I’m often asked, “How do affairs begin?” Well, they almost always begin with the little things – and usually in the workplace.

how do affairs begin

By Sarah P.

It’s an age-old story. Two people fall in love in their 20s. These days both men and women, are equally entering into the workforce, as well as institutions of higher education.

Consider this scenario: two young professionals out of college, meet and fall in love. Fairly soon, a wedding is being planned. This couple gets married and spend several blissful years together. Then, they decide to start a family.

While they are starting a family, they believe that nothing will change. They’ll just be three happy people instead of two happy people. 

After the baby is born, it often happens that one of the parents decides to stay home, for the good of their child. This is usually the parent who has the lesser of the two incomes.

The individual that stays home with children often sacrifices their career. It’s not uncommon for executives of both sexes to leave their industries after they have a family. They become the support system to their spouse and they quite often help their partner build his or her career as they are raising children.

These folks believe they are doing what is in the highest good for all involved. 


Featured Download: “The Top 10 Reasons to Leave Your Affair Partner Now”

If you’re the unfaithful, get it, read it and carefully consider the advice. If you’re the betrayed, give it to your unfaithful spouse.


How Do Affairs Begin? Most Start in the Workplace

Here is the unfortunate part: 90% of affairs start in the workplace. So, if a spouse is to have an affair, there’s a 90% chance they will meet their affair partner at work.

Sometimes it generally starts as casual conversation. They talk about books, music, hobbies they have in common. Then, if they get frustrated at work, they generally confide their frustration within the workplace to each other, rather than to their spouses. Then, they start having lunch together alone. Then, it moves to happy hour and margaritas. After too many margaritas, the boundaries might disintegrate

Blissfully unaware, the stay-at-home parent is raising children, has given up a career, and believes all is well.

The stay-at-home spouse has no idea, because the working spouse quite often forgets to mention that they have a new friend of the opposite sex. The wayward spouse also fails to mention that the relationship with their coworker has turned into happy hour alone with their coworker. 

So, why would a working person forget to tell their spouse about happy hour with their friend of the opposite sex?

We really don’t need to know the answer to that. Here is what we need to know: if your spouse is choosing NOT to tell you about their new friend of the opposite sex at work, the trust has already been breached.

If a spouse is not having an inappropriate relationship, then they would have no problem telling their spouse about their new friend of the opposite gender. That is the real issue at hand…the fact that a spouse withholds the idea that they have a brand-new friend at work who they confide in, who they commiserate with, who they have hobbies in common with, drink with, and who is of the opposite gender.

All About Work Affairs: If You Feel a Cringe When Your Spouse’s Colleague is Around, Take Note

Most People Don’t Think They Will Have an Affair 

People generally believe that they will never have an affair. They make friends of the opposite gender at work, thinking this is a normal thing to do, because they would never be capable of having an affair.

Yet, the statistics say that of everybody who has an affair, 90% of these people met their affair partner in the workplace. Since affairs happen in the workplace, the stay-at-home spouse may or may not find out until it has become a full-blown affair, and their spouse is talking about divorce.

The stay-at-home betrayed spouse is left absolutely bewildered.  He or she wonders if their marriage was ever real and how the person, who promised to love and cherish them, could do something so cruel.

See also  Affair Recovery and My First Experience With a Therapist

The betrayed spouse suffers in a way that is all encompassing. They fall into a void, a vacuum of endless nights when they find out about their spouse’s affair, and that they may be left for the affair partner.

When a person finds out they have been betrayed, it feels like a death of sorts. It’s common that people develop generalized anxiety, insomnia, severe depression, and extreme anhedonia. The betrayed spouse walks a path that is both insufferable and is a path only known to those others who have also been betrayed.

It’s Just Business, Right?

I have observed so many workplace affairs before I retired from the corporate world, that I have lost track of how many. The number of workplace affairs in the corporate world is absolutely staggering. People do things that could cause the death of their entire career, just because they become sexually attracted to a coworker.

When they have an affair, they lose all ability to reason. They don’t think of what will happen when and if they get a divorce, and how the children will react. I can tell you firsthand the children are absolutely torn apart when parents have affairs.

But, when somebody is having an affair, they really do not care how it affects their children. For, if they did care, they would find a way to break off the affair and repair their marriage. While people can say they care, actions speak louder than words.

workplace affair

A Real Life Example

I will give you an example of a type of affair that I have witnessed hundreds of times.

A middle-aged man has a business that he is trying to grow. To save money, he might hire people who are directly out of college. Some of those people may be women in their 20s.

I have no idea, why a middle-aged person would risk everything. But they do.

For several years, in my off-line life, my family utilized the professional services, of an individual in our town. We loved the business because it was a multi-generational family business.

The son worked next to his father, while his wife stayed home.  She designed websites for the business, wrote marketing material for the business, acquired clients for the business, did community outreach projects for the business, and was still there to raise their four children. This family business was a breath of fresh air.

It was so beautiful to see a family working together for the good of the business and clients. The stay-at-home wife had a graduate degree and had written several books, before she had children, while also supporting the family business in any way she could.

I had a tremendous respect for the wife in this situation. Not only was she smart, gracious, and an excellent mother, she was also very beautiful and extremely athletic. She was “the perfect wife.”

Everyone in my town looked up to this family, because they were literally the picture-perfect family. But, as always, no one really knows what goes on behind closed doors. I do not know if their family was truly happy or not, but my gut instinct says, their family was truly a happy family.

One day, the father who had founded the business retired. He handed the business over to his son and his son’s wife. 

They ran the business together as a team flawlessly. But the time came when the husband wanted to grow the business more, so he decided to hire some new employees.

I was truly shocked when I went to this particular business one day and found that the husband had taken on a female business partner who was 20 years younger. I inquired about the wife. 

The Children are the Victims When the Marriage Has to End

The husband (business owner) and his young business partner looked as if they were two cats who had just swallowed an entire cage of canaries. 

The husband knows the type of work that I do. And it was certainly an awkward moment. For he could see that I saw this woman was more than just a business partner.

I was so relieved when I did not have to go back to that business. Still, I have watched this unfold from the sidelines. 

See also  Why Betrayal Makes You Feel Worthless

The family photos have been removed from the website and are nowhere to be found any longer. The only photo present on the website is a photo of the husband and his very young business partner, standing shoulder-to-shoulder and mirroring the body language of the other. 

Gone are all the photos that he used to have with him, his beautiful wife, and their four children. He changed his biography and removed the part that stated he is a married father of four.

Of course, I do not know if he is still married. Judging from the website, even if he is, it is abundantly clear that his business partner has taken on the role of wife.

Even though this is not my marriage, it leaves me feeling profoundly sad for the wife. For, I knew these people personally.

I know all that the wife gave up to build her husband’s business. I know the high-power career that the wife gave up to build her husband’s business. I know the wife was – and is – so in love with her husband, that losing him would kill her. To this wife, the sun rose and the sun set, over her husband. There was no other man in the world for her, except her husband. The wife in this situation openly stated many times, that she had married her soulmate.

Here is what I do not understand. Even though, the husband made the choice to go down this path, I do not know how the female business partner could willingly participate in such heartlessness. 

Some people will complain about their spouses in an attempt to get into the good graces of a man or woman they are attracted to. Still, if a person is intelligent, he or she would ask himself/herself why a married person needed to approach him or her to speak unfavorably about the spouse. Certainly, such a thing should be a red flag. 

Unfortunately, some women and men believe that the spouse is the problem. Or, they want to believe so badly that the spouse is the problem that they will ignore all the red flags.

Adults do what they do. Adults are responsible for their own actions.

how affairs begin

What About the Innocent Children?

What about the innocent children who desire/need a stable home?

Who is there to advocate for the innocent children who never asked to be from a broken home?

As a society, I wonder why we do not hold adults accountable for breaking promises.

If an affair occurs in a relationship where no children are involved, then only one person gets hurt: the betrayed spouse.

When someone knowingly enters an affair with a married person who they know has children, what are they thinking?

I cannot fathom how a person could have an affair with a someone who has children. I cannot fathom what type of individual would be willing to do that. For this individual is ruining the lives of innocent people who have no choice and no say in the matter.

What kind of person does that?

I don’t know what kind of person does that, but I do know this: if someone knowingly has an affair with a married person and knows children are involved, he or she is not a good human being. 

Good human beings do not knowingly choose to hurt innocent people. Behavior is everything. Behavior makes a good person. Holding onto ethical standards and living by them, make a good person.

Women Do It Too

In my last example, I was referring to a cheating husband. But, married women are equally capable of having affairs in the workplace.

If we look at the statistics, the gender gap of those who have affairs has actually been closed. Roughly the same number of women and men have affairs.

Many married women have affairs and they meet their affair partner in the workplace. It astounds me that married mothers with children, can have an affair. Where did the maternal instinct to protect her family go?

And what about the other man?

What is the other man doing having an affair with a married woman, who has children?

If they do get themselves in these situations, they can always choose to stop. I don’t understand why they keep going

See also  The Ache of Affairs and What You Can Do About It

When I was growing up, I was taught that marriage is the most sacred institution on earth. I was taught that even if things are very bad, you work through it. There is no marriage on earth that is perfect. In fact, looking for the perfect marriage is an exercise in futility. 

For the perfect marriage simply does not exist. It’s a myth that is perpetuated in the media and in romance novels. But, in real life, the perfect marriage does not exist.


The Four M’s: Why Cheaters Cannot Leave Their Affair Partners

Why Doesn’t the Perfect Marriage Exist? 

It’s because humans themselves are imperfect. All of us have some kind of imperfection and those imperfections manifest in a multitude of ways. Still, we have the power of choice and we have free will.

Each day, we have many forks in the road we can take. We are making choices all day long. 

Do we go to the store now or later?

Do we clean out our closet now or tomorrow?

When will we fix dinner?

What will we have for dinner?

All of us are making many choices each day. 

I refer to infidelity as the journey of a thousand steps. Even if someone starts having an affair, they can choose to stop the affair at any point in the journey. Each time they say yes to the affair, they are on that journey of a thousand steps.

The fallout of a spouse having an affair is like a nuclear meltdown. Everything that a betrayed spouse once knew has been utterly destroyed. Where there was a metaphorical house, there is no longer a metaphorical home to come home to, for the life they knew has been completely leveled.

I hope and pray that wayward spouses read these articles so that they can gain insight on what occurred.

So many betrayed spouses have lost everything due to an affair. 

They have lost their health. 

They have lost their ability to trust. 

They have lost the life they once had. 

They have lost a sense of safety and some have even developed PTSD. 

That life they had is now dead. Worst of all, the deadly blow to the marriage, could have been prevented.

Healing After Infidelity: Why Won’t They Stop?

Unlike Earthquakes, People Have a CHOICE

Earthquakes happen due to the earth’s tectonic plates constantly moving. Earthquakes are known, studied, and there are evacuation plans in place. 

An affair causes the same disruption as an earthquake. However, this really stings because it could have been prevented. Earthquakes cannot be prevented, but affairs can be.

Once again, it all comes down to the power of choice. An individual chooses to have an affair, an individual chooses to destroy their spouse, their family, and even relatives. A wayward spouse chooses to destroy everything in their path when each day they choose the affair.

There are few words to describe the pain of betrayal. It’s a searing and burning pain. It’s a pain that wakes you up in the middle of the night. It’s a pain that makes you want to go to sleep, but you cannot go to sleep, because your mind is racing. Many people, who have been betrayed feel as if they are living in a prolonged panic attack.

The person (wayward spouse) who took vows to honor their spouse and to forsake all others, wiped everything away by choosing to have an affair.

In Summary

Affairs always begin with the little things. 

Affairs involve the choice to keep having an affair each day. 

A wayward spouse could break off an affair at any time. But each day when they stay in the affair, they are making the choice to do so. And each day, they get more enmeshed with the other person. 

Betrayed spouses, set boundaries with the little things, if you can. For you deserve to be treated well. 


Featured Download: “The Top 10 Reasons to Leave Your Affair Partner Now”

If you’re the unfaithful, get it, read it and carefully consider the advice. If you’re the betrayed, give it to your unfaithful spouse.


    13 replies to "How Do Affairs Begin? They Always Begin With the Little Things "

    • Connie

      How do you deal with a spouse who blames you, your marriage, and everything else they can think of as to why they had the affair, yet tells you it wasn’t really an affair because they were just friends. They kept this so called friendship a secret, lied about it, and when I begged him to stop , he promised he would but still continued on with it. Claims I’m too over emotional about evrything concerning it and I just need to “get over it” and forget about it and move on because both he amd his affair partner have and i should just grow up, because it happened, it’s over and in the past.

      • Nyca

        Connie – I am in exactly the same situation! Just a friend for 2 years that he never bothered to tell anyone in our family about. He lied to me and our adult sons. At DD, He blamed me, compared me unfavorably to her and wanted to leave me for her because she made him happy. Although now after 6 months from DD he says it is over and thinks he wants to work on us. I don’t think he would risk lying about that to our sons again. But he has told me that every time I bring the affair up to help me process it, it is hurtful and hateful and he “can’t trust me and doesn’t feel safe with me and I need to get over it and move past it or we will never be able to move forward to repair our marriage”. That phrase is thanks to a couple of coaching calls. He thinks he is the victim now and I need to walk on eggshells so he can feel safe with me. However, I can’t get over his betrayal because the only parts of the affair that I know about are the parts I discovered. And most of them were things that he originally lied about but the truth rose up anyway. He has offered only what he has to, and can’t remember big details of their two years together. Like what they talked about being together 24/7 on their week long road/fishing trips his family thought he was going alone on. Yup, just friends. But then he will mention something and I will say – see you did have conversations with her to know that detail about her life – and he will get angry.

        Next week is 6 months from DD. I have read this site every day. Been in counseling by myself because he won’t go, and done online workshops. I have thrown myself in to healing from his deception and betrayal and trying to saving us for 6 months. And he has made little effort to meet me. Big words and nothing to back it up. I am tired.

        Not sure if you are ahead of me or behind me on DD, but since your H is using the same words from the “Affairs for Dummies” playbook maybe this will help….You are not alone. What you are feeling is normal. What he did was wrong regardless of the state of your marriage and he is trying to rid himself of his guilt and shame by throwing it on you. Don’t let him.

        It is becoming more clear to me that for 6 months H keeps showing me who he is. And that he has always shown me who he is. I have just been ignoring it for 38 years. The way he treated me during the affair and especially after is just a more concentrated version of how he has treated me in our marriage. What he can give me is all that he can do. And it isn’t enough for me anymore. I am slowly starting to grieve the marriage, because it was as much of a mirage as what I thought my life was during his affair. And for some reason the more I unwillingly let go of what I thought our marriage was, the less the pain of the affair destroys me. Maybe it is time, maybe it is the therapy, maybe it is articles from this wonderful site. But I am starting to see a little blue sky. I hope you do too soon. Stay strong and listen to your gut because it is telling you that you are worthy. xo

        • Connie

          Thank you so much. Your words are very helpful.

    • Shifting Impressions

      Connie and Nyca
      I wouldn’t wish those early years after D-day on anyone!!! My heart goes out to both of you. It always amazes me that the cheating spouse completely destroys us and still thinks they should be able to call the shots!!!

      If I learned anything in these last years it’s that I can’t make my partner or anyone else for that matter do anything!!! Does that leave me powerless?? Absolutely not. My power lies in my own response. Begging and cajoling the CS does nothing…..ask me how I know??

      They would like nothing more than to “just move on”. They slip into “victims mode” so easily it can make your head spin. Before you know it…..you are the one apologizing!!!

      I stopped pushing my husband to read, go to counseling…….etc. Something we did do that was helpful was set aside one hour a week to talk about the EA. He would often try to weasel out of it. But I held him to it.

      For myself:
      I started journaling (for my eyes only)
      I went for individual counseling
      I got support from a few very close friends
      I read all I could find about infidelity
      I came here every day……reading the everyone’s stories and sharing mine

      When he started pulling his gaslighting, stonewalling crap…..I simply called him on it and walked away. I simply wasn’t buying those tactics anymore.

      Do I have regrets or did I make mistakes on how I handled everything…..ABSOLUTELY!!. But in general I am proud of how I handled myself. I found a strength I didn’t know I had. I found the support I needed in close friends and in my adult children. I will never forget how they were there for me.

      Next month it will be eight years since d-day and we are still together. Am I over it completely? No I’m not. I think infidelity is something you survive rather than something you get over. We are in a good place…..and we are still moving forward very slowly. He is actually reading the book WHY DID I CHEAT….by Andrew Marshall. It will take him forever…..he is a very slow reader Lol!!! And this one will take an excruciatingly long time to be sure.

      Only you can decide what you will put up with! Another book I found really helpful is the book IT TAKES ONE TO TANGO by Winifred Reilly.

      I agree with Nyca about listening to your gut.

    • Exercisegrace

      Connie and Nyca, welcome to the club and sorry you are here! For me what it boiled down to was….. what was I willing to live with? For some reason, cheaters think THEY are the ones who can go out and cheat yet decide to stay in the marriage. They forget that WE have a vote in that as well. So they basically maneuver into the victim role, and start making demands. All the fun of an affair, none of consequences! How grand! I would suggest taking some time to decide what YOU need. What the future looks like to YOU if you move forward with a man who learned nothing, took accountability for nothing, and made amends for nothing.

      In my situation, I felt that I couldn’t move forward unless I had truth and accountability from my husband. . I wrote out my expectations (discussed these also with my individual counselor) and presented them to him during our marriage counseling session. I knew if I allowed him to continue to take control of the narrative, as well as brush everything aside, I would never truly be able to heal and move forward. One of the things on my list was that I would NOT discuss any “issues with the marriage” UNTIL HE had resolved his own issues. Why we cheated, what boundaries he was putting in place to prevent it from happening again etc. He had to PROVE to me he not only wanted to be in our marriage, but that he DESERVED to be.

      • Connie

        Thank you for your insight. It’s helpful. My husband wouldn’t deal with it at all for over 30 yrs. We lived like total stangers in our home. Just co-existed. I was as guilty as he was with not dealing with it because whenever I broached the subject, everything would be deflected back on me and I was feeling enough guilt still thinking it was my fault because both he and his AP blamed me froim the get go. I sy=tayed so busy so I wouldn’t have to deal with it, but after I retired I was just sitting one morning watching the most gorgeous sunrise and some memory flitted across my thoughts and the flodd gates opened wide. I couldn’t stop crying. He still won’t go to counseling because he thinks I’m the one with the issue with it. This has been going on with me trying to “deal and heal” for almost 2 years now. If you have any great reads I would love to hear about them. My husband says that it will all heal on it’s own if we just sray strong and let God handle it- yet he doesn’t do anything that shows he’s remorseful or he’s trying. I’m so emotionally exhauseted, I’m ready to just throw in the towel and give up. When I’ve told him this, then he starts to play the victim, saying things like, “so you just want to give up on our marriage” You don’t even think it’s worth trying to save” . You don’t have any feelings of compasion towards me anymore that your not even willing to try and hang on. Holy Moly Rocky! I’ve been hanging on for 30 plus years!

        • VickiLD

          I was married 35 years when I found out my husband was cheating. He, of course, blamed me for his need to find someone to make him happy. I believed we were happy. I was devastated. I loved him very much. He got depressed after he retired and I suggested he see a counselor. She turned out to be the other woman. About a month after D-day he told me he was sorry, couldn’t imagine living without me, and didn’t want to leave. I was overjoyed but at that very second one of our kids came over. He sat down to visit with her which gave me time to think. My dear, sweet husband had lied to me hundreds of times, met with her while telling me bogus stories, and had sex with her while he was still having sex with me. How could he have done this? He certainly wasn’t thinking of my well-being through all this. I could have never done this to him. I would never hurt him. I loved him so much. How could I ever trust him again? How would I ever get the images of them together out of my head? Why did he think all he had to do was say, I’m sorry? When our daughter left I told him I couldn’t forgive or forget. He married her 2 years later and is estranged from one daughter who refuses to meet the new wife. She is disgusted with his behavior. He makes no attempts to reconcile and this tells me the kind of man he truly is. You have power, more than you realize. Stand up for yourself. Demand he goes to counseling. He’s playing you and you’re too kind a soul. Don’t live like this the rest of your life. I’ve been divorced 4 1/2 years from my “soulmate”. It was hell but I’ve made it out the other side and my life is really good. I’m my own person and answer only to myself. It’s a wonderful feeling. I wish you the best of luck.

        • VickiLD

          I forgot to mention two books that really helped me. Leave a Cheater, Gain a Life, and Infidelity in a Nutshell.

    • Exercisegrace

      Some random thoughts twelve years out from Dday. In the immediate aftermath, my goal was to “heal and get over it”. I wanted to “trust him” again. What I’ve learned is, I have moved on from the affair. I will never be over it, but it is no longer the dominant part of my world. Like having a faint limp from a long ago accident, I’ve learned to accommodate a new way of living. The person I have learned to trust is myself. During his affair I felt crazy (and was told that I was!). Now I always, ALWAYS trust my instincts. My gut has never lied to me. I no longer focus on trusting my husband. We did two years of counseling, I insisted he explore in individual counseling what led him to make HIS choices. We set certain agreed upon boundaries, such as no going out for work lunches, dinners etc alone with a member of the opposite sex. Keeping work relationships professional and not crossing personal lines. He can look back and see how easily those lines were crossed, and how that led to disaster. I can’t and won’t police him on that, although I will call out anything that doesn’t sit right with me. He is responsible for his choices. Period. I will not accept any blame, nor will I tolerate any blame cast on our marriage. If either of us is unhappy, or we have said or done something hurtful to the other etc., we can discuss it honestly and openly.

      At the start of his affair, he was talking about the ho-worker a lot. The excuse was they worked together closely on several projects. When she started calling or texting on the weekends, I expressed concern that she was trying to move their relationship in too personal of a direction. He listened to my concerns, agreed!! And said he would set some boundaries. I believed him. They were already engaged in a full blown affair. If someone is determined to deceive you, they will find a way. It is unrealistic to think that if you are good enough as a spouse, you won’t be cheated on.

      For a long time, I believed that any one of us is capable of cheating given the right circumstances. I no longer believe that very much. Cheaters have deep character flaws. Sometimes these are inflicted. In my husbands case a toxic upbringing had massive impact on him. Unless a cheater is willing to explore their issues, I believe it’s very possible they will cheat again. They must be willing to let go of the need to blame the marriage and begin the work of figuring out what drove THEIR choices.

      My best advice is to work on healing yourself. Trusting yourself. Taking care of yourself. Meeting your own needs. Moving forward yourself. If your spouse does the work? They will keep up and come along. If not, you probably needed to leave them behind.

    • Nyca

      Shifting and Exercisegrace. . Thank you for you words and wisdom. Yes, he has deep character flaws. I know his upbringing. I knew it played in to who he was. I was dumb and believed that I was immune from how he treated every other relationship family/friend because he loved me..I was wrong. I denied it for 38 years. He is avoidant. He is mild level narcissist. He won’t address it. He won’t address us. He never has and the sweeping under the rug lent to resentment on my part that lashed out. Sadly that is all anyone, and most sadly our children, ever saw. I am the bad guy for reacting.. And he is now using that history to his advantage. If I leave him he will use it to his advantage and tell our sons he tried everything but I was the one who ended it. I will be the scapegoat again and from years of conditioning I will lose them emotionally. If I stay, I am compromising my true self because I know he will never change,he can’t and he doesn’t want to. And it will make me more miserable than I have been because now I see the truth.

      I am so grateful for this site for me. But will be honest – I begged him to set up the unfaithful coaching calls. He finally did. But what transpired from them was a nightmare. He feels vindicated now that he is the victim and I am the unreasonable one who is untrustworthy and out of control and unsafe and untrustworthy because I am so upset and I should be getting over it like Linda did. Not at all what I have been reading here every day that the unfaithful should be feeling to help us heal. Either he misinterpreted/picked and chose what Doug told him during the calls and a direct opposite to what the team has been blogging to me for 6 months, or what they say in the calls to the betrayers is not what they say to us betrayed spouses in the daily posts. It is such a major step backward in my recovery and for our marriage. And my feeling is that it is mostly him hearing what he wants to hear. But he should have been coached better. It’s another betrayal as far as I am concerned.

      Exercise and Shifting, you are much further along. I am sorry that you are still here but I am grateful for your insight. I wish you the best and hope you every happiness because you are worth it.

      • Shifting Impressions

        I recognize this pattern. Why….because it’s familiar to me. When I was a child my older sister had a way of quietly poking at me until I blew……she came out smelling like a rose and I was the out of control one. Fortunately for me my mother recognized what was happening. My sibs liked to push my buttons and watch me explode!!! I noticed the same pattern with my two sons…..I wasn’t fooled.

        Unfortunately that same pattern occurred in my marriage. He was the calm one….the voice of reason. Or was he?? He had a way of turning things around so that he was the victim. I was the one out of control…right?
        I know I have a temper and have always worked to control it, but I have no trouble speaking my peace. Standing up and saying what I think. Somehow he made me feel like I had an anger problem. A really good read is THE GASLIGHT EFFECT by Robin Stern.

        About a year ago we were embroiled in a difficult conversation……things took a turn for the worse and I had enough. I had remained calm but the twisting of events etc was getting to me!!! I told him to fuck off……something I have never said in all the almost fifty years we have been together. You should have seen his reaction…..it was epic!!! Suddenly he was the victim!!!! But I simply don’t buy that act anymore. I let him slam out of the house and actually reveled in the fact that I told him to fuck off!!! I journaled about it and saw his behavior for what it was

        I know my comment is long but your situation resonates deeply with me. I believe that no matter what type counseling your husband received he would have manipulated it so that he is the victim and the good guy. I trust what Doug would have said to him.

        But I also wanted to give you some food for thought regarding your sons. If they are anything like my adult children they are not as easily fooled as you might think they are!!! Your husband emotionally blackmailing regarding your sons is a very high form of manipulation. Our children often see more than we think they do. Trust your relationship with them…..talk to them.

        My four children have a very deep love for their father and for me. They were not completely blind to the manipulation and gaslighting after d-day. My oldest son even confronted his father…..not easily done, as my son is a very calm and thoughtful man. My other son told me no matter what we decided he would always be there for us. Please don’t let your husband use your children even though they are adults as pawns. Two of my children were able to let me cry on their shoulders and still remain close to their father. It’s amazing to me.

        What ever you decide…..give yourself permission to feel the pain and the rage. Allow yourself the time to grieve. You don’t have to know whether you will stay or go at this point. The cheater does not get to dictate the time line for your grief. Please don’t let your husband’s manipulation compromise “your true self”. Don’t buy into the thought that he wasn’t coached well enough. He turned it all around to his own advantage. Another fantastic book on manipulation is IN SHEEPS CLOTHING by George Simon.

        I don’t know if you like to read but the two books I recommended are dynamite in dealing with manipulation and gaslighting. There is a good chance you won’t change your partner but changing your own response can have a huge impact. By the way I never let my husband see those titles. I read them for me. I have them on my iPad so they are not laying around the house.

        Take care Nyca

    • CrossfitCheater

      I have recently found myself in this boat after my husband decided to have an affair with a woman from his gym. We had been experiencing issues internally, and from the time I accidentally overheard him talking to this woman about those issues, I was worried. (He accidentally butt-dialed me and because I believe that things happen for a reason, I think that did too.) I told him it had happened, but at the time, since she was actually supposedly giving him good advice “you need to talk to her,” I only asked him please to refrain from talking to her about our marriage. Fast forward a year, and he starts acting weird at home and I just knew something was up. I asked him twice what was going on and he said he didn’t know, mid-life crisis, work, anything and everything except what was happening with her. Finally I broke down on our son’s birthday, spoiling the whole celebration, and confronted him privately, and he admitted he had kissed this woman several times. A week later, I found out that he had gone hiking with her; he had told me he was going hiking when I went out of town to visit my godmother, and even sent me a photo of himself. It was only when I put 2 + 2 together in one of our many conversations, that he admitted that he had been with her.

      He says that it was because of our issues, and he knows it was wrong, and he’s sorry, and he left the gym. But I cannot help but feel absolutely horrible that he betrayed me like this. He claims he wasn’t aware where this was leading, yet they were talking on the phone constantly during his commute, a fact I never knew, and they were being very flirtatious with each other at gym events. I saw some of their messages to each other and some of hers to him were downright invitations, including a meme about what sex with a Scorpio would be like, and another one talking about being the type to want the other person to make the first move.

      I cannot understand how someone who is intelligent can claim not to have had any idea that these were all hardcore advances. He claims that because it had been so long since he felt that way, he just went with it but had no idea it would go “there.” Either he’s an idiot or he thinks I’m one.

      I’m also furious at her. I know she isn’t married to me, but she knew he was married, and not only does she know we have children, she asked my son TWICE (he’s 16) to stop by her job since his school is not far. Her own relationship was ending, and I think she saw my husband as her next BF. But to be so brazen about her behavior is awful and as this article says, she absolutely ignored the damage she could cause to his entire life. I’ve told my husband she was not even remotely his “friend” but to be honest, I’m not sure he sees it that way.

      When I found out about the affair, I texted her and she had the audacity to say it was just a kiss and not to drag her into MY drama. My husband cannot see how this adds to the disrespect that both of them showed to me, and he just wants me to let it go. I know that technically I shouldn’t confront her. but on the other hand I’m angry that she’s suffered no consequences while our marriage is literally on the rocks. and our son really seems to have lost all respect for my husband, which I can’t actually blame him for; when he was “hiking” with her, it began to rain heavily so they sat in her car talking and kissing, and meanwhile he was supposed to be picking up my son from the train. My son overheard me yelling about this because I was horrified that my husband would have my son waiting under an overpass in the pouring rain while he got his thrills!

      We have been working on repairing the problems that existed BEFORE this affair, but to be honest, I don’t know if I can get past the affair itself, especially since he claims to be so innocent about all the signs leading up to it. He also claims that it was “going to stop” but I find that impossible to believe: every time he said it was over, she would ask to “talk about it” and he would fall right back into it. It only ended because I found out, and I feel like such an idiot. I was a SAHM and wife, and he told this woman that he and I were functioning as “friends.” I feel so betrayed and just writing this again right now I wish I could leave, but as a SAHM I don’t have independent means. Imagine that: you’re home taking care of everything, including his damn gym clothes, and this happens? If he is that weak, that stupid, or that uncaring about me, I don’t know why I would want to continue this marriage. I know Doug and Linda say we can heal, but I feel like I am doing most of the work in terms of finding resources and working on my personal issues. When I’m happy, he seems less incentivized to do the work. When I rage, he gets angry.

      Reading what ShiftingImpressions says above about still being married, actually scares me. We’re trying to work on things, but I don’t want to live with this kind of pain, even if it soften and heals over time. We had issues, but this was not the way to resolve them and although we are now communicating, this huge THING is now always there affecting how I feel, and he can’t understand that. He can easily put it behind him, because he’s the one who did it. I cannot. Part of me wants to stay married, I do love him, but then I realize I love who I thought he was, and he’s not that person. Not that he is terrible, we all have flaws, but he is clearly capable of infidelity. The fact that this only ended when I found out also worries me, because it means that although he knew it was wrong and kept saying it was, going to her was easier than stopping it. and if he’s that weak, then I don’t know if i want to be with him anymore. I’m so sad and so broken and I don’t see how I can heal with him. He’s not really doing the work on himself that needs to be done; he claims to be busy, but he’s found time to start up at a new gym and was there for 2 hours this morning. His physical fitness and his physical intimacy is clearly a priority even now, so I really don’t know if I have a future with him.

      • Shifting Impressions

        I am so sorry that you are going through this nightmare. You don’t say how far along you are in this journey. In my experience it’s a long difficult experience!! It’s a difficult decision whether to go or stay…..either way there will be pain. I decided I didn’t have to make any final decisions regarding whether to go or stay until I was ready. I knew that I would regret walking away without trying to put us back together.

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