Getting the cheater to end their emotional affair addiction and stay off of their “drug” of choice.

Emotional Affair AddictionBy Doug

I wanted to continue just a bit from my post from last Thursday.  The main theme of that post dealt with the affair addiction.  Today I’m going to touch on a process for getting the cheater to stay off of their “drug” of choice.  Their emotional affair.

I’m going to refer once again to one of our favorite authors, Dave Carder in his book, “Torn Asunder.”

As I mentioned, breaking free from the emotional affair addiction is a process and Mr. Carder’s process has six components.

A Six-part Process to End the Emotional Affair Addiction

Separation.  Abstinence and sobriety are the primary elements that must be emphasized.  Don’t get your fix by being in the affair partner’s presence and don’t share anymore of your life’s experiences with this person.  Mr. Carder says it best… “The contact is what keeps these feelings alive; you need to stop feeding the compulsion.”

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Identification.  The cheater in most cases cannot just bury their feelings for the other person, so Carder maintains that the cheater must somehow discover just what needs the other person was meeting.  What did that person touch inside of them? 

It’s interesting to note that Carder feels that most of the time, these unmet needs go back to their childhood and the cheater brings them into the marriage.  They are usually met during the initial stages of the relationship with the spouse, but tend to get buried over time due to life taking over.

See also  The Emotional Affair: Is it Worth it?

Exposure.  The cheater cannot keep their longings and feelings a secret.  If so, he/she will only start to idealize the affair partner and the result is that this person becomes perfect and no one else can measure up.  “The [affair] partner is beginning to be seen as “all good,” and therefore the infidel will have to see the marriage as “all bad.”

Journal.  The cheater needs to write down his/her feelings so as to break the influence of their secrecy.  Since these feelings are often carried forward from childhood, journaling brings them into the adult realm.

Displacement.  Do something other than focusing on the affair partner.  Exercise, take on a hobby, get involved in spiritual development, meditate, etc.  Do something to occupy your mind.  This element should be done in tandem with the others in the process.

Grieve.  When the affair ends, the cheater could experience depression.  This can be hard for the betrayed spouse to understand, though it is important and necessary. It’s also a good time for the cheater to review other situations in his/her past where something (or someone) significant was lost and the resulting feelings were similar. 

Carder cautions however, that the depression or grieving is not about what the cheater feels for the affair partner, but just what they are feeling, period. So keep the affair partner out of the equation. He says that “…it will make it easier for your spouse to listen to your feelings, and easier for you to connect with the feelings in your heart that need processing.”

It is possible with lots of time and lots of self-discovery to rebuild your marriage after an affair.  Progress will eventually come if you work through this process.   I like what Carder says when he writes: “This is the kind of stuff emotional intimacy is built on, and that is the key to any good marriage.”


    129 replies to "Getting ‘Unhooked’ from the Emotional Affair Addiction"

    • changedforever

      So true Doug…my H was the trxtbook case of what happens when this posted advice is NOT followed. H had continued contact for 8 mths following DDay #1, including keep the OW updated following each of our weekly marriage counseling sessions. After I discovered this (and not all the) contact, this was DDay#2 and that did SO much damage (some of which I will never recover from.) Doug is right & I know this now: it was certainly NOT the selfish and despicable ‘person’ H was grieving…it was the ‘high’ he was grieving.

    • Anita

      This is interesting, and good for the betrayed spouse to see,
      if the cheating spouse has to grieve the loss of their affair
      partner, it must of meant the relationship between the two
      of them was more than just a fog, otherwise there would be no need to grieve. As a former betrayed spouse, I know
      this is hard for betrayed spouses to understand, affairs can
      and do ruin marriages. I know depending on how long the
      affair lasted also plays apart. I’ve seen quiet a few times in
      my life where the cheating spouse ends up marrying the
      affair partner and most of those marriages are still together
      some of them long term 40 plus years, sorry betrayed
      spouses I know that feels like a kick in the stomach, but it
      is a reality. Also I have seen when a affair hits a marriage
      alot of those marriages do not survive long term, a few years
      later they divorce, I know this is sour lemons to read, but
      it is again a reality. I know this is so painful for a betrayed
      Separation, no contaact, is just a must, no ifs, ands, or buts.
      I am living proof of a divorce, where my exhusband
      coworkered with his affair partner, and refused to go to a
      different job.

    • Notoverit

      I seem to have a different perspective on this thread. My H was “in love” with his EA partner but never shared anything with her. My H is very closed about his emotions (something I think he did bring from childhood – lost his birth mother at five and then his dad remarried a woman who wasn’t really nice to my H so he learned to hide his feelings). When D-day occurred, he did stop all contact (she sent emails asking him why he wouldn’t talk or even look at her at work – she didn’t know I was monitoring those). Anyway, I found out quite a bit about the OW and shared her foibles with my husband – she lied to him about a lot of things, she used him to protect her at work, she stalked him, and she was generally hated by all of her co-workers (and here he was thinking she was so wonderful and happy – right, she made everyone’s life a hell). I think it hurt his ego a lot that he made such a bad choice in his OW. So how does that coincide with Carder’s view? My H didn’t grieve the loss – he seriously began to hate the OW for using him. She repeatedly tried to contact him and he rebuffed her to the point she lost it at work, yelling and screaming at people until she got sent home. His addiction to her broke the moment he came out of the fog by realizing what a bad person she was (and is). I know, as some of you will probably point out, I am not in his head and cannot know exactly his thoughts about her but I did witness his reactions to her (I made myself very visible at his work in the weeks following D-day). I can’t say he didn’t grieve but I saw no indication of it. Maybe all EAs don’t follow the exact same path.
      I do agree that the CS needs to journal and expose whatever problems they have which led to this need to have an EA. They cannot just say it’s over and move on. We, the betrayed, have had to face quite a bit about ourselves; the CSs should do the same. I think the emotional shut-down that my H learned at a very young age is his problem – he can’t share his feelings. The EA taught me that I have long over-looked this as he has. He is working on it and trying but it is so very hard.
      I know this sounds like rambling but I just wanted to see if others have experienced the same thing: that the CS didn’t grieve and felt no need to do so when they realized what type of person the OW/OM was.

      • Doug

        Notoverit, I’m no expert on grieving, but could it be possible his hate for the other woman was a form of grieving? Perhaps he felt guilt or shame. Could that be grieving? I don’t know. Just a thought.

    • Anita

      I accidently hit the post button before I finished my last comment.
      An affair should never happen period, and there is no excuse
      that justifies cheating. However it does happen, and the
      cheating spouse gets to sit the the fence gazing into both
      pastures, not quiet ready to leave the marriage, but yet
      not ready to stay out of the other pasture either, until
      either the spouse or the other person throws them off the
      fence. I believe with most cheating spouses they like being on the
      fence, and if the affair doesn’t come to light, they would
      stay in that position, after all if the spouse has the homefront
      covered, and the other person is the temptation of forbidden
      fruit, what more could you ask for. If it wasn’t for my beliefs
      and my morals that forbid this type of behavior, it be a free
      for all. I believe what keeps people faithful in their marriage
      is they value their mate, and see the injustice it would do
      to them if they cheated on them.
      I guess this is why God forbids adultery, so we don’t destroy
      other peoples lives, for a little forbidden fruit. Read Proverbs chap. 5.

    • Dol

      This is great stuff, and draws attention to something I’ve been mulling over for a couple of weeks: the CS is actually quite isolated. Perhaps unsurprisingly, threads on this site are not suitable places for them to openly discuss the feelings described in this post. My partner has – unlike me, who has had just amazing support from this site – thus felt quite isolated. This has led in part to her not really knowing how normal her reaction has been, and whether she should be more seriously worried than she already is.

      It is important/helpful for both parties to know what ‘normal’ is. Some CSs may have a severe addiction problem and need deeper levels of help, but it is important for them to see their behaviour in context. That helps me too, as the BS, because my partner is then not so terrified of herself, and that fear doesn’t knock me off my perch. Before, if she was struggling, my immediate emotional reaction would be – that’s it, it’s only a matter of time, we stand no chance. I’m slowly becoming more able to deal with it.

      One strategy we’re just testing: I’m not going to ask her about how the week at work was until Friday night. We’ll have our ‘check-in’ then, and thus I’m able to get through my working day knowing that we can do that openly tomorrow. That way – like today, she can tell me she’s seen him through his office window, but I can say, thanks for letting me know, we’ll check in on how you’re doing tomorrow. This is perhaps only something I can do now after coming up to 3 months, so I’m not saying that’s easy – but this method of setting up specific check-in or question times has worked very well for us.

      Lastly: is there any way of providing a perhaps private area for CSs to openly discuss how they’re dealing with things? As I say, given how much this site has helped me, I worry about my partner feeling isolated. Perhaps it would just need to be another open thread, but with some different moderation rules: BSs only allowed to chip in if it’s very constructive! The drawback is that much genuinely open discussion could be massively hurtful for BSs. Not sure what to do about that, but just putting it out there: CSs need support too, despite the fact that sometimes us BSs might think they just need to get over it…!

      • Doug

        Dol, We actually had a forum a while back and it never caught on for whatever reasons. We’re planning to reopen it in the near future as a part of our higher healing program. Thanks as usual for your comments.

    • Anita

      In the end what it boils down to is the betrayed spouse able to
      to forgive and move forward with the marriage, and pray that
      God can change the hearts of the betrayed and the cheating
      spouses. Also the cheating spouse needs to come to terms
      with boundaries in a marriage, and how to vocalized their
      needs. Also remembering that they too need to fill needs of
      the betrayed spouse. The cheating spouse need to understand that sometimes the betrayed spouse is busy
      trying to fulfil their roles in the marriage and if their
      busy, you need to be the one to say, I need
      some of your attention, I’m feeling negected right now,
      how powerful this is, I know most betrayed spouses would
      gladly give that attention.
      Most of all the cheating spouse needs to remember is that
      they are married. But to those who can’t remain faithful,
      counseling would help.

    • chiffchaff

      My H fell into nearly all of the bad decision making after I discovered his EA. He stayed in contact with her despite telling me he wasn’t but he did this by technically telling the truth. I would ask – have you contacted her today? – he would answer ‘no’. Because technically he wasn’t lying because she had emailed him, he had read it, he had then changed the message on his BBM (I hate BBM) to show he’d read it, and so on. He has at least admitted that it was an addiction because he said that during the very early days and weeks he would only be able to get through each day by telling himself that it was ok, he wouldn’t call her today he would call her tomorrow, just to stop him panicking during the day. It really does compare to a drug, he needed contact with her just to be able to function during the day. I found that frightening but that he has admitted that’s how he’s felt I believe he doesn’t feel that addicted now. So, at least we’re past the addiction stage.
      I’ve asked him if he can separate whether it was her or the feeling he got from contacting her that was what he got the high from. He says he doesn’t know but he did ask himself during the EA what he was getting from it. Did he like the way she wrote and spoke to him or did he get more pleasure from being explicit in emails/texts with her. he says he thinks it was the latter.
      I don’t quite know where this gets us but it is an indication that he’s reviewing himself and how he was more. Gradually I hope that leads to change.

    • B

      All 6 steps are excellent points when considering how a CS can “break free from the addiction”. I liken it to a drug addiction (as most people do). The problem is that most addicts are extremely confused and they send mixed signals. Lets be clear, when a spouse cheats, the feelings they get are ALL based on secrecy, lies, deception, and the “high” of when can it happen again. Even when they think they may be falling in love with their AP, they often come home, keep the secret, and pretend as though nothing is wrong. If they truly were “in love” with this other person, cutting ties with their spouse should be easy, because they have supposedly found someone who will love them forever. This is where the BS is hurt the most. They are in pain because of the affair, yet confused because their spouse will tell them that they love them and won’t do it again, only to run back and do it again. Talk about beating your head against a brick wall. I truly believe that many, many cheating spouses make a genuine attempt at no contact and want to repair the damage they have done, because lets be realistic, affairs run their course and eventually people realize that they may lose everything, so they make a real attempt to get it right. However, just like a drug addiction, no matter how hard they are fighting it, it takes cooperation from their AP (also known as the drug dealer). Many cheating spouses find themselves doing the right thing, only to have their AP not respect their wishes and continue trying to reach them or contact them just “to talk” or for a “harmless lunch/coffee”. This usually goes one of two ways, the CS either agrees and allows themselves to get pulled back into the affair, or they speak to them only to tell the “no” but they hide the communication from their spouse out of fear. Which ultimately leads to the spouse finding out and assuming it is back to bad, creating more turmoil. In the end, I truly believe that cheating spouses have to take firm, drastic measures to imply no contact, but are often thwarted in their efforts by their AP who just wants to keep dealing the drugs. Knowing all of this now, I can honestly say that being caught in an affair or being hurt by one is a situation I NEVER want to go through again and I pray to God that none of my children ever have to suffer through this, but if they do, I’ll be prepared and know how to handle it.

    • B

      I also wanted to mention that when a CS makes a real attempt to get it right and have zero contact with the AP, they should be disgusted when the AP tries to contact them. They should realize right then and there that this other person doesn’t even respect them as a person. Because if they “loved them”, they would respect their wishes and allow them to rebuild their family. The problem is, they never see it that way. The AP always seems to be respected or cherished in a way that is completely unrealistic and I can’t imagine why…….

    • JS

      @ Notoverit – it’s hard for me to say whether my H grieved the OW or not. He didn’t cut it off when he first said he did, and the final D-Day is what has done the most damage. He seemed to experience some depression symptoms and further withdrawal from me, but he said that was due a fear of me leaving him because of what he’d done. The EA contact did stop as far as I could tell, but they did still worked for the same firm at different office locations for another 16 months. I have no idea how much work contact they had beyond that because I don’t necessarily believe his version of events 100%. He did move the point of hating her, though, like your H did. He would constantly lament that she still worked there and he said how much he wished she would leave and how now that he saw her for who she really was, he couldn’t stand her or what he had done. I wonder if Doug is right that the hatred is a form of grieving. I know my H eventually experienced a lot of shame and guilt over his actions, and I think that mostly came after I had really pulled away from the marriage because I didn’t know if I wanted to stay with him.

      You mentioned that “I made myself very visible at his work in the weeks following D-day.” I’ve had the opposite reaction. When my H joined this firm, the EA started up within 3 months. It lasted for 10 months, and during this time, I was never brought into his “work life” so to speak. We work only 1/2 mile from each other, but he would never include me in any lunches or happy hours with his “work friends” or make any attempt to make those people friends of our marriage. This was unlike previous work situations where I knew the people from work that he considered friends, I was very comfortable calling and talking to his secretary and catching up with what was going on in her life, etc. But with this place and this situation, I want absolutely nothing to do with any of them now. The OW finally did quit 2 weeks ago, but before that, she was friends with his secretary. He claims no one at the office knew of their EA (other than his secretary after he supposedly told her about it so she could intercept any calls from the OW so he wouldn’t have to talk work with her), but I don’t believe that since I’ve had co-workers engaged in an EA who tried to hide it but it was the most obvious thing in the world to all of us who were watching it. I know now the OW was the reason I was not included in any lunches, happy hours, etc. He stopped the happy hours long ago after the EA ended, but he does have lunches with his colleagues. A few months after the EA ended, he started inviting me here and there to lunch with his work friends, but I cannot bring myself to go. I don’t want anything to do with any of them. Part of it is total embarassment in the event they knew about the EA or encouraged it, and part of it is that I find them to be elitist a-holes. None of them are married or have children, and they are some seriously shallow people who talk constantly about themselves, their money, their jobs, etc. They are not “marriage friendly” people, nor do they seem to have any affinity for non-lawyers (they are all lawyers and I am not one.) The 2 times I’ve met them at the spouse-included Christmas parties, they just looked me up and down and walked off. One even fed my H a bite of her dinner off of her fork while she was sitting right next to me – this was when he was still in the fog and he thought that it was cute and had no idea why I was so pissed about it. Anyway, I know these are his friends from work and I know that not accepting his attempts to pull me into knowing them is somewhat risky because the secrecy about work folks was how he was able to keep the EA under wraps for so long. On the other hand, I don’t want any of them to see me as that weak wife who got cheated on, and I think they’re a bunch of selfish jerks. This is the one major source of pain still present for me and I don’t know how to handle it. I won’t even call his office number out of fear his secretary will answer. I’ll text him and ask him to call me instead. Because she was friends with the OW and I really really wonder if she knew about their EA and was a supporter of it, I feel like the outsider with my own husband and his work relationships, and I don’t even want to hear her voice. Did you experience any of these feelings, and how did you get past them? BTW, he has expressed over and over and over that he wants me to be a part of his “work life” and he hates how uncomfortable I am about all of this, but I just can’t move past it. Sorry for the long post – any input is appreciated.

    • Hail2Victors

      My wife started recently reading this blog. She is currently going through the withdrawal and grieving process. She has started to be honest about her feelings, but she is still holding back. I think she is afraid that the truth will be painful. However, I believe honesty is not painful, but lies, deception, and holding back are.

      She is scared that she won’t be able to maintain the separation. She has tried a few times, and after a couple of weeks, she falls off the wagon, and I lose her again. She works with the OM, and complete separation is nearly impossible at this time. I see that it is very important to her to break it off for good this time, but I know it will be a struggle, and I am not holding on to much hope at this point. I have tried to make it clear that as long as she maintains a relationship with this guy, I cannot be a part of her life outside of being a friend to her.

      Like your post says, she does idealize this guy. Regardless of what people say outside of the situation say about him, she seems to think that there is very little wrong with him. Even what she tells me about him, I can see that this guys is a real piece of work. He seems to have very little respect for women, and just uses them to feed his fragile ego.

      She made a comment that she is having difficulty breaking it off, because she isn’t angry at him. He didn’t do anything wrong. But I think over time, she will see that he did plenty wrong. Today the issue is she is still in love with the feeling, and she is mistaking that the love of the feeling for a love of him.

      I know guys like the OM. He is a master manipulator. He knows exactly what women want to hear, especially when they are vulnerable, and are not having their needs met at home, like my wife has been.

      I agree with “B.” If this guys had any type of love or respect for my wife, he would allow her to move on and rebuild her life… if not her marriage.

      We’ll get through it one way or the other though. We still have a difficult road ahead of us. I just hope my wife and I can put this behind us so we can start looking at the core issues in our marriage, and not this extraneous noise.

    • chiffchaff

      B – I have the same feeling about the AP/OW. My H told her he wanted to work on his marriage but she still kept contacting him. That’s no respect but, as you say, to my H that’s just a further sign of how they were ‘meant to be together’ because she was ‘prepared to fight for him’ and ‘needed him’ not that she didn’t respect his wishes and stay away.
      My H’s OW even sent an email claiming that he was being controlled by me and should break free to be his real self. As I pointed out to H when I saw that email, hmm break free to be the type of person that willingly causes such pain, misery and disappointment in his friends and family.
      I’m waiting for the day when he criticises her to me. I feel that it’s coming but that will be the next step on the road to our future.

    • kelly

      My SO has told me that he had no feelings for the other women, couldn’t care less about what happens to them and he picked women he knew were an easy mark. I dont know if this makes this easier or harder to take.. on one hand I am somewhat relieved that he didn’t fall in love with another woman, but on the other hand it would be easier to understand why he put so much at stake. What does it say about him breaking his promise to sever contact and to disclose any contact knowing our relationship is on the line for someone he has no feelings for? Is it the feeling he gets from using other women that makes it worth the risk, or is he just fooling himself (and me)?

    • chiffchaff

      Kelly – is he a sex addict? that description is being bandied about here due to the new film Shame.

    • Norwegian woman

      My husband had a EA/PA with a woman he claimed he never was in love with. He still says that he couldn`t care less about her. But he had contact with her for a year and a half. I suppose the “bliss” rubbed off, because after 10 months with this woman, he had an EA with another one that he fell in love with. I found out about this one and he claimed that he never would go behind my back again. Of course I didn`t have a clue about the first one, but they stayed in contact (just talking on the phone he says) for seven more months. Here I was, lying with a broken back, and he keeps in contact with his first mistress behind my back. Because “I didn`t know about her” he says.
      After I found out about her, his initial explanation was that she was in a difficult phase of life (she left her husband) so he didn`t have the heart to tell her to go sod off……
      yeah…. But he had the heart to go behind his broken wifes back…..
      Of course it is bullshit. I still KNOW that the stories he served me was utter bullshit. He has NOT told what was really happening. Why would he keep in contact with a woman for over a year AFTER they had sex at a hotel, and never met physically again, only by mail and phone….. and on top of that…. a woman he couldn`t care less about. It is lies, lies and then some…..
      I recently found out (by sneaking around) that he have had a chat with a woman I don`t know when he was on a work-trip. At 1.20 in the middle of the night. On a thursday…… He probably thought that it was deleted.
      So….. he still does things he shouldn`t AS LONG AS I DON`T KNOW IT.
      I am sick and tired……

    • Notoverit

      Hey B and Doug,
      I ask my H if he felt any loss about the OW right after D-day and he said no. He said he never grieved for her and the anger was just that: anger for being used. I don’t know that it was grieving because he dropped her and never looked back. And believe me, she seriously tried and continues to try after 14 months to contact him. The woman is just BAD, psychotic and BPD all rolled into one. She lost her job for lying about something that had nothing to do with the EA so I guess liar goes in there somewhere.

      Interesting B – I am a lawyer who is married to a doctor. The OW was a nurse, actually an LPN (almost a glorified orderly – sorry if that ticks any of you off, just my opinion and no one else’s). I made damn sure that my head was high – I won, she lost, end of story. You should not dismiss yourself. I understand about not wanting to face these people who might know. All of my H’s co-workers knew about the EA and NO ONE told me even though I have known some of them for 18 years. I made sure to mention that to the older ones and how disappointed I was in THEIR actions. Bunch of wimps. I can be a holy terror sometimes when I get a full head of steam up and this almost blew the boiler. You have nothing to be ashamed of – the shame belongs to your H. If you want to see your H and he happens to be with them, remember that. You do not deserve to deny yourself the things you want, including eating lunch with your H, because you are embarrassed. There is no embarrassment for you. I firmly believe that. So hold your head up high and sail right into the thick of those wimps (yes wimps because if they did know they certainly didn’t tell you). And as for the secretary, I’d be lobbying to get rid of her or if he won’t, dismiss her from your mind and act as though she doesn’t exist. She is a traitor too, and doesn’t deserve a second thought. Whew, that feels better. Dishonest people really get me going – and if your H’s associates knew then they are co-conspirators (guilty of the actual crime). Not having a good day today…

    • Notoverit

      Oh yeah, I dimed out someone who was having an affair, a PA, because I thought about how I felt not knowing and having the wool pulled over my eyes. Go ahead and let me have but I am sick and tired of people taking the easy way out and not being honest. If you are engaged in an affair that everyone but the poor spouse knows about well let him/her in on the secret too. From my soapbox I think the world needs more honesty and less secrecy and lying. If you do the crime be prepared to do the time.

    • Paula

      Just a thought on your comment, Anita, about grief. The point made here was that the CS is not necessarily grieving the person (AP) just the feelings they were getting, so the “fog” analogy is still correct, the OP is not always the pull, granted, sometimes they are, these are often the relationships that often go on to make the long and happy marriages you speak of – I know, I have a couple of friends in those situations, started as affairs, everybody is much happier now the first marriages are over. That’s not to say I “approve” – I’m glad they are happy, and things resolved well, but they could have chosen much less painful ways to end their first, unhappy marriages than an affair, or finished the first marriage before the affair fully developed.

      Dol, you are so very right about the isolation many CSs feel. I ache for my OH, yes, he did a really shitty thing, for far too long, but he is a real person, with real feelings and needs, too, and this has isolated him. He never complains about it, as he feels it is all self-inflicted. Judgement from others must be awful (we live in a small town, the AP went to school with us all, many, many people in town know about what they did) there is a lot of shame, for both of us, even though I know better than to be ashamed, sadly I am.

    • Alone

      A couple of thoughts from a cheater’s perspective here.

      1. Anita, you made some great posts. You hit the nail on the head with so much of what you said, seriously. And by the way, thanks for your nice post to me the other week.

      2. In regard to grieving as a cheater, I will admit that I very much grieved the OM in a big way. My H knows this and it has hurt him like hell. This grieving process has been a significant hurdle in the healing process for us and has nearly made our recovery impossible. I finally feel that I am done grieving/able to move on. However, now the problem is that my H is having a hard time with the amount of time it took me to grieve and “get over” the OM. Meaning, if it took me this long to “get over” the OM, then this relationship really must have meant something to me. And my H believes I stayed because 1) children and 2) I didn’t think the OM was an option. He also believes if the OM showed up again I would run back to him. This makes for a real mess. And at this point, our recovery is at a stand-still. Any advice on what I could do would be appreciated. At this point, my words and actions mean nothing, including the fact that I’ve had no contact with the OM. It doesn’t mean anything to my H at this point because he doesn’t believe that I truly chose to be with him or that I love him. My action plan for now is to show him I love him and pray for our marriage.

      3. Also, it seems that there is a common thread here: the H’s that cheat claim to have no attachment to the OW. It’s simply a game to them and they are simply using these women (yes, including me). I feel EXTREMELY used by the OM, but hell, I allowed it to happen, so who’s REALLY to blame here? On the other hand, female cheaters are the ones having the withdrawal symptoms from the affair. Perhaps there is a difference in the way the two sexes handle the withdrawal? Let me add, any continued contact after D-Day to me is just unbelievable. That did not happen in my case. My H put his foot down, there was no second chance. I am out the door if there is any contact. Also, although you wouldn’t believe it, I have not contacted the OM out of respect for his wife and their marriage. I know you are thinking, yeah, right… but it’s true. There are many reasons for no contact.

      4. Hail2Victors, speaking from my own personal experience where you and your wife are right now SUCKS. She sounds just like me. I had some very intense feelings about the OM. I was in severe withdrawal and depression after D-Day. I’m still not totally over the depression, but somewhat better. It’s been 8 months. I had expected to be over this deal in a month, or two, boy was I wrong. And the thing is that your wife is not going to be honest with you about her feelings because 1) she is scared you will leave her 2) she is confused about her feelings and 3) she doesn’t want to hurt you anymore. The only way she will be honest with you is for you to make it a safe place for her to discuss things. This is really hard to do because you don’t want to hear anything about the damn OM, you don’t want to hear how he “didn’t do anything wrong”, what needs he met that she had, blah, blah, blah. I know this because this is how my H feels. He HATES the OM and would likely punch him in the face if they ever cross paths, which I anticipate will happen at some point. My H, over time, made it safe enough for me to be truthful about my feelings for the OM, but it took several months. The only reason he even allowed me this safety is that he truly loves me and wants us to move past this. Now, I am extremely honest with him about the feelings I had about the OM. And I have hurt my H very badly.

      5. I personally know two couples that are now married as a result of their affairs. They seem very happy, but there is that stigma. I also know a couple that split up because of an affair, and the H left for the OW. They were together for several years. But then, the OW cheated on the H with someone else and they’re not together any more. Karma, eh? I think it totally depends on the people and the situation. However, bottom line: Anyone who says an affair is good for marriages is an idiot. Affairs literally destroy everyone. Not only the BS, but also the CS. Not to mention the children that are involved. Someone posted that they keep hoping they’ll get to the point where the affair helped them learn and their marriage is stronger than before. I can only dream of that day, because this is a hard damn road I have chosen for my H and I. And we are both tired and weary…

      • gone2far

        CS here. Married for 20 years – never saw the other woman coming. I am a lesbian, she was married, straight, kids…blah, blah. Started out as friends and over a year morphed into love. Four months ago she told her H, I told my W – damage has been done on all fronts. AP and I are not talking now – we’ve tried to stop several times over the the past 4 months – the longest we’ve been able to stay away from each other is 10 days. Pathetic. It’s hard for everyone involved in this mess. Letting go of the AP is painful. Hurting my W, her H, kids is excruciating. I don’t know how/why anyone would choose this. I would not have chosen to fall in love with someone other than my partner. Now, I have given my heart to someone else and she has done the same. My partner and I are in counseling, but it doesn’t seem to help. There is so much hurt in this. I can’t even reconcile it. As the CS, I don’t know how to ignore the other woman that I feel as though we innocently destroyed each other and our lives b/c we fell in love unexpectedly. I am distraught at times, depressed, feel like a wounded animal that just wants to run and hide. I have been trying to do the right thing for 4 months. Honesty at home does not help. Honestly only hurts right now. No one wants to watch their spouse cry over someone else. All any of us can do is put one foot in front of the other and hope healing comes from somewhere.

        • Sidney

          Sorry you are going through this. And you are right…it is a mess. But what is done is done….now you need to start from this moment and move forward. First and foremost you need to make things right with your wife. Do what needs to be done to help in her healing process. If you’ve done any reading on this site, you are aware that this will be a long and difficult process for her. Take note of the other BSs on here of doing what she will need from you….be completely honest, be transparent, etc, and cut all contact with your AP……which, from your post, will be difficult for the two of you. Going cold turkey on the no contact thing is necessary. I know it’s difficult for the two of you to do that, but for healing to begin with both of the marriages…it’s necessary. You must show your wife that SHE means more to you than your AP. And….I must tell you, that with time, it does get easier.

          Hang in there!!!

          • gone2far

            Thank you, Sidney. I appreciate your kind words of support. I will continue forward and try to save my marriage and do right by my wife and family one step at a time.

    • JS

      @ Notoverit – you go, girl! I like your attitude!! I am taking what you said to heart – this isn’t my shame, it’s his, and I’m really tired of cowering behind it. I’m an executive at an investment firm, and his OW was a file clerk. Along the lines of what you stated, I’m not dogging on file clerks, I’m just wondering why I’ve felt so inferior to someone who is an uneducated homewrecker. I think the general atmosphere at my H’s firm is one of superiority over those who don’t work there, and I think that’s been intimidating to me in dealing with all of this, in addition to wondering who knew. Thank you for your advice.

      A few years back, I worked with a man and woman who everyone believe were having an affair. Everyone gossiped behind their backs, so I approached him (I knew him only as an acquaintance) and told him what everyone thought. I didn’t know his wife, but I told him I was sure his wife was a good person and didn’t deserve this. He said people could gossip all they want, he wasn’t doing anything wrong. I asked if his wife heard the rumors wouldn’t she be bothered, and he said no way she’ll ever hear them. Turns out they were having an affair, they both left the company, and he and his wife moved to another city to start over after she found out about the affair. I know now that if this happened to someone I know, I would tell the spouse of the affair. No doubt in my mind.

    • JS

      @ Alone- I appreciate your honesty. In regards to #2, I felt (and sometimes still feel) that’s why my H stayed with me. We have young daughters, and the OW was much younger than him with a boyfriend and I don’t believe she would have left her boyfriend for my H in the long run. I have struggled with the thought that it was only my threats regarding what he would lose if he left that kept him here. As for what you can do about it, in my opinion it’s a long road of saying over and over and over that you chose your H and you love him and you’re so sorry for what you did. My husband now acknowledges that he blamed me for not meeting his needs and that’s what drove him to the OW, but that he was misguided in that blame. He says he understands now what he wasn’t giving to our marriage and he is 100% committed to fixing the mess he created, no matter what it takes. He has also changed his actions, big time. He used to never do anything for Valentines Day and he was always late with a Mother’s Day gift. Last year, he remembered both in a big way. He also started picking up our kids from school more often, going through their homework with them, cleaning up after dinner, VACUUMING THE HOUSE!!!! :o, planning our family vacation, telling me what he thought we should get the girls for Christmas instead 0f leaving it all up to me…..he became engaged in our marriage and our family in a big way. And he now acknowledges the things I do for us that he never acknowledged before. I don’t know if there are things like this that maybe you didn’t do before that you can do now to show your husband you are really in this, in addition to telling him over and over. My H couldn’t have told me enough times that he loved me and he way so sorry for making me feel like less of a person through his actions. Although I might have looked dismissive, it did help to hear it. And if you think that it was misguided thinking that got you in the EA in the first place, tell him that and tell him how your thinking is different now. That was my biggest question to my H – why should I think you’re any different now?

      Again, thank you for your honesty in your posts. I wish you the best in repairing your marriage.

    • E

      In case I haven’t said it before, I appreciate so very much the CS’s that are willing to speak up here … I happen to love a CS, so please know your comments are appreciated!! Someone on here once said, hurting people hurt people. I remind myself of that from time to time to gain perspective. Alone, your comments hit home for me – but in my H’s case, there has definitely been grieving … I wish it had just been physical.

    • Notoverit

      Sorry JS I meant to reply to you – guess you got it. Not being able to hit reply and me with a full head of steam about you feeling embarrassed, guess I messed up. Any way, sorry.

      Oh and Alone thank you for opening up to us. I think most of us make this a safe place for you to come. No judgment. I did think of what you said about the men thinking it was a game. No, my husband honestly said he thought it was love. Now, that said, I think men react differently. I have seen the calmness of D on here about his wife. All men seem to distance themselves from the emotional (sorry D but you are very calm and measured with your responses but I know it did hurt you) in order to make it less in their minds. Remember the post about what men need and what women need – we might as well be two different species. I don’t think all the CS men think this was a game; they’d just like for their WIVES to believe that – makes it less of an emotional tie to the OW (which really hurts the BS). Yes my husband cut it off when I found out but I think he was already starting to come out of the fog at the time – my info on the OW just made him realize what a mistake he made. So no, at the time he was in the EA, it was not a game to him.

    • Anita

      Thanks, I guess it took me a long time and years of healing to
      finally understand. I know even with my ex husband his
      affair lasted about a year after our divorce, even though
      it wasn’t right what he did, I do believe he was in love with
      her. I had to except that, in order to forgive him, so I could
      begin to heal from that situtation.
      It was hurtful, but I was a strong woman, and I made a new
      life for myself.

      I remember back when my ex husband was involved with
      his coworker, his other coworkers were aware, but they
      were very kind to me, still to this day I have no problem
      seeing any of them. My anger was directed at my husband
      back then, because he was married to me. I was disappointed
      in his affair partner, but I knew she had no wedding vows
      to me, therefore I had to direct my anger on my ex husband,
      it was his job to be faithful to me. The problem was between
      both of us. He loved another woman and wouldn’t end his
      affair, and I wasn’t staying in a marriage where I had to put
      with his affair. So we split the sheets and divorced.
      I know at my job if a coworker was involved in an affair,
      I would stay out of it because, its my right to work at my
      job to do what I was hired to do, not involve myself in
      other peoples marital problems. Its the cheating spouses
      job to be honest with their spouse, not coworkers, friends,
      or whoever.
      My ex husband and I are now friends, but we both had to
      forgive each other for this to happen.

    • Anita

      I remember back a couple of years ago when another coworker
      heard a rumor about another coworker husband cheating on
      her, this coworker asked me if she should tell the other
      coworker, I said no, because if the rumor was false, she just
      started problem between a married couple, I told her that
      if this person’s husband was cheating, she herself will evently
      find out. Turns out the rumor was false, and the couple is
      happily married. Gossip is so bad, it is usually full of 1/2
      truths, and if someone gossips to you, they will also gossip about you to.

      Affairs happen to couples of all ages, old and young,
      educated, uneducated, rich or poor, its been going on
      since the Biblical times.
      Betrayed spouses, if your spouse cheated with someone,
      who is less educated, that isn’t the reason for the affair.
      It was because they were attracted to that person and
      they gave into temptation. Sorry I know that hurts, but
      I know people who are very happily married with no
      history of an affair, they are both educated, uneducated,
      rich and poor, young and old.
      I know it hurts, I have been there, but it boils down to
      your spouse being involved with that person, and it hurt
      you. Now you have the choice to stay or leave, forgiving
      helps ease this pain.

    • Alone

      Thanks for your replies. This is interesting. I should have explained this in my first post. A while ago I told my H that I finally realized that I was simply entertainment to the OM. I told my H I was angry at the OM for that and I felt used. This irritated my H very much. He said I processed the affair incorrectly. That I needed to see it for what it really was. I asked him what he meant. He said that there were real feelings involved in the affair. He said the way I processed the affair was a coping mechanism that I used to deal with the loss of the OM. That I concocted my own version of the situation in order to get past my feelings for the OM. He said I needed to reprocess the affair for what it really was. I told my H, don’t you want me to hate the OM and never want to see him again? Of course he wants me to feel this way about the OM. But my H wants it to be because I truly don’t want the affair and truly choose to stay with him. That’s why no contact doesn’t mean anything to my H. He says because of the way I processed things I won’t contact the OM because I don’t want to look stupid. But think about this for a moment. My H had a chance to reinforce my thoughts about the OM. To demonize the OM in my mind once and for all and rid him from our lives But he didn’t do that. Instead he wants me to process things differently so that I choose HIM. Truly choose him. It takes a pretty big person to tell their cheating wife something like that. But the fact is my H doesn’t want a fake marriage. He wants the real deal. My H is a smart man… Thanks for listening.

    • Sidney

      Okay, here’s my two cents on the grieving process…..

      Did I grieve the loss of the OM? Oh yes! Did I feel depressed? No….just a huge sense of loss. An emptyness. A huge void in my life….but then again, the OM was a huge presence in my life for 15 months. I just don’t see how you can easily ‘get over’ the loss of a relationship with someone who meant that much to you.

      I’m 5 months out and I’ve got to tell you…it DOES lessen (that feeling of loss). It’s been a process and I still long to have that feeling back. I struggle with feeding my addiction and long for that ‘hit.’ Some days are better then others (as most of you can relate to)….

      In the original post, Carder states to do something to occupy your mind. That is so true. I have to keep my mind occupied…it’s the only thing that helps. When my mind is idle…I tend to dwell on it….which is NOT good.

      And as far as the whole how men and women handle the end of the EA….I really think it depends on the individual. Although I believe there are basic stages to the grieving process, no two people will grieve exactly the same. The emotions may be stronger for some as well as the length of time needed. And, no two EAs are the same. They all may have similiar aspects and follow a basic script….but there are so many factors involved….kind-of like childbirth…..they all have similarities and follow a basic script….but you talk to 100 different women and you will have 100 different (and individual) stories. That is why you can not generalize all affairs….everyone has their own story.

    • Anita

      My exhusband even though what he did was wrong, I will
      always be grateful that he was the person who told me about
      his involvment in his affair. I didn’t have to find out second
      hand. I will always appreciate him being honest. As ugly
      as the truth was, I still give him credit for coming clean
      on his own.

    • Hail2Victors

      Alone… Thank you for the post. I do understand that my wife needs a safe haven. I have been working with an attitude that I will be her best friend through this. I really appreciate your post because I need to keep her viewpoint in mind. She is worried that I will become angry or lose my patience through this process, and the only way I can maintain my patience is be understanding what she is dealing with.

      I want to be patient because a lot of good has actually come out of this ordeal. I have taken a look at myself and many improvements in my life. I can see where I was not meeting my wife’s needs anymore, and why. I honestly believe that if we can get through this, our marriage will be better and stronger than ever… But, she needs to end the addiction.

    • Disappointed

      As messed up as it sounds, I am envious of all of you whose husbands are still at home and saying they want to try. My husband moved out nov 7 and has had no contact since nov 6. In the beginning he tried to have me feel sorry for her and threatened that I would never see him again if I did anything to hurt her like tell her husband. He looked me in the eye with tears welling up and told me he missed her after 3 weeks. He still says he is in love with her and will love her for the rest of his life for awakening him from the deadness I created in him. Last night he told me what the turning point had been and it was just a simple flirty text. He also told me that they talked about their disappointments in their respective spouses. He says she simply said yes to him when all I said was no. That she accepted him without judging. He claims nothing physical happened. He does not know how he would feel to see or be near her again. Talks sometimes that he does not really know her and she was an idea. He misses how alive he felt and will be eternally grateful. He says he doesnt really know if he spends more time thinking about her or me/us and I think that is a crock. My questions… Will he ever see it for what it was? An infatuation or escape? Has anyone else had their husband move out and sign a short term lease and talk about how he feels better with distance? Has anyone reconciled after a separation? Are any other BSs being dated and bedded but no talk of return or attempt to try? But being told I know I risk losing you if I take too much time to figure out how I feel? Or saying I am obviously not just done with you as I have not demanded a divorce? Is there any chance if the CS is not in the home?

    • Surviving

      I know exactly how you feel about going to the workplace. I also had extreme anxiety about going there. Finally I decided I had to do it for myself, I had to overcome the fear. My husband brought in a whole bunch of pictures of me and some of the two of us and put them up in his office. He also started wearing his wedding ring one he hadn’t worn in years. The first time I went to his office I was worried people were going to talk about me and either pity me or whisper about me. Neither one happened. After I went the first time it made every visit after that easier. I am now a regular lunch guest for my husband, we have reconnected for this part of our relationship.

    • Elizabeth

      Today or should i say over the last week or so when i woke up one morning and hit a landmind in my battle field head and had a very bad day,Even though i hated it, my mind spat out something i have not thought of before.I would like to share it with you all if you dont mind. only 2 things really!

      When you meet someone and you fall in love,we say and do things to make sure the relationship lasts,we promise to each other in voice,and as we grow the promise becomes a hidden trust,we dont need to keep telling each other,we take it for granted.As we grow we marry we tell each other vows,in many cases they come from a script,we just change them around to suit and again we voice them out to each other.Now in the light of things this voice only is no longer of use, as spoken words have no value.In my case i now have written down what i call
      boundaries,but not in a finger wagging way and i will give them to my CS,my words my thoughts my feelings to move forward.

      Honour, i have old fashion values,i like to think of my knight protecting my honour.I think i need my CS to do just that i mean i know that he told the OW all the negitive things about me,made me out to be some kind of monster,i know he did this because he got what he needed out of it,i was kept in the dark when they got found out by the OW Poor H,i was pushed aside because he wanted to make sure that she was ok,”Protecting her honour”i guess to help get unhooked i need him to tell her that she is nothing compared to me and that his part was only for his own selfish needs,because all ive heard on our healing process it was all my fault,i know it was not all my fault.Honour.

    • Alone

      @ Hail2Victors – Couple more thoughts. You should encourage your wife to read this website. Of course there are going to be rants about the OW and what a piece of trash they are, etc. That is too be expected. People are hurting and they damn well have a right to be mad. They need to release their anger. Let her know that’s not how you view her, and that you love her. That’s what My H did for me when I was struggling VERY much with the label of being the OW. Even though I didn’t have a sexual affair, there was a physical component to my affair and so I know that there are a long list of names for people like me. I also felt, (long story) that somehow I was totally blamed for the affair. I carried all of the guilt. Anyway, don’t let that discourage your wife from reading this website. If she’s like me, her head is reeling. She is thinking to herself, what the hell have I done? How do I get past this, etc. I’ve posted quite a bit on this website. She can see what I’ve written. Maybe it will help her feel less crazy.

      As you see my username is Alone. I picked this name because as the cheater you ARE isolated. No one wants to hear your side of the story, you feel terrible guilt and confusion. Also, I was trying VERY hard to suppress my feelings about the OM that I felt at one point I just would be better off dead. And I really meant it. There is no outlet for a cheater, no one that can understand. There’s no one to confide in, to talk it through with. I couldn’t even be honest about my feelings regarding the OM with my therapist because I knew these feelings were morally wrong. I am still struggling, but I am getting a grip on myself now. I read Torn Asunder front to back in a matter of a few short days. It was a good read for me as the cheater. I learned that I am not crazy for what I am experiencing. I also learned that my H needed to fully express his anger if we were ever going to heal. And I encouraged him to do so.

      Hang on Hail2Victors, a hard road but my H and I are walking it. You can too.

    • Notoverit

      Alone, you have a truly wise husband. My H wanted to believe the same thing as you but I kept pointing out you said you felt something for the OW. Don’t hate her because I hate her. Look at her as a person and decide if that is what you truly want. He didn’t; he chose to stay with me. Just like you did with your H. I think you are lucky to have such an understanding and smart H.

    • Alone

      @ Sidney –

      I agree with you, I felt, and still feel a huge sense of loss. And before this EA I’d never really felt empty before. I absolutely understand what you mean when you say you feel empty. Yes, the OM was also a very significant presence in my life as well. And not just by email, text, or phone. He was always there, a constant. I know if I was a BS, I would want for my CS to immediately cut off any feelings, etc. for the OP. That is what should happen. This is what I would demand as a BS. Unfortunately, it didn’t work that way for me or you. And it really does suck because I wanted to turn off the feelings and tried just about everything I knew to do to make that happen. It just took time and hopefully one day they will all be gone and this will all be a very distant memory.

    • Sara withanH

      Yesterday was the last straw for me after my H spent the entire day at work in meetings with the OW. I just can’t take it any more, pretending that nothing is wrong to everyone around us while the truth is this is his second EA at his second place of employment and we are on our second D-day wityet another divorced looser older woman. He always goes for the same type and I used to even joke with him about it before I really knew the extent of his issues. It’s all about trying to get strange from someone else, and those types of women are attracted to him for some reason too. He was a virgin when we married, and he uses that as his excuse to always wonder what it would be Luke to have a PA so he looks to start EA’s to see if he can take them further. He has even told me that he wants to have a PA to see whatit would be like…what a pig. He is very successful professionally and we have been together since college and before his success, 14 years and four kids later I have caught my CS twice having and then continuing his EA with a co-worker. We went to counseling, he swore he would stop and after I caught him in the Spring I caught him again this fall- and it has gotten much worse. I asked him to find another job and he has agreed, but every day he goes to work I die inside and I just can’t take it any longer. I packed up his things yesterday and told him to move out. I won’t even think of taking him back unless he finds another job in another town and proves to me he has a sincere change of heart. It’s PATHETIC to witness his behavior and know that this is the looser I married and had children with. It’s pathetic that these divorced older woman think that a married man with four children is a good catch. Just because he is successful does not mean he us available, and when I met him he had just landed his first job out of college, a very low man on the ladder. Now he is on top at work and guess who walked with him every step of the way to get him there….yep…that would be me. Yet this is how he repays me? I have no sympathy for you lonely, isolated CS out there. If you want a spark in your life then for goodness sake at least be honest with your BS and tell the truth, otherwise you are just a unfaithful, selfish coward.

    • Lynne

      Sara withanH,

      I am so sorry that you are going through this, and especially with four children in the house.

      This is only my opinion (for whatever its worth!), but it doesn’t sound from you’ve described that your biggest challenge is him needing to get a new job. If my H told me that “he wants to have a PA to see what it’s like”, this would be a HUGE RED FLAG! He’s telling you what’s on his mind, and moving to a new job won’t change that statement. Are you or both of you in counseling? Unless he changes his framework, and he digs deep within himself to understand “why” he needs this, you are headed for more of the same. Knowing what you know from these declarations of his, do you really want this man? You do deserve so much more than this.

    • kelly

      No I dont think so. If he is, it’s all talk and no action

    • Healing

      Just wanted to post and let everyone know how much this site has meant to me over this past year. My H and I are slowly healing and rebuilding after his one-sided EA with a coworker while he was deployed for 1 year to the Middle East. He left for his deployment in Oct 2010 for 1-year. In Feb 2011 an NCO, who was the same rank as my husband, came to work there for a 6-month deployment. Their jobs were such that they had to work closely together getting troops downrange to other locations in the Middle East. My husband developed a huge crush/infatuation/or whatever else you can call it as they got in the habit of going to eat together. They only did the eating together for about 6 weeks before I discovered what was going on and asked him to stop. The only reason I know he did is because he started going back to his room and eating lunch/dinner with us over Skype. However, he still saw her everyday at work and they still has interactions together. From what I have been able to piece together she really wasn’t that interested in him romantically, just as a friend to get her through her 6 months. When she left in Aug 2011 he never heard from her again. It has been agonizing for me to watch him suffer getting over feelings for someone who didn’t reciprocate. He will be starting counseling soon, within the next few weeks. He finally seems to be over the obsessing about her and fantasizing about her but still thinks about her every once and awhile during the day. He has been good about sharing about her but I don’t know if he’s sharing the extent. It does seem to be lessening. Sorry I’m rambling just feels good to get some of this off my chest in a safe environment. It has been a year of much suffering for me and my 4 children. It probably wasn’t as bad as most of you are experienced since he was deployed during his infatuation and at least my children were spared the worse. I could definitely tell he was distant during that time. He’s been home since the end of Sept and things seem to finally be getting better. She is stationed 2,000 miles away and that defintely helps. Thanks for listening!

    • Roller coaster rider

      I tried and couldn’t reply to a specific post as before. I want to say that for me, the beginning of real change was the day I held to my previously established boundary and left my CS on D-day #2. Now, 4 months later, my H and I both agree that the dissolution of our 35 year marriage is an absolute necessity for both of us as the old must pass away. While it may take a very long time to confirm this, it certainly seems that we each are making changes that we never could before, praying for genuine healing, wisdom, and the best for each other. The rage, anger, feelings of betrayal…gone. Even if our hopes for a new beginning never materialize, I can say honestly that the affair has accomplished what nothing else ever did before: it made it impossible to stay the same. For that, I will always be grateful.

    • D

      Roller Coaster Rider, how poignant is your post. When I first read the heading for this thread I applied it to the CS. My wife was definitely addicted to her AP and so the affair continued much longer than she really wanted or desired. The withdrawal, that overwhelming loss Sidney described, stayed around for a while, but my wife to her credit recognized that as a catalyst for change. She’s always described the affair as a needed wake-up call to get her out of her own stagnation stemming from childhood issues, etc.

      Two years later and my wife still wonders if I’ll ever get over the affair. Interestingly, from my point of view, the affair in and of itself is no longer an issue. But what I was forced to confront – my own awakening – about myself and my marriage, and the questions that came up about who are we now, after the affair, have opened a can of worms, so to speak. But I realize that the heading of this thread applies to me as well, and maybe others here. I’ve said it before that there is an addictive quality to pain and we live with it for so long (and it’s so intense) that to let it go means losing a part of ourselves. Isn’t that a weird perspective? Can you imagine? Let go of the affair, the pain, hurt, betrayal, and simply move on with the CS (assuming there is genuine remorse and work is taken seriously). It feels like jumping off a cliff ~ even with a parachute. It’s still just a matter of letting go in order to fly.

      • Linda

        D, you are so correct, the BS can become addicted to the pain and it does become who we are. Many of us don’t go around telling everyone our tale, but we continue to relive the story in our heads everyday. In some strange way it is a comfort to us, a reminder that we should always be on our guard in order to feel safe. I also wonder if many of us are afraid to put the pain behind us because we do not know what our feelings will be toward our marriages and spouses if we are healed. Will we still want to be with our partners or will we have the confidence to move ahead with our lives? In many instances the BS will do the self exploration and grow into a content and happy individual. In contrast the cheater often remains stuck, unwilling to look deep within themselves. Sometimes the BS has emotionally outgrown the cheater and believes that they cannot stay together. I have been very fortunate that Doug (when he got his head out of his…) began to see some areas in his life that he was not pleased with and made the proper changes that made him happy. We also continue to grow both physically and mentally striving to be the best that we can be. Linda

    • Paula

      So very true, Linda, D and RCR. As you can probably tell from my recent posts, I think I am on the brink of this very cliff, for a long time it was terrifying, it meant I’d failed, failed to be a good enough partner, failed to mend the broken relationship, failed in the most important aspect in my life. I’m still a little fearful, but am slowly awakening to see a challenge ahead, in a good way, rather than a great disaster movie behind me. I’m just very sad that although my partner has made the necessary changes, and is a really good person, and I love him dearly, I may not be able to continue my journey with him by my side, an almost overwhelming sense of loss, but not the all encompassing disaster it seemed for far too long.

      • Linda

        Paula, I wouldn’t look it as failure, but an opportunity to grow and learn more about yourself and what you want in your life. Linda

    • Sara withanH

      Lynne thank you so much for your comment to my post, it was excellent advice. When I first found out that my H was having an EA with an office co worker I was the one who caught him, he did not come clean to me. I noticed that he had become very withdrawn and critical to us at home, and of course he was going into work early and staying late too. Since he has a demanding Jon and travels a lot I thought nothing of it other then stress…bit did I know what was going on when I was using his phone one night and saw the tone and frequencies of his inter office IM’s to the OW, because he is not a romantic and was expressing concern and effort to reach out to her- and that is uncharacteristic for him especially at work. I knew right away that there was a problem. He of course denied it..blah blah blah…just friends excuse and “we worked closely together on several things recently and have been through a lot recently”…he was not fooling me and I did not take it lightly like he did at all. I immediately insisted on no personal contact, expressed my feelings about the situation to him and insisted on counseling and daily communicatios after work. So off he went to counseling, and I attended when requested too ..and of course he expressed “remorse” and promised that the personal EA that I called him out on would stop, no problem keeping it professional and would do anything I needed to give me closure…no more IM’s etc…LIAR. I bought his story hook line and sinker. I did not even ask him to change jobs ( he has a great job) and I did not think it was necessary because he promised me that this was not an issue and he would do anything to make things right again with us…OK, I could believe this man of 13 years that never hid anything from me before and begged me to tell him what I needed for closure…right? Nope, wrong. All summer all fall he told me often and almost daily that things were great with us, there was absolutely no personal contact with her…strictly professional….and gave me daily affirmation that things were fine. Liar. In Nov This past year D Day II happened. Same woman, mch worse. I was joking with him at home playing with his phone ( that had been clean all summer, he always let me look at his phone and computer because he wanted us to be transparent, after all he had nothing to hide he told me) Well, apparently when you try to cover up deleted messages from contacts that you have programmer in with no name or a false name sometimes they et caught up in the I Phone and do not ever get perm deleted…you can’t ever get rid of them and two text messages from when he was overseas stuck…forever. Busted. He had lied to me everyday for 6 mo.

    • Sara withanH

      Then he started to sing like a bird, his excuse was low self esteem issues and the fact that he wanted her to find him attractive. Also, it was no big deal because all he wanted was one thing from her…and you can guess what it is. Yep, he told me that he just wanted to sleep with her because he had never been with anyone else and wanted to know what he had missed that “everyone else had experienced” before they got married. He told me that she had a string of bad relationships and needed a “nice guy”…and that since he was a “nice guy” that why could he not be the guy she needed? Why not me? Yep, that’s what he told m. He talked about how friendly she was and how helpful to him, and that she must be interested in him because she always responded to his ccommunications. I learned that during all of last year and probably even longer that he has been talking with her at work about her personal problems…she comes to him apparently for a shoulder to lean on…they have been texting, talking on the phone when he is overseas, and that he fantasizes about her. Super. Am I addicted to being a victim or feeling the pain? Nope. I have a very strong personality and tell it like it is, I am not meek or mild and I do not play that part. I am po, furious, betrayed….and he is weak, selfish, spineless and a coward. He has already told me all his lame excuses for why he thinks he did what he has been doing (as mentioned above) and to tell you the truth I have no sympathy. Am I going to change who I am physically or take better care of myself? Why should I? I already take good care of myself and I am a very healthy person. I have not “let myself go” since college when we met and I am constantly looking for ways to improve myself (on my own all these years) professionally, and in other areas of my life…that’s just who I always have been. The problem lies within him, not me. This is not my fault and he obviously has some pretty big issues to work through. Wish I has a crystal ball years ago before I had 4 kids and wasted the last 14 years of my life on thus CS. What a hypocritical jerk. He was going to church every Sunday with all of us, coaching little league, takes the morally high ground on just about every issue that comes us…and even has the gall to preach to others about professional ethics at work! Ha Ha Ha! He should have run for office..this conservative, white collar republican man who has this in his closet. He would have fit right in to Washington. He also is very pompous and quick to judge others! Yep, that’s MY man. I’m so lucky. Think I will be taking a nice vaca in his dime this Spring 😉

    • Paula

      Thanks, Linda, that is my point, and starting to arrive at this place, of greater acceptance that it may not work out, has been an aim for a long time, I have found it very difficult to accept it all, even though I have worked really hard on myself, and trying to adjust my thinking, and view of the world. I’m not there fully yet, but feel like I am finally on my way to this place of acceptance, thank goodness, as it has been very damaging to myself, and I’ve known it! Very frustrating when you can intellectualize everything, but still struggle so painfully with the emotions. My OH has seen all of this, and said that a good part of my struggle has been that I don’t really know what to do with my life, and I knew that before he said it out loud. I thought I was so happy, I still think I was, I had just put myself last all the time, I enjoyed being the martyr, I think, lol! I have been all things to all people, without really realising it fully, partially out of guilt. Guilt for never really finding my career niche before children, I had just joined all of my OH’s business activities, taking on the responsibility for the accounting, breeding and stock health side of our farming business, whilst he looked after the property growth, feed supply, R & M, etc. It was blimin’ hard work, but work I loved. We were a great team, complemented each other’s skill set brilliantly. When he rung the changes with the sale of the farm his family had owned for generations, and MY babies, the stud herd, so very suddenly and he purchased another, much larger property, further away from my support systems, I struggled, badly. That’s when he engaged with his ex, trying to find someone who understood and sympathised with his loss, he turned away from me instead of toward me. He says he felt he couldn’t burden me with any more than I was already coping with. I get that, he regrets every part of that, but is much better than me at trying to put it all behind us, learn from it and move forward positively. However, I’m getting there, slowly!

      sara withanH, I’m glad you’ve found “us” here, I had a little giggle at your last part, about your white collar republican H, isn’t it just the weirdest thing, as my mother often used to quote, “he doth protest too much,” isn’t it odd how so often these guys are exactly as you describe, they’re hiding behind the respectability. Good luck, vent here, when needed, it’s a safe haven, mostly, and use the advice, Doug and Linda have gifted us a valuable resource here, and I, for one and totally indebted to them for helping me not fall into the pits without the safety net of the people here, at the bottom! I am so glad you are a strong and capable woman, it will stand you in good stead for your future growth on this most horrible of journeys 🙂

    • Hail2Victors

      @Alone… You are helping a great deal. I asked my wife to read this site about 3 months ago. Only last week, when she decided she needed to do something different, did she start reading and figuring things out. I also encouraged her to come clean with one of her close friends, so she would have someone besides me to confide in. Even though I am trying to be a friend, and be objective, I am not… She needed someone else, and that friend has been helping her.

      I will mention Torn Asunder. She has not mentioned as much, but I can see she is feeling guilty about being the OW.

      My objective lately is to continue to understand her viewpoint in order to keep my patience, and make sure my feelings of anger don’t hang over us like a cloud of punishment. I don’t want to punish her. I want us to both grow from this experience, and heal, become stronger individuals.

      Thank you again for your posts.

    • Elizabeth

      Ok so i gave my H my boundries via Email,at first he was angry that i didnt talk to him about them,he replied back via email with this responce,i knew by the tone of his reply that if i said anything we would argue,so i replied back saying that i have been trying to talk to him and he would not listen and jump on the defence wagon and start to blame again.That was not the point i was trying to get across so i left it, continued our day as normal.Then when we went to bed i started to pillow talk to him something we used to do before kids and other lifes constent challanges,and it worked he opened up more.I explained that part of the healing on my part was to imagine looking at a photo album but instead of looking forward i was looking back,and i had to address what ever image i stopped on,because i knew what was real.In his man way he explained that it was like going on a car journey and getting to a destination and thinking”how did i get here” Talking heads song springs to mind.And that he did not love her even though he told her, it was a knee jerk reaction.I gave him a hug and said now thats the person i want to talk to,i need to hear compassion and tenderness in his voice.Iam nearly at the end of my photo album the end of my process,i still have issues i may need to address and hopefully he will respond in the same compassion as before.

    • Holding On


      I’m glad to see you posting again. I’ve missed your input and perspective. Up above, you asked how to emotionally reconnect with your H and I think you got great advice. I would also add to show your spouse an increase in respect. Lessen up on any critical things and emphasize your praise of him and the things he does and the man he is. I know you said your words just don’t mean much right now. I can relate. My husband says some sweet, loving words, but they don’t really touch my heart…but sometimes…they do. Also, sometimes even though they are not really finding a place in me, it does show me that he is trying. And that fills me with hope for the future. Don’t give up trying, even if it seems that it is doing no good. It is little drops in the bucket.

      Do you know what your husband’s love language is? Ways that really make him feel loved – Physical Touch, Words, Quality Time, Service, Gifts? Try to really focus on doing the thing that makes him feel most loved…if you are not sure…how does he typically show you love? Or, if you aren’t sure try to do a little bit of each. Maybe just showing appreciation for all he is doing to help you through this?

      I know that reassuring words are things I most need to hear. Sometimes I can’t “believe” in those words, but just hearing them over and over…I love you. I choose you. You are the one I want. I want a future with you. Thank you so much for working through this with me. I will never hurt you again. My heart is here with you. I was so wrong and I have learned so much to never cross those boundaries again. You have my heart forever. Or maybe if words and talk don’t work as well, I would have loved to have a letter from my husband that was a letter of apology that I could read over and over as needed. Or a letter sharing all he has come to know about himself and all he has learned through this. I would appreciate seeing the “growth” he is making through this process.

      I think the best thing that I have heard from my husband is that he is going to keep trying to make this up to me for as long as it takes. That he knows he hurts me and will never stop loving me or trying to make me see how sorry he is for his actions. I appreciate that, when I am not very hopeful, he will be there to keep trying.

      Anyways, I hope this is helpful to you and please don’t be so hard on yourself, Alone. I can see how much guilt and shame you have, and it is going to be a bright future. You are a beautiful person that deserves a chance to start again. Let yourself. 🙂 I can see that you are trying so hard and have come so far in the months since D-Day. (And again, I am reminded that my husband needs a second chance. He is just as remorseful as you. He is trying so hard. We can move past this. So, thank you for being here to help me see this.)

    • Disappointed

      My CS had an EA with a friend of ours who is a married mother of two. It only lasted a month. My husband moved out 4 days after D day. Today I had lunch with a friend who is a mutual friend to the OW. I did not know I could feel worse but I do. The OW told her she is in love with my CS. My friend told me she is miserable and feels horrible. All I can think is not horrible enough to NOT have done this. My CS never heard her say that she was in love with him but now I know. I also am afraid my friend will tell the OW my CS has said he is in love with her. Most of all it hurts that no one is angry with either of them on my behalf. They are just sad for everyone. How strange to sit across from someone and have them tell you that they tried to tell the OW that being with your CS could never have worked and that she should take note of how badly he treated YOU his wife. I feel as this will never end. I do not know how to keep going. My CS and I are talking and seeing each other, but I am still just trying to get a chance to try. And even if he returns will the spector of their great love – that everyone else recognizes as infatuation – just hang over us forever? Maybe it was not a fog, could texting for a month have actually been something real? Please has anyone been thru my scenario? Maybe they should just get to be together and find out it would not work…. Now it is just a perfect dream…

    • Sad

      JS, this feeling of embarrassment and resentment is a huge stumbling block to healing. I cannot face anything and any people to do with my H’s work. I am the BS, 2+years post DDay and healed to the stage of happier and more intimate at home. Of course, I can force myself to lift my head up high when I am amongst them. But I find it really strenuous, painful and such a waste of time! I do not even want to hear about his work. Simply driving pass that place hurts. I understand that the shame belongs to my H. Thanks for input from all of you on how to get pass this, very much appreciated.

    • Disappointed

      I think maybe we are all deluding ourselves about the fog. If they think they are in love and willing to forget all else just to text each other, maybe it IS LOVE and all this talk of fog is us BSs easing our own pain… Doug can you respond? My friend who is friends with the OW also is completely excusing this with the “they werent looking for this” line of reasoning. Feeling an attraction is not controllable, but communicating once you realize is controllable. I am in SO MUCH PAIN every minute of every day and “they werent looking for it” takes all their responsibility away…

      • Doug

        Disappointed, I truly believe there is an affair fog. Keep in mind that the term “affair fog” is the euphoria that someone involved in an affair feels (infatuation) but is based on the fantasy created by the affair partners. This fantasy is based on an irrational and incomplete viewpoint of the affair partner (at least in my case). While in the fog the cheater will often rationalize their actions in order to minimize their feelings of guilt — often to the extent that they “invent” reasons for having the affair in the first place. The cheater might feel as though they are in love and perhaps they may be, but the feelings are based on fantasy – but they can fuel the addiction.

        I was guilty of convincing myself that my marriage was bad and that Linda didn’t really love me or cared if she was married to me, though that wasn’t really the case at all. As a result, I treated Linda like crap.

        I’m not sure I answered your question, but I hope that helps.

    • Alone

      @ Holding On and JS, thanks for your very nice post to me. I take all of the advice offered here. My H and I actually had a great evening last night. We “took a night off” from discussing things. It was nice to forget for a while about all of this turmoil. And guess what, I told him I was posting here and to please read the posts and yes, even what my username was. He said my username was depressing, yeah, I agree with that! Anyway, he said this will be my space to help me heal. I feel relieved, so he knows what I am up to. Thanks again for great advice and a kind post to me. My H and I both took the love languages test and I have been keeping that in mind.

      @ Disappointed – Right after D-day, I needed help as a cheater to understand what the hell happened to me. Was I crazy? So I started reading here about the fog, then I began to feel maybe I had a mental illness of some sort to have all of these feelings and to have behaved this way. Months later, I don’t really call it the “fog”. I had real feelings, definitely morally wrong feelings, but nonetheless real ones about my affair partner. And I was truthful with my H about them. I know some people don’t think these feelings are real and will say I am still in the “fog”… Anyway, this “fog” to me was the feelings of love and infatuation that I felt about the OM. It’s easier and more palatable to say you’re in a fog than to say, “I’m in love with my AP”. If you can write a cheater off as crazy, it’s easier to accept their behavior. I don’t think my H believes I was in a “fog” of any sort. Just my viewpoint.

    • Alone

      @ Disappointed, One last thing. The OM told my H on our D-Day that it was “really hard for us”. Meaning, hard for us (the cheaters) to not act on our feelings. Talk about adding fuel to the fire. This really angered my H!!! My H took this as the OM asking for pity. Pity that he couldn’t help it, he couldn’t stop his feelings, hard for us to not go to a PA, etc. As my H put it, cheaters don’t deserve pity. But can you imagine the OM telling my H this, to his face? I gotta say, that took some courage.

      Disappointed, I am so sorry that this has happened to you. I hope things will get better for you and soon. I can’t imagine the world of hurt you BS have to endure. I feel terrible for you. Take care.

    • Sara withanH

      Alone, if you don’t mind me asking was your OM married/exclusive and did he have children? I am asking this because I wondered if that affected your decisions at all or not. My H had both of his E’s with divorced OW who had grown children and I think that helped decrease his feelings of guilt, but I am speechless on how another woman could recipicate the relationship with a married man with four kids at home and not have any issue with that fact. When confronted by myself in a mist non threatening and pleasant manner ( and I am not being sarcastic) I informed my H OW that I felt very uncomfortable and was aware of their close, long standing and developing relationship to which she simply replied “I understand”….that’s all I got out of her. Really….seriously?

    • Alone

      @ Sarah with an H –

      The OM and I are both married. With children. Yes, it 120% affected our decisions after D-day.

      The OW in your case was probably so dumb-founded and scared she didn’t know what to say.

      From your story, it is very obvious that you have been to hell and back. I am sorry for your pain. You deserve better and so does my own H.

    • Disappointed

      Thanks for answering Doug, I really appreciate it. @Alone You ere brutally honest. So like I said, we ARE just kidding ourselves about the fog. The APs just havent had a chance to disappoint yet. Without the escape of the fog idea, I don’t think I can ever move forward with my CS. If he truly is in love with her, there will never again be a place for me. She will always be there perfect and unattainable, never to have a fall from grace. I did not think I could feel worse… I was wrong…

      • Doug

        Disappointed, I think that it might serve you well to research infatuation versus real love. If I’m not mistaken, you just discovered the EA a couple of months ago and the EA lasted for just a month. I’m pretty sure your husband is in LA LA land (fog) and it’s way too early to give up on him or your marriage.

    • Alone

      @ disappointed. I’m so sorry for hurting your feelings and making things worse. I would like to add a few points:
      1. I did feel I loved my AP. notice I said did. With no contact, the feelings have faded considerably.
      2. I was very confused after d-day as I felt I loved both my AP and my H. I explained to my H that my feelings for him were always there, they were just buried by the affair. I never stopped loving him, I was just severely confused. I was also emotionally disconnected after d-day. If u are a cheater, it takes a while to reconnect to your spouse. After all, u had an emotional affair. It’s built on emotions.
      3. My H gave me time to work through those feelings and decide what I wanted. I chose him. I wanted to stay with him.
      4. My AP, although I care about him, represents a very dark place in my life. I don’t ever want to go back there.
      5. I am telling you, I think men can get over these love feelings a lot quicker. No woman is perfect…. Not even his AP.

      I think it is too early to give up. My H could have given up on me, and he didn’t. And I think we’re gonna make it… You can too.

      I’m just sick about making you feel worse.

    • Disappointed

      @Alone and Doug – thank you again. There is no need to feel badly for anything posted. My CS is making very little effort and that is the real problem. Unlike so many on the site he left me immediately and by his words prefers to be alone at least right now. It is just the more time that goes by the less hope I have and to have a mutual friend so easily dismiss the hurt and treat their love as real has undone me. Thank you for being there… People who are fortunate enough to have never been there just cannot understand. I still dont think my CS does as far as the pain, at the barest inkling he shuts down and runs. Today has been very difficult and I am grateful for this site and your comments. Hopefully by tomorrow I’ll be able to rally again. This is such a long drawn out process, I just had no idea…

    • Alone

      @ Disappointed, one last post to you. You are very heavy on my heart right now… and I am praying for you. Please understand this: you are not the problem here. Your cheating H is the problem. The problem is with him. I can speak with authority on this issue. Also, being a woman I can imagine that this is probably completely devastated your self esteem. I know that’s how it would affect me. But again, I return to my previous comment. It’s not a problem with you, the problem is with him. Hang in there. When this happens to you, even as the cheater you have no idea how long this process is going to be. It sucks. I wouldn’t wish this on my own worst enemy. God bless you.

    • E

      Disappointed, I agree with Doug and Alone – it’s way too soon to give up! I can tell you also that the points Alone spoke of above sound so similar to some of the things that my H said to me. I believe he did have real feelings for her, but I have to agree with Doug in that those feelings were based on fantasy and they were fed by the addiction. My H has said the same thing about the AP representing a dark place for him and his words “he never wants to go back there” … he also said that he never stopped loving me. We are at home together and still have major roadblocks from time to time (as you can see from my latest comments!) But, we were apart for several weeks. I have to say – your comments about him being gone but him dating and bedding? I’m sorry but I just don’t think that’s the wise thing to do! You CAN let him know you love him, that you want him back – but you can also let him know that you cannot just tolerate him being gone from the home and “undecided” as to what he wants and continue to have sex with him. Believe me, I know how much you want that feeling, you are in the stages of desperation. For me, the things that helped me get out of that “desperate” stage: Do something for yourself – new hairdo, spa treatment, new outfit whatever. Try to resist calling him!!!! If you do need to speak with him, try to avoid confronting him about his feelings, status of affair/contact, etc. Let him see you walking tall! Confide in a friend who supports YOU!! If you are confiding in friends who do not support you, quit talking to them and find someone who does! I know this may seem hard – but try to begin imagining yourself without your H. Try to imagine your life on your own. Maybe you could do things when you wanted to, watch what you want on TV, eat what you want to eat, etc. Maybe even one day, find a new love, one that appreciates you. I know this may sound a little odd, but imagining my life differently sort of helped me get used to the idea. And it wasn’t so bad! It helped me leave that state of desperation. In a way, I started to harden my own heart towards my H – this was healing to me. Don’t get me wrong though – when he started begging me to come home and I could see that lifting of the fog – I was right back there in deep love and wanted him more than ever. My struggle now is the fear of being vulnerable again. But I am slowly recovering.

    • Hopeful

      What strikes me the most as I read these posts is how all of the CS’s discuss their feelings about the AP with the BS. Although my H admitted to an EA, he denies having any feelings for her (despite buying expensive gifts for her). He insists that they were just “sounding boards” for each other. He denies that the EA was anything more than that and refuses to discuss it any further. I wonder if he is lying just to me, or to himself as well. The point is, I don’t think we can get past this without discussing the EA in some detail. My H maintains that we’ve discussed it enough (though we have barely scratched the surface), and that my attempts to discuss it further are destructive. Whenever I bring it up, he sighs dramatically and adopts a “Not this again” attitude. Why does he refuse to discuss this? One doesn’t buy expensive, personal gifts for another woman merely because the other woman is a sounding board.

    • Dol

      Disappointed: so sorry to read your suffering. Did someone say you’re 2 months after d-day? First-off, that ‘friend’ who’s condoning the affair: not sure what others think here, but you need to be very clear, that’s appalling behaviour. It’s something that Linda MacDonald writes about in ‘how to help your spouse heal from an affair’: you need to distance yourself from people around you who condone the affair. If these are people who you would normally turn to for support, that makes it doubly horrible and unfair, but you need to be clear in your own mind – do not let friends go “yes, but..” MacDonald says that either you or, in time, your husband, will need to be clear with friends who supported what happened that it was wrong. She ends by saying, “if the friend is unreceptive, then the betrayer and the hurt spouse simply need to avoid those who overtly or covertly backed the affair.” (p.67)

      I don’t think your recovery process can properly start until either your husband comes round and faces his responsibilities, or it becomes apparent that you need to end it. As others have said, it’s too early to say, but the one thing that everyone agrees on: rebuilding your own sense of self, re-grounding yourself, exercising, talking to those friends who *are* on your side (perhaps ones you’ve lost touch with) – these are all things that will immeasurably help you, whichever path your life takes from now.

      I was, in one way, very lucky: my CS, pretty much from day 1, has fought for us. Reading about people who have had to fight for their relationship when their partner didn’t believe or know if they even loved them any more? I honestly don’t know if I could have done that. So try to be kind to yourself: this is one of the hardest things you’ll ever have to do. For me, I still swing between feeling like I’m drowning and feeling like I have my head above water. It’s quite a distinct thing, that sensation of being underwater: overwhelming, terrifying, heavy. Those times will pass, but it’s a cycle. Just remember, it will feel like you have your head above water again.

      On the specific issue of whether the feelings are ‘real’, I struggled with the same thing. Partly it’s about conscious control: if the CS knew it was real, knew what they were doing, and were in conscious control – how could they do this to us? If they were *not* in control, how are we able to trust them again? Our counsellor put it well this week: well, because you’ll have learned a massive amount about yourself through this process! He’s right too, and that’s helped me hugely to start believing the trust will one day return.

      And that sense of how ‘real’ the feelings were is often exactly the sort of trigger that will push me under water again. That’s precisely because of the nature of attachment injury: your mind ‘seeing’ the person you love betraying you!? Then part of our mind tries to protect us and we end up in fight or flight mode. What was previously a safe place is now dangerous.

      But I think the word ‘real’ is not helpful. The affair itself is, as Doug says, not a real relationship – that much is absolutely true. For my CS, it came along at a very low point: she was beyond her ‘zone of tolerance’, with zero self-esteem, and I was distracted by finishing my PhD. She went into emergency stress response, and then this man appeared and poured adoration on her. The emotional and chemical basis for these affairs is very strong: it’s powerful enough to completely counteract any daily stress, and to produce a whole set of reinforcing thought patterns that lead the CS into deception. In that sense, it is absolutely a “fog” – due to a combination of stress response and affair-triggered infatuation response (read up on oxytocin) they are *not* thinking straight or, when they are, they struggle to manage to get that to make them act as they should.

      For me, it’s actually not very easy to read about the chemical basis of these things because – yes – it is very much the stuff of the first flush of any relationship, and how can it not be devastating to find that one’s life partner has being doing that with someone else? But it does help me to realise the difference between that and the genuinely real love that me and my partner have built together over many years. I am, as I say, massively lucky that she has the self-awareness to know all this herself – but even then, her battle with it has been far from easy.

      So yes: your friend saying their thing was ‘real’: the chemicals might have been, but the word is stupid. It was an escape fantasy: as my partner put it, ‘a thick layer of infatuation to paint over the pain of the summer’. Do you think your partner has the self-awareness to be able to learn these things about himself? What do others here think about how to help him do that? There may come a point where it’s clear he isn’t willing to do the work needed to save your relationship – but as others have said, that time isn’t yet.

      Some stats from Linda MacDonald to end on that might help. For those people who leave a marriage for an affair partner: 90% fail before nuptials, and 75% of marriages resulting from affairs fail. Which means only 3% of affairs have any chance of becoming long-term relationships. And with good reason: they almost always result from some unresolved issues the CS has, or a particularly stressful life situation, or both, and the affair partner is, kind of by definition, a fantasy.

      That book is worth getting to give you an idea of the level of commitment your husband is eventually going to need to put in. It’s not going to be easy, but the sooner he realises what needs to happen, the sooner you can begin your healing processs properly. May you find many more moments where your head is above water…

    • chiffchaff

      E, & Disappointed – it is really important to get out of that desperate stage as soon as you can. As a BS, I had the same feelings in the early months but ti wasn’t until, as E says, I imagiend life without him, what things I would be able to do, and started to feel like I would like to be appreciated by another for who I was rather than who I wasn’t (the OW) that I was able to start walking tall, pleasing myself. It’s so important because since that change in me I have noticed a growing shift in my H’s attitude to me. The fear of the future caused by his PA has transferred from me to him, which is the right way around.
      I also feel that all those things I want to be able to do now, I would like to still share with my H, but not at any price. That’s the new difference.
      Hang on in there, stop thinking about the CS and think about yourself and it will get easier and more positive. I also found the book ‘Loving yourself, Loving another’ really helpful for regaining some self-esteem.

    • Dol

      Hopeful: “My H maintains that we’ve discussed it enough (though we have barely scratched the surface), and that my attempts to discuss it further are destructive. Whenever I bring it up, he sighs dramatically and adopts a “Not this again” attitude.”

      Classic: he needs to get some humility and understand he has to start dealing with your need to know. It is absolutely not his decision to say “surely we’ve talked about this enough?” It’s yours. Talk to any experienced relationship counsellor – as mine puts it, this need to ask questions is an *inevitable* part of the process. Its also part of that process for you to work out when it becomes too obsessive and pull back for your own sake – but that’s not yet, by the sound of it! It can often take many times round the same questions – 4 or 5 cycles or more as your mind tries to assimilate. My CS describes dealing with this need in me as “keeping her hand in a fire”. It’s horrible for her, but she knows she needs to.

      So, it’s massively uncomfortable for your partner, and does sound like he’s in denial of his own feelings. Sounds then, like getting him to go to a relationship counsellor alone a bit to break through his own self-denial would probably fail…?

      It’s entirely understandable for the CS to want to put it behind them, but we can’t, and we need their help to process it or there’s not really a way forward. At some point he needs to get that. He’s shutting down and reacting with anger as a self-defence mechanism. I’m guessing at no point has it appeared that he’s faced up to the magnitude of what he’s done…? You’ll know that when you see it!

      Said this before, but it’s really useful: once he’s got it into his head that he needs to deal with your questions, it helps to set aside a specific time slot. That means he can mentally prepare for it, and it doesn’t burst out all the time during the day or (as often happens) just before bed or first thing in the morning. It’s compartmentalised, and it’ll help you both get on with the rest of the process, as well as, you know, living from day to day! And, of course, BSs all know, it’s not like we ever forget what the questions are, we have them cycling round our heads 24/7… (though I’m glad to say 3 months in, it’s starting to tail off, thank God!)

    • Hopeful

      Thanks for your comments. That’s exactly how I feel — that it is not for him to decide when I have had enough information. He just doesn’t get it. I am hoping that his counsellor will advise him to tell me the whole truth — how could he not? I cannot imagine that a counsellor would ever advise someone to withhold the truth in this situation, particularly when one’s spouse has indicated that they need the truth in order to move on. I think your idea about a designated time slot is a great idea — in fact, I am already making plans to have a discussion with him next week in the hours following his appointment with his counsellor.

      The fact that my H has indicated that he needs to speak with his counsellor before having an open and honest conversation with me suggests that there is far more to the story than my H has told me. I agree that he is in denial. Although he has apologized for his conduct, he has by no means taken the steps that other people on this site have describedthat that their CS’s have taken, such as, for example, telling me he loves me every day and that he’ll do anything to make it up to me, giving me his cell phone password, etc. Basically, he has apoligized once or twice, and he is being nicer to me. That’s it. He is not being affectionate, loving, or forthcoming with the facts. I think he wants to pretend it all never happened.

      He just doesn’t understand that I need the complete truth, even though I have explained it to him a number of times.

    • chiffchaff

      Hopeful – again, my H didn’t do any of those things after Dday#1 either. They happened after Dday#2 when he had finally told me everything and finally stopped contacting the OW.

    • Hopeful

      As the BS, how long am I supposed to hang in here and wait for the CS to give me the truth I need? Our Dday was 3 and 1/2 months ago, and I know little more now than I knew then. If I didn’t bring the subject up from time to time, we would never discuss it because my H will never bring it up. I feel that I have been exceedingly patient. When is it time to say enough is enough? (I know I have to answer that for myself, but I am just so weary of this.)

    • Alone

      Hi everyone,

      I know you don’t like to hear from a cheater, but if you could please indulge me. I was thinking more about this “fog” and like to share a few more thoughts. I don’t think this came across in my first post about the “fog” from earlier this week. To me as the cheater, the “fog” represented some level of mental illness that I must have possessed. When I read about it, it made me feel terrible, that I truly was crazy. So, that’s why I am “defensive” about the term “fog”. Over time, I accepted that I had feelings from the affair that I had to process. As it turns out, I wasn’t crazy. I don’t have a mental illness. I had an addiction problem. Even though I’ve never had any addiction or substance abuse problems, the affair was an addiction. The term addiction is also very negative, so it has taken me a while to accept this is what I had. So, look at it like this (and mind you it’s taken me a while to sort this out in my mind):

      I had an addiction to a drug.
      The OM was the drug.
      This drug made me feel good.
      I did a lot of things I normally wouldn’t do to get this drug.
      I became severely addicted to this drug.
      I was not able to stop using this drug on my own.
      D-Day was an intervention from the drug. It forced me to stop.
      I went cold turkey from the drug via no contact.
      Then, I went into withdrawal from the drug which included emotionally disconnecting from life.
      Once I finally go over the withdrawal, I realized that:
      – This addiction cost me a lot.
      – This addiction screwed up every facet of my life.
      – This addiction caused me to hurt people that I love.
      – This addiction destroyed me as a person.
      I must maintain no contact to avoid a relapse with this drug.

      A few more points: When I had access to the drug, I could not see how much damage it was doing. During the withdrawal period, I could not be convinced that this drug was bad for me. Depending on the level of addiction, the withdrawal period will vary for the cheater. This addiction makes it difficult for cheaters, to “unhook” from the emotional affair. It takes time and no contact. Does this make sense to anyone?

      I would also be curious if there was something in the brains of cheaters that make us more susceptible to this type of addiction. I know in Torn Asunder it suggests that cheaters run in families. I don’t’ want this for my children.

      Thanks for letting me post this.

    • E

      Alone – Wow and thank you! I appreciate your comments as i know so many others do as well. Reading this was very “eye opening” for me. I think I knew all of these things, but your description and the timeline of events, so to speak, is elightening to me. Thank you. I would like to ask you a question – the last point above “I must maintain no contact to avoid a relapse … ” Do you think there would come a time when you may by chance, run into this OM and that an event like that could cause a relapse? An event like that may not really be contact, but in some cases unavoidable I suppose if you live in the same area, frequent the same places, etc. If so, how long before the chance of that happening goes away if ever? My H and I have discussed this and we both agreed that it might depend on our own recovery level at the time. He does not see her regularly but we know it is probably just a matter of time before we run into her, etc. I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Thank you again.

    • Dol

      E: my partner is bumping into the OM about once a week at work. She’s thus far managed to ignore him, and I think that will carry on being the case. Indeed, it’s sort of giving her practice at ignoring him, and reinforcing the message to him that it’s definitely done and over, and she meant what she told him.

      That’s not to say it doesn’t affect her, but it’s as Alone says: no contact is allowed, and when those chance meetings happen, she just has to ignore him if at all possible.

      It’s getting easier as well. We worked out a scale of how much she’s struggling with the urge to see him – to start with it was ‘excrutiating’ after one time seeing him – which we labelled as our benchmark ten! and since then it’s been improving: last week a chance sighting led to a 5/10. (If she’s being honest with me!)

      The scary part: knowing that it’s happening about once a week and that she needs to always maintain this. But I believe she wants that, and will make it happen. I hope to God, more than I can say, I’m not back here in 6 months telling you about d-day 2…

      I think not. As I mentioned above, the amount she’s learned going through this process – not least seeing what it’s done to me, but also learning about herself and how she reacts – makes me truly believe we stand a better chance than ever for our future. In a way, she knows more than anyone who hasn’t been through it what to look out for, what the warning signs are.

      On the inevitable random encounter: the two of you should decide beforehand what the strategy is, don’t leave it to chance. I’d strongly suggest your husband agrees just to ignore her. It’s really the easiest thing to do for all concerned: it may feel heartless to him, but it’s the only way to make 100% sure there’s not the slightest hook back into the thing. Make clear, as my partner has, with lack of eye contact, that he’s absolutely serious: it’s utterly, completely done with. (He has told her this presumably?)

    • E

      Dol, very helpful, thank you. I thought it was interesting about the 1st encounter being “excruciating” as I think this happend about 6 weeks or so ago. It would be my hope that the 1st would be the most difficult from how it sounds for your wife. I felt a definite pulling back from my H when this happened and after a couple of weeks of trying to get to the bottom of it, he admitted to simply seeing her. There was no contact according to my H, but a “passing by” encounter that I am certain she planned as she is known for that. My H has said to her that it’s over and to not contact him. She just has been known in the past of finding what she feels are legitimate reasons to do so. Also, we do have a plan that we’ve discussed. If either of us were to look at eachother and simply say “let’s go somewhere else” that’s our cue to eachother, no questions asked. Thank you!

    • Bobse

      Wow Alone! I wish I could show that to my wife and her be able to read it. Its frustrating that while in the fog nothing would register. While you were in the fog, could you have read what you wrote about addiction and actually understood it? Thank you so much for your comments! 1.5 years and she still in the fog….

    • chiffchaff

      Dol – I like the scoring method and I think I’m going to ask my H to set out what it’s like for him at the moment on a scale of zero to 10. From what I can gather, the first two months after DDay#1 were 11 on that scale. 11 being that he couldn’t actually stop contacting her because he wanted to so much. Depressing really as he doesn’t like discussing it at all, but will if I ask.

    • JS

      @ Alone-
      Thank you for that description. I hadn’t heard it put that way, but what you described mirrors the progression my H seems to have gone through. To your comment about cheating running in families, my H came from a family with lots of infidelity. His father left his mother for another woman, then came back and they remarried. Then he left her again for a different woman, they are now married, and he carries on with my H’s mother still, as well as other women. It’s very sick. Our daughters only see the grandfather at holidays, basically, and there is almost no other contact now. My H’s mother is so snowed by his father, she sees nothing wrong with what she’s doing now, carrying on with a man who left her twice and is married to someone else. My H’s sister sees it as revenge if the mom and dad carry on, and she supports it. I am disgusted by the behavior and attitudes of them all. My H is currently dealing with the memories of his father telling him to keep his mistresses a secret from his mother, and his mother to this day doesn’t know a fraction of what the father was doing behind her back. But my H knows it all because his father needed someone to cover for him. Can you imagine that burden and guilt? It definitely impacted our marriage and the way he behaved until D Day. I don’t know if you have a family history, as well, but it seems that the BSs and CSs I know for the most part have a history of it in their family. In my case, my mother was married multiple times, everyone cheated on everyone, and I seem to have swung the opposite direction because I was disgusted by how the adults around me behaved and I would leave my marriage before engaging in any type of affair. I guess everyone is impacted differently. But I did tolerate my H’s EA instead of throwing him out, so I’m damaged goods somehow. Now my fear is that this is in some way going to pass to my daughters and they will marry men who cheat on them. I talk to them often about self-worth and they seem to have much more confidence than I did at their ages and are way more independent, but I worry a lot about them ending up here. They don’t know about my H’s EA but who’s to say what kids pick up on and what they don’t.

    • Dol

      Chiffchaff: note also that me and my partner have agreed only to “check in” at the end of the week. That way I’m not pestering her the whole time, and can get on with my life a bit better. She emailed this morning to say she’d seen him – I’ll ask her on Friday night how it was on the scale afterwards! (And check in that’s she’s stuck to the no-contact rules etc.) Compartmentalising – it’s the way to keep sane!

    • Sidney

      Uh, yes, I do understand. Your words are exactly how I feel about it too. I also have been thinking about the term ‘the fog’ and I do believe that it is something that really goes on in the head of a cheater. I would think if you asked ‘one time cheaters’ (not serial cheaters) they would all agree. They probably will say something along the lines that ‘I can’t believe the things I did and said’ during that time. My actions during the EA were so uncharacteristic of my true self….and from reading on this site, I’ve heard many of the BSs say the same thing about their CS…..upstanding, Christian, high morals, loyal, etc…..all characteristics of someone who you wouldn’t think of to have an affair. So why do they do it?? I suppose that’s the million dollar question here.

      DOL and E….I really like the strategies you and your spouse have put in place. I think they both sound like they are working for you.

    • JS

      I had to chuckle just a little after I read your comment, because I had just gotten off the phone with my H when the email alert with your comment arrived. The OW worked with him at the time of the EA, which ended about 16 months ago. The two of them working at the same firm was a major source of discomfort for me all that time and until recently. Well, right before Christmas, she simply stopped coming to work, and she was fired for job abandonment. She cut ties with everyone she had been “friends” with there and just walked out on a job she’d had for several years – no explanation given. My H was more than happy to tell me a couple of weeks ago that she’s gone, and I was thrilled beyond words that they wouldn’t be around each other AT ALL for any sanctioned reason. So he and I were just chatting today about something and out of nowhere, he said he cannot believe the poor judgment he had at the time of his EA. He said his still stumped by why he did it in the first place, and he’s even more confused about why it was with that particular OW. He said to have created all these issues in our marriage over someone who doesn’t even have the integrity to pro-actively quit her job, but instead just passively stops showing up and leaves everyone to wonder what the hell she was working on or what needs to be covered…..he said he shakes his head daily now over how he got where he did with the EA and with her. He takes full responsiblity for his actions, but he also said he should have known what kind of person she was when she was willing to aggressively pursue a man she knew was married with two young kids. Ah, the benefit of hindsight.

    • Disappointed

      @Alone Thanks for eexplaining things so well. I wish that my husband could see clearly. He is clinging to his gratitude for the OW “awakening” and “bringing him back to life” from the deadness I created in him (his words). He says he is still in love with her and will always love her. He does not see how those comments negate any statements of how he wished it had not happened or how is sorry for how much pain he has caused me. My counselor thinks he is a narcissist and doubts that there is any hope for me as my husband has devalued me to the point that he left and with the affair he showed he is ready for the next woman. He gets mad if I bring up the EA and says that is not why he left, that it was me and my negativity. I have tried to avoid touchy subjects but last night had to discuss something related to our business. A volunteer has been disresppectful to me and I need too fire them. He knows that they will go to him for answers and he planned to say that the volunteer pissed me off instead of that the volunteer did not report to me as expected following outreach events they managed. I asked him talk about the behavior and not that it upset me. Instead he called me petty and said that this talk confirmed that he made the right decision. No matter what I say and especially if I ask for his support or backing he gets angry. As long as it is all about him and I say yes to everything he is fine. I am not a doormat kind of person. How do I get heard without being accused of negativity or neediness? How do I get past the EA if we cant talk?

    • chiffchaff

      @Disappointed – my H has also ‘thanked’ the OW in emails after Dday#1 for ‘inspiring the changes in him’ – yeah, the ones that caused humiliation, pain and devastation and a change of character so enormous his own brother doesn’t recognise him. someone he was very close to. My H also paints me as being ‘instantly negative’ but he has also said some very hurtful things since Dday#2 that he now can’t recall saying and has volunteered must have been very hurtful to hear from anyone. It does bolster the ‘fog’ theory as he does seem to be more like his old compassionate self slightly more often.
      I also agree that it’s a strong element of narcissism. I have no idea how you get past the EA if he’s still that negative in his ways of thinking about you. For my H, as many others have said here, to have his PA he had in his mind, HAD to paint me as being entirely negative and wholly without merit because otherwise why would he be having an affair, fine upstanding moral man that he is? It must be someone else’s fault, his marriage must be wrong, not that he just wanted to satisfy his lust with a stranger. No, because that would be a horrid thing to do when you’re married. Blaming the BS, blowing up their character defects beyond reasonable, seems to be something an awful lot of cheaters need to do to give themselves a ‘reason’ for doing something they’d otherwise find repulsive.

    • Alone

      @ E – Sorry for my slow response. The OM and I live in the same town and frequent similar places. It’s just a matter of time before we will bump into each other. I think the cheater’s reaction to the AP depends on your stage of recovery, just as you mentioned.

      @ JS – When I was in high school we strongly suspected that my father was having what I would term and EA with a family friend. When I ended up having one, it made me worry. I have another female family member (other side of the family) that effectively walked out of her life for another man. I don’t know if any of this means a thing, but something to think about. No family is perfect and I hate to hear about all of your struggles.

      @ Bobse – Is my memory serving me correctly that the OM keeps reappearing in your wife’s life? If that’s the case, that is why she can’t stop the addiction. Is this OM married as well? If not, he has nothing to lose, so he pursues her. No, I could not have read this post and believed it. You don’t see it this way when you are in the affair or in withdrawal. I hope things get better for you. I feel sorry for the pain I’ve caused my H and sorry for the pain that you all are dealing with. I can’t imagine what it must be like.

      @ Sidney – I am curious, if you don’t mind me asking – what is the state of your marriage? You seem so similar to me. I keep thinking to myself – are other people recovering faster than my H and I? If they are, does that mean that we aren’t going to make it? Are we too far gone? Does this mean our marriage is not meant to be? How are other people getting over this infidelity so quickly? I mean this is not an easy road… it’s the hardest thing I have ever done. Do you think some couples can just get over it fast?

      @ Disappointed – praying for you. You have a lot of great BS on here that can help you. Take care!

    • Paula

      Alone, I believe that some of the people here who are taking a very long time to recover (I am one of them) are often from relationships that were lovely to start with, who were very much in love with their partners, who didn’t suspect a thing because they were so very close, and had great communication in the past. It’s very difficult to even get back to anywhere near that level, let alone improve what you had previously. That’s my theory on the long recovery. I thn those who had less close and bonded marriages to start with, find that this experience has been a catalyst to improve a relationship that was quite flawed (of course there’s nothing perfect) and difficult, and not necessarily very fulfilling originally. Also, there are just some people who struggle to let the past be, struggle with forgiveness, and have shown these traits in their past,

    • DJ

      Paula, I think you are absolutely right. My husband and I had a wonderful life together. We were virgins when we met and we learned about life and love together. It always seemed so right – a relationship that sheltered us from the evils of the world. It was common for people to comment that we still acted like newlyweds after 20 years. I knew he was having problems over the last several years, but I thought he was clinically depressed for a number of reasons and I wanted so much to help him. When D-day came and I found out why he had been so difficult to deal with, I was completely shocked and traumatized. 15 months later, my therapist feels I am still traumatized. I am stronger now, but still guarded and leery of letting him into my inner world again. I love him, but I am afraid.

      She was his first love in high school. They have a past that I can never replace. I believe he loves me as the mom of his household, but I can’t stop believing that he loves her as the romance of his life. I guess that means he is still hooked. And I don’t think I can stay in the marriage long term unless we can unhook him. It’s a daily struggle that does not appear to have an end anytime soon.

    • Dol

      Paula, DJ: that’s definitely a factor, I think. Me and my partner have been together for 7 years – nothing like as long as some of you here. But we had a wonderful, almost childlike trust and stood shoulder to shoulder facing the world. The destruction and pain of the affair has been exactly proportional to how much we love each other.

      Equally, though, it’s because of my love that I’m here fighting. I do *not* want that part of her that did this to be validated by it destroying the relationship. It would come to define her, she would come to believe herself fundamentally broken and worthless – and it’s *not* her. She’s amazing. She’s the woman I loved before, who I love now even through all of this awfulness, even though I’ve just lost 3 months of my life to this thing and am only now starting to see some light.

      Another important thing I’m coming to suspect: given that neither of us could possibly have believed this would happen to us in a million years, I have a feeling it could have been either of us it happened to. As I mentioned, our counsellor made the obvious point that “it happened, and you’ve learned a lot because of it, so it won’t be the same in the future.” He’s absolutely right. Especially, actually, through everyone on this website and looking at what’s happened to us, we can see exactly how these affairs come about through a series of tiny steps. Without having learned all that, I can actually imagine that I’d be dumb enough to make those first few tiny steps myself, not knowing what carnage I was setting in motion as little deceptions turned into massive lies and suddenly I’m in a deep deep hole…

      As the days pass, then, that’s a very positive thing to take from this: our relationship – so precious to both of us – stands a very good chance of being inoculated against this happening again in the future, to either of us. It can never be quite the same, but we’ve learned so much. We both have very different things to bear, moving forward: my pain, the constant triggers and memories. But for my partner, she’s left having to know she’s done this to us, feeling like she hardly knows herself, and having to carry that shame. She’s read the stuff on this thread and confesses to being scared of letting me down. There are no cast-iron guarantees in love, but I believe in her good-faith promise to fight for us.

      So while the devastation is proportional to what went before, it’s that strength prior to the affair that will get us through.

    • Disappointed

      @Alone – how long did it take you before you recognized your feelings for the OM as an addiction?

      @doug – I have read up on real love vs. Infatuation. I think I understand what happened. I also read Intimacy after Infidelity and saw my husband’s affair on its pages as an “infidelity of loneliness… Running toward an awakening”. But I guess my problem is that I do not think HE will ever see things. And if he will not do any work, what can I do?

      My husband’s sister is pushing him to continue his independence and is urging him to buy his own place. They will be spending almost two weeks together on a ski trip. She is finally planning to end her 25+ year relationship with her live in boyfriend after the trip so he is in place to watch over her elderly mother while she is on the trip. She has even said that she would even consider trying to move here to be closer to my husband if their mom were to pass away. She is the only person he is talking to and they reinforce each others feelings of victimiization and shutting others out. I am afraid of her influence now more than ever. In May there will be a decision point because the lease on his apartment will be up…

    • Disappointed

      A couple of highlights from tonights talk with the CS after he thought I was watching him read his messages and accused me of trying to see if any are from her and I was NOT because I know there is no contact: “I dont understand what we are doing (he moved out but we talk very day, see each other 3-4 times a week and stay over at least once per week.) You’ll never change and if you do it won’t matter because it is too late. I watched you destroy yourself for me and I never asked you to., I tried to get you to believe like I do that it doesnt have to be that way. Now I’ve met someone who I think understands that and I have fallen in love with them and can never see them again.” (No contact since Nov 6.) ” I know it would be more practical for us to live together but I cant be around your negativity every day. Why have you lost 30 pounds now (my response i’ve lost more in the past and you said you could not tell) and I can see the difference. I love you, but it just isn’t enough. We enjoy each other sexually and have a good time but that isnt reality. Neither one of us can make a decision (my response, you know what I want – he knows I want to reconcile. He says, nothing gets resolved. (our talks feel more like his list of grievances than an honest conversation, but as long as we have them I feel he still cares, but we remain stuck), I did not leave because of her, I left because it had to stop” I am exhausted… And the OW remains in her perfection. Hope is running low… I cannot do this alone…

    • Notoverit


      I see a lot of things here that I realize make your decisions hard because you, like all of us, do not want to lose our husbands. That is a big epiphany I had the other day reading this blog – we (and I am including the CSs along with us BSs) want to save our marriages and we are all looking for hope. I am sure there a lot of BSs out there who said “Screw it, I’m done” the minute they found out and they moved on. That said, you have done a lot in your relationship to try – sounds like he hasn’t. I don’t know your entire story, bit and pieces. Would it be hard to work in your business with your husband if you instituted “backing off” from him? Since he has already moved out and isn’t living with you, I would limit (severely) my contact with him. I have read a lot about narcissists and they feed on using you. It sounds to me like he is blaming you for a lot of his own insecurities, especially the one about you changing yourself and he didn’t ask you to. I know you changed because you love him and if he can’t or won’t see that, then give him the space to realize it. I, like a lot of others on this blog, were doing everything, being everything, to please our spouses and show we loved them – we got these EAs and PAs as our thanks. I finally backed off, trying to make myself better and, lo and behold, my H started to be more interested. I didn’t do it for him but for myself – I needed to change me. I see that as something you might want to consider: quit thinking of how to still please him and think of yourself. If he comes around that’s great, if he is still belittling you then he is not worth your tears. I would not be his “punching bag” for his problems. Don’t give him the opportunity to take pieces out of your self-esteem. Set ground rules about what you will and won’t talk about. If he doesn’t want to follow the rules, then cut him off. Tough love. It’s hard and it’s scary because you probably feel that you will lose him. You just need to draw the line in the sand and say you aren’t going to take it any more. His views are hurtful, not helpful.

      I am basically a very strong person and what this man is doing to you is tearing you down, piece by piece, which infuriates me. Don’t let him do this any more. A two-week ski vacation? With his sister? Come on, that really ticked me off about how they are using others to take care of their things, i.e. you with the business and her with their FATHER. I hesitate to say it because it will cause an enormous amount of problems but why haven’t you told the boyfriend what your H’s sister plans to do when she gets back? I know it will tick off your H but honesty is honesty is honesty…Why do these two think they get to have all the fun and leave others to deal with their problems? Just a little rant here so read this with a grain of salt. I know you are scared of this little vacation because of her influence but honestly, if he is that easily swayed then he has a lot to learn about a marriage. If it were me, and please understand I am very confrontational, I would spill the entire story to the boyfriend and then sit back to watch the sparks fly. It seems like you are being so careful just to keep your husband and he doesn’t give a fig about being careful with your feelings. Clear the deck. I put a very BIG proviso on this because it might make him leave for good, no going back. It is hard to come to that point but if you do it might make him realize what a wonderful, strong person you are. A hard decision that only you can make.

      The most important thing is for you to take care of you. Back off, no more visits, no more contacts if he is continuing with this attitude of his. Become what you want to be, not what he wants. Take care of yourself first. If he comes along, then he comes along. If not, you will be stronger and better able to face your own future without him. Just remember, these are my thoughts, not yours. Don’t do anything you feel uncomfortable doing. Best of luck!

    • Trying

      This is my first post here. I have been reading articles and comments for a while. I have been having an emotional affair for about 4 months, and last week, after trying to end our relationship at least four times unsuccessfully, we have finally found the resolve to cut off communication and focus on the problems in our respective marriages. The OW’s husband knows that his wife has “feelings” for me and they are now in intense marriage therapy with a counselor. My W does not know about the affair, and if she did, I am 100 percent that our family would blow up (we have kids) and I would be ordered to leave immediately. My therapist says it is best, right now, for me just to work on my issues alone and not throw a stick of dynamite into my marriage by telling my spouse about the affair. Have others here been in this type of situation? Any advice on how to “go solo” to recover from a an EA that is still a secret? I am in the early stages of withdrawal right now, and it is so hard to stay focused on my wife and kids and act normal- while I’m grieving–dying inside over the end of the EA.

    • Sidney

      This is in regards to both the question you asked me and the response you had to E…..
      Have you run into the OM since dday? I know you said you live in the same town and it’s bound to happen. How do you think you’ll handle that? And I agree about what you said…that it probably depends on the recovery stage you are in. Do you feel if/when you see your OM you’d be okay or do you think all those feelings will rush back? I’m thinking your time-line is similar to mine….I’m 6 months out….and the reason I ask is because I will be seeing my OM in 3 weeks. Not a planned thing I might add….just know that we will be at the same event. He doesn’t know I’ll be there and I’m very, very nervous about it. Nervous in regards to how seeing him will affect me. I’ve been doing so well lately with not being consumed with things….and I’m afraid this will cause a huge relapse.

      As far as the condition of my marriage…’s okay. The EA has caused me to really look at my marriage in ways I never have before….as well as really taking a look at myself in ways I’ve never done before too. Not always easy to do….in fact I’ve found it’s easier to avoid it altogether!! ha

    • Disappointed

      @trying I agree with your counselor. Do not tell your wife at this point. Rededicate yourself to your marriage and try to understand the whys behind the EA. And make sure it does not happen again.

    • Anita

      If your afraid of a huge relapse, are you sure this event is
      worth your progress, wouldn’t be better if you excused
      yourself from this event and not take the chance.
      If you can’t control yourself then its best to stay away
      from him, until you are able to gain control over your
      your thoughts and actions.

    • Surviving

      As a betrayed spouse the hardest to get past are the lies, I am at least grateful my spouse did tell me the truth about the EA, I am surprised so many people on this site advocate to lie to their spouse and not tell them the truth. The BS has a right to know and it is far better to hear it from the spouse then a third party.

      So many BS write in and that is what they wantTHE TRUTH

    • Sidney

      Wow…your post brought tears to my eyes….because I can so relate. The early stages of withdrawal are the the worst, but….it does get easier. I know your thoughts are consumed with the OW right now. It seems impossible to ‘get over’ her and to end the addiction (if you haven’t already, read the posts about the addictive qualities of an EA). You are very much in the thick of the fog….but as the days and weeks go by, your mind will slowly start to focus more clearly on things. It does lessen….just not as quickly as you’d like. 🙁

      I’m sure some BS would disagree, but my advice to you is to not tell your wife. Just like Disappointed said, use this time to work on you and your marriage. Also to figure out WHY you had the EA (I’m still trying to figure out my behavior too…..I’m the CS too).

      One thing that really stuck out to me from your post is that you are still in the ‘we’ stage. You wrote, “we have finally found the resolve….” That was a huge red flag for me because I found that to be HUGE in my EA….it was always the ‘we’ and ‘us’ for us too. You know, the whole ‘it’s us against the world’ mentality. I really needed to break free from that thinking and get to the ‘I’ and ‘me’ stage. Because, just like you, I used to say, “we tried to end things” or “we shouldn’t be doing this” etc and it then after time I changed it to “I shouldn’t be doing this” and “I need to end this.” And believe me….it was hard.

      When you said you are grieving and are dying inside…..boy, do I know how that feels. It sucks. Plain and simple…sucks. But….it needs to be done. You are a married man and your relationship with the OW is wrong. Keep telling yourself that…AND….keep reading this site. You will see just how devastating an EA is to the BS and the insurmountable damage it causes to the BS and the families involved. Keep your focus on your wife and children. You’ll need to view this as an addiction…..and fight all urges you have to ‘get your fix.’ That means no contact with the OW….even to check in on her to see how she’s doing. That’s one of the hardest parts, I think. In my case, we tried to end things many, many times (there’s that ‘we’ thing…), and always failed. It took me just coming right out and asking him to please not contact me anymore. And of course, that night I wanted to scream, “I was wrong….I didn’t mean it….I changed my mind…..I don’t want it to end!!” But…I knew it had to. I love my husband and I didn’t want to screw things up for our family. So I fight the addiction. Every day. So my advice on ‘going solo’ on recovery?? You have to fight it. Every day. Like I said…it sucks…but it will be worth it in the end for you, your wife, your marriage, and your children. You are not alone, Trying. Hang in there. There ARE others out there to give you support.

    • Surviving

      The wife deserves to know and then decide if she wants to be with him.
      His focus should be on his wife and family and not his fantasy of the OW.
      One she knows he will hopefully snap out if his fantasy and do the work that needs to be done.
      Doug told Linda and do many others have told their spouse.
      The lies need to stop.

    • Holding On

      To Trying –

      Wow. It is hard to know what to tell you. Tell you wife or not. As hard as this journey is, I am glad I know the truth. I can now fix things that were lacking in our marriage. (NOT that this is a reason for my H’s EA or anything…but I can admit that there was a lack for BOTH of us.) Also, my H was planning on quitting (I caught the photo sent to his phone) but his plan for quitting was to bring the EA into a friendship again and I think his plan would have failed. Also, I think that if he had quit on his own, there wouldn’t have been enough change in the marriage that he would either fall back into another EA or even worse.

      Also the whole fact of living a lie. Your spouse thinks you are a faithful, loyal husband and you are not. Each time they look at you with love in their eyes, each time you are intimate, there is THAT hanging there. What a horrible way to live with the person you love the most. This is what my husband was planning and just thinking of living a lie is a horrible thought.

      Now, that said, knowing is HELL. It changes everything. Hmm, maybe I should change that to having an affair is horrible. It changes everything. Even if your wife never knows, I think she has felt the changes in your marriage. Even when I didn’t know, I felt a shift and a uncloseness that I couldn’t quite describe. If you decide to tell, be prepared. It is a long hard road to recovery…and it is HER choice if she will ride this road. Let her make a choice on if she wants to be with you. She deserves that choice.

      If you decide to NOT tell. Do complete no contact. Change emails, change phone numbers so she cannot contact you or block or whatever. Suggest she does the same for you. Do everything possible to never contact again. Erase all evidence – texts, emails, etc. If she finds out on her own or by someone else it is so much worse than coming from you. If you are not going to tell her, you cut it off totally and make it work with your wife. You make it up to her to erase the guilt you will surely feel with her. I’m not sure what “made” you cheat but whatever that issue is resolve it. If it is the state of your marriage currently, get some help for the both of you. I think if there is any chance that you are not strong enough to stop or any chance of the OW’s H telling your spouse, you tell your wife.

      This is HELL, no doubt about it. But I can’t imagine living a lie with my husband. I’m glad I had that choice on working it out or leaving. He had the choice of the EA and I get the choices on what I do with that knowledge.

      Good luck at whatever you choose to do. Please keep your WIFE in your thoughts during these choices. Her thoughts, her feelings, her wants and her desires. It’s time to think about her and your children.

    • chiffchaff

      @Sydney – I found your post so helpful, especially as you’re 6 months down the line so to speak as a CS. My H is at the same stage and I feel that he finds the need for the ‘high’ problematic. He seems to obsess about beautiful actresses now in a way that he never did before his PA. It’s because he’s convinced that his OW looks like an actress and he seems to feel the need to look up on google every actress that looks a bit like her. The odd thing is that these actresses are always playing a role of the cheating spouse in the films/dramas. I also find that odd.
      Could you answer, from a CS’s perspective, whether you find yourself drawn to people who look a bit like the OM? Is it part of the addiction? Constantly looking? Finding it very hard today. We don’t sleep together (my choice as Dday#2 was devastating for me) but I would like to work towards recovery a full relationship with my H. He never raises it. I have no idea if I should raise it fearing it may do more damage to our recovery. Is it enough for me to take heart from his planning future events that involve us? Basically, I want more and don’t know what to do for the best.

    • Trying

      @Sidney Thanks for your comments, and I appreciate other’s feedback as well. There are so many factors leading to why I fell into an EA to begin with, more than I feel comfortable sharing here. Our 20+ year marriage didn’t get to it’s current state of emptiness without a lot of deep challenges and problems both my W I created, or allowed to happen. What’s complicating my resolve to overcome the addicting EA is that I feel so lonely and empty in my marriage, neglected, rejected and hurt, that I am not motivated to discover whatever it was that caused my W and I to get married in the first place. I’m just not sure I have the capacity, energy or desire to do this — to return to a marriage that has really never been what I wanted in a marriage. My wife refuses to get counseling. To even read a book together. She blames me for everything, but has at least moved toward me a little bit – and is less harsh and angry – seeing that I am trying to make repair attempts. At this point, I’m not sure I love my W or can love her in a way that I think a H should love his W. This all sounds so selfish even as I write it. The OW is in so many ways a complete opposite of my W. Our likes, interests, passions and personalities mixed in a way that neither one of expected. We came to become attracted to each other because we were both lonely in our marriages, but along the way, we found… and I know this is an overused term and is probably fueled by the addiction… that we have a soul-mate type of connection. I have never experienced anything like it in my life, and neither has the OW. It is just so hard to ignore that and return to my W. The OW and I both feel that our spouses can never, based on their personalities, fill us or love us in the same way. That makes me so sad, and I suppose is part of why it’s so hard to let that go — it just feels so tragic. However, I truly believe that I owe it to myself and my W and my kids to at least make an effort move toward my marriage- to have integrity and for me to be free. There might be some level of love that returns that I am not capable of imagining right now. Or, if the marriage ultimately fails, I’ll be able to say I tried my best to do the right thing… and learn what I can do to be a better H if I ever find someone to love again. It’s just so complicated.

    • Alone

      I keep wanting to walk away from this site just to not think about things for a while. Then I see these posts, especially from cheaters like me. And there is nowhere else for us to turn. We need help. Thanks for letting us cheaters get our feelings and thoughts out there. we really have no other outlet.

      @ Sidney – I have run into the OM since D-day. I just saw him from my car, three times actually. I don’t know if he saw me. The first time really upset me. It was hard for me to contain my emotions. I was upset all day and my H asked me what was wrong. Of course this hurt my H a lot. Seeing the OM brought a lot of emotions back to the surface. Emotions I was tired of dealing with and wanted to move past. It’s exhausting really, the withdrawal. What I am really dreading is seeing him face to face somewhere, not just as I drive by. If I do see him, I am turning around and walking away. Sidney, I don’t envy your situation. I think you need to try to prepare yourself as much as possible. Your H doesn’t know what happened, so you and I have a totally different set of issues right now. I am trying hard to convince my H that I do love him, I want to be with him, and that I choose him. He doesn’t believe me… I mean, how could I have fallen in love with another man, then been in withdrawal from the affair, made my H feel second best, and then to top it off, expect him to still want me, love me, or forgive me? It’s a miracle I haven’t already been handed divorce papers. It’s complicated, and a lot to explain but that is our issue right now. He does not trust our marriage. He is scared of getting hurt more. And last night, says he doesn’t know if he loves me anymore after everything I did to him. What should I expect, I have ruined everything. Crushed him. I didn’t even know I was capable of something like this. I have pretty much failed in every facet of our recovery. I’ve pretty much done everything wrong, all the way around. And the thing is, I keep trying, really trying to make it work. To get it right. To make it better, to fix it. I’ve wanted to fix it since D-Day. I just couldn’t do it, I didn’t know how.

      Sorry for the depressing rant.

    • Alone

      @ Trying

      This could have been my username too…

      One thing that I was shocked about after the EA, was that hole that I felt. The loss. I know that you are grieving and it sucks. It is very hard. I know a BS doesn’t want to hear this, but the cheater does grieve. I know after D-day I was grieving and fell into a very serious depression. It took several months for me to move past this depression.

      I know inside you want to do the right thing for your wife and children. You do love and care about your wife. You’ve invested 20 years together. But you are confused by your feelings for this OW and the very strong connection that you feel to her. I know, I’ve been there. I think you are wise to go no contact and try to work on your marriage. It will be very difficult. This is not an easy road we have chosen for ourselves.

      Trying, if there is a chance that the OW’s husband will call your wife, you need to come clean. If that won’t happen and you can maintain no contact and recommit to your marriage, I don’t think you should tell your wife. Telling her that you are in love with another woman is going to destroy her and also destroy you even further. At that point, your wife will have a choice to stay or leave. At first, she may not think she has that choice, but she does. I know that by not telling her you are robbing her of that choice, but if you can get past the EA and work on your marriage, I don’t think revealing the EA to her will help your marriage. I am telling you, it is hell for everyone involved – the BS and the CS. This is not an easy process on anyone involved.

      I am curious, if you don’t mind. How does the OW’s husband know? Did he catch you and the OW, or did she tell him? My situation is totally different. The OM and I were caught together (we did NOT have a PA) in a way that was more than friends. Everyone found out what I had done. That’s a whole additional level of complexity that I am glad you and Sidney did not have to process.

      Trying, keep reading and posting here. It does help. Even us cheaters.

    • Healing Mark

      Trying. I, too, agree with your counselor, and its what my wife and my counselor advised my wife. Do not tell, re-commit to the marriage, try to understand what caused you to have an affair, and get yourself in a position to avoid making the same mistake in the future as well as addressing areas in your relationship with your spouse that apparently need improvement.

      Now, the downside, of course, is that if evidence of your affair is later discovered, you will have to deal with the inevitable loss of trust that will occur. So don’t be like my wife and MAKE VERY, VERY SURE that you have left no evidence out there of what has transpired to date. Even evidence that indicates that an EA existed but has since been ended is extremely painful to the BS, extremely harmful to the marriage, and is going to cause your spouse to lose trust and respect. Cutting off all contact should make it easier to avoid getting “caught”, but beware of any communications with others that alude to the prior affair, and assess whether your affair partner might at some point contact your spouse and spill the beans. If there is a risk that the AP might spill the beans, you need to understand that it’s much better, in my opinion, for the CS to confess to the affair rather than get “caught”. Ideally, your confession comes at a time where it is clear that you, not the OP, has ended the affair, and a period of time has transpired where it is clear that no contact has taken place and you and your spouse have worked on any problems that might have existed in your marriage (just getting out of, and over, the affair should improve things a bit with your spouse as you once again invest all of you in your relationship with your spouse).

      So many BS’s on this site seem to be having more trouble genuinely forgiving their CS’s and getting past the affair when they have discovered the then present existence of the affair and the affair is then ended after discovery. Perhaps there is a lingering resentment of the fact that but for the discovery, the affair might have never ended (although in many cases it probably would have). Or an underlying fear that this is the only reason that the affair ended, and there is uncertainty whether the CS’s really want to continue investing themselves in their marriages. Lord knows the pain and difficulties faced by BS’s whose spouses are unwilling to end ongoing affairs after they have been discovered.

      Sure, I suspected that my wife was having an EA, and had discovered some evidence that her friendship with the OM was at times somewhat inappropriate. But even with that, and my wife’s unconvincing denials, I could not be sure that she was having an EA or PA. But we started counseling, she made it clear that she was 100% committed to our marriage, it became apparent that she was significantly ramping down contacts with the OM (no contact, minimal appropriate contact, didn’t matter to me, all that mattered to me is that she returned to being the loving, considerate and respectful wife instead of the bitch on wheels she often was while consumed by her EA). and became an even happier married couple than we were just before the EA began. I still suspected that something “bad” had been going on, and guess that these suspicions would have died down and gone away as being irrelevant after the passage of enough time. So had she not told me and I had never found out, I would have been fine with it and think that any small amounts of mistrust I had at that point would have also gone away. Having my suspicions confirmed, even months after the EA was ended (not clear whether is was my wife’s choice, the OM’s choice, or a mutual one as they both later confessed) and after our relationship had improved a lot, resulted in so much hell that I really would have preferred to have avoided even though my wife and I would have had this unspoken dirty little secret out there.

      Finally, and my wife and I have gone over this just between us and with our counselor, had my wife confessed to her prior EA at a point where it was clear that it had ended, and most if not all ill effects of the EA had ended or otherwise been “fixed”, there would have been damage to our relationship, but the effort and time to reach genuine forgiveness and to put the affair behind us would have been so much less, and the same for loss of trust, than it would have been, and was, in the event I discovered on my own the existence of this EA. Our counselor actually favored ultimately disclosing the “truth” to me at the right point in time, whenever that was supposed to be, but my wife (no surprise) and I both wish that we had not had a bad fight, she had not left her phone unattended with incriminating evidence on it, and I had not “snooped” and discovered indisputable evidence of the prior existence of the EA. We also wish my wife had not been dumb enough to keep some things on her computer to remind her of some of the good times she had had during the EA. It’s amazing to me, not in a good way, how much affairs distort how people think and act. So one good thing that has come out of my wife’s EA is that you will never catch me getting even close to becoming as emotionally close to a woman other than my wife as my wife did with the OM. Likely my stance pre-EA, but certainly the case after having experienced all that I have post D-day!

      God bless you as you address issues in your marriage and wrestle with the best course of action for you and your spouse given what has previously occurred.

    • Surviving

      The OW husband knows and how many others know?
      You cannot destroy all evidence including past phone bills.

      The wife deserves to know and if in fact the marriage is as cold and unfulfilling as he thinks it is then perhaps the wife is also just as unhappy, this is the time to be honest with her and either the marriage survives and becomes stronger or it doesn’t.

      We only have this one life and the wife deserves the truth and her happiness also.

    • Sidney

      @chiffchaff……for me, the answer to your question is a no….I did not look for other men who resembled the OM, but it’s interesting that you said the words ‘constantly looking’ because….and I so hate to admit to this….and I only do it because it may help others…..

      So, here’s my admission: In the days after I ended my EA, I did find myself looking at other men….wondering if they could possibly be the next guy who could give me my ‘hit.’ It was soooo crazy! I know that I will NEVER engage in another affair….so why was I looking at other men?? I liken it to a drug addict who went cold turkey….I envision their minds racing, their eyes darting, and they are frantically looking for some way to get their next ‘hit.’ All I could think about was how I missed how the OM made me feel and I desperately wanted that feeling again. Then I would snap back into reality and be horrified at where my thoughts were going to!! I literally couldn’t believe I was even THINKING that…..because, in all honesty, I am NOT looking for another man….it was just so bizzare at the nature of it….. That does not happen now, by the way…..only in the days/weeks after my EA ended.

      I can’t speculate why your husband would be acting like he is…..maybe he is searching for that feeling again…..but I can’t imagine he would be looking for that feeling with a picture of a celebrity. But, you never know….

    • Alone

      @ Trying – One last thing. I think that it takes a pretty brave cheater to come here and admit your thoughts and feelings. I have gotten ripped pretty good on this blog. I know I deserved it. I’m the OW. But the bottom line is that you are seeking help on how to make things right in your marriage just like me. That’s a good thing. You are confused, I know. Just keep reading and posting. This website is better than therapy, because we are living this thing. And please remember, not all cheaters are rotten to the core. We are good people that have made some major mistakes. Try not to hate yourself, I’ve been down that road too. It’s a dark place that’s really hard to come back from.

    • Lynne


      Don’t under estimate that possibility that this will all come out via the OW’s Husband. It’s likely that he has evidence of your EA–perhaps emails, text, voice mails? Not to mention that you don’t know what will come out in their counseling sessions should she inflame him in any way, particularly given that she’s expressed feelings for you.

      I know this is a tough one, but given that you’ve been outed in the OW’s marriage, I believe you need to tell your wife the truth. As has been said here already, if she finds out through other means, your journey will be far, far worse! And as they also say, “secrets keep people sick” (that one came from my counselor to my own husband).

      All the best to you.

    • Disappointed

      Based on all that you shared above and the fact that she may find out from others you will need to come clean to your wife. This sounds far more serious than a temporary lapse in judgement. Be prepared for the hell that follows. I am a BS and I have never suffered such pain. It is as if I do not know anything any more, my whole foundation shaken. Try to remember that you have made the ultimate betrayal. Things may be said in anguish and anger that need to be understood as raw emotion. Try not to be defensive on your part or in defense of the OW. When I confronted my husband he immediately threatened me with the loss of the two things that are most important to me out of fear that I would tell her husband. I would advise to give her a little time to breathe before talking in depth about your feelings for the OW. Even if she suspects, as I did, actually knowing it is real is a crushing blow. Please be patient with her and yourself. You made a mistake, but how you handle this next part will truly tell what kind of man you are. Good luck.

    • Disappointed

      I told you all about Saturday night’s talk above. Yesterday he called and asked me to dinner. I told him I would only talk business. I arrived and he was already there and had a bottle of Taittinger champagne on ice (I love champaagne and we had not had Taittinger since our courtship). He informed me he planned to get sloshed and find a hotel nearby, said he did not want to think any more. We talked business for awhile, but I think he just wanted to see me. Then as a part of the conversation he told me that when he first started texting the OW that she had commented on how he and I do not realize how exceptional our company is. It hurt me that he brought her up as if it was nothing, but maybe he needs to do that and I will have to let him. I said, may I ask you a few questions without you getting upset and then we will drop it. I asked if she said that before they crossed the line (because it bothers me very much that they talked about me/us). He said he did not remember. I asked if he told her he was in love with her. He said no. I asked if she told him she was in love with him and he said no. The rest of the dinner was uneventful. I asked if he wanted to come to the house and he said no but I did not let me disappointment show. He walked me to my car and said goodnight and we kissed a few times. He told me that if I needed help with the business or anything that I should tell him because if there were things he could do to help me he wanted to do them as he SHOULD HAVE DONE ALL ALONG (his words). Tears immediately sprang to my eyes, for years I felt unappreciated and taken for granted without a partner to help me. Before I even arrived home he called to make sure I was ok.Then he told me with real feeling “I love you, (my name).” I responded I love you too.

      I hope if I continue to give him space he can get past the withdrawal and realize that our love is the real love. I may be hoping falsely, but only time will tell. I am his best friend, so I have resigned myself to the fact that part of this process will involve me hearing very painful things. But, I love him enough to endure that pain.

      @notoverit. I am working on myself and appreciated your post. My sister-in-law will do whatever she will do. Her boyfriend does nothing and has been so checked out that I have not even seen him in over 5 years as he never travels here with her any more. I hope that finally addressing her own situation will do something to make her less miserable. My husband and I even with all that has happened have not reached that low.

      I am so grateful I can come to this site for support. Only if you have been there can you really understand. And posts by Alone and othe CSs have also helped me. Thank you all.

    • DJ


      From all that I’ve learned over the past 15 months since my D-day, it will be next to impossible for you to recover and also repair your marriage by yourself. It takes two.

      As much as I hurt knowing about my husband’s affair, and as many times as I’ve thought about leaving myself, I know he hurts, too. Would our marriage have survived if he had gone through all that withdrawal and grief in front of me, without me knowing what was wrong with him? Would he ever have been able to be one with me again with that secret wall between us? I don’t think so. Your counselor is not thinking about how that secret wall will keep you from true intimacy with her. Just getting along on the surface will never give you the deep satisfaction that true intimacy with your spouse will.

      You don’t feel like working on the marriage now because you are still grieving and in the fog. Feelings change. Feelings are fickle. Love is not a feeling. Your feelings are tarnishing your love. And you think you can make an attempt to repair things on your own with these feelings?

      And then there’s the whole thing about other people knowing. It will come out somehow, some way. Better she hear it from you than from someone else.

      I do wish you well and hope you and your wife will fiind the right path for each of you and for your marriage.

    • Surviving

      As Dr. Phil says you cannot work on the marriage when there is a third party involved.

      It seems from so many posts. One of the AP is found out or decides to leave the EA and the one left is still thinking this person was their True Love.
      If this was true that person would have left their marriage and be with you.
      But, as we all know the rare times this does happen the majority of these relationships fail…..

    • Healing Mark

      Surviving. So true, so true. My and my wife’s counselor addressed the third party issue with a characterization that both my wife and I needed to have two feet, not one foot, inside the door to our marriage before we could effectively work on improving it. I did not realize at the time that our counselor meant that my wife needed to conclude that her ending of her EA was permanent and would not be re-pursued unless her efforts to restore our marriage to a happy and healthy state were, after undertaking all reasonable efforts, a failure regardless of the reason. I just took the two feet in the door to mean that my wife was not at that time interested in divorce as a possibility unless efforts to “fix” the problems that existed (in hindsight predominantly caused by the EA) in our relationship failed in which case she would no longer have any feet inside of the “door”.

      I don’t agree with the “True Love” comment. Although I have not had a full-blown EA and certainly never had a PA, there should be no discounting of the feelings of the BS’s with respect to their respective AP’s. Those feelings are real, and the withdrawl symptoms described on this site are no doubt real (they were for my wife, which hurt but I can understand why this was the case under the circumstances) and are further evidence that the feelings of “love” that the CS’s are feeling are not an illusion. The fact is that the “love” that the CS’s are feeling are most likely feelings of infatuation (haven’t we all felt this, and isn’t it an awesome feeling, albeit fleeting!), and when the respective CS’s finally come to their senses or come out of the “fog”, it’s not surprising that when rational decisions are made, the decisions are to end the affairs and re-commit, if not on a life-long basis (damn the damage affairs cause to relationships that, while not in the best shape at the time, are oftentimes terminally damaged due to the inevitable damaging effects of the affairs). I think that “loving” feelings may have been felt, but reality and rationality kicks in and the parties to the affair realize, unfortunately for some after heartbreak and withdrawal result (sorry Alone), that the “fantasy” must end and they must go back to their existing relationships, whether to work to repair and improve them or to end them. On the other hand, some dolts don’t “get it” and continue with the fantasy to the demise of exising relationship(s) and the entry into the very “dangerous” waters of a relationship that began with infidelity by one or more of the parties to the relationship.

      Finally, with respect to persons who cheat on their relationship partners to begin another relationship, woe unto the party entering into such a relationship with a cheating party. No matter what justification, can’t you understand what your new lover is doing is so wrong on so many levels and that if they are willing to do that to another person, there is a greater than average chance that they might do so to you at some point in the future? I’ll agree with my wife who said that the unbelievably wonderful (yak!) feelings that she felt with her AP so clouded her judgment so many times during the EA that she did and said things at that time that she can’t believe she did or said and so regrets the same to this day, but when it came to contemplating the two of them getting together after multiple divorces, for whatever reason the repercussions of the same overcame the “fog” and snapped her back to a reality that made her ultimately realize that these feelings she was feeling and acting upon were harmful and needed to end.

      One last rant. I understand, and believe I communicated, that there is a real bad downside to not confessing to an affair under certain circumstances. But I believe that it is apparent that there are real bad repercussions to bringing the existence of an affair, EA or PA, to your significant other, whether such affair currently exists or has previously been ended. So to confess, or not to confess, is a question that is apparently difficult to address. For anyone on this site who is contemplating such a confession, I would just suggest that they take the “advice” of any commentors here with careful consideration and to also, if at all possible, get some professional advice in this regard. The obvious reason is, of course, that no matter what decision you make, there are positives and negatives involved and, unfortunately, there is a greater than zero chance that what you feel is the right decision in this regard may end up being a decision that ends your relationship and results in all of the negative implications that follow from the same (oh, poor, poor kids).

    • Paula

      HM, so very true, I think there’s a truism about being with the one who you cheated WITH, and knowing (or not knowing!) that he/she is more likely to cheat ON you. I had this very conversation with my OH’s best mate’s first wife recently. She cheated, and ended up with the AP. I gave it a year at the time, I was very wrong. They lasted 12. We had limited contact with her during this time, I made it obvious that I didn’t like what they had done to their first wife and husband. He left her for another woman, just over a year ago. She said to me that she asked herself that very question during their affair. If he’s willing to cheat with me, what is going to stop him cheating ON me, later, when the infatuation wears off.

      I, also question the advice given about disclosure, or non-disclosure. I would certainly have a very long, hard think about it, and maybe get some good professional advice if I was still very unsure, if I was an undiscovered CS. All cases are different. Some people are able to cope, and then grow after disclosure, but it is a very long and painful experience. Others will neither cope, nor flourish, unless the relationship ends. In our case, my OH ended the affair, but the OW (my ex-friend) eventually told me. I am in two minds about this. I understand he was horrified and panicked that I would find out and end our (then) 22 year relationship, with all the fun that comes with that. He didn’t want to cause me that pain by telling me (by that stage, he realised his selfishness, and was ashamed of himself for not feeling bad early in the affair, because he was hurting and “deserved” to feel good for once, his early stage justification for the affair, which he soon realised was not true, and then tried to escape the affair, but she blackmailed him for months, no excuses for his behaviour, but she helped to prolong things.) However, even with the resulting pain and suffering we have BOTH experienced, both of us are glad that the truth is out, and we are able to deal with that, in whatever form that takes (staying together, working through the issues, or separating, also having dealt with the issues.) He admits that if he hadn’t been discovered, he thought he would never put himself in that situation again, but maybe, if he hadn’t REALLY learnt the lesson of the pain, then if things got tight and difficult again, maybe he would have started up with her again (they had remained friends after he stopped shagging her) or found another willing participant, so much easier once you have already done this, you have the confidence that you are attractive to other people, and you have the skills for the subterfuge, etc.

    • Disappointed

      Just had a very absurd moment. My CS was telling me about the lame excuses his sisters boyfriend of 25 years has been giving her to cover up his affair. My CS could not do something as promised and gave an excuse and said it was a real reason not a lame excuse like the boyfriend. I said you mean like saying you’re tired and going to bed early? And he looked at me like he did not know what I was talking about. I said, you mean like saying you’re tired and going to bed early so you could text her. My CS does not get that he was doing the same thing. Wow… Just realized how in denial he is about what he did in his month long EA. Truly amazing. No concept of the pain he has caused me…

    • cal

      I’m very new to this, it wasn’t even two weeks ago that I discovered my H’s Facebook affair with a woman he knew in high school but who currently lives on the other side of the country. I read through their communications, or at least the last few months of the chain of messages (I will always wish that I had read all of it, so I know for sure when the romance began and how deep it went, but reading it was making me physically ill so I stopped, and now it has been deleted.)

      I really read as much as I need to know, though, given that I saw them talking about loving each other, being married to each other, undoing the mistakes of the last 30 years so they could be together, and of course, sex talk. But what hurt the most was what he said about me. He disparaged me and betrayed my confidences to her, made me look worse than I am and allowed her to sit in judgement of me and our marriage. He even joked about booting me out of my house and moving her in. Subsequent investigation showed her phone number appearing on our bills for the first time two months ago (the affair was allegedly 4-5 months old when I discovered it) with one long phone call and several texts back and forth. That to me seems like an escalation.

      At any rate, when I confronted him (I printed out the message with the ‘booting me out’ comment and taped it to the door so he’d see it when he got home so I could avoid the phase where he tells me I am imagining things and get straight to the discussion) he immediately claimed that the EA was nothing, just a fantasy that would never go anywhere and that he really wanted me. (I asked him to go to her if he wanted her so bad, so I must have induced a panic in him.) I said that after what I had read I couldn’t see what he wanted from me so there was no way I would believe he wanted me for anything but the routine comforts of marriage – my paycheck (he was recently laid off) my insurance (he has cancer) and access to our son still at home. (His AP is 2000 miles away.)

      He denied that was the case, that he just found something in her that he couldn’t get from me (blaming me for the break down of our marriage, though he did admit blame himself) but that he never really was serious about her. He said we should get counseling (when I asked for counseling a couple months prior, not knowing of the affair, that was one of the things they joked about.)

      He took two days and two attempts before he broke it off with her (as far as I know it is only for now) and deleted her from his FB and phone. That hurt. But now he says he wants it to work with me. Currently he is living at his mom’s house but he has chemo next week and needs to come back for that and has nowhere else to go. I am getting some peace this week and trying to regain my stability after having my BP blow up 50 points. He has started answering questions, though I can’t really trust the veracity of his answers now, if ever. I have snooped through as much as I can, including his FB account (though she has been deleted) so I don’t know what else I can find. We are in separate counseling for now while I decide what I want – and see if I can figure out what he really wants.

      So my question is: does anyone think he converted to Team Wife too quickly? That the ‘affair fog’ could truly have dissipated in under 48 hours? I know he is feeling a lot of regret and shame (having to tell our kids we were separating – but not the reason – really got to him.) I know he needs me for various reasons but for two years he has done nothing but push me away when he felt depressed or fearful. At the same time, he was her “rock” and found comfort with her, leaving me totally alone with a whole host of problems, most of which stemmed from his actions. (As a PS, he has had problems with internet porn before too, with the same kinds of denials and attempts to shrug off the blame.)

      Does anyone think this quick turnaround could be legit? Or, if I decide to try to work on the marriage, would it mean he is more likely to have a relapse? Any advice would be appreciated.

      Thank you!

      • Need to Heal

        Perhaps your H has begun to realize that his EA was just a fantasy, and would never work out in real life. That’s what happened to me – I was a CS and recently broke off the affair. In fact my story has many parallels to your H. I have realized that my H of almost 20 years is the one I truly love, even though it isn’t a perfect marriage. An EA is really an addiction, which was hard for me to end, but I’m surviving. It’s so important for your H to not have contact with the OW, in order to recover. There is definitely a grieving process by the CS, which I am now experiencing. And as Doug said in this post, the CS is not really grieving the loss of the OP but is just going through an emotional adjustment – in my case, I suspect that I’m grieving the loss of the fantasy, not the OM. I miss feeling desired in such an intense way, but I realize that it was in fact just a fantasy and an unhealthy addiction.

    • IMB

      I had a PA at work which ended on 1st Jan. I thought I could manage everything. How wrong I was. I fell into the deepest depression almost immediately when it became apparent the relationship was over and that we were just work colleagues again. Only now am I starting to somewhat recover from the depression. I barely ate for a month and still have trouble sleeping. I have been so distant and disengaged from my wife and two year old son. I am trying to snap out of it but I am in a bleak place. I cried so many times in the security of the toilets. I was totally lost.

      I resent the OP for being able to switch off her feelings almost immediately and am appalled at what I have done to myself, my wife and child. My father had an affair and I promised myself I never would. What have I done.

      OP wanted us to be friends but I cannot. I try to avoid her and mostly I do as we work on different floors. I bumped into her three weeks ago and she asked me how I was. I said “I am surviving”. She said “That bad, eh?” “Me , too” she said. When I walked away that began to eat at me. I wondered if she still had feelings for me.

      The following day I capitulated and called her. I asked her what she meant by “Me too”. She went said she meant nothing. She was seeing someone she said and that she knew what it was like to be “trapped in a marriage”. I was deeply hurt. A married man upset by his OP being in a relationship. What has happened to me.

      However, three and a half months on from the end of the A., I find myself thinking about OP constantly.

      Working in the same organisation as OP doesn’t help but thankfully we are on different floors and I don’t see her that often. She also travels a lot. All the memories are positive. Maybe that in itself is indicative of the surreal like status of an affair where each party relies on the other for a fix. It takes place in a bubble. It is very difficult to manage feelings for OP when MC is occurring. Whilst I try to suppress my thoughts, it is fruitless and I am starting to think it is part of the grieving process. I don’t expect it to last forever but I have no idea how long it will last.

      I am trying to work out what it says about me that OP seems to have moved on seamlessly whilst I am floundering. I worry that the rejection I feel cannot be processed as she initiates non business conversations every so often and in an open plan office so it is difficult for me just to ignore her. She touches my arm when we talk. Logically I should let everything go but I can’t. Why am I still holding on when it prolongs the emotional hurt. I feel that I cannot give BS 100% commitment right now. To say otherwise would be dishonest. I feel emasculated by OP. Head says let her go fully. Heart won’t let me.

      • Healing Mark

        IMB. Two words for you. Professional counseling. Probably a lot of it.

        If your wife does not know about your affair and your related feelings, DO NOT TELL HER! If there are things that you “got” from your short-lived relationship that you have not and are not getting from your wife, things that you now believe that you want or need, and things that you can possibly get from your wife, then work with your counselor to see how to go about getting these from your wife and in your marriage. But just because your head and heart are now all screwed up due to your affair, doesn’t mean you have to share these things with your wife and potentially destroy her life and massively impact your child’s life. Now, if counseling does not help and at some point you realize that you will never again be 100% committed to your marriage, then it’s this fact that you should communicate to your wife and then see where that disclosure takes the two of you.

        Good luck.

    • Surviving

      Why are you still married?

    • IMB

      Surviving, I am still married because I need to work on my marrriage. I am hoping that I will be in a position to work on the marriage constructively as my feelings for AP subside.

    • broken

      This is my first post and I’m so thankful to have found this site. I am the CS and SLOWLY recovering. I am 2 months post ending affair and 5 weeks post revealing it to my H. I am so glad I can see what it was- an addiction. But there are days I believe I was “in love”. I did grieve tremendously and I thought it would never end. I still obsess more than I should and I wish I could fast forward in time. To be whole again. I am in therapy and just had first MC last night. my H has been more than wonderful with this but the “fog” has kept me from having a connection with him. Truthfully, we never did which in part led to EA. We have kids and that is why we are trying to build something. I said to the counselor that I feel hopeless because other stories I have read there was a love between the spouses before EA and we did not truly have that. (married for the wrong reason, stay married for that reason) But my H won’t give up and I have a lot of respect for him because of that. Thank you everyone for your openness, this is a wonderful site.

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