getting over an affair
What does getting over an affair look and feel like?

I imagine that almost every betrayed spouse has heard the words “get over it” or “move on” since discovering their partner’s infidelity.  We do indeed talk a lot about “getting over an affair,” but it occurred to me that perhaps we have never really defined just exactly what that means.

It certainly means different things to each of us, but I think that there are basic fundamental characteristics that are inherent in getting over an affair.  So what are they?  What do they look and feel like?  How can we better define it so that you know what to work towards and know when you get there?

First of all, I don’t think it means that a betrayed will ever forget about the affair. I don’t think it would mean that a person would stop being disappointed that the affair is now part of their marital history.   I don’t think it means that every once in while you feel the sadness that something special has been taken away from you.  I believe all of those feelings will always be with us.

However, maybe it means that a betrayed just doesn’t think about it as much as they once did, and when they do, the pain is only a dull ache rather than a deep blow to their heart and gut. Maybe they are able to go through their normal day and not be reminded every minute of the affair.  They surprisingly realize that it has been hours since the affair popped into their mind.

Getting over an affair may mean that trust has returned or that a person’s confidence is restored.  It can mean that a person has rediscovered the emotional, loving state of security and certainty that he/she once had.

For many, the work that needs to be done after an affair involves restoring their dignity and overall sense of well-being.  It’s getting to a place of reconnecting with the simple joy and life that flows through our veins, independent of anything – a simple appreciation of life.

I’ve come to learn – and firmly believe – that one will always feel some level of pain associated with the betrayal of an affair, but it is the time spent thinking about it and the impact a person allows this pain to have on the quality of their life that defines “getting over it.”

In other words, the pain will be there if the thought of the betrayal should surface, but the time spent on the pain and the impact we allow it to have on our life will be minimal.  An analogy I found online puts this into perspective…

“It’s like YOU are in the driver’s seat and the pain from the affair in the TRUNK of a car. Once in a while, the pain will sneak out of the trunk and try to grab the wheel. But when you are healed, you have the strength to easily throw the pain back in the trunk where it belongs.”

I had the pleasure of speaking with a person the other day who has been recovering from her husband’s affair for a couple of years now.  For quite some time she was stuck.  She went from one therapist to another and felt that most were opinionated and/or trying to “cure” her based on their own objectives.

She eventually found a therapist that practices “Focusing.”  She claims that this therapist while using the focusing techniques helped to unravel the inner feelings that were undermining her.  The “Focusing” process doesn’t analyze the “story,” but instead focuses on releasing a person from the pain and hurt of the feelings they are left with.

It sounded interesting to me, so I decided to look a little bit more into Focusing and how it might help a person with getting over an affair.

Getting Over an Affair With Focusing

The psychotherapeutic process of “focusing” was developed by Eugene T. Gendlin, an American psychotherapist and philosopher.  Focusing involves “holding a kind of open, non-judging attention to an internal knowing which is directly experienced but is not yet in words. Focusing can, among other things, be used to become clear on what one feels or wants, to obtain new insights about one’s situation, and to stimulate change or healing of the situation.” Source:  Wikipedia.

Apparently, it is a safe and gentle technique in which a person can learn to observe, at a safe distance, with a therapist or on their own, the painful experiences which have marked their life. It allows a person to re-enter a terribly painful past scene, freeze-frame it, and while they examine it, to put boundaries around whatever needs to be contained in order for them not to become overwhelmed anew by the trauma.  From here a person can reconnect with whatever needs they were unable to feel or attend to at the time of the experience.  By tuning in to their feelings and needs again, they can regain a sense of personal agency, identity and dignity.

We all know that living through our partner’s affair is trauma.  And during trauma, every part of our being was taken over by the intensity of the experience. We spent all our energies on reacting to the situation – just trying to survive, and we couldn’t really process everything at the time.  Yet the fallout from this still remains hidden in our unconscious mind. These unresolved instances can, however, be affecting our responses and behaviors on a daily basis. After trauma, a person can withdraw from the experience but still have a feeling of its presence in the form of background anxiety, anger or sense of powerlessness. Practitioners of focusing say that it is particularly good for releasing this bottled-up energy and helping to move the knowledge of the issue along – into better “focus.” To me, it sounds very similar to meditation (or at least contains elements of meditation), but I could be completely off base.  Anyways, the developer of focusing, Eugene T. Gendlin, says in his book “Focusing,” that there are six steps in the process:

  • Clearing a Space
  • Felt Sense
  • Handle
  • Resonating
  • Asking
  • Receiving

He says these steps can help identify and change the way thoughts and emotions are held within the body.  “Focusing can be done virtually anywhere, at any time, and an entire “session” can take no longer than ten minutes, but its effects can be felt immediately–in the relief of bodily tension and psychological stress, as well as in dramatic shifts in understanding and insight.” You can get an explanation for each step, along with other information about Focusing on his website, The Focusing Institute.    Or, you can check out his book, “Focusing.”

What does getting over an affair mean to you?  Also, we would be interested to hear some comments from anyone who has tried this focusing technique to aid in getting over an affair.


    37 replies to "Getting Over an Affair With Focusing"

    • Healing Mark

      Surprisingly realizing it’s been hours since the affair popped into your head. So true but still not “gettting over” the affair.

      Realizing that it’s been days since the affair popped into your head, not that’s closer to “getting over” the affair.

      Realizing that it’s been weeks since the affair popped into your head, that’s not just “getting over” the affair, but a fantastic feeling since flashbacks/triggers occurring this infrequently are likely to be much easier to shove back into the trunk than those occurring more frequently. At least for me it has been.

      “Getting over” the affair for me has meant getting to a point where my wife’s EA no longer has any noticable impact on my life or my marriage. I’ve actually driven by the AP’s old house a few times and not even noticed that I was doing so (it’s visible from the main road adjacent to the residential subdivision). Not surprisingly, there was a time where I would intentionally avoid driving by the house, and times when my wife was driving and we drove by and I actually felt sick to my stomach. And, honestly, when things pop up that remind me that there was a time that my wife became someone I hope to never see again, they are easily dismissed and I doubt that my blood pressure even rises just a bit.

      • DJ

        Wow, I look forward to that day. I’m still at the the first point, if I’m really engrossed or engaged in something, sometimes a couple hours will go by before I notice that I have not thought about the affair. Not over it yet…

        I’m glad you wrote about that. I needed to hear it.

      • Paula

        HM, it is so obvious, that you are male, and I apologise in advance to all the male readers who disagree, but I have found, separated, or together, that I always think of the affair, and I have tried many different approaches. (I think many, many women will agree with me here) I even tried a well regarded hypnotherapist, amongst everal ther methods of reducing my thinking (obssessing) about the affair/OW. I NEVER don’t think of the affair, and I agree with Linda’s post in that it will always be here, it will never be forgotten, yes, I have made some slow progress, in that it doesn’t cause quite the same utter despair that it once did, but I am still affected by it, every minute of every day, and I think the definition of “getting over it” is quite on point here. I think many (most?) of us expect recovery to look quite different to what it actually looks like, it doesn’t mean ending up as happy and as carefree and as in love as we once were, it is quite a different animal to that, EVERYTHING has changed, and you have to be able to get to a place of acceptance, because it’s the classic, accept the things you can’t change (in this case, the past) and change the things you can’t accept. I believe my recovery will be ongoing, for the rest of my life.

        • Recovering


          I agree with you. EVERYTHING has changed. You and I just need to find a way to not let it define who we have become. WE didn’t do the lying and the cheating. WE couldn’t have done anything to prevent it. That wasn’t our job. It was theirs. There are people out there, our spouses at least at one point, who cared more about themselves than us. And yes, we would love to live a life for ourselves that is all about us, but we wouldn’t hurt someone else like that. We wouldn’t. You seem to be a very intelligent person, and that I think makes it even harder on you. Unfortunately we can rationalize their stupidity and cruelty. Acceptance doesn’t mean condoning, though. I, like you, will never get over the affair… it will just be a bit more in the background. I will NEVER forget, and I will NEVER trust him the way I did before, regardless of how things go in the future. They stole my innocence that way. They stole my belieft in love that way. The way that I love my husband has changed. It has made me more guarded. Yes, I am more open and forthright, but much less emotionally attached…. Like you, I will never ‘get over it’, but we will move on, smarter and more cautious….

      • Daisy80

        HM, I applaud you for reaching that point where you have moved on and the EA impacts your life less and less. It really is a sense of freedom that you feel when you realize one day that you hadn’t thought about the EA in months. I had reached the point where not only did I not think about the woman my husband had an EA with for a long time, but when I did realize it and I thought about her and the whole EA, I found the pain was almost non-existant. I felt like I could breathe and I had moved on. Its been two years and things have been great. However, now I just discovered my husband searched for her new address online. The pain of the previous betrayal is not bothering me. Now it is a new betrayal and I find myself wondering if I can go through it again. It took so much to reach the point of where I was at. Anyway, I hope that you continue to reach great strides overcoming your wifes EA. I must guve you a thumbs up as it is often more difficult for men to get over a wifes affair vs the other way around. But you’re on the right track!

    • DJ

      I went to a psychologist for a while – I wrote about him here a couple of times. He was very insensitive about many things and I stopped going to him, but he did do some positive things for my husband and me. One of those positive things was learning how to meditate and focus on seeing my flashbacks from the third person perspective. My flashbacks were the full-blown PTSD flashbacks. The techniques were very helpful. Practicing them, along with time and online coaching, have chased those flashbacks away. I no longer react to triggers with full-blown flashbacks. Thank God.

      Beginning meditation fills all the five senses with stimuli so that the mind can be focused. As we advance, we can do with less outside stimuli to produce the same results. That’s why we see those Zen Buddhist monks with the candles and the incense and the gongs and the chanting and prayer beads. It works well. I learned it as a teenager and picked it up again after seeing that counselor. I am much more at peace than before, and don’t have to worry about sinking into a flashback at inopportune moments.

    • rollercoasterrider

      For me, getting over the affair is not allowing it to define me. The morning I got up and listened to something on TV about forgiveness and decided I was going to forgive my H, and sent him a short e-mail telling him I forgave him, something changed on the inside and a corner was turned. Despite forgiving him, I still went through with the divorce and I actually feel that decision is helping me now to get over the affair because that old junk needed to die. Today I was able to tell him how I feel somehow less feminine because of the affair, and he listened and cared and thanked me for sharing, along with reassuring me that I’m beautiful and very feminine. I’m pretty sure I am also getting over it because I have hope of a relationship with him that is based on love, trust, commitment and true repentance.

      • Paula

        RCR, I LOVE this, you are an inspiration! I, too get on very well with my ex, we are still close, and I have also told him that his actions caused me to lose my feeling of femininity, he has also tried to reassure me that I am feminine and beautiful, but, of course, it is difficult to hear, or believe. Unfortunately, the OW was supposed to be a friend of mine, and she’s much more athletically built (slimmer!) than myself, and it has been difficult not to compare myself to her (and many other “more attractive” women, since this, which is NOT like me at all, I was reasonably content with myself, could always stand to lose a kilo or two, but ate well, exercised, am very well-groomed, with a healthy interest in fashion, etc, I was pretty okay with me) I have also forgiven my ex, that’s how we manage to get along so well, I’m still very raw about having to let him go, but I’m very pleased we can still have a laugh together, and attend children’s events, even the odd dinner party, etc together. I am not quite so far along with the OW, my old “friend” but I think I have “let it go” enough to move forward now, I still wish she had some compassion or understanding of her part in my pain, but she never will. My friends don’t understand this new relationship, they think if we are as much fun together as we used to be, we still love each other, etc, then we should be together, but I know, like you, that I have made the right decision for me. I need to be able to love unconditionally, with great passion, complete trust, etc to be true to myself, I may be naive here, but I think this man was the love of my life, and there won’t be another like it, but as the saying goes, better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all!

    • Recovering

      Wow… what an aptly timed article… this morning on my way to work I started to feel the rage and disgust about what my CS did. How he could seriously lead a double life for 2 years and sleep better THEN since he has since I found out about the affair. How could he live with himself? How could he come home to me and act like things were normal – at least for the first year and a half? I am seething this morning! It has been over 10 months now since I found out, and he has become almost the perfect husband…. almost… since he FINALLY got out of the affair fog… I am just so disgusted that he could DO what he DID!! Makes me nauseous, and usually I can control my thoughts, but maybe today I am having trouble because he has been out of town and he is finally coming home tomorrow. I don’t know. I was so excited to see him and was missing him so much last night, and now this morning I just want to call up the OW and tell her she can have his cheating butt and that I deserve WAY better… and she doesnt, so she can have the slime!! Focusing, thought stopping, yelling at myself… this morning it isn’t working for me!! I am just embarrassed to be married to a cheater! EMBARASSED that I CHOSE someone who could do such a thing! Sickened at how he lied for so long, and did such sweet things with someone else all the while being with me… pretending?.. I don’t know who he pretended with… her or me… its all just so sick, and today I can’t stop….

      • Attraversiamo

        Dear Recovering,

        I can totally relate to those feelings. We are 16 months in. While my marriage and my relationship with my husband have never been stronger, the moments sometimes smack me so hard in the face that I just want to curl up in a ball and cry over the pain, sadness, anger, hurt and absolute humiliation I still feel.

        He, too, was in an affair for two years and I can’t believe it went unnoticed by me. I get so angry at times that he chose to risk our marriage, our life together and our children’s lives for a sexual relationship with an alcoholic who had such little respect for herself, her own marriage and her two daughters.

        And for what? To hear a person more broken that he was tell him how wonderful he was? How great he was at his job? How “beast” his biceps were? How he finally met that “perfect” someone who “understood” him? It is all just so sickening, selfish, narcissistic and pathetic. Embarrassing, honestly.

        He is incredibly remorseful, fully accepting responsibility and accountability for what he’s done to me, our marriage, my trust in him. Quite honestly, he is completely different now and in all positive ways. We didn’t have 10 percent of what we have today prior to the affair discovery. Counseling has been a huge help and continues today.

        Still, none of this progress keeps triggers at bay, although I do find myself getting over them more easily. I hope with everything I have in me that the person he was is gone from our lives forever. Time will tell and he’s certainly a risk, but I’m willing to continue dealing with every trigger and working thru them for a better life with him.

        I wish I had some words of wisdom for you. I can offer none, except that I can relate. Your feelings are valid. You’re not alone. Try to remember that it’s his “past” behaviors and actions that anger you, not his behaviors and actions of “today.”

        My counselor once asked if I would be willing to give up what my husband and I have today for the affair to never have happened. I didn’t even have to pause…100 percent “no.” That says a lot… XO

        • Jackie

          I liked your last paragraph. I think it explains why we BS stay with our CS. We still believe there is a lot of good in our relationship and that we might be able to grow from this and create a better marriage than we had before.

    • tsd

      What an interesting post…I followed the link, but have had a hard time getting that third person perspective. Maybe that’s why they invented therapists! I felt when I read that, it really is about letting go.what freedom it is when your pain has escaped like a deflated balloon a little at a time. Slowly but surely, the hot air of anger and frustration can be eliminated…I don’t want a dozen balloons any more, filled with past…so I am puncturing some of these balloons on my own. Soon, instead of balloons I will have flowers of joy…I have grown some flowers by releasing this pain….and without the help of my spouse. It really is a self discovery journey that puts us on a new path together right?

    • Anita

      Doug and Linda,
      Very good question on what does letting it go means,
      for myself it means acceptance and forgiveness, and
      when I see the scar I feel no pain, but I remembered what happened.
      Time did heal my wounds along with forgiveness, I also
      made peace with my past, and now I am enjoying my life.
      Doug and Linda thanks again, a new chapter in my life
      is underway and I want to thank you again for the use of this site.

      • Anita

        Doug and Linda,
        Its time for me to get going, they say life is full of twists and
        turns, I have just come to a new good twist in the road,
        and I am ready. My best to everybody! Oh I have more
        exciting news, I get to be a gramma again just found out.
        This will be my 3rd. So many new wonderful things are
        happening. Take Care!

        • Doug

          Anita, Well we sure are sorry to see you go, but are happy for you as you take this “new good twist.” You’ve helped a lot of people with your words of wisdom over the last several months. Congratulations on becoming a G-ma once again! Perhaps you can pop in again from time to time. Take care and best of luck in your continued journey!

        • Teresa

          My H’s therapist told him about a book called How We Love by Milan and Kay Yerkovich. We checked out the website also, and we both took the Love Styles test…Can i say that it is unbelievable how accurate this test is?
          My H is an Avoider…and I am here to tell you that this is spot on! I did the test and I am a Pleaser! I even took the test three times just to make sure, lol!!
          We were so impressed that I ordered the book today! I would suggest everyone find out what you and your partners Love Style is…I think knowing this, seeing ii in black and white, can really open your eyes to how you treat those you love and it will help you to not keep making the same mistakes!

        • Teresa

          Anita, I have learned a lot from you…and while I’m sad to see you go, I do understand that you feel it’s time!! You have a lot of wisdom that you have shared over the last several months and it’s really helped push me towards forgiving my H, so thank you!
          Congrats on the new grand baby to be!! 🙂

    • Essie

      I would like to know how do you get over the pain, it has been a year since my husband had his affair…. and he left me and married this woman. I could not believe it all… He met her online from Singapore, he paid all expenses to get her here. He would not discuss it with me, but he was very distant while with me, and stating he was not happy. Yes, we had issues and problems.. (who doesn’t) . but he would not discuss with me. He would get on line.. and look for other women. That is what is so painful for me!!! He just says he was not happy! But looking for someone to make you happy is not the way the happy life works!
      But he had her here and she was here in US….for 3 months and she left.. they were having problems, and also the culture differences were hard on her. She could not adapt with the US… but long story short. He came back to me the same day he had taken her to the airport, to go back home, to her Singapore. Begging me to go for a ride with him. I told him HELL NO… He is really depressed, down, lost his job, totaled out his car, lost his apartment… I do feel for him.. he has no family here.. we were talking about different issues on us.. but I just cannot forget the way I was mistreated.. What do we need counseling??? But he is still married to her, she is still in Singapore. He says she is sending him love messages, love e-cards, she wants to reconcile with him… So I am just tossed out like garbage again… I really helped him get himself together.. giving him words of encouragement, and get himself together,, He had started drinking badly.. He is in rehab now.. and we were gonna reconcile and move forward with our lives. But know he states that she wants him back… and he is married to her… and He and I are really good friends..So of course I am hurt, angry, depressed, tired, !!!! I want to move forward with my life and not look back. What should I do? How do I begin to move forward with taking care of me?

      • Jackie

        Read the book Emotional Unavailability by Bryn Collins, M.A., L.P. Your husband seems narcissistic and thinks only of himself. His history of many divorces speaks for itself. You need to get away from this man, for your own sanity.

        You are a loving and good person who deserves someone who will give and love you back. This man is in it only for himself. This is not a marriage or a partnership. You deserve better. Learn to love yourself and expect yourself to be treated with love, caring and respect.

        In the early stages of love, everyone seems their best, loving, caring, wonderful, respectful. It is after the initial stages when that in love feeling begins to wear off that your true selves reveal themselves. Your H can be a loving, caring person, but his impulses are totally destructive. Unless he gets help, he will destroy you both emotionally. Save yourself. Refuse to help him any longer, unless you see he is really changing. That is seeking counseling, fixing his depression, improving his mental character. And these must be done continuously, until the problem is solved. Too often, a CS will do it only for a short while just to get the BS back, then the CS starts the pattern all over again. It takes a lot of energy, time, and perseverance to change one’s patterns that are set so long ago.

    • Anita

      Your divorced, and your exhusband is a married man.
      Since he’s married he is off limits, until he is divorced
      and has had sometime to recover you do not belong
      with him.
      You go forward with your life by staying out of his.
      He is married. Yes you are his ex wife however he
      is still a married man.
      Focus on your own life and leave him alone.

    • Anita

      You need to put some distance between you and your
      exhusband, it was nice of you to help him when he was
      down and out, however now its time to let go. It will
      save you from more heartache pain should him and his
      wife reconcile. He’s not legally or emotionally free to be
      with you at this point in time. Forgive him, but let him go,
      and keep some distance from him until you have had
      sometime to get over him. You need to refer to him as
      your exhusband, he is a married man now, and he still
      has a wife, who lives in another country.
      Essie, I know this hurts but you need to let go, he’s
      not available, if even if he does divorce, its going to
      take awhile for him to get over that, even then he may
      start another relationship with someone else. So
      let him go.

      • Essie

        Thanks so much Anita for your words of wisdom, it is true I feel exactly as u stated… But I did fail to mention that I am still married to him in my state, He moved to the next state and married her in another state. I saw everything on Facebook, they were married at the courthouse. We did not divorce.. He received a settlement of money and when he received the check he wired her the money the same day… did not even come home that night…I had his clothes packed outside that morning when he decided to come back the next day!!!
        However my anger stems from not telling me anything, he was acting distant, he just said he was not happy, and he was leaving, I thought we were gonna separate and seek counseling, not he meet some woman on line.. and marry her… I do question her stability .. to meet and marry someone on line from another country in 3 mos. But I think that is a free ticket to America….A lot of people want to come to this country… However I am gonna start my divorce proceedings to become free… I have been with him for 7 yrs… this is his 5th marriage…It is not going to last…. that marriage is based on lies and deception… and sounds like a green card… Soooo I have had enough. My friends say that I am a fool for putting up with him.. But I treat him only as a friend… no sex between us at all… I dont have that emotional connection with him… I just want to move forward with my life.. what kills me.. is he could not tell me he was getting with someone else… !!!! but I do want the best for him.. he is an alcoholic.. and I told him I could not deal with that.. He is CONFUSED… and I need to move on before I am……I dont think he needs to time to get over it… divorces…. he just meets another woman….

        • Anita

          You have alot on to deal with, take care of yourself. I wish you the very best!

          • essie

            Anita, thx so much for your truthful and honest words…….however hard and crazy it may be for me…This is very painful for me.. and I do question my sanity!!!!…..but I do become stronger day by day.. and u r 100 % correct…….I do know that my feelings are not being met al all.. I am a basket case, emotionally!!!! He was such a caring man… I wonder how do we get to this point?? I guess a thing called LIFE………. He did contact me yesterday.. lets just be friends… don’t know what that means.. but I proudly say.. no thanks… I am so proud of me!!!!!!!!

    • highwayman

      Linda and Doug, I just wanted to say that I was in an online affair that lasted less than two weeks, it ended as quickly as it began. There were some inappropriate statements made and my wife found out about it two weeks later. For the past two months, since then, she has been completely devastated and obsessed. She has said that she forgives me but then she becomes hysterical and violent. I feel ashamed and humiliated and I have begged her to forgive me on a day to day basis. I have never seen her become violent before and I am concerned about her mental state. In my heart, I was not in love with the other person but I was trying to relate with someone who I thought was in the same situation that I was in. We made flirtatious comments to each other and jokes. My wife took everything that was said literally and she constantly throws it up in my face, everything that was said. It is like living in a state of hell and I am also losing my sanity. I love my wife and I would do anything to save our marriage of thirteen years. I just don’t know what else to do. I have told her that I would rather die than to ever do anything that would cause her to feel this way again.I do feel very sorry for what I have done and I hope and pray that she will someday forgive me and learn to love and trust me again. Thank you for your help and understanding.

      • Doug

        highwayman, Thanks for sharing. You don’t say in your comment how long ago all of this happened, but it sounds like it might be fairly recent. Just know that she will need time to process things and even more time to recover and heal. It’s great that you are feeling remorseful and hopefully you are being patient with her and are now acting in a way that is trustworthy. Read as much on this site as you can and you might want to check out some of the books in the resources or library page to help with ideas on what you can further do to save your marriage and help her heal. Best of luck to you!

    • highwayman

      Thanks Doug. I just wanted to add that it did happen within the past three or four months. I have a hard time keeping track of the time because it seems like every day is the same. All of the emotions and hysteria happen daily and I never know what to expect. We have literally argued for forty eight hours at a time without sleep. I am questioning my own sanity and she seems to be on an emotional roller coaster. We have a nine year old daughter and my wife said that the only thing keeping her from going completely out of her mind was our daughter. I have read a lot of advice and have thought about everything from her point of view and I now see the affair much differently than I did before. I have done everything in my power to try and save our marriage and I am beginning to realize that it is ultimately her choice. I am just hoping that she will forgive me and give me a chance to make it up to her and show her the love that she deserves.

      • Jackie

        Are you two seeking outside counseling? Reading this website together? Reading books together? Are you truly doing everything you can to help your wife heal from your betrayal? Are you getting defensive?

        She needs to have time to absorb that you went outside of your marriage, behaved in inappropriate ways. After only two weeks of this (you say, but is there actually more?), you are remorseful.

        She isn’t sure if what you say is the truth. You have betrayed her trust. She is thinking what else might he be hiding?

        These are all the things that goes through a BS’s mind. Try to look at things from her perspective. Then maybe you might understand why she is acting the way she is.

        I have found the key to resolving affairs, are first ending them, then trying to understand why they happened. Try very hard to allow yourselves to learn to understand each other again, with love and compassion, rather than anger, accusations, and hate.

        Good luck. This is a good place to learn all you can about yourself and why you behaved inappropriately with another woman who is not your wife.

    • Patsy50

      Letting go for me meant accepting and forgiving on both sides. Taking a long look at our relationship and each taking charge to fix the areas that were not quite right and the pain of the affair starts to go away and in turn the letting go process begins. You start to see the affair from a distance.

      • Teresa

        Right you are Patsy50! As soon as my H started doing introspection (THANKS for that post, Doug 🙂 he realized that he was the one to blame for the EA…and even if he was unhappy, bringing a third person into a marriage was wrong! He has also realized that he doesn’t know how to show empathy and in not showing remorse for what he has done, that just set stalled the healing process for me, and I just couldn’t find it in my heart to forgive him!
        I have fixed the things that I was doing wrong, lack of respect, affection, etc….and now that my H is working on himself, I have found that I can go several days without really thinking about the EA, and when I do, it doesn’t hurt as bad as before.
        I think as long as a CS won’t talk about the EA and accept that their behavior was wrong, and tells the BS to “get over it” then there can be no healing for the BS…because in their heart, they KNOW that the CS is STILL being selfish, and that’s what got them into the EA in the first place!! I know that’s how it has been for me…All the “I’m sorry, I was a fool” and “I’ll never do this again” It all meant absolutely NOTHING to me….because my H wouldn’t work on fixing the problem….HIMSELF!! And now that he has…I find that i trust him more and the EA isn’t as big an issue to me!!

    • Carol

      I wish I knew what ‘getting over it’ would mean for me. I can tell that the EA isn’t dominating me as much as it was at first. I can get some work done. I’m no longer losing weight. I’m able to be more emotionally available to my kids, friends, etc.

      But I’m not sure — still — what I want to do about my marriage. My H wants to have a recommitment ceremony, restating our vows, new wedding ring. I don’t like the idea, because I meant my vows the first time around! I am still so ambivalent. He had a 6 month EA (one brief physical encounter, a make-out session, at the beginning; so hard to get that out of my mind). But in digging through the records about that EA, I found evidence of other bad behavior: sneaking off to a nearby city to meet a woman for dinner (never told me about it, lied about what he was doing); a 3-month correspondence with a woman on the internet about erotica (!) which he hid from me — I was pregnant with our third child at the time; and lots of instances where he took other women out to lunch — his tab — and hid that from me, too. It’s all just so tawdry and selfish and utterly foolish. The entire time this was going on, I was miserable in our marriage. He never put me and the kids first; he was distant and cold; he refused to go to counseling; he didn’t do much at all around the house. In short: he was nearly totally checked out of our marriage and family, so much so that when I found out about the EA I told him to get out, that I was done.

      Well, now he says he wants me to forgive him, that he will change totally, that he wants to commit to family and stop being ‘bohemian’ (which I guess means being a lying cheat who writes sleazy texts and e-mails to other women? Hmm). His mother is a nightmare; she told him that his affair was ‘just a kiss’ and that I deserved it as I ‘hadn’t always made it easy on him’ and that she knew ‘lots of men’ who’d done the same thing. He was appalled. So was I. And now, 7 months later, I’m still having a hard time with the realization that for the better part of 6 years my H has been chasing other women behind my back. And his mother has told him that in her ‘day’ women would forgive and move on much more easily than I have done, and that if I can’t forgive him, then what sort of person am I? Unbelievable, really. I’m tempted to forward to her the smutty texts and e-mails her son sent, to see what she thinks of him after that!

      So: getting over it? I feel so sad because I think there will always be a scar. I will NEVER, EVER trust him as I did before. I will live the rest of my life suspecting him, if in fact we stay together. My mother wrote him a message the other day telling him that he would reap what he sowed. Well, in this case, he’ll reap my distrust, which is richly earned. I’m skeptical of his efforts at reform and hesitant to trust. The only thing keeping me in this is the fear of seeing my children’s sad faces were we to tell them we were divorcing.

      Guess I’m not over it, huh? 🙂

      • Paula

        Carol, I don’t really have any advice here, just wanted you to know that I understand your situation, and I TOTALLY get that you don’t want a re-commitment ceremony, I agree, why didn’t the commitment “stick” the first time! Just keep on doing what you can to help yourself, and your children, you sound like a sensible woman, with a mother who has your back, IGNORE your messed up MIL, she can’t have had a happy relationship for her to brush this behaviour aside like she has, yes, we all know women who have “put up with” or “got over” this behaviour in the past – they were victims of lack of self esteem and fear of being alone, maybe even just financially, it doesn’t make it okay, in any way – and her opinion is not your concern. I agree, there will always be a scar, but a scar is a healed wound, remember that, and a reminder of that wound, so we can never be fully rid of it, but we can heal enough to live a full and rich life, I truly believe that, and this is about personal recovery, not just about marriage recovery, they are separate things, and you can have both, or one or the other 🙂 I chose personal recovery and hoped that that would lead to relationship recovery, but if not, at least I am proud of myself, and my children are happy and well-adjusted despite their father’s behaviour, which will have a lasting effect on them, too.

      • Teresa

        Carol ,my MIL did that…my FIL cheated and is an alcoholic, and my MIL accepted it and guess what? All four of their kids, my H included, have ALL had marriage problems!!
        Two of my H’s sisters are separated and his brother works about 60 hours a week, while his wife parties with her friends and when you ask him about it, he says he doesn’t want to be bothered with her, let her live her life…happy fellow, right?
        That’s why I’ve been so angry with my H over his EA…I thought we had made it…I thought we were doing pretty good then he went home for a wedding, got around his family, and wham!…into the EA he went!
        His family is VERY toxic..and he has pretty much cut off all ties with them…and even his therapist says that’s probably for the better!
        You already know this…but don’t listen to your MIL!!! Her H probably cheated on her….and she’s bitter because of it!

        • Carol

          Hi, Teresa and Paula — thank you so much for these comments. Paula, you are so right — personal recovery and marriage recovery are two separate things. I think I really need to concentrate on the first; the second is more or less up to my H and what he does or does not do to change. You are both right that I shouldn’t listen to my MIL. I am trying not to be hurt by the constant little digs. It’s hard to accept that I’ll never have her approval or support — this after 17 years of marriage and giving her her only 3 grandchildren. This last week, she announced on Monday that she and my FIL were coming to visit us on Sat and Sun. (We had not invited them; they just announce when they’re coming.) They had visited 2 of the last 3 weekends. I told my H no — just no. We’re still in crisis, and her comments are hurtful. I did not want to be around her. He actually, for once in our marriage, set that boundary. Then my MIL wrote a note for my son complaining about how much she wanted to be here on the weekend. (My son is 8 years old.) Needless to say, I will not be sharing that note with him. Major boundary issues there. At any rate: I just really wanted to say thanks for the support. It is so helpful to me!

    • confused1

      What kind of situation were you in that you were trying to relate to this OP? What sort of flirtatious comments were made between the two of you? I am also trying to work through a 2 1/2 week texting EA my H had in January. He swears there were never any feelings for her but that he felt needed because she paid attention to him. Like your situation there were a handful of inappropriate comments made between them. He ceased all communication when I confronted him. It has dealt a serious blow to our marriage and to my confidence. Any insight would be much appreciated.

    • Dave

      For me, I don’t know if there is going to be a point where I get over it. I think the best I can hope for is to learn to live with it. Recently, I feel like I’ve been sliding back a bit. I felt as if I had been making progress, but lately I’ve been obsessing again. I can’t get the images and thoughts out of my head or even control them to a point where I can function. All I want right now is to be rid of those, but the only way I see to do that is to not be around my wife.

    • Hopeful

      I wouldn’t say I am ‘over the affair’ in any way, but I recognize what Healing Mark is saying. It’s been 11 months for us. After becoming increasingly hostile and distance prior to DDAY, my H snapped back into a feeling of love and presence very quickly while still managing the OW and lying to me about the extent. It took a month for the EA to really be shut down and then an additional four months for him to really admit that it was a flirtation and attraction and wrong doing occurred beyond a ‘tone problem’ I saw in the email. It took about four or five MORE months for the bulk of the details of when they met, how often, what was said, what was generally felt and experienced to be reveals. Through all the struggle to push for the truth, we experienced deep circles of hell and I was tremendously dogged by the feeling of not understanding the truth and not being given access to a simply, coherent truth of the betrayal. He was guilty and didn’t want to own up and thought if he knew what was wrong he was ok if he promised himself not to do it again. Through all this lying and wearing down his defenses, he was deeply remorseful, loving, dedicated to the relationship, etc. He just couldn’t finally tell me the whole truth (he admitted MOST of it) and I couldn’t rest until I felt the picture was complete enough. Finally, 9 months after the EA was outed I felt I finally got to the truth and it was a nightmare to get there, but thereafter, it was surprisingly easier to live with the EA. Triggers, yes, but from a place of torture to a place of relative calm and thinking less and less about the EA and OW happened quickly. All that work was necessary and seeing his work and dedicated and changes was key for me. The truth was key.

      Then, I am finally in a place where I think about this in small parts of the day. I feel I might have a trigger but that my life is moving on and that OW is a turd.

      I didn’t think it was possible but it is possible to be set free but if we hadn’t faced the grizzly truth and wrangled with it separately and together and worked our butts off to grow and heal… it would not have been possible.

      Now, I am truly hopeful.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.