he be with me. I fear I only stroked his ego by doing such and I’m not prepared to give back to him or have expectations placed upon me until the gaping hole of pain has been filled and some security has built up for me. He should have all the security in the world to be had after seeing me in such a state over him.

      And the wound keeps getting bigger every moment it’s not being done and it doubles every time the BS spouse has to beg the WS to express some empathy and sorrow for what they’ve done to you. You begin to finally wonder what the hell you’re still doing here and lose even more self-respect and esteem.

      If this kind of devastation can be wrought without an admitted, confirmed affair, then I can’t even imagine what that feels like to know it for sure. WS’s sure have your work cut out for you but you never seem to have the same enthusiasm for setting about getting it done as you had for your extramarital activities. It’s disgusting.

      My H and I are struggling now. Even when I know he’s trying, I now lack the ability to respond much or even have words. I think he’d have to talk and apologize for hours just to get me breathing again, let alone responding, but I deeply fear that if I fail to respond appropriately, he’ll use it as an excuse to not try. I don’t feel like I get to decide what I do, but the fears he gave me dictate what I do every moment. Last night, for the first time, he was speaking to me and apologizing but I just couldn’t interact anymore. I hit a wall with it and just laid there kind of catatonic. Like a dead battery. I hope you folks out there who are WS’s don’t push it this far with your spouse.

      • TheFirstWife

        Angela I had the same exact situation. Long story but my H had a 4 year EA with a girl. Now to be fair she was madly in love with him (and she pretended to be my friend) but he was not in love with her.

        However the emotional connection and ego boost he got let him continue this inappropriate “friendship” way too long and crossing the boundary.

        He denied it and gaslit and stonewalled me. Before the texts and emails and phones etc.

        I think I can sum up your pain as this:

        You wish your H showed you the attention he did with the OW

        You would like to see the effort he gave to the OW

        The level of deep communication he showed the OW is one you haven’t seen given to you in years

        The ability to be present for a stranger is crushing -why not you?

        And the fact he denies it continually

        Find a good therapist it will do you some good.

      • Shifting Impressions

        Why not call a spade a spade….an “actual affair” did happen. Emotional affairs are actual affairs. A good read is the book NOT JUST FRIENDS by Shirley Glass.

        No sense minimizing it or denying it happened.

        I agree with TFW. Get some help for you….and if he is willing for both of you. In the end, we can’t make our WS do anything. That is out of our control. Take care of you. Find support for you.

        Another book that I found really helpful is the book IT TAKES ONE TO TANGO by Winifred Reilly. It really helped me to see that my power literally lies in my own response. When I backed off the climate in our house changed. He felt safer to open up.

        It is a long hard journey….that’s for sure. Take care of you.

    • TheFirstWife

      Angela. Sorry I could not finish but I had to go to work.

      But I want to make a point that for 2 years I confronted my H about his first EA (4yrs long). I did not let it go.

      But since there were no texts or stuff back then I had no concrete proof and I had to walk away. He got what he wanted but it did end. I made sure if that.

      I later learned from his last A that HE KNEW IT WAS WRONG b/c he admitted to the OW.

      Maddening. She got the truth and I got crap.

      Thankfully my therapist helped me through it.

      I learned he can deny whatever he wants. I KNOW what he did and that’s all that matters.

      He NOW admits the first EA was wrong on his part. 20 years later.


    • Angela

      SI, and TFW, I get what you’re saying. I have considered that I could be living in denial, and I do not allow myself this privilege. I could not prove an affair by texts I read or any other communication between them. While their texts seemed highly flirtatious and way too frequent, there were no declarations of feelings or sexting. There was an inappropriate photo she sent him on one occasion. I know he did not ask for it. When he talked about the moment she showed him this photo, he said to me “I wondered why she was showing me such a picture and I was very uncomfortable when she did.” At the time, I feel he was being honest, and we all know as BS’s when we feel honesty is present or not, but I reserve judgment on it regardless. He has always denied any inappropriate feelings for her and he knows that to continue withholding such information is the death knell for our marriage. It took him well over 2 years to see exactly why I even thought he was cheating, but up to that point, he just got angry at such an accusation. I didn’t allow him to keep on being angry as a defense to protect his secret, though. I told him that I would continue living as if he had cheated on me regardless, so he could either clear the decks and start from a place of honesty and restore our marriage or he could live knowing I didn’t believe his fidelity was 100%. In other words, “pick your poison”. I believe I said ” You can have less of a marriage and your secret is safe or you can reveal it and get your marriage back 100%.” He replied that he would have to live with that because he could not admit to something he wasn’t guilty of. When you’ve reached this point with someone, the only thing you can do is let them decide their own fate with you. We’ve discussed this ad nauseam and he’s admitted all the lies I know about. He has EVERYTHING to gain by coming clean and he knows it. My belief in his fidelity is now going to end up resting on how he takes responsibility for healing the rift he created.

      So far he has not nearly done what needs doing. Some of that is on me as a BS, because we are often so hurt, almost nothing is enough. Some of that is on him, because of a lack of effort.

      I simply struggle getting through day to day right now because it IS a different marriage for me and one of much less quality and security. It will either be me not able to take it anymore and leaving or him taking the healing upon his own shoulders. Those are the only two possibilities now. He knows that, and if he wants that stain on his soul, well that’s on him.

      Obviously, there’s a bit more to the story than what all is here, but I know it will only come off as me being in denial. I have to look at ALL the information, not just the information that convicts him. At worst, he is guilty of a romantic affair. At best, he is guilty of an object affair. Either way we have healing to do and how that plays out will either restore a love that couldn’t be destroyed or it will prove to be a love that didn’t really exist in the first place, in my mind.

      When I can’t verify an affair of the heart, I can’t convict him of it, and believe me, I’ve tried to prove it happened. Proof or not, I still reserve judgment because the risk is too high, and the pain factor too much.

      • Angela

        I’m responding to myself here b/c the last statement doesn’t seem as clear as I’d like. I mean that I reserve the right with him to believe he cheated, because to believe he didn’t cheat just sets me up to be sucker-punched again. The risk of that again is too painful. Whether or not I ever take an easy breath from this point on depends on him.

        Also, whether he cheated or not, I HAD to prepare myself to deal with that if he had and determine if I still wanted him if so. I am not hell-bent on believing he did not cheat in order to spare my own heart. But, at the same time I am also not hell-bent on believing he did.

        At first glance it absolutely appears something was going on between him and this woman. At Second Glance, and third glance, and fourth glance, and 5th glance, and 6th glance, etc, it still appeared something was going on. When it comes to something as important as your marriage you should take as many looks as necessary to see what you need to see to tell you what you need to know one way or the other. I ended up at a stalemate. I can’t say he did and I can’t say he didn’t. Do you end a marriage over that?

        Once I got past the pain of some lies he told me, and once I was willing to see his side of the story and not just judge by the information I had, he was able to give me a plausible explanation for the behavior that was taking place, atrocious as it was.
        To decide or not to believe him, I had to factor in what I know of his personality, our history together, and where we were in our marriage at the point this was taking place.

        However while this was happening, I watched my husband literally go find the company of someone else before he even got out of bed in the morning, watch him stay deeply engaged in it for as much as 18-20 hours a day for months on end, refusing to participate in our marriage, and criticizing me harshly to say the least. All this and I’m watching him do this online with a woman who is prettier than me, has bigger boobs, and a better butt, and is 20 years younger. He created such a situation of discomfort, jealousy, and insecurity coupled with a lack of attention, outright neglect and hatefulness plus the covering up of phone calls and such that I had no choice at the time but to assume he was involved in a relationship. Add to this – the fact that she was an incredibly aggressive female with him and as far as I could see, he maintained very few, if any boundaries with her, and even if he did try to maintain a boundary, she easily convinced him to break that boundary – such as eventually getting his phone number out of him.

        I watched all of this happen like a slow-motion train wreck. When I found out she had showed him the picture that she gave him I snapped, and I took the game away from him and told him, “there will be no more of this game.” He did not touch it again.

        Getting him to admit lies, getting him to an understanding of the way he changed the dynamics of our marriage, getting to an understanding of the fears and insecurities he brought into our marriage, and getting him to see the situation he put me in has been the Battle Royale.

        Now that understanding has been achieved, and the door to the empathy closet opened, I want to know where my 18-20 hour a day healing sessions are, like his 20 hour a day gaming sessions because he literally destroyed it that bad with his lack of attention/affection/presence. I can’t even call it a lack of. It was outright neglect. I was convinced if I left the house, it would be days before he noticed. I’m still convinced that was true. Now we have new insecurity and fear that weren’t there before. Affair or not.

        He admits he lost sight of the vision of our marriage, he forgot he had a marriage he had an obligation to participate in, and he admits that he never once thought it could all be affecting me the way it was, and he regrets deeply the pain he caused me and can’t believe he got so caught up in such lunacy that he absolutely forgot to participate in his real life.

        He was ignoring the obvious. You can’t spend your entire days with a woman 20 years younger than your wife for months on end and not start creating questions. Then when the question is asked and you respond by telling a panicked lie, you’ve just opened a can of worms in your marriage. He sees that now and I know who he is at heart. But the pain of suffering through that keeps me from ever saying he did NOT cheat even though I am willing to believe him. It’s just that I’m more willing when he is more concerned about my healing than he is showing up to this point.

        There are many ways to wreak devastation in a marriage. Combine neglect, dishonesty and criticism, and you have severe doubt at best. Put your spouse in competition for your attention every waking moment against ANY thing, and you create jealousy. Make it a 26 yr old who gives you photos of her bare ass and your wife will call you a cheater every time, but getting him to understand that has been a nightmare, which just kept following the cheater’s script, which keeps me from ever saying “Oh, OK. I can see now that you weren’t cheating. Sorry.”

        All the while HE keeps saying, “I just don’t see how people can think they’re having a relationship through a device. It makes no sense to me.”

    • TheFirstWife

      Angela. I’m sorry for you.

      I want to come over there and punch your H. He had an EMOTIONAL AFFAIR.

      IT IS CHEATING!!!!

      Google emotional affair. In his mind no sex = no affair. That is what my H believed.

      It is wrong and is an A for a few reasons:

      1. You were not included in the chats. Innocent or not you were not aware of the depth or extent of the interaction.

      2. He received an inappropriate photo. Did he share it with you? Tell you he thought it was inappropriate? No he did not. It’s called lying by omission.

      3. He was addicted to the interaction. He sought it out. To the exclusion of you and your interaction with him. That is emotionally cheating.

      He can bury his head in the sand. My H did the same thing. And I gave up trying to get him to acknowledge or understand what he did wrong.

      My thanks was that he cheated again!! Second time was much worse and led him to believe he wanted a D.

      Like I said he did admit it to the last OW. So I know he knows. But how sad ???? he would never ever admit it to me. But I always knew the first EA occurred.

      Therapy helped saved my sanity with all of this. I completely understand your position.

      • Angela

        Yes, yes, he checked out on me emotionally for sure. He knows that and admits it. He took his energy, thoughts enthusiasm and interest outside this marriage. He easily admits it.

        What he’s never copped to is anything to do with this OW. I CAN believe that but, I CAN doesn’t exactly mean that I DO. Only when my sense of us as a couple has returned can I be sure. That will require some healing.

        I know the tendency would be denial, but I don’t allow myself denial and my job makes me an intimidating interrogator. If he’d done it, I believe I’d have my confession a long time ago, but simply because of his actions, much doubt was created.

        • Angela

          Rather, much doubt was created about how he feels for me. Not so much anymore what he felt for another person.

          I know this without having to go through a marriage crisis – liars cannot maintain a consistent story forever and BS’s are hyper-alert to and detect the faintest shift in any version they’re hearing. If there are elements to the story that have NEVER changed in the least, you can most likely count on that to be truth.

          Doubt of their love for you is the biggest enemy and getting them to show it again to your satisfaction seems to be the biggest challenge.

    • TheFirstWife

      Angela FWIW if I had to do it over again – yes I would have left my H after the first 4 year EA.

      He loved the attention and ego boost. He didn’t love her and was not attracted to her but yet he disrespected me. And lied.

      Had I known my mistake then was allowing him to deny it and rug sweep the entire thing (because they was no EAJ blog then) I would have done things differently.

      And while I never thought he would cheat (again no support from an experienced group of people like those at EAJ) I should have expected it.

      So yes I would have left the first time. No kids then (EA ended about one month before first child born) but it would have set the tone that this is not acceptable.

      Because when I was walking out the door after the last A he knew I meant business and he had almost no hope of R. That is how bad it was and at the end it was ME who was ending the M (sadly).

      • Angela

        I think maybe the difference here is that he acknowledges what he did and knows it for what it is and that is : emotional infidelity. Cheating. An affair that maybe didn’t involve another person but betrayed me and damaged me the same, regardless.

        My endless frustration is in getting him to pick up the reins and lead the healing. He doesn’t seem to realize that the lack of this is going to result in permanent doubt that I will not be able to live with.

        I have to ask, though, why and how you are still with a man after even one acknowledged affair/ relationship with another person? I could not bear the pain of thinking he was involved with someone else.

        At the first sign of this ever happening again I am ready to bolt. No joke I am ready.

        I have money in the bank. I established a place to go. I am independently employed, and I am ready at his first wrong move because if he does any such thing again he knows what it’s going to do to me and thus will be a very deliberate act. With that said, I simply don’t understand how/why you are dealing with a series of affairs / relationships.

        • TheFirstWife

          Angela – damn good question. Seriously!

          The first A I had no proof like a text or anything but I knew it crossed a line. When I finally exploded in a rage and did not talk to him for 3 days he ended and it was over. Never mentioned by me again.

          We moved on and had a good marriage. I was never suspicious or jealous. I never had a reason to be like that.

          Then his mid life crisis A started. It was brutal. And our kids were teens.

          I had no $ to my name (stupid me) and no plan. I hung on for 90 days AND got a small nest egg and was ready for a split. But things improved and it was coming up to our 25th wedding anniversary and I thought the worst was over.

          I had no idea they resumed the A. I heard ILYBNILWY and he wanted a D.

          By the end of the year I had enough being a yo-yo – D then no D. I heard it one too many times and finally at DDay2 I told him I was divorcing him.

          By then I had six figures in the bank AND a plan. He was moving out. I was staying in our house until our kids finished school.

          And he had to leave now.

          Well he refused. I didn’t care and found him a place to go.

          He saw a side of me he never expected.

          I was prepared for a D (thanks to him). But he was not because he was in la-la land.

          Why are we together? Not sure b/c I always believed cheating was a deal breaker. And he was the guy no one EVER thought would be a cheater.

          Because when he realized his latest EA was getting serious he came home and told me there was someone else. He didn’t want to be a cheater. The following week he told me he wanted a D. Blindsided doesn’t begin to describe it.

          He was always good to me. Loved me. My friends were envious. I was happy.

          But he was not. Turning 50 was a big issue for him.

          But we have a different M now. He has tried to make amends every day for his mistakes and poor choices.

          And I have a plan B and post nup and confidence and strength in me. During his A I was proud of myself. I hung in. I didn’t go crazy or off the deep end (b/c I had to have a job and be a parent) and made good solid decisions. I was proud of me.

          I kept my wits.

          I no longer need him to be happy. I have made a ton of changes.

          I have my own social life. Without him. I joined a book club. I have some charity and volunteer groups I belong to for many years. I have good friends. I have become more independent.

          I started a business I always wanted to do. I am having great success this year (not big $ but great opportunities). On my own. Funded by me 100%.

          I stay with him as long as the M works.

          And while the first 25 years we were M we never ever used the D word, I know that as easily he was going to kick me to the curb for a younger model, I can decide I no longer want to be married to him just as easily.

          Not that I would do that BUT it is nice to know I have options. And if I did D him it would sure as hell be for a solid reason and not b/c a newer model was available.

          I love him. Always will. He was a good H before the A. And has been a better H since the A. But it doesn’t mean I will stay if there is a third A. And he knows it.

    • Tiffany

      Hi there. I’m so sorry to hear what all of you have suffered through. My husband of 14 years had an affair with my best friend who lived just down the street. He shut me out completely and I would beg for communication. I asked over and over what was going on and why was he shutting me out and he kept saying everything is FINE, it’s just work stress. I would cry for hours because he would be so cruel to me when he was sober but then be a complete mush with me when he was drunk. We would have cocktails and listen to music and he would tell me how hard he was working so we could have our dream retirement together. We were still sleeping in the same bed, having sex, socializing together. I was on an emotional rollercoaster while juggling 2 kids with complicated severe food and drug allergies and holding down the fort while he traveled for business and to spend time with his family. I spent every single day with the OW. We worked out together every single day and hung out with her and her husband each night. I thought we found the best friends we always dreamed of. Fast forward to my husband lashing out at me and telling me he has nothing for me…that’s he’s so angry with me that he can’t even stand it. I had no idea why…. While he was on his business trip I looked at his text messages to try to figure out why I hadn’t heard from him in days and why he was behaving erratically and I found text messages from morning until night between him and my best friend. I wanted to have her husband come over and read the messages but I was in such shock I hesitated thinking I was crazy. It’s my biggest regret. My husband said he wanted to separate but would stay with me if I didn’t tell anyone. Needless to say that didn’t fly with me. He swore in front of a therapist he would end all contact and then I found he changed her number to help desk so he could still call her secretly then he started calling her friend to check on her for another month once they couldn’t talk anymore because her husband found out. This woman would stand out in front of my house in a dress twirling and waiting for him to come out and talk to her. I decided we had to move. It took my husband another couple months to realize what he did and what he risked. I was in survival mode for my kids. My husband woke up and we moved out of state to be near my family at his request. Fast forward 3 years and he still wouldn’t give me any information other than what I had found myself. We did a weekend intensive with a therapist who got him to open up and admit part of what he did EA that turned physical but not sexual. He also admitted the affair lasted 9 months not the 2-3 weeks they originally said. Two days later when I told him I was upset and couldn’t move past the “physical” he said would it help if I told you what physical things we did? We touch, brushed our bodies against each other, held pinkies, even in front of you, met up daily and then added that she kissed him multiple times. He claims nothing else happened even though they were alone in my house and hers unbeknownst to me. I asked him to leave our house and he left but freaked out and said he would die without me. He spent one night away and said he considered suicide because it hurt so much and he was terrified to lose me. In fairness he did pickup and move across the country and change a lot of his problematic behaviors as well as starting individual therapy. We did our best to put some of the pieces back together with our therapist but now I’m back to not believing him. I don’t think he’s being honest. Our therapist thinks he’s lying as well. The therapist today told me I have enough information and even if he’s lying or there is more that I have to choose between getting the whole truth and divorcing (because he won’t open up any further) OR take the information I have and reconcile with him as it stands. I am at a loss. I am an honest loyal and loving person. I want to be married to the same. This is further complicated by the fact that I love him but I don’t trust or believe him. Staying with him without the truth goes against my values but I know if I divorce him I will be completely heartbroken. So I’m stuck between living out my values and truth or sacrificing that part of myself. He swears he will continue couples counseling and individual counseling to continue getting to the bottom of why he did what he did. I don’t know what to do…these past 4 years have been the worst of my life. He was a shitty husband for the first 14 years…he’s done a 180 since then and has been a pretty great husband except for the affair. He’s now planning vacations for the two of us and prioritizing me and our marriage. My therapist says I’m too idealistic and I need to get down off my pedestal of perfection and realize he is a flawed human. She says we have magic together that she rarely sees. I am torn….

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