Healing from infidelity betrayal is difficult when you have to deal with the pain silently and alone.

healing from infidelity betrayal

By Linda

A recent comment from one of our readers brought back memories on how difficult it has been healing from infidelity betrayal and continuing to live day to day as if everything was fine while my whole world was falling apart around me.

I would get so angry knowing that if the circumstances were different – for instance, if my husband was sick, or some other tragedy happened to our family, we would have the support of the people around us.

With an affair you deal with the pain silently and quite often alone.  No one is there for you, including your spouse, who in the past had always been the one to take care of you.

healing after infidelity betrayal

I Felt Like a Caged Animal…

I wanted to run away from the pain, but  I knew that I couldn’t because it was my job to make sure everything remained normal with our family.  I didn’t want anyone to know. I didn’t want our children or family to find out, as I was afraid it would tarnish the way they looked at Doug. 

I knew that he had made a terrible mistake and this was not the man I knew and loved, but I was afraid that they would never be able to forgive him like I would.

The pain was so difficult that I began avoiding everyone. I was afraid that they would see the pain in my eyes. 

Unfortunately I have a very sensitive, intuitive daughter who knew I was dying inside.  She became my protector, following me around every minute of the day, which made the anxiety even worse.  I had a sense that she knew something was going on, but was too concerned about my own issues at the time to recognize it. I felt I couldn’t deal with another thing so I put it in the back of my mind until one day she just lost it.

See also  Marriage After an Affair – Can it be a Happy One?

This was so unlike her, I thought something terrible had happened to her and I begged her to tell me what was wrong.  Finally she said “Is Daddy having an affair?”  My heart stopped, never in my life would I think I would have to answer a question like that. What could I say to my thirteen year-old daughter to help her understand something that I didn’t understand myself?

Stirring Things Up – Finding Meaning in the Affair

I told her that mommy and daddy had been very busy and haven’t had a lot of time to talk or be friends like couples should be, and he found someone at work that he enjoyed talking to.  I told her that we loved each other and are trying to do everything to make it better. That was it.  I didn’t know what else to say.

At that moment I felt the true anger that I should have been experiencing all along.  Up to that point I had put my anger aside while trying to save our marriage.  I went to Doug and told him that I was not taking the blame for this and that this was all his fault.

I know it killed Doug  knowing that his little girl didn’t think he was such the perfect daddy anymore, while I was so angry that he got himself in a situation like this.  I believe this was Doug’s “wake up call.”

I am not sure if Doug had completely called off the affair up until then. My instinct tells me no. However, I believe that this was a turning point.  Up until then he was only hurting me, and in his mind that hurt was justified because I wasn’t meeting his needs. Now I had to look in his daughter’s eyes and wonder what was the justification for her hurt?

See also  Ending an Emotional Affair is Like Quitting Cigars

This experience  brought everything to light. I realized that it was not my job to protect Doug any longer. He got himself in this mess and it was his job to get himself out.

I also realized that it was not my sole responsibility to save our marriage. He needed to make an effort if he wanted to stay.

At that point I said enough is enough and I made it clear to him that I wanted to be with him, but I didn’t need him and if the emotional affair continued our marriage would be over.  I believe this episode was a turning point in our healing from infidelity betrayal and slowly Doug began to come back to me.

The Four Stages of Healing After an Affair


    17 replies to "Healing From Infidelity: Don’t Keep It Inside"

    • Last2know

      I felt the same. Alone and in immense pain/dazed, confused and riddled with my own guilt and angry about the betrayal. My family loves my H. But one day I went to visit my sister (5 months after D day) for lunch and I work so I was dressed nicely etc. She asked me why I was losing so much weight and how wonderful I looked and then she asked me “are you having an affair” I laughed and then I realized the one person I trust the most is my sister (she adores my H, highly respects him). So I told her and of course she agreed not to judge him etc.

      She said she wanted to be there for both of us. But she told me something I hadn’t thought about and that was “accountability” she said if know one else knows then he got off scott free and he needed to know that someone other than me knew that he wasn’t “perfect” as my family believed him to be. Also he would know that she would be watching him. She spoke to him told him she was there for him too and he cried with her and so forth. But that took a lot of pressure off of me. I never mentioned to him that I told her and he has never mentioned to me that he talked to her. She was sorry that I had suffered alone and she is there for me now. But from my family she is the only one that knows. We have a 16yo son and I am sure he sensed something but never asked. I think that it is important to be able to share. I wished you had been here Sept 5th 2009.

    • Heartbroken

      This is a great testimonial with many similarities to my own situation. That feeling of being alone to deal with an affair is overwhelming and I totally can relate to how hard it is to hold a smile in front of your children. I found it hardest to kiss them goodnight at bedtime and would frequently leave their rooms in tears thinking how all of this could, and has, changed as a result of her affair. Our daughter sensed something was wrong too, but she approached us at the same time and my wife told her that everything was going to be okay without ever going into specifics. For us, that was still not quite the turning point, but did add a certain reality to her actions that I’m sure has helped us stay together and work through that dark period.

      • Doug

        Heartbroken, I can’t tell you how badly I felt when I found out my daughter knew. I wanted so badly to talk to her about it, and reassure her, but Linda felt it best that I did not. I’m happy to say that all is well now, and we now have the best relationship that we have ever had. She also sees what Linda and I are doing together, and though she has not said anything to Linda about it, I know she feels secure that everything is OK.

    • Jenn

      I just found this post, and this is where I am now. My husband was the ‘perfect’ son, so when he spread lies to his family about me being ‘controlling and jealous and insane’ to cover for the affair he was having, they of course believed him. I asked his mother for help, and got none. When the truth came out, they pretty much ostracized me, never once calling to see how I was doing or what I might need. But my husband gets all the support and praise for ‘doing the right thing’ by ending the affair. I have 3 D-Days over 10 months with him. Each time got harder, and I received NO support from his family–the same family who has watched me love & care for him for 14 years, bear his beautiful daughters, and be vibrant and attractive and fun as his life partner–perfect, no, but we were happy. Not even a single “I’m sorry this is happening. I don’t know what to do or say, but I’m sorry.”
      If I had been in a car accident, they would have visited me in the hospital–I don’t understand why this is different. I needed support, they know I have no family on my side, and they ignored me and did other things–the story’s too long. How do you get past this aspect? I do feel so alone, so isolated, like I have to be the one to do the right thing when no one else will step up and care for me. The ONLY reason I’m still with my husband is the fact that I am a Christian. That has helped me some, but I thinh my husband should be doing more.

    • csb

      On D-Day (9 mos ago), I drove to my best friend’s house to show her the love letter to my H from the OW that I had found on his FB account. Here was the one person that I had known for 22 years and stood by during her brother’s diagnosis with cancer etc. It was almost as if I had the plague suddenly. She had to go out, no time to discuss, etc. The only thing she told me was that i should ignore it because I didn’t want to give up the “life I was accustomed to”! I attempted to turn to her two more times, both times she didn’t have time or didn’t want to talk about it.
      They say tragedy teaches you a lot about relationships and how strong they really are. Needless to say, all these months later, I am still holding it in.

      • Healing Mark

        csb. Your post is a prime example of why I chose to not discuss with my friends the occurrence of my W’s EA and the negative consequences flowing from it. I viewed it as an almost always no win situation. If my friends were in favor of my W and working it out and seeking a better marriage going forward and things did not work out between my W and me, it seemed to me that there would be awkwardness following our friendship from that point forward. If my friends were in favor of me dumping my cheating W, or were not inclined to believe that my W’s relationship never became a PA, and then my W and I got past the EA and remained married, as we have, then, again, it seemed to me that such friendships would thereafter be negatively impacted by the foregoing. And finally, there is no doubting that no matter how good of a friend many people are, there are just a lot of people (myself included) that for one or more reasons just don’t want to be put in a position where they become involved in details of other friends lives as personal and painful as an affair.

        So cut your friend a bit of slack and don’t hold her unwillingness to get involved against her if she is otherwise a good friend to you. The best friend to my marriage turned out to be a BFF of my W who understood how a woman like my W might grow too close to another man (this friend had also done so a few years earlier and she and her H got past her “mistakes” and improved their marriage a lot), and instead of trying to give us a bunch of advice about how to possibly proceed, merely put us into contact with her marriage counselor and told us that she wanted nothing more for each of us to be happy no matter what the end result might be.

      • Anita

        I wouldn’t hold this against her. For whatever reason she
        chose to remove herself from this. It could be that she
        has opinions that differ from yours and chose not to involve
        herself. Also she may have felt that she wasn’t in a place
        in her own life to be the support you needed.
        Your healing belongs to you and if others don’t want to
        involve themselves, don’t hold it against them.
        When I went through my divorce I had my family and friends
        there, and they were supportive, I also had a sibling who
        divorced at that same time. However after a couple months
        my family and friends stepped back and allowed for me
        to heal by spending time by myself and allowing me the time to work through the pain and sorrow so I could heal.
        My sibling and I talked alot at first, however as time went
        on we had to get on with our lives again, and start to live.
        It was good I was allowed that time, it helped me work
        through the pain. After some healing occured I involved
        myself back into the world again. In time you will hit
        a point where you will get sick and tired of this all, and
        you will be ready to leave it behind. because the need
        to enjoy your life again over takes this.

        • Anita

          I can only speak for myself and my experience.
          I have had the time to heal and recover from this all,
          I had to ask myself why I keep returning to this site,
          in fact another reader brought this to my attention the other day, and I believe its also a part of my healing to help others, however that can be a catch 22 also. Everyone
          on this site is in a different stage and I realize now that
          everyone has to go at their own pace and its not a one
          size fits all. Therefore it would be better to step away.
          My everyday life no longer feels the effects of the past
          other than waiting for my annulment, which may or maynot
          be granted. If its granted then its over, if its not, and should
          I meet someone who I want to marry, and that’s a big
          if, then I will have to cross that bridge when it comes.
          But the past of my exhusband’s affair and our divorce
          are the in the past.
          When I come to this site, I can choose to come or not,
          however I now realize, if I had a friend or family member
          who’s life was effected by an affair, I could see myself
          being there for them a little while, however I can also see
          myself, telling them that I need to step back and allow
          them to heal.
          I now can see that being I have recovered from this all
          it would be hard to listen to someone’s elses pain
          day in and out, which tells me I am ready to let go.
          It would be nice if infidelity never happened, however
          life being what it is I am sure that it will always be around.
          CSB, this is a wonderful site, and many friendly people,
          who are in the same boat.

    • Gizfield

      Csb, no you aren’t cause you are telling us now. Your friend may not know how to support you. maybe she has an adultery related trauma in her own past that she can’t deal with. Please dont take it personally our hold it against her if she has been a good friend in the past. None of my friends were helpful either, but they aren’t equipped to deal with it either

    • csb

      Thank you so much for your input, I think I’m so deep in that “no one cares about me” mentality that I’m placing too much importance on her actionsand probably not in a very understanding mindset.
      Anita – your statement “you will be ready to leave it behind. because the need to enjoy your life again over takes this” couldn’t be more true, and hits home! I recognize carrying this pain and anger is only hurting me and stalling our recovery so I’m hoping to get to that place VERY soon!!!

    • Anita

      Since I am not a member I could only see in the comment
      section that you filed for divorce today, and I couldn’t read the rest of your post. My heart goes out to you, and I wish
      you only the best.
      Take Care of yourself.
      Healing from a divorce also takes time, however I promise
      you the pain won’t last forever.

    • Rachel

      Thank you, Anita. I appreciate your kind words.

    • lost again but not forever

      I,m in the middle of the storm right now. I was the victim.
      Trying to see what I am learning . The hurt is the worst other than my mom and sister dying when I was 8. I am trying to stay focused on what the lord has planned for me..
      The pain is so intense for now. Hope it will leave me because I do not want to be a bitter man. I have always had a gentle heart . But my heart has changed ..Forgiving and anger is a hard thing for me right now.

    • Strengthrequired

      Lost again, I just want to saynhow sorry I am that you have found yourself on this blog, facing the same situation we all found ourselves in.
      The pain is the worse, when you love someone so mich, and they betray you the pain is indescribeable. I will sa y this to yo though, although it doesn’t seem it right now, the pain will be less in your face, it will still be there but it won’t be an everyday thing. You winder how you will ever get through it, but you do, you find strength within yourself that you never realized you had.
      You do need to look after yourself, and you have to know that they think life is greener on the other side right now, due to the fog of the affair, but you have to know that it is a fantasy world that they won’t be able to continue, because they can’t keep being someone or something they are not, cracks will start to show. All the things that seem appealing will start fading.
      Read through the site here and get knowledge behind you, being knowledgable is your best defense and will giveyou the tools and ideas on getting yourself through this terrible time, it will help you gain your confidence within yourself, and will help you see exactly what their affair really is, a huge joke.
      Keep coming in here and talking ti us when you feel you need that extra support, read through some of the cheating spouses responses once they realized what they had almost given up in their betrayed spouse, once the fog lifts. You will see it is so common, on how we feel, and how the affairs start and end. You will soon notice that all the stories, although from different people are so very similar it’s scary, you will also see how much manipulation has been involved by the affair partner. You will also see how all of the affairs, have been affair downs, in which I mean the cheating spouse has cheated with someone they would never have considered before, but once they are in a low point in their life they find themselves in exactly that, with a person they never would have been with. So hold onto the thought that you are the better person, because you are.

    • lost again but not forever

      Thank you for the advice. I will have to learn to trust again.
      Been married a long time 33 years. Total shock. I wish she would have pushed me off a cliff than to tell me of her 7 year affair with my so called back stabbing friend.
      This happened 20 years ago she said. She said she had to come clean because of her christain counsler said it was eating her alive inside, She has since moved in w, her mother.Hard to look her in the face right now.

    • Strengthrequired

      That’s the thing lost, what sort of friend would look you in the face after beign with your wife once which is bad enough, but for 7 yrs, and act as if it’s nothing, a walk in the park. It most definately isn’t what a true friend does.
      That friend would have been jealous of the both of you, for him ti even contemplate any sort of inappropriate contact with yiour wife.
      Think of it this way with your wife, she did a terrible thing, think of the torment she has been carrying around with her for all those years, it must have been playing a great deal of guilt, for her to need to talk to a counsellor to help her deal with the betrayal. She knows what shendid was very wrong, there is no excuse, but take heart in the fact she has been paying for it silently since the affair partner died, he could have been validating to her that it was fine that they be together, that they weren’t doing anything wrong, so it continued. Yet think of it, wouldn’t have been love, otherwise they would have been together, nothing would have stopped them, and definately not after 7 years, imagine the toll it would have taken to hide such a terrible secret. I certainly wouldn’t have been able to.
      It was all a fantasy, it wasn’t real, and she has had many years thankfully without this so called friend around to get her head out of the fog and truly see what she has with you after all these years together.
      33 yrs is a long time, if you love your wife and want to save your marriage, then go to the counselling sessions and let your wife help you heal. She has had a long time to sort her feelings out, she now has to help you get through this betrayal of your love.
      Even hearing the way she thought the affair was to her and how it really is, Hearing details of the affair may help you eventually, as that is how she needs to prove her trust with you, by being truthful, but you also need to let her know what this has done to you. Having the support of the counsellor will help you deal with it, and also be a safe place for you to express your feelings.
      I know for me, I have questions I want answered, sometimes I ask the same questions, sometimes new ones, I want them answered truthfully. I want the truth if it was a psychical affair or not, I don’t want to know the details if it was a pa, I just deserve an honest answer. I want to seemthe true remorse in my h eyes, to know that he knows it was wrong on every level, no justifications. I also want to have my trust in him given back to me, and the only person that can restore my trust is my h, he has to be willing to give that back.
      What you need to remember is, you can move forward from the events of finding out about the affair, it isn’t an easy road to travel, but if lovemis there for the both of you, it can, and it ca be so much better than it was before.
      Time to trust again is what you need, you will see most of us here even after a year or more finding out about the affair, still haven’t been able to trust our cheating spouses, but our marriages are stronger in many ways, yet it can only get to that point if both commit. Trust is the hardest to regain, but with time and the efforts of the cheating spouse being completely open and transparent it can happen.
      I’m so sorry that this has happened to you, it’s such terrible pain to be in, you think you will never get through it, but you can.
      I just wanted to add that, i haven’t had any counselling, my h wouldn’t go, but being here has helped me in many ways, just talking to people who understand. So if you feel you can’t go to counselling anymore, than just know, your wife sounds like she needs to, and it may be the best thing she could do for your marriage, and for her to face up to her problems with herself, and to learn to be the wife you deserve.

    • ZZZ

      Reserving time for me to say sentences that start with ” I feel…” and then the CP says it back until you can say, “yes. That’s it”, has been very helpful. At first the act of ” History Redo’s seemed to help. I received the same pic as she for example. I still cant wear the Christmas ring from that year. It kind of makes me sick

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