Some healing from an affair do’s and don’ts for the unfaithful person.

Photo by DimaBerlin

By Doug

This post is going to be geared towards the cheater and healing from an affair.  Since most of our readers are the betrayed, you might want to print this off and show it to your cheating spouse. 

If you are the cheater, consider the points in this post very carefully and take stock in your own words and actions.

The following paragraph from the book, “How to Help Your Spouse Heal From Your Affair” by Linda J. MacDonald, M.S., LMFT, sums things up pretty good:

“Unsuccessful rebuilders frequently minimize their partners’ pain and are impatient with the recovery process.  They are preoccupied with their own feelings and remain clueless about the devastation they’ve caused their families.”

In many instances, when an affair is discovered the cheating spouse feels as though a weight has been lifted from their shoulders.  They feel relief while the pain for the betrayed has just begun.  During this time the cheater, due to guilt and shame, will not want to talk about the affair and want nothing more than to simply move on.  Needless, to say, this is not a possibility for the betrayed.

In order for the betrayed to succeed in healing from an affair, the cheater must show patience and empathy with respect to the pain that their affair has caused.  They must listen.  The cheater must validate the betrayed spouse’s pain.  They must respect the betrayed person’s emotions.  The cheater must realize the trauma they caused.  They must comfort their spouse.  They allow their spouse to heal on their own timetable.

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Healing From an Affair – Rebuilders Should Never Say This:

 “You should be over this by now.”

“Why can’t you move on?”

“Not this again!”

“Why do you keep beating me up about this?”

“What’s your problem?  I said I was sorry!”

“It’s over.  Why can’t you accept that?”

“Don’t you think you’re overreacting?”

“Well, you did _______ to me.”

“God has forgiven me.  Why can’t you?”

“Why can’t you just forgive and forget?”

“You’re just bitter and vindictive.”

“Well, you’ve hurt me too!”

How to Get the Cheater Out of the Affair Fog

Foggy Headed

After an affair, most cheaters are still pretty much in the fog and are oblivious to the damage that they have caused.  They are either still feeling flattery from the affair, are filled with guilt and shame or are too relieved that the affair is over to understand the betrayed spouse’s emotional reality.  Witnessing the betrayed partner’s pain and devastation should wake up the cheater to the reality of their actions and can help in the healing process.

In her practice, the author states that she has seen the most progress in healing from an affair when the cheater welcomes non-defensive listening and validates the betrayed partner’s feelings for as long as necessary.  Basically, the more the cheater resists to helping with the healing process, the longer it will take.  Therefore, the best way for the cheater to truly get his/her wish to “move on,” is to willingly and patiently participate in healing by listening, validating, showing remorse, comforting and providing caring responses to the betrayed.

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Successful rebuilders are also more sorry for their partner’s pain than their own guilt.  Healthy guilt should be about the severity of the pain they caused, not about how bad the cheater feels.  Unhealthy guilt becomes all about the cheater and allows for this self-pity to distract them and become more important than the betrayed’s agony.

Successful rebuilders will say things like:

“I hate to see you in such pain.”

“I feel terrible about what I’ve done to you.”

“You are not to blame in any way.”

The betrayed needs to know that the cheater deeply regrets what they’ve done and the pain they’ve caused.  They need for the cheater to put more time and effort into healing the betrayed’s pain than in feeling sorry for or punishing themselves for their misdeeds.  This will allow the cheater to empathize more and be better able to put themselves in the hurt partner’s shoes, which will ultimately help speed up the healing process.

Can you think of anything your spouse (or you, if the cheater) may have said or done (or failed to do) during the recovery process that has hindered your progress toward healing from an affair?

    85 replies to "Healing From an Affair – Changing From Destroyer to Rebuilder"

    • Jessica

      When he said I don’t know if our marriage will make it if you can’t get over this.

    • Norwegian woman

      – She is a person that cares a lot for other people.
      – If you contact her, I will have to be with her.
      – I really wonder what you are capable to do to the people I love like my family and so on, you are sick (when I told him I would knock her down if i saw her)
      – You don`t want to move on, you just want to torture me.
      – I couldn`t get myself to tell her to stop contacting me, because she had a hard time (at that time I was a wreck)
      – Stop reading those on-line discussions.

    • D

      The cheater may actually be in a state of shock just as much as the betrayed. That might be hard for us to accept given that they know all the details. But fessing up such behavior to someone the cheater at least cared about once can’t be easy for them. I can only imagine the guilt and shame. It helps me to be at least a bit more understanding.

      The biggest hindrance was my wife drawing inward to try to “understand herself.” This only shut me out when the only thing I wanted was to be included in her life. It added another layer of rejection. To be fair I’m not sure there was any other way to do it.

      The irony is that what the betrayed need most of all is for the betrayer to say, “I fucked up, but this is where I want to be. You mean everything to me. My life is meaningless without you. Please, please, please forgive me. I will never take you for granted ever again and nothing you need from me will ever be too much.” However, whether we intend it or not, most of us want our piece of flesh.

      That’ s why the healing takes so long, why it’s a process.

      • ifeelsodumb

        You know D…I think you are right, this IS a process….and it can’t be hurried! I believe after all the reading and researching I’ve done, that no matter WHAT the BS does, if they’ve stopped ALL contact immediately, fall on their knees begging for forgiveness, talk and talk and talk…this IS a process, and it has to play out…and I seriously doubt that anyone can recover within a year, it will help, but a person is thrown into shock when this happens and only time will help with that…IMHO…

    • ifeelsodumb

      “Basically, the more the cheater resists to helping with the healing process, the longer it will take.”
      This is so true in my case….my H and I have started talking…really talking, in the last several weeks, we are now 11 1/2 mos after DDAY….and today after reading this post, my H admitted that he really thought that my pain and anger would go away after a few months…he said he never realized that I would still be in this much pain after almost a year, and he’s realizing that if he would have started helping me heal right from the beginning, instead of ignoring what I was going through, we would be a lot farther along….and it’s true!!
      But he’s now reading this blog, and is trying harder to help me make new memories instead of the memories form last year…so I find my anger is lessening more and more every day….and I have hope that we are finally going to be able to put this behind us

    • suzie suffers

      I was obsessed with the affair and how little self esteem I had. His comments : You’re crazy/You may never be more exciting to me than her (sarcastically said when I questioned him about his feelings for her)/You will never be forgiven if you don’t forgive me/You must love misery talking about this all the time/I don’t ever want you to mention his again (he would never say the word affari)/Maybe if you just got some meds you could get over this/If you had God in your heart this would be over already/……and on and on and on.
      But my question is……how long does it go on? How long did you talk to your SO everyday about some aspect of the affair….and cry and compare yourself to “them” since he had multiple attempted connections with other women, one night stands (mostly while in his addiction) but then a couple of attempts again but only one EA/PA (sober). He hid behind the “AA” slogan of not telling you wife anything about the affair and actually lying to me about affairs I knew he’d had but suddenly denied they had happened and told me he had lied about them to be macho….but then 2 years later after my badgering him, finally admitted he had the one night stands. It took almost 1 year to really start talking about the EA/PA…and then I became obsessed with talking to him about everything he’d ever done….I wanted the truth and didn’t believe anything he told me….especially since we had a number of times that there were “disclosures”….and then something would happen about a “forgotten” incident, which he swears he forgot and wasn’t lying, but it’s pretty hard to believe someone when transparency and honesty don’t seem to be in their pursuit, but because I insisted!! Then the more he complained about me looking at his email and phone bill (never did request credit card..oops) the more suspicious I got. He had has his own personal computer at work, so who know’s what was on it. Anyway, long story short, is when does obsession take over and we can’t let go….My self esteem was GONE….and all I could do was look for reassurance from my husband that somehow I was better and not always the consellation prize (he only seemed to come back to me when the other women fizzled out)…and body comparison, personality, conversations. He tried to comfort me with words, but his actions didn’t seem to match up, although I see many of the cheaters here don’t want to talk about it, don’t want to read about it, don’t want to take action…..BUT I wasnted his words of “everlasting love” to match his actions. I wanted to go to a marriage counselor because I knew I was stuck or depressed or something (in the last year my mom was diagnosed with cancer and I was assisting her for the entire year with chemo and surgery and my son was in the depths of a serious drug addiction….I was laid off after 16 years at one job….and now going through his sobriety and affairs). He complained it was too much money….Well, he contacted a counselor he hadn’t talked to in 3 years (he had left counseling because he didn’t want to get pushed about some issues she was wanting him to pursue), but she thought I was pushing too much about the affairs and suggested we separate for 90 days while getting marriage counseling. Well, within 3 weeks of us separating without any contact, he pursued a counselor (not for marriage but for himself) which cost more than the marriage counselor he said was too much, and has filed for divorce. SO how much is too much talking about the affair….he said I was attacking him too much about the affair. I had bought the Linda MacDonald book, and read the whole thing…then asked him to read it. Well, that was as slow as molasses. Never did read more than the first chapter. I showed him this blog….I’d send him articles about healing through the affair trying to show him I wasn’t crazy in the pain I was going through and everyone else was going through something similar…..almost to validate I was “OK”….somewhat, although at the end I know I was obsessing, but I think that was because I didn’t trust him and didn’t believe I was “OK”….and wasn’t just second best. I still love him and wish we weren’t divorcing, but there is little I can do. Actually didn’t even contact me about the divorce, just mailed me the papers and hasn’t attempted to speak to me. His comment to my son was that he just wanted to live the single life , no drama and nobody to worry about except himself. So, my warning would be to all of us betrayed, how much is too much talking and discussing …..and when do we move forward. PS> Till the day we separated he was telling me I was the love of his life and he couldn’t imagine living his life without me. Sending me love notes daily, although he did say in a couple of emails that he was stessing about the conversations because he felt they were nonstop. And our “love” life was great……..
      Good luck to you all on your journey to rekindle “love” after infidelity!!

    • ifeelsodumb

      BTW Doug, I like the title of this….it’s very fitting!!

      • Doug

        Thanks IFSD. Sometimes that is the hardest part of the post to think of! 😉

    • Dol

      Only just over 4 weeks in, so maybe early days still, but: my cheating partner has actually said things from both lists above. She does understand what she’s done, and has tried to be there for me, and often succeeded. But trying to talk about it, she’s also often completely withdrawn – it’s the loneliest thing in the world to be in a room with someone you love and them be unable to help in any way, to be completely aloof and detatched.

      She’s also, however, bought up an old hurt that hasn’t gone away, and that’s making it very tough. Sometimes it feels like this lapses into “well, you’ve hurt me too!”, but it’s also actually something that does need dealing with, somehow. It’s just at the moment, it feels like trying to fix a broken leg when the house is on fire. We need to get out of the burning house first!

      It’s horrible: it’s actually an old EA/PA she had before we got together, with a (now ex) friend of mine: she feels I didn’t/haven’t done enough to protect her from his dreadful behaviour. The moments where she’s making direct parallels to how this means I betrayed her, and what she’s done: that’s when I get closest to walking out the door. I have to acknowledge her feelings, but I’m also saying to myself: “hang on… who was it arranged secret meetings with another man, lied to me about where they were going, spent six weeks stoking the fire of a massive infatuation behind my back, just so they could feel alive, get high?”

      But I know there’s something there that needs sorting out, though: she has a need that hasn’t been met, and perhaps that played a role in what’s happened now. I’m just not sure I have the strength to deal with everything at the same time.

      It sounds, however, like this happens a lot, and must be something that needs dealing with: at some point, one has to openly discuss needs not being met, find a way through. That’s perhaps only subtlely different from her using the anger about this issue in the “well, you hurt me!” way you describe.

      So question from that: how to get to a point where, as couples, we can deal with these older, complex problems of unmet needs? When should that happen in the EA/PA recovery process? Sometimes I feel like we deal with it well, other times – like on the very first day after I found out, and the old issues came up – it feels very much like she’s using the anger as a distraction from what’s happened. Not consciously, just as a way of surviving psychologically.

      • Sue85

        Dol,
        The thing that came to my mind as I read your post on the part about the probability of some need not being met in your wife….is that your wife may not know what need is not being met in her life. Have you asked your wife that question and if so, what was her response? With it being only 4 weeks out, she may not have had the time (or desire) to analyze the reasons behind her affair. Although people’s reasons for cheating may be different, I do feel that there is some underlining reason for it.
        Thanks.

    • changedforever

      Hello my friends…wanted to share some thoughts & discussion from our marriage counseling session from last night: the suggested concept my H was asked to practice daily is to consciously focus on his ‘ethical drift.’ Asking himself daily whether his choices are good, not so good or bad, relative to his marriage…EACH DAY. Our doctor elaborated on this as a requirement, as, he explained, my H can’t JUST assume that the pain he is suffering from (finally) seeing & understanding what he did to me, our marriage and the fact that he literally wiped out most good memories I had, would be ‘enough’ to stop him from future infidelity. My H reiterated he would never put me thru this ever again. (However, he had already as I suffered a 2nd Dday 8 mths after the 1st, and I believe I stopped YET another EA in the making just a month or 2 ago when he began buying bagels & coffee for a new, young substitute who reciprocated. The texting began & I asked about the ‘new number’ showing up on the cell bill. Of course I had seen the texts on his phone already…just wanted to see if he’d own up. Unfortunately, he lied, then came clean when I told him the # of texts he showed me did not match the bill. I immediately blocked her # but I think you all understand what happened & what I intercepted…he does now too. This is how ‘it’ starts!) Our doctor explained how ‘the pain subsides,’ & the (cheating) behavior could reoccur…similar to an alcoholic or drug addict who becomes clean-sometimes for years-then begins to ‘use ‘again! Why would they put themselves & their families thru that pain…again? Because the behavior occured in the past…and the pain subsided…and the relapse happened. The user did not address their lapse away from reality…their ethical drift. Similar to what AA practices as their 10th step…must be a daily pactice though for those who’ve crossed their relationship boundaries…some of you have been there…and, no matter what you think, now, or what pain you observed your partner experience that you inflicted…the pain subsides…& the behavior can reoccur. I can now attest to this personally & unfortunately.
      I pray this new daily ‘practice’ helps my H…and some of you & your relationships too.
      Still on the road to healing
      15 mths past DDay #1
      6 mths past DDay #2

      • Bewildered

        I feel for you changed forever. You are stronger and a much better person than I am. This is the one and only time I will ever deal with my husbands cheating. I could never muster up the strength I would throw in the towel and never look back. Its been 7 months of absolute hell for me only to uncover that I am basically married to someone totally different than I thought – my husband was always a pillar of strength who could do no wrong – boy was I misled but I have to appreciate how hard it is for him to finally be exposed!

        • changedforever

          I hear you Bewildered but I can honestly tell you that a person has no idea of his/her capabilities until the issue they need to deal with is front & center…like a brick wall that appears right in front of you…suddenly. I have made it clear to my H (with only 1 reminder to him as recent as yesterday,) that 1 more lie and I’m out. And like Paula, I have already begun the mental prepardness (to begin a new phase of my life/financial too) that I was not afforded the opportunity to build as my H’s affair was not ANYTHING I had ANY idea about…for the 1st time in my life I truly was like ‘the deer in the headlights….’ back then. I’m coming into my own again as a much wiser & stronger woman, albeit broken & damaged inside. I always think people can ‘read my thoughts/as if its written all over my face’ but I know now that’s not the case. It just feels like it at times.
          I’ve asked my marriage counselor that very same question you are asking (when will I know when it’s time to leave,) during 1-on-1 sessions I’ve had with the counselor. He tells me only I will know that. I have spent nights ‘away’ but I’m planning to purposely spend more time caring for my parents when I can…a night here & there. They need me. I’m a planner so I’ll always work around my full-time job, the carpool, etc. But I do know it’s time for me to do more of ‘my’ thing. All part & parcel of my ‘mental prepardness.’

          • Bewildered

            Changed – I had the best marriage counseling session ever yesterday…I was alone because my husband conviently overbooked and guess what was not the priority? What we are requesting (accountability, apology, restitution, vunerability, faithfulness) are not unreasonable things…some people don’t have the capacity to give us those things. If you and I don’t see changes that are acceptable to us we need to move on and accept that we gave our best trying, be strong and resilient. The counselor described my husband as a little boy and when you look at it like that why would we want to be married to a little boy. They know we would be find without them we also have to accept they need someone to fill their needs so what they will do is move on to a person with lower standards or someone else they can pull the wool over their eyes. We set our own standards and we are far above cheaters who can’t be accountable. We need to be/get strong we do not need them to survive if they can’t respect us.

    • Dol

      sue85, well, we’re not married – so she might require some concrete demonstration of my commitment for a start! But the particular unmet need here is specifically protection from someone who’s treated her dreadfully in the past but is now -as a popular, central figure in our friendship circle – a constant source of pain, a reminder that someone could treat her so awfully and ‘get away with it’.

      So the problem for me is working out how to deal with these genuine issues in the relationship AT THE SAME TIME as trying to get through the recent betrayal. The hard part is that, as my partner describes it, she sees my `betrayal’ in not supporting her as she feels I should have done as on a par with her actions during the EA. I’m struggling there, particularly now when it’s so raw.

      As I say, though, I’m imagining this surfacing of unmet needs is common; it’s certainly something our counsellor highlighted. It’s just a massive struggle to deal with all this at the same time. It’s a bit galling: it was the last counselling session last night for a month, which we didn’t know – we’ve talked about this past issue, but haven’t actually got round to the EA! Makes me feel a little isolated.

    • Sue85

      Dol,
      I’m glad you two are in therapy together. Hopefully it will help the two of you heal as a couple and as individuals. And since I’m not a counselor, I have no idea as to the ‘proper order’ of help in your situation….the past issues first or the current one of the EA. Maybe someone else out there has more experience on that area (?).
      Hang in there!!

    • melissa

      I agree with D, that what we, BS, want to hear is ‘I really messed up, I’m sorry, I understand how painful this is for you and I know I caused this pain’. I wish my H would read this blog – this article was so well timed.

      I realise I’ve been sniping at him quite a lot recently (usually when a trigger ‘hits’, ie him texting someone, spending a lot of time on his computer, or when he’s away on business). So I’d say ‘who are you texting?’, ‘what are you doing?’, ‘I hope you’re not buying a present for someone I don’t like’ – in fact he was buying ME a present! Not very subtle on my part and not very constructive either. So yesterday, he said ‘we need to talk’ (ouch) and told me he hates the sniping and (I paraphrase here) he’s doing all he can and when will this ever end? I tried to explain that I appreciate all he’s doing to show me he’s more aware of our marriage but I sometimes need ‘the words’ too (I suppose it’s like music without lyrics otherwise) and words are needed to re-assure me when I feel insecure. Of course, being a man, he says there’s no reason why I should feel insecure and everything’s fine and he’s not in touch with anyone, texting anyone, seeing anyone (he never mentions the word ‘affair’ nor the OW’s name).

      My H’s question was ‘how long is it going to take between ‘nothing going on’ and ‘nothing going on’ before this stops? I just couldn’t answer – it’s going to take what it’s going to take, as long as it takes, as much time as I need to recover, this is not about how he’s feeling fed up, it’s about how much his behaviour has hurt me and hurts me still.

      So yes, I’ll try not to snipe and I’ll try to communicate a bit better but it is hard when some of the topics are off limits as they stir up a lot of rage in my H, which he hasn’t dealt with yet and maybe is unable to deal with.

      All in all though, we’ve made a lot of progress, we’re both much more aware of each other and are looking forward to spending time together over the Christmas holidays.

      • suzie suffers

        I think what I was looking for was for my husband to have total honesty and transparency BEFORE I asked him questions. My husband knew the triggers…..walking away to make a phone call, texting someone, leaving receipts in the car. I would have loved for him to say to me….I’m making a call to so and so and need some privacy, then come back in after the call and show me the phone. Strange things on his phone bill would show up as texts from Yahoo or Enotes, and which have no tracking, instead of him saying, I got some spam texts and wanted to show them to you so you didn’t have any suspicions about them on the phone bill. YA…..honesty upfront, not the “I caught you or I have to question what you’re doing”.

        The other things I would have loved was for him to occasionally bring up the harm he did in the affair, without me bring up the pain first and then him comforting me. I understand how difficult this would be because he knew any discussion about the affair would be a trigger for me and might effect my mood….but it seemed when he brought up things to me calmly, I was able to accept them for face value…..maybe that’s because everything is HIDDEN in an affair and then CAUGHT. If some of the details of a CLOSE friendship with someone had been open, maybe an affair would have been a discussion on boundaries instead.

        This is only to help others now since my marriage is ending. My husband couldn’t take the “sniping” and constant obsession I have about asking him questions about the LATEST affair, but since we never really addressed the issues in the other affairs, it was like all the affairs rolled up in one were being discussed NOW.

        GET to counseling to have a professional help you through this…my husband never wanted to go and instead relied on his Alcoholic Anonymous buddies to GUIDE him on how to handle this situation…..which mostly is leave the B….ch, it’s too much to handle and you shouldn’t be dealing with her anger, that’s her problem.

        Good luck to you all!! I keep reading because I have to heal through the betrayal and self esteem issues I have from the residual fallout regardless whether he felt he needed to be there for me after my YEARS of being their for him.

        Thanks for all the great input.

    • Dol

      Melissa, it’s one of the hardest things for the BS to deal with there I think: we actually have to find ways to be strong, and to deal with how our other halves react and find ways to make it work. Our counsellor had good advice for the general need to go over the affair in detail and get as much info as possible. While it starts out that you’re probably waking up at 3.30am and demanding to know about some question that’s arisen, you can attempt to set aside given time periods for those questions.

      That’s really worked for us: my partner feels like she can get a run-up at it and prepare herself, and if I can manage to save it, it works. It didn’t work last night: some questions came out just before sleeping – big mistake. It’s horrible, but the fact that doing that can make the cheater withdraw, get angry, defensive – we have to find some way to accept that, without backing down from what we need.

      That’s why I like the counsellor’s advice so much. Without it, we’d be doing the whole before-bed interrogation thing and be more exhausted than we already are. Last night made me realise that’s still a potential, ongoing, serious problem.

      Another thing I realised is the nature of my (now well fed) paranoia monster that’s come back to life with a vengeance. I do the same as you: if she’s checking her phone, or on the computer, I sometimes ask, but mostly I try and say to myself: this feeling of paranoia makes no sense – if she wanted to contact him, she has all day at work to do that. It’s just that the media they used to contact each other are ALL triggers, as you say… blech.

      There’s something about it being in front of you, in your own space, especially if you now that’s happened before. But the thing is, if we have to learn to believe our partners when they’re away at work all day, I suppose we have to learn to do that when they’re right in front of us too.

      It’s not fair, of course: us having to do the work here. But if it’s what the relationship needs…

      • melissa

        Dol, a huge thank you for your note, it really helped.

    • Bewildered

      The biggest hinderance was when my husband said in our marriage counseling he saw nothing wrong with having a friend of the opposite sex (in his case for 20 +) years who he could run things by that I didn’t know about. How can I possible ever trust the guy after that comment? Basically he had the biggest double standards ever!

    • Terry

      I’ve been married for a few years but met someone last year who I really like and feel connected to in some strange way. I did not have an affair with this person, but distanced myself from him soon after I realized how deep my feelings were. I know he knows, and I believe it is mutual, but never discussed it openly. However, even after staying away for a very long time, I still have the same feelings. I hardly ever meet this person (only 2 times in the last one year). I have not mentioned this to my husband, because I love him very much and I don’t want to hurt him, and since nothing ever happened, outside my mind. But, I do think about him a lot, I have tried to stop doing this, but it doesnt seem to work. So, eventhough I’m not having an affair, in a way, I’m betraying my husband/ family because of the emotional connection I feel for this person. Its like I really care about this person and want everything to work right for him. It’s hard to explain. I will never walk away from my family, but I wish I could be like before, before I met him.
      (I have been reading these blogs since last year ever since it started, so I thought I will post a comment, let me know if you have any thoughts on this)

      • Sidney

        Terry,
        Boy do I ever understand! My situation was very similar to yours….was around the other man only twice (in one weekend) and the connection was very intense. Almost scary. I couldn’t stop thinking about him….
        Unlike you, however, I replied to his texts and emails and got so wrapped up into the thrill of it all that I temporarily forgot who I was and what I stood for.

        I understand the emotional connection you feel for this man, but please….don’t act on it. If you can’t stop thinking about him now, then just imagine how much more it will be once an EA has started. Getting over an EA is a very long and difficult process. I would think ‘getting over’ perhaps a one night stand would be easy since it was ‘just sex,’ but once strong emotions are there….it makes the ‘getting over’ part all that more difficult.

        You sound like a moral and loving woman (and wife)….and if you’ve been reading here for a year, then you know the immense amount of damage an EA can cause on a spouse (and family). So please hang tough. Don’t give in to the temptation….do whatever you can to honor your husband and marital vows.

        I have no advice about HOW to stop thinking of this man (if I did, I wouldn’t be struggling with it myself!!)….I just wanted to comment on your post and to support you. You are not alone out there!

        • Terry

          Hi Sidney, Thanks for your reply. It is very comforting. I appreciate it.
          Terry

        • D

          If I may add my two cents here: I only wish my wife would have told me she had feelings for another man. I would have been hurt, angry, confused and probably would have pouted for a few days, but eventually we would have had an honest discussion about our relationship and our future together. What offends me about her decision to move forward without me is that she made a choice for both of us. Who knows, I want her to be happy, I may have said, “Go for it.” Then again, I might have said, “but I may not be here when or if you want to return.”

          But that’s the reason for the secrecy in affairs, isn’t it? People want to keep their options open in case they make a wrong decision. They want to have their cake and eat it too. They want a test drive the new car before ditching the old. But that’s not fair to the spouse. It’s not ethical. It shows a lack of character and a lack of respect.

          To put it bluntly, Terry and Sidney, this isn’t high school. It’s marriage. Either take it seriously or move on. Now there are many instances where people do move on and it was the right thing to do. That may be your case. But to keep your spouse in the dark is simply cowardly.

          Best to you both.

          • Terry

            Thanks everyone for replying. I will never have an affair, emotional or otherwise. I know that. I also know that my husband is a much better person in every way than the other person. I love my husband and my family and deeply care about them. I just happened to meet someone else, we took a 1 month training together. I never kept in touch with the person, or even talk to him. It is strange that its been a year since the course, and I still care about him, even though I only saw him 2 times after the course ended. I tried everything to end the thoughts about him, it doesnt seem to work. I’m hoping it will end in time. I don’t know what good it will bring by telling my husband, since it would only hurt him. There’s nothing wrong with him, and he is an awesome guy and I will never betray him ever. I hope this is just a phase…unfortunate that it ever happened to me 🙁 I’m saying it here, because I just wanted to talk to someone about it, and I cannot imagine telling this to even my best friend, because I dont want to ever risk anyone knowing it, for they would think any less of my husband. We do actually have a great marraige and I cannot believe I could have these feelings for this other person, who is not even a very good person.

            • Sidney

              Terry,
              Try to keep your mind occupied….that seems the best trick for me too. You know what they say about the idle mind…. 🙂 And I also understand the need to talk about it to someone….it’s just not something you can bring up in conversation to others. Just know you are not alone out there and there are others going through similar feelings.

            • Anita

              Terry,
              “they would think any less of my husband”
              Why would anyone think less of your husband?
              Is this a typo?

      • Anita

        Terry and Sidney,
        You need to put all the energy into your own marriages.
        When you begin to think about that other person, change
        your thoughts to your own husbands. You do have control
        of your own thought life.
        Keep reading these posts and you will soon see that, if you break your marriage vows, the destruction that follows.
        Is that worth, that so called special connection. I want to give
        you the version of lust and the version of love.
        With lust its of the world, it must have now, its selfish,it takes,
        its sinful, its immoral, it anxious never peaceful, and it detroys.
        With Love its of God, it can wait, it is selfless, giving, righteous,
        moral, peaceful, and it develops.

        • Anita

          Terry and Sidney,
          As a former betrayed spouse I bare the scars, but I don’t
          bare the shame. Cheating spouses only let themselves
          down, and have to live with their own disapointment,
          when they make the choice to become involved in an affair.
          In the end their own guilt and shame could have been avoided if they had just stopped and thought it through from the
          moment they realized that it could go down the wrong road.
          Each and everyone of us is aware when we begin thinking
          wrong thoughts, its at that very moment you need to cast down that wrong thought. Sadly the cheater keeps adding to the wrong thoughts and pretty soon the thoughts become
          the actions.

      • Pissed Off Wife

        Terry, I think it is a very good sign that you are trying to make sense of your intense feelings. You clearly love your husband very much and do not want to sabotage your marriage in anyway. You have done the right thing in distancing yourself. I think you should reflect on Simple Fool’s advice.

        I am the victim of an EA and, from my experience, the air of the fantasy balloon when completely out once my husband came clean and the whole thing was in the open. The secrecy waxes the desire, it really does. The OP might be a wonderful person in their own way but you don’t know them fully and the fantasy that feels powerful is just that: a fantasy. You clearly have love and a solid basis in your relationship. Reflect on what seems most compelling about the fantasy of the OP and consider how that could be developed in your own relationship.

        If my husband had directed even 1/10 the energy or voiced a need to change, I would have jumped at the chance then. Just like Linda said: hey, I love you, I am so in love and committed, but I have some needs, and I want to work on them as a team. What are your needs? Let’s make some positive changes. Well, we’re going through hell on the other end but there’s hope for us to make those positive changes now.

        Terry, in short, I’d consider telling your husband. Or at least asking for changes.

        The OM is not real, honey. He’s not and you don’t want to reck havoc on your life over an illusion of someone not even close to real.

        PW

    • Simple Fool

      Terry, I don’t claim to understand your situation, but like others would congratulate you on seeking to understand your confusion by reading here. And I was moved by your note to reply with what I learned as a consequence of not seeking to redirect my energy from my self-sabotaging fantasy to a truer accounting of my relation to the marriage.
      The thing is, you have to look hard, now, at how you are already ignoring your partner and considering only your own feelings of both need and shame. If I could have defogged myself, and prevented this heart-breaking pain that I caused my marriage, I would have asked myself:

      1) How much of the emotional connection I feel is driven by me and not the object of my attention? More importantly, how did I get here? Am I failing to reach out to my partner to meet my emotional needs? List out the things you believe you are seeing in the OP. Don’t shy away from this simply because you might feel guilty for what will sound like unfair criticism for your marriage. It is unfair, because you probably haven’t given your partner the chance to provide what you need. But don’t let feelings of guilt get in the way of discovering what you need to work through, and then bringing to the partnership in your marriage. And remember, what you are listing here is not actually that person, but your fantasy of that person. In other words…

      2) How well do I really know this person? Have they demonstrated the commitment to me and my well-being that my partner has? Do they have a real sense of who I really am? Have they demonstrated a true understanding of my fears, my failures, my self-disabling tendencies (such as we all have in unequal proportion, and may all overcome) in the everyday reality of life/family/career, etc.? Defog the image you have of the OP. No matter what qualities you think you see in him you are emotionally attached to, know that you are turning a blind eye to what the emotional connection reveals: that the AP does not care enough about you to even be your friend, because a friend would recognize self-destructive behavior, and call it out, and remove themselves from being your “foil” or your cross to carry. So what you see now in the affair partner is merely an idealized fantasy, not a reality.

      3) How would I feel if I knew my partner was harboring this feeling for another person? If your first answer is: “I wouldn’t like it but I wouldn’t leave my partner over this,” keep going. Ask the question again. Imagine the world in which you discover how you would feel seeing your partner talking to woman in the way that you feel you can talk to the AP. If this doesn’t make you feel kind of sick then ask yourself why it doesn’t.

      Above all, be honest to yourself. Separate what you need from what you think you are seeing and turn this toward your partner. I don’t doubt for a second that my partner would have been receptive to working with me… But my arrogance was blindness .. my narcissism too strong…I wish upon no one my path to learning the hard way what remorse truly means.

      • Doug

        Simple Fool, your comments and questions are very insightful. I see from your response that you have put a lot of thought into the realities of an affair. I believe the most difficult task for the cheater is to separate the reality from the fantasy and see the OP for whom they really are. Unfortunately because of the affair situation they rarely get a glimpse of the true person, the way a person reacts when they are not under the perfect conditions. Last night we were discussing how many cheaters loved the affirmation they received during their affairs. I asked Doug if he felt that the affirmation was real or genuine. I wondered how they could tell you all these wonder things only based on the way they saw you during the affair. Sure they could tell you how handsome, funny or smart you were but that appears so superficial. How do they really know what kind of person you are if they haven’t lived with you or experienced how you conduct yourself in your everyday life. How do you act toward your spouse, children, how do you handle conflicts, criticism, etc. I know that it felt good, it was ego boosting, but wasn’t there a time when you thought “gee she is saying all of these things and she really doesn’t know me?”

        I also agree that most partners would have done anything if our partners would have come to us and told us they wanted to improve our marriage. We would have been open to any suggestions if they would sat us down, told us they loved us,how important we are to them, and they wanted to find a way to be closer. Linda

        • Anita

          Linda,
          You are so right, if only the spouses had come to us
          wanting to improve on the marriage, instead of an affair,
          what a difference it would have made in all our lives.
          I also agree with you that most of us would have been
          more than happy to improve on our marriage.
          At least your husband saw this and is doing a wonderful
          job of restoring your marriage with you.
          Unfortunately, my ex husband didn’t see this until 2years
          after our divorce. By then I had moved on with my own
          life. His relationship with his affair partner lasted only 1 year,
          after our divorce. He did get remarried to someone that
          he met later, I get along fine with him and his new wife.
          I hope he behaves better for his new wife, because my children
          even though they are adults still need to see their dad
          make better choices.
          As far as the other woman who was the affair partner,
          I have no idea what happened to her. But since I strongly
          believe in the Bible, God said to leave vengeance to him,
          that is why I have never taken that action into my own
          hands, I believe God, will do a better job of that, then I ever could. Besides it would be a waste of my time.
          I wish you and Doug the Best! Leave Tanya to God’s
          vengeance.

        • suzie suffers

          Linda, do you really think someone that is getting “affirmations” all the time from another person really discerns whether they are “true” or not? I don’t think so.. It’s kind of like the hit of a drug, the person may question whether they should be doing this or not, but it feels so good they are willing to try it again even though they know some of the risks……until they are a “drug addict” ……and drug addicts rarely understand the drug is what is the illusion in their life….until they hit bottom. But while they are using, they believe that is what is bring joy into their life, not actually destroying their life!!!!

          • Doug

            suzie suffers, I agree, my main issue in dealing with Doug’s affair is I try to think logically and unfortunately there is nothing logical about the emotions, actions, thoughts that are present during the affair. I believe that is why I have such a difficult time accepting some of Doug’s actions and words during that time. Even though I witnessed Doug while he was in a state of craziness and have read thousands of other stories I still cannot comprehend what caused him to loose so much control, become so self centered and basically a stranger to me. I know we have all had situations when we have lost our heads and did things we deeply regret, but to continue on this path while everything is falling apart around you makes no sense to me. Linda

            • ifeelsodumb

              Thank you Linda!! That’s EXACTLY how I feel!! Almost a year out…and I’m STILL having trouble believing my H did this!!
              I mean, truly, he IS the nicest guy…all my family loves him, my friends think he’s the greatest guy, my mom adores him, I mean to the point that 2 days after she found out about the EA, (she called and I was crying and when she asked what was wrong I blurted it out) she told me that she really does believe he’s sorry and I need to forgive him and move on because he’s so kind and nice and he didn’t mean to do this to me!
              The hours and days after D Day are a little blurry to me, shock, I guess, but I clearly remember asking him just moments after he confessed, “Who are you? Do I even KNOW you?” It is a brutal thing to have happen, and it’s not something that can ever be completely forgotten!

      • Terry

        HI SF, I tried everything, I have read multiple books on psychology, people – but so far nothing has worked. I concentrate on work and other things, but when my mind is not engaged it just wanders. There are no great qualities in the other person, that my husband doesnt have. I don’t understand it at all. The other person and I really connected while we did a 1 month course together, he was very intellectually stimulating, other than that, there are no strong qualities or points for him. In fact when I realized it, and started distancing, he would get upset/mad even if he sees me accidentally. So its not like he is trying to get close to me either…its kind of crazy really! and I dont get it

        • suzie suffers

          I think just the opposite, this potential affair partner was more invested in your “relationship” than you were and he is reacting to abandonment by being angry. STAY away from this person and talk to your spouse about the issues you feel you need to expand in our life. Sometimes the “intellectual” talks are because they are so work specific and that creates an automatic closeness. BE careful, it certainly sounds like you are ripe for an affair and set a temporary boundary right now, but you may not be as strong later. Get to some counseling now before additional damage is done in your marraige because you are distancing yourself from your spouse by engaging with other people you feel are more interesting. Find some interests you and your spouse can do together. GET counseling.

    • Jessica

      Insight please…. Esp from AP
      My husband and I have for the past 17 months traveled this journey.
      Last Friday after 12 months of not hearing from AP she sends an email to my H work that he promptly forwards to me. She writes that she is sorry for what she did to HIM and her actions were intentional. She said she should have known he was 100% with her(meaning me) and she would never to anything to hurt our marriage and she’s having a hard time letting go of their friendship.
      My husband deleted his email and says the best way to deal with her, what we have been doing is to ignore her.
      I say we need to write her a strong email from both Odis letting her know her actions are unwanted.
      Prior to the one year of no contact, she dropped by his office, called from a friends phone, left emotional messages on his phone and sent emails to his personal email. When she called him from the friends phone he told her he asked her not to contact him and she needs to respect him.
      My husband will do whatever I want.
      Would sending her the email stop her or just give her fuel to keep this going?

      • Notoverit

        It will fuel her fire! DO NOT RESPOND! Some how or the other this feeds these people. They live for the drama.

        • Helena

          I absolutely agree.

      • D

        Unless she’s really interfering with your marriage or daily life (i.e. she’s crazy), just let it go. The non-response is like sucking the oxygen out of a fire. She is definitely looking for attention, to fill whatever void she’s feeling in her life currently. Just make sure your husband is really telling you everything because it is a bad habit one can get sucked into.

      • ifeelsodumb

        Don’t respond….we didn’t when we received an email from the OW 6 mos after D Day…and we haven’t heard from her since…of course, I marked her email as spam before I deleted it, so if she DID send anything, it would go in that file…works for me… 🙂

      • suzie suffers

        I would ask a counselor…..we are amateurs. Because I would state in no uncertain terms that you both want no contact and that your husband will stand strong on that. That you will block her on your phones or change your phone numbers….block her on email or change email and if need be, get a restraining order. Tell her she needs counseling.

    • Lynne

      I wholeheartedly agree with NotOverIt! Don’t take the bait…..the best response is no reponse at all. Your husband (when she called from her friends phone) has already told her “NO CONTACT”, so responding to her email with another email just tells her that this is a sure fire way to get ATTENTION!!!

      I hope you gave your H a big hug and lots of kudos for forwarding it to you immediately!

    • Dol

      Jessica: that’s an amazingly timed question, I was going to come here and ask pretty much the same thing! Notoverit’s response – completely ignore them – is exactly what my partner says we should do. I am less sure, and would be very grateful for any further opinions. I think probably ignoring it is the only option, but…

      In our case: 5 weeks in now. The OM, just after my partner had told him it was definitely finished, made her a piece of jewellery with a particular meaning for the two of them that basically translates as: I’m still here for you! I know what the meaning is: it’s from what used to be one of my favourite songs! But presumably he thinks it’s secret and private.

      He sent it in the internal post at their work. My partner told me about it, and she sent it back. We both emailed him, making clear again that we were drawing a line under it and concentrating on fixing our relationship. Among a lot of other things, he said he would help by leaving her alone.

      Yesterday, the piece of jewellery turned up in the work foyer display cabinet. He’s done something else in her work space that we weren’t sure about, but this incident has made clear he’s not leaving it alone at all. In the most public space, this little private message sits there behind glass and my partner obviously can’t say anything to anyone. He’d insisted it should be thrown away if she didn’t want it; now he’s using it to try and signal her. I have to go there too sometimes, and will see this thing.

      Now I’m in the same predicament as Jessica. I want him to KNOW there is nothing private between them, in the same way me and my partner agreed she’d tell me about all contact of ANY kind. It’s like having a parent in the room: much less exciting! I’ve seen the two emails he’s sent privately to her, but we’ve just ignored him. I want that thing removed from where it has to taunt both of us. (It really knocked me off my perch finding out last night.)

      My partner’s argument is pretty strong, however: she has the motivation to fight, he does not. He’s in an unhappy relationship and still sees her as his escape route. She says there’s nothing to be achieved at all by telling him there’s nothing private. It’ll just increase the drama, as notoverit says, and he’ll seek out other ways to keep up the “my heart is still yours!” messages.

      I’d respond: only five weeks in, he’s doing this. What next? At what point do we say something? Should he really be allowed to get away with sticking these private messages in public work space?

      A trickier thing when it’s a year on, perhaps. Jeccisa, I’m so sorry you’re put in that position. It’s horrible and, while perhaps ignoring them is better, it’s very hard to feel so powerless.

      I imagine this must happen a lot: an EA/PA where the cheater has drawn a line, is trying to fix things – but the OP will not drop it. So: is notoverit right? Should the OP just be ignored? Or is there value in just gently making clear that we’ve agreed there’s no scope for anything private between them? I can see why it’s not worth saying “stop! back off!” But would it not dowse the thrill a little if they know for a fact it’s always going to be a 3-way conversation?

      • suzie suffers

        I would confidentially contact the company’s HR department and disclose that this person is harrassing her with this infatuation. I know that might be hard, but it might be easier than finding another job.

    • SamIam

      That little message seems odd and oddly psychotic. I truly believe it would be best to ignore it all the way around. The message only has meaning if it is received and acknowledged. Never taking receipt of the message makes it null. As difficult as it is to see in a public place~ eventually you will see it as pathetic and it will become a symbol of your strength as a team.

    • Dol

      SamIam, that’s some great advice there. We’ve both been agonising over it all day! Incredibly annoying it should have such power… but you’re right, this is the way to rob it of that power. I particularly like the idea of it becoming a symbol of our strength. Thank you.

      • Doug

        This came to my email for some reason.

        It’s from Teresa: “Dol, keep focusing on when the jewelry IS GONE…because when he realizes it’s having no affect, he’ll remove it…and you can then pump your fist in the air, KNOWING you have stayed the course…which is repairing your relationship, and being happy!

    • csb

      Regarding the question about statements made to hinder progress…. I asked the same question everyone else does..”Why?” I was given the answer “I don’t know and I never will, so you just need to accept that”. I have to say, through daily painful and soul searching conversations, he has started to come up with little tidbits that are leading him to his answer.

    • SamIam

      “She generally gave herself very good advice, (though she very seldom followed it).”~Lewis Carroll~

      I wish I were so strong every day. I wish only the best for you. Wouldn’t it just be divine if the OM saw the two of you gazing at that symbol, engage in a sincere embrace, and walk away stronger than ever! Oh ~ the dare to dream.

    • Jessica

      Thanks for the advise everyone, as much as I would like to let her know I know, I don’t want anymore drama, and in the end it’s the honesty and communication between us that matters.

      @Lynne, I did give him big kudos and had to keep past emotions about already dealt with issues in check.

      Her sending the email a year later really showed to him just how out of touch with their relationship she was. I was concerned at first does he still have feelings for her? Does he feel bad? The answer was no. He is over her and has been for 17 months.

    • don't know

      I saved all the healing affair’s post & gave to H, hope he read & follow it, looks like H doesn’t have any feeling & willing to do anything for help healing.

      The only thing he want is turn over the page & move on, now, it 2-1/2 month from D-day (EA only), 1 month from he decided stay with me. But he doesn’t want to talk EA, & didn’t do anything for remove trigger, of course no affection, caring, phone call at work …

      Is there anyone could help me figure out, H is really want to stay with me, or he just stay here for keep a sleeping & eating place? I love my family, but this week I’m very angry & keep thinking about DIVORCE.

    • SamIam

      don’t know…

      I am 11 moths from D-day and still have days when I think divorce could have been easier than getting through this. You are still in fight or flight mode. Your husband’s wish to just turn the page is still part of his affair fog. He is facing is own shame. In the first month, a wise friend told me that I should not make any decisions until I have tried everything to save this marriage. I knew she was correct. I hung onto her advice like a life raft. Another thing that helped me was setting a date for leaving. I set the day after our anniversary which at that point was about 3 months. In those three months I did not have to think about divorce because I set a date to think about it. I could think of healing. My husband knew I would not be moving out for those three months and he could let down his defenses some. I have told him many times this is awful but there is now way around~ we have to slog straight through it. On the day after our anniversary, my emotions were less intense and I decided to stay. I told him as much. Still work needed to be done and is continuing. The last 5 months have not been easy but they have been worth it.
      So adding up the number of months here~ you can see I had three terrible months like what you are going through right now~ hang in there~ it gets better.
      ps~ I always thought the CS wanted to flee~ but in our case it was me! flee flee flee were the top 3 things on my list. (no longer though~ I am enjoying a few successes in rebuilding)

    • don't know

      thanks, SamIam, your reply is really on time, because I told myself I’m leaving H at next month our anniversary day. Now I’ll try one more time, add more month, this time, I’ll have to pull H join with me, at least read these article, understand my feeling.

    • Jessica

      don’t know
      I also have been there, it’s been 17 months since DDay. At first I thought of leaving because the pain was just so horrible I thought if I leave will it make this pain go away? But others on this site said no. Then I wanted to because I thought why am I doing all the work when I didn’t do anything to cause this EA. I don’t know if you’ve read it but a really good book that was recommended to me from this site is Not Just Friends. I then gave it to my husband to read, I told him if he wanted our marriage to work he needed to read it. He eventually did, chapter at a time. Hang in there it does get better. Keep a journal and concentrate and be good to yourself

    • Helena

      Hi, Jessica – and anyone else who has read Not Just Friends. I was looking through the reviews of Not Just Friends on Amazon.com sometime back, and I seem to recall a review(s) that praised the book for being fair to the OP’s perspective. What is your take on that? Does the book go as far as to sympathize with the OP? The idea of sympathizing with the OP in any way infuriates me – something like that would just pour salt into my wounds.

      But I wouldn’t mind something that lends some insight into the kind of mentality that goes after a man/woman who is taken. I’ve looked on this site for posts that are specifically about that kind of mentality but haven’t really found any. As far as *sympathizing* with the OP, though – that’s something else, and not something I care to look into.

      • blueskyabove

        Hi Helena,

        It has been a long time since I read Not Just Friends but I believe I would remember if it had been “sympathetic” to the OP as I was in considerable pain when I read it and I’m sure that would have hurt. It (the book) continues to be one I would highly recommend. Sometime after DDay I read a book titled “Will He Really Leave Her for Me?” which went to great lengths to be nonjudgmental regarding the OW. I still remember finding it difficult to read due to where I was at the time in my healing. I hopes this helps you.

        blueskyabove
        4+ years post DDay
        Rebuilding

        • Paula

          Helena, blueskyabove is right. It is a very balanced book, not “sympathetic” to the OP. But, I have always remembered that there were three people hurt here, even OP are at least partially human! It does show you that there is another person here, and even the very worst of them have feelings, too. I recall telling my OH that he needed to “say goodbye” to his AP, as I believe she really thought HE was in a terrible place because I was the problem. I know I wasn’t, his lack of communication when struggling with life’s unexpected twists was, but I bet it looked that way from her point of view. Don’t be afraid of the book, it is one of the very few I rate as being worth a read. I knew all of the stuff in it before all of this, just wish he did!

          • Helena

            Thanks, Paula. I guess I’m still too hurt to be the least bit considerate of the OW’s hurt feelings or “short end of the stick” because I still cannot get past my fury over the ways my SO is more considerate of her feelings than mine. He has the gall to tell me in anger to leave him if I can’t get past my pain and my own anger, yet he’s never had the heart to tell her to leave him alone whenever she’s communicated with him in ways that disrespect me and his relationship with me. As far as I know, he hasn’t spoken to her or replied to her text messages since almost 8 weeks ago (which was when I finally confronted him about her after being secretly aware of their communications since late April). But he has never explicitly told her to leave him alone, on the grounds that he doesn’t like confrontation and doesn’t want to hurt her feelings, and that she’s just a phenomenally good kind human being. He’s never even told her in some nice way that her flirtatious/sexual messages are inappropriate.

            Granted, I understand she cares for him and is under the impression that I make him miserable and is concerned for his welfare, because he went running to her with every gripe he has about me. Including his sexual dissatisfaction with me at a time when I was having severe problems with sex; an extremely sore point for me especially because the OW is a friend of his whom he happened to be having sex with at the time he and I entered a relationship, something I did not know until 6 months later when I found out by snooping in his email. He swears they did not continue having sex after we entered a relationship, though. We are a relatively new couple, unmarried and only together for about 14 months now, which I understand some would say makes my situation far less serious than if we were, say, married.

            Sorry to go off on a tangent, but apparently I’m still hung up!!

            But anyway, in a clinical sense, I am interested in learning about the mentality of a woman who pursues a taken man; if there’s a prototype of a woman who pursues a taken man, I am interested in learning the details of that. It is interesting to me because I myself wouldn’t think to pursue a man who is in a relationship – I have too much compassion for the girlfriend or wife, and it’s somewhat intriguing that there’s a kind of mentality that lacks such compassion, kind of like how a specimen of venereal disease in a petri dish is intriguing. Ultimately, however, as far as I’m concerned, the OW can go !@#$ herself.

            I am considering getting the Not Just Friends book, but yes, I am a bit afraid of the parts that empathize (if not sympathize) with the OW.

            • Paula

              Helena

              I totally get all of that. My OH and I started our relationship as a bit of a “summer fling” 24 years ago. I knew his ex – the same woman who has come back all these years later to create such havoc. He has split with her a few months before he met me, and I discovered that he slept with her one more time after he had taken me out for drinks and dinner. I immediately backed off, and told him I wasn’t interested in getting involved with him if he was still with her, he was completely honest about this, he told me she had turned up and they had slept together. (I grew up with her, she was a childhood friend.) The reason they split was he discovered she was sleeping with other men. He says he slept with her one more time “to get back at her for cheating on him,” whaaa? Anyway, he never saw her again, and he and I ended up together. We had a beautiful life, three great kids, a successful and happy business and family, we were very, very close, had children younger than our contemporaries, in our mid and late 20s, so only had each other for support. We had a great sex life, laughed and laughed and loved and loved, I felt very blessed, and I worked my butt off to keep it that way!

              I occasionally caught up with her, amongst other childhood friends, every few years. He thought that was weird, as he said he thought she was a cold, unfeeling bitch (she is!!) she was really just part of a group of mostly really lovely girls I grew up with. They all know about what she did (they did) and are just completely gobsmacked and gutted. This woman came back into our lives a few years ago, when she told us that she had planned a family with her partner, when he left her at just eight weeks pregnant. We took pity on her, and she and her small son came to many of our social gatherings, including holidaying with us at our holiday home several times. We have all since found out that she was not in a relationship, there was no partner, she was having an affair with a guy from a completely different part of the country, who was a client of hers (she’s a corporate accountant) and this was the guy she decided would sire her child. She stole semen from a used condom, and then tried to con him into a relationship with her. He didn’t even like her, was just using her as a free whore while in town! He tried to get her to abort the child, and refused to pay child support for quite a long time. Our pity for her being abandoned by such a cad, was all wrong, she entrapped him!!

              So, I never saw it coming, my boy rolled his eyes at her materialism, her superficiality, etc, and I just never guessed. In hindsight I can see I was uneasy about it, I asked quite a few questions, that I had never asked about his other female friends. I remember several times saying to him, I hope you’re not treating me as a fool, “you must think I’m stupid,” in the lead up to her telling me what they had been doing, but I really didn’t think he was shagging her, he was too good a guy for that nonsense, and besides, he didn’t even LIKE her.

              All that rehashed, I tried to get inside her head for a couple of years after this, even though I kind of knew that this couldn’t help me, I kept at it, trying to pick away at what is wrong with her, that she would take advantage of my kindness in this way. I have been in the situation where I could easily have had an affair with a married man. I didn’t even know his wife, but there was just NO WAY I would do that to another human being, despite my intense feelings for this guy. I just cut off all contact with him immediately. I have read some stuff about these women, it hasn’t really helped me. I knew a lot of this girl’s background, middle-class family, religious mother, serial cheating father, brother, etc. These social vultures will always be there, concentrating on them is really just a distraction from looking closer to home, why did your/my other half choose this instead of talking to you/me about their issues and concerns, that is the only thing that matters, the OP is completely irrelevant, I liken them to props, not unlike pornography/prostitutes, etc, the OP doesn’t count, they are just sad, lonely people who have their own problems. I wish you all the very best in coming to terms with your situation.

    • don't know

      I read “not just friend”, it’s really good, I read 2 times, after D-day & recently, I marked & ask H read it, yes he read, but still ask me move on. & even think I should not react like this, should let him go, because he is better than others, EA only, even not developed to real, but he admit he fall in too deep, very *sympathizing* with the OP.

      I have to admit I have my problem, I’m too tired of this, & turned to very angry & disrepectfull recently, & all the marriage problem pop up, can’t see any end, any hope.

      don’t know
      3 months post DDay

      • Doug

        Hey don’t know, I can understand you being fed up at this point, but to be honest it’s still early and it sounds like he is still in the fog. It certainly is far too early for him to ask you to just move on.

    • don't know

      Hi, Doug, I show your articles to him, you know it’s hard to find post from your side (sorry, I said that), I really hope he’s strong as you. I’ll try, I’ll follow you & Linda. Thanks

    • ifeelsodumb

      “It’s as if he threw a grenade through our living room windows and blew our house to smithereens. Yet he stands outside complaining that we are crying to much, scoffs at our missing limbs, and ignores the blood all over our clothes”!!
      From “How to Help Your Spouse Heal From Your Affair”.
      Wow!! So powerful…and true!

    • RJO32

      Hi Everyone… I am knew here and seeking so much advice and hoping to have guidance on the right things to display how much sorrow and remorse for what I have done. I am 32…recently married back 9/16/2011. The happiest day of my life…well since 9/21/2011 I have been living in a constant inferno. Back in January 2010 I met the man who has given me eveything that I never had before…he was tall, handsome, a hard worker, dedicated, and a great father. We fell in love… He proposed May of 2011. In this short time we both expierenced a connection with each other we never felt with anyone else. I truly love him. Well in June we started having really bad issues…. I have 3 children from a previous relationship…and he also has 3 children from previous relationships. One of those women did cause severe issues in our relationship. I am responsible for what I do and my own actions…with all the problems we were having…I took it upon myself to reach out to someone else…another man. The conversations were only by e-mail..but they did get a little intense. To me the conversations where only a temporary fix for the moment. Never did I have any true intentions of going along with any of it. It felt good to be wanted & that someone wanted me. My husband is a great man but can be very cold…almost emotionless. That being said…he found the e-mail conversations with this man from June to September. Not everyone of the convos were about sex…kind of just flirting. Well 5 days after my marriage…I log into my e-mail from home…leave everything open and when my new hsband goes on he sees it all. It first started with the 3 pictures I sent to this man…the pictures were of me fully clothed just standing in a mirror smiling. Same pics that I sent to my husband and girlfriends (at the time I lost 30 pounds n felt great of what I was seeing). That day he left and vowed to never come back on pictures. A few days later…he comes back and retrieves his things…and he askes to see my e-mail again and asked me to log into other accounts and that is where he found the e-mails of this man & I flirting back and forth from June to September. So now he has it in his head that I actually slept with him. With all of the back and forth.,..and me telling him I did nothing with this person… I offered to take a lie detector test to prove that I did not sleep with him. At that time my husband said if you pass the polygraph test we will slowly work on our marriage. He moved back in by the end of the weekend. I am sorry for what I have done….and know that he is all the man I want…. I have tried everything to show him that I only want to be with him & that this e-mail convo meant nothing to me. I changed all my e-mail addresses & phone numbers and gave him passwords to it all. Even without him asking. I made a horrible mistake for those 3 months. I did not know what I had in him… I just want my husband back …the man I love …it just seems next to possible. I have spent the last 2 months in hell. One minute we are good for a few days and then I am back to being a backstabber, liar and whore. What do I do? So confused??? Just seeking advice….how to handle him…and how to handle the colder times. I do not do well talking without getting emotional. I start to cry which in turns bothers him. I have had more of those days than good days. He isn’t wearing his wedding ring…and refuuses to say he loves me. He says it was all taken for granted before so why should he say them now. That he feels jaded. I crave and long to hear it…and do not stop telling him it. Do you guys think this is something that hopefully will disolve itself and become better in time. I ave learned so much from this expierence and will never hurt him again. AS I told him…I almost lost him once I wouldn’t be stupid enough to try and lose him again.

    • Notoverit

      Whoa, been in your husband’s shoes and that is a painful place to be! Sorry for you RJO32 but this is just the beginning. We all ride that roller-coaster, going from good days to bad. Your husband is hurt and that hurt causes anger (believe me, I have been plenty angry over my H’s EA). Just try to be transparent which it sounds like you are doing; be open and try to understand that the recovery is going to take a long time. Read the different blogs on this site. They will give you plenty of insight on how your husband is feeling. Good luck and keep posting with questions or comments. Someone will be there to help!

    • SamIam

      You cannot say you are sorry enough. Say it. say it , say it! and mean it every time. Good luck~ you are only at the beginning. It is going to be a bumpy ride~ so buckle up.

    • SamIam

      RJO32
      Sorry for the short answer last night~ I was not in a good place in my healing.
      NO contact with the OM!! none! nothing at all. Ever again. Either that part is is over or you may as well not start working to repair this marriage.
      Absolutely no healing can begin until the after the last lie is told~ so tell all the truth~ no trickling out bits and pieces. Be humble. Be contrite. Admit your failing.
      But guess what? this is not all about you at all~ you have had your fun. Now you need to take all the anger that comes at you and then take some more. Thank him for letting you “have it” you deserve to be told of all the pain he is feeling.
      You need to anticipate any, and I mean any, possible triggers and knowledge them. And if a trigger pops up that you could not anticipate~ then it is up to you to soothe your spouse. If he is having a bad day, a bad hour, or a bad minute~ you need to ask what is wrong and be willing to hear what he says. You cannot make judgements of his pain.
      At all times~ you have no right to strike out. You brought this now you are the only one who can fix it. Total transparency! No lies, no half truths, no hiding!
      Read the book listed in this post~ it is a step by step guide. Trust me if my H would follow this~ I would be in a much better place right now.
      I would have paid a $1 mill to have him drop to his knees and beg forgiveness on D-day~ instead he thought I was manic for 3 long months. His denial of his own actions! Of course he was in his fog and I was desperate to stop the bleeding and put together what was blown asunder! It is trauma at best~ there are no words to describe the “at worst” for the BS.
      The most soothing thing he can say to me right now is “I cannot believe I did this to my wife”
      I love my H~ but I am having the most difficult time telling him~ it no longer is an easy thing for me to say. I cannot even buy a mushy card. I long for the day the words are easy to say. I miss them. The fact that your H has moved back in means he has hope too~ I am sure he cannot say that now thus it seems cold to you~ but he is in such deep pain.
      Healing take 3-5 years~ there is no speed healing course. There is no shortcut~ you have to slog straight through it. Then it may work or it may not! But is is your job to do everything to help him heal. At the end if it works it will be worth it. if it doesn’t then you will know you have done everything.

      My God, I am a woman and have dealt with emotions my whole life and have had the social norms to back me up~ he is a man and had heard “man up” his whole life~ what he must be going through??

      Does all this sound mean? strict? rude even? well that is the whole truth as I see it from this side of an affair. Nothing I asked for and but I am the one suffering.

      Having said all that~ I look at my H and say to myself “I can forgive this man. I will forgive this man” ~ so you see with all the pain I have (only a small percentage written in this post) there is hope.
      Good luck in your re-building journey .

      • Sam

        SamIam,

        Just like you, I feel that if my husband had shown remorse and apologize on Dday, the healing would have been faster. I might be in a better place now. But he thought I was crazy and sided with the OW. He kept saying that I was just jealous and that they were just friends. It has taken a long time for him to realize that his behavior was unacceptable, but even to this day he says that I’ve made this situation a lot more terrible than it really is. In his mind, since there was no PA, the offense isn’t really there. He doesn’t see how an EA is just as hurtful.

        He has apologized for hurting me and I know he means it. I know he would take it back if he could and he’s really working hard to repair the marriage. I just wish he would see things from my POV, and I don’t know if that will ever happen. He still refuses to read books with me or blogs and he actually told me he wishes I wasn’t visiting this forum. He believes by venting here and reading about other experiences I’m just reliving the past and making the healing process even more slow. That might be so, but it’s nice to know that I’m not alone and that other people can relate to the way I feel.

      • ifeelsodumb

        You wrote “You need to anticipate any, and I mean any, possible triggers and knowledge them. And if a trigger pops up that you could not anticipate~ then it is up to you to soothe your spouse. If he is having a bad day, a bad hour, or a bad minute~ you need to ask what is wrong and be willing to hear what he says. You cannot make judgements of his pain”….This is so true!!
        RJO32, you need to realize, the triggers are AWFUL!!!! And they come out of NO WHERE!! For an example, yesterday my H went to a company to give an estimate on a machine repair….he’d never been there before, so he doesn’t know anyone there, understand? This company manufactures athletic socks, and as he was leaving, one of the employees, A FEMALE, hands him two bags of socks to take with him, just as a sort of thank you.
        So he is on his way home and he calls and tells me about the socks…I went very quiet, because it was a trigger going off in my head!
        Totally unexpected, I can’t even explain it…but because it was a FEMALE, I automatically started thinking, “Oh sure, I’ll bet he flirted with her and this was her way of flirting with him!!!” Totally crazy thinking, right? My H asked what was wrong and I told him, and he was like, “Um honey, she’s like 60 yrs old”. But that didn’t matter because I wasn’t there…I couldn’t PROVE how old she was and that’s what I told him!
        And my H is not a flirt…I mean, yes, he got involved in an EA, but I’ve never known him to be an open flirt…but that thought popped into my head and it took me having a good cry before I felt better!!
        THAT is how this works…triggers pop up over the most stupidest things!! You have to be patient and understanding, and you HAVE to show him that you ARE sorry!! NO EXCUSES!! He doesn’t want to hear how lonely you were, or how bad your self esteem is…NOTHING you say in the way of excuses will help!!
        You need to make him feel secure again…and show him respect…respect…RESPECT!! Because to a man respect is the same as love is to a woman!!

      • Holding On

        So well said, Sam I am! This is what I wish all the CS could read and really understand.

        I’m glad you came back to make your longer post. It is GOLD!

    • SamIam

      I know Sam, but sometimes it is just nice to visit with people who understand and have been there. For me~ it is not hampering my healing. I am healing. It is just to good know I am normal in this situation (not at all manic ) 🙂
      I did not find this blog until 4.5 mo. post D-day. In fact I did not even know there was a term for this. I kept telling him he was being emotionally inappropriate. Even though we were talking and starting to heal, I had no idea why I felt as I did. It wasn’t until I found the book “Surviving Infidelity” (at 4.5mo) that I realized what was going on. I made him read the description of an EA from that book. Then I googled and found this blog. It was so nice to know I was normal. In fact our EA story was pretty much the normal way all EAs are. We are textbook. There is a post on this blog called “The Cheater Follows a Script”. As much as I have tried to be unique my whole life~ now I was a text book case study. Knowing that was a good thing. So while your H may think you are reliving the affair by coming here, I think not. You will heal because you are searching for answers. In fact I come and go on this blog now. It is no longer a life line.
      Yesterday was tough as I attended the funeral of my friend’s dear Husband. Theirs was a love story (pretty much like ours was once) God choose to remove him from their marriage but my H choose to remove himself from ours. It was difficult. But a few long hours of reflection and I am in a better spot.

    • csb

      I’m now almost 3 months post DDay…I never could even picture myself one day after DDay, but I’m still here and we’re still working on getting beyond my H’s EA.

      Unfortunately, we are all part of a “club” none of us wanted to join. While my heart breaks with each story I read, I take comfort in knowing I’m not crazy or the only one. I do appreciate the input from those CS who post here, it does give me insight to what my H is thinking/feeling.

      One concern I do have is that while we are working on this, the relationship seems to just be an empty shell…no more feelings of trust, intimacy, comfort and while we say “I love you” we don’t seem to be “in love” anymore. I find we fill the days with scripted chit chat and doing general “tasks”.

      Is time and open discussion the way to bring these things back, or is there something else we could be doing?

    • Jessica

      @Helena,
      The book as some information about OW but (going from memory) it is very small and towards the back of the book.

      I don’t know why women would actively persue another man if he is in a relationship. I’m not sure if this site has posted anything on it.

      It might be in your case the OW never had closure and sounds like boundary issues.

    • Jessica

      @ifeelsodumb,
      You are so right about the triggers. This week my H asked me to lunch, huge trigger in itself because that is what he used to do during his EA, go to lunch with her. They would call and text each other before she arrived at his work and then afterwards. So as I’m driving to his office he’s calling me to see where I am.. All of a sudden I’m sick to my stomach. 17 months since EA…. Things are going good and a stupid trigger. When will this end? There are weeks when I’m good, don’t come to this website and think yes I made it, we made it I’m fine…
      Then BAM I’m a mess, thank goodness for everyone here and this site.

      • ifeelsodumb

        I understand….Sounds like you are in stage 3…one of the hardest of them all!! Ughh!!!

    • SamIam

      csb~ going through the motions at 3 months is good!! I can only liken this to my Mother’s death and funeral~ if it were not going through the motions and scripted chit chat how would I ever have gotten through it. The after-affair is grieving, plain and simple! but you will heal. You need some stability right now and that is the scripted chit chat. I am 11 months out so the scripted part is gone, as is the emptiness. He is working on things ~not as fast as I would like :0
      Every once in awhile I feel the same urgency I felt on D-day~ the need to put this back together NOW ~ but mostly I feel the need to stay for the long haul and get this right , so the urgency is mostly gone. I just wish he felt the need to read the books (same books I read cover to cover in one sitting) ~ I never ever saw urgency from his side of this.

      • ifeelsodumb

        SamIam,
        Same here with my H…He never saw the urgency to repair things like I did, and that has been hard for me to accept!
        I mean, if our marriage is broken, and you want to stay, why do you NOT want to fix it?
        I recently asked my H that question, because it STILL bothers me, almost a year to DDay (Jan 3rd) and my H said that he really felt that everything would smooth out over a few mos….that he never thought it would be like this, me still crying and hurting a year later!
        Poor, stupid man of mine thought he could lie and betray me for four months and I’d just smile and say, “Oh, you bad boy you..let’s not do this anymore, OK”? Sheesh!!!
        He finally got with the program about 8-10 weeks ago…talking more about the EA and WHY he did this to us!! He hasn’t really read much, and to be fair, he’s NOT much of a reader, but I told him that he has to step up to the plate and make more of an effort!
        He bought the book, “How to Help Your Spouse Heal From Your Affair” and has read a few chapters…I don’t really know what he thought about what he’s read so far, he hasn’t told me much!! He bought the book ONLY after I refused too! I had mentioned it several times, and he had told me to buy it…but I refused!! I had done enough to help heal this marriage, I felt it was time for HIM to do something!
        Anyway, I don’t know if it’s a “guy thing” or what, this just wanting everything to “go away” on it’s own…but I found I got really tired of doing all the work to “fix” this marriage….so I’m glad he’s finally doing a LITTLE bit more….almost a year later, but I’ll take it!! 🙂

    • SamIam

      ifeelsodumb
      I hear everything you are saying and I am living it too~ only a few days from our latest blow-up and a few weeks out from D-day anniversary (Jan 14~ also known as the office Christmas Party!) I still feel like I am living in a broken marriage and H just wishes he could ignore it and it will all go away… as I told him “Man-up and read the books” But he is enjoying the latest spy novel.
      Well not all of that is true as it is always a fluid situation~ the healing has shifted from “broken marriage” to “broken Christmas” and the things his mother did and continues to do. That old guilt thing and not taking any responsibility for her side of a broken mother/son relationship. He grew up thinking no one ever took the blame for anything (it’s not my fault, so-and-so said/ did ______” fill in the blank , whatever! ) It has been an emotional time around here lately.
      Still all in all, I am pretty sure we are going to make it. 🙂

      • ifeelsodumb

        SamIam…
        My H and I talked last night until 3 am…and I didn’t even get angry and cry, well, a few tears escaped, but I was able to keep it together so that we had a pretty decent talk.
        It is getting easier as time goes by, and as much as I love Christmas, I really can’t wait until New Years which is Dday…because that will also by exactly 1 year of NO contact between my H and the OW…so instead of focusing on DDay as the day my life changed forever, I’m going to try to focus on the fact that she was no longer in his life!!
        Hope I’ll be able to do that…instead of laying in my bed with the covers pulled over my head, sobbing my heart out!

    • SamIam

      ifeelsodumb~
      Good luck~ some days the “covers-over-the head” option seems to be the best option. We are coming up on the anniversary of our d-day~ an anniversary I never expected in our marriage.
      For Christmas, I did forgive my husband! yay! and I meant it. 🙂 However there is still a lot of work to be done (such as he needs to show humility for what he has done, and use the words “I am sorry that____” in his apologies) and there is still a major trigger (anytime I see weddings in movies, the news, on TV, in books and on and on) so I need to tell him about that….. to work to work.
      May we all be strong on the anniversary of our d-days,

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